Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2009

THE SEARCH FOR 60.... President Obama brought the entire Senate Democratic caucus to the White House, reminding the lawmakers how close they are to the health care finish line, and imploring them not to screw up this opportunity.

According to one of the senators, the president explained, "This is the moment of our legislative lifetimes. This is why people run for public office, to be here at the creation of something really big."

The meeting became necessary in large part because Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was holding reform hostage. He spoke briefly at yesterday's event, and according those in attendance, it produced this interesting exchange.

"What's happening is not any fun for me," Mr. Lieberman said.

[Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio], who has championed the public option, turned to Mr. Lieberman and said, "You know, Joe, it's not fun for us either."

At that point, Mr. Obama stepped in.

"Why don't we all begin to have some fun?" he said. "Let's pass the bill."

Determining exactly how close Democrats are to doing just that isn't as easy as it may sound.

The goal, obviously, is 60 votes to cut off a Republican filibuster. From the left, Sherrod Brown is on board, telling reporters yesterday, "I'm going to vote for it." From the right, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is also on board.

So, who's left? Sen. Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin has not yet committed to the bill, and voiced his disappointment about the new round of concessions. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont and Roland Burris (D) of Illinois have also not said if they're prepared to support the reform plan.

And then there's Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska, the caucus' most conservative member, who had private meetings yesterday with both the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). He told reporters after the White House event yesterday, "I'm not on the bill. I have spoken with the president and he knows they are not wrapped up today. I think everybody understands they are not wrapped up today and that impression will not be given."

If Nelson backs the Republican filibuster, Democrats would need one GOP senator to break ranks in order to even have a vote on health care reform. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) made it sound yesterday like she won't be that vote, even if Democrats approve her proposed amendments.

And that leaves Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who has been talking to Reid, but who seems -- for unknown reasons -- to want to push off a vote until 2010. Snowe did, however, vote for the Finance Committee bill, and there's still reason to believe her vote is at least in play.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said late yesterday, "We are moving toward 60 -- we think we'll have it by next week." Stay tuned.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Comments

Joe Lieberman is a deplorable human being. His mendacity and bitterness know no bounds.

The citizens of Connecticut ought to be ashamed of him.

Most of America certainly is.

Posted by: GCH on December 16, 2009 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yay! You're passing a bill that's destroying the Democratic party!

Good luck with that.

Posted by: soullite on December 16, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

The bill must fail. As it stands, it does much more harm than good. Every enumeration of its benefits rests upon the assumption that the insurance companies will comply with the law and with their contracts. THEY WILL NOT and there is no possible means of compelling them to, either in the large or in the small. This is the real issue; why is NO ONE talking about it?

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on December 16, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm extremely, extremely disappointed in my Senator, Sherrod Brown. If progressives keep rolling over like they always have, they'll never have any leverage.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on December 16, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

So - they fought to keep Lieberman in the Senate, and torpedoed Lamont.
Now they complain?

Posted by: SteinL on December 16, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, pass it or not, the electorate has been left with an impression that Dems are feckless and weak and can't govern. Maybe preferable to the Republicans but not desirable of themselves

Posted by: Greg Worley on December 16, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

If the Senate Democrats cared about this, they would kick Lieberman out of the caucus today, strip him of his leadership positions and tell him that they might let him back in when he stops being a GOP stooge. The fact that he still has positions of leadership in the Dem caucus explains a lot about the failures in the Senate.

Posted by: freelunch on December 16, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

If they had punished Lieberman, this might have at least been tollerable. But they didn't. They aren't going to do jack shit to him, and they send their little minions out to defend him and tell us we can't punish him because we need him on this and that.

You know what I hear? I hear them admitting that this is what they always wanted. They WANTED joe to kill this deal. Obama didn't want a public option. He didn't want to do jack shit but funnel money to the health insurance industry and they are going to do it again on Cap-and-Trade, and on every other god damned thing.

