The Widdershins

Activist Monday: The Democrats’ Dilemma

Posted on: June 26, 2017

Good Monday, all. After the unveiling of the horrible Republican “Wealth Transfer Disguised as Health Care” bill, the Democrats had a prime opportunity to boldly, proudly declare what they stood for instead. In California, the state that went so overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the State Senate and House were on the verge of passing a single-payer health care bill. What a strong statement this would have been…except that one key Democrat is not on board.

Advocates of the single-payer healthcare proposal which has been steadily advancing through the California legislature were voicing outrage and disappointment on Saturday after Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat, announced he was pulling the bill from further consideration this year.

Known as the Healthy California Act, or SB 562, the measure had already passed the state Senate and was making its way through the lower chamber when Rendon said Friday it was being shelved by the Assembly Rules Committee, which he chairs, “until further notice.”

This is a huge disappointment, not just to perpetual loser Bernie Sanders (he has yet to back a candidate or a cause that succeeds), but to me personally. I was extremely upset by Barack Obama’s failure to embrace single payer at a time when his approval rating was 80%, and he had a Democratic Congress ready to say “how high?” when he said “jump.” But then, I never had much hope that he was actually the progressive others expected he was. That’s why I never wanted him in the first place.

Now, after 8 years of Obama’s weak and feckless attempts at post-partisanship, including his fatally indecisive handling of the Russian attacks on our democratic institutions, Democrats have watered themselves down so much that they have no more message or credibility with the middle class. As we know, income inequality continued to increase on Obama’s watch. The only prominent national Democrat left who has a good record on these matters is Hillary, which is why, despite all of the monumental obstacles put in her way, she won 3 million more votes than Drumpf.

The Democrats have a dilemma now. They embraced Obama as their Messiah, and he has led them down a winding and ultimately ruinous political pathway, where his desire to be loved by everyone eclipsed his duties to represent the Democratic platform and principles. Strong and wrong is always better than weak and, somewhat partially, right. The Republicans know this truth, and they’ve made hay out of it for decades. Why, why, WHY won’t the Democrats counter the Republicans with a strong message and branding?

Is it because they know that in order to get their ideas implemented, they will have to start regulating businesses again, and step back to the days of the New Deal? Is it because they will have to turn away from Obama’s love of Reagan, and back towards their true mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and this would make some of their corporate donors rather uncomfortable?

The choice is not easy. If Democrats step away from Obama’s blurry vision of himself as President and “transformative” leader of the Party, they step away from the last Democratic two-term President since Bill Clinton. If they try to stay on his path, which Jon Ossoff did in Georgia, over-performing in a Republican district but not winning, I fear that Democrats will not ever get past the rather effective blockers the Republican Party have put in place: gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the aid of a hostile foreign power. And then, of course, there’s the endless, exhausting distraction of Bernie Sanders and his non-ideological brogressives, the flip side of the Drumpf cultists, who want the Party to be remade in the Image Of Bernie. No thanks, folks – worshiping mediocre men is so 2008. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

So I hope people call and write Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and tell him to get with the program. I hope people start seeing that strong and right is much, much more effective than strong and wrong. And I hope that the Democrats will be infused with new blood in 2018, candidates who are effective communicators and understand what they are supposed to stand for. Like Randy Brice, perhaps.

Let’s all make our representatives hear our voices, loudly and often. Because every day the Republican vision is allowed to permeate and obsess the media without an alternate vision from Democrats, that’s another day the Republicans win. And we can’t afford to let them do it any more.

This is an open thread.


64 Responses to "Activist Monday: The Democrats’ Dilemma"

Great post MB! I had no idea CA was so close to single payer health care.

I fear that as the younger generations start voting for their ‘visual’ preference of candidates, that the wise and hard working Dem candidates will be pushed aside in the future. Obama was ‘young’ and his voice could lull them into the land of unicorns…while we all knew he never intended to work hard for our country. He punks out on any difficult decision.

Then young people decided the woman they rejected in 2008 was too old, and picked the one socialist that offered free college, free health care, and joined in the protest of the 99% gang.

Dump was on a tweeting spree this morning. Then Benjamin Wittes posted “tick tick tick” (which infuriated Hannity, by the way, who then suggested he knew something illegal Wittes had done and, presumably, would expose him! LOL). So something big is gonna drop today.

Also, if you have a few spare hundred bucks laying around:

If you have 2 minutes, read this thread. It explains the hypocrisy of these people and it is breathtaking.


@4> Grrrrrr!

