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Bad Year For Powerful Congressmen?

Bob Bennett Utah Republican Convention

Has clout become the kiss of death? Politico‘s Jonathan Allen and Manu Raju think so. The back-to-back primary defeats of two powerful appropriators have sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers: The trappings of power can be a trap. On Wednesday night, West Virginia Democrats eighty-sixed Rep. Alan Mollohan, making him the first House appropriator to […]

America’s Top Problems: Economy and Jobs

gallup-top-problems-20100506

When I saw the Gallup headline  “‘Jobs’ Drops to No. 2 on Americans’ List of Top Problems,” I was skeptical. What could have topped Jobs with unemployment hovering at 10 percent and no real prospect in site for improvement? Lydia Saad (a family friend) answers: After two months as the clear No. 1 perceived problem […]

Lowden Plan Medical Chicken Calculator

Sue Lowden Medical Chicken Calculator

Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s repeated suggestion that we go back to the barter system for health care (“in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house”) has generated endless fun for leftie pundits and, now, some wag has generated a “Lowden Plan Medical […]

Ron Paul: Obama Not A Socialist

Ron Paul Obama Not Socialist

Speaking of Ron Paul, he took the bold step yesterday of announcing that President Obama isn’t a socialist. Not in a technical sense, anyway. “The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist,” Paul said. “I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical […]

Socialism vs. Welfare Statism vs. Free-Markets vs. Corporatism

socialism-poster-england

One of the annoying things about America’s two-party system is that with so much of the political discussion locked in a “us vs. them” rhetorical stance it’s difficult to rise out and see how political models might move in a very different direction. We get so logjammed with overheated rhetoric that it’s sometimes difficult to […]

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern

After a brief hiatus, the next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be joined by a special guest, Dr. Steven Taylor of PoliBlog to talk about ObamaCare:   How big an F’ing deal is it, really?  Is it Constitutional?  What will be […]

Health Care Reform Economics and Forecasts

spyglass

There has been some interesting analysis of the impacts on our health care system of the bill President Obama signed into law earlier today by libertarian economists Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan, and Tyler Cowen.   Many of the ideas have been floating around for a while  (the bill’s been in development for more than a year […]

Health Care Fight About Politics, Not Policy?

cbs-poll-obamacare-motivations

Most Americans think the fight over health care reform was primarily motivated by politics rather than policy, a new CBS News poll shows. Americans believe that both Republicans and Democrats were fighting about health care reform because of politics, not policy, a new CBS News poll finds. Asked why Democrats worked to pass a health […]

Health Care Reform Unconstitutional?

ken-cuccinelli-photo

Now that health care reform has been revived from its near death experience, it appears that it will face a series of Constitutional challenges.  My home state of Virginia has fired the opening shot. Via Twitter, no less. To emphasize how ready Virginia is to take the health care overhaul to court, take a look […]

Taking a Straw Man to Its Logical Conclusion Leads Down a Slippery Slope

strawman

Dan Riehl is in the cross-fire between Alan Colmes and MEDIAite over a rather bizarre argument: I’m not sure I quite understand this, given that cost is so important as a burden to taxpayers when it comes to health care. If Democrats want so badly to abort babies because of it, why are we bothering […]

Petraeus New Hampshire Speech: Presidential Campaign Underway?

petraeus-marine-dinner

Reports that General David Petraeus is giving a speech at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on March 24 is ginning up speculation that he’s running for president. Mark Ambinder: News that Gen. David Petraeus is venturing out of his Centcom comfort zone late this month to the state of New Hampshire is […]

Reconciliation and the Public Option

us-politics

Democratic leaders have claimed that they would have had a government run health insurance alternative (the so-called “Public Option”) if only those mean Republicans weren’t there to filibuster. But Glenn Greenwald believes this was a sham. But all those claims were put to the test — all those bluffs were called — once the White […]

