In the euphoric days following the Democratic steamroller in the US House, the conversation quickly turned, since as Democrats we’re actually concerned with governing, The Democratic challengers had made quite a few rather concrete promises, and the question was how to actually get anything done in a split congress. One possible solution was to pass promises made through the House, and then let Yertl the Turtle scuttle them in the Senate, enabling the Democrats to put more pressure on flipping the Senate to get those measures passed.That’s a perfectly valid strategy, since it shows that we’re doing our part, and it’s McConnell and the Senate that are stifling popular measures. My personal suggestion was that we consider using incremental steps on big issue legislation. Medicare-for-all was a perfect example. It’s popularity in polling is now well over 50%. and a lot of candidates touted it in their campaigns, but it’s not something that could be passed in this congress , Or even in a Democratic Senate that lacked 60 votes to break a filibuster. So don’t even try. Remember, a walk scores the same run as a homer if you can get all the way around the bases. My suggestion was to break Medicare-for-all into smaller, incremental pieces, each one of which itself is popular, and yet sets the table for future incremental steps. The example I chose was prescription drug prices. Medicare and Medicaid combined are the largest purchasers of prescription drugs in the United States. And yet they are at the mercy of the big pharma companies, forced to pay the “going freight.” Pass a bill that allows Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with the drug companies for lower, bulk prices. And if they refuse, then threaten to negotiate directly with Canadian drug companies for FDA approved alternates. Since the GOP base is largely made up of older, lower income, white Americans that are currently on either Medicare of Medicaid, good luck killing that bill in the Senate, and see what it gets you.The next increment would be to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with insurance company medical “groups” of hospitals and physicians for lower rates. See how it goes? Well, one of the candidates currently running for President on the Democratic side is proposing to do exactly that, but writ large, and on a much sneakier (which I of course love) level. In her televised town hall in Michigan on MSNBC Monday night, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand floated her own vision of Medicare-for-all, on an incremental level. One possibility that has been floated was for anybody over the age of 50 or 55 to be able to voluntarily “buy in” to Medicare. This is a totally sensible plan, since it allows those most likely to be uncovered by private or company provided insurance access to healthcare, and it also minimized the “high risk” pool for insurance companies. Gillibrand’s plan is subtly different, but that subtle difference make all the difference in the world. Her plan would allow anybody not covered by private insurance to “guy into” Medicare, regardless of their age. It would leave people already covered by private or company provided medical insurance the option to keep their coverage if they wished. In my humble opinion, if this bill passed, it would lead to Medicare-for-all […]
Hola Democratic contenders! You guys and gals are knocking my socks off out there. You’re in all kinds of weather, all kinds of diners and town halls, making all kinds of great first impressions. Just a quick couple of shout outs. Senator Klobuchar? I love what you’re doing, and by getting an early start, you’re getting some nice coverage to enhance your name recognition on national coverage. But one little thing. That folksy, down home, shy, smiling, shiv-in-the-back thing is my shtick, and I can’t afford to lose this gig, so knock it off, OK? And Senator Gillibrand? Don’t worry about that little fork-or-fingers thing in South Carolina. It happens to the best of us. One time, in a fancy, high hat restaurant, I dipped my bread stick in the finger bowl, and then, to cover it up, I dipped my fingers into the wasabi after using them to eat my sushi. And if any of those MAGA morons give you a ration of shit about it, just show them that picture of the Great Pumpkin using a plastic knife and fork to eat New York Style pizza about 4 years ago when he had his pizza summit with Caribou Barbie when she was angling for another VP chance. You’re all out there right now, 20 months before the 2020 election, and 15 months before the convention for the same reason, the early bird gets the worm. You’re all out there, taking your message to the streets, banking that early media coverage, defining yourself now, before the field gets too crowded, and face time on the networks becomes scarce. That’s the ticket, but in watching the coverage, I notice that there’s one message I’m not hearing from anybody, and I think it’s a golden opportunity being squandered. By all of you. James Carville nailed it to the wall a generation ago when he drawled out “It’s the economy, stupid!” And he was right, it always comes down to the economy, one way or the other. That was true then, and it’s just as true now. Incumbent Presidents use a good economy as a display of their stewardship, and challengers use a bad economy to hit the incumbent President over the head with. But guess what? Taxes are a part of the economy. And right now, if there’s one thing that the Republicans don’t want to talk about, it’s taxes. Especially not Trump’s “big, beautiful Christmas present” tax cuts. Any time is not a good time for the GOP to be ta king about taxes, and right now is the worst time of all for them to be hearing anybody talk about taxes, especially you. Because right now it’s tax time. Trump took sole ownership of, and saddled the GOP with his disastrous tax plan because he’s an idiot, and so are his advisers. They know that Trump can’t count to 20 without taking off his shoes and socks, and he has the attention span of a newt, so they explained why these tax cuts were so good for him. They never bothered to explain how everybody else was going to take it in the shorts, and it didn’t matter anyway. Narcissist that he is, what was good for Trump was good for everybody, case closed. And that’s how he sold it. Trump and the GOP started […]
You ain’t seen nothing yet, the best is yet to come Frank Sinatra This is actually a companion article to the one I published this morning about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. You know, like those bright, colorful cartoon pictures the staff puts into the Presidential Daily Briefing to get him to pick the damn thing up? There is an old saying that is often applied to politics, especially to a candidate or incumbent, “Death by 1,000 cuts.” It basically means that while a politician may not suffer one fatal blow, he is nonetheless done in by an endless series of minor nicks and cuts, and the cumulative effect does him in. Trump has been suffering from this phenomena since his inauguration. The constant lies, starting with his crowd size at his puny, second rate inauguration. The flap over Jared Kushner’s security form omissions, then his being granted a security clearance over objections to his qualifications. The Michael Flynn fiasco. The Rob Porter mess. The Mueller investigation. The firing of James Comey and Jeff Sessions. The list goes on and on. And while any one of several of those would have been enough to scuttle almost any other Presidency, he has survived them, but the cumulative effect is killing him. His poll numbers are dropping, core constituencies are abandoning him, and he is seeing sudden, small but growing, reticence in his own caucus to blindly follow him down amy more rabbit holes. Well, the condition that has been causing Trump so much agita is about to afflict the rest of the Republican party. And not just in time for 2020, but because of 2020. Slowly but surely the Democratic field of hopefuls is starting to trickle in, And the first two out of the gate, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have already administered the first couple of nicks to the skin of the GOP. In the 2018 midterms the Democrats discovered the secret sauce to beating not only Trump, but the GOP as a whole. And that was to ignore Trump and the personalities around him, and talk about the issues important to the voters. Not only that, but talk about them in terms that the voters can understand, and offer cogent solutions that voters can understand and approve of. It was almost unheard of for a Democratic congressional candidate to even refer to Trump by name, instead they focused on issues, many of them issues that their opponent had taken a stand on, and offered better solutions. This is the kiss of death for the GOP in an election, for one simple reason. And that reason is that Republicans mostly advocate for things that most ordinary people really, really don’t like. They got away with it for a long time simply because the Democrats bought into their “safe gerrymandered district” bullshit and didn’t bother to run meaningful opposition to them. That changed in 2018, and you know what they say, nothing succeeds like success. It’s already started, as I pointed out earlier. Elizabeth Warren has already come out swinging with her “wealth tax” plan, and it is well enough thought out to already provide details that show people how it would work, it isn’t just some vague, nebulous promise. And while Kamala Harris’s insurance company killing Medicare for all plan isn’t as […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.