Bayh, Conrad, Feinstein, Lieberman and Warner form national suicide pact

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Nov 10, 2009 at 23:30


Of all the various blocs and gangs that have been formed in Congress this year, Senators Bayh, Conrad, Feinstein, Lieberman and Warner have managed to form the most regressive one yet.  Currently, these five Democrats are demanding that Speaker Pelosi hand over all relevant Congressional power to an independent commission that will be allowed to slash and partially privatize Social Security and Medicare, or else they will allow the United States to default on its debt.

I am not kidding:

Senators from both parties on Tuesday put new pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to turn the power to trim entitlement benefits over to an independent commission.

Seven members of the Senate Budget Committee threatened during a Tuesday hearing to withhold their support for critical legislation to raise the debt ceiling if the bill calling for the creation of a bipartisan fiscal reform commission were not attached. (...)

(...) Congress is under pressure to raise the cap on what the federal government can borrow by mid-December. If the debt ceiling is not raised above its current $12.1 trillion mark by then, the government will exceed its borrowing limits and will be forced to default on the debt. Economists have warned that the inevitable result would be a lowering of the U.S. credit rating, triggering substantial increases in the interest rates the government is already paying.

But before Tuesday's hearing was over, Sens. Conrad, Gregg, Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) publicly vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling if a budget reform commission bill doesn't come along with it.

The Republican threats don't matter, since only Democrats are needed to pass the bill.

Let's review the threat that these five Democrats are making:

  • They will allow the United States to default on its debt, which will vastly increase the overall amount we have to pay on our debt

    UNLESS

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi turns over Congressional power on Social Security and Medicare to an unelected commission that will almost certainly propose deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare entitlements.  Keep in mind that if deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare pass under a Democratic trifecta, the party would be doomed at the ballot box for years to come.
This is completely insane, and there is no choice but to call this bluff.

Let's see these five Democratic Senators explain to the entire nation why they allowed the country to default on its debt.  No matter how safe their seats appear to be, no Senator is going to win reelection after making the entire country default on its debt   Their rationale does not matter.  Being blamed for making the country default on its debt-especially after all five of these Democrats voted in favor of the Wall Street bailout and are demanding that Social Security and Medicare be cut-will be the effective end of their political careers.

Go for it, guys.  Form your national suicide pact.  Tell the country that you are demanding deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare, or else you will personally cause the United States debt to double.  Let's see how well that message plays on the air.

Chris Bowers :: Bayh, Conrad, Feinstein, Lieberman and Warner form national suicide pact

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If I had representation in Congress (0.00 / 0)
I would be demanding that both my Senators and my House member denounced these so called Democrats.

The refusal to defend the idea of social insurance by the Democratic Party is what makes this possible.  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


Feinstein (4.00 / 1)
Has she gone completely senile?  Deep cuts in entitlements in the midst of the worst economy in 70 years.  Why would anyone want her as Governor?


Jerry Brown Is Insane (4.00 / 4)
And no, this is not a reference to all that "Governor Moonbeam" nonsense.  It's stuff he's done since then.

But Feinstein makes him more than acceptable.

It's like Louisiana when David Duke was running for governor, and the bumper stickers read, "Vote for the crook.  It's important!"

If Feinstein got into the Dem Primary, the bumper stickers should read, "Vote for the crazy man.  It's important!"

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Feinstein vs. Brown (4.00 / 3)
If Feinstein runs for Governor I'll most assuredly support her over Brown.

First, while Brown is in good shape in the general, Feinstein, for reasons I don't fully understand, is extremely popular in California and would be near invincible.  We don't need to worry about supporting her and can direct our limited resources to more important races.

Second, prior to this latest debt ceiling development Feinstein, as deplorable as she was, was still equal to or better than Brown, a fiscal conservative who cares more about attention and the limelight than actual governance. (When this latest development is taken into consideration I don't know who's worse anymore, but I somehow doubt Feinstein is doing anything more than deranged bluffing.)

Third and most importantly, electing Feinstein as Governor will get her out of the Senate and free up that Senate seat for a real liberal who actually deserves it.


