Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2010

TUESDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Chile: "As smaller tremors continued to jolt this earthquake-ravaged country, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton flew into Chile's damaged main airport on Tuesday morning, bearing a handful of satellite phones and promises of more help."

* As of today, the death toll from Chile's earthquake stands at 795 people.

* The other shoe falls on Paterson: "Gov. David A. Paterson personally directed two state employees to contact the woman who had accused his close aide of assaulting her, according to two people with direct knowledge of the governor's actions."

* Dodd (D-Conn.) and Corker (R-Tenn.) are nearing a deal to house a new consumer-protection regulator inside the Federal Reserve.

* On a related note, the compromise proposal isn't going over well.

* Toyota's loss is American auto manufacturers' gain.

* Liz Cheney's smear against Justice Department attorneys is literally disgusting, and I'm glad to see the attacks generate some pushback. "Keep America Safe" is beneath contempt.

* Some of you asked the other day for a rebuttal to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) arguments at the health care summit. Ezra was up to the task, and his response is well worth reading.

* Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) will vote with far-right Republicans against health care reform. Not a big surprise.

* If health care reform fails, the whole country is in deep trouble, but rural communities will be hit especially hard.

* Given the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's dangerous approach to climate change, I'm glad to see Microsoft show some leadership on this.

* Wait, you mean O'Keefe and Breitbart didn't really have the goods? "Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money." A law enforcement official said, "They edited the tape to meet their agenda." Imagine that.

* The Department of Education and the politics of failure.

* This worries me: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors right-wing extremist activity, finds 'that an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump' from 2008.

* FDR's congressional majorities were much bigger than Obama's.

* Health care reform's success would be a boon to entrepreneurs. Christina Davidson isn't sure how to quantify "how significantly that fear of being uninsured suppresses individual initiative," but we have the answer.

* And in case there's any lingering doubt, real live literal filibusters still aren't a realistic option, no matter how appealing they may seem.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

... real live literal filibusters still aren't a realistic option, no matter how appealing they may seem.
But Steve, that's the point. We don't want them to be a realistic option!

Also, another pitch here for the "Coffee Party" movement - alternative to the Tea Party. You can search that one up, at Facebook and elsewhere, try at salsa.democracyinaction.org

Also, FWIW: "Politico's editorial meeting"
www.xtranormal.com/watch/6199619/

Posted by: Neil B on March 2, 2010 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money." A law enforcement official said, "They edited the tape to meet their agenda." Imagine that.

So does that mean our shoot-our-own-allies-first-ask-questions-later-if-Republicans-wont-care-too-much Democrats in Congress will restore ACORNs federal contracts and grants?

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 2, 2010 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Tumulty is correct that there is nothing in the current Senate rules to keep Harry Reid and the Democrats from forcing a live filibuster. They have every right to do so. What they don't have is any reason to do so, because it won't work."

You totally miss the point, Steve. C'mon -- it isn't hard. We have to show what is going on, and this would be the way to do it.

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on March 2, 2010 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Re: live filibusters.

It isn't about whether we succeed. It's about forcing the Republicans under the lights.

Right now they are killing legislation without having to do anything that "looks" obstructionist. To all appearance, it just appears that Democrats can't get the votes.

Making them actually filibuster puts them in the spotlight under cable tv cryons that say "Republicans filibustering unemployment benefits" or some such.

Posted by: Argle Bargle on March 2, 2010 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't seen it here, but for what it's worth, Rep. Charlie Rangel of NY has a primary challenger -- Vincent Scott Morgan. Co-incidentally, Morgan is Harold Ford, Jr.'s cousin, but apparently is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from him - for instance, to Ford's Wall Street vice presidency, Morgan is a community development banker who lives in Harlem.

The NYT has an interview with Morgan:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/nyregion/17morgan.html?scp=1&sq=charlie%20rangel,%20primary&st=cse

Posted by: June on March 2, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) will vote with far-right Republicans against health care reform. Not a big surprise.

Here in Michigan, we eponymously call it the "Stupid Amendment."

Posted by: MichMan on March 2, 2010 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know the mechanics of an actual live fillibuster, but if a Senator has to hold the floor all by himself for an indefinite period, and resort to reading the Washington, D.C. phone book into the record, aside from tying up the Senate into knots with nonsense, it would make wonderful TV. Much nonsense is happening now, but not under the glare of cable news lights.

Everyone has to pee eventually, and I have heard that fillibusting Senators of old came prepared with a relief tube down their leg so they wouldn't have to yield the floor. Right now the Rethugs get a pass because the threat is as good as the deed. Make them actually hold the floor around the clock a few times and look ridiculous, as well as wetting their pants. AFter that I think we might see an end to this tactic.

Posted by: rRRk1 on March 2, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Now Obama is touting phoney malpractice reform and horrible horrible health savings accounts.

It just keeps getting WORSE.

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 2, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Since one of the charter members of "Keep America Safe" is a 9/11 widow, how come Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck aren't sick of hearing from her? And wasn't her husband going to divorce her before he was killed?

