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Posts For: August 8, 2009

Run Away–The Voters Are Mad!

It seems the Democrats in Congress have had enough of grassroots democracy. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The health-care debate was supposed to play out at rallies and inside gymnasiums when lawmakers headed home for the August recess.

But after a series of contentious town-hall meetings, some Democratic lawmakers are thinking twice about holding large public gatherings. Instead, they are opting for smaller sessions, holding meetings by phone or inviting constituents for one-on-one office hours.

Democrats have accused Republicans of manufacturing the opposition by organizing groups to attend the events and encouraging disruptive behavior. Republican organizers say the unrest reflects genuine anger about the proposed health-care changes.

“Democrats may think that attacking or ignoring this growing chorus of Americans is a smart strategy, but they are obviously forgetting that these concerned citizens are voters as well,” said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm.

So the solution is to run away from voters and hide? Well, at least hide from groups of them. This is a far cry from the White House spin that August was going to be the time for voters to exact revenge on those mean Blue Dogs and Republicans who were standing in the way of nationalized health care. Now the Democrats are reduced to accusing their constituents of being puppets of insurance companies (or is it of the RNC?). Aside from the sheer stupidity and crassness of politicians demeaning ordinary citizens who bother to come to a town-hall meeting, this of course suggests there is no groundswell for ObamaCare.

All that momentum (OK, more like, all that inertia) that was building up in Congress—what happens now? With the voters’ complaints ringing in their ears, are the Blue Dogs more or less inclined to vote for the public option? Which Democrats from unsafe seats are going to return secure in the knowledge that a vote for ObamaCare is a going to help their re-election prospects?

Talk in Congress may turn to Plan B (sock it to the insurance companies) or a watered down public-option plan, but if the lawmakers are learning anything, it is that the most vocal, organized, and energized part of the electorate is fed up with a flood of expensive, unread legislation flying through Congress. Perhaps there is a large constituency out there for “no” after all. It got an awfully bad name, but “no” seems to be what the voters are saying. And unless there are some carefully crafted, specific reforms that won’t increase the deficit or disturb the health insurance of the vast majority of Americans who both have insurance and like it, the “safe” vote is just “no.” Then they can work on getting the economy back on track and reducing the deficit. Now that approach might get some cheers from these crowds.

It seems the Democrats in Congress have had enough of grassroots democracy. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The health-care debate was supposed to play out at rallies and inside gymnasiums when lawmakers headed home for the August recess.

But after a series of contentious town-hall meetings, some Democratic lawmakers are thinking twice about holding large public gatherings. Instead, they are opting for smaller sessions, holding meetings by phone or inviting constituents for one-on-one office hours.

Democrats have accused Republicans of manufacturing the opposition by organizing groups to attend the events and encouraging disruptive behavior. Republican organizers say the unrest reflects genuine anger about the proposed health-care changes.

“Democrats may think that attacking or ignoring this growing chorus of Americans is a smart strategy, but they are obviously forgetting that these concerned citizens are voters as well,” said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm.

So the solution is to run away from voters and hide? Well, at least hide from groups of them. This is a far cry from the White House spin that August was going to be the time for voters to exact revenge on those mean Blue Dogs and Republicans who were standing in the way of nationalized health care. Now the Democrats are reduced to accusing their constituents of being puppets of insurance companies (or is it of the RNC?). Aside from the sheer stupidity and crassness of politicians demeaning ordinary citizens who bother to come to a town-hall meeting, this of course suggests there is no groundswell for ObamaCare.

All that momentum (OK, more like, all that inertia) that was building up in Congress—what happens now? With the voters’ complaints ringing in their ears, are the Blue Dogs more or less inclined to vote for the public option? Which Democrats from unsafe seats are going to return secure in the knowledge that a vote for ObamaCare is a going to help their re-election prospects?