[ Parent ]
in SIX YEARS (4.00 / 1)
Feinstein would get to appoint her own replacement. do we have a law calling for there to then be a special election to fill the seat?

i get the idea about taking a bullet for the country and getting her out of the Senate but holy moly. could we maybe not? could we maybe try to find someone actually good to be Governor?

she'll never really run anyway, though, this is the usual fan dance. (i keep telling myself that.)

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.


[ Parent ]
If Feinstein wins and becomes governor (0.00 / 0)
my guess is she, not Schwarzenegger, will appoint her replacement, assuming she doesn't resign her Senate seat early. (I have to say, my opinion of Feinstein is so low that I think even a Schwarzenegger appointee would be an improvement.)

Whoever is appointed to that Senate seat would have to stand for reelection in 2012, which is when Feinstein's term would expire.  So it will be two years, not six.

Furthermore, my hope is that Feinstein will appoint Phil Angelides, a liberal champion who's professionally close to Feinstein, going back to his efforts to get her (along with Barbara Boxer) elected in 1992.

In any case, regardless of whom she appoints, we can run a liberal candidate in 2012 and have a reasonable chance of winning.  Aside from her willingly retiring or dying, there is no other realistic way to get her out of that seat.  And a seat in such a strongly liberal state as CA is a terrible thing to waste.  Plus, it'll give voters like myself an alternative to Jerry Brown, whom I am not a fan of at all.


[ Parent ]
She won't run (4.00 / 1)
As I said a while back, that's "kabuki from a senator famous for kabuki."

Feinstein is the biggest DINO in a senate full of DINOs.

This incident, right here, should show people exactly why Feinstein would be a far worse governor than Brown. Especially people who (correctly) dislike Brown for being too much of a conservative. She is joining in an effort here to cut social security so that rich people (like her and her husband) do not have to pay back the money they borrowed from us in the form of irresponsible tax cuts. Seriously, that's as bad as anything Phil Gramm pulled.

Brown famously listens to his constituents (the voters passed prop 13, he said okay I'm on your side), Feinstein famously doesn't listen to her constituents (she voted for the iraq war explicitly against their wishes).

She should retire, but there's no way she'll leave the senate: it would cut off the government contractor gravy train to her husband.



[ Parent ]
Precisely! (0.00 / 0)
Brown famously listens to his constituents (the voters passed prop 13, he said okay I'm on your side), Feinstein famously doesn't listen to her constituents (she voted for the iraq war explicitly against their wishes).

When lack of principals is actually a good thing, relatively speaking.

Hey, is this that Kali Yuga thing I read about back in the 60s?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
How was Brown's lack of principle a "good thing"? (0.00 / 0)
Had he actually been against Prop. 13 and done something about it, like stand up and say something, that would've been a fine effort.  It probably would've passed anyway, but at least he tried.  Instead, he turned a blind eye and went on to run for President, as well as every other political office in the country.

That's assuming he was against Prop. 13 in the first place.  I wouldn't be surprised if he was for it.


[ Parent ]
Governor Feinstein wouldn't deal with Social Security (0.00 / 0)
This incident, right here, should show people exactly why Feinstein would be a far worse governor than Brown. Especially people who (correctly) dislike Brown for being too much of a conservative. She is joining in an effort here to cut social security so that rich people (like her and her husband) do not have to pay back the money they borrowed from us in the form of irresponsible tax cuts. Seriously, that's as bad as anything Phil Gramm pulled.

As Governor, Feinstein wouldn't deal with Social Security.  Or any other federal issue.  But we could get a liberal (Phil Angelides, or someone else) who would.  That's the beauty of the arrangement.

Speaking for myself, just about every complaint I have about Feinstein is over something at the federal level that she can't touch as Governor.  Are there any state issues you think she's bad on?

P.S. Given her age (she'll turn 78 in June 2011) she may only serve one term.  Another plus. (Though, the same might be said for Brown, who'll turn 73 in April 2011.)


[ Parent ]
Oh come now (0.00 / 0)
As Governor, Feinstein wouldn't deal with Social Security.  Or any other federal issue.

Are you actually saying that because Feinstein moves to the governor's mansion that she will stop acting like she has as a senator? As John McEnroe would say, "You can't possibly be serious!"

