TPA Blog Round Up (August 24, 2009)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 8:51 am by wcnews

School is starting, and the Texas Progressive Alliance is prepared as always to ace the test. Here is this week’s roundup of blog highlights.

From TXsharon: Woo Hoo! EPA testing has now confirmed wells are contaminated “with various substances connected with gas drilling”–proof that hydraulic fracturing contaminates our drinking water. Even Motley Fool supports the FRAC Act and says industry is “crying wolf.”

Should Texans care about NJ? The Texas Cloverleaf examines why the GOP thinks we should.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says a ‘Wise Latina‘ kicks Republican butt once again.

For a long time it has been universally agreed upon that people should engage in end-of-life planning, at least until right-wing pundits made end-of-life planning an easy but incidental target of their battle against health care reform. Xanthippas at Three Wise Men takes aim at these critics, and the very real harm they do to people with their dishonest and partisan attacks.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows why everyone must call their Represenatives and Senators because It’s time to end America’s health care emergency.

Off the Kuff spent the week following the Sharon Keller trial. He wasn’t impressed by her defense.

Over at TexasKaos, jaxpagan gets us the scoop on Ted Poe’s Town Hall meeting in a funeral parlor. Snark , with a wicked point!

At McBlogger, Harry Balczak takes a few moments to tell us what he thinks about Whole Foods and it’s ‘health care for all’ hating CEO.

Neil at Texas Liberal is back from a two-week vacation that took him to Chicago, Kenosha, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. This itinerary is consistent with a post Neil made earlier this summer encouraging folks to visit the industrial midwest. With vacation over, it’s time now to think of school and swine flu. It sure would help if more working people had paid sick days to help manage getting sick themselves and having kids sick at home.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston has some questions to ask Congressman Pete Olson at his town hall mtg on Aug 29.

Some of the very worst of Texas was on full display last week, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documented the atrocities.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is still appalled at the chaos and conflict demonstrated by a Bi-Polar America trying to decide Who is Worthy of a Healthy Life and Who is Not.


Bill White in Williamson County – UPDATED w/photos

Posted in Commentary, Democratic Events, Good Stuff, US Senate Race, Williamson County at 11:27 pm by wcnews

Democrats in Williamson County got their first look and list to Houston Mayor Bill White, at today’s Taking Back Texas event in Round Rock.  White is a candidate for U.S. Senate to fill the seat now held by Kay Bailey Hutchison.  He spoke to a room full of Democrats in Williamson County today, laying out his record of service first as legislative assistant in  Congress, then as Deputy Secretary of Energy in the Clinton Administration, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, and now as the Mayor of Houston.

White was first elected Mayor of Houston in 2004 and has been reelected twice with overwhelming majorities, and bipartisan support – over 85% both times – and has an impressive record of accomplishments while in office.  He had a great line in his stump speech stating,”I know the difference between victory and landing on an aircraft carrier”, which brought the house down.

He also stated he’s raised more money, just on the internet, than all the other candidates that are running for this office combined.  He’s got an impressive campaign so far, with a Central Texas coordinator already in place.  Of course they would like anyone who is interested to go his web site, BillWhiteForTexas, and give the campaign your email address to stay informed.

Thanks to the WCDP Events Committee for planning this great event.  We also understand that a similar event in Williamson County is being planned with John Sharp for next month.  It’s another sign that Democrats all over the state have taken notice of the Democrats success in Williamson County and know it’s an integral part of the Democrats drive to “Take Back Texas”.

[UPDATE]: Pictures from the event by Gerrie McCall.


(Houston Mayor Bill White, WCDP Executive Director Lindsey Ellerbach,
WCDP Chair Richard Torres).



It’s time to end America’s health care emergency

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary, Had Enough Yet?, Health Care, Insurance Reform, Money In Politics at 10:30 am by wcnews

We have a health care emergency in America.  There’s a very simple fact to keep in mind about fixing the health emergency and the Republican party.  They know that if President Obama and the Democrats are able to pass a health care plan that puts an end to our current health care emergency, and brings about doctor-patient care, (which is what a public option would bring about), then they will be in the minority again for a long, long time.  That is the main reason the GOP is against this, because helping the American people, in this instance, will hurt their party.

