leo's blog

Lesson from Massachusetts

With a bad enough candidate you can lose to a GOPer even in Massachusetts. Here's looking to 2012!

Great and Proud Nations

Obama on great and proud nations:

Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.

...

That's what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism. That's how we will prevail in this fight. And that's how we will protect our country and pass it -- safer and stronger -- to the next generation.

Ah Yes, the Good Old (Accountability-Free) Days

Came across this gem co-written in 2004 by Peter Orzag then at the Brookings Institute discussing the effects of the 2001 Bush tax cuts:

It is astonishing that, more than four years after the proposal was first made public, the administration has still not released an analysis of the plan's long-term economic effects, or even a statement of how it intends to pay for the tax cuts. Even supporters of the tax cut would presumably like to know the answers to those questions.

Credit Card Reform in Action

The Bipartisanship of One

Let's face it, compared to the alternatives, the Senate bill they're about to approve is pretty conservative. That's why complaining about it not being 'bipartisan' is almost adding insult to injury.

It's not getting a single GOP vote? So what? That's more a reflection on the GOPers and how they've reduced themselves to an irrelevant ideological rump. Most of the action -- at least the part worth paying attention to -- is happening within the confines of the Democratic party. It's about time people -- particular in the Media -- readjusted their settings.

UPDATE: Paul Starr brings up the same point in Monday's edition of the Brian Lehrer Show.

Paul Starr (24:35): In a longer historical perspective, this is really a bipartisan bill. If you look back to the earlier decades when there were debates over health insurance, back to the Truman era, back to the 1970's, many Republicans put forward proposals in those days
for the government to subsidize private insurance.

At that time Democrats were calling for what is now known as a 'Single Payer' plan -- that was the Truman proposal, that's what Ted Kennedy favored in the 1960's and 70's.

And this was the Republican alternative. Actually, what Democrats are moving ahead with now is much closer to what Republicans favored in the past.

So this is a bipartisan compromise. It's just a bipartisan compromise with an old Republican Party that no longer exists.

The whole interview is worth listening to. They go on to discuss how the Democratic Party functions both as the moderate _and_ liberal party in American politics today.

UPDATE II: Wow, even Dave Ross, the king of knee-jerk cheap shots is seeing the light:

If the Republicans had wanted to stop all this special treatment, they could have. Maybe they still can.

Remember -- it's basically a Republican bill now anyway!

No public option, no federal financing for abortion, protection for insurance industry and drug industry profits -- the thing is so conservative you have liberals like Howard Dean actively campaigning against it.

So suppose a Republican Senator offered to vote yes... on condition that the bill be stripped of the expensive giveaway that Ben Nelson got for Nebraska? And suppose another Republican offered to vote yes on condition that the bill be stripped of the giveaway Mary Landrieu got for Louisiana.

You'd still have 60 filibuster-proof votes, except they'd be bi-partisan votes, and the bill would be a lot cheaper. [transcript here].

Senate Tops 100 Filibusters or Other Acts of Obstruction in One Year

The Senate has reached a milestone of sorts as observed by Sen. Whitehouse (D. R.I.) in this NYTimes article on the atmosphere in the Senate leading to a vote on HRC in the Senate:

"We have crossed the mark of over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction in less than one year," Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said on the floor Sunday. "Never since the founding of the Republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding Civil War was such a thing ever seen in this body."

Robert Kennedy's Funeral Mass Card

Gail Collins (NYT):

I used to cover Lieberman when he was the majority leader of the State Senate in Connecticut. We got along very well, except for one interview, during which he talked about working for J.F.K., and how he kept a Mass card from Robert Kennedy’s funeral to remind him of the principles to which he had dedicated his career. Showing me the card, he remarked casually that he hadn’t looked at it for some time.

I wrote an article using the neglected Kennedy card as a metaphor for Lieberman’s fall from his old ideals into the pragmatic politics of a party leader. He was outraged and wounded, and I believe I apologized.

Taking back the apology now.

[text of mass card after the jump...]

Health Care Reform as Medicare Part D

Surveying the current state of health care reform, I'd say it resembles nothing more than a version of 'Medicare Part D'. I mean, the outcome is bound to do a lot of good, no doubt about that, but it's going to be at a terrific cost because the original structure of the thing, as inefficient and cumbersome as it is, is being left largely intact.

Pay Cuts for Poor People

When the chips are down, it's nice to know where people stand on the minimum wage.

City Sells off Parking Meters for 3 Generations to Fund Current Year Budget

I mean, that might as well be the headline. On the bright side, there's always Lincoln Park to sell off for next year.

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