Once upon a time, there was such a republican in the land who threatened to take down the Clinton Presidency at the mere mention of his “intent to run”. The very notion that this individual was even considering a possible run for The White House was enough to keep the Clinton’s awake at night for nearly three months, those close to the president would later say.
This well respected republican, many polls showed, would easily beat President Clinton by 15 to 20 points and would handily dispatch his closest republican colleague by many margins more, but the one thing this conservative could not do, is win the GOP Presidential Nomination.
All republicans loved the thought of his candidacy, he was attractive, educated, disciplined, could rally African Americans, Whites, the military rank and file and many many more, but the republican base would have nothing of it.
Long before President Obama ascended to the history books, there came before him one who would have served, only if he could have won over the conservative base. In 1995, General Colin Powell was that man.
Not since Powell had anyone worried the Clintons so, the General was the one that got away from the Republican Party. His pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-affirmative action (without quotas) views made him less of a conservative for conservatives. I say, “the one that got away” because the only way the GOP could have ridded themselves of a second Clinton term was with Powell. They instead ran with Bob Dole and lost miserably.
Powell was their way…since then, the General has worked to cautiously steer the party, but to their reluctance, today they think of him as less of a conservative as they did then, all while he has gained more respect from the electorate. They left a man on the field; they left a man behind. Can it be anymore obvious…thats my story and um sticking to it.
If the GOP wants to win in 2016, what you are planning to do, you just can’t do. There is a path for a national victory, but on this current trajectory, you will surely step on your on feet as usual. So I put together a short list of all the things you just can’t do if you hope to know what its like to win a national election again. You do remember what a national election is right?
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on Benghazi – I know you want too and you honestly think its a good thing to keep talking about. Its going on three weeks now after the story has resurfaced for no apparent reason other than its a good retread story that makes good hearing photos. Nothing new under the sun has come to light on this horrific incident and yet you guys drive it like Ken Starr of the 90′s investigating Whitewater and Lewinsky. You have to know that this dog won’t hunt so why keep it out there?
1. Fundraising: Sure it helps raise much needed cash from your base, but unless you ever plan to discuss something else, $1 billion dollars won’t be enough, just ask Romney. Mr. Romney actually got 2 million less votes than John McCain received in 2008 against Obama. So for $1 billion dollars invested in Romney, conservatives got a lot less on their return.
2. Ignite the GOP base: Yeah, I guess you could use Benghazi for that too, but I mean really, one of the key miscalculations of the Team Romney in 2012 was underestimating the Democrats turnout operation. Instead of less, more African Americans turned out in Virginia, Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania than anyone had ever imagined and this was know by the early exit polls on the afternoon of Election Day. It would only get worse as the day wore on.
If we include Hispanics, Women and Asians, and The Obama Rule, what initially looked like an upset for conservatives, quickly became a walk in the park for the President. Here is the fact, less republicans actually turned out to vote than democrats. Why? Romney wasn’t providing a coherent message to the base.
Another fact, Ryan easily won re-election in his Congressional district to return to Congress, but those same voters who willfully and easily returned him to Washington D.C. as their Representative were not willing to send him as their Vice President. He lost his home state for Romney which has not been done since Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee in 2000.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on the IRS – Again, albeit tempting, how much can you extract from this…even with more of this story still unfolding? Unless you can put the phone to Obama’s ear or the email on his desk, this will only do the two things we just identified above. Words not to use…“47 Percent”. Raising money doesn’t seem to be the issue for conservatives as long as their is a democrat in The White House so no need to chase the donors, they will come.
Republicans looking for a story should continue to investigate worthwhile leads and follow them where ever they take you. But keep in mind, Obama is not on the ballot in 2016, so running against Obama will be a futile exercise. Republicans must decide now which path they will adopt as the party leaders and wanna-be leaders fight for control internally. Democrats will actually relish the third Obama election in theory considering republicans lost the last two he actually ran in.
Chasing the IRS-big brother-anti ideology while President Obama stands next to Hillary and Bill Clinton with clasped hands raised, the proverbial “crowning” of his successor is really what you shouldn’t spend your time and donations doing.
With that said, unless you can put the phone in Hillary’s hand or the email regarding the IRS illegally pursuing conservative groups, tell me and the rest of America, precisely how you plan to ride this to victory in two and a half years? Most Americans don’t care today, exactly how are you going to make them care in two and a half years? Take a moment and get back to me on that.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run on states rights when it comes to social issues – States rights ought to be a thing of the past. Now, I know how you guys are really bent on keeping this as a part of your election platform and there is just no way to get you all to remove that, but just a word to the wise, democrats don’t hear “states rights” or “let the states decide” when their is an unpopular Governor in that state, i.e. Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Jan Brewer of Arizona.
Each of those state’s Governors are currently on the wrong side, according to their own state’s polling on key issues. Jindal refuses to expand Medicaid even when his citizen’s could benefit from it the most. His own presidential hopes keeps him from doing what is right for the people of Louisiana. Rick Scott changed his mind and will now accept the expansion which will include millions of his residents but stands in the way of his state’s election overhaul and blocks real immigration reforms. Jan Brewer in Arizona rose to the headlines with her immigration stance but seems to be a ‘one trick pony’.
States deciding is no longer a winning strategy at the national level. Sure, it will work for state races, but thats it. Words not to use…“Food Stamps” and “President” in the same sentence. You will need to develop a new response when you don’t like a particular piece of legislation or figure out another way to deflect answering it. Rick Scott will lose his next election to a guy who was once a Republican Governor in Florida, who then became an Independent to run for the Senate but lost and is now a bonafide Democrat running again for Governor…do you really want the state’s decision? You know what, think on that too and get back to us.
Decide today if you want to be a principled conservative, pushing the party platform who only campaigns to his peril or you’d rather redefine the party platform. Republicans have a path to victory but their fringe keeps them from it. Virginia just launched it Tea Party favorite as their nominee for Governor, as if the republicans needed any more trouble in the purple state. All they need is more extreme views that will make it easy for democrats to show up in the polls.
Virginia has become more moderate in recent years, so promoting an extreme candidate doesn’t seem to be the way to go…time will tell if this time around will be different. What you can’t do is expect something different when you’re doing the same things.
