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Why Attack Firedoglake?

By: Knoxville Tuesday December 22, 2009 5:04 am

Jane Hamsher

Last August, I entered the blogosphere because I was disturbed about the way the health care debate was going.

There were town hall shouting fests intended to disrupt civil discourse and to interfere with exchanges between Democratic members of Congress and their constituents.

Worse, the mainstream media started pushing the narrative that these shouters had hijacked the debate, that they had caught Democrats off guard, and that they had successfully beaten the Democrats by knocking them off message.

Put another way, I was disturbed by the failure of Democrats to push back. But in September and beyond I became even more disturbed by their failures to fight so-called moderate Democrats.

One evening in August, Rachel Maddow made a reference to Firedoglake and I checked it out. There, I learned about Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL08) and her efforts to undermine reform in the financial services industry, about Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN05) and his mealy-mouthed efforts to undermine real health care reform while doing everything he could to make sure that his constituents wouldn’t notice (not to mention the fact that he voted against the Democratic Party on the stimulus in January), about Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA14) and her efforts to give a huge gift to the biotech-pharmaceutical industry by means of inserting the so-called “evergreening” problem into the health care legislation. I could go, writing about the Obama administration, about other members of the House, and about more than a few senators, but the point – that I discovered a lot of good work being done at Firedoglake – has been made.

Over these few months, I’ve had some serious differences with Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake. Her initial response to the House passing H R 3692 – just after 64 supposedly Democratic members of the House ruined it by voting in favor of the Stupak Amendment – baffled me. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it angered me. In fairness, she changed course and started One Voice for Choice.

More recently, as the Senate moved to make deals in order to pass something that is oddly still called health care reform, though it is not, Hamsher wrote about the possibility of forming an alliance with people who are typically our opponents – right-leaning independents and libertarians – in order to find leverage against the current Senate bill so as to push for real health care reform by other means.

Immediately, someone named DemBah backwards (“habmed”) wrote an angry sounding comment, attacking Hamsher for trying to impose “an insane purity test” on the Democratic Party. I chose to respond. I did so in order to point out the obvious fact that Jane Hamsher has not tried to impose a purity test on Democrats at all.

But the attacks at Daily Kos have been reprehensible and weak at best.

Among the reprehensible was the one in which a diarist dragged out a photo from three years ago that is entirely irrelevant to the current debate (thus, an easily dismissed personal attack) and nonsensically placed Hamsher next to racist images that are so popular among the teabagging crowd. Frankly, I think that anyone who can’t see through the stupidity of such fallacies – that anyone who can let him- or herself be so easily manipulated into accepting the bs conclusion on which they’re based – needs to learn how to think for him- or herself.

An example of a weak argument is one by a diarist who disagrees with Hamsher over whether Americans who want real reform in our health care system should oppose the Senate bill and turns his disagreement with her into an attack against her character and methods. Such attacks make great reading (with all the intrigue of a decent novel), but the effort to turn nothing into the appearance of something and make it all sound so insidious doesn’t pass the credibility test. The bottom line is that the diarist by his own admission cares much more about getting people who run as Democrats elected and about protecting them once they’re in office than about what they do while they’re in office and wielding power. Weak. Such simplistic thinking is in fact harmful to the Democratic Party he suggests he loves so much.

Besides, any guy who would tell a woman she should blow him because he doesn’t think very highly of her is just a dick with no credibility.

Let’s put the nonsense aside.

Firedoglake may not be the right place for you if: 1) you care more about protecting the careers of everyone and anyone who ran for office with a “D” after his or her name than about holding those whom the American people elect accountable for what they do in office; or, 2) you think that the career of any particular politician is more important than seeing that he or she works for the American people and serves their interests and the interests of the common good.

Otherwise, attacking Jane Hamsher and Firedoglake seems, at best, counterproductive.

At worst, I think it’s just plain stupid.

So, I came to the blogosphere last August because I care deeply about reforming our broken health care system. The result has been a huge disappointment, as all the underlying problems that were breaking the system will remain unless something is done. Indeed, what the Senate’s proposing and what the House is being forced to accept can potentially make the problems worse before the decade is out, once you factor in the inevitable abuses of the private insurers that the CBO simply can’t factor into its analysis.

