After lawmakers had devoured the last of the Kalua Pig at last Thursday night’s White House Luau, Nancy Pelosi summoned her team back to the Capitol — to ensure the climate change bill wasn’t the next thing roasted on the spit.Howie P.S.: It seems to me it was about 99% arm-twisting and 1% chaos.
Pelosi and her top lieutenants would spend the next four hours whipping, cajoling, begging and browbeating undecided Democrats — and triple-checking their whip lists to decide who was a solid “yes” and who was prevaricating on the cap-and-trade legislation.
Yet no matter how many calls they made — or how many times they checked and rechecked their list — Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) kept coming up between 12 and 20 votes short of the 216 votes needed to win.
After Baca and others had cast their “yeas,” the speaker walked up to Filner and calmly said, “It’s now your time to be on the record, Mr. Filner,” according to a witness.
He voted yes.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
A day after we reported that the Laborers was going on the air in Montana with recess ads targeting Sen. Max Baucus over taxing health care benefits, the union says the Finance Committee Chairman's office contacted them to discuss the issue — and to ask them to stop the ad from running.
While the spot is on the air now, Laborers spokesman Jacob Hay said they'll take it down tomorrow as plans are made for a meeting on the controversial issue between the union and the senator's office.
A similar ad targeting Sen. Kent Conrad is still on the air in North Dakota, and Hay said they were soon going up with a spot in Iowa aimed at Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Finance Committee's ranking Republican.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009 | 7 – 8:30pm
Location: Great Hall, enter on 8th Avenue
Americans have pondered how to reform healthcare since the days of Harry Truman. But little has changed except that healthcare costs have soared, health-insurance companies have grown, and millions of Americans lack health insurance, or pay for coverage that doesn’t protect them from serious illness. In his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform, the physician (and former Democratic National Committee Chairman, presidential candidate, and six-term governor) argues that all Americans need the option to participate in a public health-insurance program, much like Medicare. The book, co-written with Faiz Shakir and Igor Volsky, also explains President Obama’s healthcare plan; how other countries handle healthcare; which special interests are standing in the way of progress, and why; and how healthcare reform will help American businesses prosper. Presented by the Town Hall Center for Civic Life and the Future of Health Lecture Series, with Elliott Bay Book Company.
Tickets are $5 at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800/838-3006, and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating.
Jonathan Martin, with video (00:31):
The Laborers -- like much of organized labor -- are deeply opposed to any tax on health benefits. So they're going up with TV and radio ads on in Montana and North Dakota aimed at Sens. Baucus and Conrad.Howie P.S.: Too bad California is such an expensive market. DiFi could use some heat.
A spokesman for the Laborers wouldn't detail the buy, but said the TV spots will be on broadcast and cable in the two states starting tomorrow and going through next Thursday.
The radio ads will air through July 4th.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|President Obama's Health Care Plan - Howard Dean|
Colbert Nation, video (04:21):
Howard Dean believes the American government can pay for a public health insurance option because it will generate more jobs.
Dana Milbank wasn't the only Beltway Villager all wanked out about President Obama prearranging a question with HuffPo's Nico Pitney yesterday. On Meet the Press, David Gregory pressed David Axelrod about it, suggesting that somehow this sort of thing is anti-democratic.David Waldman on Kos on "The End of the Drudge Era?":
We're perfectly aware that presidents have for some long time gone into these conferences with a prearranged list of reporters upon whom they are going to call. The result has been an immense trivialization of press conferences, because those "elite" reporters have demonstrated over the years their eagerness to indulge trivial, celebrity-media-driven questions at the expense of serious policy matters. In the process, they've become increasingly manipulable.
This trend reached its apotheosis back when Jeff Gannon was lobbing softball questions to President Bush and White House press secretary Scott McClellan. Not only was Gannon a phony journalist, he was being regularly selected to be among the main questioners at the daily briefings.
You can't have helped but notice the role that Twitter has played in the coverage of the events in Iran. And if you're a daily Twitter user, you probably got your first news of Michael Jackson's death that way.