What You Can’t Do Is: Run against Hillary Clinton – This will be a bit tricky for you guys because she too will help your Political Action Committees raise tons of pre-election cash, but tread lightly. Run against her as a continuation of the Obama policies, but avoid women’s issues. Words not to use…”Rape”. She is the Women’s vote and the country for the most part wants to reward her for playing the good soldier for the Obama Administration. Remember those 18 million shattering pieces of glass she referred too? There are at least three times that amount now.
Now here is what seems to be the obvious things you simply just can’t do. You can’t run against Immigration reforms. In fact, if there is no new immigration policy in effect at the time of the election that your party [the republicans] have overwhelmingly supported and sponsored, this will be an albatross around your political necks. It will be viewed as an obstructionist move to prevent granting undocumented workers a path to legalization.
You can’t run against family equality although this is not in your platform, you just can’t do it if you expect to win nationally. With the majority of Americans now in support of legislation granting same sex rights, making this a part of your “not negotiable” stance won’t benefit your campaigns. Words not to use…”Family Values”. Where there is no science to support your position, stay away.
You can’t run against ObamaCare. Not because its bad politics, to the contrary. Run against the public polling because many are just not sure of what it is, run against the new bureaucracy of government and the roll it will play, but running against what is now the law of the land seems a bit stupid. Congress voted for it, the Supreme Court upheld it, and, well, its official. To not fund this law, when you say you’re a law abiding citizen just is dumb and looks petty.
You can’t continue to ignore New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Begin accepting the fact that the most popular republican Governor in the United States is the Executive of a liberal state in the north east with the highest approval rating than most democratic Governors in liberal states. Accept that you will need a photo of Mitt Romney, your previous standard bearer standing next to Christie showing a sign of unity. Today, he is your best shot and you know it. Get behind him with your dollars and you will change the conversation. His reelection in ’14 as Governor will change your mind, of this I am certain.
Hopefully some of you will take this time to further develop your policy approach on these issues considering every professional talking head, every political consultant and strategist, every pundit and columnist, every elected republican in national office over the past two years got it wrong. These guys have been taken to the woodshed in the last two national election cycles first by a rookie Senator and then by an endangered incumbent who you said was only good at giving speeches. Mitt Romney changed his position on every issue he was ever asked about, but that wasn’t the problem; the issue was he had come out hard against that position in the beginning, he became his own worst caricature. If you are still listening to these people…is something wrong with them or is something wrong with you? Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Can these statements, “I never want to have to work with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to get something passed”, and “…lets work to get something done on guns and immigration, we are willing to work with this President” – both come from the same person? Well, they did. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner uttered them both, but which does he really mean? In today’s realm of politics, its likely he believes both.
The Hastert Rule, named for a former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert says no Speaker should introduce a bill for a vote that doesn’t have the majority of House Republicans in support. Speaker Boehner has recently faded into the House body by permitting all the legislation thats trending in the nation to fail in the Senate, the upper chamber, first so that his House GOP caucus won’t have to decide on anything. They’ve been able to simply rattle the President’s cage while the Senate and McConnell (R-KY) carries the load.
That’s not working out as well anymore considering the U.S. Senate is nearing the framework legislation for Immigration Reform and Gun Control. So what will the Speaker do when those issues reach the House? The Hastert Rule won’t be a helpful resource considering the House GOP won’t support either, yet movement will be necessary. Boehner will need Democrats and Pelosi for both if he wants to actually “get something done”.
This week, Boehner, sensing the impending earthquake on the horizon called for unity from his party. The strong Tea Party influence and the thought of approaching midterms has emboldened the republican flank, but that sense of safety may merely be a false sense of security.
He will need to abandon the party in the coming months or stand looking like an obstructionist. If the latin community can’t see the House making an effort to get this legislation passed, it will hurt the party in the midterms and the House, with a solid majority, will pay dearly.
Party strategists “are explaining their consensus belief that the party simply has to take immigration policy off the table in order to have any chance to reach Latino voters. “I think you’re seeing a pretty concerted effort … to try to put this issue behind us” said one of the strategist.
So there it is, republicans are being guided to a place that is safe for them…nothing-ness. If they can spend their time breaking up the dems platform, they enjoy the benefits of having nothing to offer as an alternative. Its easy to say no to immigration, no to gun control and block same sex family equality if there is no plan offered as an opposing party. You see, we Americans think, there has to be an alternative, but the GOP believes an alternative is only required when they themselves believe that there is an issue requiring a plan.
Precisely the problem because while the electorate sees a problem with gun control and citizenship for undocumented workers but the GOP doesn’t see it quite the same way. To them there is no problem. To simply explain that “its” broken won’t be enough for Boehner if he hopes to retain both his Speakership and his Majority in the House. To attempt to quantify the dollars and the cents against sense won’t be sufficient in the midterms. Political theology won’t combat the harsh reality of those on unemployment and working to make their bills.
His calls for unity have not always fallen on listening ears. In January 2012 the party talked a good unity-game but when it came time to actually govern, they left their Speaker out in the cold. He was forced several times to fight his way out of a corner owned by the Obama Administration and neither time was he without bruises. His calls for unity are somewhat self serving. Boehner needs his party to support him, not their own agendas; that doesn’t seem quite likely either.
Again, in July 2011, Mr. Boehner called for unity among his caucus with regards to the deficit reduction and debt ceiling fights pre-cliff, but again, tax increases occurred and Bush Taxes expired; he was alone on that one as well. So this recent clarion call for a united front doesn’t stand to bode well unless the Speaker can find a way to get some of his rank and file to carry the “pro” banner.
He doesn’t have in the House, the Rubio’s and the Ayotte’s who are tinkering with the moderate middle on specific legislation. Rubio walks the middle on Immigration while Ayotte of New Hampshire has “evolved” on gun control with support of background checks after polling showed her tanking in her home state. Boehner needs some support in the House from those who are willing to walk the middle…right now, he has none.