Either way, we’ll be forced to battle with the private insurers over every little thing until there is real reform, which at a minimum must include something like a public option.

Many promises were made last year and, throughout this debate over how to fix our health care system, there have been compromises upon compromises, each one being rejected until even the consolation prize of a weak Medicare buy-in for Americans 55-64 was thrown out with the trash.

I’m hugely disappointed with President Obama, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and with the Senate Democrats for having failed to do more to achieve real reform.

Is anyone else as disappointed as I am?

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos, where
there are over 125 comments.]


Weiner the Whining Weakling

By: Knoxville Saturday December 19, 2009 11:42 am

Ok. Now we have people running around the Lake displaying an email from Rep. Anthony Weiner entitled “Let’s talk about it,” which the congressman sent to former supporters yesterday to invite us to join him for a chat session. In the email, Weiner says that he just doesn’t know what to do as he tries to save some little scrap of what once was health care reform. He says that he wants our feedback.


Rep. Anthony Weiner

My response:


We don’t need you to hold our hands as we go through any stages of grief until we accept that Barack Obama and this Democratic Congress failed us miserably so that we can fall in line for the midterm elections.

You’re not doing yourself any favors with this mealy-mouthed bullshit.

Get on the right side of this issue.

No? Not courageous enough to do it because it’s the right thing to do?

Well take a look at the polls. Do it to save yourself politically from the impending freefall as the corporatist Democrats and their enablers drive the Democratic Party off a cliff.

You must announce today that you will vote against this fucking turd and start demanding that congressional leaders use the reconciliation process.

Do it because it’s right. Do it to save your own ass. Either way, just do it.

There’s nothing else to discuss.

Obviously, I have no intention of wasting my time by talking about it with Weiner.

But for those of you who are thinking about wasting your time chatting with Weiner, you need to read the email he sent out to former supporters on Dec 15 first:

Subject: Lieberman vs. Weiner
Date: 12/15/2009 11:22:48 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: info at countdowntohealthcare dot com

Dear Brc,

Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these folks in charge?

Here’s an idea: how about we fight for a Democratic bill?

It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate.

This afternoon the New York Times and other news outlets reported that Senator Lieberman was backing away from his own health care proposal, in part because I liked it.

If this wasn’t so sad, it would be amazing. Here you have the most important legislation for millions of Americans’ health and welfare, and apparently Senator Lieberman backs away from his own proposal.

Why? Because I and a professor at Yale like it.

All I can say charitably is I hope Senator Lieberman looks into his heart and does the right thing. This is not the time for anyone to act for politics, but to do the right thing. Let’s be clear, this is an idea Senator Lieberman has proposed, repeatedly. That others embrace it should not be the criteria for leaders to make decisions. It would be tragic if this is what it appears, a decision based on hurting proponents of reform not helping the millions who need affordable health care coverage.

Some may say reformers should never have praised this measure. But that suggests we all agree to live in an Alice in Wonderland world of saying the opposite of what we mean. Now is the time to talk and act on the merits of an issue. Now is the time for leaders to make the right choices, not political calculations.

Time is short. We need your help. Make sure to post this message on your Facebook wall and retweet on Twitter. Ask your friends to sign up at and join the fight.

It will take your voice to push Congress in the right direction.



After all the failures, Weiner wants us to grovel at the feet of Joe Lieberman, to beg him to look into his heart and allow us to keep the consolation prize of a weak Medicare buy-in for Americans 55-64.

With a straight face, he says that “now is the time to talk and act on the merits of an issue.”

With leaders like Weiner, is it any wonder we’re in this position?

Rather than fight, he’s whining to us about needing feedback.

Stop enabling sellouts, Weiner.


Firedoglake Attacked, Again

By: Knoxville Saturday December 19, 2009 3:59 am

Attacks keep pouring in. Get used to it!

In the latest attack, habmed writes:


One second you’re yelling about how the Republicans have an insane purity test, and now you are instituting one for Democrats!

Jimmy Carter? Howard Dean? Ralph Nader? Do these names sound familiar? These are resounding progressive election losers, whose failure helped usher in years of conservatism in this country.