They will just keep pulling this Kabuki crap, where Joe Lieberman does their dirty work, they pretend to be sad, but say we can't punish him because they need Joe Lieberman to stab us in the back on something else.

Posted by: soullite on December 16, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

The bill is an atrocity and must be killed. It is worse than no bill at all. It helps people get healthcare the same way as holding a gun to homeless people's heads and telling them they must buy a house to quit being homeless. It is the same thing as fighting hunger by forcing the poor hungry people to buy food.

It takes away the very most basic consumer control mechanism for prices that there is: choice. The choice to NOT buy what you are selling because it just isn't good enough. The Democraps and Obama the Bluedog Republicrat are basically seeking to FORCE people to underwrite CEO bonuses and shareholder dividends at private, for-profit extortion rackets, err, I mean insurance companies. It is illegal, it is unconstitutional, and I WILL become an outlaw should this bill pass because I WILL NOT buy for-profit health insurance under a government mandate.

I either get to choose a fully NON-profit option that provides full coverage or I don't buy anything. The government cannot force me to buy a car, it cannot force me to buy a cell phone, or a shoes, or anything else from a private company. It sure as hell cannot force me to prop up the criminal racket of health insurance.

I will also now be driving to Canada or Mexico to "import" cheap drugs in order to specifically violate the part of the "reform" bill that protects big pharma profits.

Obama can lick my asshole and the Democraps have forever lost my vote and my money should this bill pass.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

If the Senate Democrats cared about this, they would kick Lieberman out of the caucus today, strip him of his leadership positions and tell him that they might let him back in when he stops being a GOP stooge. The fact that he still has positions of leadership in the Dem caucus explains a lot about the failures in the Senate.

I loathe being put in the position of coming to Harry Reid's defense, but it sure would be nice if Rahm and Obama would stop coming to Lieberman's defense every time Holy Joe pulled one of his oh-so-principled power plays.

Posted by: dr. bloor on December 16, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

My Dad taught me young, Politics is compromise. If this what gets us 60 pass it. The more I read the more I like the bill for it innovations as well extended coverage. The D's will figure out quickly that cost containment, our cost containment, will be very popular and they will address it. When they do, they will have Bill Kristols nightmare. IF they don't? Then the the doomsday scenarios might be true. However, it would be suicide to oppose this. Brown is smart and practical, what every politician needs to be. We have to walk to 60 before we can run. That's reality so don't get into a snit over it and blow our children's future. Fight but don't shoot yourself as Liberals have done for generations.

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I heard some pretty good analysis of the bill recently, and it may be that it is too bad we c=got caught up in the public option stuff. There are a lot of things, very technical things, that will likely help reform. Trust me - real docs, etc., beg for various reforms. We will be back in 2 yrs, prob. with amore conservative senate, because the costs and care will be at a crisis. Something HAS to be passed now. Punish Joe L's ass later.

By the way Joe, it probably is even less fun now for people w/o insurance.

Posted by: bigwisc on December 16, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

First, Obama should have gone to these lengths of commitment earlier in the process. Second, he should stop suggesting they need "a bill," any bill, when what they need is a good bill that hasn't already been condemned far and wide as a giveaway to the insurance companies.

Third, he should get Lieberman ousted from his chairmanship and banned from the caucus, then tell the public in a televised address just what has gone wrong with the filibuster. But that would take a spine and Democrats aren't allowed to have those, are they?

Posted by: Balakirev on December 16, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

And of course it's the Dems fault for the bills shortcoming? Please, grow up. Blow off steam sure but seriously, the country is an absolute mess and it will take time. Lots of time and lots of patience..."Love me, love me I'm a Lib-er-al!"

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny, but does anyone else keep hearing the South Park Underpants Gnomes in their head every time someone says "we need to pass this now, then get real reform later". Especially considering their arguments against killing it are we won't get another shot at all. Why are republicans and "centrist" dems going to roll over and give us another shot at improving the bill if we pass the incremental bill?

