Come Let Us Reason Together, most often heard in the community churches in America speaks more to the ability to permit one who is seeking mercy from a higher authority, but beyond that, the verse of scripture found in the book of Isaiah of the Bible refers more to having a rare opportunity to find reason with God on a stated promise or position of His.
In Georgia this week, the Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens made some rather insensitive comments regarding those who medically diagnosed with pre-existing conditions as he was speaking about the fallout of the Affordable Care Act. As the elected head of the regulations arm of the Insurance and Compliance flank in the state of Georgia, the implication by Hudgens was that if you have pre-existing health conditions, one that likely prevents you from being able to purchase health insurance, well, it’s like a car crash that you are at fault in.
My first thought was, how insanely stupid for an elected official to appear at an event and make a statement from the perch of his position, that is so alienating, divisive and just downright ignorant. Just as video of Mitt Romney’s 47% doomed his 2012 presidential campaign, Hudgens is single handedly making himself the National Spokesman of the Republican National Committee and the GOP as a whole. When Commissioner Hudgens heard of the video of his statement had made the national rounds and prompted a White House statement from the Press Secretary, Jay Carney, he [Hudgens] said this:
“I didn’t realize I was being videotaped and that got on the Internet,” he said. “I never received so many nasty e-mails. I’ve been told that they hope I die. I’ve been told that they hope my children had cancer, just all kinds of things”.
Hudgens didn’t apologize for his comments, he didn’t retract them at the time and he didn’t seek to re-characterize what he had intended, but instead, “I didn’t realize I was being videotaped”. This, from the same person who was recently “videotaped” at a local event for pledging to be an (VIDEO) obstructionist of the political sort, by any and all means necessary.
The GOP Insurance Commissioner recently told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, that he “used a poor analogy” by comparing disabilities to careless car crashes. He went on to say, “I’ve had family members, I’ve had friends … who have pre-existing conditions…It’s not the person’s fault they have a pre-existing condition”; clearly not what he said on video a month ago while in front of a republican Women’s Club and among friends.
What has the Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, had to say about the matter? Crickets. Absolutely nothing. In fact, Governor Deal has been quite busy collecting over a half million dollars from many of Georgia’s large insurance companies through his political action committee Real PAC. UnitedHealth Care, WellCare and several others are major contributors to the Governor, but I’m sure that has nothing to do with his silence or his unwillingness to insure 650,000 Georgians by expanding Medicaid as several other republican governors have already done.
When it comes to an individual’s “right to purchase” healthcare, and that is precisely what this law [the Affordable Care Act] does, there should be no politics. This should be our moment of reason. So since the GOP in Georgia has decided to keep this matter solely political by ignoring the needs of nearly 1 million of the state’s residents, there has to be a voice of reason.
If republicans both nationally and statewide truly want to change the perception most Americans and in this case, Georgians, have toward their party, there has to be a different voice heard, yet so far, nothing; just more of the same. Republicans can’t fight for the right to sell but ignore American’s right to purchase. That simply just won’t do in the Great State of Georgia or in this country. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Antron Johnson for Georgia
Medicare drug costs have gone down over the last five years and everyone has rushed to take credit for the reduction which looks to be close to 40% overall. The Obama Administration was quick to accept the accolades of the reductions as a part of the Affordable Care Act law while republicans were just as eager to remind everyone that the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act which was passed and signed into law by former President George W. Bush back in 2003 was the reason for reductions considering the law was designed to provide subsidies to Seniors needed additional assistance in paying for their prescription drugs. One of the major problems however, Bush added this program to the national debt, something republicans don’t talk about much, while Obama came up with a plan which was paid for in advance.
What everyone was willing to ignore in all the good news was the report issued by Propublica stating the drug assistance program for Seniors and those with disabilities is wasting billions of dollars due to physicians choosing instead to write prescriptions for name brand drugs and not the generic brands as the programs requires. Medicare Part D, pays in some cases $7 for a generics but when those physicians write prescriptions for brand names, the government still covers the whole amount of that prescription which is costing taxpayers billions over time.
Ironically, when Medicare Part D was signed into law and rolled out, it too was a disaster. What many may not remember and what republicans hope you don’t remember is that:
1. For the first year, many of the Seniors could not understand the benefits of the programs
2. Seniors could not utilize the website which was developed by The White House to get Seniors enrolled in the plan.
3. The same organization that republicans attacked for the ObamaCare development issues, also designed the site for the Medicare Part D rollout.
4. They begged the public for patience as they worked through the glitches of the rollout.
5. When it was time to vote in the Congress for the plan, actual bribes and arm twisting was done to get the necessary votes on the floor. Republicans didn’t like it then, but they voted for it anyway to cover Bush’s efforts.
6. Most of the Seniors today who are enrolled in Part D didn’t sign up in the plan until after the first year.
7. The plan’s rollout was so bad, President George W. Bush didn’t even mention it in his State of the Union address.
Some 10 years after George W. Bush signed that bill into law, 7 after he signed the drug benefit portion into law, republicans are gleeful about their involvement in the new cost reductions received by Seniors. Why were they willing to support providing subsidies to the elderly back then under Bush? That’s an easy one. Seniors by an large are there own demographic when it comes to being a strong voting block for conservatives. Meaning, elderly voters overwhelmingly vote Republican in large pockets of the country.
So why then would these same republicans stand in the way of providing subsidies to those demographics most often discussed in the lower poverty numbers under ObamaCare? Again, that’s an easy one; why provide assistance to the democratic voting block by giving subsidies to those who are likely to not vote for you? The quandary republicans find themselves in is when they see those like New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie winning a strong re-election in a blue state, they question his conservatism, yet it worked. Republicans are more concerned that the Affordable Care Act will work and that Americans will come to love the healthcare exchanges, just as the people of the State of Massachusetts do after then Governor, Mitt Romney was first to implement the healthcare initiative in his state.
