A Real Plan B - Understanding The Senate Bill Is Part Of The Problem

Jacob Hacker and Daniel Hopkins write:

Forget the question of whether a Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts spells the end of health reform. It doesn't -- unless Democrats let it. The Senate has already passed a bill that is far from perfect but far better than nothing. [. . .] [T]he House should simply enact it in return for strong commitments from President Obama and Democratic leaders that they will fight to improve the bill in the future, including through the filibuster-proof budget process.

There are a few problems with this Plan B. Politically, the Senate bill is NOT "far better than nothing." (As to whether it is "far better than nothing" policy-wise, that is a matter of irrelevant opinions - no group of voters thinks so.) First, let's mention a word that Dem Villagers seem to have forgotten - UNIONS. There is nothing good for unions in the Senate bill. There is a lot bad in the bill for unions. Democrats need unions to work for them - especially in off year elections. "In the future" means what exactly? If it does not mean before the November elections, then it is meaningless. The unions' concerns need to be addressed BEFORE November. More . . .

Second, outside of the Village, there is no constituency of VOTERS for the Senate bill. No one is energized in favor of it and Republicans are strongly energized against it. It is, at best, only a slight harm to Dems' chances in November 2010. (You notice I keep mentioning that date?) and guess what? November 2010 is when the next election is going to be.

Third, at this point, "commitments" and "promises" from Obama and the Democrats are not likely to carry much weight with Dem constituencies. One of the reasons for that, for better or worse, is the Senate health bill. Why? Because Barack Obama ran strongly against many of the elements in the bill (excise tax, individual mandates) and strongly for many of the elements that have been left out of the bill (public option, progressive tax on the wealthy, employer mandate.) Indeed Hacker and Hopkins write:

[W]hen the public is polled about the specifics of the health-care bills, its key elements are consistently popular. These include a requirement on employers to provide coverage, progressive taxes to fund reform and tough regulations on health insurers. Perhaps the most popular element -- the public option -- is in the House bill but not the Senate bill, and, therefore, it's off the table.

This paragraph actually tells the tale. There is no employer mandate in the Senate bill. There is no progressive tax to pay for reform -- instead there is an excise tax which is extremely unpopular with all voters, but especially with the unions. There is no public option. There are no "tough regulations" (unless you believe that leaving the states to enforce these tough regulations" is gonna work) on health insurers in the Senate bill. This paragraph form Hacker and Hopkins actually illustrates why Plan B can not be "just pass the Senate bill." The Senate bill is part of the problem.

The Establishment Dems and Village Dems are truly oblivious to the damage that the Senate bill has done. They think all will be solved by passing it. If THAT is the lesson learned from Massachusetts, the Democrats are sure to be defeated badly in November 2010.

Speaking for me only

< Lessons From Massachusetts: Punching The Hippies Does Not Work | The Stand Alone Senate Bill's Only Constituency: Village Dems >
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    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:52:37 AM EST
    they will listen to you this time but it seems they are determined to pass this piece of garbage. This may be the one time where the blue dogs save the party from itself if enough of them defect to make the passage of the current bill impossible.

    Considering the blue dogs were in large part (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:19:06 AM EST
    responsible for making it a piece of garbage in the first place, that only seems appropriate.

    My problem with this debate (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:57:53 AM EST
    has been and is simple.  It seems to me that rather than going for a bill that is good for Americans it has been a race to pass something so they can brag about being the first to reform health care.

    Exactly right on every detail. (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:00:30 AM EST
    The Healthcare "reform" is an anchor dragging the Democratic party down far faster then Iraq destroyed the Republicans. Cut it loose, immediately focus on JOBS, preserve some level of Democratic power in the government and revisit this when you have a cogent, workable, understandable idea of what policy to implement.

    Martha Coakley was one big Canary. Don't just keep digging away.

    I guess I am not exactly right then (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:04:36 AM EST
    I favor a virtually simultaneuous passage of the Senate bill and gutting of its bad parts while adding good parts in a reconciliation bill.

    In short, finish the House-Senate negotiations and pass the Senate bill and immediately pass a reconciliation bill reflecting the negotiations between the House and Senate.

    And if the is not possible, THEN we will see.

    The one thing NOT to do is pass anything before the SOTU.


    Yeah, I'd wager that's very unlikely. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:07:56 AM EST
    I just want this done with so that someone in Washington can start to pretend to care about 10% unemployment.

    Nothing I ever recommend is likely (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:09:37 AM EST
    But is it right?

    And you made this (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:34:30 AM EST
    argument for single payer when?

    Nothing I argue for is impossible (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:45:12 AM EST
    Single payer is impossible right now.

    Wasn't impossible (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:50:28 AM EST
    before progressives or centrists broke ranks and arbitrarily decided it was. Anything is impossible if you quit before even trying. It was stupid to quit without even using it as a starting point. Where we are is now the result. But we are where we are. . .

    It was always impossible now (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:00:45 AM EST
    If you are intent in believing otherwise, that is your perogative.

    do you think expanding (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:03:30 AM EST
    Medicare is impossible?
    I know its unlikely but it seems the simplest and most elegant solution for all of this confusion and complication.

    I think it is very possible (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:08:36 AM EST
    It was almost in the 60 vote Senate bill.

    It is certainly possible in a 50 vote reconciliation bill.


    one more question (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:16:52 AM EST
    do you think reconciliation is even possible?
    I once did but my hope is dimming.

    I think this disaster is an opportunity for the dems.  but based on their past performance and all the opportunities they have pi$$ed away I have almost no hope at all they will have the sense or backbone to take it.


    Of course it is possible (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:53:23 AM EST
    You are really asking is it likely? My guess? No.

    I suppose "likely" (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:59:00 AM EST
    is what I meant.  and I agree.

    Of course it's always impossible now (none / 0) (#90)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:06:45 AM EST
     when many start out with that premise, never test it, or even utilize the "impossible" to pull for the "improbable", or even allow it to be considered, (though the public would have been for it in large measure) it is indeed impossible. What is becoming clear is that what is considered "impossible" is what is best for the public at large, and what is "reasonable and likely" is what primarily benefits the moneyed interests. The predictable result is where we are. And the public is enraged.
      Nevertheless, you're right. It certainly is impossible now. And will continue to be, until the Dems realign their priorities, or more likely, have them realigned for them.
       Why you persist in trying to salvage something from this package, when it's become a stinking piece of meat to the public, perhaps comes from your wisdom. It could also be your folly. Time will tell. It certainly is your prerogative to decide which you think it is.