The Speaker can only count on the Senate to stir the pot and keep the Tea Party at bay. Constitutionally, the authority falls to the House, the Senate was an afterthought but Boehner seems okay with letting the others push the envelop. I used to think the Speaker wanted the envelop pushed for him and his agenda, but not so. He would rather it all simply go away, but the presence of the Tea Party has made his terms as Speaker more difficult than any of his predecessors.
They enjoyed the Hastert Rule, They relished the budget debates in the 90′s between Clinton and Gingrich at a time there were no wars and entrenched terrorists, They had no Homeland Security or home grown terrorists, They controlled the electorate when the majority of the electorate were ‘white’. Being Speaker is no longer the job it used to be. Then, the Speaker of the House frequented The White House to have an audience with the President, but today, its political suicide to be seen with this President.
John Boehner said, “President Obama’s policies have not helped our economy. As a matter of fact, his policies have made our economy worse”. You may think that was a recent quote from the Speaker’s unity push, but that would only be half right. It was a quote from the Speaker’s unity push from one year ago.
The message is the same, the players are the same and they are following the same failed plan. It did not work then and it won’t work now. This echo chamber has been cut off for some time and they are no longer hearing the voice of the American people. Where we are as a nation, the base of either party is unable to move the masses. Instead, when ideas surface that resonate, people, regardless of their party affiliation, will inspire the shift those masses. Unity cannot be perceived as the Speaker would like, it will only galvanize the democrats as it did in the 2012 election.
Democrats raced to the polls because they feared the GOP Unity. Republicans have a perception problem. When Americans see unity in the Republican Party, they immediately believe the worst; thats not messaging nor is it ideology. So here’s the question for conservatives. How do you govern the whole when it is a fact that your base has withered?
How do you intend to enact your conservative vision when people don’t trust your intentions? Your base has eroded, so it seems, governing through anger, blame and distrust is working temporarily to interrupt Democrats and the President. The problem with that is this, all Americans don’t support Obama or his Administration but they respect his effort. They believe it is genuine and they give him a pass on that, but conservatives blame the media.
Here’s the question for democrats. How do you plan to govern when there are calls of unity being formed against your efforts? Dinners and beers with the President are great, but enough. The President has to lead; get out in front and lead the conversations and push the agenda. I get it…we all get it, he has to often get out on Air Force One to take his message to the people only to be criticized by the Right as the “Campaigner In Chief”…I get it. There has to be a love of the politics, and unfortunately this president doesn’t have that.
The Unification of the nation should be the goal, not the unification of the party. With midterm elections approaching, unity one way or the other will cost on of these flanks. Meaning, the ‘pro-agenda with a lean toward the middle are likely to win because they are venturing to hear the voice of the people, not just their base. McCain, Flake and Rubio are taking that approach on Immigration. Boehner himself, to the angst of his party took that stance on revenue increases this past January.
Unity that does not include working together with both parties is not real unity and the voters should continue to be worried; thus, the perception will remain. Unity that cannot operate on good faith agreement that sometimes we will disagree, but in that disagreement-we won’t harm the process…is not unity. One year away from potentially shifting majorities, one year for newbies to jock for attention, a platform and a shot, its hard to believe anyone will extend an olive branch, so there. When the Speaker doesn’t want to have to depend on dems to get anything done and republican consultants warn against supporting immigration, this sense of unity is not sincere. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
Republicans have been searching for an issue to clobber The White House with and in the past week or so, they’ve been enjoying Christmas In May with the emergence of both manufactured scandals as well as problematic connections throughout the Administration with poor decisions, troubling responses from democrats and inexcusable actions and damage control.
They have been successful at blurring the lines of factual discovery and nonsensical congressional hearings. This week we were focusing on healthcare and just as we were just about taken off message as was The White House, ta-da!, there it was, another fabricated push; a clarion call by the GOP to initiate hearings to investigate ObamaCare.
Nearly two months ago, the newly elected GOP Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz said this:
“Therefore, when the Senate votes on the Continuing Resolution, I intend to offer a “Restore Growth First” amendment which will delay funding of Obamacare. I believe we should continue to delay such funding at least until economic growth returns to historic averages, and I intend to object to consideration of any Continuing Resolution that does not include a vote to delay funding of Obamacare”.
Senator Cruz has been pushed to the forefront to carry the party’s water because quite frankly, he doesn’t have to run for re-election for another six years so his political capital from his recent election can stand the immediate hit, unlike many in leadership. Republican’s believe every problem in this country is simply because of ObamaCare. Mr. Cruz went on to say in March, “In my view, Obamacare should be fully repealed”.
If you have seen any of my posts this week, you’ll find that this behavior is not because they dislike ObamaCare, they can be credited for “Designing ObamaCare” but instead, they can’t stand to think its success may tip the electorate for generations toward democrats. At any rate, that was Mr. Cruz in March.
As of yesterday, Sen. Cruz said, “I think it’s the right position for Republicans to be taking,” Cruz said. “And I think it would be exactly the right decision to then send it back to Harry Reid and President Obama and ask if Harry Reid and President Obama are willing to try to shut the government down in order to insist that Obamacare be fully funded now even though it could well push us into a recession”.
With that said, we clearly know republicans have no intention providing funds to ensure ObamaCare is fully funded for next year. The goal was to cut off the funding and sabotage the healthcare rollout so it would kill whatever support it currently have, damaging the prospects of the legislation ever fully taking root. You see, if you can stifle the law by refusing to ensure it receives the money it should receive, that, in the view of republicans is just as good and actually repealing ObamaCare altogether.
As Mr. Cruz said, he would rather the whole country be shutdown just to prevent paying for what Congress has voted for and what the Supreme Court has ruled is the law of the land. So Mr. Cruz would prefer the “land” be torn apart instead of implementing the law. So, what does all this have to do with a manufactured scandal?
President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, reached out to Insurance providers, private companies and groups for help in raising funds to help fill in the cash void. Her task, to get states fully prepared for the healthcare rollout in October of this year, not January of next year. Problem, the republicans know this and are making it extremely difficult for her and the Obama Administration to get this done. Why October?
Knowing this, the President gave the okay for Secretary Sebelius to basically find the money and get this done. The Secretary said over and over that Congress was intentionally not increasing the budget to use the funds allocated to implement the law. The Secretary and the Obama Administration all know that the republicans won’t rest until the law is gutted so the Secretary went outside to find the money on her own.