As we did yesterday, let’s point out a few changes to the Affordable Care Act which were rolled out in 2011-
1A. 50% Discounts to those enrolled in the Medicare Part D plan for prescription drugs. This is why the Obama Administration believes they are more responsible for the Medicare prescription cost reductions mentioned above and not conservatives.
2B. Free Preventive Care for Seniors – Annual Wellness Services
3C. Established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: To determine and define the best quality of care to seniors.
4D. Established the Community based Care Transition Program which was designed to provide the best transition programs for Seniors in between hospitals and other places of care, homes included. Worked to reduce readmission procedures should they be necessary.
5E. The Independent Advisory Board was created to find ways to reduce consumer cost, hospital expenditures and improve health outcomes for patients by strengthening this portion of the law.
Republicans were all too aware that this was the case, and talked up some of these provisions as if they drew them up and were interested in continuing their unfinished work (from 2006). All of the healthcare law’s key provisions in the year 2011 were dedicated to both, improving Medicare Part D and making healthcare more affordable for Seniors. As I see it, Republicans laid a great deal of the ground work under President Bush through Part D’s legislation, even with a stumbled rollout akin to that of the Affordable Care Act, but where they came up short was much of the necessary financial resources required to get the greatest benefit to those who needed it most. Obama’s changes to the plan through ACA simply improved on the provision and that’s what Americans want to see, politicians working to improve where and when possible.
So if that’s the case, both Republicans and Democrats with President Obama have a lot to be proud about with all that’s been done. Republicans however are unable to share that credit because in doing so, they inadvertently will be admitting to the positive impact of ObamaCare. The President can’t give any shade of credit to Republicans because he then implies they’re way worked and his health plan hasn’t. The truth is, this only seems to be important [who takes credit and who actually earns it] inside the Washington beltway. Americans just want their government to work and if Seniors are enjoying cheaper prescription drugs, great! That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Antron Johnson for Georgia
Over the last year, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing, like everyone else on the American continent, the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. Yet so much has been evolving toward this end since Obama’s election in 2008. The President, then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) ran on universal healthcare in 2008 and he staked his re-election on the law’s implementation, which we can all agree didn’t have the best rollout on October 1 of this year.
What you can’t walk away from this believing is “Republicans don’t like the law” because that’s entirely not a correct assumption, regardless of their ongoing, vicious attacks and endless rants to the contrary. Obama pledged before a joint session of Congress in 2009, “The cost of health care has weighed down our economy and our conscience long enough. So let there be no doubt, health-care reform cannot wait, it must not wait and it will not wait another year”. Just about one year later, signed his signature health reform bill into law in 2010.
You could easily have walked away with the idea that conservatives don’t like the law, and that as a take-away but that is precisely what they [republicans] are hoping for. In fact, since 2010, there have been endless pieces of legislation that was voted on by both Houses of Congress that were all apart of the over all healthcare legislation that would become the Affordable Care Act, so when lawmakers say “We had no idea what was coming” or “This is a bad law and the whole thing should be repealed”, you have to wonder are they choosing to ignore the fact that they were apart of so many other smaller pieces of the puzzle that makes up the whole? Or is it simply easier to allow the voters, who don’t keep up with these things like we do, to believe over the last few years, we had no gradual steps to get here?
Once all truth is told, you realize these small steps along the way were in large part due to some of the anticipated conservative push back after Obama made it to The White House. The President knew smartly that with his parties’ majorities both House’s, Health Care and Immigration both could not be accomplished in the first two years prior to the 2010 midterm elections and HealthCare won out. To the Administration, HealthCare already had legs considering he could build on previous efforts by not only other democrats like the Clintons, but also big name republicans who initially supported the idea as one of their own.
If you have to ask which came first, the president or the law? Well, that’s easy, the law. Under this president however, the law has made some progress, here are a few:
1. Preventive Services now covered that weren’t previously at no additional cost to you.
2. No Lifetime Maximums for your health coverage
3. A new Consumer Appeals process for physician costs
4. Adding all consumer information to Online databases (Note: 2, 3 and 4 can be seen here)
5. Can No Longer Deny children with Pre-existing conditions
6. Prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for honest mistakes made by you or your employers after you have been diagnosed for an illness.
Now this was all done in 2010 alone. The Obama Administration released a Patient’s Bill of Rights in 2010 to lay the ground work for Americans to be protected from the health care industry. Where did Obama get these ideas? Thought you’d never ask, he got them from a Senate Bill proposed in June of 2001 by Senator John McCain, Senator John Edwards and Senator Ted Kennedy. This bill was agreed upon when Obama was just a Illinois State Senator, 3 years before his infamous 2004 Red States Blue States speech on national television.
President Bush had actually campaigned on creating a patients bill of rights similiar to the one McCain had proposed, but that year, other political pressures had Bush creating more obstacles to the plan than the solutions he promised. That was in June, but by August of 2001, President Bush claimed a victory when the House, including Republicans also were in favor of a consumer based bill of rights. The only thing that is different from Obama’s later revised version and the one President Bush and the GOP pushed through is it added more protections for Americans.
