Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 24, 2009

WITH EYES WIDE OPEN.... Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged yesterday that the Senate would not vote on health care reform before the August recess. He told reporters, "Working with the Republicans, one of the things that they asked for was to have more time. I don't think it's unreasonable."

That's certainly generous of the Majority Leader, but whether or not "more time" is "reasonable" is dependent entirely on why the minority wants the delay. If it's because serious, sincere lawmakers feel like they can improve legislation and get it passed, great. If it's because the GOP is playing a partisan game and plans to use delays to kill reform, there's no reason for Reid to characterize this as "reasonable."

Consider Sen. James Inhofe's (R) remarks this week. The right-wing Oklahoman appeared on one far-right radio show this week and explained, "[F]or those out there who ... would like to have something optimistic to look at, we are plotting the demise on a week by week basis of where Bill Clinton was in 1993 and where Obama is today and his demise ratio is greater than Clinton's was in 1993."

Appearing on another conservative radio show, Inhofe went on to say that health care reform "is life threatening," and killing it could help GOP candidates.

"I think, you know, I just hope the President keeps talking about it, keeps trying to rush it through. We can stall it. And that's going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election."

Now, the opposition party is supposed to oppose the majority agenda. They're not usually quite as callous as Inhofe, but if Republicans want to use delays to kill reform, and then try to capitalize in the midterms, there's an obvious coherence to the strategy.

What's worth remembering, though, is that the Democratic majority keeps trying to negotiate with Republicans. One GOP senator says his party is "plotting the demise" of the reform effort, which will be a "huge gain" in elections. Another GOP senator is plotting the president's "Waterloo," so he can "break" Obama. Another GOP senator concedes that at least half of the party's opposition to reform is partisan politics. Another GOP senator, deeply involved in the negotiations, boasted that he's so offended by the idea of a public option, "I take pride with being an obstructionist."

"Working with the Republicans, one of the things that they asked for was to have more time. I don't think it's unreasonable," Reid said. Perhaps, given the plain and transparent strategy at play, the problem is "working with the Republicans."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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My goodness , that Reid fellow is quite an example of passivity . Non productive passivity , why it almost sounds like a boutique honey .

Posted by: FRP on July 24, 2009 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it's almost a shame Nevada Republicans apparently can't find a candidate to run against Reid. If he lost re-election, the Dems would have to find a new majority leader.

I nominate Feingold.

Posted by: David Bailey on July 24, 2009 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid is a greasy little yes-man for big business and this has been true ever since the days when he was Howard Hughes' buttboy. I don't know what he ever did to gain our trust, or why he hasn't been kicked to the curb by now. Surely we have someone in the Senate who can actually, you know, run the Senate?

Posted by: Bob on July 24, 2009 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I honestly believe that Harry Reid could be held up through the mail. I would not be surprised if he had several cartons full of National Lampoons with the "Buy This Magazine or We Shoot This Dog" cover up in his attic because he thought the threat was real.

Moron. Wanker. Imbecile. Enabler. And Senate Majority Leader. We're sooooooooo fucked.

Posted by: Domage on July 24, 2009 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, if all the obstructing and ineffective Dems lost their seats, the GOP would have the majority once more and we wouldn't need a majority leader at all.

BTW, no reform ever. It's as good as dead.

Posted by: howie on July 24, 2009 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Reid should donate his spine to science. He obviously has no need for it.

Posted by: henry lewis on July 24, 2009 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

How about letting the states whose senators are in opposition to the plan opt out,surely there would be no problem with that! That went down well with the stimulus.

Posted by: JS on July 24, 2009 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

reid is, and always has been a republican enabler. he is at the heart of the massive democratic failure of the past 8 years.