The healthcare bill is not perfect, but it is a STEP in the right direction to the public option one day. Kill this bill, and you legitimize these crazed right wing fundamentalist teabaggers in the eyes of the American people, give Congress over to the Republicans in 2010 and send Sarah Palin to the White House in 2012.

Folks, guess what? AMERICA IS NOT A PROGRESSIVE COUNTRY . . . at least not yet. But historically, progressive changes in this country have came incrementally, never all at once.

President Obama has signed SCHIP, the Matthew Shepard Act. He has bought up the property to transfer the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. He has banned torture. He is withdrawing the troops from Iraq, and has a deadline for Afghanistan troops. He signed the stimulus for which the economy would be MUCH worse. He has accomplished a lot yet he doesn’t have your support. This is insane, he isn’t Jesus! He can’t’ do everything!

You Jane, along with your deluded progressive supporters are all barking mad, and when we become perennial election losers for the next several years, I am not gonna blame the Republicans or the teabaggers, I’m blaming YOU!

First, I don’t recall Jane ever yelling about Republican purity test nonsense.

Second, Jane wants to institute an “insane purity test” for Democrats, habmed?

“Insane!” habmed says.

Is it insane to defend women’s reproductive rights when, in the House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act, Congress passed legislation – with the help of 64 House Democrats – that seeks to take them away?

One Voice For Choice: Sign Up and Join the Fight Against Stupak!

Of course, one might argue that it was insane to have accepted the compromise of creating a public health insurance option (i.e. an incremental change toward universal health care) rather than fight for single-payer Medicare for All, but I don’t think it was. Jane correctly decided early on that achieving universal health care this year – with the current political configuration – would have been extremely unlikely, if not impossible.

But once it became clear that the Democrats were badly screwing up health care reform, was it insane to push for alternate routes to achieve some measure of real reform (as opposed to pretending to be happy when they pass something that isn’t reform and joining them in saying that it is reform so they can score political points)?

Excuse me for sounding reasonable, but what’s insane about arguing that candidates who run as Democrats and who are elected by the people be held accountable for failing to uphold core Democratic Party principles as set forth in the 2008 Democratic Party platform?

On page 10 of the 2008 Democratic Party platform, entitled “Renewing America’s Promise” (pdf), we read:

Covering All Americans and Providing Real Choices of Affordable Health Insurance Options. Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan.

And on page 50, we find:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

Should anyone running for elected office or currently serving in office as a Democrat be expected to support these positions? Yes.

And if by saying so I institute an “insane purity test,” I don’t care.

These positions laid out in the 2008 Democratic Party platform are about fighting for and defending Americans’ rights, and they should be fought for and defended whether they’re in the Democratic Party’s platform or not.

Our latest attacker, habmed, claims that the Senate’s turd of a health care bill “is a STEP in the right direction to the public option one day.”


Maybe not, but these failed leaders had A) a majority of Senators supporting the creation of a public option, B) a bill that passed in the House of Representatives that included a public option, C) the majority of the American people supporting a public option (pdf), and D) the President of the United States making public statements supporting a public option.

And still they failed to get a public option.

A public health insurance option would 1) increase competition, 2) lower costs, and 3) keep the insurance companies honest.

Yes, while the Democrats were busy killing each version of a public option, the majority of the American people supported the creation of a public option (pdf).

And, now that the Democrats have failed to create a public option, a Research 2000 poll conducted between December 16 and 17 shows that 59% of all Americans and 88% of Democrats still support a public option, compared to 33% of all Americans and 37% of Democrats who support what the congressional Democrats and the White House are currently proposing and saying so forcefully is the best thing for the American people (though it most definitely is not).

And the American people are supposed to be happy that the Democrats want to give the private insurers millions of new customers in exchange for no real competition and difficult-to-enforce regulations? I don’t think so.

Well, the American people are not happy. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted between Dec 11-13, President Obama’s approval rating fell to 49%. And, according to the results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corp survey released on Dec 10 (pdf), 43% of Americans think that congressional Democrats can do a better job on health care reform, compared to 40% who think that Republicans can do a better job.

Now that’s insane!