    This (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:10:22 AM EST
    bill has become poisonous. Passing it in any way shape or form is political suicide even if there's another bill passed at the same time. It's time to put the bill in the grave where it belongs.

    I think that is too simplictic (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:12:53 AM EST
    NOT passing a bill will have its costs too.

    You can not pretend it will not.


    I'm not (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:18:13 AM EST
    saying to not pass A bill just not to pass this one AT ALL. It's poisonous. You could pass the popular parts of the bill BUT not the whole bill. Passing this bill is political suicide. Break it up and rename it or something but don't pass it as it is.

    Yep. They could pass the popular parts like (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by Dan the Man on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:51:05 AM EST
    ending recission, ending discrimination, allowing drug reimportation, etc one by one and dare the Republicans to vote against any of them.  If the Republicans vote against it, they can use it against them in the 2010 election.  The only reason why Democrats wouldn't do that is because they don't want those parts to become law and they only really care about passing the mandate because the insurance companies love the mandate.

    Allowing drug reimportation (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:54:02 AM EST
    would be hugely popular; however, that was certainly off the table after the secret Pharma talks.

    That was some huge Bullsnot too (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:54:59 AM EST
    Someone needs to be ashamed of that shake down!

    that is not doable by reconciliation (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:00:03 AM EST
    Realistically the democrats are screwed (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:18:39 AM EST
    either way. But better no legislation then bad, unpopular legislation. And I don't think the Democrats have anywhere near the strength to solve the problem in the way you suggest.

    You can make the legislation (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:23:16 AM EST
    less unpopular.

    I could also play for the Knicks if I was (5.00 / 8) (#21)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:29:03 AM EST
    a foot and taller and knew how to play Basketball.

    If the Democrats knew how to make the legislation more popular, they would have done it already. They seem to be clueless.

    And at this point, I think "Healthcare reform" has become such a negative idea that even a good bill would be viewed negativley. If it had been done right in the first place, going all the way back to Baucus, things would be different. But the well has been poisoned. And once you put the poison in, it's damn hard to get it back out.


    Well (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:59:38 AM EST
    That's a different point.

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:15:29 AM EST
    They've so carefully obscured and hidden the details of this bill that even if they pass a good bill, it will be radioactive for them now.

    The narrative needs to be that they started over.  But, yes, the current bill should simply die.


    Democrats completely missed the chance (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:10:14 AM EST
    to rationally sell health care reform by hammering away at the point that it is inextricably linked to economic recovery.

    The Dems missed the chance to get and (5.00 / 4) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:29:11 AM EST
    sell health care reform the minute they decided to make back room deals with pharma and the insurance industry. The majority of Americans wanted health CARE reform. What they didn't want was a massive give away to the insurance industry and pharma.

    Well, yes, that too of course. (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:42:32 AM EST
    But all I'm saying is that -- if you want to sell health care reform in a dismal economy, you need to talk about how health care reform is linked to economic recovery.

    And if a jobs bill had come first (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:36:47 AM EST
    after the bank and big business bailout, we would not be having this discussion.

    FDR did jobs first, then had the support for Social Security.  

    No need to explain the indirect linkage of health insurance reform and the economy.  Do jobs first.

    The only hope for Dems in fall is if they do a jobs bill NOW.


    The stimulus (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by WS on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:41:21 AM EST
    was a jobs bill of sorts but it wasn't billed that way.  They also didn't do a laser focus on shoring up jobs after the stimulus and when the unemployment rate hit 10%.  

    Also doesn't help (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:43:08 AM EST
    When the govenrment puts out reports about the number o f jobs saved by the stimulus, only to have that immediately debunked - especially when they cnosider "saved" jobs as people who got raises or where a company with 700 employees "saved" 900+ jobs.

    The stimulus really was about saving (5.00 / 4) (#140)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:11:04 PM EST
    public service jobs, and perhaps creating a few more. Nothing this administration has done, so far, has substantially addressed the real weaknesses in the private sector.

    Real health reform that, among other things, provided a public option, financed by taxes on the wealthiest citizens and corporations, designed to eliminate the health insurance burden of small and start up businesses -- the economy's most important job creators over the last couple of decades -- would have been one way of providing direct relief to the private sector and those employed in it. And certainly could be sold as such.

    As a small business person, I may be unusual in being a progressive. But, when I watch how clueless the Democrats, in this administration especially, often are about small business and the workers they employ, I, unfortunately, understand why that is.


    I wish I could give you a 10 for (none / 0) (#144)
    by hairspray on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:53:18 PM EST
    this response.  You are right on. these are the ral issues as far as I can see.  I have said this several times as well, that if I were an Independent in MA and the Dems pull the "now its an appointment, or now its an election" musical chairs game for that seat I would really be mad at the ethics of the party.  No wonder people hate the politicians.

    No More Pork (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:49:39 AM EST
    I agree that a jobs bill should have come first. Now, I'm not so sure. If we're talking politics, the only thing that's going to staunch Dem bleeding is to kill this HCR bill and cutting spending.

    I can think of five or six programs I wanted to see right away

    1. nuclear plants in any state that wanted one.

    2. environmental waste dumps in any state with a nuclear plant.

    3. high-speed rail in any state with nuclear plant.

    4. no bail-outs for corporations. Zero.

    5. WPA style jobs projects in every state.

    6. No extension of UI benefits. You want money, you got to find a job. (see  point 5)

    Leave HCR in the hands of individual states.

    That's my two cents. Judging from what I'm reading here and elsewhere, Dems seem utterly unwilling to kill the bill cold.

    They're going to show up at the 2010/2012 elecions with the corpse in the front seat.

    Hey look, she's waving at us!


    Not mutually exclusive (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:41:10 AM EST
    No need to explain the indirect linkage of health insurance reform and the economy.  Do jobs first.

    Yes, we desperately need jobs and economic recovery. But health care reform is an integral part of our economic recovery, and no one talked about it coherently.


    The Senate bill (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:55:57 AM EST
    isn't health care reform. And it wasn't designed to help "the economy". Unless you define the economy as what is good primarily for the bottom line of the insurance industry.

    I guess I wasn't clear. (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:18:14 AM EST
    I understand that. The bill sucks.

    First, you need a bill that helps people. Then, you need to explain to all the people leery of health care reform that it will help the entire economy.


    BINNNNNNGOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! n/t (none / 0) (#84)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:57:40 AM EST
    They won't. They can't. (5.00 / 6) (#87)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:01:05 AM EST
    There are no quick fixes for our high levels of unemployment. And no long term fixes that don't require a complete ideological shift in "conventional wisdom." The Democratic establishment, stuck as it is in trying to appease an imaginary "middle," really doesn't have any ideas that are up to the task.

    When we emerged from the deep recession of Reagan's first term, our economy was reordered in fundamental ways. The negative consequences of that reordering wasn't felt by the WWII and Silent generations then reaching their peak in terms of political and economic power. In fact, those generations reaped both the benefits of a growing mass market, heavy public investment, job and wage growth, progressive taxation, etc. in their youth, and the benefits of less progressive taxes, higher interest rates and asset inflation in their peak earning years and in retirement.

    The negative consequences of that shift -- the segmenting marketplace, the loss of the middle class and growing gap between the circumstances of haves and have nots, the downward pressure on employment and wages, decreased investment in public infrastructure (material, social and cultural), the non-stop inflation in important economic assets (housing, health care, education) that has negated the benefit of falling consumer prices, flatter, less progressive taxation (young workers today bear a much higher tax burden than their grandparents and parents did in their youth), among other things -- have been borne by younger generations, most especially those without substantial inherited assets, and, for many years, obscured by easy credit and mountains of debt.

    The people in power in our political establishment and media are the winners in an economic structure in which ever increasing numbers of Americans are losers.  

    Change won't happen until those losers find some substantial ways to force their concerns front and center, and speak up with clear demands -- for more progressive taxation (that eases the burden on the young and increases it on their wealthiest elders), more regulation of financial markets, more public investment, etc. That may require more than a vote. It may require that the foreclosed and homeless start pitching tent cities on the White House lawn, the uninsured, the unemployed, deeply in debt/under-employed college graduates, etc. start massing on the mall and making noise and big demands in town meetings.

    Progressives can criticize the tea partiers as people with vested interests -- which they are -- all they want. But that is what politics is all about; no one should be ashamed of standing up for their own interests.

    What they should be ashamed of is failing to.


    Ian Welsh (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by BDB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:01:23 AM EST
    On what the Coakley loss means:

    First of all, this will be taken as meaning HCR must be passed exactly as the Senate Bill.  That's already clear.  The Democratic reaction to losing Kennedy's seat will be to do exactly what voters were punishing them for.

    2010 is going to be an awful year for Democrats, not that I particularly care at this point.  It's hard to argue that they don't deserve it when they've worked so hard to get here.

    What about ditching this bill (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:02:52 AM EST
    and passing individually the parts of the bill which actually provide aid?

    Ok by me (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:05:36 AM EST
    But I am not averse to passing the Senate bill while at the same time amending it by reconciliation.

    Not in the future. At the same time.


    Well, your proposal seems (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:19:21 AM EST
    like something which could be derailed by GOP trickery and obstruction, if simultaneous passage is important.
    I say pass the Medicare (and Medicaid ?) expansion, put in some new rules on reimbursement, and we're on the way to single payer.

    It will require a firm hand (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:22:47 AM EST
    but it can only be derailed by Dems.

    That's comforting. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:24:23 AM EST
    Last night (none / 0) (#37)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:54:45 AM EST
    or early this a.m.(?) Laurence O'Donnell stated that there are procedural aspects to reconciliation that require 60 votes.  Is he correct?  Sorry if I missed something in past posts.

    No he iis not correct (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:59:09 AM EST
    O'Donnell is pretty dishonest. this is one of those times.

    Is he correct (none / 0) (#49)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:08:18 AM EST
    in his piece on the 60-vote agreement between McConnell & Reid vis-a-vis amendments to Senate health care bill?  Someone here linked to O'DOnnell piece claiming that McConnell struck such a deal to require 60 votes to pass amendments to Senate health care bill that would otherwise require a simple majority hoping that Senate bill would pass as is so that Repubs could campaign in 2010 against "taxes" in the bill.

    May be true regarding (none / 0) (#53)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:13:59 AM EST
    amendments to the Snate Bill. No one is suggesting that. The Senate Bill is finished and will be either accepted by the House or not. That is different from reconciliation.

    That is how I understand it anyway.


    Not referring to reconciliation (none / 0) (#56)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:17:25 AM EST
    O'Donnell's piece on the agreement between McConnell and Reid has nothing to do with reconciliation; it is an agreement reached between the leaders of each party in the Senate.

    Then why are you saying O'Donnell (none / 0) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:52:17 AM EST
    says we need 60 for reconciliation?

    Are you sure you know what it is you want to ask?


    Separate comment (none / 0) (#148)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:42:37 PM EST
    one on alleged agreement between Reid & McConnell, & other on O'Donnell's claim that 60 votes needed for certain procedural matters related to reconciliation.

    Sorry if my comments conflated the 2 things. If the 2 are related, please excuse my ignorance.


    Amendments have noting to do with (none / 0) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:51:33 AM EST

    Thanks, that (none / 0) (#149)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:43:27 PM EST
    was my impression

    So O'Donnel is dishonest? On national TV (none / 0) (#60)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:31:46 AM EST
    and in his editorials posted in such places as the Huffington Post?  Why would he do that?

    Is this guy also dishonest?


    There is a good reason why recon is a last resort.  By the time all the contraversial sections are stricken, the bill could be considered a Bryd Bath (leaving the bill looking like swiss cheese).


    That piece says it can be used (none / 0) (#74)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:51:00 AM EST
    It contradict O'Donnell's claim that reconcilaition requires 60 votes at any stage.

    did you even read it?


    Yes, I did. (none / 0) (#91)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:07:07 AM EST
    What O'Donnell was talking about last night is that recon is not the slam dunk everyone thinks it is.  There are still 60 vote thresholds needed (almost daily) that could gut a bill.  I did not view his point that a health care bill in any form cannot make it through a recon process, just that the bill they want to pass (with the house changes Democrats want to make so the bill will be worthwhile) will probably not make it through with everthing they want in intact.

    He's wrong then (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:16:57 AM EST
    There are no 60 voter thresholds on a reconciliation bill.

    Imagine if there were. There would be no point to the process.


    Then what is meant by this statement from (none / 0) (#101)
    by Buckeye on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:24:36 AM EST
    the piece I posted.

    Death by a thousand cuts

    It's clear that reconciliation would put any health-care bill on the fast track for passage. It can't be filibustered; it only needs 51 votes to pass; and debate is limited to 20 hours. But opponents have weapons of their own -- which could potentially gut the bill and could still require 60 votes to approve key sections of the legislation.

