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March 22, 2010


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Happy as I am that this passed (albeit in less than ideal form), I'm feeling very confused right now. What on Earth comes next for the administration? The stimulus is still on a gradual roll-out. A change of direction in Afghanistan doesn't seem likely. I can't imagine the next supreme court vacancy to be more drawn out than Sotomayor. As for what's left, climate change, energy policy, and financial reform, are still ready to be tackled. I'm hoping for a better job forecast before the mid-terms. Oh well, muggy, rainy weather aside, today is a fine day to celebrate.

low-tech cyclist

I think I'll use my own open thread to snicker a bit at McMegan's bit of sour grapes, rather than dignify it with a post of its own. (I know other people are ridiculing it too, but hey, I want my turn!)

Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?

I know this is a wild-ass crazy idea, but if you can get a majority of the House of Representatives, 3/5 of the Senate, and the President all supporting the same piece of legislation, I think you ought to be able to enact it as law. I realize this goes against everything the Founders stood for, and that's unambiguously stated in Article IX* of the Constitution - look it up! - but screw them, what did they know anyway?

Republicans...persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill.

That's hilarious, Megan! The Republicans hardly ever talked about this bill, preferring to talk about death panels, totalitarianism, and taking Medicare away from people. Oh, and the evils of procedural techniques such as reconciliation and deem-and-pass that they'd made regular use of.

But if they even tried to persuade anyone that they didn't want this bill, we all missed it.

And that mattered basically not at all. If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, Social Security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn't--if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission--then the legislative lock-in you're counting on wouldn't exist.

Sure! Get back to me the next time there are 60 GOP Senators, and we'll talk. 'Til then, cheerio.

I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care. Not because I think I will like his opponent--I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama's opponent says. But because politicians shouldn't feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them.

Because Obama never proposed anything remotely like this when he was running for President. Oh, wait.

If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don't complain that it's not fair. Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard.

Someone might, indeed. And to think that McMegan is regarded as one of the smarter minds in the rising generation of conservatives and glibertarians.

*Better known as Article Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine...turn me on, dead man!


"Take this, brother, may it serve you well."

The digit in my screenname actually comes from that song.


What on Earth comes next for the administration?

You didn't notice that yesterday there were tens of thousands of demonstrators in Washington demanding immigration reform? That's yet another of the constituencies that has been patiently waiting for action after having worked to get more Dems. & Obama into office.

Then there's finance reform.........


Republicans...persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill.

Apparently someone's unaware that a sizeable chunk of those opposed were liberals who wanted something more to their liking than this bill was.

Sir Charles

Megan says "don't you be a smarty, come and join the Nazi Party."

She truly is an idiot.

low-tech cyclist

Corvus9 - cool!

Gotta share this: when my wife woke up on the morning of our ninth wedding anniversary, I was already awake and had "Revolution #9" cued up and waiting on the stereo, so that when she came into the living room, she was greeted by "Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine...."

Nelson - I'd agree with oddjob that it's a target-rich environment. I'm hoping against hope that there's a way to get climate change legislation done this year; even if the Dems only lose a few Senate seats in November, the only way they're going to get it done in the next Congress is if they decide to use the beginning of that Congress as an opportunity to get rid of the filibuster.

But even if no climate change bill, there will apparently be a sequence of jobs bills, plus financial reform, DADT and immigration reform. Like financial reform, immigration reform is another of those "if you can't win, then losing well is the next best choice" issues: if the Dems propose a good bill and overwhelmingly vote for it, but are blocked by near-unanimous GOP opposition, it'll remind Hispanics once again of what the Grand Old Xenophobe Party thinks of them.

Anyway, I expect Obama's going to keep his eye on the ball, and try to get stuff through Congress to the maximum extent possible that he'd sought to do all along. I think we've all noticed that once he's set a course, it practically takes an act of God to get him to abandon it.

low-tech cyclist

Nancy Pelosi turns 70 this Friday.

I hope she has one mindboggling blowout of a birthday party - she absofuckinglutely deserves it!


once he's set a course, it practically takes an act of God to get him to abandon it

He's like water about the way he goes about getting to the destination, too. If the straightforward way is blocked he waits until enough pressure's built up to force a way around, or under, or through by dissolving the barrier, or, or, or, ........