Of course another reason they fight against fixing the health care emergency is because they receive large amounts of money from insurance corporations.  As do some Democrats as well.  (On that front, in the Senate the chart below is especially helpful.  This chart doesn’t just show who brings in the most corporate cash, but how dependent each senator is on that cash compared to the cash they get as donations from their own constituents).


As Nate Silver points out in the original post, The Real Problem with The Senate’s Small-State Bias, the “Gang of Six” in the Senate are extremely dependent on corporate donations.

It is worth noting, by the way, that the six senators on Baucus’s mini-committee are especially egregious in this regard. They rank #1 (Mike Enzi), #6 (Chuck Grassley), #11 (Kent Conrad), #13 (Baucus), #14 (Jeff Bingaman) and #20 (Olympia Snowe) in the share of contributions received from corporate PACs (an average of 47.5 percent of their funds overall).

It’s more than worth noting.  Maybe they should have to wear the advertisements on their clothes so we would know who owns them?

The part that’s largely been left out of this debate, that hopefully is  about to get much more attention is the enourmous amount of profits insurance corporations make off premium paying Americans, or George Lakoff calls private taxation.

Private Taxation. Insurance companies have the power to tax and they tax the public mightily. When 20 percent to 30 percent of payments do not go to health care, but to denying care and profiting from it, that constitutes a tax on the 96 percent of voters that have health care. But the tax does not go to benefit those who are taxed; it benefits managers and investors. And the people taxed have no representation. Insurance company health care is a huge example of taxation without representation. And you can’t vote out the people who have taxed you. The American Plan offers an alternative to private taxation.

It’s taxation without representation.  While we can see the insurance corporations are well represented in the Senate, and especially on the Senate Finance Committee, who’s representing the people?  Congressman Henry Waxman will soon be shining a light on the insurance corporations profit-taking as they deny coverage, Waxman Opening another Front in Healthcare Debate?

Democrats on a House committee are seeking detailed financial records from dozens of large insurance companies, officials disclosed Tuesday, part of an investigation into ”executive compensation and other business practices” in an industry opposed to President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul health care.

The request included records relating to compensation of highly paid employees, documents relating to companies’ premium income and claims payments, and information on expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years.

It’s long past time that insurance paying Americans, many who get denied care by insurance corporations bureaucrats, know what they’re money is going to instead to the care they were promised when the insurance corporation denies, or rations, they’re care.

A good term for how insurance corporations ration care is Murder by Spreadsheet. Here’s an example of how that works, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Conrad, care to respond to this grief-stricken family?

It’s an emergency that’s been hidden with phony debates over the last couple of weeks. When Americans understand what the plan is, a public option, doctor-patient care, health care for all, they overwhelmingly approve, New poll finds that 77 percent of Americans still support the public option.

While this debate lasts all Americans must know that we have a health care emergency in this country.  One party has a vested interest in keeping that emergency going.  Many politicians, especially small state U.S. Senators, also have a vested interest in keeping that emergency going.  It’s up to the rest of us to end the emergency.

Carter to speak at right wing rally on Saturday

Posted in District 31, Right Wing Lies at 8:50 am by wcnews

There’s likely to be a bunch of birthers and deathers in the crowd.  Folks like Rep. John Carter’s ‘ol friend Tom DeLay.  If you don’t know what a “birther” is, here’s video to clue you in.

Here’s a good explanation of what a “deather” is, and the video debunking it below:

Those are the kind of people our member of Congress hangs out with.

Carter to Join Tea Party Townhall Meeting in Salado

(SALADO, TEXAS) – U.S. Representative John Carter (R-TX31) will participate in a Townhall Meeting sponsored by the Tea Party organization this Saturday in Salado. The meeting will focus on all issues facing Congress, including the controversial health care reform proposal pushed by House Democrats and the Obama Administration.