Speaking for myself, just about every complaint I have about Feinstein is over something at the federal level that she can't touch as Governor.  Are there any state issues you think she's bad on?

This is just because she is awful at her current job and it takes up her whole day right now.

But, no problem! I'm here to remember these things for you! Cast your mind back to the early days of 2009, when our "gang of 5" negotiated the latest of many horrible budget "compromises". We had a special election with propositions to temporarily extend a regressive tax and institute a permanent budget cap  that would have given us gooper budgets forever and ever no matter who was voting on them. Senator Feinstein had an opinion on this matter, and it was published in the paper. The upshot of it was that if the people voted this horrible deal down, then of course what they wanted was bipartisan cuts to all state services immediately right now. I couldn't possibly disagree more with this kind of blackmail.

There you go!


[ Parent ]
...and isn't that what ended up happening? (0.00 / 0)
It sounds like she was telling us not what she wanted per se, but what would inevitably happen.  The two are not the same, and I think calling it "blackmail" is a bit of a stretch.

While we're on this subject, whoever is our next Governor is going to inherit a complete mess of a budget, and is guaranteed to do things that will piss us off.  I don't like it, but my expectations are pretty low on this matter.

Btw, I don't want anyone to think that I actually like Feinstein.  Just the opposite - I despise her presence as our U.S. Senator and eagerly look forward to the day her political career comes to a long-overdue end.  But Feinstein moving over to the statehouse is simply the best of several bad options.  This is a case of the evil we don't know being better than the evil we do know: we essentially have a choice between Brown and Feinstein or Feinstein and a new Senator.  That new Senator may be a liberal, quite possibly Phil Angelides, or it could be another annoying centrist, but at least we have a guaranteed shot at taking the seat in 2012. (As it is Feinstein may run for another term in 2012.) In the meantime we are spared from another four years of Brown, who needs to go away even more than Feinstein.

The one circumstance where I will oppose this scenario is if Feinstein becomes Governor and appoints a centrist who will be somehow undefeatable (like Feinstein) in 2012.  Then it's not worth it.


[ Parent ]
Pro-business/Wall Street campaign $$ make for strange bedfellows.. (0.00 / 0)
See what Harry Reid has wrought by allowing Lieberman's foul mouth back into the Senate??

The numbers of Dems now selling out and threatening their own party for personal gain is shocking.

Pelosi can recover some of her credibility by telling these money grubbing bastards to !@#$ off.

 

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.


[ Parent ]
Holy shit (4.00 / 1)
The brinkmanship and demands are escalating from the regressive Democrats.  

More idiocy, having the bi-partisan commission gut Social Security, thinking that this will provide them with Cover.  Morons, voters will blame the party in power when something happened, and specifically the party that held the Presidency.  

Pelosi has to draw the line somewhere with this.  If not to save social security (Again!) where?  


Possibly for Medicare Payment, Not for SS (0.00 / 0)
While in general I think taking the authority outside of Congress is the only way to get real cost containment, this proposal seems a bit suspicious. This is especially true for Social Security, which is in pretty good financial shape. I do think that a powerful Super-Med Pac like entity is needed to change incentives in health care though. Because of the lobbying interests, no one in congress has the courage to change the payment system toward paying for quality. The House does some things with hospital readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, etc., but the senate is mostly just proposing IOM studies. Since there will be no robust public option, there is nothing that really checks costs. Since private payers normally piggyback on Medicare, Medicare payment changes are the only way without a movement toward single payer. Should this body make beneficiary decisions? Probably not. But such a body for Medicare payment is needed. It would be non-partisan, not bi-partisan, in theory though. The doctor payment adjustment shows that it's impossible for Congress to ever keep to payment changes.

So yes, 10% of this is right on. But I'm 99% positive these Senators are not thinking this way. Rather, they see this as a blunt instrument to claim they're doing something to handle the deficit. Something along these lines will eventually be needed, but it should be more thoughtful and only address areas where it is necessary and where there actually is waste and bad incentives. This applies to Medicare payment, not to Medicare benefits or anything Social Security.  

