Conn Carroll's blog

Dude, Where's My Health Care Bill?

The Los Angeles Times reports today:

The fate of healthcare legislation turns on the endgame skills of two Democrats who bring vastly different assets to the task: President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi....Under the Democrats' strategy, the House would pass the Senate's version of the bill. Then both chambers would approve changes under the budget reconciliation process, which could pass the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority. Democrats hope to finish by the end of the month.

 This is a complete delusion. In the immortal words of Jesse Montgomery III, "No and then."

There will never be any reconciliation process. The White House is desperate for any bill to pass so that they can then immediately pivot to anything else (probably jobs). No intelligent person believes, that after the House passes the Senate bill, that there will be any serious push to pass a reconciliation bill. It would be the exact same as completely starting over on health care. And the White House has been very adamant that that is the last thing they plan to do.

The White House is trying to frame this "last" push for health care reform as an up-or-down vote on health care. But we already have an up-or-down vote set up in the House. The Senate is irrelevant. Conservatives shouldn't even entertain the possibility of the Senate passing a reconciliation bill until that bill exists. And right now, it doesn't. Not in the House. Not in the Senate. Nowhere.

So when the President campaign for "his plan" across the country this week, be sure to ask him, "Dude, where's my health care bill?"

Palin 2012 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sarah Palin

If the price of SNL whacking Obama like this:

...are hit jobs on Palin like this...

...then I like our chances for 2010 and 2012.

The 2010 elections are going to be a referendum on the Obama presidency, not Sarah Palin's book tour. As far as 2012 goes: I've always loved Sarah Palin and still do. I hope she rakes in millions of dollars with her book sales and speaking fees. But she has never won a single vote in any GOP primary and, if Mike Huckabee runs, she probably never will.

I'm sure she'll show up at a ton of the 2012 cattle calls, but that does convince me she is in it to win it. Instead she'll be a constant lightning rod ... cat nip for the Palin-haters at The Atlantic and MSNBC. So if beating up on Sarah allows the Jon Stewart's and SNL's to take some honest shots on Obama every once in a while, then I hope Palinmania never dies.

X-Sen. Harry Reid

I don't know much about Danny Tarkanian other than the fact that his dad coached some exciting basketball teams, but if the rest of his campaign is as funny and on target as this ad, then Harry Reid in a world of trouble:


Reagan Would Define Conservatism Today

First Read asks: "Would Reagan have passed today’s conservative litmus test?" and goes on to cover the tired lefty Reagan-as-moderate list: raised taxes, increased deficit, picked G.W. Bush as running mate etc.

This is just another lame lefty attempt to try and paint the modern GOP as crazy wingers. The idea that Reagan was some sort of Charlie Christ-moderate is absurd. Watch Reagan's 1964 A Time for Choosing again and follow below for some highlighted quotes that could come out of any Tea Party rally today:


From A Time for Choosing:

No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.


In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations.

For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fullbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government"—this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize.

They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.


The Left Is In Full Retreat

Did conservatives or progressives win on Tuesday? Don't listen to what they say, pay attention to what they do.

Politico reports "Climate change on the back burner?"

Climate change has slipped so far down on the agenda that at least one key committee chairman has suggested it might have to wait until after the 2010 elections.

A number of factors are conspiring against the Senate version of the bill: a Republican boycott on the Environment and Public Works Committee, a new EPA analysis that could take at least five weeks and wide-ranging disagreements among six competing Senate committee leaders who have jurisdiction.

“Some people are talking about not doing it until after the 2010 election,” Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday.

 ABC News reports Top Dems: Obama Won't Get Health Care Bill in 2009

Senior Congressional Democrats told ABC News today it is highly unlikely that a health care reform bill will be completed this year, just a week after President Barack Obama declared he was "absolutely confident" he'll be able to sign one by then.

"Getting this done by the by the end of the year is a no-go," a senior Democratic leadership aide told ABC News. Two other key Congressional Democrats also told ABC News the same thing.

 The Senate is not going to vote on health care till January 2010. The Senate is not going to vote on cap and trade till after November 2010. The left is scared and on the run. We have the initiative. We need to press them on jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.

