Will any GOP member of Congress who is so opposed to government healthcare for average Americans drop his or her own benefits? My guess is they’ll neither “put up” nor “shut up” — and they’ll do it because they know their supporters will continue to vote against their own interests.
“Put up or sit down,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) to Republicans, who promise to repeal the sweeping health care law enacted in March. The congressman has introduced a bill to repeal the measure’s most popular components, such as the ban on denying coverage for pre-existing illnesses.
“This will be the big chance for Republicans to do what they’ve vowed to do,” Ackerman said, according to Mike Lillis of The Hill. “These bills will be their chance to at long last restore liberty and repeal the evil monster they’ve dubbed ‘Obamacare.’ “
Another New York Democrat, Joseph Crowley, on Tuesday sent a letter to Republican leaders challenging them to “walk the walk” if they intend to “deny millions of Americans affordable health care.”
“You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don’t happen to be Members of Congress,” the letter read.
Incoming Republican Rep. Andy Harris ran against government health care reform (for the rabble), but was “incredulous” when he found out he’d have to wait 28 days for his government health care benefits to kick in.
“He stood up and asked the two ladies who were answering questions why it had to take so long, what he would do without 28 days of health care,” said a congressional staffer who saw the exchange. … “Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added the aide.
“This is the only employer I’ve ever worked for where you don’t get coverage the first day you are employed,” his spokeswoman Anna Nix told Politico, before explaining that the statements were grievances about the failures of government-run health care, and therefore a perfect fit into his campaign rhetoric against health care reform.
And notice that Obama has secured – with Republican backing – a big new stimulus that will almost certainly goose growth and lower unemployment as he moves toward re-election. If growth accelerates, none of the current political jockeying and Halperin-style hyper-ventilation will matter. Obama will benefit – thanks, in part, to Republican dogma. So here’s something the liberal base can chew on if they need some grist: how cool is it that Mitch McConnell just made Barack Obama’s re-election more likely? Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?
[…] Now for the short-term benefits of resolving this tax-and-spend dilemma so swiftly. The president urgently needs to get the new START and DADT through the Senate. DADT would be a major boost for his base – and the country’s military. Getting START through is critical to his foreign policy cred. If he can pull all this off by Christmas – and the Senate should indeed stay open for an extra week – the last Congress will indeed be viewed by historians as one of the most substantive (and liberal) in recent history. And Obama will have orchestrated it – while ending up firmly planted and rebranded in the center.
But the right’s argument is shot-through with bad data, twisted evidence, and unsupported assertions.
They say public employees earn far more than private-sector workers. That’s untrue when you take account of level of education. Matched by education, public sector workers actually earn less than their private-sector counterparts.
The Republican trick is to compare apples with oranges — the average wage of public employees with the average wage of all private-sector employees. But only 23 percent of private-sector employees have college degrees; 48 percent of government workers do. Teachers, social workers, public lawyers who bring companies to justice, government accountants who try to make sure money is spent as it should be - all need at least four years of college.
Compare apples to apples and and you’d see that over the last fifteen years the pay of public sector workers has dropped relative to private-sector employees with the same level of education. Public sector workers now earn 11 percent less than comparable workers in the private sector, and local workers 12 percent less. (Even if you include health and retirement benefits, government employees still earn less than their private-sector counterparts with similar educations.)
Just hours after 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner launched a shooting spree at a Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) constituent event in Tucson on Saturday that left six dead and 14 wounded, Legislative District chairman Anthony Miller, a Republican, announced that he would resign his position. In an email to the state’s GOP chair, Miller cited “constant verbal attacks” after his election last year “and Internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family’s safety.”
[…] The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit.
CBS News published a new poll today, showing that a majority of Americans believe Jared Lee Loughner’s politics were a factor in the Arizona mass murder.
[…] But another poll question has a pretty shocking response:
The poll also shows that while three in four Americans say violence against the government is never justified, 16 percent say it can be justified — the same percentage that said as much in April.
Markos Moulitsas emailed CBS and asked for the partisan breakdown of responses to that question, and this is where it gets even more disturbing:
Do you think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, or is it never justified?
Republican 28% yes, 64% no Democrat 11% yes, 81% no Indepdent 11% yes, 81% no
…the percentage of Republicans who believe anti-government violence can be justified is about the same as the percentage of Pakistani, Indonesian and Turkish Muslims who support terrorist acts against civilians.
The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.
And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.
Given that their minds were made up from the beginning, top Republicans weren’t interested in and didn’t need any real policy analysis — in fact, they’re basically contemptuous of such analysis, something that shines through in their health care report. All they ever needed or wanted were some numbers and charts to wave at the press, fooling some people into believing that we’re having some kind of rational discussion. We aren’t.
“This is a post about Beck’s recent naming of nine people — eight of them Jews — as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the — wait for it — “era of the big lie.” The eight Jews are Sigmund Freud; Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and a nephew of Freud’s (which Beck discloses as if this had previously been a secret); Soros, of course; Cass Sunstein, now of the White House; the former labor leader Andy Stern; Walter Lippman, who is no longer here to defend himself; Frances Fox Piven, who Beck believes is “sowing the seeds” of revolution; and, of all people, Edward Rendell. . […] My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them.”
For the modern Republican Party, it’s far far more important to ensure that those who will never need Medicaid — the richest 1 percent of Americans, the people who are already doing quite fine as their market portfolios swell — get their big fat tax cuts, adding up to $700 billion over the next 10 years, than that the poorest Americans get another $15 billion a year so that they can die in a manner that befits a nation that dares considers itself civilized.