When Kathleen Sebelius appeared yesterday before the House Republicans, Cong. Joe Barton said, “Dorothy at some point in the movie turns to her little dog, Toto, and says, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ Well, Madam Secretary, while you’re from Kansas, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Barton meant this lame cliche as a display of his incisive humor and wit. Does Barton know that that line has been repeated over and over in popular culture for over 70 years now?
I wouldn't have been surprised if Secretary Sebelius had said, "Congratulations, Cong. Barton, you are the 1000th person to use that hackneyed and unoriginal expression with me, in the past 5 years alone!"
I went to healthcare.gov this morning and browsed around. I know HHS has had problems with this website, but it worked just fine this morning.
In fact, it seems pretty well laid out. If you're a business you go one direction, if an individual you go another. Simple enough. For individuals, the next most important thing is what state you live in. For Colorado, you are directed off the government site to the state site.
If you're in a state that doesn't participate in ACA, and has done everything it can to undermine it, like Texas, for example, you stay on the government website and then must open an account. I would imagine that this is where the sand got in the gears.
Ted Cruz was the big winner in the government shutdown/debt ceiling debacle. By posing as the nation's foremost opponent of Obamacare, to the point of suicidal mission, he has managed to separate himself from the pack by finding a way to be seen as the most conservative out of a slew of very conservative potential candidates. This is quite extraordinary, and an exceptional display of political skill on the part of Cruz.
He was never very serious about his scheme to "defund Obamacare." His alleged "strategy" was a chimera from the start and reminiscent of this classic cartoon which once appeared in the New Yorker. The scheme is quite elaborate, but it depends on a miracle at the critical juncture.
Cruz's strategy to "defund Obamacare" was based on putting pressure on the Senate Democrats to do it. The GOP House would be stalwart. The Senate Republicans would be stalwart also, he supposed, but that would not be a majority. In order to get a majority in the Senate, Senate Democrats would have to cave.
That's when the miracle would happen. Cruz supposed that, because Obamacare was so massively unpopular, that public opinion would storm over the Senate Democrats and cause them to flip.
There are several flaws in that alleged "strategy," the most notable being that Obamacare is not that unpopular. True, the polls are roughly 60-40 against Obamacare, but about one-fourth to one-third of the people who say they oppose it do so because they wanted single payer all along. They fault Obamacare for not being liberal enough.
Put another way, support for Obamacare, or a more liberal alternative, is about 60-40, which is a considerable majority, and which further means there is no massive groundswell of opposition that could shake the Senate Democrats.
Ted Cruz knew all this, of course. He went ahead anyway because the surest route to the heart of the GOP base is ideological fidelity combined with crusader-like zeal. It worked like a charm. One recent poll showed that Cruz was now the choice of 74% of tea party Republicans. That's the base.
His strategy never stood a chance, but that doesn't matter too much to Cruz since he accomplished so much by pursuing it. In one swoop, he has assured himself of adequate financing for the 2016 campaign of which he is now the frontrunner.
Andrew Romanoff, candidate for the 6th congressional district seat currently held by Mike Coffman, slammed the government shutdown at an event at the Stampede dance hall.
The 6th congressional district is the top-targeted seat of the Democratic House Campaign Committee. It's hard enough to see a path to the Democrats attaining a House majority in 2014, and one may not exist without winning the Colorado 6th.
A new CBS News poll shows an overwhelming 72% of the American public opposed to the government shutdown. By a 44-35 margin, they place most of the blame on the House Republicans. Meanwhile, though Republicans as a whole narrowly oppose the shutdown, 49-48, a clear majority--57%--of tea party Republicans support it.
"I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise. We're willing to negotiate.' I think... I don't think they poll tested we won't negotiate. I think it's awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again," Paul said.
"Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly," McConnell agreed.
Paul added, "I think if we keep saying, 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we're willing to compromise on this', I think they can't, we're gonna, I think... well, I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this, I think."
