Photo of the day

Well, I’ve been blogging my butt off with health care and all, so now is a perfect time for a slower blogging pace.  Here’s one of my photos from last year at Topsail beach, where I’ll be for the next week starting today:

I’m sure there will still be some things I just have to blog about, but if you don’t see a lot, this is why.

The Gender Card

Helen Dragas so should not have been re-appointed to the UVA Board of Visitors.  Has any other single individual ever done so much damage to the reputation of a University?  Maybe, I don’t know, but she’s got to be up there.  So to have Virginia Governor McDonnell justify her appointment in the following way is just pathetic and offensive to any feminist (or, right-thinking person, for that matter):

McDonnell (R) brushed aside those questions.

“I am …concerned that the first female rector seemed to become the sole target of recent criticism,’’ McDonnell said in a statement.

As if this is somehow about gender.  I cannot imagine that will fool too many people.

Repeal redux

I think both Drum and Yglesias give a little bit short shrift so what will be very difficult political dynamics–especially the Medicare donut hole fix–  should the Republican actually try and repeal the law under a Romney presidency.  That said, I think they are having the better of the argument.  Drum:

First, if you repeal all the budget-related aspects of Obamacare, you’ve essentially gutted the law. Who cares if it takes a few more years to do the mopping up via amendments to must-pass bills? …

And third — well, look. Can we stop pretending to be children here? As Matt Yglesias points out, the last time Republicans had a problem with reconciliation, they just fired the Senate parliamentarian and hired a new one willing to make the rulings they needed. They can do the same thing this time, or they can skip the drama and just ask Vice President Rubio to overrule the parliamentarian. All they need is a determination that the entire law is so tightly intertwined that, taken as a whole, it’s a budgetary matter. Will they do that? Of course they will:

That is how you get things done in Washington when you want to get things done. And my view is that Republicans, at this point, really do want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They don’t like that it raises taxes, they don’t like that it spends money on the poor, they don’t like that it rolls back Medicare privatization, and they don’t like that it pushes health insurance companies in the direction of becoming regulated utilities. If they genuinely lack the votes for repeal they won’t repeal it, but they’re not going to let interpretive disputes over what is and isn’t a budgetary measure hold them up.

One way or another, if Romney wins and Republicans gain control of the Senate, Obamacare is toast.

Damn this election matters so damn much.  Stupid economy.  Of course, now that the “uncertainty” about the ACA has been removed, we should be on the path to unfettered economic growth.  Or something like that.

The latest public opinion nonsense

I know, I study public opinion, I get why we do stuff like this, but still (via Gallup):

U.S. Public Reaction to Supreme Court Healthcare Decision, June 2012

What percentage of those who 92% who offered an opinion do you think actually have any conception whatsoever of the Interstate Commerce Clause, Congress’ power to tax, Wickard, Raich, etc.? Or heck, lower bar– just read a few articles in the NYT, or listened to something on NPR that addressed the Constitutional issues.  Barring that, is one really in a position to judge this decision?

The Real Winners

Love Krugman today:

You might say 30 million, the number of additional people the Congressional Budget Office says will have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that vastly understates the true number of winners because millions of other Americans — including many who oppose the act — would have been at risk of being one of those 30 million.

So add in every American who currently works for a company that offers good health insurance but is at risk of losing that job (and who isn’t in this world of outsourcing and private equity buyouts?); every American who would have found health insurance unaffordable but will now receive crucial financial help; every American with a pre-existing condition who would have been flatly denied coverage in many states.

In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. For almost all of us stand to benefit from making America a kinder and more decent society.

Defend it!

I get that all too many Democrats are convinced that the public hates the ACA and they should just ignore it rather than try to defend it.  But in leaving the playing field to only one side (who lies with extremely burning pants about the matter constantly and without shame) it’s no wonder the American people don’t like it (not to mention, the degree to which that is true is overstated).

Here’s the thing, everybody knows the ACA is a Democratic proposition, does a Democratic politician really gain all that much by just pretending to ignore the issue.  Just this morning on NPR, I heard the Florida Democratic Senate candidate say some few meaningless words about health care before something like “but what the American people really care about is jobs.”  This law is not perfect, but it’s a good law that will truly substantially improve the lives of millions and millions of Americans.  Own that!