Demockracy.com


so you just want to change medicare payments? can you elaborate how? (4.00 / 1)
because they say 'trim entitlement benefits'

my answer to a 'trim entitlement benefits' proposal is pass single-payer or cut the defense budget or start collecting corporate taxes instead


[ Parent ]
Single Payer (0.00 / 0)
Single payer in itself wouldn't do all that much to cut costs beyond administrative costs (a lot of money, yes, but these aren't growing beyond inflation which is the long-term problem). However, what it would essentially do is give the government the power to change the payment system for all citizens to do things like encourage more coordination which would lead to fewer hospitalizations (save tens of billions), fewer preventable infections (each one probably costs 50 k), change payments to encourage treatment of the whole patient, etc. In other words, a single-payer system would set up the conditions to make the health care system more cost-effective. It wouldn't automatically do so beyond administrative costs if the decisions were still highly politicized (i.e. common sense = death panels!)

The way the payment system works now is that providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) are paid for procedures and not for quality (better outcomes, adherence to evidence based processes, etc.) The payment system also discourages providers from coordinating with each other and working with patients outside the walls of their offices/hospitals since they aren't paid for these services. Current Medicare data shows that there are a ton of readmissions within the first thirty days, some of which are preventable if providers were paid do coordinate the care of discharged patients with providers in the community. In fact, the data shows that a large percentage of these patients never saw any providers in the community prior to being readmitted!

Even without single payer, Medicare still can take a lead on some of these things. For example, in 2008 Medicare stopped paying higher amounts for conditions (for a limited number of conditions, such as stage III and IV pressure ulcers, some infections, etc.) that were hospital acquired (weren't present on admission) and deemed largely preventable if best practices were followed. Almost immediately private payers jumped right on board. This policy in of itself is limited, but the idea will be expanded--much more quickly if these decisions aren't lobbied by special interests which severely limit their effect. An entity already exists to do this. It's called MedPac. Unfortunately, they currently only have the power to recommend. They recommend, and then then special interests have their way to limit any real changes that may upset the status quo!

Demockracy.com


[ Parent ]
Just to be clear, (4.00 / 5)
what you're talking about and what they're talking about are two different things. They're talking about stealing the SS trust fund that was paid for by taxes on the working class so that the rich people who spent it won't have to pay it back. Please don't lend any legitimacy to this heinous reverse Robin Hood villainy.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Stupid, vicious solution to mythical problem (4.00 / 3)
The obvious solution to Social Security's funding problem (which is, at best, a small problem and will only appear in the very distant future, if at all) is to eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes so that all earned income is taxed instead of just the first $105,000. This is much more fair than any of the other proposals floated.

And generally, the solution to the federal deficit is to (1) repair the economy so that people can start paying taxes again, and (2) cut the defense budget in half, raise taxes on those who make more than $200,000/year, institute a wealth tax on those with a net wealth of more than $5 million, and institute taxes on advertising and stock trades. These are all progressive measures that would tax those who have accumulated money and power through fraud, exploitation, manipulation, or good luck, help those hurt by fraud, exploitation, manipulation, or bad luck, tax destructive things (military force, advertising, unfettered stock trading) and make the world a more humane place. The super rich have gotten richer by stealing from the poor and middle classes for the past 30 years. Trying to make poor and middle-class people pay for the current mess just kicks them one more time.


[ Parent ]
Solving SS shortfalls is actually quite easy - A serious and timely discussion (0.00 / 0)
This is a serious plan I've been working on.  Would appreciate comments and/or improvements??

A brief overview:
The problem
Stay at home spouses and/or parents - even part-timers, are being unfairly shorted SS benefits later on.
- The stay at home spouse/parent is in effect being punished monetarily and without any thought for their retirement plans.
- The SS fund too is being shorted of two adults paying in, though it still must pay out a pay out a minimum to the under-payer.
- The under-payer/s is likely to later need state assistance, i.e. food stamps, welfare, etc.

The solution:
- Allow the working taxpayer/spouse to pay in SS tax on behalf of the spouse, in an amount equal to at least half  of his/her own SS contribution.
- He/she can then deduct that SS spousal contribution as a tax credit.