But those events by themselves don't give us any particular reason to believe Drudge's influence is waning. Before you get to that, you have to take account of the explosion in popularity and acceptance Twitter has enjoyed among influential journalists working in the traditional media -- a story even hardened holdouts and Twitter-haters have doubtless heard by now.
That's the key factor, I think, in what I'm guessing is Twitter's eventually overtaking Drudge and robbing him of his influence. If the eyes of the journalists who drive the traditional media are getting their hottest, most rapidly-breaking news via Twitter, it could represent a sea change in how they view the news. And if that happens, it could change the way you'll view it, too.
Obama's lobbying helped to save climate change legislation, and he now needs to weigh in more forcefully on health care. He should toughen Baucus's negotiating strategy, and he'll have to mediate among liberals. He doesn't need stone tablets, just an iron will.Greg Sargent on DiFi--Criticism From Left On Health Care “Doesn’t Move Me One Whit”
Feinstein’s claim that criticism from the left is “not productive” also raises an important question: What does the White House think of the lefty criticism? Do White House advisers agree with Feinstein, and want the liberal groups to muzzle themselves, or are they tacitly happy about it?Barack Obama
There was a brief period of time, probably in 2004, when I thought Dana Milbank was doing a decent job of showing a sane level of skepticism about the Bush administration's pronouncements and behavior.
The truth is, only someone whose bowels are bloated with cocktail weenies would ever waste such a golden chance to probe the mind of a presidential candidate by asking about his pectoral muscles.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has had some successes in recent weeks, particularly in holding the line against the Blue Dogs on a trigger-free public option in health care reform (remember that?).
As it should be.
Right now, Democrats don't have the 60 votes needed to enact health-care reform.--It's clear to many Democrats that they'll need Republican support to enact President Obama's health-care reform. With Senators Kennedy and Byrd sidelined by illness, Al Franken not yet seated, and two more Democrats on record publicly opposing the public option that the president supports, the majority currently has about 55 votes—short of the magic 60 needed to avoid a bill-killing filibuster, according to Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.Howie P.S.: I like that UPS/FedEx--post office analogy. This article in the WaPo refers to "Sniping Among Liberals" that "May Jeopardize Votes Needed to Pass Bill." I didn't know Ben Nelson was a liberal. I also like Clift's questions
At the White House, policymakers envision a public option that would coexist with private insurers in the same way that UPS and FedEx compete with the post office, or the way that 401(k)s supplement Social Security. There would still be a vibrant private marketplace. White House support for a public option is strong. It's the political will that's uncertain.
Do Democrats want to get 80 percent of what they want with 51 votes? Or will they settle for 51 percent of what they want in order to get 80 votes?Barack Obama
Seattle congressman Jim McDermott supports it. Washington senator Patty Murray wants it. So does President Barack Obama. So does the often conservative Seattle Times editorial page. So do 72 percent of Americans, according to a recent poll. So what's going on with Washington's junior senator, Maria Cantwell? Why doesn't she want Congress to include a public option—a new government-run health-care plan that will be available to everyone and will compete with private insurance companies to bring down costs—in its health-care-reform package?
Ciaran Clayton, Cantwell's spokesperson, said Cantwell has been meeting with, and listening to, public-option advocates. But Clayton couldn't explain exactly how Cantwell came to support co-ops, rather than the public option, other than to say: "Everything is on the table, including the public option and co-ops." Which is not what her boss said on KUOW.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Where did you grow up?
I mostly grew up Seattle, but I was born in Chapel Hill. I also lived in NYC for three or four years, and went to high school in Philly.
And as much as I'm on the progressive side of the debate, I really do wish conservatives were a more constructive political. As long as they continue to deny reality, however, they will continue to produce fools like Michelle Bachmann who are truly a cancer on the nation's discourse.
Howie P.S.: Morning Joe is always better without its namesake. Taibbi is interviewed about his piece about Goldman Sachs in the current issue of the Rolling Stone. Somehow, the conversation turned briefly to Michael Jackson.
whitehouse, video (04:37):
The President praises historic energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives. The legislation will help America create green jobs, ensure clean air for our children, move towards energy independence and combat climate change. July 27, 2009.Howie P.S.: Andrew at the NPI Advocate gives a Northwest perspective on the bill. SusanG comments on the re-framing of the legislation as a "jobs bill" on the front page of Kos. First Read predicts a bumpy ride in Senate.
