The Widdershins

Political malpractice…

Posted on: March 14, 2014

Good afternoon Widdershins — I hope you have plans to take advantage of the first vestiges of Spring lurking about.  Please enjoy!

A word of caution today — more than a word, several sentences in fact.  I’m hunting gnats with an elephant gun Read my lips, no to Obamacaretoday.  While I don’t mean to rant, I’m just exasperated.  In the following paragraphs, I hope whatever finds its way from my head to my fingers isn’t too negative or off-putting, but “I just gotta say it.”  Who knows, maybe you are feeling the same way.

Here we are — a full four freaking years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and there is no sustainable political narrative holding with the electorate!  That is unbelievable to me.  Honestly, how can this be?

The most recent NBC/WSJ poll shows the electorate evenly split between total repeal versus keeping and fixing the Affordable Care Act.  A 50/50 split after four years and Democrats, with vulnerable Senate seats this cycle, are tepid about even talking about health care for fear of igniting a firestorm.  Well, here’s a news flash:  Republicans and the paid mouths of the Koch “billopede” are going to be talking about it, or rather lying, with all the eloquence billionaires can buy.

Here’s the deal — Alex Sink should have won the Florida 13th District Special Election over David Jolly, a dyed-in-the-wool Potomac huckster/lobbyist.  Alex Sink was the better candidate, she essentially spent as much or more than Jolly, and the Republican powers had given up on Jolly.  So what happened?

At first glance, the pundits will say, “Obamacare sunk Sink.”  The Koch affiliated billopede ran millions of dollars of the lying ads about the “$716 Billion Medicare” cut in senior citizen heavy Florida, but that is not the reason.  The reason Alex Sink lost was turnout.  Sink needed 200,000 voters to turn out in the election, but only 180,000 voted.  So it wasn’t Obamacare that sunk Sink, it was a lack of voter enthusiasm.  The question then becomes: How can a Democratic base be excited and motivated if there is no clarity about the main issue — access to health care.

Hiding from a skunk doesn’t make it smell sweeter.  Instead of hiding, what if the message was:  Seniors, do you want the donut hole for prescription drugs reopened?  Republicans do.  Do you want to go back to double-digit increases in health care premiums?  Republicans do.  Do you want Medicare to be weakened by giveaways to the insurance companies?  Republicans do.  Do you want to be bankrupt because of a pre-existing illness?  Republicans are okay with that.  Do you want your insurance cancelled because of lifetime caps?  Republicans are okay with that too.  Do you want to do absolutely nothing about getting control of health care costs because Republicans don’t?

It is nigh impossible to gin up enthusiasm when the home team’s cheerleaders are afraid of the opposing team —

The Koch "billopede" Medusa...

The Koch “billopede” Medusa…

and that is exactly what is happening.  Even in the face of Republican voter suppression efforts, Democrats win when more people vote.  It is that simple.  What is intergalacticly stupid is to expect voters to be motivated to vote if the Explainers-in-Chief aren’t explaining a simple message that can be understood.

You can bet the Koch billopede is going to be out in force this year.  What no one is explaining is that the Kochs have already won.  Total inaction is a win for the Brothers Koch and their ilk.  Total gridlock is where they like to ride.  Through the affiliated groups of the Koch brothers, they are ensuring plenty of pile-ups on the way to the mid-term elections.  In the last three months alone, they have spent $1.35 Million against Mary Landrieu.

The Kochs have brilliantly attracted to themselves a bunch of itinerant goat farmers to run their affiliated organizations.  These goat herders are poster boys for the term “over employed.”  I did a little research on how much some of these “professional Tea Partiers” have been paid and suffice it to say they would have never seen this kind of money if not for the kindness of strangers donating to their seeded organizations.

For instance, Dick Armey got an $8.0 million severance in his divorce from FreedomWorks.  The ambulatory mutton-chop who calls himself Matt Kibbe makes $469,897 a year as CEO of FreedomWorks.  Tim Phillips double dips from Americans for Prosperity and the AFP Foundation to the tune of $252,918 and $138,691.  Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express, through his P.R. firm, raked in $845,000 in 2010.  The list goes on and on.

"This tea isn't baaaaaa-d," commented Billy the Goat...

“This tea isn’t baaaaaa-d,” commented Billy the Goat…

You can bet these people are motivated.  Motivated for the best paying jobs they will ever see.  Motivated to carve around the edges of the truth in order to foment anger, hate, intolerance, and any other fear based emotion to keep their paychecks and their overlords’ profits rolling.

The message ought to be simple — either we can go back to being at the mercy of insurance companies or doing something about it.  The Republicans are happy to send us back to the insurance guillotine and by their silence, the Democrats are complacent and happy to watch.

Malpractice by its very nature is paying for the wrongs of a professional who should have performed better.  If the President and the Democrats continue to flirt around the edges of defending the ACA, righting the wrongs of their malpractice will be paid for by all of us.

This is an open thread.

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15 Responses to "Political malpractice…"

I’m guess here Prolix, but perhaps one reason there’s a 50/50 split is due to the fact that certain portions of the ACA are just now starting to come into play, i.e. the individual mandate. Of course I see tons of comments on articles on nola.com by folks who say “Oh my rates are going up and it’s because of Obamacare.”. I have really wanted to reply (and have on occasions) and ask “are you covered by a group plan? If so, did your premiums go up last year or the year before that?”. It’s no big surprise that health ins. premiums rise just about every year. However, how much of that is directly due to anything involved with the ACA? I don’t think the numbers can be honestly provided yet.