What is it precisely that the republicans are accusing Secretary Sebelius of doing? She contacted outside groups to get them to contribute a nonprofit organization, Enroll America, which was created in 2011 to promote the healthcare law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options. This organization was always an outside group designed to publicize ObamaCare and inform Americans about the plans and the rollout. Congress was supposed to approve funds and send those funds to Enroll America, but legislators like Sen. Cruz and Orrin Hatch of Utah have made sure that didn’t happen. So the Sebelius went out to get the funding on her own and had it directed to Enroll America.
What else did she do? Absolutely nothing. So is any of this illegal? Absolutely not. Why not? According to Mrs. Sebelius’ spokesperson at HHS, Jason Young, “the secretary has been working with a wide range of stakeholders who share in the mission of getting Americans the help they need and deserve”. Mr. Young went on to say, “We have always worked with outside groups, and the efforts now ramping up are just one more part of that work.
Mr. Young mentioned a section of the Public Health Service Act that addresses the secretary’s leeway in working with nonprofit groups. According to Young, the provision says: “The Secretary is authorized to support by grant or contract (and to encourage others to support) private nonprofit entities working in health information and health promotion, preventive health services, and education in the appropriate use of health care”.
Thats from the HHS spokesman, but what are republicans saying?
1. Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and 10 other senators fired off a letter to Sebelius on Tuesday which stated, “Our initial reaction is that this appears at best to be an inherent conflict of interest and at worst a potentially illegal augmentation of appropriation”.
2. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, “If the Department of Health and Human Services closely coordinates with Enroll America and other entities, then the analogy with Iran-Contra is strong”. Mr. Alexander’s spokesperson later said, <em“The fact that Congress won’t appropriate more money for Obamacare isn’t a defense”.
So if what the Secretary didn’t do anything wrong, if she hasn’t broken any laws and if there is truthfully nothing going to come of it, why are we wasting time drumming up a fake scandal? For the same reason Orrin Hatch has already said, “Moving forward, I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law”. The idea is to ride every issue as a way to bog down the Administration with providing “information”.
Tonight, the President will be holding a briefing on the IRS “scandal”. Earlier today, the White House released Benghazi emails while Sebelius is defending her actions to get healthcare for the millions who have been without.
Republicans are put out because they thought they had every “t” crossed and all “I’s” dotted however, Obama had another trick up his sleeves. Lets not get lost in the weeds here, Republicans will, as they have stated, stop at nothing to ensure ObamaCare does not move forward, but if it does, they will ensure it only hobbles to a full stop. This is not about providing healthcare, but instead, its about preventing Obama from getting his legislation in the hands of Americans. To create a distraction, the GOP will discuss permitting the country to shut down. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
As of this post, No illegal actions have been identified with regards to the performance of Secretary Sebelius.
As of this post, the Senate has not voted in favor of Senator Cruz’s bill to defund ObamaCare at the behest of a government shutdown.
Everyone…and I mean everyone, from both sides of the aisle, believes we need healthcare reformin this country and we need it to work for every American. If you just tuned in over the last election cycle you would’ve missed the debate back and forth between then Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, not over should there be an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare programs, but should the new plan include an Individual Mandate; should all Americans be required to purchase healthcare insurance with fines associated if they don’t?
Hillary Clinton, who had been at the helm of the attempt made by her husband, Bill Clinton while he was president believed that there had to be a mandate, Obama disagreed. It wasn’t long after that election which gave him The White House that he realized Hillary had been right all along. His new healthcare agenda would from then on include this “get it or be fined” clause.
Immediately, Republicans, who were already in battle mode against this new historic President found something else to grind their axes toward. To think this President would force Americans to purchase insurance or be fined was an outrage and they all pledged to do whatever it took to block his every move. How naive this young President must be to think he would be able to convince Republicans of such malarky.
The conservative brand of politics today has been successful at convincing not only their base of constituents that Obama is a socialist because of his healthcare agenda; ObamaCare. But what they won’t admit, although you can find it online just like I did, is that major portions of President Obama’s entire healthcare plan was thought of by Republicans, right down to the Individual Mandate.
The first on record, President Nixon thought it could serve as a domestic policy victory for him if he could get everyone to buy insurance for their household and Nixon’s idea was to be required of each home. He believe this was necessary for personal accountability, which sounds like something a republican would say, right? Then after him, along came an even more familiar name, President George H.W. Bush who had it drafted up and even reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget to make sure the numbers would work; they did, but President Bush decided not to present the idea because at the time, democrats didn’t like the idea. This is where you say, huh?
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Think Tank which is run now by one of ObamaCare’s most assertive critics, former South Carolina Senator Jim Demint, was once an organization that not only supported the individual mandate, but said this in 1989 and then again in 1993 in the organization’s self titled “Consumer Choice Health Plan”:
In order to guarantee universal health care coverage, everyone would have to obtain insurance, either through a government program or from a private insurer, on their own or through a family member. The states would be charged with enforcing the mandate and would have to arrange coverage for people who did not do so themselves. The minimum insurance would cover “catastrophic” health care expenses–that is, those exceeding $1,000 a year for an individual or $2,000 a year for a family.
It was because of The Heritage Foundation’s view on this mandate that then President Bush came up with the idea to even pursue it, before deciding later to not even mention it to the democrats. He simply called it “catastrophic insurance” but it required a mandate. Many believe healthcare and its overhaul are necessary. They crafted the the whole idea of individuals being required to purchase coverage. But when asked why did the organization change its views once President Obama introduced the same plan they created…they said, “we have evolved over time”.
What I don’t want to do is insinuate that 1993 was the last time this idea was introduced or supported by a republican. Not hardly. It was for the first time tested in Massachusetts by a Republican Governor who was then championed by the GOP and The Heritage Foundation as a path forward for the party. The fact that this Governor was able to get this difficult piece of legislation passed in a predominantly liberal state and a Democratic Majority in the State House was a major accomplishment. That Governor took to the airwaves proclaiming how great his state, Massachusetts was because they were able to get this done…who was that Governor? Former GOP Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney.