Friday, June 26, 2009
whitehouse: Obama dunks Emmanuel:.
President Obama at the annual White House Congressional picnic invited guests to dunk Robert Gibbs, Rahm Emanuel and Peter Orszag. The President also joined in the fun. June 25, 2009.Barack Obama
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Commonsense Health Care Reform Infomercial|
The mayoral campaign of T-Mobile Vice President Joe Mallahan has caught an early summer breeze, picking up so much momentum that a competing outsider, Sierra Clubber Mike McGinn, is trying to torpedo him.Besides, given the staleness of local government, what's wrong with people promising to throw open the windows of City Hall and the courthouse?Howie P.S.: Could "change" finally be on its way to Seattle government?
It has become the trillion-dollar question: can President Obama find that much in spending cuts and tax increases to keep his campaign promise to overhaul the health care system, without adding to already huge deficits? Mr. Obama and the Democrats running Congress are deeply split over the possibilities.Howie P.S.: "Agreement Reportedly Near on Health Bill" in today's WaPo seems to describe a different reality, although it focuses on the Senate side of things.
Each of these taxes is often criticized as regressive, meaning it would disproportionately affect lower-income people. But proponents counter that the poor have the most to gain from universal health coverage.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I was born in New York City. I can remember riding double-decker buses on top for a nickel, and when the Third Avenue subway through Yorkville was an elevated train.
Frank Sinatra had it right. It's a heck of a town.
Michelle Obama Wants to Be Part of Events That Have Purpose And a Message and That Parallel the President's Agenda. ----For weeks, Michelle Obama had been telling her staff and closest confidantes that she wasn't having the impact she wanted. She is a woman of substance, with a background in law, public policy and management, who found herself relegated to role model in chief. The West Wing of the White House -- the fulcrum of power and policy -- had not fully integrated her into its agenda. She wanted more.Barack Obama
So, earlier this month, she changed her chief of staff, and now she's changing her role.
They're all focused on raising the stakes. "It isn't just about hugging," Sher said. "Whatever she talks about will bring press and interest, but it's important that she's not just talking [but] actually moving forward on those issues."
Maybe now we understand why the RNC was so fired up about last night’s town hall. President Obama, while peppered with tough questions about the issue, got an hour on national TV to make the case that he can be trusted to reform the health-care system. Remember, it's not about winning the debate on whether his way is RIGHT; it's about securing the TRUST of skeptical Americans that he'll take their concerns and go about this with care. And on that score, this is where we probably get why so many of the president's opponents were upset. This format was in the president's wheelhouse. Whether you agree with him or not, it's obvious he has a deep grasp of the issue, and no doubt he only helped his cause. Of course, we don't yet know how many folks watched. But the perception that he got into the details most likely is only a help to him, even if those details become unpopular. By the way, it doesn't appear the president committed any news, though some noted that he continued to leave open the door for supporting a tax on some health-care benefits. Also health care remains in today’s news as liberals and progressives rally for reform on Capitol Hill at 11:30 am ET.Barack Obama
Howie P.S.: Richard Wolffe and David Corn join Tweety to evaluate Michelle Obama's potential impact on the health care battle before veering off onto the Sanford circus and the GOP soap opera.
Howie P.S.: Richard Stengel of TIME magazine describes their "history issue" this week that looks at Obama through the "template" of FDR. You have to endure some Morning Joe vanity and self-promotion and overlook the announcement that TIME is "honoring" Joe at a dinner tonight to celebrate the publication of his new book. That's asking alot, I know.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and four other governors met with President Barack Obama Wednesday to advocate for an overhaul of the nation's health care system.
"He was very receptive," Gregoire said in a conference call with reporters afterwards. "If nothing else, this president is a great listener. He dug in on some of the isssues and wanted to hear more."
Gregoire said if a public plan is OK'd it should also be run on the state level. "If a public plan can be developed ... why not?" Gregoire asked. "The fear is that a public plan is step one to government health care. If a public plan plays by the same rules a private plan, what's the concern, what's the threat?