    Remember, reconciliation was originally created to address fiscal policy -- not social policy. So every line in the bill must adhere to strict rules to ensure things stay within those boundaries. In short, if it's not about spending government money or taxing people, an opponent can raise an objection to have that section struck from the bill.

    Example #1: Expanding Medicaid or cuts to Medicare would more than likely pass muster, because those programs are run with taxpayer dollars. Example #2: A provision requiring insurance companies to issue coverage regardless of health status could be killed because there's no obvious direct connection to spending or saving federal dollars. (These are, of course, unscientific best guesses.)...

    If the parliamentarian sustains or agrees with the objection, that section is removed from the bill or amendment...There is no limit to how many objections can be raised.

    However, the parliamentarian's decision can be appealed, with 60 votes. So if the parliamentarian rules against the senator, that senator could ask for a vote to override the decision. If there are 60 votes, the questionable item can stay in the bill. While it may take only 51 votes to pass the final bill, but there may be 60-vote hurdles en route to final passage.

    The piece also talks about the Bryd rule for non-deficit reduction spending.

    Would the consumer protections status survive a reconciliation process?  Could individual mandates to buy private sector products?  A public option?  It seems to me it would all depend on what the parliamentarian thinks.


    This is an old argument (none / 0) (#113)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:43:24 AM EST
    Pieces of the bill can be challenged under the Byrd Rule. The President rules on a point of order. And then the Senate votes, by MAJORITY VOTE, to uphold the ruling.

    Frankly, the entire bill could be upheld in this fashion, even the parts the REALLY DO violate the Byrd Rule.

    The ONLY thing subject to a 60 vote requirement is a motion to WAIVE the Byrd Rule for a specific provision.

    No one has to make that motion at all.

    this is stupid stuff from O'Donnell. I am sorry he is making you chase your tail.


    That's what FDL (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by WS on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:38:10 AM EST
    suggested and it's called sidecar reconciliation.  All it needs is for the Finance and Budget Committees to pass reconciliation matters and then it'll head to the floor needing only 50 votes + Biden.  

    I agree that they can't just pass the Senate bill and call it a day nor should they accept a "fix it later" promise.  There has to be tangible proof that a fix is ready to go.  

    Also, keep the fix simple.  Calling it a public option fix might just do the trick since it's still popular even after the withering attacks.  People do want a cheaper option from their current health insurance.      


    Obama should learn his lesson (4.00 / 1) (#29)
    by WS on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:43:07 AM EST
    and fight back against the insurance industry.  They dealt with Pharma and they're on the verge of stabbing him in the back.  

    What he needs to do is go after the insurance industry like he's kind of doing rhetorically with the banks.  He needs policies that really set them on edge because they are not popular industries.  

    And when the Republicans  howl, tie them to these same insurance industries that they're handmaidens of.  Time to brush off Gore's "people vs. the powerful" game plan.  


    Nope, Obama will not bite the hands (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:38:32 AM EST
    that feed him.

    UGH. (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:17:51 AM EST
    Before they do anything, Obama and the Democrats need to come up with some new style.  They've been insisting on 60 for so long that anything less is going to get attacked as "back door."

    I am starting to think (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:27:36 AM EST
    it should die.  at least as is in the senate.
    let people suffer and be denied coverage and dropped after paying premiums for a few years and then see how they feel.

    I am so pi$$ed.  I am close to beyond caring.  I worked my entire life for all three branches of govt, a dem president and a mandate.  and they did NOTHING. nothing.  how much worse could a republican congress be?

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:36:04 AM EST
    if you get a Scott Brown type GOP congress probalby not much worse than the Dem one we have now but if you get the fundamentalist jihadi from down here in the south running things it would be a lot worse.

    my anger has little to do (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:38:11 AM EST
    with him.  he is an excuse.  an excuse the dems will use until a better excuse comes along.  

    Im done.


    I understand (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:45:49 AM EST
    I'm sick of the excuses but then I was sick of them even before the 2008 presidential election. People need to accpet that Obama has a huge character flaw that makes him incapable of leading.

    Under Bush the Republicans did much (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:40:34 AM EST
    Problem is our side never does anything or goes in the same direction. The stupidity-- it burns. . .

    I have actually experienced (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:53:23 AM EST
    a sad relief, like when your junkie cousin finally hits bottom and goes to treatment and you can quit having to find new places to hide the house key :)  At least now I can talk about bad policy that Dems are trying to shove on all of us and I don't have to deal with being called a PUMA, uncivil, or a racist, or someone who hates Obama, or someone who only wants to destroy the party.  And for the record my fave was Whiny A$$ T-word Baby.  It is obvious that the policy that has been thought to be adequate and eff what the people need will not be tolerated, and that has nothing to do with anything I have said or done.  The voters have spoken. Did they finally hear them this time?  Perhaps the cult can die a natural death now.

    Or (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:55:04 AM EST
    the "sour grapes" excuse.

    Um, check out big orange. (none / 0) (#40)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:55:19 AM EST
    I see a lot of denial. I'm sure they'll find the racist culprits soon.
    Btw, check my comment history, MT---there's a movie review for you.

    THANK YOU! (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:04:08 AM EST
    TalkLeft has so far been a haven of decent movie reviews for me as well as recipes.  I went to Orange, read the Shiznit diary and rec'd it and then skated out for coffee before reading comments or other diaries.  I think I'll wait awhile before wading into the currents.

    Things that could be done in lieu (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:34:20 AM EST
    of passing defective Senate bill.

    Expand medicaid

    Establish national insurance program for people who cannot get coverage due to preexisting conditions.

    Fund additional clinics per Sanders and House bill. In fact, double or triple the amount.

    Think all of these items could be accomplished using budget reconciliation.

    I would add (5.00 / 8) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:37:11 AM EST
    if they dont do that, if they dont do SOMETHING to show regular people that they give a $hit about something besides big corporations and banks they are dead in November.  

    and you know what?
    they richly deserve to be.


    Couldn't agree with you more (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:46:14 AM EST
    I would add: Do jobs bill first (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:40:25 AM EST
    and the rest will follow, with popular support.

    I agree that creating jobs (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:53:59 AM EST
    is the most important thing the Dems could do. Just don't think that they will actually get passed their wrong headed emphasis on deficit reduction to do what is needed.