And the Democrats are entirely to blame for it because they failed to fight hard enough for real reform and because they failed to deliver on the change we were told to believe in.

So, leading up to the midterm elections, we have on the one hand a gaggle of failed Democratic incumbents hoping to fool former supporters (the ones who voted for them in 2006 and 2008) into thinking that the fight is really between Democrats and Republicans, and that, despite Democrats’ best efforts, Republicans and teabaggers are the ones who ruined health care reform. We get obnoxious emails all the time from Obama, the DCCC and the DSCC telling us that Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck must be stopped and that teabaggers are our biggest problem.


On the other hand, we have people like habmed laying the groundwork to blame Jane Hamsher and people like me, one of her “barking-mad,” “deluded progressive supporters,” when the Democrats lose seats next year.

It is very likely that the Democrats will lose a lot of seats next year, and it’s also looking increasingly likely that Obama will lose in 2012.

But the fault for those losses will be entirely theirs for having failed so miserably to lead and for failing to fight for what’s right.

Look, if blaming incompetent, though well-intentioned Democrats seems too harsh for you, habmed, there are real assholes among the Democratic Party for you to hate with the intensity of a thousand suns.

The mainstream media insists on using the term “moderate” Democrats to describe them.

They are House DINOs like Mike Ross (AR04), Melissa Bean (IL08), Jim Cooper (TN05) and Anna Eshoo (CA14), and Senate DINOs like Blanche Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Joe Lieberman (CT).

They’re not “moderate” Democrats.

They’re not Democrats at all.

Call them corporatist Democrats. Or even Plutocrats. But not “moderate” Democrats.

And, if you really do want to save the Democratic Party in 2012, habmed, you would be shouting at these corporatist Democrats and everyone who enables them and you would be blaming them for all the House and Senate seats that they’ve decided to throw away in the 2010 midterm elections.

If you voted last year for Democrats thinking that they would replace Bush’s massive bailout to the financial services industry with a massive bailout to the health insurance industry, then you got what you voted for. Have a nice day.

If you voted last year for Democrats thinking that they would use efforts to reform health care as an opportunity to do more to undermine a woman’s right to choose in a matter of conscience than the Republicans have done to that right in decades, then you got what you voted for. Have a nice day.

But you should know that millions of Americans voted for Democrats last year thinking that they were voting for change. They were told that we can have change. They were told to hope for change. They were told to believe in change.

And if you, habmed, believe that those millions of Americans who voted for change last year will be voting for Democrats next year, you’re insane.

Most likely, they won’t bother to vote next year at all.

If you’re unhappy about that unfortunate truth, take it up with Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

Now, if you still believe that all Americans should have the widest array of health insurance options possible, including a public option, and that Americans should have a better field of candidates to choose from next year than they had last year, then please help us keep our campaign going.

Blue America / FDL Action

Jane, You’re the Best!

By: Knoxville Friday December 18, 2009 12:17 am


If you haven’t seen Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake treat viewers of MSNBC’s The Ed Show to a fine example of a good, old-fashioned ass-kicking and prove once again that a shill-in-sheep’s-clothing is still a shill, by all means, go to Jane Makes Lanny Davis Call for a Waaammmbulance! (Dec 17, 2009) to see the video.

I give Jane five stars!

And I’m not alone.

In a DailyKos diary entitled Lanny Davis castrated by, SocioSam writes:

“It was an amazing six minutes on The Ed Show this evening.

“Lanny looked like a deer in headlights.

“Jane nailed him big time on how the companies and corporations his law firm represents are going to make big money on the Senate Health Care Bill as it now reads.”

At HuffPost, typical comments to the article Lanny Davis And Jane Hamsher Yell Over Each Other On The Ed Show, included:

“You say it was a shouting match. It wasn’t a match. It was a slaughter. The lady really crushed the Clintonite democrat. She was able to put Davis in an indefensible position by providing a litany of factual data to expose Davis as "republican light" on the subject of health care reform. Way to go, Ms. Hamsher.” (by dukeitout)


“Lanny got pwned!!!” (by Brandy Alexander)

And (my favorite):

“Stone. Cold. Busted.

“Jane Hamsher is a treasure.