With what you know now, it is hard to imagine Republicans talking as if the changes that took place in the year 2010 were so disasterous to the country, when in fact, they knew all along and voted on many of these measures before Obama was ever elected President of the United States. This was an agenda republicans wanted as their own, so Obama believed, rather unsmartly that he would somehow have no problem getting many of them on board with the health reforms. We all know no how incorrect he and his staff was in that thinking. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the 2011 implementation of the Affordable Care Act and as ourselves, which came the first, the president or the healthcare law? That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Antron Johnson for Georgia
Some of you remember a time like I do when Republicans won national elections. What’s interesting about that factoid is they would typically win with huge landslides. If you go no further back than the years of Reagan, you force yourself to have to find the Democratic Party; literally. It was said that the “Democratic Party is losing confidence in the reason for its being“. The nation was no more conservative during those years than before so what was the cause of that national conservative lean? Sure National Defense could one, more Americans tended to feel more secure with a Republican in The White House, its possible. You could also say national pride after Jimmy Carter was in need of a major shot in the arm. Keep in mind, this was a time when states like California and New York, viewed as highly liberal leaning, also overwhelming supported the conservative brand.
To ask “What Happened To GOP Landslides” is like asking about Big Foot sightings; was it ever such a thing? Let me show you what those looked like. In the 1980 Presidential election, Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) was challenging President Jimmy Carter (D-GA), but challenge may not be the best word to use considering Mr. Reagan went on to win the presidency in 1980 with forty-four of the fifty states. That’s right, Carter only won 6 states-270 electoral votes needed to win The White House, Reagan had 489.
Not only did Reagan out-perform what anyone had intended, so did all of the Republicans due to Reagans long coat-tails down the ballot. Americans didn’t just vote for Reagan, they voted overwhelmingly conservative across the board…Why? Republicans had an epiphany; change the national philosophy towards republicans in general. “In the first decades of this century, the Republicans guessed wrong on economics, the role of government, and on ethnic issues, these debits are being removed, and the resistance to Republicanism is less severe, said Everett Ladd who ran Opinion Research back in 1980. He went on to say in this article, “A party becoming the majority party needs something positive, something more than general disfavor for the existing majority party”.
That about sums it up! Reagan was able to frame a positive message around his politics and sell it. He was an ultra-conservative yet mastered the concept of remaining positive as he pushed his agenda. But it didn’t end there, 1984 when Reagan ran for re-election, it was even worse for Democrats. Now the Minority, Walter Mondale who just four years prior served as Carter’s Vice President, returned to claim the Nomination for President and challenged Reagan. But again, Reagan was able to remind American voters of his ties to Carter and that better days were ahead.
The national mood among the electorate was more optimistic, money and capital was once again moving throughout the financial sectors and if there was ever to be a credible attempt to regain The White House, Mondale would have to change the conversation and he attempted to do that with his selection of the first female Vice Presidential runningmate, Geraldine Ferraro. It would do no good, Reagan went on to win his 1984 re-election by taking forty-nine of all fifty states. Mondale would win only his home state of Minnesota. Important to note, since I am always talking about Red States/Blue States, not until the 1984 election did the Republican States become identified as “Red”…NBC News used Red, as David Brinkley said, “R is for Reagan”. All before, like in the 1980 race, Republican states were always Blue in color
Republicans held The White House for literally a decade and would have won four more years had the Elder Bush, then a respected War-President not taken his eyes off the national economy and even less, had no ability to package the message as his predecessor did 12 years earlier; a new ‘message-king”, Bill Clinton would trump him on that one. Since then, gerry-mandered districts by both parties have replaced national messaging. We’re seeing the price Republicans at the national level are paying for that, i.e. Tea Party challenges.
So back to our question of the missing GOP landslides, well, now-a-days, republicans would be greatful for a national win, let alone a landslide victory. It looks fairly likely, they won’t be seeing any of either for some time unless their message, not its messengers, can be sold to the American people. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) summed it up best this way, “This [Immigration Reform] is President Obama’s number one political agenda item because he knows we will never again have a Republican president, ever, if amnesty goes into effect”. What the President and democrats are rightly doing through legislation, is making republicans a mirrored image of their former selves, pre-1980.
No positive message, no positive national philosphy, no cohesive political identity or ideology that even the party itself is willing to accept and no way to prevent democrats from rolling out the red carpet to those currently strategizing over at the ReadyForHilliary Organization. The land is sliding but not the way the GOP would prefer. In the last five years, the Minority party has pushed to the brink more than once, it has forced a shutdown which only backfired, but only after taking the nation over a fiscal cliff. What happened to the landslides? It shifted their party so far Right nationally, they are downright unelectable. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Antron Johnson For Georgia
With Thanksgiving Day being celebrated yesterday in America, several things came to mind when standing around the kitchen island of prepared delights. As usual the question goes out, “What are you thankful for”? In no direct point of contact, individual reflection begins and then it happens, that moment when everyone thinks back over the previous days, weeks and months only to realize that the mountain we all once fretted with agony and stress, was just another rock. We realize at that moment that we faced it head on only to use it as a stepping stone.
That’s precisely what Plymouth Rock was. But don’t be confused, the historic arrival of pilgrims to our shores occurred around 1620-1621, but it is not the real reason we have Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1789, over 170 years before George Washington would issue the Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 setting aside a day for Americans to show their thankfulness through worship at their local churches and through their prayers of praise. President Washington was specific in his proclamation to “recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
If you read Washington’s document (above), I found it to be special in many ways, One; Our national leaders no longer speak with a heart truly humbled in thanks and humility for the needs of their people. Two; In September 1789, the Committees in both Houses of Congress convened and agreed on the necessity of this “public show of thanks” and Washington, one month later [in October] signed it in to take affect the following month [in November]. No longer does our government move this swiftly unless on acts of terror. Our national unity shows ever more brightly in the face of terror and violence, i.e. World Trade, Sandy Hook Elementary, Aurora Colorado.