Talk in Congress may turn to Plan B (sock it to the insurance companies) or a watered down public-option plan, but if the lawmakers are learning anything, it is that the most vocal, organized, and energized part of the electorate is fed up with a flood of expensive, unread legislation flying through Congress. Perhaps there is a large constituency out there for “no” after all. It got an awfully bad name, but “no” seems to be what the voters are saying. And unless there are some carefully crafted, specific reforms that won’t increase the deficit or disturb the health insurance of the vast majority of Americans who both have insurance and like it, the “safe” vote is just “no.” Then they can work on getting the economy back on track and reducing the deficit. Now that approach might get some cheers from these crowds.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Carolyn Maloney is out of the Senate race in New York.

Jenny Sanford is out of the governor’s mansion in South Carolina.

Keith Hennessey: “Markets care about expectations and rates of change. Real people care about levels—Do I have a job? How big is my paycheck? If you focus on the former, it’s good news. If you focus on the latter, it’s still terrible.”

Megan McArdle has it right: “The unemployment rate dropped 200 basis points, from 9.6% to 9.4%. That’s great news. Except that labor force participation also dropped 200 basis points, which is what’s propping up those figures. People basically gave up looking for work, and therefore aren’t counted as unemployed. Still, it is good news, of a sort. Job loss is slowing, and a 12% eventual unemployment peal seems less likely than it did even a few months ago. But we should keep in mind that this also reinforces a grim fact of modern unemployment–it’s getting longer and harder than it used to be.”

And so does Robert Reich: “The economy is getting worse more slowly.”

Obama tells Republicans to shut up—that is: “get out of the way.” But what about the Blue Dogs? Them too. Everyone scram!

The fastest way to spur job growth: dump the Obama agenda. “New hiring will be restrained until businesses see the smoke clear on health care, the cap-and-trade energy tax and rigged union organizing. The faster this agenda is seen to be defeated or watered down, the sooner capital investment and risk-taking will revive, and the sooner robust job creation will resume.”

Imagine—14 percent of voters think Congress is doing a good job. (Who are these people—relatives?) 56 percent say they are doing a poor job, up 9 percent from June.

Unmitigated good news: “U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials are pretty certain that Baitullah Mehsud, the top Taliban in Pakistan, is dead.”

Dana Perino has advice for Republicans on health care, primarily “keep doing what you’re doing—the pressure has worked.”

The Obama administration has made its argument in court to prevent release of the detainee-abuse photos. But if servicemen’s lives are at stake, why isn’t he issuing an executive order?

Carolyn Maloney is out of the Senate race in New York.

Jenny Sanford is out of the governor’s mansion in South Carolina.

Keith Hennessey: “Markets care about expectations and rates of change. Real people care about levels—Do I have a job? How big is my paycheck? If you focus on the former, it’s good news. If you focus on the latter, it’s still terrible.”

Megan McArdle has it right: “The unemployment rate dropped 200 basis points, from 9.6% to 9.4%. That’s great news. Except that labor force participation also dropped 200 basis points, which is what’s propping up those figures. People basically gave up looking for work, and therefore aren’t counted as unemployed. Still, it is good news, of a sort. Job loss is slowing, and a 12% eventual unemployment peal seems less likely than it did even a few months ago. But we should keep in mind that this also reinforces a grim fact of modern unemployment–it’s getting longer and harder than it used to be.”

And so does Robert Reich: “The economy is getting worse more slowly.”

Obama tells Republicans to shut up—that is: “get out of the way.” But what about the Blue Dogs? Them too. Everyone scram!

The fastest way to spur job growth: dump the Obama agenda. “New hiring will be restrained until businesses see the smoke clear on health care, the cap-and-trade energy tax and rigged union organizing. The faster this agenda is seen to be defeated or watered down, the sooner capital investment and risk-taking will revive, and the sooner robust job creation will resume.”

Imagine—14 percent of voters think Congress is doing a good job. (Who are these people—relatives?) 56 percent say they are doing a poor job, up 9 percent from June.

Unmitigated good news: “U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials are pretty certain that Baitullah Mehsud, the top Taliban in Pakistan, is dead.”

Dana Perino has advice for Republicans on health care, primarily “keep doing what you’re doing—the pressure has worked.”

The Obama administration has made its argument in court to prevent release of the detainee-abuse photos. But if servicemen’s lives are at stake, why isn’t he issuing an executive order?

Read Less




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