The 2012 GOP Presidential Candidates who supported the mandate for universal coverage didn’t end with former Governor Romney, but the former Speaker of the House during the Clinton Administration, Newt Gingrich also supports the mandate Obama has put in place.
The Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch has opposed the Obama Administration at every point with regard to this legislation, himself, once believed in the same method to pay for such an overhaul as the one President Obama has put forward…but now there’s a case of “I was for it before I was against it”. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, another republican who once supported the individual mandate to ensure healthcare for all but now, you would never know it. Why such a turn of events from these two gentlemen on an issue once near and dear to them?
So you get the idea…the only people who were for the Individual Mandate before Obama was Hillary Clinton and a ton of Republicans, two of them being sitting Presidents and conservative organizations. But lets not stop there, how many millions of republican voters and supporters once thought this was the wave of the future when their elected leaders in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate crafted these proposals and provisions for healthcare legislation. While were at it, what were the insurance companies thinking then when republicans were pushing this idea?
The only people who were late to the party on this issue were the democrats. Hillary only smartened up after she was taken to school by the Republican House back in the 90′s. Bill Clinton was the first Democratic President to ever utter the words and yet, the GOP has done an amazing job re-writing history. If you listen to them, they believe Obama’s Affordable Care Act is not only illegal but also unconstitutional, even though the Supreme Court has already ruled in its favor.
Its not that these and other republicans appear to be hypocrites, but they haven’t even offered an alternative measure to meet the needs of the millions of adults and children who had no coverage for nearly two decades. If you didn’t like ObamaCare, why not propose something, anything before he [the president] had? When invited to the White House by Obama and given a chance to sit with the Administration to add their policy objectives, the House Leadership initially declined to even take the meeting.
As I said yesterday, this opposition to affordable healthcare only began in earnest once this president made it his signature piece of legislation and likely the crown jewel of his presidential legacy. The attached links support that; republicans like this plan but they can never admit it. They like the individual mandate because as they first learned, a viable healthcare plan cannot sustain itself with only the higher risk individuals but you will certainly need the enrollment of the healthiest of individuals to buy into the plan, no different from any policy provided by an employer.
If you didn’t know, well now you do…what you know is, this isn’t about ObamaCare, its about Obama. It’s about him taking their idea and packaging it up as a means to galvanize and weave the middle class into his electoral blue-print for winning national elections for his party. What republicans dreamt up as a means to remove the responsibility of employer paid benefits has now been turned against them as a way to show the important role that government can play. Bill Kristol said it best here:
“Obama’s plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR’s New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule…Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing “eternal” power for the Democrat Party”.
The GOP is taking this same approach on several issues, Immigration being one of them, as a means to prevent Dems from “eternal power”. Thats my story and um sticking to it!
In order to understand the healthcare quick-sand of the present, you most certainly have to return to the beginning; the Clintonian 1990′s. The problems facing this president are the same that faced that one, the last democratic president, Bill Clinton. He wanted to change the way Americans received healthcare and discovered a way to get it done, but it would be painful. The 90′s were known as a time renewed following the late 80′s under George Herbert Walker Bush.
Financially, a large swath of Americans were feeling better about where they were, consumer confidence was off the charts and it was period of non-military action so people were getting on about their own lives. Then comes what was perceived by the Right to be this sweeping healthcare proposal to insure all Americans and therefore required more money to pay for it. Republicans erupted, Clinton sent Hillary to the Hill to defend the plan that ultimately was killed.
Back in 2009, Bill Kristol took that approach when discussing what we now know as Obamacare. He said “kill it and start over” when discussing the path republicans should encourage President Obama and his Administration to take if they wanted support from House Republicans to engage in drafting the legislation. For fear of being seen in the same room with Obama, let alone, discussing how to overhaul the healthcare issues, republicans did whatever they could to exact Kristol’s advice.
On his Weekly Standard blog back in 2009, Mr. Kristol began his post with “With Obamacare on the ropes”, I mean, where else can you go from there but downward? But he continued with his methodical republican strategy, “So this is not the time to let them off the ropes. This is the week to highlight every problem, every terrible provision, in the Democratic bills: from taxes and spending to government control and rationing to federal funding for abortion and government-required death-with-dignity counseling sessions for the elderly. Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it”.
“Kill it” was the plan from the beginning but of course we already knew that. What we didn’t know was why. The reason may shock you initially because it has nothing to do with Obamacare being “bad policy” as many have claimed, but instead they were afraid it might actually work and if it did, it would alter elections for generations. I have taken the time include these links because I want to keep you on the path that got us here.
This tactic of Kristol’s wasn’t a new one, you see it had worked back once before against Clinton. It had worked so well, it helped establish Kristol as a conservative voice to listen to for electoral and procedural strategy. Kristol bragged back in 2009 about how well his strategy had worked on President Clinton and if republicans wanted to win national elections and control the electorate, they had better follow his lead.
His plan was to simply attack Obama’s economic stimulus package of ’2009; force the President to push his economic agenda through Congress (if he [Kristol] couldn’t stall it altogether), force Obama to use all his political capital for the stimulus so that by the time healthcare came up, Obama would have no place to go; all his muscle and “creditability“ would have been loss on the hill and among the voters. This strategy is precisely what worked on Clinton. Clinton got his tax increases, but democrats were so beat up after that, healthcare got delegated to Hillary for a fresh face but it failed.
It didn’t matter that the Affordable Care Act included most of the things republicans wanted, it didn’t matter that it had been done before by a republican who would later go on to run for president; Willard Mitt Romney, and it surely didn’t matter that millions were without healthcare coverage for reasons beyond their control, yet, republicans fought hard against the very things they liked. Why? Well I’ll get to that in a minute, but lets first look at what Republicans thought the President’s healthcare plan should include:
A. Permit Families to purchase coverage across state lines
This idea actually is a pretty good one. I’ve taken this information from here, provided by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, (I love Ezra for his wonkiness, but for the sake of everyone being able to understand, I broke it down even further). The basic back and forth here is democrats have argued that “letting states decide” often creates more cracks in the system than its worth because each state adopts a variation of the law and interprets provisions differently making those who are looking to purchase insurance at the best rate, for the insurer more complicated if not , just down-right impossible. Dems feel that the states are way too lenient on insurance providers at the expense of the insurer.