Instead of using those dreadful events as stepping stones to climb to a greater place of national solidarity and unification, we come together temporarily for moments of sane humanity only to return divisive politics that often is the source of far greater damage than a bullet wound or terrorist attack on the innocent. Plymouth rock was only 15 feet long and said to be 3 feet wide, known as the Rock at Plymouth because it was just a rock. One that boats were able to pull up along side of and used to allow those onboard to step off onto the rock that protruded out like a pier. It was not a mountain, nor was it a landmark visible from miles off, but this small boulder found its way into the history books of this nation.
Even with Washington’s proclamation, it was to set aside a day, not a national holiday each year. That wouldn’t come until a war weary Abraham Lincoln signed it into law in 1863, seventy-four years later. Sarah Hale, a magazine editor who promoted Thanksgiving theme oriented material and recipes year after year attempted to get a national day of observance in the country to offer up praises to God for what she believed He had granted them through strength and solvency. Ms Hale contacted five presidents with the hope of calling the nation to being thankful. She reached out to President Zachary Taylor in 1850, to President Milliard Fillmore in 1852, then to President Franklin Pierce in 1853, once again to President James Buchanan in 1857, but all would turn her request down.
Not until Lincoln’s Civil War seemed to unravel and divide the nation along lines never once imagined, did Hale’s letter to President Lincoln get his attention. In 1863, Lincoln credit’s Hale’s letter as the reason for his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1863 as “a day of national thanksgiving, praise and prayer…”. Sarah Hale used the Civil War as a stepping stone toward national unification through giving a public thanks.
Instead of seeking ways to take food off of the tables of American families through policy maneuvers and making their lives harder obtaining majorities in the U.S. Congress and answering to big corporations, our greed is now rewarded with power and individual wealth. As political as they were in the 17 and 1800′s, and as manipulative as Lincoln could be, they were all able to return to their core of liberty and justice for all. Today our elected leaders mask their religious disdain for others through hate-filled legislation that only they believe will purify the masses; simply starve them into subjection. Your politics should come from your thankfulness, your praise and your prayer. Only then, will we find suitable legislation both sides can agree on.
What am I thankful for? That bold, self-sacrificing and humbling Americans were willing to stake their reputations and careers, their future hopes and aspirations on bringing the country together one day a year where we could all “publicly show” our thanks. That the same lady who wrote and published “Mary Had A Little Lamb” is also responsible for her army of one which would work to win a day of Thanks for America. Sometimes, a rock is just a rock but depending on how you use that rock, it could serve as a step up for not just you, but an entire nation who too, are willing to pull along-side and climb. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
In 2008, a historic election swept the nation with the ascendency of Barack Obama to The White House. The ability to dispatch his most likely and inevitable foe, Hillary Clinton and then go on to knock off Arizona Senator John McCain in the General election was made possible by the lack of attention given to each of those candidates’ ground assault.
Hillary Clinton approached the race just as her husband did in 1991, but then, he, former President Bill Clinton was running against old school republicanism, “small government, lower taxes and big defense machinery. Bill Clinton ran against the “trickle down” economics theory of “give to big business and let the benefits work their way down” to average working Americans.
Bill Clinton was not “inevitable” like Hillary was presumed to be. However, because the politics in the country was very much different, He went on to win the presidency, while she lost to Obama in the democratic primaries. But how did he win? The same red states and blue states he mentioned in his first national televised appearance in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention where they were nominating Sen. John Kerry, Obama launched into his electrifying One America speech.
Four years later, after being elected U.S. Senator, Obama continued to massage the grass-root electorate and they showed up for him. Obama went into a bit of that same speech on election night in 2008 (above), kind of like an “I told you so”. He, while in The White House has pushed through legislation and proposed much more to the angst of the Republican opposition which focuses on the needs of that same grass-roots army he galvanized once again in the 2012 re-election campaign.
We “Hoped” the politics would change with Obama in The White House. And if you look away from the negatives, you’ll find how much has truly changed for the better. Same-Sex Families are now viewed as equals in over 15 states with others pending or on the way. Those same gay and lesbian service members are no longer discharged from the Armed Forces simply because of their sexual preference and healthcare, despite its difficult rollout will be known now and forever as a right and not a privilege.
The question now is, will red states and blue states politics resurface in 2016 and will democrats continue to win that argument? You first have to start with Democrats and how much have they learned since 2008, even though they won the Oval. The lessons learned there was, they wounded their best second act in Hillary during the Primary. Obama made amends by selecting her as his Secretary of State, but the bruises left a long term scar with short term pain.
Much like the Republicans of 2012, they too bruised their best chances in their primary which forced them to release an “autopsy” after their loss to make sure they don’t put themselves in the same position as they had. But will it matter? Will it make a difference in 2016? We’re not dismissing 2014′s election cycle, but those races will come down to spin and not real substance unless the democrats regain the House, which no one truly anticipates. Republicans will say, “Americans re-elected them as a sign of their distrust of Obama and Washington” and say nothing about the gerrymandered districts that are tilted heavily towards the GOP.
The Democrats, will conceded the House for the most part and add that to the longterm plan of the party, but instead, focus on the several Governor’s races, Florida, Georgia and a few others, as well as holding onto, if not strengthening their majority in the Senate. The only way to do that is to continue focusing on the local politics; political machinery has gone from every two years to literally nonstop.
Hillary is secretly or no so secretly rallying the nation at the local levels for her pending candidacy just as Christie of New Jersey and Bush of Florida are rallying their moderate bases. Hillary is showing signs that she has learned from 2008. She is allowing the money and the politics to guide her ambitions and not the other way around. Clinton in poll after poll appeared to be out for herself and the Blue States she needed. Obama appeared as the Ambassador of the people.
