The Widdershins

My countryman, but yet I know him not…

Posted on: August 2, 2013

That’s a line from Macbeth where Ross is about to tell Macduff “all his pretty chickens and their dam” have been sent to the great Perdue Farm in the sky. When hearing this week John McCain had gotten all mavericky again, I thought of that line.

Senate Republican Caucus meeting...

Senate Republican Caucus meeting…

It seems as though McCain and Lady Lindsay, the Kukla and Fran of the Senate, have had enough of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. While I would like to believe McCain is getting his “altruism on” for the country, I think he smells blood in the water.

Given that Mitch McTurtle now has a Tea Party primary on his fins, he finds himself in a box (hmmm, box turtle?). Sen. McTurtle has to guard against his right flank, but not too aggressively since Alison Lundergan Grimes can use it as a wedge. So McTurtle’s strategy is most likely to climb back in his shell and hope he can ride out the coming storm over appropriations.

McCain sees this as an opportunity to be wall-to-wall on the Sunday shows for the next two months. The battle is already brewing since only 11 senators have signed up with Santa Anna Cruz for his Alamo strategy of tying all appropriations to yet another repeal Obamacare gambit.

Anyone with hobbling around sense in the Senate knows Cruz’s strategy is a fool’s errand since the enabling legislation of the ACA deemed its funding as essential. This means even if Cruz were successful, the funding for Obamacare would continue apace (spillover from the earlier Shakespeare quote) because it has protected status.

And that is just the half of Congress — the real white coat dysfunction is on the other side. Over in Orange Julius’ House, John Boehnerthings are worse. Just Wednesday, the little Ryan boy’s budget crapped the bed. A little explanation here: Paul Ryan’s much heralded budget is just a conceptual document — it makes broad proclamations of political philosophy, but it has no specifics. Not until the scalpel hits the meat in the appropriations’ process do you hear the squealing over things like a 50% reduction in community block grants.

On Wednesday, both the Department of Transportation and the Housing and Urban Development appropriations were up for a vote. Both had to be pulled because the Republicans would not vote for the draconian cuts needed to stay within the parameters of the Ryan budget and sequestration. So the DoT and the HUD bills became the DoTn’t and the THUD bills.

Hal Rogers, (5th District, R-KY) the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Representative for one of the poorest districts in the nation said this when he pulled the bills:

Thus I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts must be brought to an end.

The Republican House majority can’t even pass what they proclaim is their sacrosanct political agenda. In other words, if you can’t drive why own a car? John Boehner is going to face another budget crisis with the Tea Party House members most likely in open revolt.

The horns of Boehner’s dilemma, either a government shutdown or violating the Hastert Rule and passing the dozen appropriations bills with Nancy Pelosi calling the tune. There’s a third option of continuing resolutions, but by their very nature they also violate both the spirit and intent of the ballyhooed Ryan Budget.

And what are the little crumpet-eaters of the Tea Party worried about — a 40th vote to repeal Obamacare, a bill to allow any citizen to secretly record any conversation with a federal employee, and passing legislation prohibiting any bailout of Detroit although no one has asked for a bailout and no one has proposed a bailout, but just in case someone does.

The next two months are going to be interesting and a little unsettling for the weak of heart. John McCain adroitly has figured out all the budget action is going to revert to the Senate side — perhaps his desire for teevee face time will coincide with what’s right for the country.

Power may abhor a vacuum, but not in the United States Senate.

Have a great weekend.

This is an open thread.


17 Responses to "My countryman, but yet I know him not…"

Well put as always.

Of course Diaper Dave has signed on to tying Obamacare to the budget mess and attempting to deny funding to it. It’s’ pointless but it looks good to the folks back home.

Oh and D.D. also proposed legislation to deny any fed. funding to Detroit, even though, as you say, no one has asked for it. Ironic coming from a man representing the state that practically had a private pipeline to the federal coffers after Katrina. I’m not saying the two are one and the same but it takes some cheek to offer legislation like that.

The House has just voted to repeal Obamacare for the 40th time. Go figure,

i guess they keep thinking they are going to get a different outcome if they keep it up. What a way to end the session before going on a five week vacation. 🙄

Interesting piece here from Politico on Alison Grimes of Kentucky.