Closing argument:

- The SS fund will be well funded and safe from the greedy hands of Wall Street.
- Federal and state governments will be relieved of huge financial burdens from supplementing the disabled and poor elderly.
- Both spouses are treated and paid equally by SS, improving their lives whether together or apart.

Most importantly??
Those millions of homemakers who choose to stay and care for the home and/or the children, who desperately need more parental support, are finally being treated as valuable commodities of a society going to hell.

Those who claim to value the sanctity of the home and who think a woman's place should be in the home, can now put up or shut the f*** up.


Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.


[ Parent ]
The shortfalls are not the real issue. (4.00 / 2)
There is no clear evidence that there will even be a shortfall. The issue is that the trust fund was borrowed to pay for two stupid wars (including the profiteering orgy for Halliburton and Friends) and tax cuts that mainly went to millionaires and billionaires. Now they don't want to pay it back. The time is approaching that a huge wave of us working class stiffs who built up that trust fund with our taxes are going to start drawing that surplus down (exactly according to the plan under Reagan that doubled our employment taxes in 1983.) But there's a little problem: The money's not there. And now the rich fuckers don't want to pay it back.

I have no opinion on your homemaker issue. But let's be clear that the real problem is paying back the well funded trust fund from the general treasury.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
Your interpretation - (0.00 / 0)
Please don't lend any legitimacy to this heinous reverse Robin Hood villainy.
-

of kvandyke's contribution to this discussion, IMHO, is wrong.

Maybe the Democrats next move should be to ask kvandyke to testify.

Reacting to threats like this in a knee-jerk fashion amounts to manipulation.

Take them at their word, then show how wrongheaded it is, and provide an appropriate course correction.


[ Parent ]
We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists (4.00 / 14)
end of story.

is there a competition who'll come up with the most stupid idea? (4.00 / 3)
how else can you explain this? jeez...

Not stupid. (4.00 / 4)
Just evil. They simply want to steal the trust fund paid for by the poor and middle class and give it to the super-wealthy. Let's not overcomplicate this.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Remember Warners old campaign slogun?? (0.00 / 0)
Ka-ching, Ka-ching!

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.

[ Parent ]
Yikes... (4.00 / 1)
It looks to me like our grand experiment in democracy is just about over.  I'm gathering wampum and stocking up on canned goods.

Wampum (0.00 / 0)
Interestingly enough, the Iroquois experiment with democracy was a much more fruitful and just experiment than ours has turned out to be. And I bet the Ron Paulies would've liked it because they didn't have a Federal Reserve!

Join the fight to give students a real voice on campus: Forstudentpower.org.

[ Parent ]
Noise will be made (0.00 / 0)
If this gets anywhere near becoming a reality, a lot of loud mainstream media attention should spotlight this, just as you have.  There will be a dust-up, and these Senators will go down in flames next election cycle.

you mean like when the bailout bills where introduced? (4.00 / 1)
yes, the mainstream media spotlighted them...

[ Parent ]
I know it's a fatansy (0.00 / 0)
that the MSM won't be corporate and submissive (except MSNBC at this point and a 50/50 chance from the NYT perhaps, but I can cajole).

[ Parent ]
it will play just fine (3.00 / 4)
the chinpullers on TV will all nod sagely at this moderate, sensible wisdom and put all the blame on those "special interests" who just can't understand the seriousness and complexities of the situation.

that they won't really have the vaguest idea what they're talking about has never stopped them before, it's not going to stop them now.

all the onus for explanation will be on the people trying to make the case that this is insane.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.


Dems who get on TV (4.00 / 1)
just need to grow some balls and explain over and over again that it's all about stealing from the middle class and giving it to the billionaires. It's not insane. It's just unfair and wrong.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
And they would be right! (0.00 / 0)
put all the blame on those "special interests" who just can't understand the seriousness and complexities of the situation.

If the Democrats don't respond intelligently.

This can be an opportunity to highlight the facts of unpaid corporate taxes or the need to bring healthcare costs down via single payer. There must be a million ways Congress, including the Republicans, wastes taxpayer dollars - mine and yours, such as retirement benefits for their members, as somebody noted in the comments on the original Hill story.

I don't care which side threw down this challenge, make them ante up.


