July 19, 2017

Life is not ThreeSources

I misuse the blog franchise/meme just a bit. A more specific headline would be "WSJ Ed Page not heeding Brother jg's call for calm:"

Senate Republicans killed their own health-care bill on Monday evening, and some are quietly expressing relief: The nightmare of a hard decision is finally over, and now on to supposedly more crowd-pleasing items like tax reform. But this self-inflicted fiasco is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years.

The proximate cause of death was Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas linking arms and becoming the third and fourth public opponents. The previous two public holdouts were Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could lose only two GOP Senators. But this defeat had many authors, some of whom are pictured nearby and all of whom hope to evade accountability for preserving the ObamaCare status quo.

But this wasn't the inevitable result of some tide of progressive history. These were choices made by individuals to put their narrow political and ideological preferences ahead of practical legislative progress. The GOP's liabilities now include a broken promise to voters; wasting seven months of a new Administration in order to not solve manifest health-care problems; less of a claim to be a governing party; and the harm that these abdications will wreak on the rest of the Republican agenda and maybe their hold on Congress.


And, again, what an odd coalition: Sens. Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran... do these people have anything in common?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Investors' Ed page, however, does find common ground:

As economist Herbert Stein once put it, if something can't go on forever, it won't.

That's the reality facing ObamaCare. And it's one Democrats have so far been able to avoid by focusing the public's ire on the fumbling GOP efforts to come up with a replacement plan.

But with repeal-and-replace now off the table, all we have left is the self-destructing ObamaCare. Don't be surprised if ObamaCare's popularity suddenly nose-dives again.

Calling Collins, Portman, Paul and Lee a "coalition" is like saying "right" and "wrong" are conspiring to defeat the evil "middle." Each does it for her own reason, but the reasons are as different as night and day. Fortunately for us, though, they've saved us from that evil "middle" that looks far more like "wrong" than "right."

Boulder Refugee and I happened to talk about this last weekend. He thought Rand Paul was singlehandedly bringing down the compromise bill, and was a bit chapped. At the time I defended Senator Paul, saying it could be a Trumpian plot to make the measure look "too liberal" and keep the RINOs on board for a vote, and Paul might switch his vote at the last minute. Alas it seems the measure really was too liberal - and by liberal I mean massive wealth redistribution and massive market distortion. You'll note that I'm still defending Senator Paul.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2017 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm with The Refugee on this one. I b'lieve we share a pragmatic streak.

I went looking for the "Like" and "HaHa" buttons after reading your penultimate paragraph. It's witty, but I suggest the darker definition of coalition implied by "Bootleggers and Baptists." Sens. Paul and Lee may be consorting with angels but they are delivering a lifetime extension of the ACA.

It's failures? Why those are because the eeeevil Republicans have "starved" it and wished it to fail (because its eponymous namesake is brown according to one Facebook friend just this morning).

Libertarians gave us ObamaCare when they ran a principled candidate against mushy middle Sen. Max Baucus (Mushy Middle - MT) in 2006, sending Jon Tester to supply vote #60. Now they perpetuate it because they cannot bear to appease the Rob Portmans.

I still suspect Sen. Cory Gardner is dancing today. I am not -- and it's not just the MS.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2017 2:53 PM

July 18, 2017

Bloody RINOs!!!!

And yet...

I was partially wrong to blame "libertarian" GOP senators for the demise of Obamacare Repeal and Replace. The breaking straw as it were was a RINO from Kansas.

"I am a product of rural Kansas," [Sen. Jerry] Moran said July 6 to an overflow crowd in Palco, a small town north of Hays. "I understand the value of a hospital in your community, of a physician in your town, of a pharmacy on Main Street."

Without the ACA, how would Kansans possibly have such luxuries?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

Bloody Libertarians!!!!

My favorite Senators are all in a cabal to ensure eternal government control of healthcare. As the great healthcare economist Peter Green would say, "Oh well."

Golly, I love liberty. And principle. And all that shit (uh-oh, it's now "a rant.") But I also live in Colorado and have seen 36,471 AARP commercials about the vicissitudes of "the Republican Health Care Bill." And I watched breathless coverage of the brave and true (albeit paid) disabled protesters in Sen. Cory Gardner's office. Sens. Paul, Lee, and Johnson "cannot vote for" a bill they don't like. Gardner -- and I suspect many heaving sighs today -- is out of work if he votes for a bill Paul likes.

The fact is. freedom is off the menu. The genius, if you wish to call it, of Obamacare was providing the benefits "with stroke of a pen" and deferring the casts and ramifications for future administrations and Congresses. The "right" to keep your layabout 25-year old on your insurance in case he sprains his thumb playing World of Warcraft is embedded in our hearts and statute. All moves toward liberty will be met with pain.

Jim Geraghty puts it better than I:

The problem is that "starting fresh" doesn't change any of the dynamics in place. Republicans (and, by extension, much of the country) want contradictory changes, changes that Moran lists as his requirements. Americans want lower premiums, but they also want insurance companies to keep covering preexisting conditions. They want to see the cost of Medicaid go down, or at least rise slower, but they also don't want to throw anyone off of Medicaid. They want the number of uninsured to go down, and they want the mandate repealed.