Christie will hope to draw the Red States, but unfortunately, the internal fighting with the Republican Party is about nothing other than, “Are you Red enough?” They forced Romney into the box that wasn’t winnable and if they aren’t careful, they will force the moderate candidates to the position of weakness like they did then presidential candidate and former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman who later dropped out of the race.
The Rick Perry’s of Texas, which is quickly shifting demographically are fighting to keep the state Red, will be forced to the far right once again, should he decide to re-enter the presidential fight of ’16. He’ll be forced by the likes of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and from the sidelines by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who I don’t believe has any intention of actually running for President, but instead enjoys the hype and the speculation. Cruz doesn’t want to run the free world, I believe he merely wants to be in charge of its direction.
Florida and Georgia are two states that are expected to turn blue over the next several election cycles with Texas soon to follow. Red and Blue states exist only because there has been an inequality with certain key issues from state to state. What has “Changed” with Obama, is that variance is now becoming in line with a new standard where domestic policy has taken the front seat on many social issues to the degree, that in the event a Republican does win The White House, these are bells that cannot be un-rung.
Regardless of how well the stock markets are performing or how high home sales are rising, Americans are not feeling that nor are they seeing in benefits from them. As long as that is the case, Republicans will have to work that much harder to remove the stigma of Red State “do it yourself” politics. When they say they are for “smaller government”, Americans now know, that means they are for cutting the parts that help inner city families, feed those families and educate them. When you say, “I’d cut the Department of Education”, who does that hurt the most? When you say, “I’m for eliminating the Child Earned Income Credit”, who are you directing that too?
Americans are no longer absent electorally. We will forever have Red and Blue States, but Republicans can’t win that. When you vote to continue giving farmers tax subsidies to grow or not to grow food, but won’t extend those subsidies to families who need to eat that same food, you have a fight on your hands that you can’t win. When you continue to bail out big banks but won’t force those banks to lend, you have a fight on your hands. When you stand in the way of Immigration Reform for citizenship, but would welcome those foreign workers as “Guest Workers” only to pick your crops, you have a problem in explaining that. And since you can’t, national politics and state politics will see an ever growing divide in the coming 6-8 years.
Local municipalities have already seen the shift from republican dominate Mayors to democrats. Although the state legislators have remained somewhat conservative just as the Governor’s races, this may be in part to those republican Governors and legislators can’t tow the hard line of conservatism as those nationally. Social issues, not foreign, will drive the election in 2016. ObamaCare will be the focus, one way or the other in 2014, but 2016 will serve as yet another historic election and if Republicans want to be on the right side of history, they have to remove the color from their politics. Democratic blue represents everyone but Republican red carries the perception that “if you’re not with us….you are trying to take something from us”.
Many of today’s red states will become blue and some of the blue will shift either back to “independent” purple or red but this is one thing that is certain, the Blue and the Red are the modern days of the 1960′s White and Black. It doesn’t matter that most conservatives disagree with that assessment, the only opinion is the one that is held by the electorate. While they’re out talking about “Liberties and Freedoms”, middle class America is concerned with education and adequate housing and jobs. No one likes big government until they need help. At a time when most Americans depend on some form of help, the GOP may need to look to a new talking point.
In case you missed it over the weekend, there was a special election held in Louisiana to replace a republican Congressman who decided to give up his seat to work for the Governor, Bobby Jindal. That Congressman, Rodney Alexander from the 5th Congressional District simply retired to, not “spend time with his family” or as many say, “return to the private sector” which really simply means, like most of us, they need to earn more money, but instead Congressman Alexander, a former democrat who switched parties back in 2004, felt that the “do-nothing” nature of Congress wasn’t worth his time.
So Mr. Alexander’s career change set off a new internal fight within the party for what was initially believed to be a simple replacement of another republican in this heavily conservative district. This was supposed to be a simple crowning of one of Washington’s hand-picked local, loyal soldiers, but there was something those in the GOP House Leadership overlooked; the will of the people.
Neil Riser (R), a Louisiana State Senator is extremely popular among the far right wing in Louisiana and was able to raise tons of cash for the race with the help of the party elite in Washington, D.C. and yet, a businessman with money of his own and the help of one of his friends, Willie Robertson of the hit A&E show, Duck Dynasty, won a race that he should have lost hands down. Senator Riser was heavily favored to win by the establishment conservatives and the local media, but something happened. While Riser, stuck to what he believed was the winning cocktail, that of extreme politics which alienated many of his own constituents, Mr. McAllister moved his politics back toward that moderate middle, and spoke for that 20% of Louisianans that are in poverty and uninsured; and won.
Imagine that. Just two weeks ago, as national media was parsing the two state’s Governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia to determine whether republicans got the message, the Tea Party supporters, who backed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against his democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, ultimately faulted Cuccinelli for not being conservative enough? Actually, no, many of those who enjoy the luxury of 20/20 vision when only looking hindsight now say, Cuccinilli was in fact too conservative for the people of Virginia to serve as their Governor. I found it interesting that Cuccinelli, after the election, couldn’t even bring himself to call the Governor-Elect McAuliffe to congratulate him, as a Statesman would.
With that stage set, back to the McAllister win in Louisiana’s 5th, Senator Riser ran on two major themes that most republicans just can’t accept as losers across the spectrum, (1) Repeal of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature domestic legislation to reform the nation’s healthcare industry and (2) America is broken because it isn’t “Conservative” enough, that very notion, its dividing the Republican party, period. Most Americans are not that conservative to the point of inflicting pain upon those already in pain. Riser said, McAllister “isn’t conservative enough”, but what the people of the 5th said, was Riser, like Cuccinelli, Ted Cruz (TX) and Mike Lee (UT) were too much republican for them.
