The Empty Barn Jacket Is Back

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who briefly replaced Teddy Kennedy (because it was too damn cold for Martha Coakley to shake hands outside Fenway Park or something) and then lost his bid for a full term to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, has set up a political action committee in New Hampshire, The People’s Seat PAC.

It looks as if Brown is preparing to run against Dem NH Senator Jean Shaheen in 2014.  Brown has long owned a vacation house in Rye, NH.

The GOP’s Phony Outrage on Subsidies

If Obamacare were going to be as apocalyptic as the GOP claims (The whole country will be working part-time!), they’d just sit back and wait for that disaster and savor their sweep of both Houses of Congress in 2014 and the White House in 2016.

But, really, they are afraid that people are going to like Obamacare, especially with the subsidies for lower and middle-income families.  They are outraged about these “government subsidies.”

But what do they think the government is already doing with health care?  Health care subsidies are the biggest tax expenditure in the tax code, costing the government hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

If you get health insurance from your employer, you don’t pay taxes on the value of that benefit, it’s not counted as part of your income.  Your employer, in turn, gets to deduct all those health insurance premiums as a business expense.

So our current employer-based health system is already heavily subsidized by the federal government.  And by the way, one of the reasons wages have stagnated is the growing cost of health insurance.  Your employer is paying you more, he’s just doing it by paying those increased premiums for you.

So for the GOP to decry that the government is suddenly subsidizing health insurance is specious.  It’s been going on for decades. Big time.

The GOP claims they want consumer-based health care.  Well, this is it.  Every time someone buys insurance on the new exchanges from a private insurance company, that’s consumer-based health care.

 

McConnell Joins “No” Column

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), terrified of his junior senator Rand Paul and the Tea Party challenge to his re-election in 2014, just came out against Obama’s Syria resolution.  He’s making Speaker of the House John Boehner look even more like a Maytag repairman — very lonely.

And Ed “Profile in Courage” Markey (D-Massachusetts) has switched his vote from Present to No.

Kristol’s Still in Love

The Weekly Standard’s smarmy Bill Kristol, who shoulders much of the shame and blame for vaulting Sarah Palin onto the national stage after he met her during his magazine’s Alaskan cruise and fell head over heels, is encouraging Palin to run for Senate.

Really, this guy is one baby step above Anthony Weiner in letting his weiner make decisions for him.

I can’t imagine she will.  Neither the McCain campaign nor the press properly vetted her during the ’08 campaign, but this time around, closets would open and skeletons would come crashing down.

The Sins of Lamar Alexander

Tennessee Tea Party/conservative groups sent a Tony Soprano-style letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander telling him to retire or be primaried for the unpardonable sins of — gasp — compromise and bipartisanship.

The letter states:  “Unfortunately our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.”  Sounds like something Lenin or Stalin would have said before having some poor bastard shot.

Alexander is a very conservative Republican, he’s no RINO, he’s no Rockefeller Republican.  Anyone to his right would have to be way past Conservative Street and far along Crazy Avenue.

 

Don’t Tell Us How You Really Feel

Jesse Benton, Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign manager who said in a private phone call that he was “holding his nose” to work for the Senate minority leader, is trying to polish the giant turd he deposited on McConnell’s doorstep.

He now tells a Louisville TV station, “It was just so dumb, I don’t feel that way at all.”

The first half of his statement is true.

Bad as Benton looks, McConnell looks worse for not having the balls to fire him.

For Hannity, Just Another Way to Bash Obama

Sean Hannity has been bashing President Obama for saying that he identifies with Trayvon Martin.  But, as Jordan Chariton points out at Salon*, it’s Hannity who wants us to think of Obama when we think of Trayvon (and not in a good way):

“One development that might not have been so predictable, though, was the emergence of Fox personality Sean Hannity as not just a Zimmerman supporter, but an obsessive one who would adopt the cause as his own. I worked in cable news for years, including at Fox News. Sean Hannity’s coverage in the past year has been more than shocking, and has gone beyond his typical conservative bluster. It’s been dangerous.

“So, what’s the real reason behind Hannity’s impassioned defense of Zimmerman? I’d suggest he would have never covered the story as hard if not for one man, for one cause: taking down Barack Obama. Hannity’s short-term mission is to rile up the base against Obama for the 2014 midterms, and with the last few months’ scandal-palooza dying down, using a tragedy as his new tool in the arsenal to paint Obama as the most divisive president in history is just what the showman ordered.”  Emphasis added.

* “Hannity’s Zimmerman Obsession:  What’s really behind it?”

A Sense of Entitlement

I’ve been struck by Liz Cheney’s sense of entitlement to start her political career by running for the Senate without getting elected to any lower office first.

By contrast, Mike Enzi, the incumbent senator she is trying to oust, was a Wyoming mayor and a member of both the Wyoming House and the Wyoming Senate before moving up to the U. S. Senate.

Wyoming’s other senator, John Barrasso, was appointed to the Senate when Senator Craig Thomas died in 2007.  He then won a special election in 2008 and a full term in 2012.  But before his appointment to the U. S. Senate, he had served in the Wyoming Senate.

Her unwillingness to serve even briefly at the state level seems awfully presumptuous to me.