Candid remarks by Sen Rand Paul and Sen. Mitch McConnell in front of a hot mic
The south has been insisting on its own way ever since the Constitution of the United States was written, including while it was being written.
They're at it again. The tea party caucus, overwhelmingly white and southern, refuses to recognize and is actively subverting a law that provides universal health insurance coverage.
The first President to propose a national health care plan was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. The Democratic Party has supported universal coverage since Harry Truman.
President Obama ran for president on universal health care. The Affordable Care Act was passed by both houses of Congress, declared constitutional by the Supreme Court, and the President who proposed it was re-elected by five million votes. In a constitutional republic, this is supposed to count.
But no, the southerners don't like it. Joan Walsh slices and dices southern GOP history to remind us of the racial bias that has animated the GOP since at least 1964. She remembers Lee Atwater in particular. He's the one who famously said:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger” — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
"Defund Obamacare" is the new "states' rights". What could be worse than a black president passing a law that, in many minds, helps black people?
In fact, government itself is synonymous in some peoples' minds with helping black people, and is probably the main reason a certain constituency thinks government is the root of all evil. (Actually, money is. I just checked. 1 Tim 6:10)
When I was growing up in a rural Kansas environment back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, people liked and generally trusted the government. We were farmers, and a certain natural grousing about the government comes with the territory, but, overall, even we farmers thought the government was doing a good job.
"I'm from the federal government and I'm hear to help you." That's the sarcastic punch-line of a supposed joke that I first heard in 1974, told by then Congressman Robert J. Dole.
What had happened between 1964, when my conservative civics teacher was singing the benefits of the New Deal, and 1974, when Cong. Dole thought it politically wise to unleash an anti-government zinger? The civil rights movement, when government (finally) came down on the side of black people. For some, the government has been the enemy ever since.
Hundreds of people jammed St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora today in support of immigration reform. The gathering was part pep rally, and part political organizing. It was sponsored by Together Colorado, a coalition of religious and faith community leaders.
"We have communities and families here in Colorado that are suffering and we believe the only moral solution to our harmful immigration policy is full citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans and the only one that is consistent with our religious beliefs and American values," said Rev. Nelson Bock of Our Savior's Lutheran Church.
The gathering heard from several speakers besides Rev. Bock, including Fr. Steve Adams of Pius X Catholic Church, and several persons who had specific human problems related to current immigration policies.
At the center of the event was hearing from Sen. Michael Bennet and Congresspersons Jared Polis and Mike Coffman. Bennet and Polis both advocate a "path to citizenship," and their remarks were warmly received.
Mike Coffman gets credit just for showing up. Coffman is--or was until very recently--a tea party Republican. Among this constituency, anything that helps hispanics stay in this country is anathema.
Coffman's district--the 6th--has shifted out from underneath him. The lines were re-drawn by the 2010 legislature. The new 6th is now the "Aurora seat" and Aurora has a large constituency of minorities, hispanics in particular.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted the seat in 2014, and former Speaker of Colorado House, Andrew Romanoff, has entered the race. Though Coffman won re-election in 2012, the vote was close, and his opponent was poorly-financed.
Together Colorado is a non-partisan organization which is affiliated with PICO, the nation's largest faith-based organizing network.
Photo: Cong. Jared Polis responds to questions from an over-flow crowd at St. Therese Catholic Church.
So the fiscal cliff is averted. Big whoop. If we'd actually gone over it, everyone's taxes would have gone up. For people who say they are so concerned about the deficit, this would have been a good thing. (Nobody really cares about the deficit. Those are just talking points.)
The administration had the political high ground on this one. People would have blamed the Republicans for the tax increase.
The administration would likely have pushed to lower taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year, in which case they would have, again, had the high ground politically.
In the case of this deal, we got a pittance in tax increases from the wealthy while making it yet even easier to pass on inherited wealth for the idle rich.
True, there were no cuts to Social Security and Medicare. You can bet, however, that they will be on the table in only two months when the next "crisis"--the debt ceiling--hits and the administration will have a weaker hand to play.