    Good jobs (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:00:14 AM EST
    Just not adding more minimum wage jobs, so that people can work 2 or 3 of them at a time, and then the administration can claim, "Look how great we are - we added all these jobs and the recovery is coming around the corner!"

    We do need health care reform, (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:09:53 AM EST
    but not the ersatz health care reform now left withering away in Senate form. In addition, President Obama and the Congressional Democrats are too vulnerable to stick with the Senate version and too invested to remain idle.  Accordingly, MO Blue's simplified and readily understandable alternative makes sense.  Please permit these points, as well:  Maintain the Children's Health Program (not in House, but in Senate bill), change the age for Medicare eligibility to 50, and decouple insurance from employers to enable portability as part of the idea to establish a national program regarding preexisting conditions

    The Dems traded the public option (none / 0) (#145)
    by hairspray on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:11:24 PM EST
    for the mandate and limiting denials for coverage.  Okay, lets drop the deal with the insurance company and put our public option back and expand medicaid and medicare.  Let the insurance company continue, we need to give the people an OPTION or CHOICE.  How hard can that be?

    OMG Booman blames Martha (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 08:59:37 AM EST
    No kidding, this is all Martha's fault because she ran a complacent campaign for Ted Kennedy's 40 plus year Senate seat when she was running against the naked staple guy.  Yup, this wasn't a referendum on the Obama administration and Dem leadership.....this is all Martha's fault.  The stoopid just keeps on coming!

    Well, then, (5.00 / 6) (#48)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:07:13 AM EST
    he is simply parroting the Blame Coakley mantra coming out of the Obama White House. Somehow, that's not surprising, is it?

    Shameless! (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:27:03 AM EST
    Coakley made (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by IndiDemGirl on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:37:04 AM EST
    19 campaign stops since the primary.  Brown made 66.

    This doesn't absolve Washington Dems and the Obama Administration from any of the blame, but Coakley deserves a large share of it.    


    I guess if it makes you feel better (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:48:10 AM EST
    Obama carried the state by double digits.  The seat belonged to Ted Kennedy for over 40 years. She has been very obvious in her total support of this administration.  She threw women under the bus in order to demonstrate that.  Apparently she should have shown up 66 times and talked about how she was going to throw Obama under the bus in order to be the support that Obama and Dems were going to need in their real future.  Sounds like she was going to have to lie to someone, either the voters or the Dem leadership.  Also sounds super stoopid to me but what do I know?

    look (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:53:51 AM EST
    when you say to the boston globe "what am I supposed to do, stand in the cold and shake hands?" when they ask you why you haven't campaigned, you tend to tick people off.

    It's not just that she didn't show up.  It's that she publicly acted like she was too good to show up and bother to reach people.


    I think that cost her votes (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:06:06 AM EST
    I don't think that cost her double digit votes over the naked staple guy.

    I tend to agree with cst (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:14:59 AM EST
    if she had run a campaign, let along a good campaign, she would have won by 10 points.

    they did not even have a pollster until a week ago.
    they did no oppo research on Brown.  what a missed opportunity that was.  she literally went on vacation and allowed him to define both her and himself.


    example (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:16:15 AM EST
    many of the canvassers yesterday said people told them they were the first people they had seen from the Coakley campaign.

    But that is the same problem (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:35:54 AM EST
    Obama and other national Democrats have.  They haven't pushed for anything and have allowed themselves to be defined by the opposition.  It's not just Coakley's problem although she is a particularly bad case apparently.

    no argument there (none / 0) (#108)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:39:19 AM EST
    And Obama made one stop in the state (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:51:29 AM EST
    and too late, and after the WH said it was not and would not be on his schedule.

    Is the Boston mayor going to hear (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:41:18 AM EST
    from the White House about lack of support for Coakley?

    The Blame Game (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:51:16 AM EST
    Everyone here deserves blame.

    Martha could have won in a better climate.

    A better candidate could have won in this climate.

    Fact is, she ran a terrible campaign.  Another fact is, none of that would have mattered and no one would've noticed if people weren't already ticked off with the Dem party.


    Here in MA., it was both! (none / 0) (#100)
    by noholib on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:23:47 AM EST
    A local perspective from Western Ma:

    (1) Coakley ran a dismal campaign.  We saw and heard her much more during the primary than during the general election.  Now, her campaign says they lacked money to run ads early; why didn't they say it earlier?  How much national Repub money was poured into this race--plenty!!  She did appear complacent and aloof.  She did not define the opponent or even herself.  She should have trumpeted her successful battles as AG against Wall Street.  Why didn't she?  Her own inclination, or a message from national Dems?  I don't know.

    (2) The national mood is sour, for all the reasons everyone has already discussed here.

    You need BOTH factors to explain this loss.  One alone doesn't do it.


    Did the people there resent the (none / 0) (#146)
    by hairspray on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:16:41 PM EST
    way the Democratic legislature switched the rules from election to appointment and back again for their benefit?  From where I sat it looked sleazy.

    Excellent. (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:09:48 AM EST
    This supports the John Judis piece in TNR that details seniors and white, rural middle-class voters abandoning Dems in droves.

    Republicans are bright enough to make Brown, and those they clone from him, the generic face of 2010/2012 GOP. The public option might fly with voters, but voters come a distant third in the Dem party of 2010, after corporate bundlers and Dem special interests.

    Brown is handsome, fit, the right age, and from the right ethnic background. Brown is the republican neighbor of Dems across America. They'll happily vote for him to keep the hippies from taking over. Punching hippies carries no penalty at all. Haven't you noticed?

    I couldn't disagree more with your assessment that a robust public option bill will pass on a national level. Publicly funded abortion is a deal-breaker for 50% of Americans. The entire exercise has been one of over-reach and ideology trumping common sense. Plenty of voters already have health insurance they're satisfied with. They want jobs first, and then health care for those who don't have it, maybe.

    I'm not going to pile on with promising and then failing to close gitmo, etc. At this point, Dems have only themselves to blame.

    When Scott Brown (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by itscookin on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:39:51 AM EST
    pulls up in his pickup truck, jumps out, grabs his bullhorn, and starts taking to the people, the stage and the setting have a "Bobby Kennedy on a tractor feel". With a good speech writer and something to say that people want to hear, this guy may have some staying power. Right now he's missing having a soaring message, but with the right handlers, he may be a force for awhile. I wanted to see what the hype was all about so I went to one of his "whistlestops".

    He has a touch of teflon about him (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by kidneystones on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:55:33 AM EST
    Agreed, although you've the advantage of first hand experience. I saw several interviews where Dem operatives 'busted' Brown. He was perfect. Bypassed the question with a smile.