[ Parent ]
It's a bluff. They KNOW it's crazy to let our debt (4.00 / 2)
default.  We can't privatize one iota of medicare or social security and I think Pelosi is well aware of that.  She wouldn't let this happen.

Yes (4.00 / 1)
Just like she wouldn't let the Stupak amendment into the healthcare bill

[ Parent ]
Don't we already have a Medicare reviewing commission written into the health care bill (2.00 / 2)
that will recommend savings for Medicare?

And come to think of it, what are Republicans doing supporting this?  They're the ones accusing Democrats of wanting to "cut Medicare".  Talk about being two-faced.


Yes (0.00 / 0)
There seems to be some confusion. The board to set Medicare prices is one of the good ideas to help keep medical costs down.  Right now legislators can make sure Medicare pays extra for some product build in their district, for example.  Following the same concept as the base closures, setting up a panel of experts to set costs and give congress an up or down vote takes some of the stupid politics out of the equation.

But to take this a step further and create a "bipartisan fiscal reform commission" is a really bad idea.  Our taxes, benefits and entitlements are legitimate political issues, and for a reason.  More to the point, we don't need fiscal reform, so creating a panel to fix it is kinda stupid.


[ Parent ]
Chutzpah (4.00 / 2)
Shorter wankers:

"We're going to undermine the Full Faith and Credit promise of US Treasuries unless you help us undermine the Full Faith and Credit promise of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund assets."

Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan perpetrated the biggest fraud ever on the American people in devising the SS and Medicare Trust Funds that will never be repaid.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans


Oh, it's a metaphor, right (4.00 / 3)
Read the headline, got excited, read the article, was disappointed.

Reading the article (0.00 / 0)
I see that 1) The changes the panel calls for will be subject to an up-or-down vote with no amendments, and 2) The panel may be comprised of members of Congress.

These two provisions take a lot of sting out of the proposal, since the panel will not be able to unilaterally make budgetary decisions, and it'll be composed of those who have been elected to office.

I'm still leery of this idea, but it's not all doom-and-gloom.


It's thievery. (4.00 / 3)
Working class people got hit with a massive tax increase to build up the SS trust fund. Al Gore (the smart guy who's always right) promised to put it in a lock box and everybody mocked him. Now that Bush has given away the trust fund to his billionaire buddies, these assholes are going to formalize the theft. When the trust fund is needed, the super wealthy who spent it will not be asked to pay it back through higher taxes. We poor working stiffs who paid into it will be told to go fuck ourselves. There is no good way to spin this except to assume that it will indeed be political suicide for these assholes. But that will only be the case if the Dem leadership actually play hardball and call their bluff. I won't be holding my breath.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
If We Had a Progressive Senate Bloc (4.00 / 4)
We should have progressive Senators making the same threat if a more robust public option or even, gasp, single-payer, isn't passed.

Progressives need to learn how to take hostages.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


It's how the game is played. (0.00 / 0)
Whine, cry, complain about the tactics, but nothing's going to stop people from using them.  Better to take advantage of them ourselves if we want to have a chance at getting our way.  It's long past time our congressional allies started playing hardball.

That said, I don't think legislation raising the debt ceiling is a good "hostage."  All we need is something the leadership considers must-past legislation.  It can be practically anything, really.  The current HCR legislation for example.  Use that.  Not like we could make it any worse at this point, and if it dies, so be it.  Better dead and buried than a walking zombie.

Health insurance is not health care.
If you don't fight, you can't win.
Never give up. Never Surrender.
Watch out for flying kabuki.


[ Parent ]
HCR is probably a bad example (4.00 / 1)
You want to threaten something which most Senators actually want.  Republicans and some Democrats would be happy to see the current legislation stalled and would be happy to see a progressive filibuster do the heavy lifting.  

I'd do something like target both a second stimulus bill and an Afganistan funding bill and try to hold both hostage simultaneously, pissing off both some Republicans and some Democrats and creating a bipartisan will to get rid of the filibuster.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


[ Parent ]
'almost certainly propose'? (0.00 / 0)
So what?  Who listens to these absurd commissions?  This allows these 'concerned Senators' to tell everyone how they 'created a commission to help bring down spending.'  Of course the commission's 'proposals' will be universally and rightfully ignored.