As you might imagine, republicans believe just the opposite. They feel that too much regulation is thrown at the insurance companies. They feel the insurance company shouldn’t have to be in the state, but instead operate out of the state with the least regulation, but simply offer policies to every state, kind of like how credit card companies gather in Delaware, but provide credit to every person who qualifies regardless of the state.
But what Ezra found was that “To the surprise and dismay of many liberals, the Senate health-care bill included a compromise with the conservative vision for insurance regulation. The relevant policy is in Section 1333, which allows the formation of interstate compacts. Under this provision, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho (for instance) could agree to allow insurers based in any of those states to sell plans in all of them. This prevents a race to the bottom, as Idaho has to be comfortable with Arizona’s regulations, and the policies have to have a minimum level of benefits (something that even Rep. Paul Ryan believes), but it’s a lot closer to the conservative ideal”. In other words, what the republicans want regarding this provision of the healthcare plan, its already there. NEXT!
B. Give Small businesses, Individuals and trade groups the right to form their own “health group” as a way to reduce costs like larger employers
Long story short, this too is already included in ObamaCare. Barack Obama addressed this concern when he instructed each state to create and establish a healthcare exchange by January 2014. I spoke about this in the previous post, The Healthcare Debate: What’s The Point?. Each is required to create an exchange whereby that state’s residents can pool their buying power for the purpose of obtaining better insurance rates, kind of like a huge plan, but there will be more than one; one that may fit your needs specifically. DISPATCHED.
C. Give the states the ability to opt out of ObamaCare
In the bill passed by the U.S. Senate, go to Section 1302 and you will find something called the “Waiver for State Innovation”. What this waiver does is grants the state to throw out the entire plan…the whole thing, “if” the state can prove they can do it better than what Mr. Obama has done. So, for those Governors who rejected expanding Medicaid and building healthcare exchanges by January 2014…do it yourself. Not one has even hinted at that option.
There are many more provisions built directly into the bill specifically to address every concern republicans had and yet they still fight the passage of the bill. Now that its the law, they still fight to have it repealed, but only to a base that actually believe thats even possible. Its not-it is now the law of the land. So knowing that, conservatives have then fought “defund” or keep from allocating money and resources to the programs now scheduled to roll out. Why would they do that? DONE.
If you can get doctor and insurace providers to offer services but then make it to where they can’t get paid for the services rendered, you create a failed program. If you can create a failed program, then no one would want or use the healthcare plan. Republicans want to ensure this plan fails. How do we know that as a fact? Just take a look what former S.C. Senator, now head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank said, “if Republicans can defeat health care reform it would be President Obama’s “Waterloo” because it would “break him”.
Terms like “kill”, regarding Obama’s legislation, “break him” regarding Obama’s political will, “creditability”, regarding Obama’s agenda and potential legacy speaks to the ferocity by which the opposing party have fought to keep their hopes for a winnable strategy; “if I can’t-then you won’t either”.
No longer does it matter how good a bill is or whether at some point you supported it, if that position makes you look better than me, I’ll oppose you and make you look bad. No longer does it appear to matter how American’s feel about an issue unless it affirms your wayward thought. When 94% of Americans support background checks gun purchases, that was ignore and republicans voted in the opposite direction, 94%. But when on 65% of Americans support healthcare reform, many view that 35% variance as enough to oppose the legislation? You cant have it both ways guys. There’s gotta be a better way. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
There’s an infinite number of articles and blogs as well as books that come across my desk everyday. All can’t be used immediately, but some of them, as you read them, you can just tell, “you will see this again”. Its just the nature of politics; sometimes things are drip-drip-drip on purpose and others are simply the moisture prior to the crack in the damn.
That happened this week as I read up on the progress of the health care exchange, the first in the nation, currently underway in Colorado. As many may already know, the state run exchanges will operate as a health care pool from which residents of that state will select the best plan for their needs. Per the President’s signature legislation, every state must have their exchange or HIX in place by January 2014.
Well, Colorado has been busy at work, as they should, working to ensure that states citizens are ready and fully informed. Well that last part is kinda what I want to talk to you about today. Some members on Colorado’s HIX board have complained aloud about the resources (cash) that is needed to “publicize” and make those who will likely require its services, aware that they exist.
The President and the Congress made the law to ensure every state was ready at the same time, no hold outs, no exceptions. And by doing so, they allotted federal grants that will pay the whole bill of the transition to keep states from having to come up with this cash on their own; killing their budgets. This would prevent an opposing state Governor from using any fiscal claims for not being prepared as an option.
So back to Colorado, the conservative board members are angry that they needed to request “awareness money” as I like to call it. They question the fact that any money should be spent to let anyone know anything about the services provided by a program they lead. The nation’s first health care exchange used $61 million in federal grants to get set up, pretty cheap considering the scope of their responsibilities. But an additional $125 million was found to be needed to help get the word out of what was to come beginning January ’14.
Keep in mind, the state in not responsible for this money and there is no hoops to jump through to get it, federal grants are standing by, they just need to ask and they did, but the concern became, why is this the best way to spend money? So you would rather, spend $61 million on a program and then tell no one about the program? If you’re a republican, the answer to that question is yes. There is a reason for that. I learned through all of this research, this battle over healthcare is not a practical one, but an ideological one.
This week, I intend to explore every facet of the healthcare debate to best explain why we are here and trust, there will be enough blood on the floor from all parties involved. What you will come to see and understand is that the issues being discussed today are a retread of what was already discussed regarding universal coverage for nearly 3 decades.
Because of that, you will hear the frustration I have with the Obama Administration regarding why they are precisely where they are right now…still publicizing. You will also see the real reason why republicans, have been against this law and another one just like it back in the 90′s from former President Bill Clinton. None of this is new other than the fact that Obama actually got the bill passed out of Congress and stamped by the Supreme Court. There was a lot that Obama did right, but there is much more that he has stumbled into, which should not have occurred.
