Quote of the Day

“Certainly, many of the Snowden-fueled disclosures following the original NSA revelation have been gratuitous and harmful; those, and his sheltering in Russia rather than arguing his case in a U.S. court, raise doubts about his motives. But the original NSA leaks were justified because U.S. intelligence officials had misled the public and members of Congress about the program. There’s no value of ‘oversight’ if the overseers are being fed lies.”

Dana Milbank, WaPo

We Like It, We Really Like It

“Consider these numbers from a Kaiser Foundation poll from last week. Percent who like the ACA’s extension of dependent coverage: 76. Percent supportive of the act’s closing of the Medicare drug “donut hole”: 73. Percent favoring “guaranteed issue” of coverage to people who are already sick: 69. Percent who back the Medicaid expansion: 62.

“Oh, wait. Those are the Republican percentages. The overall percentages, respectively, are 80, 79, 70, and 74.

“It’s the same old disconnect. Just as majorities of even rank-and-file Republicans support things like restricting the gun-show loophole (indeed a majority of NRA members support that), majorities of Republicans back these and other basic common-sense provisions of the ACA. And yet these same Republicans keep reelecting to Congress a horde of dishonest and ideologically driven harlots who’ve voted 50-whatever times to do away with all these positive changes.

“Here are two other numbers from the Kaiser poll. They gave people four options: keep the law as is, keep it and change it where needed, get of it and replace with a GOP alternative, and simply get rid of it and replace it with nothing. The first two and the second two can be reasonably grouped together as “basically support the law” and “basically oppose the law.” The numbers are 59 to 29. Not against—in support of the law.”  Italics in original.

Michael Tomasky, Obamacare Crosses the Finish Line,” The Daily Beast

It’s the Turnout, Stupid

Over at Commentary, Peter Wehner joins the chorus blaming President Obama for Alex Sink’s loss to David Jolly in the special House election in Florida this past Tuesday.  He calls the Prez a “one-man political wrecking ball” for the Dems.

But Sink didn’t lose because of Obama or Obamacare, she lost because of low turnout.  Low turnout always favors the GOP, and turnout doesn’t get much lower than a special election for the House, when all the old white people make damn sure they get to the polls.  Obama won the district in 2008 and 2012 because turnout is highest in presidential election years.  Turnout nationwide will be lower in 2014 than in 2012, as it always is in an “off” year, but it will be higher than for this special election.

If Dems would focus on getting people registered and to the polls this November, rather than wringing their hands over Obamacare, they would do well.

The GOP is certainly focused on keeping turnout as low as possible, doing all they can to discourage minorities and young people — Voter ID, extremely limited early voting, no “souls to the polls” on Sundays, and long lines in urban areas because of few polling places and machines. The Tea Party doesn’t have to win any primaries this cycle because they’ve already scared incumbents to death and moved them right.

But the fervent bullies are not where the country is overall.  The discrepancy between opinion polls and actual policy (gun background checks, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, etc.) is staggering.  The left and center still have the votes, certainly to keep the Senate.  We just have to cast them.


GOP Shouldn’t Be So Jolly

So Republican David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink in a special election for a House seat in Florida yesterday.

And now his 3,456-vote margin is being touted as the death knell for Dems in 2014.

Jolly won in a heavily white, older district, where there are more registered Republicans than Democrats.  In fact, the seat has been held by a Republican for more than 40 years.

But the main point is that this is the House, not the Senate.  No one expects the Dems to take the House in 2014.  The question is whether they can hang onto the Senate, and Senate races are completely different animals from House races.

Yesterday’s decision shows the GOP’s strength in controlling the House.  Tell us something we didn’t know.

GOP Strategy: Avoid and Refrain

“And so, the GOP strategy …  is to show that the party is ‘ready to govern’ simply by avoiding destructive and chaotic governing crises while refraining from trying to pass ‘major bills,’ because GOP policies are unpopular and Republicans can’t unite behind solutions in any case.”

Greg Sargent, the Plum Line at WaPo

So the GOP has nothing — except those millions and millions in ads from the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity that are already slamming incumbent Dems.

Employer Mandate Really About Politics, Not Health Care

From Sarah Kliff at WaPo’s Wonkblog:

“So what would happen if the Obama administration ditched the employer mandate altogether? Not a lot, most health economists say. Slightly more people might get coverage through the exchanges — and slightly fewer through their workplaces. The federal government would lose billions in revenue, from fees levied on companies that don’t provide coverage. But overall, the number of people with health coverage would remain nearly the same, with or without the employer mandate.

“‘At this point, getting rid of the employer mandate is more substantive politically than it is economically,’ adds Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Obama administration on the health-care law.

“‘The employer mandate has extraordinarily little impact on coverage,’ says Linda Blumberg, an economist at the Urban Institute. ‘It doesn’t effect [sic] behavior much at all.’”

Debt Ceiling Done

The Senate passed the debt ceiling bill, 55-43.

The procedural vote to move the bill forward took an hour as they were having trouble getting to 60.  Eventually, 12 Republicans joined with all 55 Dems, so that there were 67 votes to end the filibuster.  Despite the primary challenges they face, both Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Cornyn of Texas were among the 12..