Posted by: pluege on July 24, 2009 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have nothing to do with killing health care and with it the American economy and millions of individual Americans. Reid's problem is Max Baucus (D-Health Insurance Industry.) That SOB is perfectly positioned to kill health reform for his friends in the insurance industry and he is going to do it by slow walking it to death. Reid is just trying to set things up so the dumb ass Republicans take the fall because failing to solve health care this time is going to be viewed as really, really bad for America. For generations our descendants will spit when they talk about the corrupt assholes like Max Baucus who sold out America's future for a few legal bribes.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 24, 2009 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like if a bill gets through now, it's going to be lousy. I don't blame Obama; I blame Congress. And I will be sending money to the opponents of the obstructionists. If Blue Dog Dems want to derail health reform, I will be happy to derail their re-election with as much money as I can muster. Unfortunately, unless a LOT of us do so, the special interest money will have their backs. Hope everyone is keeping lists of names for 2010 and on.

Posted by: klare on July 24, 2009 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

If the GOP was seriously trying to stop health care reform they would not be stupid enough to mention the fact this openly.

This is really about extracting the maximum rent from their supporters. Talking about stopping reform like this probably brings in up to a million dollars a time in campaign contributions. And 10-15% of that will go straight into Senator Inhofe's own pocket. Or rather it will be skimmed off the top and paid out through a wife or whatever.

Does anyone see a popular movement demanding that Congress puts the brakes on reform? Because I don't. The Blue dogs are going to return to their district and be told to STFU and get with the program.

At the end of the day the reformers have the reconciliation card. The Blue Dogs have very little real leverage.

Posted by: PHB on July 24, 2009 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Baucus isn't running again? But his name will be forever attached to the failure of health reform and--I never thought I'd feel so vindictive--I hope for the worst for him for the rest of his sorry life.

Posted by: klare on July 24, 2009 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

What the big deal about having healthcare, anyway?

Eat right, exercise, select the proper parents, and you have no need of healthcare.

When you hit 65 the kids can pick up the tab. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 24, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Think about the last few posts. This is all about soliciting bribes from industry types. Damn we need campaign finance reform. We also need honest representatives and the entire lobby industry banned from Washington.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 24, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Demise ratio? WTF?

Posted by: Mary Contrary on July 24, 2009 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Reid, Baucus, GOP-dicks, and Blue Dogs are just figureheads for the real corporate powerbrokers. They may catch the blame, but they'll be well paid and re-elected.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on July 24, 2009 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Reid is a fairly useless piece of shit. I did send a note to Baucus, mentioning the political corruption scandal arrests in NJ and asked him how his kickbacks were coming along.

Posted by: Ken on July 24, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

The Blue Dog hope is that the August recess will distract all of us from the importance of health care. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. What Obama ought to do is use the recess to really beat the drum for health care reform. He ought to plan town halls in the districts of all the prominent Blue Dogs. They will have to show up, and when they do they will have some explaining to do to their own people. In short, make August uncomfortable for the Blue Dogs by taking the battle to them.

By the way, the economic argument is the strongest for health care reform. If we don't reform health care we are going to be at an even greater world wide competitive disadvantage. America can't afford not to solve health care. Beat the Blue Dogs to death with that argument. There is no response, because it is the truth.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 24, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers is correct about Baucus, however, Steve Benen's useage of "Perhaps" in his last sentence is far off the base. There is no "perhaps" in the toll that trying to work with the RepuGs has cost. Baucus is using that "working with the Republicans" as an excuse to aid and abet the enemy. I can understand the useage of "Waterloo", although I see it in reverse as a successful plan would be the Waterloo of the RepuGS. But, Baucus and the RepuGs are more of a slash and burn withdrawal from the advance of Napoleon towards Moscow. Beware President Obama. This delay will find you in the snow filled days of DC with only a deadly retreat awaiting you. That retreat of Napoleon cost him dearly. Your retreat could prove to be the death knell of what was to be a glorious passage in our Republic, leaving ever so many of us thinking dourly of "What might have been".

Posted by: berttheclock on July 24, 2009 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

One thing Inhofe overlooks...