Parliamentary Reconciliation Barriers

us-politics

A series of loosely-related threads at memeorandum provide a fascinating insight into the American legislative process. David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear report for the NYT Money &  Policy section (“Parliamentary Hurdle Could Thwart Latest Health Care Overhaul Strategy“) on a potentially large fly in the reconciliation ointment: The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders said […]

Limbaugh Leaving the Country if Health Reform Passes

rush-limbaugh-microphone

Rush Limbaugh has pulled a Baldwin. My guess in even in Canada and even in the UK, doctors have opted out. And once they’ve opted, they can’t see anybody Medicare, Medicaid, or what will become the exchanges. They have to have a clientele of private patients that will pay them a retainer and it’ll be […]

Reconciliation, Health Care, and History

reconciliation-graphic

Political scientists  Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argues that, contrary to Republican claims,   the reconciliation process is neither illegitimate nor rare. Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills […]

Apples and Oranges

lamar-alexander-official

In a helpful post titled “Facts and Figures,” Ezra Klein observes: This morning, Lamar Alexander said that reconciliation has never been used for anything as big as health-care reform. Health-care reform has a 10-year cost of about $950 billion. The Bush tax cuts, which passed through reconciliation, had a 10-year cost of about $1.8 trillion. […]

Democrats Will Lose the House: Charlie Cook

us-politics

Veteran political prognosticator Charlie Cook argues that it’s not only likely that Republicans will take back the House of Representatives in November but that it’s hard to come up with a scenario under which they won’t. I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to some of the brightest Democrats in the party that are […]

Obama: Socialize Health Insurance

us-politics

President Obama seems to have backed off of his plans for a government insurance program to compete with the private sector.  Instead, he’s doubling down and proposing something much more radical:  having the federal government set the rates of private insurance companies! President Obama will propose on Monday giving the federal government new power to […]

Obstructionism + Nihilism = Nil

tea-party-protest-signs

While John Cole agrees with the substance of my mild criticism of our food stamp policies, he thinks “we can’t do anything about it.” I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. Likewise, I bet almost […]

Situation Normal, All Fouled Up

network-mad-as-hell-not-going-to-take-it

My colleague Dave Schuler, writing at his own digs, explains why he’s “discouraged” by the news of the day, both foreign and domestic. Healthcare reform. As I commented not long ago over at OTB I wouldn’t oppose a single-payer system in the U. S. if (and only if) it were accompanied by measures that would […]

Bipartisanship and Other Magic Ponies

wapo-bipartisanship-healthcare

WaPo’s Jon Cohen thinks the “bipartisanship” tack that President Obama is taking to fight back against recent Republican gains could work. Nearly six in 10 in the new poll say the Republicans aren’t doing enough to forge compromise with President Obama on important issues; more than four in 10 see Obama as doing too little […]

Polls: Good News for Republicans, Obama

Obama Boehner

A new WaPo-ABC poll shows that Americans are increasingly dissatisfied and has Republicans tied with President Obama in approval. The survey paints a portrait of a restless and dissatisfied electorate at the beginning of a critical election year. More than seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and as many say […]

Newfoundland Premier Heads to USA for Surgery

danny-williams

A senior Canadian politician is heading to the USA for heart surgery. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is set to undergo heart surgery this week in the United States. CBC News confirmed Monday that Williams, 60, left the province earlier in the day and will have surgery later in the week. The premier’s office […]

Obama’s 6th Grade Teleprompter Speech

movie-popcorn-filmstrip

I saw reference to this yesterday and didn’t pay it much attention.  But when even Jon Stewart is chiming in, what choice do I have? The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Obama Speaks to a Sixth-Grade Classroom www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Crisis To their […]

Pelosi: Senate Bill Can’t Pass House

Nancy Pelosi

It appears that the last remaining chance to pass healthcare reform without Republican votes is dead, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitting she couldn’t get the bill passed by the Senate if she wanted to. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the Senate will have to amend its version of a health-care reform bill […]