“No mainstream media ‘personality,’ can’t call them journalists, would dare be so real and honest.

“Not even Ed has the stones she does.” (by TheTopJack)

And in Democratic Underground’s Ed Show: Jane Hamsher to Lanny Davis – ‘Who’s Paying You?’, Hissyspit wrote:

“Lobbyist Lanny Davis taken to the woodshed by Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher.”

The list could go on, but the point’s been made.

Uncle Lanny, I’d say I’m sorry that Jane smacked you around so very publicly, but I’m not.

You deserved what you got for bullshit like this:

“Ms. Hamsher, would you mind sitting there quietly so I can attack you personally by bring up totally irrelevant nonsense from three years ago rather than address your perfectly relevant point about the need for full disclosure on my part?”

Lanny, you’re a dick. I’ll retract my assertion that you’re a dick after you’ve apologized to Jane for your shameful effort to avoid answering her perfectly relevant question.

Till then, you’re a dick.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]

Howard Dean, A Leader We Can Believe In

By: Knoxville Thursday December 17, 2009 12:28 pm

Leadership We Can Believe In

Here’s the situation:

The best-intentioned leaders of health care reform have now joined forces with those whose intentions have been questionable at best. Members from both groups are now on the same page, pushing the latest bullshit compromise-that-isn’t-compromise-at-all health care bill, which will do little-to-nothing to create real competition or reduce the costs of health care for the American people.

Yes, both the best-intentioned leaders of health care reform and those whose intentions have been questionable have come together to declare in one voice that the one who’s doing the most to block what they call “health care reform” (though it is not) is…

wait for it…

Governor Howard Dean.

Laughable? Sure is. But it’s true nonetheless.

Governor Dean has argued that too many lines have been crossed, that what the Democrats are standing for is no longer reform at all, and that the bill currently being proposed in the Senate should be killed so that what little that’s good in it can be passed through budget reconciliation.

Among those whose intentions were good is Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has forcefully come out against Dean, calling him “irresponsible.”

Among those whose intentions have been questionable, the Obama administration’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has forcefully come out against Dean, calling him “irrational.”

(Why these people didn’t come out forcefully against Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) – i.e., why they didn’t call him “irresponsible” and “irrational” back when they should have stopped him from wrecking health care reform – is a question that needs to be set aside for now.)

Senator Rockefeller, Howard Dean isn’t irresponsible.

Robert Gibbs, Howard Dean isn’t irrational.

And we all know that Howard Dean isn’t irrelevant, either.

All the compromises are gone. Health care reform was allowed to slip away in stages (the robust public option: gone; the strong public option: gone; the weak public option with an opt-out for states: gone).

Even the consolation prize was thrown out with the trash (the weak Medicare buy-in: gone).

What we’re left with is regulation of the insurance industry, achieved at the price of taxpayers having to pay off the insurance companies.

Yes, taxpayers (you) will help reduce the costs of health care for families (you), as little-to-nothing is done to bring down costs for the American people (you).

Nate Silver and Bob Cesca – among others – praise the Senate’s final crappy solution because of all the subsidies being offered to families (you), as if those subsidies aren’t being paid by the taxpayers (you).

Click the image to see Nate Silver’s Analysis

Congratulations, American people! You’re bailing out an industry that has done nothing but profit off you as it has found ways to cut you off when you get sick and could care less about whether or not you die (pdf).

And you’re being forced to do it, as purchasing the products of private insurance companies – to the great joy of insurance company executives – will now be mandated by this health care “reform.”

As Howard Dean has said: the bill now represents “a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG.”

So, let’s return to asking why people like Senator Rockefeller and the White House are now calling Howard Dean “irresponsible” and “irrational.”

In fairness to Senator Rockefeller, he most likely is supporting this joke – dubbed LieberCare – for the same reason he supported the creation of a public option: he believes that there is a health care crisis and that people need help.

Firedoglake: It’s LieberCare!

But for him to say that “[Howard Dean] should know better” and that “[Howard Dean] should be ashamed of himself” is laughable.

Senator Rockefeller, you were a leading advocate for real health care reform who A) had a majority of Senators supporting the creation of a public option, B) had a bill that passed in the House of Representatives that included a public option, C) had the majority of the American people supporting a public option (pdf), D) had the President of the United States making public statements supporting a public option.