You will see that some of the republicans’ claims of being fiscally sound, deficit busting, taking over liberties and American’s freedoms are all baseless, but instead a means to own the electoral process. With this foundation, we will then delve into the law itself to explain what is actually in the bill, but more importantly, tell you what your healthcare will look like in 2014, you may be positively shocked. You will also find that republican leaders in both houses feared that you would be happy with it.
No opinions this week, we’re only dealing with the facts guys so everything on healthcare will be backed up with links, facts and data. As former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice once so perfectly stated, “I welcome your opinions, but not your uninformed ones”. As I stated earlier, this battle over healthcare doesn’t make since to average Americans because we view things like this through a prism of logic; how does this make sense. Well, this battle is not logical, but ideological and unless you share that ideology, it will never make sense to you. That’s my story and um sticking to it.
Its kinda like bad expressionist art; you just about have to stand back at a distance just to get the whole view of what is on display. The GOP’s inner maneuverings on how they will approach Immigration Reform is at first glance, in the least, quite startling. By the time you hear all the reverberations of Sen. Cruz who is being used as a right of Right republican within the fold you can’t help but think, have they forgotten last November already? They haven’t.
If Ted Cruz, the junior republican Senator from Texas, is right of Right, then Marco Rubio, the junior Senator from Florida is being perceived as left of Right. Rubio’s opposing flank, [Cruz] are set to weaken his and the rest of the gang of eight, those who worked for months to craft immigration legislation.
Democrats have to be loving this! To see the GOP get bloody, at war with itself preserves the electoral math they have come to cherish and need for victory in the 2014 midterms. This march toward citizenship was always going to be a messy one, but I think everyone imagined some of the carnage to at the hands of democrats and Harry Reid’s Senate democrats. Not so much.
Here’s the power-play at work. What I am calling the left of Right republicans are the John McCains, the Jeff Flakes just to name a few. They recruited the ambitious Rubio to lead the charge considering he knows as well as they do [those mentioned-represent a border states] that this issue won’t simply go ahead because they kick the can down election road. Rubio, himself a potential 2016 presidential contender had to get out front for fear of “leading from behind” on the debate.
The others, [McCain & Flake] are enjoying the cover Rubio is giving them. McCain has been consistent on the issue, to the scorn of his party. Flake, the new kid on the block definitely enjoys being wedged in the middle between his Senior and the first potentially credible hispanic presidential candidate. This power play has many levels. Flake gets the right to say he tried, McCain gets to fight the fight he has wanted for some time at the hand of new blood and Rubio, if successful, gets the credit for pulling the party in a new direction.
To their right on this issue however is the right of Right republicans who have carved out for themselves a niche in this debate that shed some light for those not in close elections, not facing major hispanic populations in their home states or in border states. These republicans represent an electorate that has a hardened view on the path toward citizenship for the 11(plus) million undocumented workers currently in this country.
The two factions have pitted themselves against each other, behind two Senators of latin heritage for the face-off. Rubio is hoping to win the favor of many of those undocumented workers, but thats not pot at the end of the rainbow he really wants, because those folks don’t have a voice in the upcoming elections; not yet anyway. Rather, Rubio is pursuing the Hispanic community that turned out in a major way for Obama in the 2012 election and is responsible for reelection in no small way.
The newly elected Cruz, fresh off his first win for the seat six months ago has hinted at the presidency, rather foolishly I might add. He has begun to drink his own kool-aid. If he thinks by taking the same positions on immigration that Romney had will somehow turn out differently this time around, #kool-aid. But of course, its not that simple. Fresh off a win, Cruz knows he has a six year term and this is a great way to build his bonifides among the party loyals.
He knows, the time is now to gain as much clout as possible, chair the committees, hold the press hostage to their own devices and build his reelection war chest for the next go. This anti-ism” is more about power. Just as well, those behind him, propping him up are having their way with this debate as well. The idea is to weaken Rubio and the gang of eight’s bill currently being reviewed and present something that will:
1. Break the bill up into pieces – The goal is to slow-walk this legislation and drag it out over several elections. The demographics won’t change and the numbers won’t lie but the effects won’t be so bruising if you can show you are in favor of reform by presenting one piece of the bill every 11 months, create a blame game between the two parties to justify why action is moving slow and try to run out the clock.
2. No one on the right of Right wants a democrat in The White House in 2016 but some don’t want Rubio there either. Many within the GOP feel about him in the same way that Dems felt about Obama in 2008. They don’t feel he’s earned his right of passage and they definitely don’t want him gaining a leg up on them using a contested issue like immigration.
The power they are all jockeying for belongs to the Hispanic community. It cannot be won by policy proposals and headlines about an immigration fight on Capital Hill. They want results and I don’t think anything less than “a path” will suffice. Rubio’s gang has the support of the Senate Dems and the American electorate on their side. The GOP seems to be perfectly willing to sacrifice the party and the future wins for the sake of being right within the party. A lot of good thats gonna do if you can’t win national elections. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
A few weeks ago, the Congressman from Virginia’s 7th District, the Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives launched an effort to rebrand the Republican Party’s image with the purpose of approaching the ’14 midterms with new talking points. Cantor has been for practical purposes, a one man brand.
Following the last November’s election, where the GOP gained at the state levels but lost across the national political spectrum, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released some recommendations to change the image of the party as well its message trajectory. Well, it seems the only GOP Leader to get into lock step with this initiative was Leader Cantor.
Directly speaking, the question I raised today is, are we as Americans wasting our time, shouting to the wall of political opposition? Cantor, no fan of President Obama by any means, was looking to pass a bill recently, (April 13) that would add money to a health care program which was proposed by the President in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) that would help those living with pre-existing conditions. He wanted to take money from one part of ObamaCare by repealing it and then take that money and put it in the pre-existing conditions portion.
What seemed like something his fellow House Republicans could support, repealing one portion of ObamaCare was not met with enthusiasm. The Majority Leader couldn’t convince his colleagues to then support adding money to another part of the healthcare plan they fought years to prevent from becoming law. Cantor continued to press for the bill’s passage, until…
A wall was erected. Since 2010, the wall has simply gotten higher, longer and has become more of an eyesore to hard working Americans; they can’t seem to see a trending pattern of progressive governance from their elected leadership. That wall appeared before Congressman Cantor in the form of a key vote alert, put out by the conservative group, The Club for Growth, to encourage republicans to vote “No”, against Leader Cantor, himself a conservative.