Early '10 Lessons from '09 Disasters

Poltico's Jonathan Martin reports: 

The surging campaign of third-party candidate Chris Daggett has turned the New Jersey governor's race into a dead-heat and left Republicans divided over the seriousness of the threat he poses to GOP nominee Chris Christie.

The Hill's Reid Wilson reports:

The House GOP conference is bitterly divided over a centrist New York Republican’s run for the House seat vacated by Army Secretary John McHugh.

Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who backs abortion rights and has voiced support for gay rights, has drawn a challenger from the right who is running on the Conservative Party line. And though House leaders have urged conference members to donate, many have pointedly refused to back Scozzafava.

What do these two stories have in common? Everything. In both cases the local GOP establishment supported moderate, big government friendly Republicans who they thought stood a better chance of winning a general election.

In both cases the general election campaigns of these candiates are absolutely floundering.

The lesson: me-too big government GOP moderates are going to get washed away by the same anti-establishment wave that is going to remove mand Dems from office in '10.

Center for Lack of Progress

I've been a subscriber to the Progress Report for... well longer than I remember (since 2005 at least). Produced by the Center for American Progress, the Progress Reports is the anchor email product for CAP's main blog Think Progress.

With Obama now in the White House the Progress Report has lost most of its edge and relevance with its favorite target (Pres. Bush) out of office. It used to be that I could always predict exactly what was going to be in TPR just by looking at the title. But with Obama in power, that is simply no longer the case. Take today's Progress Report titled Growing Frustration Over Lack Of Progress.

I really had no idea what it was going to be about. Obama's lack of progress on health care? On same-sex marriage? On stopping the rising oceans? On Afghanistan? On Iran? On jobs? There were so many possibilities.

Turns out it was on Israel/Palestine.

I'm sure the world's newest Nobel laureate will solve that one soon too.

Andrew Sullivan: The Original Birther

A home run by National Review today on the birthers:

We are used to seeing conspiracy theories from the Left, for instance among the one in three Democrats who believe that 9/11 was an inside job conducted with the foreknowledge of the Bush administration. We’ve seen everything under the sun blamed on Dick Cheney and Halliburton, and Rosie O’Donnell has given us much mirth with her metallurgical expertise, while Andrew Sullivan has beclowned himself and tarnished the good name of The Atlantic with his investigation into the “real” parentage of Trig Palin.

It's true: Andrew Sullivan is an embarrassment to himself, The Atlantic, and to Barack Obama supporters everywhere. But the birthers are just as embarrassing to us. This NR editorial is good ... but its only a start. No matter how bad the economy will be in 2012, conservatives just do not have the luxury of tolerating birthers in our midst.

Good conservatives in the House caucus, and us on the right-o-sphere, should be pushing Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) to drop his ridiculously embarrassing birther bill. All nine co-sponsors (and it really pains me to see Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on the list) should be embarrassed into withdrawing their support as well.

It was good to see the House affirm 378-0 that Obama was born in Hawaii last night. But that is not enough. Conservatives must do a better job of confronting, rebutting, and shunning birthers. Otherwise, we're no better than Andrew Sullivan.

Joe Pesci on Liberaltarianism

George Mason Associate Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan made his first trip to one of Brink Lindsey's Liberaltarian Roundtable dinners and writes at EconLog:

In any case, it is silly for liberals and libertarians to sit around offering each other "deals." Even ignoring the mistrust, there's a more fundamental problem: Neither of us can deliver what we're "offering." What does it even mean for me to tell Ezra Klein, "I'll agree to redistribution if you agree to a free market?" I might as well offer him the Brooklyn Bridge in exchange for the Fountain of Youth.

I have been a big fan of Brink's since I first bought Against the Dead Hand off of Amazon at the suggestion of Instapundit. But Bryan's reaction to his first Liberaltarian discussion is the exact same reaction I have every time I watch Brink talk about his frustration with Barack Obama on Bloggingheads. This scene from Casino pretty much sums it up:

Brink just does not get the true nature of the Democratic party. The Democratic party is not controlled by the Ezra Klein's of the world who are for taxing employee health benefits. The Democratic Party is controlled by AFSCME, SEIU, the NEA, the AFT, and the UAW,. Unions don't care about the awesome ideas of Brink and Ezra. Watch NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin admit as much in this video (skip to 21:38):

Chanin says:

Despite what some among us would like to believe [the NEA is effective] not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.