Yes, people in La are giving Mary Landrieu hell over her vote on the ACA. But, people forget that Mary extracted a benefit for La for her vote. I don’t recall all of the particulars (just found them) but she got an add’l $300 million in Medicaid dollars for the state that were going to be cut. Oh how quickly folks forget! At the time, it was a big deal for La, if the money had been cut. Was it a quid pro quo? I don’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised. I would really love to know the actual numbers on folks who have been negatively impacted by Obamacare. I’m willing to bet it’s a small number.

Since you can’t go there Prolix, I’m going to paste in a piece by Pierce at Esquire on the midterms.

This Is Why Midterm Election Turnout Matters

Somebody is going to have to explain to me why the Democratic “base,” which is presumably younger and more spry than the older and whiter Republican “base,” is nonetheless less likely to turn out for midterm elections than the That Sean Hannity Reminds Me Of My Grandson crowd. It is taken as a given, and past performance indicates clearly that it’s usually the case, but I’m not sure why it has to be. So, in the interest to changing this curious dynamic, let me take this red-hot poker and shove it up the base’s ass.

Jim Inhofe as the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee? Chuck (Bag Of Hammers) running Judiciary? Grumpy McCloudyeller with an even bigger platform as chairman of Armed Services? Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions as chairman of anything?

Go ahead. Stay home now. I dare you.

Those are scary thoughts. (Repub chairmen in the Senate)

Uh-oh Prolix! Looks like Bayou Bengals and Wildcats are gonna meet this evening in ATL. I don’t think there’s much doubt as to how this will turn out! 😉

@1, Fredster, I’ve taken it on as a little hobby to look at the stories about those who claim to be harmed by the ACA particularly those who are flogged and fluffed on the network covering the daily musings of Roger Ailes.

As far as I can tell, not one of these horror story anecdotes have been true. The latest one was the unfortunate lady diagnosed with leukemia down there in LA — she’s the one in the ads. When the reporters showed her she would save about a $1,000 a month she replied, “I don’t believe it.” Of course, the facts didn’t get in the way of the Koch groups from continuing to run the ads featuring her and I believe they are still running.

Prolix@4: Oh yes, I made a comment about her (however I believe she’s in Michigan). Sigh. As Ron White says “You can’t fix stupid.”.

@2, Gotta love Pierce — no one can out snark him.

While I agree with everything he says, the secret is building an emotional basis for the voters to motivate them. Yes, thinking about McCloudyeller and the like being the chairtotems is a problem, but that is not an enthusiasm generator. How will it affect people at a personal level and explaining to the seniors they are going to have to dig into their pockets for $2,500 if the donut hole is reopened puts some spring in their step.

It’s too late to duck and cover from the ACA — Democrats had better figure this out and pull up their big boy and big girl pants. Can you imagine what Ted Cruz and RaPaul (that’s my new name for him because he is constantly trying on new issue positions) would do with any Supreme Court nominee? It would be a circus with them as ringmaster.

@3, the way UK has been playing in the last three games, it would not surprise me if the Bengals didn’t have some kitty stew for dinner.

Chat, if you are around, how are you feeling? I hope you are feeling better.

Can you imagine what Ted Cruz and RaPaul (that’s my new name for him because he is constantly trying on new issue positions) would do with any Supreme Court nominee? It would be a circus with them as ringmaster.

That’s scary shit there.

@7: Nah, I think LSU will be one and done in the SEC championship, B-ball is just not their strong program. However, the Cats better be ready for the Gators.

Prolix, I spoke to Chat yesterday. She was still feeling on the puny side then.

@9, the Gators had kitty stew on the last game of the season. It was pathetic. With all these “one and done” superstar 18-year olds, they haven’t ever yet experienced the “agony of defeat.”

@11: I didn’t know that! I just don’t follow b-ball as much as I do football and LSU baseball. Coach Manieri’s baseball team is looking pretty good.

Chat, get well soon! We took advantage of Spring today and went to the beach. It was a glorious day, warm, slight breeze, and the ocean was turquoise and blue, with lots of dolphin sightings.

with lots of dolphin sightings

Awwww!!!!!! 🙂

The Democrats problems are real. You can argue the voters are too dumb to know what’s good for them, but even then you gotta go to the polls with the voters you have. And I’m not sure the voters are too dumb. They were told they’d get insurance. To most people that means “like what my friends with employer-based insurance have.” Then they find out that, no, they’re going to be paying out very noticeable amounts in premiums and, if they ever have to use the insurance, extremely noticeable amounts in deductibles, co-pays, balance billing, etc., etc. Industry experts say, rather quietly, “This whole law is a gift to the insurance companies” (at the very end of that article). So the fact that voters twig to that and resent it is not good evidence of dumbness.

Is it better than nothing? Absolutely. But we could have had an actual health care system, not just insurance, like every other industrialized country. The US is (still) the richest country on the planet. There’s nothing stopping us from having a system that works.

I think that’s part of what has people so cross at Ocare. It was said to fix something. To people that means they should be able to get care without much expense, without hanging on the phone for weeks, and instead they get this. So they’re mad. (Obviously, some are mad because they hate Obama. I’m not talking about them.)

The Democrats only real argument against that feeling is “It’s better than nothing.” Which is true, but not a good tool for whipping up enthusiasm.

The Democrats other huge problem here is that they figure the Repubs are so crazy they don’t have to work to get people to vote. That is wrong on the evidence. I think they underestimate how angry people are.

Anyway, sorry for writing a book. What’s worse is I don’t have any solutions. You gotta go to the polls with the Democrats you’ve got. :rollseyes:

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