The Vote Alert, which went out to all elected republicans and all the members of the organization said two things, one more alarming the other. First the alert stated, “the fact that this bill is offset with the repeal of another ObamaCare program is irrelevant. ObamaCare as a whole was financed in part with borrowed money, so this bill will only contribute to more debt. Fiscal conservatives should be squarely focused on repealing ObamaCare, not strengthening it by supporting the parts that are politically attractive”.
Secondly and most alarming is the fact that the Vote Alert mentioned three times, “the vote will be included in our 2013 congressional scorecard”. That is code for, if you vote in line with your party leadership, Mr. Cantor, ‘we will make you pay-we will support someone else to run against you next time’. Wall.
Well, what do you think happened? Take a guess; Cantor pulled the bill from the schedule to be voted on. He just couldn’t get the votes. What this says is, common sense legislation for Americans can’t pass the House because these guys are clearly more concerned about keeping their jobs than working for the people who sent them.
Cantor has more than once ran into this wall of opposition. Again, just before November, the Majority Leader was not for any of these measures either, but this time, after getting his folks behind closed doors, “He argued that “helping the sick people” was a worthy conservative cause. “This is the right thing to do,” Cantor said. “We’re trying to find solutions here” according many accounts. But the wall.
When a republican leader can’t convince his own people as to why they should help “sick people” and why this was a “worthy cause”. The republican party is fighting more with itself that it is with Obama. When that leader has to stress why “this is the right thing to do”, he, Mr. Cantor has acknowledged the wall that he cannot climb. Thats my story and um sticking to it.
How smart is the American electorate and how much should we trust the vote of those who generally cast their ballot heavily weighted by imagery and a feel good message? How much of today’s dialogue is simply brand messaging and how much can be considered substantive pathway forward?
There is much to be said for the popular vote in this country. We all put so much value in what was popular, however much of what is considered popular is merely a smoke screen. In the world of politics, how can you expect much to be different? Take this example as one of many discrepancies that are electoral mysteries.
Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin’s First District won re-election by comfortable margins in the same congressional district he has served since 1998. Ryan has always been considered a stellar representative among is base of support and yet, in the same year, in the same election, in the same district, he failed to carry the Republican Presidential ticket, even from the V.P. slot.
So how can the same voters push the same candidate to victory by over 30 points over his challenger in one contest, but on the same ballot, they chose look the other way for a much larger role? Are they saying Ryan was only awesome enough to be there Congressman? There’s more to the story than this, but its the question everyone chooses to ignore…what were these people thinking?
Ryan wrote the budget and submitted it as Budget Committee Chair, Romney for the most part campaigned half heartedly for it while the GOP championed the effort. Why would you not elevate the guy who crafted the legislation you believe in? This cannot be a message problem as democrats would like to believe. The republicans are stumbling into being right when they say their message is not the problem. Their very own, Rush Limbaugh said it best, “…its not you, its what they say about you…”
In another example, last election cycle in Florida, then Governor Charlie Crist ran for the Senate as a Republican to only be pushed aside for a new comer, Marco Rubio, simply because he greeted the sitting President of the United States with a hug…no really, thats all.
The same voters who ran over Crist with their bus, all but appearing to doom his political career, now favors Crist to replace the very same Governor, Rick Scott who replaced him after his failed Senate run. Two important things about that; Instead of punishing Crist for looking like a defector and switching parties, something that would typically send voters running in the opposite direction, Florida’s voters will reward him. Secondly, they are eager to remove the very same Governor who won the office by bashing Crist.
So getting back to the question, how have we come to put so much weight in the Philosophy Of The Voters when they vote their conscience…at the moment. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for how the electorate votes, outside of imagery. How else can you explain their quasi forgiveness of the disgraced former South Carolina Governor, Mark Sanford recently as he demonstrated his audacity in running for his old House Seat, with his former mistress-now wife at his side. The public, the trusted voters were all set to give him another shot, until this week when news of his trespassing into his ex-wife’s home to watch a Superbowl game surfaced in court documents.
Now, those who were willing to forgive, including those leaders in his own party, began to make a mad dash for the exits. We saw it with Todd Akin in Missouri as well as Sen. David Vitter in Louisiana. Vitter went from adulterer to possible candidate for Governor.
In a piece this week on TheHill.com, by Lara Seligman, the question was raised, “Why is it that Democrats think the DNC can handle the nation’s fiscal matters better than Republicans, yet in a recent poll, the majority of Americans support the GOP’s approach?” The poll was conducted without informing the voter which approach belonged to either party. Americans re-elected President Obama for what reason?
Sure, Americans didn’t like the Romney delivery; they didn’t like his “snooty-rich-guy-attempting-to-be-regular” routine; they didn’t think he was genuine and they definitely didn’t believe he was all he claimed to be, a severely conservative nominee. It wasn’t just what he said, it was who he was.
Voters buy and drink the popular kool-aid. They often cheer for who will look better in The White House and how that will make America look abroad. Is that every voter, nope, but to deny it exist is naive. We want our politicians to at least act like they care about all of us, not just 53% of us. When you are unable to hide that, you lose the right to represent the whole in this electoral system we have.
It is for this reason, Hillary Clinton is running in 2016. The American electorate feels some kinda way for passing her up for the last historic candidate. They loved her, but disliked the way she and the former President, Bill Clinton ran her campaign. It was as if, she was getting in the way of the candidate, Barack Obama, that they had chosen for themselves. They want to repay her. It is now her turn. The American voter is a liberal voter of moderately conservative ideals and because the media has tapped into this phenomenon, all others feel the media is in the tank, but its not.
Politicians follow the negative polls in order to turn them around, for something trending more positively. The same polls provided by the media. The true puppet-master in the electorate process is the public. They will crown the next Monarch in 2016 as they have forty-four times before. The real kingmakers are the American voters. Thats my story and um sticking to it.