Bill and Hil's in 1993 served as insurance industry cronies for having eliminated the public option without so much as a nudge from Congress.
This pleased NOBODY because only the insurance companies liked their plan and they liked the status quo even more. They shot their wad and they were done.

Obama, in contrast, is offering what true reformers asked for. This produces a wave of allies that will back him for another go, if he needs it, in 2011 when 60 million are uninsured instead of 45 million.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on July 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Salt , fat , and sugar , ummm ! Diabetes .
Money , occluded and opague process , representative plutocracy , Dem mock crisy .

Dem bones dem bones
Dem crazy bones
Dem mocking bones

Posted by: FRP on July 24, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

"in 2011" - This is akin to saying "We'll nail 'em in the second half". The problem with that is 2010 is half time, with the possibility of the RepuGs being able to bring needed players off the DL. Although, so many here have written them off, watch for the RepuGs to energize just enough of their crazies on the race and immigration issues, tied in with the newly discovered canard of the horrors of deficits to be able to gain some House seats and possibly some gains in the Senate. Strike them now, in the first quarter - Do not delay - What I do not understand is why our President is playing into their hands by going into a four corner or, to mix sports, a "prevent defense". Get back on the offensive, Mr President. Your forward Baucus is wearing a Red jersey, not a Blue one. Yeah, he may huddle with you, but check out which end he runs to when he goes back on the court.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 24, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Salt, Fat, Sugar: The American Food Pyramid. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 24, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Reid insures that the repug will gain seats in house and senate for 2010. including his.Baucus with his power will ensure his friends across the aisle, the adulterers, hypocrits ,racistst, liars and deceivers will gain seats. with harry Reid's blessing of course!

Posted by: mljohnston on July 24, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Salt, Fat, Sugar, Metformin, Verapamil, Lovastatin - The progression of Mankind - Enjoy when you're young; Build a very large medicine cabinet when you're old.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 24, 2009 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

So little time Reid has for health care, but, so much time to bring to the floor and vote for extending gun permits nationally.

Posted by: paulfromportland on July 24, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

If they needed more time, why not cancel the damn August recess and keep working? Nah, that's not reasonable to Mrs. Reid, battered Republican spouse, but postponing everything until after the recess is--when the Repubs can come back and claim that they still need more time, or some other bogus excuse not to pass reform. And Mrs. Reid will surely do whatever it takes to please them, because he cares more about the minority party than the majority party.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on July 24, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

allan snyder that's great the way you weave misogyny in your 'liberal' attack on harry reid, it's funny -- no, wait, it's stupid, sinister and puerile.

Posted by: neill on July 24, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Until you guys know how politics work, the person you're voting for, yes, everyone is screwed.

Right now, UK is colonizing Turks & Caicos Islands, they have scrapped the constitution and re-writing it!

Hungary, the Jobbik, extreme right is re-arming their army and making accusations that the Jews are trying to colonize Hungary.

May I suggest, you see this site:

"The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party"

Taking over the Republican Party -
"The Grand Old Party is More Religious Cult Than A Political Organization" says President of the Alamo City Repulican Women's Club 1993

Then you should click "Faith-Based Initiatives" on the left side of the screen after reading the page above.

Posted by: annjell on July 24, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

If you guys don't try to inform yourselves, you think the Taliban & Islam is bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!!

This is not about what you want, this is a religious & culture war that the right-wing is bringing to America. They are trying to save one soul at a time. Hehehe!!!

Posted by: annjell on July 24, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Reid is a limb sack of a leader and the Blue Dogs are playing a dare you game, hoping to extract maximum concessions and institute a toothless product that won't hurt their big donors too much.

However, if they go too far and the whole thing comes crashing down, a significant part of the electorate will be pissed and some of the Blue Dogs are likely to walk the plank in 2010.

If he wants to get this done Obama needs to stop appealing to the conscience of the Blue Dogs, take off the gloves and threaten some of the vulnerable ones with serious retaliation. Question is whether he has that in him.