And we want property rights, privacy, and liberty. Get on it, Republicans -- time's a wastin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

...and chocolate sprinkles on top.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2017 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now we know how the Roman Empire came to an end.

Seriously though, things that can't go on forever, won't. Nobody can say with certainty how this will turn out but something has to give. And it can get pretty bad before that has to happen. c.f. Venezuela.

Even more seriously, I think we all need to relax. The main reason nothing is happening on this in Washington is because there's no consensus over what to do amongst voters, who need to get it "good and hard" for a while longer.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2017 5:26 PM
But jk thinks:

You're clearly right on the consensus. My concern on the reaction to "Menkenian Democracy" is that the worse things get, the more people look to the State for solutions.

I'm pretty relaxed. But my buddies on the Dem-loving left and RINO-hating right have a frighteningly good point: "You guys have been planning this for seven years, and when you get the opportunity, we get this?"

Just as ObamaCare's flaws were obvious to people not named Pelosi before the bill was passed, all the challenges to Repeal and Replace were apparent since it was. No plan. No ideas. That is a disappointment.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2017 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

To the contrary, mon frer, the problem was too many plans, and too many ideas, such that none could be agreed upon.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2017 2:27 PM

April 19, 2017

Clearly, the problem is with their knit hats

POLITICO: "Democrats begin to wonder: When do we win?"

For all the anger, energy, and money swirling at the grassroots level, Democrats didnít manage to pick off the first two Republican-held congressional seats they contended for in the Trump era, and the prospects arenít markedly better in the next few House races coming up: the Montana race at the end of May, and the South Carolina contest on June 20.

Their best shot at knocking Donald Trump down a peg appears to be Ossoff's runoff against Republican Karen Handel, also scheduled for June 20. But the Democrat will be an underdog in that contest, when there won't be a crowded field of Republicans to splinter the vote.


I'm going to turn my favorite joke on its head. Yes, the GOP has several substantive challenges in the midterms. But "I hear they're going to let us run against the Democrats this year!" Like Jon Caldara, I see the weaknesses of my registered party vividly. But -- holy bovine! -- all they have is incompetent anger. They're elevating the Sanders-Warren wing, and now Rep. Maxine Waters is speaking for the party as a whole.

An amazing opportunity? You bet. But I see no evidence they will exploit it.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty agrees, and adds this gem in his "Morning Jolt" newsletter:

Ossoff also had a huge fundraising advantage that he's not likely to enjoy again, and that few candidates anywhere ever get to enjoy: more than $8 million, quadruple the next-closest contender. Not many Democratic House candidates get Samuel L. Jackson making radio ads for them, either, declaring, "We have to channel the great vengeance and furious anger we have for this administration into votes at the ballot box." That's nice. Democrats kind-of, sort-of did. But... Hillary Clinton won 47 percent in this district on Election Day 2016, and Ossoff won 48 percent.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

My only comment on the Republican health care reform debacle comes from British writer G.K. Chesterton, (1874-1936): "When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it."

Remarkably prescient don't you think, coming as it did 99 years before Republicans' effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.-- LOTR-F friend Dave.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2016

Barone's Law Porved Inviolate

[Michael] Barone's Law: "All procedural arguments are insincere."

Kim Strassel has a little too much fun today, hurling Democrats' sincerest October arguments back at them in December. Assuming a Clinton "mandate," Senators Charles Schumer (Flexible - NY) and Amy Klobuchar (Skybox at Vikings - MN) were quite concerned about Republicans' potential obstructionism against all the necessary appointments and governmental needs of the administration.

Regrets? Delaware Sen. Chris Coons has a few--and not too few to mention. At the top of his list is his party's decision in 2013 to blow up the filibuster for most presidential nominees.

"Many of us will regret that in this Congress," a dejected Mr. Coons told CNN on Tuesday. "Because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency brake, to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees."


Huh. If only the founders had thought of that emergency brake...
Cue Sinatra and "My Way." That's how former Senate leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama ruled for eight years. They planned each charted course, each careful step. Now, they're not finding it so amusing.

Worry not, Senator Schumer is nothing if not flexible. He has no intention of listening to that October-Schumer-guy, who clearly didn't know what the hell he was talking about.
Some might describe electoral dominance as owning the White House, and the Senate, and the House, and 33 governorships and 68 (of 98) state legislative chambers. But Mr. Schumer now regrets his definition. In a recent ABC News story, he said Mr. Trump's victory is "not a mandate" and that his Democratic Party remains free to "go after him tooth and nail."

CODA: Ascertaining "Barone's Law," part of the layers and layers of fact checking you expect at ThreeSources, I found this article which begins "Kimberley Strassel has a good column in the Wall Street Journal today, pointing out that House Democrats who are criticizing and ridiculing[...]" It's from 2014. Clearly Barone's law is timeless.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)