WHO: Congressman John Carter, Tea Party Organization
WHAT: Townhall Meeting on Health Care Reform and Congressional issues
WHEN: 10:30am, Saturday, August 22
WHERE: Wildfire Rodeo Grounds, Salado

If one were to be in Salado from 10:00am until 12:30p, it would be possible to make it 30 miles south to the event at Junior’s in Round Rock. Senatorial candidate Bill White will join us at 1:00pm.


Earle not in “yet”, Schieffer talks with bloggers

Posted in 2010 Primary, Around The State, Commentary, Election 2010, Good Stuff at 9:43 am by wcnews

Former Travis county DA Ronnie Earle was spoke at the Texans for Obama meeting in Austin on Tuesday.   Katherine Haenschen at BOR has a great report, Ronnie Earle: “I Am Not A Candidate, Yet.”.

Last night at the monthly Texans for Obama meeting in Austin, Ronnie Earle came ready to win supporters with remarks about his priorities for the future Texas. While he clearly stated that he is not “yet” a candidate for the Governor’s office, it’s clear that the former District Attorney of Travis County is giving strong consideration to the race. He should–Earle is poised to be the immediate front-runner upon entering, and would provide the exciting candidate Democrats up and down the ballot need in 2010.

Earle’s not-a-stump-speech focused on three themes that would likely form the basis of his platform in a potential gubernatorial bid: prosperity, public safety, and equal justice under the law. Tapping in to his long career in law enforcement, he emphasized a need to crack down on drug cartels, and stressed a need for not only tough prosecution, but smart prevention. In his three decades of service as Austin’s D.A., it’s clear that Earle knows much about how Texas can do better.

In his comments on the decline of the middle class in Texas, Earle made it clear that he sees a need to move Texas in a different direction, which he described as towards “more general prosperity.” Earle enumerated several key issues on which this prosperity-push would focus, namely education, jobs, health care, transportation, and the environment. However, he demured from offering specific policy proposals, repeatedly stating that he wasn’t a candidate yet.

Earle also stressed the importance of civic engagement and working together, in terms of the citizenry and law enforcement agencies, and as good neighbors. Calling for an end to bureaucratic turf-war, Earle seems full of ideas of how Texas government can do more for the people of Texas, and less for the powerful few who control so much of the business in the Capitol.

It’s a great populist message that none of the announced candidates, of either party, are speaking about.  He even goes so far as to mention the plight of the middle class.  Earle is the only one left that could enter the race that  get the Democratic base in Texas fired up and working for his campaign.

Progressives, Democrats, and Texans who want a governor who will listen to them in return should hope that Earle gets into the race. He’s got strong ideas, he’s already solid on the stump. Best of all, it appears that he’s already considering the shape of a potential bid: a strongly-grassroots, supporter-driven campaign with an emphasis on personally connecting with the voters. Earle stressed that groups such as Texans for Obama can trump the moneyed interests that control politics, touching on the Obama campaign and the current battle for health insurance reform.

Ronnie Earle needs to get in the race. He’s eminently qualified, he’s got a long record of public service to the people of Texas. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s simultaneously self-deprecating and proud of his work as Travis County’s DA for over three decades. He’s a great candidate. All he needs to do is get in the race, and give Texans a chance to elect the leader we deserve.

Not mentioned and one of the things Earle will bring to the race is a Democrat that’s not afraid to take it straight to the Republicans, he won’t shrink from a fight. Yes, Earle needs to run for governor of Texas.

So far Tom Schieffer is the likely frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas, of those who have announced. He sat down with some bloggers in Houston and Greg Wythe has this report, Lunch With Tom. It’s clear that Schieffer still has a long way to go to convince Democrats to work hard for his campaign. Shcieffer’s problem, as EOW laid out before, is not whether Democrats will fall in line and vote for him if he wins the primary. It’s whether Democrats will get out and do the work that’s needed for him to win. Here’s few excerpts.