Posted by: SRW1 on July 24, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

allan snyder that's great the way you weave misogyny in your 'liberal' attack on harry reid, it's funny -- no, wait, it's stupid, sinister and puerile.

it isn't misogyny to note that someone behaves just like a battered spouse--which can actually be either male or female. Maybe you should get a clue before start lecturing others and make yourself look like an ignorant fool. Although I won't refer to him as a female anymore, since most women have more balls than he ever did.
My bad.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on July 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Damn I feel such deep disgust, dispair, dismay
with this country. with this world. we need some alien race to come here and scare us to our very core and when we think we are trully going to die they just up and leave I think that might work

Posted by: Rascoe on July 24, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid wasn't born in Searchlight. He was born in Slowthingsdown, NV.

Did you know his gestation period was almost 15 months? His mom kept pushing and he kept telling her she was working too hard and he was in no particular hurry.

He finally came out but nobody remembers his birthday because everyone had become so bored with waiting that they had moved on to other things. He liked that so much that he decided to live his life around that model.

Posted by: burro on July 24, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

How in flaming Hades does Reid keep his job? Maybe when the Republican majority was doing everything in its power to crush the minority, having a weakling DINO as minority leader may have made some sense in someone's mind -- you know, the kind of person you can count on to hand over the lunch money to the bully so as not to get beaten up, even though he always takes the money and beats you up anyway. But NOT NOW! Put that poor old fool out to pasture and give his job to a qualified candidate!

Posted by: T-Rex on July 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

If I wanted a Republican bill (or no bill at all), I would have voted for Republicans. I hope the Democrats enjoy their current majority status, becuase it will not last.

Posted by: qwerty on July 24, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid is a spineless schmuck. He is exactly the wrong guy to be leading the Democrats at this time. Too bad somone like Durbin can't engineer a coup and send Harry back to Searchlight NV, where he belongs.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 24, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

How in flaming Hades does Reid keep his job?

Posted by: T-Rex at 10:42 AM

Maybe because they like that he keeps them from having to really stand for anything. And he's willing to stand in the gale of disgust and take it all without complaining; hell, with a sense of pride, which distracts the heat from them and puts it on him. Or at least creates confusion and apathy because it's everybody and it's nobody. Truly just a bunch of hot air.

So no action or accountability all around and TGIF. Time for more important stuff like dinner tonight with an insurance co. lobbyist.

And if they have gall bladder problems after another big, rich, comped meal... no problem, they're covered. The bill at the table and the bill at the hospital.

Posted by: burro on July 24, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

I nominate Feingold.

That Thune Amendment supporting NRA drone? Paleez.

Durbin's next in line and has the progressive credentials and gonads that we need in a majority leader.

Posted by: Disputo on July 24, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

From the Progress Report: "Despite the right's tightly-controlled strategy to place political gain ahead of the American people's health, some cracks are starting to form in their coalition. Most importantly, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) distanced himself from Kristol's advice to "go for the kill," worrying that "there have been some Republicans who haven't been looking at the polls." Specifically, Grassley referred to a poll showing that if health reform fails, "voters would assign blame 30 percent to the health industry, 22 to Republicans, 11 percent to Democrats and only 4 percent to Obama." Despite his insight, however, Grassley is "under immense pressure from Republican colleagues not to deal at all," and he has agreed to brief his entire caucus before agreeing to compromise with supporters of health care reform. In addition, Grassley apparently informed Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) that he "cannot sign on to a bill if it is supported by only one other Republican." In other words, the nation's health and the health of the economy will rest, not on the needs of the American people, but on whether conservatives instead decide that they care more about their own selfish desire to see Obama fail."
Democrats will Remember who amoungst them Aided & Abetted RepubliCON Obstructionism!