Another race you should know about that took yet another dark and revealing turn over the weekend, but again, speaks to the true will of America’s growing lack of tolerance for the political fringe, you have to look no further than Wyoming’s U.S. Senate race. Liz Cheney, the former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is doing something rather unusual in national politics, she is challenging a fellow republican, Sen. Michael Enzi, a family friend and former fishing parter of her fathers. Senator Enzi, 69 years old, said “I have no desire to retire” and no one in Wyoming or Washington, D.C. thinks he’s done anything to deserve an inter-party challenge from Ms. Cheney, yet, she believes, its time for Enzi to move on because, you guessed it; he’s not conservative enough because “he’s willing to cut deals with democrats” and negotiate.
Regardless of what republicans say, there is an internal battle for the party, but regardless of which side loses, the party loses; a shot in your own foot causes a limp no matter what. Currently Liz Cheney is polling a whopping 52% behind the Senator she say’s is not republican enough. So this weekend, Ms. Cheney doubled down. When those who support her, they already support her, but said, she [Cheney] should be much harder on her opposition to gay marriage so she went on FoxNews on Sunday to do two things, (1) Bash Obama: There’s always room to do that as a republican, so she took a moment to replay the Cuccinelli lines, “The President lied about ObamaCare, it’s a failed policy, Americans don’t want it” and then she did as she was asked, (2) Came out strong against Same Sex Marriage, although her sister, Mary Cheney is a well-known gay activist and married to her partner.
That only set off a barrage of family attacks from Cheney’s sister and her partner, “…its offensive in the least”, countered her Sister-In-Law. “Liz has been (A must read) in our home for the holidays and spent time with our children…”, but now she stands firmly against the right her very own sister enjoys. What was Liz Cheney’s response to the attack on her sister’s family on national television? “It’s not personal”, which in other words means, it’s just business no matter who you crush.
The desire to be more republican-like has not only moved Liz Cheney’s campaign for U.S. Senator out of line with where the people in her own borrowed district presently are, it has also created a rift within the republican party as a whole who believed she should not have run, “yet“, not to mention the fraction she has now spawned with her own family over how to proof “I truly am weird enough” to run for office.
Republicans cannot and will not win nationally with its house in shattered affairs, that much has already been proven in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and the writing is on the walls for 2016 and 2020-hands down. But it now seems that the flawed political theology is beginning to trickle down ballot to the House races like that in Louisiana and Senate races like that of Cheney in Wyoming. The Jekyll and the Hyde of the party is at war with its self. Last March, it was the Republican Autopsy Report by the RNC to show how they were going to start from scratch with their outreach. That is failing because they are not following the suggestions within their own report findings.
The same republican leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA) who serves as the Republican Majority Leader in the U.S. House, who hand-picked the newly defeated Louisiana State Senator, Neil Riser, is the very same leader who called a meeting late last week, just before Riser’s embarrassing defeat, to inform his republican colleagues in the House that there “would be a clean slate” in 2014 as he handed them a blank sheet of paper with “Agenda 2014″ across the top. The truth is, republicans have no idea how to put out the fire they started in 2008. That was never more evident on the same day Cantor held up that blank sheet of paper, he along with the Speaker Boehner refused once again to bring anything related to Immigration Reform to the House floor.
So although they [republicans] have a shared message of unification and compassion, the mission is the same; Free markets or bust. Messaging is THE problem, when its coming out of the mouth of a flawed messenger. Christie is simply too moderate to represent the staunch conservatives of the party but so is Jeb Bush, but at least he has a name ID that Christie still doesn’t have. They have no idea how much “republicanism” they will need to right their own ship. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Even in electoral victory; in the Blue State of New Jersey, republicans can’t help but fight amongst themselves. At a time when they should be retooling their own efforts to win more states as well as refocusing their strategies toward national elections, internal back-handed slights are being lobbed across the bow of their own party infrastructure. The only loss last week in the Gubernatorial elections in both New Jersey and Virginia was to the forward advancement of the Tea Party when their darling, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost his bid to Terry McAuliffe for Governor.
Republicans couldn’t have been more pleased, secretly, as they believe the Tea Party message have become a brand of the Republican Party merely by association. They [republicans] believe, in order for the Tea Party to shrink government, they must break the GOP in the process and that is no longer something many of the party faithful are willing to sit back and and watch from the sidelines anymore as they find their party left in the doldrums after the October government shutdown.
They all agree with Ralph Reed, President of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, “Ken Cuccinelli lost the race for Governor because of party disunity”. As the party fights over the right messaging, they show continued momentum toward derailing any chance of winning nationally. Although Cuccinelli’s fringe message lost in Virginia, Chris Christie was overwhelmingly re-elected to the Governor’s mansion in New Jersey with a more inclusive message.
Donors however have drawn a line in the sand and are flat out refusing to give another dime to candidates who are not willing to build a campaign as Christie did on the national stage that includes an open door in significant immigration reforms. These donors are concerned that shutting that door will give them nothing more than they got in 2012 with Mitt Romney’s Plan for Self-Deportation; another national loss.
Immediately after the federal government was reopened, donors sent out word to the party leaders to get onboard with immigration reforms or get new donors. They have made it clear to members of Congress, that unless they support IR, campaign funds will be held back because not supporting the issue, is causing more pain than ideological good. The hope is to gain some ground in the electoral college nationally by positioning themselves as the driving force behind legalization of sorts. Even Karl Rove and over 100+ other republicans wrote a letter back in July of this year urging lawmakers to find the light at the end of this dark tunnel in support of IR as a way of turning the party perception around.
