Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 7, 2011

BLUE DOGS WON'T HELP GOP WITH HEALTH CARE REPEAL.... The House will take the first steps today towards passing their health care repeal bill, and the outcome is already certain. The new GOP majority will pass their measure, at which point will promptly die.

But I'm interested in the vote count anyway. Earlier in the week, Republicans were feeling pretty good about this largely-pointless stunt, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) boasted there may even be a two-thirds majority in favor of repeal -- the necessary level of support to override a presidential veto.

"We have 242 Republicans," Upton said on Fox News. "There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us."

Apparently, the "significant number" won't be nearly as big as Republicans had hoped.

Most Democrats in the House who opposed healthcare reform won't vote to repeal it next week, one of those lawmakers said Thursday.

Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.), a centrist Democrat who voted against healthcare reform last year in Congress, said he wouldn't vote for the Republican bill to repeal the law and that he expected all but a few colleagues to follow suit.

"[T]here's 13 Democrats remaining that voted against the healthcare bill, myself included. I've talked to a lot of them -- I think we all have the same concerns. We think, by and large, it was a bad bill," Altmire said on Fox News. "It did more harm than good. But to repeal it all, including the few provisions that were beneficial, just doesn't make any sense."

When the Affordable Care Act passed last year, 34 House Dems broke ranks and opposed final passage. Of them, 21 lost in the midterms. Of the 13 remaining, a grand total of three have said they'll join with Republicans to repeal the bill. There may be a couple of more when all is said and done, but we're talking about a small handful, not a "significant number."

Reader D.C. alerted me to the fact that even Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who's worried about his re-election prospects and anxious to put some distance between himself and his party, said this week he won't take the House GOP's repeal push seriously until they present an alternative policy that does as much as good as the new law.

This is all pretty interesting, given that it suggests Democrats aren't nearly as defensive about health care reform as they were. On the contrary, they seem to be coming together to protect what the party created.

So much for that veto-proof majority in support of repeal.

Steve Benen 10:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

How hilarious that the GOP is going "la, la, la, I can't hear you!" at the CBO report documenting the cost of repealing the health care law. I guess those ten Democrats really don't want to go on record as voting to increase the deficit.

Posted by: puravida on January 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

That is interesting and good news --- but there's no way that I would trust anything Sen. Nelson says. He will vote however he will vote. Previous promises, the national interest, and common sense will never enter into his voting decisions.

Posted by: Rathskeller on January 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Phuk you, Altmeir. You used to be my rep, you dishonest slug. Gabby Giffords for us now! Eat the snow.

Posted by: R on January 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

"I think we all have the same concerns. We think, by and large, it was a bad bill," Altmire said on Fox News. "It did more harm than good." (emphasis added)

Ah, the famous Democratic message discipline in action.

Posted by: Gregory on January 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

The House is acting as if they could find the 2/3 to override -- as if any such bill would not also have to go to the Senate. What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by: jjm on January 7, 2011 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I have it on reliable authority that as youngsters many of these asshats traded the family cow for some magic beans.

Posted by: DAY on January 7, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

If only it were the pro-ObamaCare liberals that were rejected in the election, rather than the Blue Dog Democrats that tried to stop it...

Funny that

Posted by: anonymouss on January 7, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Most Democrats in the House who opposed healthcare reform won't vote to repeal it next week, one of those lawmakers said Thursday."

Yes, because most Democrats in the House who opposed healthcare reform got their asses handed to them by the voters in November. They can't vote for repeal because they aren't in the House anymore.

They empowered the Republicans by acting like Republicans-lite and surprise surprise got replaced by real Republicans. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Posted by: treetop on January 7, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Just out of curiosity, have the Republicans even remotely articulately what's "bad" about the law, in parts or in totality, other than the personal mandate, which is bullshit?

My guess is that the only thing they can say bad about the law is that FoxNews ginned up anger against the bill without actually saying what's in it, getting some of these nimrods elected, so they have keep railing against a law whose contents they neither know nor can be interrogated about. How's that for Kafka-esque?

Posted by: George on January 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

jjm - I suspect they know that if they got a two-thirds vote in the House, the TPers would consider it a great victory. If we're lucky, we'll get through the next two years with a lot of symbolic gestures from the House, and not much damage to the country.

Posted by: Redshift on January 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

"'We think, by and large, it was a bad bill,'Altmire said on Fox News. 'It did more harm than good. But to repeal it all, including the few provisions that were beneficial, just doesn't make any sense.'"

Huh? That statement just doesn't make any sense. If it's a bad bill that does more harm than good, why wouldn't you vote to repeal it? It's as if Altmire is admitting that he really doesn't believe his own BS, yet he must persist in his BSing.

Posted by: delNorte on January 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Won't vote for it. Won't vote against it. Tell us, please, of what use are these Blew Dawgs anyhow?

"'[T]here's 13 Democrats remaining that voted against the healthcare bill, myself included. I've talked to a lot of them -- I think we all have the same concerns. We think, by and large, it was a bad bill,' Altmire said on Fox News. 'It did more harm than good. But to repeal it all, including the few provisions that were beneficial, just doesn't make any sense.'"

translation: "Man-oh-man, did you see how many of our caucus got bounced for opposing this thing?!? I wouldn't touch repeal with a 12-foot filibuster."

