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November 04, 2009

Chocolate Jesus' 1000 Year Reign of Peace Cut Short at 10 Months

The realignment that didn't quite align.

t’s hard to imagine that the 84 House Democrats from districts won by either John McCain in 2008 or President Bush in 2004 are now more inclined to support either an expensive health plan or a cap-and-trade energy plan. Already Democrats are hinting at shrinking the former and putting the latter on the backburner. (One policy that might get more attention is a second stimulus package to create more jobs.)

Tuesday’s election results are a roadmap for political gridlock in Washington and a possible Democratic electoral disaster in 2010.

A respected political forecasting model by Ray Fair Yale University calculates that Democrats and Republicans should split the 2010 vote because of the economy. If that scenario unfolds, then David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, according to an interview with The Hill, thinks “Republicans will probably be winning back the House.”

Did Candidate Obama really transform the American electorate a year ago? Perhaps. (Though, then again, having the economy collapse right before Election Day may have helped artificially inflate his vote totals just a bit.)

But dissatisfaction at the policies of President Obama looks to have quickly transformed it right back.

Dick Morris cranks out the snazzy headline "A Deathblow to ObamaCare."

Polls indicate a declining level of popular approval of the Obama policies (Rasmussen shows his job approval at 46 percent), but to see actual Democrats losing or barely squeaking out victories in solidly blue states sends a far clearer message to the Democrats in Congress.

Until last night, Democratic moderates, the so-called blue dogs, could bask in the light of their candidate's success in 2008. But now they must hear hoof beats behind them. The party discipline on which Obama depends to pass a health-care program that Americans reject by 42 percent for, 55 percent against (Rasmussen again) will only work if beleaguered Democratic incumbents can wrap themselves in Obama's cloak and tough out the popular criticism. But the limits of Obama's drawing power are readily apparent in the Republicans' 20-point victory in Virginia and the race in New Jersey.

In the coming weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be asking their troops to cast potentially career-ending votes for health-care changes, Medicare cuts, higher taxes and fines on the uninsured. Whether they take that risk depends on their faith in Obama's drawing power.

But the votes in Virginia, in particular, show the limits of Obama's appeal. The winner, Bob McDonnell, won the attorney general's race in the last election by a few tenths of a percent over the same opponent. That he coasted to so huge a victory in the swing state of Virginia now has to send a message to red-state Democratic congressmen: Obama may be able to survive in the deep water into which he is leading his party, but you can't.

Even before last night's results, "the fierce urgency of now" vis a vis healthcare was quickly becoming "the fierce urgency of next Shevouot." (That's a Jewish holiday, for you squirrel-plinkin' moonshine-drinkin' NASCAR-thinkin' rednecks ; only heard of it in Scorcese's King of Comedy myself.)

Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad said he spoke with CBO Director Doug Elmendorf last week and that it sounded like “it would be quite a while” before the estimates were ready. The news makes a Christmas completion “a challenge,” Conrad said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) also asked Elmendorf when the estimates would be ready. So how long is a while?

“I asked Mr. Elmendorf that question, and I get the same answer: We just don’t know,” Baucus said.

That perception is shared on K Street.“It doesn’t sound to me that they’re ready to go. They still have moderates hanging out there,” said a former Republican Senate leadership aide turned lobbyist.

In order to have a shot at a year-end bill signing, Reid would have to introduce a bill this week and wrap it up by Thanksgiving, giving House and Senate leaders the month of December to reconcile the differences between the two bills and pass the conference report through both chambers.

That scenario is looking more unlikely by the day. In fact, some health care insiders who had once assumed that Reid would introduce a bill by the Veterans Day recess are now bracing for the possibility that its introduction could be delayed until after Thanksgiving. And that speculation has insiders moving the goal posts once again.

And it's not just the Democrats who are put on notice. Politicians are a superstitious, cowardly lot, as Batman observed of their close relatives criminals; many Republicans have been willing to at least entertain voting for ObamaCare if it meant a better chance for their own precious political survival.

But the tea leaves in New Jersey, Virginia, and NY23 (yes, there too) say that there is no benefit to one's political fortunes to voting for more big-government spending; indeed, quite the opposite seems to be the case. And so maybe that's why few Republicans, if any, will be giving the Democrats the "bipartisan" cover they crave on ObamaCare.

Republicans will overwhelmingly reject the Democrats' healthcare reform measure when it is reaches the House floor, according to a key lawmaker.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who serves as deputy GOP whip, told The Hill that the number of Republicans supporting the sweeping legislation will be “very, very close to zero.”

“I don’t know of a Republican out there advocating it," the lawmaker said.


Three centrist GOP lawmakers have told The Hill that they will likely vote against the Democrats' 1,990-page healthcare measure.

Republican Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Castle (Del.) and Joseph Cao (La.) all say that without significant changes, they will oppose the bill.

Cao, I remember offhand, had earlier suggested he could very well vote for the bill.

I repeat the take-away that the media doesn't want to mention:

It's not just that Democrats have overwhelming majorities, including a filibuster-proof sixty votes in the Senate, in both Houses of Congress.

It's not just that Obama keeps blaming the Republicans as if our votes are even needed.

The dynamic here is more perverse than that. Obama wants Republicans to vote for ObamaCare so that at-risk Democrats don't have to. That is, he wants Republicans to cast an unpopular vote, putting their own re-elections at risk, so that his Democratic buddies can vote against the very same measure and increase their chances of re-election.

And that is why it is so critical Republicans vote for this piece of shit: It is important that Snowe and Collins vote in favor of cloture so that Nelson and Landrieu can vote against cloture.

Why does no one else notice this? Why is this never mentioned in the media?

Isn't it strange that the Democrats' key to success here is that their political opponents vote for an unpopular bill so that they are disburdened of that unpleasant task themselves?

Why on earth would any Republican agree to do such a thing in the spirit of "bipartisanship"? All I see happening here is the Democrats insisting that the health care bill they claim is so vitally important get passed, but without their fingerprints on it.

If Democrats themselves don't have the courage to vote for this festering shit sandwich, why should Republicans exhibit courage on their behalf?

Obama and the Democrats don't ask much. Only that Republicans take the political hit for their political program so that they can vote the safe Republican way on it.

This has nothing to do with health care per se. What is really being asked here is not that Republicans "help" with ObamaCare, but that Republicans actually assist Democrats in being elected in 2010.

Um, I personally am going to have to go ahead and decline that particular request. That seems to me -- and pardon me if I am a bit rude about this -- to be you all's fucking problem, and not ours.

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posted by Ace at 01:44 PM

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