Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 22, 2009

THERE'S THAT 80% FIGURE AGAIN.... House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D) got together yesterday for a forum on health care policy in their home state of Virginia. By all accounts, it was a civil gathering in Richmond.

Cantor was pressed, however, on a couple areas of interest.

Richmond resident Ben Ragsdale demanded to know how Republicans were going to expand access to healthcare if they have only a four-page list of bullet-points as their plan.

"What is your substantive proposal to meet these real everyday problems that people have? Where's the beef?" Ragsdale asked, triggering applause from the crowd.

The telegenic GOP lawmaker said Republicans and Democrats agree on 80 percent of fixing the nation's healthcare system, but could not show the crowd a detailed plan that has been endorsed by House Republicans.

Cantor earlier this year said House Republican leaders would release an alternative healthcare plan, but have not done so yet.

There are two interesting angles here. The first is the constituent's very good point -- there's still no Republican health care plan. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters in July that GOP lawmakers were putting "the final touches on our bill," which, he said, would hopefully be available "soon." That was 61 days ago, and no one's heard a peep about their bill since.

Cantor said yesterday that a bill is on the way. I seriously doubt that.

The second, though, is Cantor's claim that Republicans already agree with 80% of the Democratic reform proposals. That's exactly the same line Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany (R), the Republican who delivered the official GOP response to President Obama's speech on health care reform, took a couple of weeks ago.

The standard Republican talking point is that Democrats need to scrap all of their work, start over, and make GOP lawmakers happy from now on. But the next question remains obvious: if Republicans are already on board with four-fifths of what Democrats have in mind, and four-fifths of the congressional committees have already approved reform measures, why in the world should Democratic policymakers "start from scratch" or "hit the reset button"?

Steve Benen 9:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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If memory serves me right, both Bill Kristol (in 1993) and Frank Luntz (in 2009) urged Republicans not to propose a bill of their own -- to do so would be to concede the necessity of health care reform.

These facts, and the facts that the Republican Party in fact has no bill and in fact is stopping at nothing to defeat heath care, are either a matter of public record or obvious on their face. The question is why the so-called "liberal media," to say nothing of Congressional Democrats, continue to pretend that the Republicans are acting in good faith.

Posted by: Gregory on September 22, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Republican _____________ Plan. (fill in the blank)

Cut taxes on the top 10% of earners.
Declare Christianity the 'State Religion'
Outlaw the teaching of evolution.
Ship the darkies back to wherever they came from.
Bomb __________ (currently Iran)

Posted by: Buford on September 22, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Another question is: What were those Republicans waving at Obama in the Joint Session two weeks ago? Dare anyone suggest they were lying about having a plan?

Posted by: smedley on September 22, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if you take 80 percent of the cost of the plan -- subsidies that go directly into the coffers of the insurance corporations -- then Republicans and the Blue Dog (Lap Dog?) Democrats are all for it.

When it comes to any spending or regulations that actually will help working people, then not so much . . . .


Posted by: SteveT on September 22, 2009 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Uh ... Cantor is "telegenic"?

Televangelistic, maybe. But telegenic? No.

Posted by: TR on September 22, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

It's riffing off Obama saying there's a lot of agreement.

And TR, telegenic is relative to his appearance face to face so.... just don't meet him in person!

Posted by: MNPundit on September 22, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Republicans are sneakily bringing the Pareto principle in play here, you know the 80-20 rule.

Maybe what they really mean to say is that while they agree only about 20% with the Democrats on the principles of how health care reform should be done, the two parties do share 80% of their donor base among health insurance companies?

Maybe Boustany and Cantor are just trying to dogwhistle some of the conservative Democrats to remind them not to stray to far from the good will of their most serious donors?

Posted by: SRW1 on September 22, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Plan:

Prevent the Democrats from passing health care reform by any means necessary.

The end.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on September 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Republican National Healthcare Reform Proposal 2009

Chapter One. How cutting taxes on high income earners will benefit everyone.

Chapter Two. Tort reform and you. How denying liability will improve quality of care.

Chapter Three. Your friendly private insurer and why capitalism rocks.

Chapter Four. The perils of being over insured and what you can do about it.