@2 – That is just as dumb as “I totally fired James Comey because he was mean to Crooked – er I mean, sweet sweet Hillary.”

@5 – That dog is soooooo cute!

MB, enjoyed your righteous rant. Yes, the Democratic Party screwed us all when they chose younger, cooler Obama over Hillary in ’08. I can’t bear to think of what could have been–8 successful years of Hillary, followed by a wiser, more experienced Obama. But no, they had to choose “cool” over substance. Hopefully, the truth will out regarding the Russian treason.

The Supremes released some decisions/non-decisions today. This was another failure of Obama’s. He should have appointed just Garland during the break. He should have fought for Garland.

@7, that is very disappointing.

@4, Prolix, I don’t understand it. Did read it really fast, cuz I’m on a short break and have to get back to work.

@3, that paperclip thing is ridiculous. A gag-gift for rich people? Who would want something that stupid?

@9, I see my dyslexia came out: “appointed just Garland”! Catch you all later. 🙂

Here’s the CBO on the current Senate Bill that just came out:

June 26, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, a Senate amendment in the nature of a substitute to
H.R. 1628. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting this legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $321 billion. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was passed by the House of Representatives.
The Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law, slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed legislation. By 2026, an estimated
49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

Following the overview, this document provides details about the major provisions of this
legislation, the estimated costs to the federal government, the basis for the estimate, and other related information, including a comparison with CBO’s estimate for the House passed act.


The CBO score is brutal. But didn’t everyone anticipate this? Surely Rethugs don’t care and will try to cram it through in whatever form.

Socalannie, on SCOTUS – absolutely. Today’s rulings really show what a catastrophe Gorsuch is going to be. Obama just postured on Garland because he thought Hillary would win. But he should have crammed him in, at least after Nov 8. He really dropped the ball on so many things on his way out… Russian meddling, SCOTUS.

And leading up to the election I literally heard from some Bernie-friends that Hillary was just using scare tactics with SCOTUS, and it wasn’t enough to sway them. Scare tactics indeed… Fuck Their Life!

DYB @17, what’s the deal with this idiot crook? (nunes)

So whatever that story CNN screwed up and retracted a day or two ago? Eric Lichtblau, the guy who cleared Trump of all wrongdoing with Russia while he was at the NYTimes, has resigned in disgrace. (2 other reports at CNN have as well.)

So Rendon shelved the single payer bill because it was “woefully inadequate” (not funded)? I find it hard to believe it would have already made it through the CA Senate if it were not properly funded. So, BS.

Randy Rainbow is sooo funny!

The CA single payer bill needs the Feds to allow some (all?) of the money they provide to (I think?) MediCal (=Medicaid) to become part of the pot funding single payer. There are also other Fed regs that would need to be waived, changed, whatever. As you can gather, I’m megavague on the details. But the point is this: it’s a large chunk of money, and all the naysayers are yammering that you can’t count on the Fed.

Therefore, the bill is “unfunded.”

And, of course, there are no loud noises about how much money would be SAVED in that system, not least by individuals, but also by the state. The problem is that the costs would be upfront and the savings might take a year or two to materialize.

The fact that it’s a massive, overwhelming, colossal quality of life issue is apparently of no interest.

@10, Annie, I should have explained rather than plopping down that Tweet. I find it so vile and venal what these Rethuglicans are doing, I just want to spit bloody nails. In all my years of following politics and working in it, I have never seen anything approaching this contemptible, nauseating, wicked kabuki assault on the poorest, sickest, and oldest Americans.

Here’s the deal. For the last two years, the Rethugs have been threatening to withhold the CSR (cost-sharing reduction) payments. It amounts to about $8.0 Billion a quarter to providers in order to even out the marketplace offerings.

Since Dolt 45 and in particular, insider trading criminal, DHS Sec. Price, have ratcheted-up the threats to withhold CSR payments plus saying, “We will no longer enforce the individual mandate,” meaning no penalties for obeying the law and getting insurance. Those two things have been incredibly destabilizing for the marketplaces and insurance companies. Not enforcing the mandate means that younger, healthier people won’t enroll, thus depriving insurance companies of their positive impact.

What this means. It caused insurance companies to get incredibly nervous. For problematic insurance areas, they pulled out. For other areas, they are asking for larger than normal rate increases.

When you hear the Rethugs and Dolt 45 talk about areas without any companies offering policies, a lack of choice, or increases in rates, it is their actions of withholding CSR payments and/or a failure to enforce the mandate causing it.