Posted by: Perspectius on January 7, 2011 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Who are the three that have said they'll vote to repeal? The link isn't working for me, and I can't find out on "my" Blue Dog's web site (Matheson, UT) which way he's going to vote. Anyone know??

Posted by: Michigoose on January 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently, two blue dogs joined the republicans in voting 'aye' during the test vote.

Posted by: Holmes on January 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

What the Hell is a Centrist Democrat? With a Republican at least you know what you're getting, a fucking retarded and clueless legislative loser with the wrong ideas about everything. If I could swallow that big STUPID pill of allegiance I would, especially now, but I guess I'm too "elitist" to lower my IQ. I want to know, who is an elitist Democrat? Where are the elitist (in the wrong sense of the word, aka intelligent) Democrats?

Posted by: Trollop on January 7, 2011 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

After the November election, Chris Matthews had Altmire on is show and was ecstatic that the "centrist" was blaming Nancy Pelosi for the Democratic defeat. To Matthews, "real Americans" don't live in San Francisco, care about gays or reproductive choice, and come from places where they don't need health care because Jesus takes care of them.

I mention this because while Matthews is good on a lot of issues, there are times when I just want to punch that jerk right in his larynx.

Posted by: walt on January 7, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

@delNorte - It does make sense not to repeal the whole thing, because there's a chance that the good things wouldn't be re-enacted in some future bill. Picking out the bad parts (or what he sees as bad parts, which probably aren't all that bad) is a much safer bet.

Posted by: PeakVT on January 7, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

What delNorte said. Repealing ACA may not make a lot of sense, but Altmire's reason for not repealing it makes less sense.

Posted by: Jim Naureckas on January 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

@PeakVT--That would make sense if you thought that the bad parts were outweighed by the good parts, but not if, as Altmire claims, the good parts are outweighed by the bad.

Posted by: Jim Naureckas on January 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Man, Blue Dogs make me ill. My feelings can be best expressed in the immortal words of Tim Hardaway: "I hate them with all the hate you can hate with. Can you hate more than that? If you can, I hate them more than that."

What is most irritating is that, even more than Republicans, Blue Dogs are never expected to have solutions for anything. As Trollop said, GOP ideas may be wrong. But at least they have ideas.

In all seriousness, what is the Blue Dog position on health care reform? They claim to agree that spiraling costs and millions of uninsured are a problem. So what is their solution?

They declared single-payer to be a non-starter. They were willing to filibuster -- not vote against, but filibuster! -- the public option or Medicare buy-in. Then, after killing every alternative proposal, these assholes went into the midterms and ran against the individual-mandate plan that they insisted upon.

Is there some Option X that Blue Dogs were lobbying for that they claim would solve the health care problems? Nelson wants the GOP to propose an alternative? WTF is NELSON's alternative? WTF is ALTMIRE's alternative?

The truth is that these douchebags are simply corporate whores who do not deserve an ounce of respect. They have no principles. They have no ideology other than "collect as much cash from donors as possible."

Posted by: square1 on January 7, 2011 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

@Jim Naureckas - but repealing it as a whole isn't the only option. Remember that repealing the whole thing would kick off a lot of young adults who just got re-insured under their parents plan, as well as people with pre-existing conditions who were just able to get insurance. Seeing Altmire go after those parts is likely to PO a lot of his constituents. Do you think he doesn't realize that?

Posted by: PeakVT on January 7, 2011 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

: On Friday, four Democrats voted to allow the repeal legislation to be brought to the House floor: Boren, Kissell, McIntyre and Ross.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on January 7, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

@PeakVT: I think Altmire realizes that, from his constituents' perspective, the good parts of the bill outweigh the bad parts. But he doesn't want to say that, because then why did he vote against it?

Posted by: Jim Naureckas on January 7, 2011 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Any House majority vote that includes just one Democrat will instantly be touted as "overwhelming bipartisan support" for repealing health care on Fox, Rush, etc.

Posted by: GringoNoraca on January 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

@Jim N: If he's like "my" Blue Dog, he voted against it because he's a coward. I was on a Town Hall conference call with "my" rep a week or two before the original vote, before the CBO score came out. Matheson said that he was waiting for that before making up his mind, because he wanted to make sure that it wouldn't increase the deficit. Well, the score came out, he got cold feet, and voila! A vote against it. Now he's waffling again; his web site is a virtual duplicate of Altmire's statement.

Posted by: Michigoose on January 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK
If it's a bad bill that does more harm than good, why wouldn't you vote to repeal it?

Perhaps because you think that it does plenty of good, and that the good is done by the provisions that are already in effect while the bad is mostly done by provisions which still don't go into effect for a couple of years, so what you really want to to do is remove or tweak those still-dormant provisions. If that's the case, the "bad" done by the bill is largely in the future and can be prevented without repeal, and without any immediate action, so if the immediate choices are between repeal and doing nothing, doing nothing may be the best choice while you work to build support for the changes you want.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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