Balloon Juice had a great line about McMegan's column. Cut it out and keep it in your wallet. Every time you read it, it will make you smile (paraphrased).

Sir Charles


I saw that and it made me laugh. She really is a ridiculous figure.


Did anyone else see/hear/read his speech to the Dem Caucus? It was completely off the cuff. He didn't even have notes. I read the transcript that Ezra posted, and by the end of it I was teary-eyed, it was so good. And off the cuff. The guy really is amazing.

He gets credit for the Kucinich vote, right? I mean, that was pretty much all him. That was a key get, at least symbolically.

Hey, what did everyone else think of the Stupak speech?


Sir C, in re your dislike of Mitt Willard Romney. Today he wrote that the enactment of the Health Care Bill was an unconscionable abuse of power and a betrayal of Obama's oath of office.

I've got to say, Willard really seems more pathetic than despicable. He really thinks he can out-conservative true believers in the idiocy of his rhetoric. I don't know how anybody could fall for it. On the other hand, it worked for George Wallace.

low-tech cyclist

McCain brings the stupid: "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

What we've done: passed universal health care, and made a start at controlling the growth of medical costs in this country. (How awful!)

How we've done it: it was a big part of Obama's Presidential campaign, and Congress spent a year developing a plan and debating the issue. It got 60 votes in the Senate, and the votes of a majority of the House. (How diabolical can you get?)

Some fairly minor fixes, including getting rid of the Cornhusker Kickback and other egregious side deals, will be passed by reconciliation. (Oh, noes!)

(And we can't forget that those deals would never have been part of the bill if the GOP hadn't filibustered. Allowing a straight up-or-down vote would have completely disempowered Ben Nelson and every other centrist Dem that demanded their pound of flesh from this bill.)

Not to mention, we're all just shaking in our boots at McCain's threat that the GOP would withdraw the sort of cooperation it's given over the past 14 months. How will we ever do without it?

Maybe this is some underhanded attempt at making Sarah Palin look intelligent by comparison. What it really tells us is that the recent GOP presidential ticket was Dumb and Dumber.


I thought Stupak's line about the naysayers "politicizing life, rather than prioritizing life" was superb, and even as I harbor plenty of ill will toward him for his refusal to respect my right to control my own damned body, I am grateful that he took the larger and infinitely more logical view here: One cannot consider oneself pro-LIFE if one's actions lead directly to the loss of life for others. Because HCR means more lives will be saved, and more improved; blocking reform, therefore, means the opposite.

Politicize life rather than prioritize life.

Kudos to whichever staffer, speechwriter, or assistant came up with that alliterative, soundbite-y goodness; who knows, it may have been Stupak himself. I don't really care.


McCain's been bringing the stupid for quite a long time now, so long I doubt he's able to recognize smart anymore.


Oh, McCain's pretty smart. I wonder how much that primary challenge from the Right affected his desire for bipartisanship. Quite a bit I'd guess.


Romney's smart enough that if he had some integrity he might be worth paying attention to (depending upon his positions and what policy matter was being discussed). As it is I think he realizes that the GOP is no longer a party interested in a smart pragmatist with an ability to bring a certain style of business management to government policy matters (for better and for worse). Consequently he endlessly pretends to be something he hasn't ever been, and he does it very, very, very poorly.

The result is both pathetic and despicable.

(At least with Bill Clinton, when he was being politically despicable he did it excellently, so if you had an interest in political theater you could admire his talent. Romney is so bad at that the result is just altogether repugnant.)


AND, may I just say, I am ecstatic about this, I really am. Of course, I would like to see single payer; I believe it is the country's best interest if the profit motive is taken out of the equation. But I am capable of recognizing what an accomplishment this is, what a historic point, what a huge victory for millions and millions of uninsured Americans, and so on.

And I'm in total awe of Speaker Pelosi. Can't say that enough, actually: Nancy Pelosi, you've been my hero for a long time, but still, THANK YOU.

Now, I wanted to say that to counterbalance (a tiny bit) the nastiness, complaining, bitterness, disinformation and general ungratefulness of certain fellow women out in the blogosphere. As you noted, ltc, McMegan is bitter as hell, and you'd expect that. But so are some women on the left, including the obvious Ms. Hamsher--who made common cause with Grover Fucking Norquist to try to scuttle the bill because it wasn't what many of us wanted, and Melissa over at Shakesville, because she feels that by signing the EO (that neither added to nor subtracted from current established law re: abortion), President Obama threw women "under the bus", where she now resides; and who, based on her words, would seem to have preferred no HCR at all, so angry and rancorous, so full of deep-seated resentment toward the President (and his pro-fitness/pro-nutrition wife) is her choleric prose.


