Murkowski Gets It, But Too Late

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, now says she is sorry that she voted for the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, which would have allowed an employer to deny health insurance coverage, such as for contraception, for any religious or moral reason.

The only Republican to vote against the amendment was Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring.

I had hoped to see Murkowski and Susan Collins of Maine join Snowe.

Will Sandra Fluke Be Toto?

When I was a senior adviser to a GOP presidential candidate in 2008, I witnessed first hand how all the candidates lived in fear of offending Rush Limbaugh.  If one of them did, he then had to beg to go on Rush’s show so he could kiss both his ring and his big tush.

I believed then that one day some Toto would come along and pull back the curtain on this pernicious demagogue.

I am hoping that Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student whom Rush outrageously insulted by calling her a slut and telling her to post sex videos online so that he can watch them, will be that Toto, and that Rush’s time as the GOP’s biggest bully is running out.

GOP politicians, do yourselves and your party and this country a favor —  when Rush demands your lunch money, just say no.

Santorum Calls Mitt a Liar on Mandate

Yesterday, I pointed out an op ed in USA Today that Mitt wrote in July 2009, urging President Obama to adopt his Massachusetts mandate to buy health insurance on a national level.  Mitt has been campaigning with the claim that he never wanted that mandate to be adopted on a federal level.

Now Rick Savonarola Santorum, campaigning in Ohio, is citing the op ed to call Mitt a liar:

“Gov. Romney has been saying throughout the course of this campaign, ‘Oh, I never recommended that they adopt my program in Massachusetts for an individual federal mandate.  Oh, I never did that.’  Oh, yes he did. … You know, it’s bad enough that he recommended it.  It’s worse that he wouldn’t come clean with he people in this primary that he did it.”

Mitt Pushed Obama to Federalize the Massachusetts Individual Mandate in 2009

Citizen opposition researcher, and recent BuzzFeed hire, Andrew Kaczynski has been a thorn in Mitt’s side this cycle with his relentless use of the way-back machine to contradict pretty much everything Mitt says.

And now he’s come up with a very choice nugget — a July 30, 2009 USA Today op ed, in which Mittens urged President Obama to adopt the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance.  Mitt argued that the mandate should be part of a federal health plan, not just a one-shot deal for Massachusetts as he’s trying to say now.

Mitt’s current position was never very cogent or convincing (the mandate works great in Massachusetts, but heaven forbid anyone else should have it), but he’s lost even that fig leaf now.

Obama’s going to wipe the floor with him over the mandate.


Obama Changes Birth Control Rule

In an effort to placate the Catholic Church (good luck with that), President Obama said today that institutions like Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities won’t have to provide birth control directly to their employees.  Where an institution objects, the burden will be on the insurance company to reach out to women to offer the coverage without co-pays.

So the contraception coverage transaction will be between women and the health insurance provider, with the Church cut out of the deal.  This is similar to how the issue is handled in Hawaii, the state that the right confuses with Kenya.

Two thoughts on this:

First, it just highlights the absurdity of having “employer-based” health care in the first place.  This system is an anachronism, left over from the days of World War II, when employers trying to attract scarce workers offered them free health care to get around wage and price controls.

We’ve been stuck with this system ever since, which means that when people lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance too.  We should choose and own our health insurance, as we do our car and home insurance.  And we should be able to choose that insurance across state lines to allow more competition on price and coverage.

Second, we’ve seen how well it works when President Obama tries to appease congressional Republicans.  It will be the same with the Catholic Church.  They won’t take a fair solution and be satisfied, they’ll just demand more.

Who Said This?

Who said this about the individual mandate for health insurance?

“But my point to conservatives is, it’s a model of responsibility.  If I see somebody who’s earning over $50,000 a year, who has made the calculated decision not to buy health insurance, I’m looking at somebody who is absolutely as irresponsible as anybody who was ever on welfare.

“And so I’m actually in favor of finding a way to say, if you’re above whatever — whatever the appropriate income level is, you ought to have either health insurance, or you ought to post a bond.  But we have no right, we have no right in this society, to have a free-rider approach if you’re well off economically, to say we’ll cheat our neighbors.”


It sounds like Mitt Romney, but this quote is actually from Newt Gingrich.  Besides loving money and the ladies, Newtie loves him some individual mandates for health insurance.

The Barbarians Aren’t at the Gates, They’re Sitting in the Audience

At the last two Republican debates, there has been an important participant in addition to the candidates, and that is the audience.  They are not helping their cause of defeating President Obama by making the GOP appear to be the party of barbarians.

At the Reagan Library debate, there was a loud ovation for the number of executions Rick Perry has carried out.  At the Florida Tea Party debate, there were calls of “Let him die,” about the hypothetical 30-year-old who doesn’t have health insurance, but ends up in the hospital.

The GOP/Tea Party claim they offer much-needed common sense.  They clearly lack much-needed common decency.