1. Pass bastardized incremental bill
2. ?????
3. Real healthcare reform

Posted by: edmund dantes on December 16, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Hey JM, you do NOT need 60 votes to defeat a filibuster. THAT IS A MYTH THAT YOU ALL KEEP BUYING INTO!

A filibuster, as the Founders designed and intended it, means actually talking and talking on the floor of the senate for as long as an individual can stand it. The RULES of filibuster state that individual senators can yammer away for as long as they can handle it twice. Only twice. After that, the bill hits the floor for a simple up or down vote and requires only a majority vote.

The FACT is that NONE of the GOP, not Lieberman, not Nelson, or any other asshole Democrap, can actually speak indefinitely. There really is a finite length of time that any of these weaklings and criminals can speak. You would find that if a true filibuster were required by a REAL leader (and that ain't Reid) that the longest the obstructors could hold the bill off would be a month and a half. Tops. After that, the bill hits the floor and only 51 votes is required to pass it.

Done and done. THOSE are the facts. You only need 60 votes to shortcircuit a filibuster early, not actually to defeat it. Filibusters, true filibusters, have a finite lifespan. All it takes is sack, leadership, and patience. But the Democraps lack ALL the above and deserve their fate come 2010 and 2012.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

"This is the moment of our legislative lifetimes. This is why people run for public office, to be here at the creation of something really big."

Big Fun in Washington -- Probably feels like New Orleans, the fun's so BIG!

And the comments feel festooned with congressional staffers whose dad's told them to compromise yadda yadda yadda...what fun!!!

...are we gonna have some fun down here in these little comments holes, too? Whoopie! Fun! Health care 'reform' hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahah -- FUN-ny!!!

I got a new email from an Obama bot ("jeremy bird" by name) telling me "its up to me..." hell, my medical care has been up to me for the last 8 years... what's new here?

Posted by: neill on December 16, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Just don't care anymore. It has been watered down so much that it may still be progress or it may not be depending on who you talk to. The only motivation I have left for any of this is maybe for moving to Connecticut to help make life hell for Lieberman the next time he has to face voters.

Posted by: Shalimar on December 16, 2009 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

The message lately has been, "Let's pass this bill, and improve on it." Reference is made to previous landmark legislation that was imperfect when it initially passed, such as Medicare and Social Security. Call this the "Foundation Argument" or something.

There needs to be a threshold, surely, for the "Foundation Argument" to be well-founded. Not just any bill will do. There must be a decent, well, foundation. Does the Senate bill provide that?

I no longer believe, at this point, that it will. There are good and helpful things in it but their merit is outweighed by the expansion, not contraction, of inequality. The main outrage, one of many, is that existence of the personal mandate without price controls, sufficient consumer protection, or accountability. If I am going to be legally forced to conduct business with private insurance companies, I demand regulations. I'm not getting that. I'm not getting a Medicare buy-in option, either. I'm not getting a non-profit alternative. And I will not even have the option of taking the money I spend on premiums, putting it into an interest bearing account every week, and using that as a health reserve.

In other words, I come out more deeply subjugated to the insurance industry, instead of less.

For this and other reasons, I reject the foundation argument. I stand with Howard Dean: stick a fork in this. It isn't reform.

Posted by: Algernon on December 16, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

It is illegal, it is unconstitutional, and I WILL become an outlaw should this bill pass because I WILL NOT buy for-profit health insurance under a government mandate.

Fair enough, but aren't you on Tricare?

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Hey JM, you do NOT need 60 votes to defeat a filibuster. THAT IS A MYTH THAT YOU ALL KEEP BUYING INTO!

A filibuster, as the Founders designed and intended it, means actually talking and talking on the floor of the senate for as long as an individual can stand it. The RULES of filibuster state that individual senators can yammer away for as long as they can handle it twice. Only twice. After that, the bill hits the floor for a simple up or down vote and requires only a majority vote.