How much you say? If there were no TrumpTax (that’s what the analysts are calling the CSR withholding and mandate shenanigans), the marketplaces would be incredibly stable and the rate increases would be single digits.

So what makes this so vile: On the very last page of the Senate bill — the very last fcking page, they have tucked in a guarantee to pay the CSR appropriations for the next two years. Written by insurance lobbyist, it means, insurance companies shut up, be quiet, and we will make sure you get your $64 Billion in sweeteners over the next 8 quarters. That has the effect of artificially reducing rate increases for the next two years in order for the Rethugs to crow and lie about the positive effects of their health care bill.

That is what is so common and base and disrespectful of human life. These people should burn in hell for an eternity.

I watched Morning Joe for quite awhile this morning. There was a guy on the panel, Eddie Glaude, some guy from Princeton, whose sole purpose for being there, apparently, was to question every guest about the ‘fracture’ in the Dem party and stir up a Hillary/hate Bernie/love fest. It turned out to e funny because no one would go there.

Al Franken was on. They talked about the health care bill and Obama’s failure on the Russia hack. Franken talked about his upbringing in the ’50 when life seemed so idyllic. Eddie asked Franken about the Dem divide with a derogatory comment about ‘limousine liberals’. Franken cracks a joke ‘well, first we have to stop taking limousines’, everybody cracks up because it’s so stupid.

Josh Earnest asks how did Trump managed to get voters to connect with him considering he is nothing like them? Joe says, ‘I mean, you pretty much have to blame Hillary’. Nope. Franken says ‘I blame the last 40 years of people feeling squeezed and realizing things are not like they use to be years ago.’ Shut Joe and Eddie right up.

They tried it with Josh Earnest and the Mayor of NO Mitch Landrieu, too. Didn’t work. I’ll see if I can find some clips…

Here’s Mitch Landrieu. He’s there (he thinks) to talk about Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to give $200 million to Mayors around the country to get needed projects done. (cause Washington ain’t gonna do shit) He’s talking about this bi-partisan conference involved. Watch Joe, then Eddie try to draw him into the ‘fracture’ nonsense. Not going there.

Notice the chyron during his interview. First it’s ‘The Future of the Democratic Party’. Umm, no. Then when Eddie asks his question (corporate wing of the Dems and Dems being republicans in blue) the chyron changes to ‘ Mayor Landrieu on Divisions Within the Democratic Party’ – when he talking about NO SUCH THING.

Wow. So the rich get their tax cuts and there’s still ‘a little’ left over to bribe a few Senators to keep their voters believing they actually care.

But Republicans in the White House and in Congress were pleasantly surprised that the bill included more savings than they expected — and are trying to figure out if they can dole it out for votes.

The Senate has about $188 billion to play with.

Among the possible changes: More spending for health savings accounts to appease conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, according to three people familiar with the matter, and some additional Medicaid and opioid spending for moderates.

@24, GAgal, So Hillary didn’t get voters to connect? Funny, she got 3 million more votes and won the popular vote. In every other democratic country, she would be the winner of the election. Why don’t they talk about how undemocratic the Electoral College is?

@27 Luna, yeah but Josh Earnest was trying to frame it in a nice way to ask ‘how in the hell did people fall for Trump’s bullshit?’.

Josh was another one Joe and his BFF Eddie tried to corner. They were basically dissing Hillary for losing to Donald Trump. How could that happen? Josh says ‘Well, the demographics in this country are changing… and the Democratic party has embraced those changes… and a lot of people in this country aren’t comfortable with that’. In other words, a bunch of racist assholes, that’s why. In a nice way. Poor Joe and Eddie had no response. What could they say? Joe changed the subject. They tried really, really hard. No one played along.

Okay, some in the world still kinda like we the people, but hate Trump. Except for Russia and Israel who like him much better than Obama. (This was before Trump dropped the Paris Accord)

@25: Have no use for Mitch. He wasn’t the “great white hope” people thought he would be. However, he has done a tremendous job of raising property taxes and forcing a lot of the lower income service people out of the city because…rent.

I don’t so much see a split in the Dem party, I see Dems and Socialists. The Socialists under the Sandcrab…should at least call themselves Independents, because voting for Trump isn’t something a Dem would do.

GAgal, those are fascinating exchanges on Morning Schmoe. That’s a narrative many in the media are pushing, no matter how preposterous. Media in search of conflict, creating conflict, talking about it, hoping it sticks.

33 DYB

Good, they don’t have the votes, even with the frickin’ nuke option.