Obama’s Approval Under 50 Percent

obama-approval-cbs-20100111

Barack Obama’s approval ratings are now firmly below 50 percent, with the CBS poll as the latest data point: President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 46 percent, according to a new CBS News poll. That rating is Mr. Obama’s lowest yet in CBS News polling, and the poll marks the first time his […]

Senate Health Care Vote Breakdown

numbers

Steven Taylor (here and here) breaks down the Senate’s party-line vote on the health care bill in some interesting ways.  The upshot: The 60 Yes votes represented 64.22% of the population Only 12 state delegations split their vote: AK, FL, IA, IN, LA, MO, NC, NE, NH, NV, OH, SD  (KY’s Jim Bunning, scheduled to […]

Mitch McConnell Surrenders to Reality

mitch-mcconnell-peace

RedState’s Erick Erickson has a piece with the headline “Mitch McConnell Surrenders.” His dastardly crime? Allowing the inevitable to take place early enough on Christmas Eve for his colleagues to get home to their families ahead of an ice storm. So Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid have agreed not just to vote on the health […]

State Controlled Media

Obama Media Control Cartoon

Yesterday, Teresa Kopec noted the strange convergence of the Left and Right over the healthcare debate, quipping “2009: Little Green Footballs goes left & Jane Hamsher goes right. Who’d a thunk it?” She was referring to erswhile warhawk blogger Charles Johnson’s public break with the Right and progressive movie-maker and the FireDogLake firebrand’s going on […]

Cash For Cloture

logrolling-cartoon-1965

Someone, perhaps this commenter at ABC’s The Note, has coined “Cash for Cloture” to describe the outrageous giveaways agreed to by the Senate Democratic leadership to buy off the last few Senators to get to 60 votes on the health care bill.  It’s spreading fast, with Mark Steyn and Glenn Reynolds employing the meme and […]

Senate Health Reform Bill Secured?

Senate Health Care Compromise

My late evening was going well. The struggling Dallas Cowboys had somehow overcome their annual December swoon and were leading the theretofore unbeaten New Orleans Saints by three touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. The Saints scored two quick touchdowns and the Cowboys’ basket case kicker Nick Folk missed a chip shot field goal but […]

How Negotiation Works

negotiation

In regards the current internecine Democratic fight over the health care compromise, Megan McArdle argues that many people are simply naive about as to how the negotiation process operates: This bill is, at this point, hideously unpopular.  I’m pretty sure you’ve got a bunch of senators who would really, really love not to vote for […]

Hard Left Rallies Against Healthcare Compromise

us-politics

Yesterday, I wrote that there were signs that progressives were rebelling against the health care compromise reached in the Senate.  Since then, things have really heated up. Bernie Sanders, the Socialist senator from Vermont, showed up on Fox News to announce that, “As of this point, I’m not voting for the bill. … I’m going […]

Is America Ungovernable?

Filibuster Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Jimmy Stewart

Progressives are increasingly frustrated that, despite having won the presidency by a comfortable margin and having solid majorities in the House and Senate — where they have a “filibuster-proof” 60 votes — they still can’t enact the policies they want.   Matt Yglesias says “smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the […]

Public Opinion on the Public Option

could_you_explain_the_public_option

Ezra Klein passes on word that the public doesn’t understand the public option.  Or, more specifically, when asked, “Could you confidently explain what exactly the public option is to someone who didn’t know?” 66% answered no; the others lied or were in error.  Matt Yglesias is bemused by this because, after all, this has been […]

Obama Drove Afghan Strategy Debate

85624182MW012_OBAMA_OUTLINE

Big features on the decision-making process behind the newest new Afghanistan strategy in both NYT (“How Obama Came to Plan for ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan “) and WaPo (“Obama pressed for faster surge“) paint a flattering picture of a commander-in-chief taking control of the process. Peter Baker sets the stage by noting the factors weighing on […]