In short, I think there’s room for me to like the guy. But I’d like to see some depth and detail that isn’t there now. Tom spoke at great length about how Texas schoolkids should be given the the tools and resources to be more competitive in an increasingly globalized society. He added examples of what more could be done, such as increasing rural broadband. But when I pressed for some details, there just wasn’t anything there.

I’m exactly the type of person to be swayed by elegant rhetoric on international competitiveness and I didn’t leave impressed enough. There’s still something to be said for getting a big picture grasp of the issue the way Tom does. That probably has a lot to do with why I left not wanting to close the door on considering his candidacy. But at the same time, there doesn’t seem to be much yet for me to grab hold of and explain to someone why a Tom Schieffer governorship would be a game-changer for the Texas economy.

Beyond that, being a big picture guy may be fine for a manager, but being a good manager isn’t going to be enough to win a bare-knuckle campaign or even deal with a contentious lege. Tom needs to turn some of his parables and monologues into shorter, more detailed, and concrete concepts. It might be worth a check back once he’s staffed up for some policy research and there’s more “there” there. I’m open-minded enough to at least give him that.

If nothing else, for now, he’s a notch above any other candidate who just wants to run down some standard party-line talking points with me and expect applause. But until the time arrives when Tom can talk about the issues that he talked about today in a more meaningful way, I think a talking-points candidate would have the upper hand in a contested primary.

That’s a fair assessment. As for the 800 pound gorilla question.

As to the “Bush Question” …

Tom has a way of trying to put the question behind him (see the Red, White & Blue interview for example) by saying how people ask him about it at events, but after he talks issues, the question never comes up again. How did our lunch end up? … with the “question” being discussed even more forcefully than it was at the start. I doubt we’re the outlier. I don’t fault him for trying to move the question aside that way, but I think it’s an indication of how ineffectively he’s communicating issues when it keeps coming up like that. At the end of the day, I think it’s issues that move aside the “question,” not a snappy zinger to the question itself. (Emphasis added).

My own view of the Bush question is that I still place Tom a notch above where I had Sanchez pegged in 2002. Sanchez, you’ll recall, became a Bush donor after he got on the bad side of Ann Richards. There were actual state policy matters that went into that feud. Tom just became friends with Bush for whatever reason, worked with him and voted for him and served for him. I fail to see that relationship being an indicator of anything more problematic than the guy I voted for in 2002.

Without any series policy change issues – just continuing to bash Perry won’t be enough – he’ll just the be “the guy that voted for Bush”. Greg has much more and it’s good to see this frank take on Schieffer’s campaign at this point. Shcieffer and Earle in a Democratic Primary would bring some needed excitement to the Democratic side. It may also give Democrats a reason to turn out in March and hopefully encourage more Democrats to step up and run statewide in 2010.  And that’s what’s needed more than anything.


Interesting tidbits

Posted in Commentary, Media at 1:16 pm by wcnews

We like to post this quote from time to time:

I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.
– John Stuart Mill, Letter to the Conservative MP, Sir John Pakington (March 1866)

It’s obvious that anywhere you see the word “conservative” it could just be replaced with “Fox News viewer”, Fox News viewers overwhelmingly misinformed about health care reform proposals.

And this, (via Atrios), does the best job of illuminating how worthless corporate health insurance is:

Hell, I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what value the insurance companies add at all. Seems like all they do is skim money off the top, add layers of paperwork, and then screw people when they get a serious illness.

John Stewart, The Daily Show, Monday, August 17, 2009.

Although, to be fair…it’s not a health insurance company, it’s an auto insurance company, it’s completely different. Because with cars, unlike with people, there’s a government mandate saying you’re required to insure them, because cars are important.

Taxes on the rise in Williamson County

Posted in Commissioners Court, Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock, Taxes, Taylor, Williamson County at 11:35 am by wcnews

It’s a fact of life in Texas – where we mainly use two taxes, (sales and property), are used to fund local government – that when one goes down, the other will have to go up. In Williamson County, Round Rock in particular seems to be facing the biggest challenge in the near future.