My own takeaway on Stupak is that I misjudged him. I thought, all along, that was just trying to kill healthcare and was using abortion to do it, or was absolutely willing to kill the bill in the name of the pro-life cause. But now I think he was just trying to get as much of his way as he could, and the willingness to kill the bill was a bluff. Apparently him and Dingell are really close, and I don't imagine he would want to kill Dingell's favorite cause. And in the end, he caved; the EO is a figleaf, meant to give him cover to capitulate. It does nothing except reaffirm what was already on the books.

And man, that was some great political theatre.


litbrit, don't forget that her own choice for Pres. was John Edwards. Her political judgement is not the best.


But now I think he was just trying to get as much of his way as he could, and the willingness to kill the bill was a bluff.

I think so too, Corvus. There are bluffs, and there are bluffs to call bluffs.

HCR has been nothing if not a time of extreme meta-bluffing, I'd say.

oddjob--so true! I dare you to post something to that effect over there, i.e. "Would John Edwards have respected women a bit better, do you suppose?"

I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU, oddjob. Go on. You won't get hurt, and even if you do, you've got healthcare now! ;-)

Sir Charles


I am having a hard time saying anything kind about Stupak. What he did was just so obnoxious and abhorrent.

In the end, all I can see is that he got a face saving piece of paper from the White House. It's annoying that he got it, but I don't see that it really substnatively changed a thing.


My guess is that you can outrun the frenzied mobs at Shakes.


Nah. Once I realized it isn't healthy for her to be blogging I decided to quit visiting.


(Besides, how long would the post be up before Deeky removed it because it was insulting to Melissa?)


Corvus, I could do with less political theater next time around and more assured victories.


I can't hate on anyone too much for supporting Edwards, mostly because Neil did, and I like Neil. Besides, as Our Own Favorite Trustfund Scumbag points out, Edwards deserves a lot of credit for pushing the Overton Window so as to make this bill possible, so despite that fact that he is an asshole and a fool and that I have now been unequivocally proven right in my choice for the Democratic nomination, I still think Edwards, and his supporters, deserve a fair bit of credit for making this day possible. Because we Obots should be charitable in our victory.

It is only the Republicans who we wish to see driven before us while hearing the lamentations of their women.


Joe, I want more assured victories too, but you got to stop and smell the crushed hopes of the right every so often as well. And I don't mean the political theatre of the whole Stupak drama. Obviously I could have done without it. But man, hearing the howls of dismay and outrage as Hoyer yielded to Stupak, as they realized that this had absolutely killed their efforts? That was awesome. That moment was awesome. Ultimately not worth the whole preceding drama, but in that moment, I smelled napalm in the morning.


Yeah, that is awesome.


Corvus, we're not hating on her for supporting Edwards; rather, we are (well, I am) critical of the mean-spirited words and general pettiness, of the constant ragging on President Obama as someone who doesn't care about women (because, you know, he's married to one and has two daughters, *eyeroll*), even as he keeps steadily moving forward, getting things done, proving everyone wrong.

And as for Speaker Pelosi, well, Rachel Maddow tweeted this last night: House under Pelosi has now passed stimulus, cap and trade, wall street reform, and health reform.

Yet thus far, no warm words of praise for the nearly-70-year-old Italian American woman--a product of a different and far more patriarchal time AND a mother of five and grandmother of who-knows-how-many--who despite cultural obstacles and jaw-dropping sexism (for a reference as to how sexist and misogynist the workplace--much less politics--was in previous decades, watch an early episode of Mad Men, then watch the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings), worked her butt off and rose to become the third most powerful American leader. And did it while maintaining her dignity and commitment to civilized, productive discourse. And has not shoved her children onto stage after stage, tabloid-cover after tabloid-cover, talk show after talk show, and then complained when the media reported about them.

I'd say Speaker Pelosi deserves some feminist love. She has mine.


I think Speaker Pelosi's probably the second most powerful American leader. She definitely has more influence that Harry Reid, Joe Biden, or John Roberts. Really, the only person with comparable influence over American policy is Barack Obama.