Traditional filibusters don't exist anymore, they have been replaced by the procedural crap that you call a myth. You're wrong, it is the current reality. The Senate being the Senate, they could change the rules anytime they want to, but there aren't going to be enough votes for that in the current congress for the same reason it is so much trouble getting 60 narcissists on board for anything.

Posted by: Shalimar on December 16, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

damn, first two paragraphs should have been in italics. not sure what happened to the tag.

Posted by: Shalimar on December 16, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Jeebus people. How many of you who want this bill to die buy your own health insurance??!??

I do. I'm a small business owner and hope to continue to do so. Although if health care reform dies I might have to close up shop down the road and get a job that offers health care benefits.

I'm a single-payer girl, however, some of the major changes are direly needed and my life and my family's future depends on it. I consider this bill a starting place that establishes health insurance a necessary right and not just an option for employed and/or well off people.

Have the dems handled this poorly? Hell yes. Do I want Lieberman to go jump in a lake? Yes.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on December 16, 2009 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Lieberman and Brown, it's a lot less fun for the uninsured also.

Posted by: Th on December 16, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Oh and JM (and others)...if Reid actually FORCE obstructors to actually filibuster, starting with healthcare reform, and simply let them talk until they were physically incapable of speaking their turns (a month-and-a-half tops) then you would get the value-add of seeing the filibuster threat go back to what it used to be and what it was intended to be: rare.

After the physical pain of trying to talk real healthcare reform away for hours and hours and hours (twice!) and still failing to defeat it, you would see them far less willing to filibuster again.

Two birds with one stone on this: REAL healthcare would pass in spite of the obstructionists AND the faux filibuster that is now the default position of the GOP and their Bluedog lackeys would go away and the senate would perform the way it is supposed to.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just not getting this.

If Joe's against something that he was for 3 months ago--by all accounts simply to spite progressives because they are excited about it--and to respond to that by giving in to him and removing the public option and the Medicare buy-in, then what is left to lose by making them filibuster the damn bill that has the Medicare buy-in in it?

This whole rigmarole and tip-toeing to ensure that something is 'filibuster-proof' is beside the point. What ever happened to good legislation that forces its opponents to actually get up and talk to the American people, explaining exactly why they are against something that Americans support? That seems the most effective action at this point.

Posted by: terraformer on December 16, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

This bill as it stands now is an abomination: it mandates that Americans buy coverage from private insurers while providing no competition for those insurers to help keep costs down. There is literally no meaningful protection in this bill against medical bankruptcies. If the Senate Dems pass this bill and Obama signs it, I will neither contribute to or work for any Democrat in either 2010 or 2012.

Posted by: bluestatedon on December 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Zoe Kentucky but this bill is NOT the basis of establishing that health insurance is a right. What it does is establish that health insurance companies and big pharma have the basic right to profits off the public tit. Nothing more.

It literally is fascism - it puts government deep in bed with big corporations right in our faces and uses the power of government to enforce profits for corporations. You are MANDATED to give your money to CEOs and shareholders for their benefit. Nothing more.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

The googles are remarkable....
Rule 22
The filibuster is related to "cloture," a rule adopted almost 100 years ago requiring a two-thirds vote. At times this was two-thirds of those voting; for a limited time, it was two-thirds of membership.

In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes needed to invoke cloture to three-fifths (60) of Senate membership. At the same time, they made the filibuster "invisible" by requiring only that 41 Senators state that they intend to filibuster; critics say this makes the modern filibuster "painless."

Get 60 to change that, gfl.
Don't live a fantasy world. I've been critical but this is where we are, build on it.

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

A filibuster, as the Founders designed and intended it

If the "Founders" had designed the filibuster, it would be in the Constitution. Instead, it's a Senate custom that has hardened into a rule.

