Let’s Not Forget

As things look up for Obamacare and those getting covered, let’s not forget the almost 8 million who could get insurance if all the states expanded Medicaid.  The failure to expand is expected to cause between 7 and 17,000 thousand unnecessary deaths, not to mention who-knows- how-many unnecessary instances of people ending up with an amputation, going blind, etc.

Care delayed is care denied.

Christie the Clueless

“The entire thing, from hiring politically connected Christie-allied lawyers to paying for the pricey investigation with public funds to crowing about the transparent snow job like it will actually convince anyone, looks like a stupid unforced error by Christie.  Even the ‘objective’ press is highlighting the attorneys’ links to Christie and the fact that New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for $1 million spent solely to help their governor recover from a scandal. Starting with the New York Times’ initial story on the review, nearly every news organization has (appropriately) treated the report as an unconvincing attempt to venerate Christie and pin everything on a few obvious scapegoats who, conveniently, didn’t cooperate with the investigation.  No one is buying it, and in thinking he could get the political press to play along, Christie just insulted a class of people who were formerly among his most valuable allies.

“Perhaps the single dumbest aspect of the report and its unveiling is how it invites a backlash from the people the report blames for the scandal, especially the already pissed-off David Wildstein and former top Christie aide Bridget Kelly, who is subject to shockingly sexist treatment in the review.  Painting your once fiercely loyal aide as an unhinged emotional wreck is probably a good way to get her to start opening up to the press and the less friendly investigators at the U. S. attorney’s office.  Kelly’s lawyer has already all-but-declared that Kelly will cooperate with the U. S. attorney in exchange for immunity.  Chris Christie’s stunt probably helped her make that decision.

“If this is the best Christie can do, he doesn’t deserve to get anywhere near the presidency. And the sorts of Republican elders who were once his biggest fans probably feel the same way. Christie would’ve been better off shutting up and waiting it out instead of trying to exonerate himself on an accelerated schedule. Once he decided to hire some lawyers to issue a report, he should’ve made sure that the lawyers put forth a better show of independence and objectivity. Better stage management — a report that took longer to prepare and that assigned some sort of responsibility to Christie, for appearance’s sake — could’ve salvaged Christie’s future. Instead, he just showed the country how lousy a politician he actually is.”

Alex Pareene,  “Chris Christie flunks Scandal Response 101:  Why he’s handling it disastrously,”Salon

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

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that HealthCare.Gov is overwhelmed with folks trying to sign up today, the last official day to get Obamacare.

The bad news is that the site was down far longer than usual for routine maintenance last night and this morning, so people couldn’t get on, and now the part of the site for creating new accounts isn’t functioning due to the high demand.

But anyone who tries today and can’t complete his enrollment can legitimately check the box that he tried and failed (under penalty of perjury) and come back after the deadline to finish.

 

Christie Steps in It

So Chris Christie went to Las Vegas to speak to the Republican Jewish Coalition and suck up to Sheldon Adelson, the biggest GOP donor in 2012.

It didn’t go well.  We’re talking Amateur Hour at the Bijou.  Adelson’s biggest cause is Israel, and Christie committed a shocking faux pas by referencing Israel’s “occupied territories” in his speech.  There was an audible gasp, people.  The politically correct term for the RJC and Adelson (and Christian Evangelicals who love them some Israel so Jesus will come back and send all the Jews to Hell and them to Heaven) is “disputed territories.”  Even Sarah Palin knows that, it’s probably written on one of her hands.  Christie could have just said the West Bank, and not gotten himself into trouble.

But to get Adelson to open his checkbook, Christie should have said the magic words “Judea and Samaria.”

Quote of the Day

[Bridget Anne Kelly] is a single mother of four children who was deeply devoted and committed to her job at the Office of the Governor.  She worked tirelessly to pursue the goals of the Office during her tenure.”

Statement from Kelly’s lawyer in response to the Mastro report alleging that Kelly is an emotionally basket case and  cougar slut and Chris Christie is a saint who should be our next president.

Not only did she “pursue the goals,” when she gets immunity from prosecution, she will share those “goals” with us in all of their Jersey toughness and tawdriness.  And “the goals of the Office” will keep Christie from his goal of higher office.

That arrogant ass Mastro is going to have to eat his report.

 

Quick note — Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has a post up today comparing this to Anita Hill and “nutty and slutty.”  But you read it first here yesterday!  Um, maybe he did too.

 

Nutty and Slutty

In seeking to exonerate Chris Christie of Bridgegate, Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn goes back to the playbook used to discredit Anita Hill when she testified against Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991.  Hill was disparaged and dismissed as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty.”

In his Bridgegate report, Mastro dismisses Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who claims she was threatened with denial of Sandy relief funds unless she approved a development project Christie wanted, as nutty.  Mastro provides photos of Zimmer yawning and smiling and argues — really — that people who feel threatened don’t yawn or smile.

As for slutty, Mastro offers us Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, who had an affair with Christie’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, that ended just before Kelly ordered the lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge.  While Mastro doesn’t establish a  motive for closing the lanes, he thinks it has something to do with Bridget getting dumped by Bill:

“Like the others in the lane realignments, events in Kelly’s personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind. … Her first known communication to [David] Wildstein about the lane realignment in mid-August 2013, for example, occurred around the time that her personal relationship with Stepien had cooled, apparently at Stepien’s behest and Stepien and Kelly had largely stopped speaking.”   So Kelly may not have a face that launched a thousand ships, but she has a temperament that stopped a thousand cars.

Mastro blames the whole thing on Kelly and Wildstein:  “Mayor Sokolich also appears to have been targeted for some reason yet to be determined.  Whether Kelly had her own ulterior motive for doing so or was simply supporting her friend, Wildstein, is also yet to be determined.”

Fortunately, we have real investigations being conducted by the New Jersey legislature and federal prosecutors to figure out all this “yet to be determined” stuff, which will have a major impact on the “yet to be determined” 2016 GOP presidential nominee, who, I promise you, won’t be Chris Christie.

It’s easy for me, sitting in California, to laugh at this piece-of-crap report because, unlike the poor taxpayers of New Jersey, I didn’t help pay $1 million for it.  Although as a federal taxpayer, I did help Christie use Sandy funds to pay for ads he starred in to help his re-election.  Christie clearly loves to promote himself using other people’s money.

Christie may have lost 100 pounds since his obesity surgery, but he’s still full of shit.  Christie claimed at the outset of the scandal that he didn’t know about the lane closures before or during their occurrence.  But Mastro’s report notes that David Wildstein claims he told Christie at a 9/11 event while the lanes were still closed.  Mastro swats away this claim as no biggie, saying Christie doesn’t remember such a conversation, and he was very busy with people wanting their pictures taken with him.

I expect as the real investigations proceed, we’ll hear a lot more about Christie’s relationship with Wildstein and a lot less about Kelly’s relationship with Stepien.

Mastro pathetically tries to lift Christie up by kicking Kelly when she’s down.  But smearing Bridget Anne Kelly won’t make Bridgegate go away, and it sure as hell won’t make the GOP’s problems with women voters go away.