    Saw one snap of his wife wrapped around him beaming a big 'great orgasms and often' smile that I hope doesn't offend anyone here. Some Dems are positively Victorian when it comes to the question of good sex among married couples.

    You're right. Right now he looks to be the match for Obama, with less intelligence than Dan Quayle.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing in the eyes of the voters. What worries me is that the only folks I'm reading who're making any sense are in the comments threads here and a few other places on the web. McJoan gets it and BTD understands at least what the stakes are.

    The rest appear to be in full bunker mode, and I mean all of the so-called big-shot Dem bloggers.


    yes (none / 0) (#125)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:04:21 AM EST
    and Unions won't save them with this group either.

    Mainly because Union (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:39:45 AM EST
    bosses are not the same as union members.

    I will be surprised (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Coral on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:44:40 AM EST
    if any health legislation passes. I will also be surprised if the Democratic leadership and the Obama administration do what is necessary to appeal to the base and get their momentum going.

    The party does not like to attack. It does not like populist rhetoric. It yearns for a golden age of bipartisanship that was possible (barely) during the Cold War.

    The end of the Cold War has changed everything--except maybe the mindset of the Democratic leadership and some DC pundits.

    From the election up to sometime this past summer, I thought Obama's White House might be able to turn things around.

    Who is in trouble next? (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:50:03 AM EST
    CNN discussion last night named five Dems up for re-election in trouble.  One was Feingold.  The major paper in his state -- a state where the recession is very bad and worsening by the day -- says the same today, based on backlash at his recent legendary meetings with the people in every county, including the most Dem county.  In the Repub counties, they think Dems are doing too much, of course.  But in the most Dem county, he also caught h*ll from his progressive base for Dems doing too little . . . and for his support of the health insurance bailout bill after stating categorical support for the public option.  

    The day before MA's race, a multimillionaire Repub joined the race.  He joined the millionaire Repubs already running, but they now may have to back out, because money talks.  And today, I got my daily cyberbegging from the Feingold campaign, fundraising for weeks now as never before.

    He could be another whom the Dems have d*mned if he did -- and d*mned if he didn't.  That's how bad it is in another seat that allegedly "belongs" to legendary Dems.

    And if (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:57:01 AM EST
    This is really about Obama backlash, the news doesn't look to improve anytime soon:

    Obama receives mixed reviews for his first-year performance, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. His approval rating stands at 53 percent, with 44 percent disapproving. Among independents, 49 percent approve, the lowest of any of his recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

    Majorities disapprove of his handling of the major domestic issues -- the economy, health care and the federal budget deficit. But more approve than disapprove of his handling of terrorism and Afghanistan, and he has broad support for his response to the attempted terrorist bombing on Christmas Day.

    The good feelings that surrounded Obama in the months after Inauguration Day have faded. The week he was inaugurated, just 19 percent of Americans said the country was heading in the right direction; by April, that had risen to 50 percent. Today it has slipped to 37 percent.

    The poll also shows how much ground Obama has lost during his first year of trying to convince the public that more government is the answer to the country's problems. By 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans said they prefer smaller government and fewer services to larger government with more services. Since he won the Democratic nomination in June 2008, the margin between those favoring smaller over larger government has moved in Post-ABC polls from five points to 20 points.

    Well, I think that's partly (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by observed on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:18:29 AM EST
    because they think the Dems are selling a crappy new government program, not an improvement.

    Charlie Baker will be (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by itscookin on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:47:55 AM EST
    the next governor of MA. He's the former CEO of one of MA's health insurance companies, one with high consumer satisfaction numbers. He was behind some of Brown's fundraising.

    Not surprised, and no one is talking (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:52:16 AM EST
    about the problems that Coakley faced because of the governor, Deval Patrick.  I guess it still is verboten to suggest that a Friend of Obama is just a bad gov.  Support from the MA gov, though, is as bad as lack of support from the Boston mayor.  The lack of party discipline is quite evident, isn't it?

    A bit OT but I want to say it (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:56:47 AM EST
    someplace in a healthcare thread.  It looks like Tricare has renegotiated a new payment scale to providers.  I got a portion of Joshua's last surgery charges and payments made.  Please keep in mind that Tricare coverage for the military is costing taxpayers a very pretty penny.  It is very costly insurance.  The total charges from the provider were $21,000 and Tricare's negotiated payment for those services was a little over $3,000.  How can providers make it with this kind of payment for services?  Where do you think they will have to make up for that repayment scam ratio at?  Does anyone think that this will end up in lower medical costs for all of us?

    Unions (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:29:30 AM EST
    Absolutely.  If you look at who didn't show up and vote, it was union towns, and towns with a lot of Latinos.

    The city of Lawrence had 28% turnout.  That's abysmal.

    Every single city/town with less than 40% turnout was a working class city - even Holyoke, which I mistakenly called a college town earlier - I looked up the demos and although it is near some schools, it's doesn't exactly have college town demographics.

    Yep, Dems for a Day didn't show up (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:36:51 AM EST
    because that day was 16 months ago.  I suspect you have seen the same stats that I saw at Corrente.  Some Dems for a Day switched to the GOP.  But 100s of 1000s of Dems for a Day just stayed home -- as so many of us suspected would happen, when we saw 16 months ago that so many of them didn't vote downticket then, either.

    Dems for a day? (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:42:15 AM EST
    These aren't the "Dems for a day".

    This is the rock solid base.  Unions, working class voters, latinos, african americans.  They have been the dem base for years.  These are the people who vote downticket.  And they did not show up yesterday.


    True, if they didn't show up, either (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:46:14 AM EST
    but with no exit polls, how do we know?

    we know (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:53:04 AM EST
    because of the names of the cities.

    Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Chelsea, Springfield, Lowell, Fall River, Southbridge, Holyoke - all below 40, all working class cities.

    And in the low 40s Brockton and Worcester.


    Ah, got it. Thanks -- this (none / 0) (#128)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:10:45 AM EST
    is the local insight I lacked, knowing some of the towns but not enough of them.  Maddening that we don't have exit polls, though, for indicators of age and gender.  (I gather that race is fairly easy to figure out, as segregation still is evident in the centralization of AAs in particular parts of Boston but not much elsewhere in the state?)

    And Boston also in low 40s (none / 0) (#129)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:11:59 AM EST
    just for the list (at 43%), for others trying to figure out all this.