Posted by: PeakVT on December 16, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

I really wonder how all of these back seat drivers think that Obama or Reid or anyone else was going to get all of these wonderful progressive reforms with a 60 seantor vote rule? What universe are you living in? We might, if we are lucky, squeeze through with a good first step toward reform that can be built on once people realize that the sky isn't falling. If a few things had gone differently (like Franken not pulling out a 200 vote win), we wouldn't even be this far. I detest Lieberman too, but he's an elected U.S. senator and his vote is needed to make 60. That's reality, baby.

This is a long, hard slog. There is a huge amount of well-funded opposition, as there has been for decades. We need to get what we can get to establish the principle of universal coverage and have a base to build on.

Don't blame the messengers.

Posted by: Virginia on December 16, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

JM that info is irrelevant. A filibuster requires that the person actually speak on the floor of the senate. The person can speak for as long as they are physically able (a very finite time) and then the next person can speak. This can occur twice only. Thus there is a finite time to the maximum length of a filibuster.

Cloture ONLY applies to terminating the filibuster before it ends a natural death. If you don't even seek cloture and let them speak then the filibuster WILL still come to an end and the vote on the bill WILL then go to the floor and need only a simple majority.

Cloture is NOT required to defeat a filibuster. It is only need to short-circuit a filibuster. Patience is all it takes to truly defeat a real filibuster.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Bluestatedon's comment represents the feelings of millions of Democratic activists. Lots of Democrats like Lincoln in Arkansas are betting their careers that insurance company campaign contributions will save them. I think that is a sucker bet, but it is the bet that a lot of Democratic Senators are making. They are going to discover they need the base a whole lot more than the contributions. Didn't anybody pay attention to the last 2 campaign cycles?

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 16, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

A filibuster requires that the person actually speak on the floor of the senate.

No, it doesn't, and it hasn't for a long time. Look a little closer at Rule 22. This gets explained on most every liberal blog several times a week, but the outdated info persists.

The majority leader still has the option of demanding a traditional filibuster, but the endless-speeches-on-the-floor routine is no longer in practice.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Praedor,
I've read that nowhere. I know it can be "nuked" as the R's threatened but short of that it takes 60 to change what we currently have. Here's Ezra Kliens take...

How Robert Byrd Jr. created the modern filibuster

Commenter WoodbridgeVA adds an important piece to the filibuster story:

The major change in Senate rules that made possible the modern filibuster occurred under the leadership of Robert Byrd during his first stint as Majority Leader. Byrd introduced the concept of "dual tracking" under which the Senate could have two or more bills under floor consideration at any one time. Prior to this change, a filibuster ended floor consideration of all other bills until the one being filibustered had been disposed of. No appropriations, no nominations, no unanimous consent agreements, no nothing. All Senate business came to a dead halt during a filibuster, which raised the stakes on the members conducting the filibuster exponentially. The pressure that would be brought to bear if the entire Senate ground to a halt was one of the reasons filibusters were so rare.

Once Byrd changed the rules to allow dual tracking, filibusters became almost pain free. A Senator simply had to announce they intended to filibuster and the Majority Leader would use his dual track authority to move to other business and get around the road block. Over time, most leaders simply did a whip check and declined to schedule a bill if a filibuster was possible..

The dual-track authority is a fairly big piece of the puzzle. But the question, in part, is why it's been allowed to stand. Both Hill experts and political scientists argue that the reason, basically, is that the Senate has things to do. The frequency of the filibuster means that ending the dual tracking would be the same as shutting down the government. It would be a high-stakes showdown over a Senate rule change, which is not something that many in the Senate have evinced much interest in attempting.

But this is how the filibuster was normalized into a 60-vote requirement. Byrd responded to the slight uptick in filibusters by making it much easier and cheaper to filibuster, rather than leading a fight to make it much harder to filibuster. But he saw that as streamlining the process. It's not like the minority was going to filibuster everything. It just wasn't done.