Ezra had a piece today that public opinion is just not going to budge much so that there’s really not much point in trying to defend the law and he’s got a point, but I still think simply turning the playing field over to the other side (as has largely been done) is a guaranteed losing proposition.  We’ve seen time after time that the American public really likes the vast majority of what this law actually does.  The problem is that they don’t associate these benefits with the law.  The Republicans aren’t going to help with that, but more importantly, neither is the news media if the Democrats aren’t out there making the case.  Make it, damnit.

Photo of the day

From a Buzzfeed compilation of 20 photographers you should follow on Flickr (duly noted– some pretty amazing photos here):

Source: jeroenbennink

About that repeal

Yglesias is convinced Romney will easily repeal the whole enchilada if he is elected.  Frum thinks quite otherwise, and I find his logic fairly compelling:

Second even if Republicans do win the White House and Senate in 2012, how much appetite will they then have for that 1-page repeal bill? Suddenly it will be their town halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened. Already we are hearing that some Republicans wish to retain the more popular elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Which means the proposed 1-page bill will begin to grow.

Third, Mitt Romney has promised to grant states waivers from the obligations of the ACA. Not all states will ask for such waivers. Many will eagerly institute the ACA, which (let us not forget) includes large immediate grants of federal aid…

Fourth, Republicans will find the task of writing their “replace” law even more agonizing than the Democrats found original passage. The party has no internal consensus on what a replacement would look like. Worse, any replacement of the law’s popular elements will require financing. But where is that money to come from? …

Fifth, the clock is ticking. President Obama passed the ACA in the second year of his administration. A President Romney will have to pass repeal in the first year of his, because the law goes into effect in 2014. By then, states will have to have their exchanges up and working. And states that have put themselves through that work will not be very eager to see Washington undo it. If replacement does not happen in the first 100 days, it won’t happen at all—that is,

This makes a lot of sense to me.   I do think the politics of a straight-up repeal are horrible for Republicans.  Nonetheless, I do love the simplicity of Chait’s rebuttal:

Could a President Romney, working with congressional majorities, succeed in repealing the law? David Frum and Ryan Lizza argue that he couldn’t. Both of them, I darkly suspect, underestimate the sheer destructive will to power undergirding what has become a bloody shirt crusade for the GOP.

Anyway, here’s hoping that Frum and Lizza are right and that Yglesias and Chait are wrong (on the bright side, Chait was convinced Pawlenty would be the GOP nominee).

Quote of the day, part deux


Roberts peered into the abyss of a world in which he and his colleagues are little more than Senators with lifetime appointments, and he recoiled. The long-term war over the shape of the state goes on, but the crisis of legitimacy has been averted

Now, I was clearly wrong on Kennedy (to his shame and Roberts’ credit), but this morning I did say:

I honestly don’t think either Kennedy or Roberts wants to go that far in either A) politicizing the Supreme Court; or B) blatantly over-turning generations of precedent.  I hope I’m not wrong.

I wonder if Roberts would’ve signed on with his conservative brethren if they had not taken such drastic and radical action as to declar the entire law Unconstitutional.

Infographic of the day

Where the immigrants are coming from (and click through to see what jobs they work) via Planet Money:

U.S. Labor Force By Country of Birth

Quote of the day


I heard a peal of delight and turned around — that’s the picture at the top of this post. Hilary Matfess, a young policy analyst, was jumping up and down, yelling out details.

“The mandate is constitutional! It was upheld! Roberts went for the swing vote! Yes! Oh my God! The individual mandate survives as a tax!”

Did you work on passing the bill? I asked.

“No!” said Matfess. “I just have lupus!”


Wow– did they screw up.  Really like this post over at the Post:

The Supreme Court has struck down the individual mandate for health care.

Someone needs to tell CNN: There is no such thing as fashioning a scoop over something that’s released to the public. [emphasis mine]  Here I cite New York University professor Jay Rosen, who repeatedly chants about how cheap it is when news outlets brand as “exclusives” bits of information that everyone will know in a short time anyhow. This afternoon, one day from now, one week from now: No one will notice, care or otherwise take heed that your outlet was the first to report on a Supreme Court decision. There’s not an outlet that’ll own that news. But much heed will be taken of a quick and mistaken interpretation of such a decision.


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