    CST (none / 0) (#118)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:52:41 AM EST
    you are boston, right?

    check out these links to my friends show at the  national heritage museum




    please excuse the OT


    cool (none / 0) (#122)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:56:34 AM EST
    I had never heard of the National Heritage Museum - always cool to find something new.

    In MA (none / 0) (#124)
    by itscookin on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:03:33 AM EST
    party registration isn't required to vote in a primary. Every unaffiliated voter in MA who votes in a primary is a "Dem or a Repub for a day".

    IIRC didn't Axelrod and Brazille (5.00 / 7) (#114)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:46:03 AM EST
    say that the "New Democratic Party" didn't need the working class.

    Looks like the working class in MA decided they  didn't need a party that did not support them either.


    pretty much (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM EST
    I think this tells us that the excise tax went over like a lead brick.

    The only thing (none / 0) (#126)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:06:11 AM EST
    that gives me hope is that Obama might look at this and recognize that the true blue supporters didn't show up.  And stop shafting them.  But who knows?  It'll be a faceoff between mathematics and Village CW.

    Gee (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by hookfan on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:43:52 AM EST
    inspite of Trumpka's negotiation, the union workers and non union workers didn't show up? Isn't that a surprise. . .

    Btw, which are the college towns (none / 0) (#130)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    in MA?  To try to figure out the yout' vote.  As noted, I understand that college towns being so old there, some such as Holyoke have morphed.  But there are others?

    some of the towns around amherst, ma (none / 0) (#133)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:23:25 AM EST
    such as amherst :).  But also towns like Northampton, Sunderland, Hadley, Belchertown.  To be honest, it's hard to tell with a lot of those places because it's a mixed demographic.  I mean, a lot of college kids live there but so do others.  Without exit polling, it's really hard to tell.  Also, some had high turnout and some had low turnout.

    Same with Cambridge, Boston, Wellesley, North Adams.  They have a lot of students.  But in the cases of Boston and Cambridge especially, they have a lot of everyone else too.

    Honestly, it's easier to tell with the other cities because what they don't have - is colleges (with the exception of Lowell - which has UMass Lowell - but is also a very working class city otherwise).


    Also (none / 0) (#135)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:28:51 AM EST
    Somerville and Medford because of Tufts and Cambridge overflow.  But again, not just college students.  A lot of young professionals too.  And blue collar workers as well that haven't been pushed out yet by high rent.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#139)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:52:54 AM EST
    Yep, it's just different in MA from the easy IDs of college towns in some other places.  Too bad.  The hubris of the national Dems extended to not getting good data on the problem, so attempts at a  solution probably will be flawed (but for other reasons as well).  Apparently, all they needed before there was Teddy Kennedy's ability to figure out the state with or without this sort of detailed data.  Who else can do so there now?  Not the governor.  Maybe the Boston mayor has the street smarts?  Some elder statesperson in the state legislature?  (In my state, the governor has those smarts, and so does the "dean" of the state legislature.  Both Dems.  But how long will they be around, with the gov stepping down and the "dean" so elder?  And who else knows my state do well?)

    another way to tell (none / 0) (#141)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    The working class cities are the little dots of blue in a sea of red.

    The creative class/ college/ young professional/ aging hippy vote tends to be more spread out.

    If I had to venture a guess, I would say the creative class/ young professionals/ aging hippys turned out more than the college kids.  Just based on c.w. and the fact that northampton did a lot better than amherst and north adams.


    Read somewhere that quite a large (none / 0) (#143)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:51:22 PM EST
    number of younger folks were coming out for Brown (can't find article). IIRC the majority of the younger set was against the mandates in the primary. What was your on the ground view in this regard?

    I don't think mandates (none / 0) (#147)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:17:03 PM EST
    had much to do with it, since we already have that here, almost everyone already has health insurance and it really wouldn't affect many people.

    As for younger voters for Brown - I don't really know.  I'm not around a whole lot of younger voters as I am not a student anymore.  I did hear that Brown support was more active on Facebook, for what that's worth.  Although the places with more young voters went for Coakley.

    Among those I know, it was 100% Coakley.  But then, a lot of them are politically active, many of whom have worked for her and other politicians.  So my personal "young voter" bubble is decidedly not the norm.  Even the ones who don't work in politics hear from the ones who do enough to care/get out and vote Dem.


    The simultaneus bill could work (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by Manuel on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:19:50 AM EST
    but it is a Hail Mary pass and I don't think our team starting with the quaterback is up to it.

    The prudent plan is to be humble, accept the voters will, pass insurance regulation as a patient bill of rights (and dare the Republicans to vote against it) and turn to financial regulation and jobs.

    This says it all about public rage. (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by rennies on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 12:29:10 PM EST
    And not just Tea Party rage. I was a lifelong Democrat until the primary campaign, when I went Independent. But I voted for Obama as the lesser of the two evils. Not again. I won't vote for a Brown or Palin, but I won't vote Democratic either, nor give them money, nor work for them -- and that includes Barbara Boxer (in my state) who quite happily went along with the Nelson abortion amendment and all the other rubbish in the Senate bill.

    "Pass Something" mentality (none / 0) (#1)
    by ricosuave on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:50:56 AM EST
    The pressure to pass "Health Care Reform" is much bigger than the interest in the details.

    Krugman Quote of the Day (none / 0) (#63)
    by Dan the Man on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:37:41 AM EST
    Krugman: "So, will health care reform fail because a lazy candidate didn't bother campaigning and didn't know her Red Sox?"

    No. Because a distancing president (5.00 / 5) (#68)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:42:20 AM EST
    didn't bother campaigning for it.  It's his bill, not hers.

    Anyone here know why O'Donnell (none / 0) (#93)
    by NealB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:14:19 AM EST
    ...insists that Senate Democrats may not use reconciliation to "fix" the Senate health care bill? He says that the reconciliation process requires "procedural" votes that require 60 votes so the Republicans will be able to prevent a reconciliation bill from coming to a final vote that requires only 51 votes.

    If what he says is true, then reconciliation seems to be an option that only works when Republicans (who have no compunctions about playing by the rules) are running the Senate. The list of bills that have passed under reconciliation rules seems to prove his point. Recent highlights:

    # Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), Pub.L. 107-16 (2001)
    # Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, Pub.L. 108-27 (2003)
    # Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-171 (2006)
    # Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA), Pub.L. 109-222 (2006)
    # College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Pub.L. 110-84 (2007)

    All of these, except (perhaps) the last, were passed when Republicans were running the Senate. Three of them were tax cuts that are directly responsible for increasing the deficits.