The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees. ...

When all is said and done, NEA affiliates must never lose sight of the fact that they are unions. And what unions do first and foremost is represent their members.

The Democratic Party, to its core, is about growing and maintaining the power of the state ... which just happens to also be the fastest growing sector of the labor movement. Big labor supplies the bodies and the money for Democratic campaigns, especially in primaries. Big labor could care less about most of Brink's proposed common ground with liberals. Civil liberties, censorship, drug policy ... big labor doesn't care about these issues. And Brink's concern with "extreme assertions of executive power"? How's that TARP justified government/union takeover of the auto industry rubbing libertarians these days?

And what about the stuff that Brink used to care about? You know, fighting off the dead hand off the state? How's that going? How is Obama doing in that area, on health care, energy, and industrial policy?

I realize Brink is taking a long view with his liberaltarian project, but big labor's control over the Democratic Party is growing under Obama, not receding. I'll grant that under Obama Brink will eventually witness policy victories on same sex marriage, decreased defense spending, and amnesty (which will only happen if it is guaranteed to swell the rolls of the SEIU).

But on every other issue that Brink cares about, the Bob Chanin's of the world are gonna whup Brink's butt every time. In other words, if Brink thinks he can change the actual policies pursued by actual Democrats in office, then, in Joe Pesci's words, "you better get your own f****ing army, pal."

Blame Ourselves

Last month after the House passed Waxman-Markey with help from 8 GOP votes, Robert Stacy McCain called on conservatives to stop giving money to the NRCC: Not One Red Cent. I thought this was an over reaction at first. But then I stopped by the NRCC to see if they were actually supporting any of the 8 cap and tr8ors. I clicked on their Patriot Program and learned that "The NRCC unveiled ten incumbent Members who, because of their outstanding efforts as "Patriots," will be rewarded with participation in "Patriot Day" on June 25th." But was there a list of these "Patriots" anywhere on the NRCCs site? No. I had to resort to Google news to find out that:

Among those on the list are Reps. Dan Lungren, Ken Calvert and Brian Bilbray of California, Judy Biggert of Illinois, Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana, Thad McCotter of Michigan, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, Leonard Lance of New Jersey, Christopher Lee of New York and Dave Reichert of Washington.

Matching the two lists up we find that the NRCC's Patriot program is in fact providing comfort to two traitors: Reps. Leonard Lance (NJ-7) and Dave Reichert (WA-8).

So on second thought, yeah, by all means conservatives should definitely stop giving any money to the NRCC until Lance and Reichart are kicked out of the Patriot Program. But that is not enough. Duncan Black and I don't agree on much policy wise, but when it comes to politics,  we agree a lot. Responding to RSM, Atrios wrote: If you ever demonstrate an ability to actually raise money for these organizations, they might start caring what you think. Before? Unlikely.

But this isn't really what the netroots did. They didn't move their party to the left by throwing money at the DCCC. Quite the opposite. Instead they created their own institutions, a parallel party, that allowed them to support the candidates that they trusted. So instead of leading a boycott of the NRCC, conservatives should be raising money for candidates challenging those Dems who are vulnerable to cap and trade.

But how can we do that? The left has ActBlue which allows bloggers to get together and create fundraising pages that allow easy one-stop shopping for donating to Democratic campaigns. So where is our ActBlue? Why can't we go out and create a page allowing fired up conservatives to vent their anger at the NRCC by giving their money directly to challenger campaigns? Slatecard is retooling. So is Rightroots. Meanwhile ActBlue is enabling the nutroots to raise money for Michael Jackson Fans AGAINST Peter King.

Conservatives are fired up about Obama's spending and imminent taxing disaster. Independents aren't far behind. We need to make sure our infrastructure is in place to best harness the incipient wave of Obama anger.

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