The Texas Comptroller’s July sales tax figures show the problem.  The cities in Williamson county overall are collecting less sales tax this year, down 11.61% in July, and down 10.51% for the year so far.  But for Round Rock the news is much worse, where sales taxes were down 19.85% in July, and are down 13.55% for the year so far.

It was possible to keep property taxes low in Round Rock because of the tremendous sales tax revenue it received as a result of  being the home to Dell Computer. That will no longer be the case, Tax rate increase sought to help offset decline in Dell sales taxes.

Worried about slumping sales tax revenue from Dell Inc., a huge source of income for the City of Round Rock, budget officers on Tuesday further increased the property tax rate in next year’s proposed city budget.

At a retreat to discuss the 2009-10 budget, officials adjusted the proposed tax rate to 39.66 cents per $100 of assessed property value from the previously proposed rate of 38.91 cents. Last year’s rate was 36.52 cents per $100 of assessed value.


The utility rate will increase by a proposed 5.8 percent in January 2010, which is the last of the scheduled rate increases since 2006 to pay for a partnership with the cities of Leander and Cedar Park to provide water from Lake Travis.

The number in Round Rock are startling because of the impact it now has on the county overall.  While the cities in the county, as a whole, so far have taken in almost $7.3 million less than they had at this time last year. A little over $6 million of that is from Round Rock alone.  Round Rock represented, at this time last year, 64% of the sales tax revenue, so far this year 62%.  It’s easy to see from that why Round Rock, the largest city in the county, is a major part of the county’s economic performance. The next closest in sales tax revenue are Cedar Park And Georgetown which bring in less than 1/4th of the money that Round Rock does.

Another hard hit city in the county is Taylor. Where according the Comptroller they’re sales tax revenue is down almost 28% from this time last year. And the tax rate will being going up in Taylor, Max tax rate set.

The Taylor City Council unanimously approved setting the upper limit of the city’s tax rate at 81.4767 cents— just over 2 cents more than the current tax rate. The council will set the new tax rate Sept. 3.

Property taxes may go up in Hutto as well. Not because of a sales tax revenue decrease, but because of the passage of bond propositions, Hutto’s bond election set.

Hutto City Council approved Nov. 3 as the date for residents to determine if the city should issue more than $22 million of debt for parks and street improvements and lengthening city council terms to three years.


Street improvements include upgrading Farley, East, West, Jim Cage and Metcalf streets and Mager Lane. Sidewalk projects are also included along FM 1660, connecting a network of sidewalks to existing and planned sidewalks and fencing along Carl Stern Boulevard and Front Street.

The remaining three propositions address proposed parks and recreation projects. They would include creating a parks master plan for Fritz Park, future parkland acquisition, creating a 25,000 square foot YMCA recreational center and a sports complex.

If voters approve the projects, property taxes will be affected. City Finance Manager Micah Grau gave an initial estimate of a 20-cent tax rate increase as bonds are issued. Those rate hikes would come over time as each portion of the bond is issued.

Of course the Williamson County Commissioners Court last week made it clear that county property taxes are going to be raised too, Our broken health insurance system is hitting home in Williamson County.


La mar-kee or Ma lar-kee? Hutchison announces

Posted in 2010 Primary, Around The State, Commentary, Road Issues, Transportation at 2:43 pm by wcnews

Yes the most unsurprising, and uninspiring, official announcement in Texas was made yesterday when GOP U.S Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison entered the race for Texas Governor.  It’s also becoming painfully obvious that her campaign isn’t quite up to speed.

The first time he said it, you weren’t sure you had heard what you thought you heard. The second time, there was no doubt.

The disembodied announcer voice at Kay Bailey Hutchison’s gubernatorial campaign kickoff event was mispronouncing the name of her high school.

La Marque (la mark) High School had been fancified to La Marquis (la mar-kee) High School.

“They keep saying it,” a La Marque cheerleader said to a fellow cheerleader in the school gym where Hutchison announced her candidacy.

As BOR shows the snafus just keep coming, TX-Gov: Has Hutchison Gone From “Rocky Start” to Breaking the Law?