Military base closings (4.00 / 4)
Theprocess works similarly and it pretty much goes through uncathed.  This is not a joke.  It is very real.

[ Parent ]
Closing a military base doesn't carry the same kind of political risks (0.00 / 0)
cutting Social Security and Medicare does.

Previous campaigns to cut Social Security and Medicare have always suffered an ignoble death.  The only way such efforts can succeed is either through a massive blizzard of lies or through a Trojan horse like the 2003 prescription drug benefit.


[ Parent ]
They used this tactic to close bases (0.00 / 0)
which was very unpopular, and they are using it again to deal with popular programs. The people who suggest doing it are hostile to these programs. There is no need for a commission if you are doing popular things.  

It's a terrible idea, regardless of the likelihood of success.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
With gun pointed at their own heads, (4.00 / 1)
they threaten to shoot???  If it was Massa or Kucinich,  they'd offer them up the bullets.  Odds are that Pelosi will rescue them by throwing herself us under the bus.  

I really don't believe anymore that we can take the Democratic Party over from the inside because all of the Republicans and financiers who are fleeing what's left of the Republican Party already own it.  They are the "new" Democrats.  FDR's and Johnson's Democratic Party is dead, and so are we. There has got to be a better way.  


Hopefully the fight (0.00 / 0)
that Pelosi, Obama and Reid never anticipated over what few liberal components remain in this eviscerated health care bill has taught Democratic leadership that they can't go along with this and expect to get reelected.  

I'm calling my reps and a few others today.  The hubristic idiocy of this plan is galling, even by the admittedly generous standards of the US Senate.  


Big payoff, not a suicide pact (4.00 / 1)
The 5 Dems must have huge jobs waiting, with outsized stock options and bonuses, for them after they get this mechanism in place that will ensure big cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare. It is naive to think they will ruin their careers. They will go on to greater and greater riches. It's the American way.

Leverage (4.00 / 1)
This won't go anywhere right now, because it's bug-fuck crazy. But it's not an idea that'll go away, and with the tide turning against Democrats a large proportion of the new senatorial intake on the blue team is likely to be bug-fuck crazy (or as they're also known, moderates.) So pressure could build. We need an escape valve, because in ten years time a Republican president could get behind it, and we could be short too many liberal lions to stop it.

That means we need to win some elections, obviously, but we also need to think how we can nip it in the bud. We can't touch Feinstein. Lieberman wouldn't listen to us anyway. Defeating Bayh is probably impossible, although I'd support drafting Birch Bayh against his will in the primary, if that's possible. Warner needs to be informed that we will keep him off any VP ticket we can, we'll spread rumours about him fucking a pig in Iowa right through 2015, whatever it takes to make him back off. Then we should do it anyway, because he's a snake and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near high office. As for Conrad, a bit of pressure from the NPL wing of the party might help.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


Why the hell is Bayh a Democrat? (4.00 / 1)
Seriously, he's involved in EVERY SINGLE ONE of these blocs/gangs/whatever.  There's virtually no difference between him and Lieberman. How/why is he in the party?

Because No One Would Pay Attention To Him If He Was A Republican (4.00 / 3)
Do you have any idea what a non-entity he is?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
his wife is a big wheel in the insurance industry (0.00 / 0)
and big pharma

for what it's worth


[ Parent ]
Lieberman (0.00 / 0)
    Again, Lieberman is not a Democratic Senator, he is an Independent whom the Democrats unaccountably reward with committee positions and membership in their caucus after he defeated the Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont. There are four Democrats and Lieberman in this group.

The 5 Dems are all DLCers -- (0.00 / 0)
-- no surprises.

Social security and medicare are the only programs (4.00 / 2)
right now that are keeping millions of older Americans from abject poverty.  Studies have shown large numbers of people near retirement haven't saved enough to maintain living standard - certainly made worse by this financial crisis - the only thing that will keep them above water will be social security and medicare.

And to think we would privatize both these programs is complete INSANITY.  Show me where turning retirement savings over to financial sector in the form of 401ks and IRAs was a good thing.

RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.


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