But senators of both parties adapted to the new rules. This was still some years before the filibuster became constant, which allowed the Senate to ease into the new regime. But as people began to understand that threatening the filibuster was a lot easier than filibustering, they began to do it more often. The majority and the minority began to think in terms of 60, and strategize in terms of 60. And then, in the '90s and oughts, when the filibuster became the only Senate rule that mattered, it wasn't such a big leap from the period right before that, and so it didn't cause a showdown, either. The story of the filibuster is a story of small changes that everybody got used to, which allowed for more small changes that everybody got used to, and so on, until the Senate had undergone a large change indeed.

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Oh for shit's sake! Reid has the power to simply declare filibusters to be FILIBUSTERS! He can simply state that if you wish to filibuster then you will do so the traditional way. That's it.

Once he did that the rules of filibuster would kick in fully: two turns only for each person filibustering.

Reid, being a sack of shit, however, thinks that what was good enough for the Founders (they had the REAL filibuster back then) is not good enough for the criminals of today. He thinks it is "undignified" so he is in bed with the painless filibuster bullshit.

IF he was a leader and IF he had sack, he would kill off the painless filibuster and then defeat it through patience. You would then also rarely see further filibusters. The bullshit of "requiring" 60 votes to pass ANYTHING would disappear overnight.

But Reid is a loser asshole and the entire US government is fascist and corrupt to the core so it will not happen. Someone needs to take a flamethrower to the US government, top to bottom, to clear out the debris and sterilize the place so we can start over.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever.

Wake me when/if you actually get sixty.

Posted by: Quinn on December 16, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Oh JM, on a slightly different (though germain) topic: "The googles are remarkable"...yes and it tracks your every search, your every web visit. And happily hands it all to Big Brother with a mere request.

Fascism, plain and simple. Government and corporations in the same bed with each other's dick up each other's ass to the hilt (neat trick but fascists manage it).

You should use scroogle, a better google, because it does NOT record or track your IP address, does NOT store your searches, and has nothing to turn over to Big Brother or to Big Corporations upon request. Scroogle SCRUBS your google searches.

There is also ixquick and a host of other search portals that do not spy on users for corporate ends or government ends.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ok Praedor, I am sympathetic but can you please sight some authority on this? Thanks.

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

What JM said.

Equally important is the change from present and voting to full membership. This means that if you decide to "make them filibuster" the minority only has to keep one person talking and the rest can sleep. The majority has to keep its members there or a quorum call fails and everybody can go home. Under present and voting the minority has to keep its members ready or the majority will win a snap cloture vote.

Posted by: snoey on December 16, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Praedor,

Reid only has the power to declare and end to the current incarnation of filibusters if he can get 66 of his fellow Senators to agree with him.

I understand the frustration, but I don't understand the willful ignorance. This has been explained to you multiple times yesterday and today.

Continuing to harp on it marks you clearly as a troll.

Posted by: doubtful on December 16, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Quinn: See? Even the sheeple buy into the 60 vote rule for ALL bills. The sheeple actually buy into the "painless filibuster" and have no problem with the likes of Lieberman or the GOP, no matter how small their minority and no matter what the vast majority of the People actually want terminating any bill just by saying the magic words, "filibuster".

Oh no, they don't actually have to filibuster. They can simply go home to their mistresses or interns and cornhole all night long, get a nice sleep, and come back for a totally new "filibuster" the next day! Woohoo! That's A-OK and normal.

Bullshit. A filibuster MUST be a filibuster old-school. It must be PAINFUL and it MUST shut down all other business in the senate. It must be a BIG DEAL rather than business as usual.

By buying into that bullshit you show that you will also happily buy into ANYTHING the criminals in the Congress pass: guaranteed profits to select big corporations on YOUR dime. A-OK. More and more war for corporate profits. A-OK. Contracting out those very same wars for fun and profit (of a very VERY few). A-OK. Privatize EVERYTHING. A-OK. Cut labor pay and benefits more and more until they are equivalent to sweatshops in East Timor. A-OK. Just so long as it was passed with 60 faux votes for a faux filibuster by faux "representatives". Just give me my supersized french-fucking-fries.