Isn’t that a violation of the Texas Election Code? Although the words “for” and “Governor” never appear on the screen, which may avoid the discussion of “type size” in the code, the announcer clearly says, “Kay Bailey Hutchison. Governor. For Texas,” a phrasing that obviously violates the intent of the law by giving the impression she is Governor instead of saying “for Governor,” so as to clarify that Hutchison does not hold the office of Governor.

My understanding is that, in the past, there have been sworn complaints against candidates up and down the ballot for not including these words in their campaign advertising and that fines have been levied against those candidates. I’m trying to do some research to find some examples, but it is definitely something I always expect to see in campaign materials.

Now, Senator Hutchison’s campaign may get by on a technicality; perhaps they know some loophole I don’t. But the intent of the law appears to be pretty clear: to keep non-incumbents from portraying themselves as incumbents, which she is clearly doing through the voice-over announcer.

At the very least, this is another example of Senator Hutchison’s perpetual “rocky start” to this campaign. But it could be a lot more serious this time — her campaign may have begun down a slippery slope where bad habits go from unprofessional to illegal.

The Governor’s mansion is not a retirement home, and even though Senator Hutchison is one of the few career politicians to hold her current statewide office longer than Rick Perry, that doesn’t mean she gets to pretend she’s already Governor and ignore campaign laws. We’ll be following up on this story as we learn more.

The DMN’s transportation blog points out that she’s given no details on transportation funding. While she said, “It is time to return to our tradition of free, quality highways and roads.” That means little. There are no free roads in reality. But free roads often means non-tolled roads. With only two way to pay for roads – tolls or taxes – we are left to assume she will finance roads, if elected, with taxes. But it’s unlikely that Hutchison will ever utter the “T” word in a GOP primary.

This DMN editorial has 6 questions Hutchison must answer.

You can listen to her interview yesterday on local KLBJ-AM radio with Jeff Ward. He asked her why not a two term limit in the US Senate? He didn’t bring up her own hypocrisy on term limits.  That she went back on her pledge in1993 to only server two terms in the Senate.

Hutchison and her campaign are continuing to show the signs that they were expecting a coranation and not a campaign.  Much of what we’ve seen so far just seems like a bunch of malarkey.

You gotta stand up and mean something

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary, Health Care, Insurance Reform at 1:24 pm by wcnews

The lesson Democrats are forgetting from the 1993 health care debate, that’s being repeating now, is that Democrats are the party that is killed health insurance reform then. And, as in 1993, so far in 2009, a bill has yet to get to the floor of either chamber for debate or a vote. While the Democrats had many other issues back then that lead to losing control of Congress, the inability to pass health reform when controlling all branches of government, was the final nail in the coffin.

Some Democratic supporters are trying to show Democrats need to ignore attempts at bipartisanship and pass the best bill Democrats can agree on to help the American people.  Watching several interviews yesterday – Jane Hamsher, Lawrence O’Donnell, Arianna Huffington and Howard Dean –  it became clear that the base of the Democratic Party was given little to fight for from the beginning in this health care debate. The smart people in the Obama administration should have been able to take note of the overwhelming public support for government intervention in health care this Spring,  and come out with a simple plan and message. Let Americans buy Medicare, give us an up or down vote on Medicare for all.

What’s becoming clear is that Centrist and “Blue Dog” Democrats are not afraid of having to vote against a good  bill,  ( which could include Medicare for all or a public option), but what they’re afraid of  is a vote even coming up. Because if it did they would  likely vote for it. They know it’s the right thing to do for their constituents, and our country in the long run. But they think in the short run it could cost them their seat.  What the President and some Democrats need to understand is that they’re better off without and few “Blue Dogs”, and having a health care plan and the base still with them, then they are having those “Blue Dogs” in office without health reform and without the base of the party.

Here’s the video of Jane Hamsher’s back and forth yesterday with Andread Mitchell,(Did you know she’s Alan Greenpsan’s wife?). Pay particular attention to the conversation at about 2:45 in:

Hamsher: Frankly I’d like to see Democrats like Evan Bayh and Like Max Baucus stand on the floor of the Senate and filibuster the Democratic program that 76% of the country supports.