    So, I doubt what Lawrence O'Donnell is saying about reconciliation. If the Democrats want to get tough, they can do it. If they don't, they won't.

    Anyone know the truth about reconciliation?

    Cuz he's being dishonest? (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:15:40 AM EST
    Is ignorant?

    I've gone through this before. Imagine if ti were true. What would be the point of reconciliation?


    Reading posts below suggest... (none / 0) (#134)
    by NealB on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:24:03 AM EST
    ...that the Democratic majority in the Senate needs a compliant parliamentarian and three committees to drive the legislation through ASAP.

    Raises the old question about Dem discipline in the Senate.

    To do reconciliation, Democrats in the Senate will need to be united, strong, bold, inspired, and capable of teamwork.

    I guess O'Donnell doesn't believe Senate Democrats have those qualities.


    fwtw (none / 0) (#138)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:45:02 AM EST
    neither do I

    Unified? (none / 0) (#150)
    by norris morris on Thu Jan 21, 2010 at 05:34:58 PM EST
    There is no way you're going to see strong unified Democrats in the Senate.

    cause he cant admit (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:17:53 AM EST
    that the real reason is that they are gutless spineless jellyfish.

    Haha (none / 0) (#102)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:27:14 AM EST
    I think you're telling the real truth and they're just looking for excuses.

    Reconciliation (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:29:52 AM EST
    Wouldn't necessarily get everything through in tact.

    Using the budget reconciliation has been one alternative method Democrats have reportedly considered after Brown was shown with a lead in the polls in the past few days.

    The process would allow Democrats to pass the bill with a simple majority and with limited floor debate. But parliamentarians could object to provisions of the bill on grounds that they are not related to the budget and potentially break up the bill.

    But this is interesting:

    That's right. When it comes to enacting laws and then later amending those laws, it doesn't matter in what order Congress passes bills. All that matters is the order in which the president signs those bills into law. As long as the president signs the health care bill 30 seconds before he signs the reconciliation bill, the latter can amend or repeal any provisions in the former. So the House and Senate could, in theory, vote on a conference report amending the Senate health care bill before the House actually has to take the tougher vote to accept the Senate bill.

    No matter whether the House votes on reconciliation or the Senate bill first, the Speaker can ensure that the health care bill is signed into law before reconciliation. (The dirty little secret of Congress is that even if the House votes to pass the Senate health care bill tomorrow, the Speaker has unilateral power to hold that bill at her desk until January 3 of next year before sending it to the President and starting the 10-day Constitutional veto clock.)

    But the problems with reconciliation are legion. The restrictions laid down by the Budget Act, the annual budget resolution, and the Senate's "Byrd Rule" prohibiting non-budgetary items combine to make Alan Frumin, the Senate Parliamentarian, the de facto editor of a reconciliation bill. In particular, he determines which parts of the bill have to be jettisoned in order to keep the bill qualified for the 51-vote fast-track instead of the 60-vote cloture process, and he determines which amendments to the bill require a simple majority for passage and which require a 60-vote supermajority.

    The process is not as quick as some have made it out to be. In order to qualify for reconciliation, three committees in the House and two committees in the Senate have to mark up provisions within their jurisdiction. Since there are no time limits on committee markups, these would last until recalcitrant Republicans drop from exhaustion and stop offering amendments. Then the committees in each chamber have to give their work product to the Budget Committees, which are then required to hold their own markups of the bill (amendment-free, this time) and report reconciliation bills to the chamber without substantive change (after waiting two extra calendar days in the House to allow Republicans to file minority views). Under the budget resolution, each committee's portion of the bill must lead to a net reduction of the deficit of at least $1 billion over five years.

    It goes on about the other 583 steps that need to be taken, but it was too long to post here.


    Well, that's that (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by FreakyBeaky on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 11:09:04 AM EST
    The process is not as quick as some have made it out to be. In order to qualify for reconciliation, three committees in the House and two committees in the Senate have to mark up provisions within their jurisdiction.

    We just went through month after month after awful month of that.  If the above is true, reconciliation for a health care bill is a non-starter.  


    Is he talking about the Byrd Rule? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 10:32:01 AM EST

    Under the Byrd rule, the Senate is prohibited from considering extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill or resolution or conference report thereon. The definition of what constitutes "extraneous matter" is set forth in the Budget Act; however, the term remains subject to considerable interpretation by the presiding officer (who relies on the Senate Parliamentarian). The Byrd rule is enforced when a Senator raises a point of order during consideration of a reconciliation bill or conference report. If the point of order is sustained, the offending title, provision or amendment is deemed stricken unless its proponent can muster a 3/5 (60) Senate majority vote to waive the rule.

    Subject matter - The Byrd rule may be invoked only against reconciliation bills, amendments thereto, and reconciliation conference reports.

    Byrd rule tests - Section 313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act sets forth six tests for matters to be considered extraneous under the Byrd rule. The criteria apply to provisions that:

    • do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;

    • produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;

    • are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;

    • increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision's title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee's reconciliation instructions;

    • increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision's title, as a whole, remains budget neutral;

    • contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds.

    Exceptions to the Byrd Rule - Section 313(b)(2) allows certain otherwise covered Senate-originated provisions to be excepted from the Byrd rule if the provisions are certified for exemption by the Senate Budget Committee chairman and ranking minority member, as well as the chairman and ranking minority member of the committee of jurisdiction. The permitted exceptions are:

    • a provision that mitigates direct effects attributable to a second provision which changes outlays or revenue when the provisions together produce a net reduction in outlays;

    • the provision will result in a substantial reduction in outlays or a substantial increase in revenues during fiscal years after the fiscal years covered by the reconciliation bill;

    • the provision will likely reduce outlays or increase revenues based on actions that are not currently projected by CBO for scorekeeping purposes; or

    • such provision will likely produce significant reduction in outlays or increase in revenues, but due to insufficient data such reduction or increase cannot be reliably estimated.

    Effect of points of order - The effect of raising a point of order under the Byrd rule is to strike the offending extraneous provision. If a point of order against a conference report is sustained, the Senate may consider subsequent motions to dispose of that portion of the conference report not subject to the point of order.

    Waivers - The Byrd rule is not self-enforcing. A point of order must be raised at the appropriate time to enforce it. The Byrd rule can only be waived by a 3/5 (60) majority vote of the Senate.