Assholes. You deserve the shit you are getting shoveled down your gullets.

Posted by: Praedor on December 16, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure it's wise to get this worked up if you're planning to go without health insurance as a freedom-fighting gesture, Praedor. Cardiac incidents are expensive.

Posted by: asshole on December 16, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Can't you fools see? It's all Harry Reid's fault! He is actually a superhero, but he refuses to use his super powers to save this bill! I found out about it on Scroogle where I can search safely away from the watchful eye of Big Brother!

I even put a speck of dust on my mouse every time I'm done surfing so I know they aren't using my computer! They're everywhere.

All you assholes are probably them, spying on me! Fascists! I'll show you, I'm going to execute an old school filibuster on your asses right here and keep commenting and ignoring all of the facts and evidence and typing until you give up on me! I'll piss my pants, I don't care! I just did! Whee!

Posted by: Trolldor on December 16, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

lol, guess thread officially over...

Posted by: JM on December 16, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

The Search for 60? What happened to the search for health care cost control? What about the search for health care reform? Health Insurance reform? When did we give up on the search for the best answer?

The "Search for 60" is just a disguise for the "Search for enough Money and Votes to Get Me Reelected"

Posted by: pottfullofpith on December 16, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

All of you folks hoping for a single-payer system should be careful what you wish for, you might get it! I am a physician and I understand the complexities of the problem. You probably will wind up with health insurance for everyone, but you won't be able to find a doctor! Will that be an improvement? There is ALREADY a shortage of primary care doctors, this bill does nothing except make that worse. No one is addressing this problem at all. So, good luck.

Posted by: jack_carlson on December 16, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Connecticut Residents:

Send your medical bills to Joe:

Lieberman, Joseph I. - (ID - CT)
706 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4041

Send a polite note with them respectfully explaining that since he is opposed to government run health insurance, he might wish to pay them himself.

Posted by: wbn on December 16, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

You probably will wind up with health insurance for everyone, but you won't be able to find a doctor! Will that be an improvement? There is ALREADY a shortage of primary care doctors, this bill does nothing except make that worse. No one is addressing this problem at all. So, good luck.

How do you get from this bill being bad for primary care to a single-payer system doing the same thing? The current bill is about as unlike a single-payer system as it could get and still make improvements to the current system.

Please tell my your diagnostic skills are better than your reasoning skills.

Posted by: PeakVT on December 16, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Jack Carlson raises an important point. We do have a provider shortage, and only a few of us have been pointing it out.

Posted by: Blue Girl on December 16, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is a real patriot. It's refreshing to see a politician take a principled stand rather then be bought off. The citizens of Connecticut should be proud.

Posted by: Bill Anderson on December 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Where do all you people come from? The liberal mind is fascinating -- SCARY, but fascinating. For all the 60's era liberal talk about free love and free speech and freedom of expression, etc... today's liberals sure don't have any qualms about compelling others when it comes to any number of issues. This debate is about liberty. And liberty is in short supply on these posts. In the name of the greater good (which they mistakenly believe can only be achieved by socialistic means), liberals will stoop to all manner of treachery. What makes this country great is liberty NOT government. Without the limitations on government that our constitution guarantees, and which is now being eroded away every day by the political class, our country would not have achieved its historical greatness. If we can't somehow stem the tide of this abhorrent "change" we won't remain a great country for very long.

Posted by: M on December 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

and only a few of us have been pointing it out.

I'm all for more stethoscopes and less machines that go "bing". But its not the top topic of conversation because it's hard to solve without health care reform. What we're down to at this point is health insurance reform. If we want more primary care physicians the best thing we can do is pay doctors to keep people healthy, not perform services. That's hard to do without a payer with a time-horizon longer than the 10Q cycle.

Posted by: PeakVT on December 16, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

and only a few of us have been pointing it out.