Mitchell: But you know that’s not going to happen. That’s not where they are.

Hamsher: Why not?

Mithchell: Because that’s not where they see there constituency. That’s not where Evan Bayh sees his more conservative Democrats in his state of Indiana.

Hamsher: Evan Bayh’s wife is no the board of Wellpoint. So I think he’s going to have a problem doing something that tanks the Democratic plan, that strongly favors something he has a financial interest in. There’s a whole lot of insurance money going to these Senators and that’s going to be something that people are going to be looking into if that’s how this winds up.

EOW’s previous reporting on Evan Bayh can be found here. This is why a bill hasn’t come to the floor of the Senate yet.  Because many Democrats, likely including the Majority Leader Harry Reid, don’t want to risk their cushy Senate seats on a vote like this. But failure also means that they would lose they’re leadership roles, if Congress changes hands in 2010.

Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday made the point that Democrats should have been selling Medicare for all since the last attempt to reform health care failed:

For the last 15 years, (since the Clinton health plan failed), Democrats should have been selling Medicare for all. And maybe 15 years later this Congress would have been ready for a clean yes or no vote on that question. That would be worth fighting for.

Arianna Huffington then went on to explain why the GOP should be ignored in this debate, and what the perils of a bad bipartisan bill are.

Democrats need to stop appeasing Republicans, believing that somehow they’re going to be able to give up enough to bring them along. (Which she states later cannot be done).


Here’s what is going to pass. It’s not going to be real reform, it’s going to be reform, in name only. It’s not going to work and then [Republicans] are going to turn around and blame it on government, because there will have been some government in it.

Essentially what she’s saying is that if Democrats are going to have to defend the government being involved in health  insurance, then Democrats should pass a bill that’s likely to work and worth defending.  Not some bad plan that’s likely to fail and set our country back another 25 years on health insurance reform.

But Howard Dean, as he always does, puts it in terms that Democrats can easily understand.

What you’re seeing is a bit of the old Democratic Party. When I got to Washington as Chair of the DNC, the new Chair of the DNC, I found the Democrats thinking that if they were only a little more like the Republicans they’d win things. That is a fatal way to go. You lose your base, you get people to have a lack of enthusiasm…


You gotta stand up and mean something. I think the President is better off saying, “Here’s what were going to do and here’s how were going to do it”. It’s not worth being bipartisan to have a lousy bill. The Republicans never had any intention of being bipartisan. So let’s get our bill on, let’s do what Franklin Roosevelt did, let’s pass the program, people are going to be very happy with it, and this will be forgotten, and we’ll pick up seats in the Fall of 2010 just like Franklin Roosevelt did.

That’s music to every Democrats ears.

What Centrist and “Blue Dogs” have to understand is that they’re better off in 2010 defending a good health insurance reform plan and having a popular President and the base of the party to back them up, then they will be with a weakened President and trying to defend their failure and the status quo – with tens of millions still uninsured and health insurance rising at an astronomical rate for the rest of us.

It’s won’t be an easy vote for them but sometimes elected officials have to put what’s right ahead of what’s easy. We voted overwhelmingly for change in our country’s health insurance system in 2008. If that doesn’t happen before the mid-term elections and Democrats lose, they’ll lose because they lost the enthusiasm and base Democratic support that’s needed to win elections, not because the GOP increased their support.

[O’Donnell, Huffington and Dean are all transcribed from last night’s Countdown].


Tom DeLay upstages Kay Bailey Hutchison

Posted in 2010 Primary, Good Stuff at 5:06 pm by wcnews

Surely the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign governor never could have imagined that something as silly as a TV show announcement would step on their candidates “official” announcement, but it did.  As I was checking the news via the RSS reader today I noticed that disgraced former Texas GOP Congressman Tom DeLay was stealing Hutchison’s announcement spotlight, (As of 5 PM today at Google News it was 886 DeLay, 728 Hutchison).  Priceless!

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