And still you failed to get a public option.

You, Senator Rockefeller, should have known better. You should have fough harder. You should have fought more effectively.

And you should have won.

Now, you should be ashamed of yourself.

So we have Rockefeller and the White House on the same side, attacking Howard Dean, trying to protect a piece of shit bill that can only be laughingly called “reform.”

And, of course, there’s another big reason why everyone with a “D” after his or her name is now defending this joke of a reform bill so forcefully: they’re incumbents, and incumbents must protect themselves for election years ’10 and ’12.

I’d say that Progressives must now stand up against their failed leadership, but the truth is that all Americans who want real health care reform must now stand up against their failed leadership and embrace Howard Dean’s solution: reconciliation.

By the way, it’s not too soon to start supporting Governor Dean for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party for 2012.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]

PCCC’s Emergency Petition

By: Knoxville Wednesday December 16, 2009 12:19 pm

Click here to sign the PCCC Petition

Click here to sign the PCCC Petition

"Don’t let Joe Lieberman win! Americans need you
to stand strong and block any ‘compromise’ without
a strong public option. If necessary, demand that
Sen. Harry Reid and President Obama support budget
reconciliation and pass a bill with just 51 votes –
at which point, Joe Lieberman will be irrelevant and
the public option can be made even stronger."

Click here to sign the PCCC petition now.

John Kerry Fears People Who Hang Tea Bags from Their Rearview Mirrors

By: Knoxville Tuesday December 15, 2009 8:40 pm

The Failed President and the Failed Senators Announce a “Win”

Today, standing alongside the failed Senate Democratic Majority Leader and other failed Senate Democrats, President Obama acknowledged that we have big problems in our health care system and that we have to fix them. Then he started a new pr campaign to sell as the solution to our problems a bill that includes no real reform and that won’t fix the problems.

President Obama declared, “Now that the legislation has gone from watered down reform to no reform at all, let’s get this done!

Audacious. Hopeful. Indeed.

While ignoring the fact that there were bills in the House and Senate that would have done so much more at a much lower cost, the president told us that they have to pass this bill, or the crisis will get worse. In essence, we’re being asked to forget the fact that this bill is far inferior to all previous proposals, which in themselves were already full of concessions made by Progressives so that we can get some level of reform.

But now that there’s nothing of real reform left to concede to so-called moderate Democrats, the President wants everyone to know that he’s fired up and ready to go.

And rather than oppose this bill as the garbage that it is, a bill that no longer even contains a scrap of what can be called real reform, Senate Democrats have gone into full sales mode to push it on the American people as if it were reform, though it is not.

On MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, for example, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) twisted logic left, right, and backwards in an effort to sell this piece of shit to the American people.

“If this bill fails,” he said, it’ll prove to future generations that the insurance lobbyists are too strong and that it’s too difficult to reform the system.


The bill has failed already, senator. The moment you agreed to stop fighting for real health care reform, it failed.

And the only lesson to be learned from your failure – a lesson that needs to be learned as soon as possible – is that Americans cannot trust Democrats just because they make promises that sound better than the other guys’ promises.

But the most shameless act of the day was Senator John Kerry (D-MA) sending out yet another obnoxious Democratic Party approved email, this one on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to warn us all about the insidious threat to our way of life posed by people who hang tea bags from their rearview mirrors.


Yes, on the same day that President Obama stood alongside a handful of failed Senate Democrats to announce that they’re too incompetent to advance real health care reform and that the country will just have to accept the shit that they’re going to pass and call health care reform instead (though it could potentially make the problems in our health care system worse), Senator Kerry wants you to know what’s really at stake in the 2010 midterm elections.


Kerry thinks you’re stupid enough to believe that Senate Democrats who can’t lead – despite having a supermajority, thanks to voters across the country who believed their promises and who forked over money to them so that they could have a supermajority – aren’t to blame for failing to advance real reform.

No. GOP obstructionism is to blame, Kerry insists. And he wants you to believe that senators inspired by Sarah Palin and the tea party crowd are the real threat.


