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Slow Blogging Maybe/Intense Health Care Week Ahead

I had thought to make this a very slow blogging week.  I’m finishing up research on another chapter of my dissertation–and am learning what a true and utter geek I am.   When I discover a good book of scholarship on the Iliad, I find myself reading the whole thing, even the chapters not entirely relevant to my project.  And while a lot of the scholarship is indeed jargon, given how much there is (on that great epic), it’s easy to weed out the crap and focus on the good stuff.

But, given that this is yet another week for the Democrats’ health care endgame, a game which responsible politicians would have ended five months ago, there could be some interesting blogging ahead.

For now, I’ll make this observation:  the Democrats can still win this battle legislatively, but no matter what the outcome, they’ve already lost it politically.

If they pass the bill, they will have done so, not in an open process, but through devious means, crafting the bill in secret, offering payoffs to wavering Senators to get that chamber to pass it and using procedural shenanigans to force it through the House.  They’ll have exposed themselves as putting legislative victory ahead of all other considerations, even and especially the “good government” issues they ran on in 2006 and 2008.

And if they lose, well, David Freddoso says it best:

Consider: If Obama wins, he gets a very unpopular bill whose higher taxes and Medicare cuts materialize immediately, years before its benefits kick in. If he loses in the coming weeks, he doesn’t even get the satisfaction of blaming the Republicans. He’s already past the stage at which a GOP filbuster can stop this thing. Instead, he will have lost in a House vote, with members of his own party striking the death blow against his top legislative priority.

Do people in LA read signs?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:00 pm - March 15, 2010.
Filed under: LA Stories

So, today, I’m running a few errands around LA and had to stop at store in Beverly Hills to get a gift certificate.   I found “rock star” parking, a spot right in front of the establishment.  And I could see a note on the meter in this 15-minute zone (indicated by two signs within close proximity of each other).

While I didn’t think my errand would take more than 15 minutes, I figured the note said, “Failed Meter” (or some such) meaning I wouldn’t even have to pay a dime for parking.  But, no, the note didn’t say that the meter had failed, but that someone had put in several quarters, only to have the meter continually read “15 minutes.”  I just shook my head in amusement, wondering if the person who penned the note had bothered to look around.

Had the person read the sign, she might have saved herself a few quarters.  🙂

“Blue Dogs Overboard” or “Walking the Plank”

Even for Mickey Kaus, I won’t change my Republican registration

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - March 15, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics

Only once is my life have I voted in a Democratic primary.  I did that back in 1994, largely because I realized that if the Democrat I backed had won his primary, I would have voted for him in the general.  That year, while leaving in Charlottesville, Virginia, I (quite literally) pulled the level for Virgil Goode (then a Democrat) challenging Chuck Robb for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.  I balked at supporting the GOP nominee Oliver North (against whom I had voted at the state GOP convention).

When I learned that blogger Mickey Kaus was tossing his hat into the ring against California’s ineffective and hyperpartisan junior Senator, Ma’am Barbara Boxer, in their party’s primary, I briefly thought of changing my registration so I could vote for this laconic liberal.  I appreciate his terse and and witty blog posts and have enjoyed chatting with him at various blogger shindigs in LA.

Were Kaus to win the Democratic primary, he would retire a big-spending, mean-spirited embarrassment from the Senate.  And he would make a far better Senator than she.  Even given her absence of accomplishment, she still would be the favorite should she win her party’s nomination–given Democrats’ registration edge in the Golden State.  A vote for Mickey would thus secure the end of her career.

All that said, I won’t be changing my registration.  It would only be honorable to do so if I were certain to vote for Mickey in the fall.  And while I like him, I disagree with him on too many issues to be able to support him against a Ronald Reagan conservative like Carly Fiorina (though if Mickey were up against Tom Campbell, I’d probably vote Democratic given that former California State Finance Director’s record on Israel and his big-spending ways in state government).

That said, the only reason you should vote in the opposing party’s primary is if you’re certain to support that candidate in the general.  And since I’m not certain I’d be voting for Mickey Kaus should he prevail in June, I’ll keep my Republican registration.

But, I’ll still be rooting for him–and won’t rule out supporting him come November if he emerges victorious this June.

J.D. Hayworth Embarrasses Himself with Marriage Comment

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:54 pm - March 15, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Gay Marriage

If J.D. Hayworth weren’t such a pontificating blowhard, I might be more sympathetic of his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Now, I certainly agree with him that it’s not for courts to define marriage and that while intimacy is a major part of a serious marriage, it is not its defining aspect.  So, now, we’ve got him saying that if state courts deciding marriage, it could lead to people marrying their horses:

Hayworth, during an interview with an Orlando, Fla., radio station explained: “You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage — now get this — it defined marriage as simply, ‘the establishment of intimacy.'”