Republicans appear to march against what many donors see as as inevitable politically. Demographically, the numbers are undeniable. Resisting the obvious is the only way those donors believe they lose the hispanic vote and support forever. Republicans see this but feel trapped in a way. They want limited reforms that would make it easier to provide work visas for those guest workers to come into the country seasonally for agricultural jobs and much needed labor but democrats won’t support any such legislation without fair working conditions, pay opportunities and a path for citizenship. These are all issues, that the republican base can’t support.
We’re not talking about small time donors here, these major dollars will be heart-felt if lost by republicans. They made and example of the Virginia race when they crossed party lines to vote and donate to the new Governor-Elect McAuliffe. They viewed Cuccinelli as more of the same divisive machinery that brought the federal government to a halt just weeks before. These donors want a principled leader who can navigate politically without using catastrophe as a weapon. Even if they have to vote for the other guy.
Speaker of the House John Beohner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are looking to find some wiggle room in something other than the “Comprehensive” approach President Obama and the democrats are seeking. GOP donors too, are looking for an overhaul to the Immigration debacle, but Boehner finds that a step by step, piecemeal approach is best. What that means however is, the Speaker can’t get the necessary votes for a major plan, so he instead will push for one item at a time in order to take credit for addressing immigration.
Democrats won’t let republicans off that easy as they see this as a winning issue nationally. Carlos Gutierrez, former Cabinet Secretary for former President George W. Bush and now heads the group, Republicans for Immigration Reform says in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, “I have turned down two Republicans who sought contributions because they oppose immigration legislation. He went on to say, “In my lonely crusade, thats what I can do”. Others are simply asking these candidates up front about their stance on immigration when they seek contributions.
This is not new for republicans to want to reach out to the Hispanic community as George W. Bush did in both of his terms in office. However, the new fringe is making this outreach nearly impossible as they hide behind border measures. What precisely are those border measures? Border Protection Agents – Well, George W. Bush increased border patrol agents back in 2006 by hiring 6,000 additional agents. But even with their own president in The White House, some republicans were not in full support then. Any other border measures?
Sure. George W. Bush also signed a bill to build A Fence - on the U.S-Mexico border, but everything about that went wrong as well. Many republicans didn’t support it, it angered the Mexican government, the Canadian government, and many in the president’s own party worked to ensure money wasn’t allocated for the project which left the fence on the Mexican border incomplete, leaving President Obama with the task of finishing up their work, but yet, “the fence is basically complete but I suspect they still won’t be satisfied with what we’ve done” said President Obama back in 2011.
So although republicans use border protections as an excuse to not support Immigration Reform, they really have no intention of supporting it regardless. President Obama has also gone much further than Bush by adding unmanned drones to fly over head near the border to detect illegal immigrants crossing the border, but the GOP now is against Obama using drones. Republicans appear to simply enjoy being “against” any and everything this President is for. Immigration reform is one of them, although their own donors, their own polling and their own conscience says something entirely different. This cannot be and will not be the path toward a national win anytime soon. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
President Obama came forward to finally address the claim he and The White House promised Americans for years that “…if you like your plan, you can keep it…”, but as the law began to unfold, millions of Americans received cancellation letters from their insurers informing them that their policies were being cancelled in part due to changes in the Affordable Care Act.
Many within The White House knew for sometime that this was going to happen, but failed or decided to not inform these folks, even as Obama traveled around the country promising still, that “everyone can keep their existing plans”. There has been some revelation that warning signs and conversations regarding these bogus claims were questioned in private. All hasn’t been gloom and doom as the media has also painted the matter. The state of California has decided to extend those individual policies for an additional period of time to allow those policyholders the opportunity to tend to their personal health concerns before being rolled into larger or upgraded plans.
I want to go in between the lines however and show what was really at play here. Although The White House assumed once again, that the rollout of the health plan overall would be better than it had, and the good would just out way the extent of the bad, and this claim was really bad, the plan cancellations are not what they seem. For the most part, these policies will be much better than the ones being replaced and at cheaper monthly premiums. Yet the negative optics of them are real.
The truth is, 14-15 million people who currently have individual plans, health plans that are purchased outside of your jobs, or those not part of a larger group, were slated to be cancelled because the Affordable Care Act raised the standard on what insurance companies could call an insurance plan. The ACA required insurance companies to “cancel” sub-standard individual plans because they didn’t meet the new basic standards and THEN provide those same policy holders NEW plans that met the upgraded standards.
Many of those plans didn’t truly provide adequate healthcare coverage and millions of them were not protected from bankruptcy if use of the protection in the coverage was exceeded, they didn’t protect the consumers from being dropped in the event of a diagnosis that would be identified as a pre-existing condition. The Affordable Care Act was written to avoid these situations from occurring by establishing a floor that those existing plans couldn’t go below as a standard. That simply was not communicated to the American people at any point in the process over the last few years, actually to the contrary.
In essence, The White House believed, Americans wouldn’t mind the upgrade, but they falsely assumed that those small business owners who purchased individual plans for their employees and their family members were all supporters or cared. What this change also did, was force some of these policy holders to select new physicians, in part because, the new policies would likely not permit many of them to maintain their old physicians.
At the end of the day, if you send an insurance cancellation letter to anyone in the mail, their first assumption is to fear that they have lost their coverage. Add to that, many of these millions of policy holders either never believed in the Affordable Care Act or live in districts where they have elected lawmakers to “repeal, replace or defund” ObamaCare, and you have a ticking-time bomb waiting to implode inside The White House.
It was the only thing to do, “I am sorry”, for the President to apologize for this poor choice in light of the cancellations. It was not their [The White House, Obama] initial push back, we saw this fury grow over the last few weeks until the infamous apology appeared as the sole way to call a brief time-out.