DYB @19, Wow! I hardly ever look at nyt anymore, they have really fallen from grace imho.

Quixote @22, thank you for explaining that. I felt that one of us Californians should say something, and I kept meaning to do some research on it, but kept getting sidetracked. Its always nice to have a teacher around, they always do the hard stuff! 🙂

@37 socalannie, yep that headline and article form the Times is one of the big disgraces of their election coverage. And they’ve never retracted it or explained it. I wonder if Lichtblau’s source was a NY FBI agent… That’s the column they interviewed Harry Reid for – Reid saying “There’s a connection between Trump and Russia” – and then Lichtblau ignored the interview and didn’t use it.

@23, Thanks Prolix! I think I understand this issue now. Ocare has always been confusing to me, although I’ve learned a lot about it from Fredster over the years. We’ve gotten our insurance from hub’s employer for 20 years now, so I didn’t bother to learn the more complicated details.

DYB @39: its mindblowing. nyt is truly despicable now, clearly they have been manipulating the public with their creepy slant. This is as bad as that wmd stunt they pulled back in the early aughts.

btw, interesting idea that his source might have been NY FBI.

Just watched the Randy Rainbow vid–omigosh! It was screamingly funny!

Intermission time:

DYB, it’s getting scary to think of what these hackers will do to the U.S. if they don’t like us pursuing the Dump/Russia collusion for example. Like if dump is impeached, they retaliate by shutting down our power grids?

Stephen Colbert was in Russia for a few days (I think Moscow), filming some bits for his show and he said he was followed everywhere he went by security police.

45 DYB

The ending is so funny.

Birds of a feather…

The GOP’s big setback on health care, courtesy of basic math

Some of the highlights from the article:

“Budget Office estimate that the bill would reduce the number of insured Americans by 22 million over the next decade or so. This proved to be a particularly troubling number for moderate Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

And it leads to the questions: What would be an acceptable number to lose insurance? If the GOP could somehow lower that number to 16 million, would that suddenly make members like Collins get on board? Would 10 million be okay? Without massive changes to the bill, the needle just isn’t going to move that much.”


Then there’s the Medicaid expansion — a particular sore spot for senators in such states as Ohio, Nevada and West Virginia, which have high Medicaid enrollment levels under Obamacare. The GOP bill cuts $772 billion in Medicaid over the next decade, largely starting after 2020 (when, Republicans apparently hope, they won’t pay as big a political price).

But if those cuts are scaled back, what happens to those conservative senators who have complained that this bill isn’t really a repeal of Obamacare (spoiler: it’s not) and that it’s too similar to the existing law?

This whole use of the word ‘Sad’, drives me nuts.

Shadowfox> Sad! LOL. I know what you mean, though I do use it. It kind of sums up a lot of things in one word. I now also use “Lordy!”

There’s a CNN special on the Russian interference about to start if anyone’s interested in watching. At 10 here.

Cuts to Medicaid … I just read on Medscape that cuts to Medicaid resulted in high breast cancer diagnoses in late stages, resulting in more expensive treatment and more deaths. Surgeries/treatment were also delayed after the Medicaid cuts.

Just poor people “choosing” later diagnosis and surgery, I guess. Or the researchers were part of the Hollywood elite.

Gotta check with your buddies before banning. Almost makes me wish the GOP sadists would have brain-damaged babies. But they’d have enough money to take care of them.

EPA chief met with Dow CEO before deciding on pesticide ban

The Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9 for about a half hour at a Houston hotel. Both men were featured speakers at an energy industry conference.

Twenty days later Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.

@32 – Interesting thought. I don’t really see Sanders and his brogressives as Socialists. I think Bernie is a cult leader and they’re his followers. Not a lot of thinking, there.

@59, agree that Sanders and the Berniebrogs aren’t Socialists. Look at the Scandinavian countries and their emphasis on things such as women’s and children’s healthcare. Free baby boxes (a kit with infant supplies & clothing which all families of new babies get.) They have far more than economic issues in their socialism. The Berniebrogs are more united by their cult worship, disregard for non-male, non-straight, non-white issues, their willingness to vote for Trump, and let’s not forget their lack of reasoning ability.

@57, reference, since we like substantiation of claims:

Medicaid rollbacks in Tennessee in 2005 led to an increase in cases of late-stage breast cancer, which are more costly and deadly.

Luna @58, that’s horrible! I’ve often wondered if all the chemicals we regularly ingest has contributed to dementia and other diseases that are common now.

Fredster, good RP post!

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