“Now how dangerous is that?” asked Hayworth, who is challenging Sen. John McCain from the right in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary.

“I mean, I don’t mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point,” he continued. “I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse.”

Yeah, I know what he’s getting at.  Trying to show the slippery slop onto which such court decisions put us.  So, why not simply remove marriage from the jurisdiction of courts and make it instead (as it should be) the province of legislatures?  Instead, he wants the constitution to define marriage via a federal marriage amendment.

This pompous man’s pontificating shows he’s more interesting in getting attention than making a serious argument on a serious issue.  If he were serious about the slippery slope, he would favor a less draconian solution than the federal marriage amendment he backs.

Hey, Ma’am, Where Are California’s Jobs Going?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:12 pm - March 15, 2010.
Filed under: California politics

Press Release, office of Barbara Boxer, February 13, 2009:

Senator Boxer said, “In the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Congress has acted today to save or create jobs in California and across the nation.  With so many Californians anxious about the economy, this legislation offers help and hope.  This bill will put Californians to work now building the highways, bridges, transit and rail systems, and renewable energy sources of the 21st century.”

The White House predicts that the legislation will save or create approximately 400,000 jobs in California.

Los Angeles Times, 1 year, 26 days later:

For many California areas, unemployment rates moved persistently higher in January, indicating that the national economic recovery hasn’t yet translated into jobs for the Golden State.

New county-by-county figures released by the state Wednesday showed that in eight counties, more than 1 in 5 people were out of work. Moreover, revised numbers for last year show that fewer people were employed than was previously believed.

The state was one of five, along with Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, that reached their highest unemployment rates since the government began keeping track in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. California’s was 12.5% in January, up from 12.3% in December.

Seems like the state lost more jobs that Mrs. Boxer predicted would be created or saved.  Blogger Michael Roston, noting that the Sooner State is suffering nearly as badly as is the once-Golden State, wonders if we can expect to see the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ in reverse with people moving from California to Oklahoma.

(H/t for Roston piece which linked LA Times piece: Instapundit.)

The Democratic Health Care Obsession

Sometimes I think President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats are so hell-bent on passing health care is that they just want to prevent the GOP and Republicans from being able to gloat.

They’re so focused on being able to pass this “historic” bill.  But, just because the left has wanted a major health care overhaul for sixty some odd years doesn’t mean the American people want it.  And it’s too bad the Democrats confuse their own wishes–and their party’s long dreams with popular will.

I know there’s more to it than this, but when you look at how they’ve gamed the numbers, how they’ve bought off wavering Senators, how they’re using procedural gimmicks to pass this, it just seems that the goal of passing this has superseded all else.

Like the junkie selling all his possessions for a fix.

The Democrats’ “Convoluted Legislative Charade”

Ever since I read that House Democrats had released what it supposed to be the legislation for their final vote on health care, I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly they’re trying to do.  I mean, since they’re apparently going to be deeming the bill the Senate passed last December passed, shouldn’t that be the bill they’re releasing.

Well, not quite.  According to the Hill:

The House Budget Committee on Sunday evening released text that will serve as the base legislation for the changes the House will seek to the Senate bill this week.

Specifically, the Budget committee released a 2,309-page effort that had been previously recommended to the Education and Labor Committee and Ways and Means Committee last year.

But, get this:

The measure posted online does not include the substantive changes to the Senate healthcare bill that House Democrats will seek. Those changes will be offered during the markups in the Budget and Rules committees, which the budget panel hopes to begin on Monday afternoon.

So, in other words, they’ve released a final bill that isn’t really a final bill.   With the help of Philip Klein, Michelle tries to unpack just what the Democrats are doing:

Philip Klein reminds us that GOP Rep. Paul Ryan warned last week of the Dems’ strategy ramming this “shell” HC Bill through committee tomorrow. The budget committee approves the shell, sends it to the rules committee, then strips out the language and stuffs the actual reconciliation changes into the burrito, Klein explains. Klein lays it all out here.

Doesn’t sound very transparent to me.  Wonder if, as per Obama’s campaign promise, the Democrats allowed C-SPAN cameras to film the negotiations as they drew up this legislation and these procedural shenanigan.  As U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) put it in today’s Washington Post:

This convoluted legislative charade demonstrates how far the Democratic majority has wandered from real health-care reform and cost control, employing any means to achieve political victory.

It’s all about achieving political victory, no matter what damage to our Constitution, our nation’s health care system or even the Democratic Party.

Even Democrats who support a major health care overhaul will shy away from such shenanigans and they won’t play well in Peoria–or any place outside the type of deep blue enclaves that elect folk like Nancy Pelosi and Chris Van Hollen to Congress.