It’s been quite a week! I have to say, as much as it still bothers me that Tea Party Express candidate Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special election to fill the remainder of Senator Ted Kennedy’s term, maybe something good will come out of it. Maybe it was the dose of reality that President Obama needed to see instead of relying on Rahm Emanual’s continuous poor advice. Massachusetts wasn’t lost because residents were against a national health care policy like conservative media is playing it. It was lost because the public option was removed, but the mandate remained. Massachusetts already has RomneyCare so it would’ve been a double-dip. When the public option was still in, so were 70% of Mass residents. On January 19th, 52% of our voters were fed up with the deal making encouraged by Emanual and they supported the guy with the truck…and five homes. Since the election, much has been written as to “what happened?” As bad of a campaign as Martha Coakley ran, the disgust with the numerous sellouts is what really happened.
One more thing about the Brown election. The loss of the super majority never bothered me because Democrats never really had it. Yeah, it looked good on paper and even on paper you were counting Joe Liebermann. He can’t be counted on for anything except serving his own ego. The reality is, those 60 votes included a bunch of conservative senators who really had no interest in voting with the majority of the Democrats on much of anything. Their little myth of 60 reliable votes led the Democrats to draft policies in a way that they thought maybe could get all of those 60 votes. Just look at the health care reform debacle. Maybe now, with that nonsense out of the way, they can actually craft bills that make sense. If senators want to filibuster, let them. Make them stand on the floor and explain why they’re against any number of policies that might come forward including a strong health insurance reform bill. Let them explain their positioning with the health insurance industry instead of tax paying Americans...who vote. The good Democrats need to stop worrying about the "threat" of the filibuster. Call their bluff and let them do it, damn it!
Now, the good part! This week, for the first time since he took office, I'm seeing the fire in Obama that most of us had hoped for initially. On Wednesday night, he took charge of the room during the State of the Union address. Granted, he said a few cringe worthy things, but I guess he felt he needed toss some bones to the conservatives. Just to jog your memory, he mentioned off-shore drilling, capital gains cuts, business tax cuts, the spending freeze, so-called “clean coal --- all Republican talking points that will do very little besides antagonize progressives. He dinged the Senate on several occasions for holding up progress. However, when he called out the senate Republicans for being obstructionists by demanding a filibuster-proof majority for every single bill, I just hoped America was listening. By the way, before someone suggests that it’s always been like this, no it hasn’t. According to the Senate historical office, the number of Senate cloture votes, which require a supermajority of 60, more than doubled — from 54 to 112 — from the 109th Congress (2005-2006) to the 110th (2007-2008). I also enjoyed him looking at the Democrats and telling them they still have a huge majority and “not run for the hills.” Of course many of the Republicans just sat there chuckling throughout because saying no and distorting facts has been working for them. I think it was very telling that the only time Republicans rose to their feet in applause was when pro-business related ideas were mentioned. Anything domestic was scoffed at. Many of the domestic ideas Obama laid out are things that working Americans want to see. On the top of my list was the fees he wants to impose on the big banks that got bailout money, but decided to give mega bonuses to their executives instead of paying taxpayers back. That's a very populist idea. The look on Republican faces said it all. Then there was his shot at the Supreme Court's disasterous decision that I wrote about last week. "With all due deference to the separation of powers, the court last week reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections." The statement prompted Justice Samuel Alito to mutter, "simply not true." Right on Barack! How sad and broken are our politics when the President of the United States has to scold everyone in the room.
Then on Friday, Obama headed to the Republicans turf. He appeared at their retreat in Baltimore to take questions and give answers. He kicked ass! He did so well, Fox News discontinued coverage part way through as he destroyed talking points and their lies. By the way, since he's often mocked for his use of a teleprompter, I want to point out that there was none. The man showed them all who the smart guy in the room was. Republican aides later admitted that they shouldn't have agreed to let the cameras roll throughout. One of the senators I dislike most based on various interviews I've seen with him is Mike Pence of Indiana. He asked the first question, actually several all rolled into a statement which Obama handled masterfully. Pence said Obama was trying to defend "a so-called stimulus that was a piecemeal list of projects and boutique tax cuts." In part, Obama replied, "When you say they were boutique tax cuts, Mike, 95 percent of working Americans got tax cuts. This notion that this was a radical package is just not true." I did see a replay of the event last night and while not all the Republicans looked like complete fools, none of them had command of the very subject they asked about the way Obama did. Here's a good one: When it was over, orange House Republican leader tan-in-a-can John Boehner of Ohio issued a statement saying Obama "acknowledged the fact that House Republicans have offered better solutions over the last year." Oh my God, can these guys get any more delusional?
If you missed the Q & A, find 66 minutes of your time. It is well worth it:
Quick Thoughts: North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx (R) said "Obama lectured us, but I got his autograph." Wowee! She got the autograph of a man she thinks is a Kenyan. In addition, for anyone who doesn't know what else this witch stands against, here you go: Last year she vehemently argued against the The Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. She claimed those who say Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming for being gay are perpetrating a "hoax" on the American people. She claimed he was accidentally killed in a robbery gone wrong. She ended up apologizing to Shepard's mother who was at the hearings. Typical homophobic imbecile in denial who can't or won't read. The New York Times reported in 1998: "According to the local police and prosecutors, the two men lured Mr. Shepard out of a bar by saying they were gay. Then, the Laramie police say, the pair kidnapped Mr. Shepard, pistol-whipped him with a .357 Magnum, and left him tied to a ranch fence for 18 hours until a passing bicyclist spotted Mr. Shepard, who was unconscious." He later died from the injuries.
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009
Way to go North Carolina. Is this really the best you can do?