@5, no one asks this, but why isn’t anyone asking the simple question, “Why are Repubs so obsessed with voting over and over and over again to repeal Obamacare?” If the media would ask that simple question it would open up the opportunity for understanding that the Repub position is doing z-freaking-ro nothing about healthcare.

Skyrocketing insurance costs — bring them on. Sixty million people without healthcare being subsidized with critical care from healthcare costs — bring it on.

Of the eleven states where the exchanges are being embraced by state officials, the Congressional Research Service has issued a new estimate on what it does to rates in the first year of implementation. Rates are projected to be 20% lower than initially expected.

The Repubs know if that is the outcome or anything close to that is the outcome, they are week-old toast for the foreseeable future.

@6, the Repub House is a poster child for the adage, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

Prolix@8: It would be interesting to hear the reply to that question.

And the ins. companies are hardly helping the situation. BCBS-La has already sent out “scary” letters to their subscribers and the prez of the company wrote an op/ed piece in the Times-Pic conveniently leaving out that most of the folks affected by Obamacare will be individuals and also left out the little bit about the tax credits which seem to be front-loaded (?) for the program, i.e. the credit go toward your premiums starting at the beginning. I don’t think what the man anticipated was the number of replies to his piece basically chewing his @ss out about the coverage folks were getting.

@10, the bet these Repub governors are making is starkly inhumane. They know they will be out of office when the crisis comes in these states that have opted out of the exchanges. When states that have embraced the exchanges are getting overall rates 20% lower with just about everyone covered and the southern states still have outrageous rates and under-insureds soaking providers, what will the answer be? Back in 2013 Guv, Prettyhair and Jindal made bad decisions. That won’t solve the problem.

That was a mistake in the ACA from an accountability standpoint. There should have been greater upfront accountability through education. That would have alleviated some of the downstream suffering that will undoubtedly occur.

I know this is a first for me, maybe even a first for this blog, but even Charles Krauthammer thinks Ted Cruz’s fool’s errand to shut down government over defunding Obamacare is crazy:

And Ruth Marcus, not exactly a librul’s pen pal, agrees that the House is a wreck over the pulling of the DoT and HUD appropriations bills.

Prolix said: southern states still have outrageous rates and under-insureds soaking providers, what will the answer be?

Well in La, lil Bobby won’t be worried about it since he has already signed contracts where private hospitals are going to be taking over the state charity hospitals previously run by LSU. Now the state will be paying these private hospitals to run those hospitals so where the state comes out even or ahead, I have no idea. DHH says that the private entities can somehow leverage more money from medicaid. I don’t see how and Bobby has ended up on the short end of that stick before when fighting with the Feds over medicaid.

@Prolix: This has always thrown me for a curve (from Krauthammer’s piece)

Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare, only 36 percent favors repeal.

Now I read some time back that among those who “disapprove” are the ones who wanted single-payer or medicare for all. But, I don’t think they should fall into the disapprove category. Just my opinion though.

Susan Collins said:

“Think very carefully about this vote,” she pleaded with her colleagues. “It will be so unfortunate if we go home to our constituents in August and are forced to tell them that we’re unable to do our job.”

@13, Fredster, here’s a perfect example of the craziness.

The conservative argument is: Obamacare is bad, we should kill it.

Response: Well, the federal government is going to give me the money to buy insurance or at least subsidize the cost.

Conservo-droid: There are death panels and things that will hurt hospitals in O’care.

Response: Well, I’ll be getting insurance that I don’t have to pay for if I get sick.

Conservo-droid: Yeah, but the government is paying for it.

Response: Well, someone is paying for it now, I just don’t know who. If someone else is paying for it either way, shouldn’t I chose the way that gives me health insurance.

Conservo-droid: You mean you are going to swallow your pride and take government offered insurance like Medicaid?

Response: Insurance is insurance to me.

Conservo-droid: You have no self-respect, you are a leech, you are the type of person that is killing the nation.

While not word for word, that is essentially the logic represented in the Tea Party, RNC, and conservative think tankers. They have run out of arguments and now, they have resorted to ad hominem attacks. Pretty sad.

Prolix@16: And to add further:

Response: Well I’ll also be able to get “wellness care” which will help me avoid having to go to an emergency room that you will pay for when I let a condition go too long without treatment.

You can’t fix stoopid so what do you do?

Besides, what is employer-based health care other than subsidized coverage?

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