“In case you doubt the seriousness of this situation, here are a couple of examples:

• Republican Senate candidates, including Mark Kirk of Illinois, are actively seeking Sarah Palin’s endorsement and they are disavowing their own past positions, contorting themselves to appeal to the new Sarah Palin Republicans. They know that if they receive her blessing, the money will follow.

• The leading GOP Senate candidate in Connecticut, Rob Simmons, has been running around the state with a tea bag hanging from his rearview mirror, and he carries a copy of the United States Constitution with a tea bag attached. Such tactics might seem silly. But they’re working.”

Senate Democrats aren’t only incompetent; they’re afraid of a GOP Senate candidate who hangs a tea bag from his rearview mirror.

And they think that we should be afraid of such moronic nonsense, too.


On the same day that Obama and Senate Democrats announced that they’ve failed to reform health care, Kerry wants us to be worrying about people who hang tea bags from their rearview mirrors?

And don’t support more Progressive Democratic Senate candidates, Kerry says.


“Donate to the DSCC. Every dollar you give will help build the grassroots organizations we need to support our incumbents, challenge ridiculous attacks and get each and every Democrat to the polls. It’s the kind of effort we need to keep America moving in the right direction.”

Kerry Signature

What can I say? If you’re afraid of people who hang tea bags on their rearview mirrors, then by all means whip out your checkbooks and donate to the DSCC.

John Kerry and his fellow incumbent Democrats have the right stuff to save you from tea bags that hang from rearview mirrors.

But if you think that achieving real health care reform is more important, then please take a look at Blue America!

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]

Behind Closed Doors, Is Joe Winning or Losing?

By: Knoxville Tuesday December 15, 2009 11:21 am

The future of the latest health care deal in the Senate all comes down to whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gets a good CBO score to showcase at the press conference.

As Sam Stein at HuffPost put it in Senate Democrats Consider Nightmare Scenario On Health Care (Dec 13, 2009):

"There is, currently, a nightmare scenario afflicting Democrats on Capitol Hill with regards to health care reform. And it goes like this: Sometime early next week, leadership gets word from the Congressional Budget Office on their latest outline of reform. The legislative language on which they’ve settled — the one with the clearest promise yet of getting the votes needed to cut off a Republican filibuster — has actually scored quite poorly, saving less money over time and covering fewer people than earlier versions of the bill."


It would appear that the revelations about massive loopholes inserted into this latest Senate deal (loopholes that seriously undermine reform in order to keep costs low), which came out last Thursday and were discussed all day Friday, triggered the first panic.

And Senator Joe Lieberman pushed back on CBS’s Face the Nation last Sunday, threatening now to vote against cloture even for the weak Medicare buy-in.

Yesterday, pressure mounted on Reid from both sides: one side wishes to kill this latest deal because it costs too much for the far too little good that it does; the other, which includes the White House, wishes move forward with anything that they can call health care reform, though it is not health care reform at all.

So, it’s now clearly on Reid.

Jon Walker noted on Dec 13 that up to now there have been nearly a dozen times that “Liberals in Congress create a ‘compromise,’ [that] their supposedly left-wing media apologists rush to say how great it is, and [that] the conservative Democrats move the football again.” Jon points out that Obama and Reid will do anything for a PR victory, no matter how fake.

But this time is different.

Not even an army of supposedly left-wing media apologists can convince the American people that there’s anything great to be found in the latest Senate farce.

Not this time.

The line is draw so starkly that even the casual observer can see it.

The American people clearly see that what is currently being proposed – to strip out the Medicare buy-in while leaving most of the big gifts to the insurance companies in – is bullshit.

On health care reform, there’re no positions in the middle any more. The final scrap that would have allowed Obama and the House and Senate Democrats to pretend that they’ve achieved health care reform is gone.

Now Reid must decide whether he stands with the American people, or against them.

And the more Lieberman pushes back, the more it appears that Reid has received the CBO score and that what it reveals is not good.

The more Lieberman pushes back, the more it looks like there might yet be a chance that Reid will return to his original plan announced in late October, which at least had a weak public option and received a decent score from the CBO.

The American people are watching and waiting to see what Reid does.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]