A lot of people have been pointing it out -- not nearly enough, I agree, and you won't see it on blogs like this one that rarely delve into policy. But PeakVT's right: incentivizing primary care has to be part of an overall reform effort. And "physician Jack Carlson" isn't supporting any kind of reform at all, as is evident from his cut-and-paste-all-over-the-blogs post that purposely erroneously conflates single payer with what's on the table.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Is there not one patriot among Senate Democrats who will on principle alone vote to save this nation from the tyranny that is this misbegotten medical "reform" bill?

He may be earn the enmity of the Left. But he will have the gratitude of the nation and of posterity.

Posted by: Robert Chandler on December 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Steve got linked from some blog populated by smug, self-absorbed guys who think flinging embarrassingly florid prose about "liberty" and "patriots" is an acceptable substitute for discussing policy. No fool like a half-educated old winger fool.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, I have no idea what you are referring to when you talk about the "cut and paste" stuff! I haven't done any of that. But, the KEY to controlling health care costs is putting the decision-making in the hands of primary care doctors! In order to do this though, you will need a lot more of them. And, you will need to make sure they can stay in business and have control. The way this is done is to:(1) pay them more,(2) reduce their overhead (ie decrease administrative costs and regulations),(3) exempt them from medical malpractice suits,(4)forgive their student loans. Doing these things will increase the number of physicians going into primary care, increase preventative care, and decrease overall costs.

This is what MUST be done to fix the system. Everyone knows it, but they will not admit it, or DO it. Because that would require political courage and common sense.

And, peakVT, the reason this bill is bad, is that NONE of these solutions(!) are even close to being included. My reasoning and diagnostic skills are just fine, thank you.

Posted by: jack_carlson on December 16, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Harry says were close...kinda like when he said the war is lost. This Nevada Liberal must be throw out wether he passes a bill or not. NV voters must be smarter than Obama Voters. He's sitting at 40% approval. Historic low for Harry. Seems like a wave hits in 2010 so the dems really need to get going on passing as much socialist policies as possible. Come Jan 2011 all legislation halts, all judicial nominees slow. We get back to a divided govt which is best. Stop the madness and get rid of as many DEMs as possible.

Posted by: Dean on December 16, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, RealClearPolitics devotees. That explains it.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

And, peakVT, the reason this bill is bad, is that NONE of these solutions(!) are even close to being included.

You missed my original point.

Posted by: PeakVT on December 16, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I've been wondering if Lieberman got his chairmanship by promising do do a favor for Reid (and/or Obama) sometime down the road. And taking the fall for "forcing" Reid to accept an insurance industry giveaway could be that favor. Reid keeps his insurance benefactors happy -- don't forget that $100,000 in campaign donations -- and he has an excuse to sell gullible voters. It would explain Lieberman's comment about not having any fun.
Mind you, I don't think much of Lieberman either way.
But I wouldn't put this past Reid. He has leverage he could use but hasn't. And Obama hasn't tried very hard either. I smell a rat.

Posted by: jeri on December 16, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

jeri, do you really believe those people are that smart? Devious, I can believe. Clever, no.

Posted by: jack_carlson on December 16, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Joe Lieberman is a deplorable human being...The citizens of Connecticut ought to be ashamed of him. Most of America certainly is."

Really? I hate to break it to you, Sunshine, but as polls clearly show, America is more with Joe than with them at the moment. Any political success these loons could have is dependent on their being mentally able to distinguish their will from America's.

Posted by: INTJ on December 16, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans and democrats are the problem and will both screw things up...only with democrats it will cost us all much more (well at least cost those of us who pay taxes)!

Posted by: paul on December 16, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I resent this effort by Obama and the Demonrats to take health care away from my disabled child.

Posted by: Sheri on December 16, 2009 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bite Sheri. How, specifically, are the Democrats and President Obama trying to take healthcare away from your disabled child?

Posted by: Blue Girl on December 16, 2009 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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