Posted by: bobbo on March 2, 2010 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

bobbo, @ 19:08,

You've answered your own question; what Coulter and Beck can't stand is not widows, per se; it's the *grieving* relatives they've had their fill of.

Posted by: exlibra on March 2, 2010 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Bunning just caved.

Posted by: Blue Girl on March 2, 2010 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen--An excellent list of issues and concerns
for the given attempt to analyze such current events.

Posted by: greensburg girl on March 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, @ 20:49,

Just came here to check if anyone had caught this; I saw it on TPM where it looked like a sequence of: Dems planning to make Bunning to *actually filibuster* (all night, if necessary) and Bunning's "principled stand" collapsing 15 minutes later. Will have to see what framing the NYT used; thanks for the link.

Posted by: exlibra on March 2, 2010 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I am one of those entreprenuers who NEEDS health care reform to happen. I wouldn't have voluntarily left a job because of health insurance benefits. I only got a chance to start my company because I lost a job, got a generous severance, and quickly got a just-in-case-I-get-run-over-by-a-bus-tomorrow catostrophic insurance policy. (Nothing was covered except something a horrible accident or illness.)

I currently cannot afford to offer my employees healthcare because the cost is prohibitive and at this point they're all part-time. For myself, I have a low-cost, high-deductible plan that is only affordable because I can safely opt-out of anything related to pregnancy/maternity/birth because I have zero chance of an "oops" pregnancy (I'm a lesbian) and I'm a healthy 34-year old with no pre-existing conditions. But eventually I'm going to need/want better insurance and it scares me how much it'll cost me. I don't want to have to give up my company because I need to go get a corporate job again just for health care insurance.

So, Pass.the.damn.bill.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on March 2, 2010 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

How come we don't hear anything more about 'kill the bill?' Wasn't that a battlecry against Senate healthcare reform for about 15 minutes?

Posted by: Ed Whitson on March 2, 2010 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

"They edited the tape to meet their agenda."

Wonder how much time Fox News is going to dedicate to that story. Or the rest of the, ahem, "MSM," for that matter.

Posted by: Jon on March 2, 2010 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Coffee, tea, or me?

Regarding the "Coffee Party" movement...

It's brilliant. Wish I had thought of it. Was I sleeping at the wheel or what? This is after all a coffee drinking nation. And obviously: Corporate media needed a dark uppity Lion to contrast with its pale, self-riotous Christian teabags. So this was a natural idea, brewing to be born...

Having folks sip the hearty dark stuff and say: "Government is good and necessary," provides a perfect counterpoint to the Teabaggers snarling at a woman in a wheelchair with diseases who only wants the opportunity to pay for government run health care insurance.

What was clearly wanting was a ying and a yang to the teabaggers's yelp. This may even be a way to defuse or dilute the modern teabaggers insistence on dragging us all along on their stupid march to the rim of a flat earth.

I dunno.
Maybe.
So I hope it flies.
True it may be a lark...
But still and yet: No harm in trying to help steward it along...

Posted by: koreyel on March 2, 2010 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

If health care reform fails, rural communities will be hit especially hard. Yes. And yet rural communities, already overrepresented in Congress and loyally electing Republicans to screw us all, are seeing to it that we can't have health care reform.

Posted by: phillygirl on March 2, 2010 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone know what time Obama is expected to unveil the new Health Care Bill tomorrow? I can't seem to find the schedule..

Posted by: Insanity on March 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

The tremendous rise of Militia Groups is very troublesome indeed. These folks are more paranoid, more angry and more violent than other bigoted types. Dylan Ratigan did a good (albeit disturbing) piece re: this today on his show.

Posted by: Insanity on March 3, 2010 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

And yet rural communities . . .

Ironic, isn't it?

I'm wondering what the downside might be to a Democratic majority enacting a few *nicely targeted* reductions in farm support. What are you going to do, Oklahoma -- vote Republican? Elect Inhofe? Ooooh, scary. Call us when you want to play ball. You can only bargain with your support if you're willing to give your support. If not, offending you is costless, and could present some lovely reductions in the budget deficit.

You can follow the rules and still throw the ball really, really hard, Democrats. Three letters for you: LBJ.

Posted by: Jon on March 3, 2010 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin on Leno, 'I wish I could have more time to follow up on my answers so i can explain what i really meant.' Such a tool!

Posted by: kurf on March 3, 2010 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah did stand up comedy, after her chat with Leno. Terrible. She needs more exposure, the more she talks the more self pity she radiates. Dull. She may give a good speech, but she's a terrible guest.

Posted by: kurf on March 3, 2010 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

"If health care reform fails, the whole country is in deep trouble, but rural communities will be hit especially hard."

The Red States have the most uninsured and the worst health statistics, so the Republicans block a reform that would benefit Red States the most.

The Blue States have most of the nation's wealthy, so the Republicans block tax increases that would burden the Blue States most.

Posted by: bob h on March 3, 2010 at 6:19 AM | PERMALINK

For the record:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_03/022672.php#1731955

Posted by: neil b. on March 3, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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