Romney Runs Against Himself

These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.....

Joe, that's usually true of the Speaker (if the Speaker's worth a damn). The Speaker has so much more control over the House and its agenda!


By "third most powerful", I was using Brit-brain, as in thinking "third in line to the throne".

I agree, she and President "Everyone Chill the Fuck Out--We Got This" Obama have the most influence over American policy.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

The trouble with talking about Stupak is that he both the heroic fireman who rushed into the burning bulding and saved the children at the last minute, AND the arsonist who started the blaze in the first place. The pro-forced pregnancy side already had the Hyde amendment, it took careful logic bending to argue that HCR in anyway provided government funding for abortion. He didn't need to fight for what he already had.

I suppose I should have a bit of charity for him, but I have to admit to delighting in seeing him described as follows -- emphasis in the originals:

Baby killer supporter Democrat Bart Stupak, who sold his soul for Obamacare yesterday, was called a baby killer on the House floor last night...The dishonest Michigan democrat voted for the pro-abortion Obamacare nationalized health care bill yesterday. [Gateway Pundit per MMfA]


we were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform-we will no longer be doing so. By accepting this deal from the most pro-abortion President in American history, Stupak has not only failed to stand strong for unborn children, but also for his constituents and pro-life voters across the country. [From the Susan B. Anthony List]

and so many more.

low-tech cyclist

Pelosi has been absolutely amazing during this Congress. She's gotten the stimulus bill, cap and trade, wall street reform, health care reform (twice) and student loan reform (twice) through the House. In fourteen months. Absolutely amazing.

As Steve Benen said earlier today, "They tend to name buildings after leaders with records like these."


The Speaker Is definitely the second most powerful figure in the U.S. government. Overall, I would say that the Senate is more powerful than the House, what with having more chokeholds and having approval over presidential appointments (which the House's right to originate spending matters in no way compensates for), but the Senate Majority Leader has much less institutional power than the Speaker; the SML has next to no control over his/her caucus other than the power of persuasion, and the Speaker has a whole bunch of carrots and stick with which to control members, which running the more powerful body doesn't ultimately outweigh that additional power, so the Speaker it is. (This is why I am always defending Reid; while I don't think he does as good a job as Nancy, his job is also infinitely harder, and so I think he deserves some respect for what he does get done, like getting 100% of his caucus behind comprehensive healthcare, which is a really, really stunning achievement when you think about it.)

In fact, I think that Pelosi is probably the most powerful woman in the history of democracy. Obviously there were female Absolute Monarchs with more power, like Catherine the Great of Elizabeth I or even Galla Placidia when she was Regent of the Western Roman Empire, but Speaker of the House of the United States of America trumps prime minister of Pakistan or India or Great Britain in the eighties, easy. Hell, in the sense that the set up of federal government is meant to mimic Britain at the time of the Revolution, with the Presidency as the Crown, the Senate as the House of Lords, and the House as the Commons, in any other country she would be prime minister.

Which of course means she should be a gigantic feminist icon (I think it was DougJ at Balloon Juice who first pointed out on the blogosphere how weird it is that she is not), and the fact that she is not points to something deeply weird about the make-up of the feminist movement, though what I just can't figure out. I mean, have you seen this shit. Megan Carpentier at Jezebel ragging on Pelosi for the bills failings. I don't understand how someone can valorize Hilary and then nitpick Pelosi. I just can't.


I think with some of the FDL and Shakesville crew, some people just have to be angry/pissed off at the "system" all the time. When administrations change, all that changes is their rationale for being pissed off at the administration. After a while, they seem to marginalize themselves though. Who wants to be around such downers 24/7 ?

Sir Charles


Firefighter/Arsonists = priceless.


With regards to Stupak, I think one good thing that this points out is that the Hyde Amendment, which basically makes something like the Nelson language a necessity in terms of setting up comprehensive healthcare reform, makes it obvious that the Hyde Amendment is a huge impediment to an eventual true universal healthcare system, especially if you want something like the NHS. The pro-choice movement need to make the Hyde Amendment's repeal a major part of the it's platform, because until it is gone, it will be next to impossible to get any further reforms, or if we do, they will be reforms that class abortions out of being thought of as legitimate medical procedures, making them akin to facelifts and lasik surgery. This can't happen.