Here’s what the president said to voters for years, since the 2008 presidential campaign, as he promised to allow them to save their existing health plans. There was also a mad rush within the insurance industry to write as many policies to those who opted to maintain their policies through the end of 2014, but with this revelation, all of that appears to have been done in vain.
Republicans pounced on this opportunity to drag the law’s poor rollout via its main vehicle, the healthcare.gov website and their continue desire to delay the individual mandate beyond March 2014. Here’s the catch-22, if the president ever so slightly signals that he’s willing to delay the mandate and extend the March deadline, he knows that republicans in the House will then move the goalpost and ask for more with the sole intent of disabling the legislation, instead of improve it.
Although painful, this was the best step to take for The White House to slow down the momentum of the promise that wasn’t. I like to say, fight only the ones you can win, all the others, just manage and this was clearly poor management from the onset. This apology from President Obama was just over 7 days too late to be effective. Republicans will now attempt to use this staggered step to lock down the White House to their own House legislation yet to be voted on, but rest assured, it’s now being written to include language that was likely not to have been inserted pre-apology.
That’s my story and um sticking to it,
If you lived in The White House for eight years, served as a U.S. Senator, but before all of that, you lived in the Governor’s mansion for twelve years, but when it came for what was believed as “your time at bat”, you lost the game to a walk-on, no name player; a new kid to the neighborhood. Then forced to play on his team as a Team Captain, or Secretary of State, surely your next time up at bat would be played a lil different from your last attempt. You won’t approach the winnable concept in the same flawed way you previously did. Not only that, this time, likely your last time at the plate, you’ll likely to give it a trial run; leaving nothing to chance.
Instead of reading “How Hillary Clinton Won The White House” after she wins in 2016, follow along and I’ll show you the strategy they have moving forward and last night was the official roll out. It has the stealth qualities of Obama, circa 2004, but only with muscle.
Whereas her 2008 campaign was flawed with themes of “inevitability”, this next run will blend both money and might. They all have learned that the Clinton’s strength should be implied and then swiftly applied in doses, not with their former iron fist approach.
Although Terry McAuliffe was elected Governor last night in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the truth is, it was Hillary Clinton’s trial run. McAuliffe ran for the executive post four years ago and lost in the Democratic Primary with the race ultimately going to the current Governor Bob McDonnell. He had hoped to leverage the job to win to do two things: (1) Bring a White House win for 2012 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and (2) Bring a White House win for 2012 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney as his Vice Presidential running mate, but neither of those panned out for McDonnell.
Governor-Elect McAuliffe has now captured the win that got away in 2009. That was his own personal quest, but this time around the pot was sweetened by having the Clintons add their fingerprints to it. McAuliffe, a long time friend of the Clintons and has served various capacities for them, all interwoven as their “money-man” that has raised a lifetime haul of nearly half a billion dollars for all their campaigns, got what he wanted, his first elected office.
But if you think thats where the story ends, you’re mistaken. Hillary is the wizard behind the curtain. As battleground states go, Virginia, a purple state, or electoral toss up, is in play in the 2016 Presidential slog and if you can stack the deck with Team Leaders in those Governor’s mansions ahead of time, or win favor in the state houses and senator’s races, you have now improved your chances at building your army along the yellow brick road. Keep your eyes on the toss up states because that’s where you’ll find the Clinton Machine over the next year.
Ohio and Wisconsin are different animals altogether due to their republican governors, but as you move down the ballot, those governors, major headliners in the Republican Party, still saw their states fall to the Obama steamroller in the last presidential election in 2012. That makes those Governors safe in the way of unnecessary considering the people of those states as well as the unions their have already demonstrated their likelihood to regroup for the Clintons as they did for Obama. A state to watch however is Florida.
Trouble for Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott (R) have begun to brew just after his election in 2010. Some of the current political winds are still tossed about due that that Scott win. Then Republican Governor, Charlie Crist ran for the U.S. Senate but after his infamous presidential hug of Barack Obama, his party moved away from him and rallied behind then nationally unknown, Marco Rubio (R-FL), which only forced Crist to denounce his republican brand and instead run against Rubio as an Independent. Now without a political party,
Crist circled back in 2012 to double-down and it worked. Crist, now a democrat, is running for his old job as Florida’s Governor, against Scott. Hillary will come to the aid of Crist or anyone who wins the Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination because if you can bring all of the battlegrounds under one umbrella before the race begins, you not only clear your own presidential primary path, but also can spend more time raising the necessary resources to wage the kind of overwhelming (Money) battle your blood-thirsty army (Might) will require.
Charlie Crist knows this and he wants to be on the receiving end of that support from the Clintons and their machinery. In him, they find a win-win opportunity. Just as she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for McAuliffe and De Blasio first democratic Mayor in the City of New York, they will deliver for Florida. This flex of muscle also serves as an indication to anyone who would so dare even consider a run in the democratic presidential primary, enter the race at your own peril.
There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton was the big winner last night. Keep your eyes on the unknown Robby Mook, the young 33 year old, McAuliffe Campaign Manager in the Virginia Race. There are not many photos of this young man, but he has proven to the Clintons that he can deliver and I anticipate he’ll be driving the Hillary Bus in ’16.
He, like many others are interviewing for bigger jobs. Keep in mind, one year after her drawn out loss to Obama, McAuliffe ran for this same job in Virginia and lost. The Clintons were no where to be found, understandably.
However, this time around, not only were they present, they really showed up big and we at PoliticianNextDoor.com are glad they did. Politics doesn’t just happen. There is a strategy and the imperative is to work hard when no one is looking so that when they do, you appear as the best likely choice to fill the role as if it was created only for you. There will be no need for super delegates in ’16. The Clintons are doing their work now and their coat-tails will be long, that’s my story and um sticking to it.