Posted by: Yvonne White on July 24, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest problem with Reid as Majority Leader and as a senator is because he represents a red state and is up for re-election. A lot of what he says and does is driven by his need to get himself re-elected. It would be easier for the Democrats to make progress if it were possible to replace Reid as ML with a senator from a strong blue state. (And yes, I realize that is not going to happen).

Posted by: Audie on July 24, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Majority leader my ass...he does more for the minority than he's ever done for the majority.

His "nice guy" politics fails the majority constantly. My god, he's so threatening that if you make him mad he might stomp his foot.

He lives totally in the bubble of senate colleagues. I think he got the job only because nobody else wanted it. Republicans have had plenty of time already to offer up their plans...except they don't have any. They've made it clear they want to stall for political gain only and here is Reid saying he thinks that stalling is not unreasonable.

Nothing will change as a result of more time as they aren't asking for more time in order to deal with the substance of the bill. If Reid doesn't know he's
offering a bullshit explanation to justify efforts to kill HC reform then he truly is out of touch with his head way up his...all the way up. We aren't buying it. Reid just looks like an idiot.


Posted by: bjobotts on July 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Old tactics won't work anymore. We saw that in the last election. Once a party has bragged about how easy it was to manipulate a ill informed public (pun) their attempts to do it again will not work. We are not so easily manipulated any more.

No matter what, I doubt we will hear the public screaming "Bring back the Bush administration", nor feeling any real desire to put the very people who brought us this disaster in all areas back in office.

The "deficit kings" have had 30yrs of tried and failed policies and still refuse to offer anything different or change anything about themselves except to brag that they will call themselves by different names (re-branding). They remain the party of hypocrisy, the obstructionist party and are proud of that "accomplishment".

Oh sure, the 'blame and maim' southern repubs might continue to get elected but even in the face of failure to get their plans moving the dems are still on the right track and the public will just want more dems and better ones...since the public will not blame the entire dem party for the corporatists dems or blue (cross) dogs that act like repubs by obstructing the dem agenda.

But right now and BTW...start de-Bushifying the gov by replacing the USAs. Why has Obama and Holder stalled on this most common act of a new administration? Are they just waiting for Siegleman's obvious miscarriage of Justice to be further enacted by Rove's buddies before they begin to deal with the corruption of the DoJ.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 24, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't worry about Reid or Baucas being replaced by repugnicans because of the fantastic job these traitors are doing for the G.O.P. I don't understand how they can show their face in public. If the dems don't get rid of the willingness to compromise with the devil, and show some ability to see that not all Americans are as stupid as the media believes they are, then the dems will lose what little credibility they have left. Now as to 2010, I hope my fellow Americans don't forget the "election" of 2001 that swept the most treacherous bunch of traitors in American history into office. That same strategy is in the works for 2010. We had better keep our eye on the ball because unlike the Irainians, our public doesn't want to get out in the street and fight. Besides that, the secret police in the USA is far superior to Irans'. The ability to spy on US citizens, and infiltrate any opposition to a fake election, was demonstrated time and again by the Bush regime. The power of the media elite to disseminate misinformation, and shape public opinion and perception, as demonstrated by Fox, NBC, CNN and the rest of the "liberal bias" media should not be taken lightly. In fact it is still apparent by the lack of any real change in domestic policy, and a total lack of interest in applying the rule of law to the cut throat despots that are responsible for the dismal state of affairs the whole world is in, that the conservative right is still pulling the strings in this country. In addition to getting the traitors identified and out of Congress the White House Staff, and the Supreme Court, we must revoke the FEDs' charter to control the money supply, and negate the corporate special privilege to bribe our elected officials. Public oversight of Congress is what we need to make democracy work for the people, by the people. We can solve all of our budget issues by shutting down all of the programs that are currently "black" or secret. That is where all the money is going. And that is where all the strings that keep us oppressed are being pulled. SSSSHHHH! It's a secret!

Posted by: freefall on July 24, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Patricia on August 3, 2009 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK



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