Sir Charles

That Megan Carpentier article is a piece of crap. Is there something about the name Megan?

Pelosi rules.

I admit to waivering between Edwards and Obama -- and I was definitely closer to Edwards in terms of policy. Obama ultimately made the sale to me in terms of his personal qualities. Little did I know . . .

low-tech cyclist

McMegan again: Obviously, yes, I was upset yesterday. I'm glad that this could bring so much joy to peoples' hearts, and of course to know that for many people, the happiest part of passing health care reform seems to have been knowing that it made people like me unhappy.

Nah, Megan, you're really not that important to us. But we're glad anyway to be giving you an opportunity to feel sorry for yourself. Happy to be of service.

The people wondering why I was so upset should contemplate that first, I think you people just screwed up both our health care system, and our fiscal system (even further), and that if I'm right, that's not really funny.

Sure - if you're right, it's not really funny. But without any supporting argument (you neither provide nor link to one), why should I give any credence to that possibility?


Speaker of the House of the United States of America trumps prime minister of Pakistan or India or Great Britain in the eighties, easy.

No way. Britain's PM is also the government's chief executive. The British PM is both chief legislator and also chief executive. The only function the US president has that the PM doesn't have is Head of State, but that's a figurehead role.

Sure the US Speaker oversees part of the creation of a much bigger budget, but in terms of sheer political clout the British PM is a far more influential position over its government than the Speaker of the House is over the US government.


While I confess to not being quite as sympathetic to Edwards' policy positions as others here & at Shakesville, that was not the reason I never wanted to vote for him. For me it was a matter of intuition. I simply did not ever trust the man.

What I missed was Elizabeth. If that recent magazine article is true than I missed her real self completely because I thought pretty well of her.


Sir Charles, I was much the same way. I didn't want Hilary for a lot of reasons, most of them simply being different ways the she and Bill learned the wrong lessons form the sixties and nineties and I thought she wouldn't have the mindset to really get things done. Edwards had a more palatable set of stated policy objectives, but I somewhat doubted they were came about honestly, and his attitude did seem to pie in the sky to me. Obama has just always seemed to me to be someone who could get things done, in his demeanor and habits.

And personally, having read both his books, I do think that at heart Obama is further to the left than either Hilary or Edwards. Obama seems to view issues through a primarily economic, that is materialist, lens, while Hilary tends to see liberalism in terms of social interaction, and Edwards in term of charity*, and I think that the economic materialist view betrays a more steadily leftist bent, as it is a critique of society that ultimately rests on the theory that the underclasses are being disadvantaged by the powerful to the point of being stolen from.

*I think this has a lot to do with identity, and why they came to liberalism. Hilary came to the democratic party primarily through feminism, which tends to focus on way societal perceptions shape our world (personal is political and all that). Edwards came at it from a kind of privileged white male empathy for others, rooted somewhat in his own working class roots, but thus not overly concerned with social discrimination. But Obama came to his liberalism from being black and isolated, and oppression of blacks in America in the post-civil rights age is largely a function of imbalance of wealth and services. (And institutional racism, of course, but that's harder to apply generally.)


Yes, Jim--that's one of the best analogies I've read in a long while, that firefighter-arsonist one. Bravo!

As for our President, I was for an Obama run long before Obama himself was for an Obama run. So there. Hahahahaha!

(Robert reminds me that I've always been pretty good--stunningly accurate, actually--when it comes to picking election winners in advance. "But, but...what about 2000, when I chose Al Gore? I was certain he'd win." I asked. Robert: AHEM.)



Ah, but I was not making a comparison based on their respective control over their respective countries. I was comparing their total power, in relation to the globe and their times. The United States now is just vastly, vastly more powerful as an entity than the UK, either now, or in the eighties, that not only is most powerful person in the U.S. more powerful that the prime minister, but the second most powerful as well. And that's Nancy Pelosi. So Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful (non-monarchical) women ever. QED.


I can recall within the space of a few minutes when I for Obama running for president, because it occurred some time while watching this speech live. So I think I am as early as anyone on that front.


Obama also grew up as an outsider's outsider. Half-white, but raised by white grandparents, and thus in often in white society that would have viewed him as black, as an American child going to school in Indonesia, as a child of Haoles growing up in Hawaii, where mixed race folk are common, but American black folk not so much, as an Ivy League student from the middle class, etc.

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