Why Raising Tax Revenue is Hard

scrooge-mcduck

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon contends that our tax system encourages income inequality because it generates more revenue for the treasury. [W]hen you have a progressive tax system, especially when there are surcharges on people making seven-figure incomes, you also have a system where for any given level of national income, the greater the inequality, the […]

National Debt Hits $12 Trillion, Will Double By 2019

obama-debt

Barack Obama has been president for just under 10 months but he’s added two trillion to the national debt and will double it by the end of the decade.  CBS’ Mark Knoller: This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the […]

House Trades Freedom for Health Coverage, Senate’s Move

congress-healthcare

The House passed a trillion dollar bill that will force Americans to buy health insurance, force even small businesses to provide health coverage, and require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.  (The last, as I have previously argued, makes it something other than “insurance.”) Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray for WaPo: Hours after President Obama […]

Health Care: Better, Faster, Cheaper!

health care costs bed

In a much discussed post, Ezra Klein produced a series of graphs showing that Americans pay more for office visits, scans and imaging, drugs, and other aspects of health care — often, far more — than is the case in Canada or Western Europe. There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs […]

McInturff AHIP Speech Draws Protests

Bill McInturff, managing partner of my wife’s firm, had his keynote speech to AHIP interrupted this morning by singing protesters. Sam Stein reports for HuffPo: Republican pollster Bill McInturff was the keynote speaker on the final day of the America’s Health Insurance Plans’s state issues conference on Friday morning. But his speech on how the […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Health Care Polls

us-politics

Ezra Klein points to a new ABC/WaPo poll showing a solid majority support “a law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, either getting it from work, buying it on their own, or through eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid.” Further, the same poll finds a third of those who oppose would switch sides “if […]

McConnell: No Retalliation

Senate Republican Leadership

Olympia Snowe and other wayward Republicans will be subject to strong persuasion but no punishment from the caucus, Senate Republican leaders tell Politico. Mitch McConnell and his deputies in the Senate Republican leadership are responding very cautiously to Olympia Snowe’s decision to become the first GOP vote for a Democratic health care reform bill. That’s […]

Reich on End of Life Care

robert_reich_depression

NewsBusters‘ P.J. Gladnick has dug up a 2007 speech by former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich that purportedly “reveal[s] the brutal truth about what liberals ultimately have in store for the public with their health care plan.” I’ll actually give you a speech made up entirely, almost on the spur of the moment, of what […]

Obama 56, Republicans 30

obama-thumbs-up

A NYT/CBS poll finds that President Obama’s approval remains strong but support for his handling of key policy issues is dipping. The Republicans are not, however, gaining much ground. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents. More Americans […]

Health Insurance Mandates

Obama Health Plan Cartoon Jeff Parker

Sam Stein reports that “Democrats are bracing themselves for a new line of conservative attack against a provision in the health care legislation once considered so non-controversial that it was endorsed by several major Republican officials.”  What is it, you might ask, that these dastardly Republicans are opposing out of their racist hatred of Barack […]

What Health Care Costs

health care costs bed

Ezra Klein has yet another op-ed in WaPo on health care in which he outlines a state of facts that one would think is beyond dispute and then leaps to conclusions that are quite disputable. The title of the piece is “You Have No Idea What Health Costs,” which is likely true for most people, […]

Obama Overexposed?

obama beach

President Obama has gone on virtually every network but Fox in a weekend tour de force that continues tonight: The president’s week-long media blitz has left no other network behind. The president has appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Bloomberg and CNBC and will appear on five public affairs talk shows on Sunday: ABC’s “This Week […]

45% of Doctors Would Quit Under ObamaCare

physician survey

A new Investor’s Business Daily poll contends that nearly half the nation’s doctors would “Consider leaving [their] practice or taking an early retirement” if “Congress passes its health care plan.” Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their […]

9/12 Protests

9-12 protest NYT

Yesterday, somewhere between “tens of thousands” and “two million” people flooded the nation’s capital to protest somethingoranother. Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government (Jeff Zeleny, NYT) A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since […]

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