Chapter Five. Fuck it. We like the system just the way it is.

Posted by: about time on September 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Republicans are sneakily bringing the Pareto principle in play here, you know the 80-20 rule.

Well, anybody in management is so used to tossing these particular numbers around that it's the first number you think of when you're trying to make something up. The Repubs say they have a plan, they don't have a plan, and nobody believes them anyway. What else is new.

Posted by: ericblair on September 22, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, a list of "Republican health-care related bills." Is that anything like "Weapons of Mass Destruction Program Related Activities"?

Which of these is THE comprehensive health care bill that Boehner promised, and yet never delivered?

These are nothing but tiny modifications, tinkering with the margins of the health care issue. HR 77 wants to "provide for a credit for certain health care benefits in determining the minimum wage." HR 109 seeks to "amend the Small Business Act to make service-disabled veterans eligible under the 8(a) business development program." HR 198 wants to "amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction for amounts paid for health insurance and prescription drug costs of individuals." Etc. etc.

There's no need to delete your comment. It shows you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Posted by: TR on September 22, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Notice how the Rethugs constantly affirm their support for reform and bipartisanship in spite of one after another going off-message to ensure points are made with their unhinged base? This is like one giant whack-a-mole game that has the effect of tying progress in knots. If you are trying to demolish moles, dump the hammer and use dynamite. If you are trying to improve the lawn, expend your energy using small sound-bite messages that state a specific problem and how your idea will address it (preferably in a way that is catchy and impossible to forget).

Ad x in a series:
If you lose your job, would you like to know that we have your back (video of man with back injury receiving treatment)? Switch to picture of a flip chart prominently titled Health Care Reform with a long list of items. Zoom in on item #24 labeled 'Guaranteed Affordable Coverage For Back Injuries' as a hand checks the box and a voice concludes 'git R done'.

Ad y in a series:
Are you pregnant and have enough planning on your plate without worrying about adequate prenatal care (video of obviously pregnant woman receiving sonogram)? Switch to that same flip chart and zoom to item #58 labeled 'Guaranteed Affordable Coverage For Your Baby' as a hand checks the box and a voice concludes 'git R done'.

You get the idea. A ton of 10 second ads that are obviously part of an infinite series that make a very personal appeal to someone with the prospect that sooner or later, the reform YOU need will be addressed as well. You got a problem? We got a solution. That solution is affordable coverage for all. For details, visit our web site at WWW.GETRDONE.GOV or call us at 1-800-GETRDONE.

My favorite ad? Problem #666. Suffering from delusion or paranoia (video of tea baggers holding their Nazi signs and screaming obscenities). We have a solution for you, too. Zoom to flip chart item #666 labeled 'lobotomy'. GET R DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Chopin on September 22, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

why in the world...

It should be obvious by now why Republicans do what they do.

Posted by: qwerty on September 22, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Cantor is rep of my district, and I promise you I have voted for his opponent every opportunity.

Posted by: Ted76 on September 22, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

THey are the Underpants Gnomes.

Posted by: johnnymags on September 22, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

THE CHANGING FACE OF DEMOCRATS and the loss of our Libertarian Roots is the subject of a new book by Clay Barham on the history of the Democratic Party. Americas first major political Party evolved drastically over the past 200 yearsfrom a libertarian party to a Rousseau to Marx-leaning liberal, left-wing party. The Democratic Partys original ideals encouraged a free market, individual freedom, business interests, opposing overseas expansion, and supporting states rights and personal sovereignty. What happened? When and how did their policies begin to change? Why did a strongly patriotic party morph into one that blends communism, mercantilism and socialism? Whether you are Democrat or Republican, this narration is a study of history, fact, and the leadership that altered the Democratic Party. It shows that present day Democratic values do not reflect the true principles on which American society rests. www.claysamerica.com.

Posted by: Clay Barham on September 22, 2009 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

If Dems and Repubs agree on 80%, the Repubs can't claim the HCR bill is a hopeless Marxist morass can they? Well, not honestly, but only to the dumb part of the base ...

Posted by: delver on September 22, 2009 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: hotels in velez on April 24, 2010 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK
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