Archive | October 2009

Lieberman Showing His Independent Streak

Joe seems to be showing some backbone in standing up to the Obamacrat leaders:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care reform bill.

Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is positioning himself as a fiscal hawk on the issue, said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program — even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as Reid’s has said the Senate bill will.

“We’re trying to do too much at once,” Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now.”

Lieberman added that he’d vote against a public option plan “even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line.”

His comments confirmed that Reid is short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill out of the Senate, even after Reid included the opt-out provision. Several other moderate Democrats expressed skepticism at the proposal as well, but most of the wavering Democratic senators did not go as far as Lieberman Tuesday, saying they were waiting to see the details.

That means that, assuming Olympia Snowe and the rest of the lefty Republicans in the Senate stand firm, Reid does not–I say again, DOES NOT–have the votes to overcome a filibuster. Personally, I think on this one they will… they appear to have learned the lesson that being the lone Republican voting for something like this just makes them a nice target.

The Obamacrats in the House can complain all they want, and the Daily Kossacks can whine until 2012 and beyond, but any form of single-payer healthcare certainly looks like it won’t get through the Senate, no matter what focus-grouped term you choose to use as a label.


Gingrich Misses The Mark

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has really lost touch with his conservative principles:

Gingrich called Scozzafava a “liberal Republican” for her support of gay marriage and abortion rights. But he defended those positions as in-step with her district and her predecessor, former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), who was tapped to be President Barack Obama’s Army Secretary.

Now, follow the logic here:

  1. Scozzafava is, according to Gingrich, “in-step” with her predecessor.
  2. Said predecessor was so liberal that he was hand-picked for an administration post by a man who is arguably the most liberal President in modern history.
  3. Therefore, Scozzafava is also liberal enough to be adored by Barack.

And Gingrich wonders why conservatives not only aren’t rallying around her, but are actively lambasting him for his support of this Democrat-in-Republican-clothing?

One wonders if this isn’t primarily Newt’s ego talking, attacking rather than “lose face” by admitting he goofed when he first endorsed her. Memo to Mr. Gingrich: Admitting you’re wrong is the honorable thing to do; attacking the base isn’t gonna get you anywhere.

Health Insurers Not Really Raking In The Profits

And, believe it or not, it’s the AP that explains it:

Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They’re all more profitable than the health insurance industry.

In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making “immoral” and “obscene” returns while “the bodies pile up.”

Ledgers tell a different reality. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.

One thing to watch for is politicians and pundits talking about insurers’ profit in absolute dollars, not as a percentage of revenues. This is highly misleading, bordering on outright dishonesty, because in order to stay in business health insurers have to have extremely large cash reserves; these are required by most states, and even if not required, the money to pay for all those procedures have to come from somewhere. Since most states also have laws that require payment of medical insurance claims within a set time frame (30 days is usual), it’s not like the company can sit around and wait for next months’ premiums to roll in.

The more we learn about the Obamacrats and their push to take over the health care of all Americans, the more questionable claims and dishonest statements we find.

Good Signs (For Conservatives) On ObamaCare In The Senate

Of all places, the AP lays out the problem:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Democrats’ control of a hefty majority in the Senate – plus the House – would suggest that President Barack Obama is within reach of overhauling the nation’s health care system this fall.

But the numbers mask a more complicated reality: Obama and Democratic leaders have modest leverage over several pivotal Senate Democrats who are more concerned about their next election or feel they have little to lose by opposing their party’s hierarchy.

One is still smarting from being forced to abandon next year’s election. Another had to leave the Democratic Party to stay in office. And some are from states that Obama lost badly last year.

These factors will limit the president’s ability to play his strongest card – an appeal for party loyalty and Democratic achievement – in trying to muster the 60 votes his allies will need this fall to overcome a Republican filibuster in the 100-member Senate.

When lawmakers face a tough vote, their uppermost thought is “survival,” said Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican who spent three terms in the Senate.

On a very few occasions, Simpson said, then-President George H.W. Bush asked him to cast a vote likely to cause him political problems back home. That was perhaps three times in 18 years, said Simpson, who held a GOP leadership post. “I swallowed hard and went over the cliff,” he said.

But it’s a sacrifice that presidents and party leaders should not count on, he said.

Another point that the AP fails to mention is the President’s quickly-evaporating political capital, as evidenced both by his sagging poll numbers and increasing attacks from the left (no, I am not a poll-watcher, but most elected Democrats are).

All told, the chances of a clear defeat for ObamaCare are looking better and better.

Liberal Republicans and New Coke

If the headline has you confused, just bear with me for a bit.

A lot of us probably remember the “New Coke” debacle of the 1980s, and its aftermath. Somewhat surprisingly (or maybe not), there are a number of parallels with the current and recent past of the GOP moving to the left. Here’s just a few of the lesser parallels before I get to the big one:

  • Both were attempts to be more like the competition instead of working to make a clear separation from the primary competitor: New Coke was much sweeter, like Pepsi; liberal Republicans are much closer in political ideology to Democrats.
  • Both were imposed largely (though not completely) from “on high.” New Coke was pushed hard by the CEO, and many of the more liberal Republican candidates are being nominated and supported by those claiming to lead the party, whether it be at the county, state, or national level.
  • Both are facing strong grassroots resistance. New Coke led to the formation of “Old Coke Drinkers of America,” and many liberal Republicans are facing lots of criticism from the conservative base of the party.

However, the most important parallel is one that hasn’t quite been fully realized yet. It’s simple, yet profound.

Read More…

Reid Loses Vote On “Doc Fix”

And the unraveling of ObamaCare continues apace:

A group of Democrats joined all Republicans in blocking a 10-year freeze of scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare payments, legislation that was considered important to getting a broader healthcare bill through later this year.

Prior to the 47-53 procedural vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blamed the American Medical Association (AMA) for giving him bad information on the number of Republicans expected to support the measure.

Reid had offered the doctors group a deal to pass the “doctors’ fix” in return for support from the doctors on President Barack Obama’s broader healthcare initiative, which is slated for the Senate floor later this year.

Reid told colleagues that the AMA said it could deliver 27 Republican votes for the legislation, according to two Senate Democratic lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Reid needs the GOP votes because at least five members of his party have vowed to vote against the doctors’ fix.

It’s indicative enough when Reid can’t even get all of his own party–which is, of course, in the majority–to vote for this, but then to blame one of his most ardent supporters for “giving him bad information,” (in other words, lying to him) is a sure sign of an implosion either to come or already in progress.

Of Course, It’s Different When Democrats Do It

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) seems to have caught Speaker Pelosi in a bit of a double-standard:

Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is raising concerns that a Department of Health and Human Services Web site that urges visitors to send an e-mail to President Barack Obama praising his health care reform plan may violate rules against government-funded propaganda.

The Web page is accessed through a “state your support” button featured prominently on the HHS Web site and carries a disclaimer that the Web site is maintained by HHS.

In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday, Grassley warned that “any possible misuse of appropriated funds by the executive branch to engage in publicity or propaganda in support of an Administration priority is a matter that must be investigated and taken seriously,” noting that in 2005 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that “the use of official funds for similar activities were ‘underhanded tactics’ and that these tactics ‘are not worthy of our great democracy.’”

It seems that these tactics are perfectly acceptable to the Speaker when it’s in an effort she supports, but “underhanded” when done to support something she doesn’t agree with.

I’m happy to be proven wrong… can anyone show me where Speaker Pelosi has denounced this part of the HHS website prior to this time? (Denouncements after people start talking about it don’t count, as she might have just been bowing to public pressure.) Post it in the comments, if you can find it.

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