Open Left

Obama Adopts Bush Plan to Hide Outsourced Job Data

The Bush administration had a nasty penchant for trying to bury bad economic news - a nasty penchant that I was intimately familiar with when working on the House Appropriations Committee. One of the most egregious examples of this came in 2003. Here's the Washington Post on 1/2/03:

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Why Do Women Have to Go to Clinics for Abortions?

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Why Democrats Run from Real Change

Forty-five percent of the Democratic base now says they aren't going to vote in 2010 or are thinking of not voting. This is a direct result of Democrats in Congress and the Presidency doing things the base disagrees with or not doing things the base wants to see done. It appears politically stupid to act as they have, and yet, they did. So why?

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No Dem Incumbent Will Lose a Primary by Voting for the Health Care Bill

Even though I favored passing the gutted Senate health care bill, I am heartened by the noise some progressives are making in opposition to it.  Without such noise, there would be no hope to improve the bill, or much hope of getting better health care legislation in the future.  In keeping with the basic principle of the Overton window, there has to be prominent, public left-wing disagreement with Democratic policy, or else the national political discussion will never move to the left.

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This Decade Mostly Sucked - Except for the Huge Expansion of the Internet

Let's face it--from a political, economic and ecological perspective, this past decade pretty much sucked ass.  Lots of war, lots of economic downturn, lots of legislative failure and the continued onset of a new, ecological, Malthusian trap.  Still, looking at the decade from the grand perspective of human history, there was also a huge positive: the continued development and expansion of the Internet.

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6 Lessons Progressives Should Take Away From the Underpants Bomber Incident

There are a few lessons to be learned about the bathroom bomber incident. Here are six lessons that come to mind:

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ACORN Broke No Laws - Dems Still Threw Them Under the Bus

As with David, I'd like to take a moment away from the holiday to highlight a story which I don't want buried.

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3 Reasons Why Progressives Are So Frustrated

If I may be so bold, I believe I can sum up, in three main points why progressives are so frustrated right now:

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Climate Talks on Verge of Collapse in Final Hours

There's a somber mood in Copenhagen on the last day of climate negotiations, with prospects for a strong and fair agreement feeling further and further out of reach.

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Bernie Sanders Puts Official Senate Hold on Bernanke Nomination

Per Chris's whip count on the Bernanke nomination, this is pretty huge news from my old boss:

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Dems Have No Excuse for Failing on Health Care

The single biggest complaint I hear by non-DC insiders is the sheer dysfunction of Washington. Whether it's Jon Stewart's very funny interview with Joe Biden the other day, or bloggers attacking Harry Reid for not just wrapping the health care issue up by going to reconciliation, people not involved in the day to day DC maneuvering and negotiating don't understand why all this is so hard and takes so long. Insiders get very grumpy about this attitude, because they have to deal every day with the complications of the Senate procedural rules, the egos and turf battles of the powerful committee chairs, and the traditions and clubbiness of the Senate.

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More Republicans Think Obama Stole an Election than Democrats Believe Bush Did

A new survey from PPP (PDF) shows that 26% of Americans, most of whom are Republicans, think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama.

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Why Is Obama Caving to Fox?

Well, that was quick. Yesterday was the announcement that White House interim Communications Director Anita Dunn, who started this fight with FOX, would be leaving. Today is this:

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New York State Senate to Vote On Marriage Equality?

After losses like the one in Maine, I always feel like the best way to channel anger is into the next fight. Well, we've got one on our hands. Empire State Pride Agenda just e-mailed out the following:

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Ned Lamont to Run for Governor of Connecticut

This just in--Ned Lamont is looking to run for Governor in Connecticut:

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Five Organizing Questions on the Opt-Out Public Option

Following Chris' five process questions yesterday on the news that Reid will include an opt-out public option in the merged bill, I have five organizing questions of my own that I think are critical to making sure this bill is a success. As he wrote, a lot about the opt-out structure remains unclear, and I think the devil is in the details. These should serve as possible targets for amendments during the floor fight.

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The Real Battle for Health Reform Begins

The preliminaries are finally over in the battle to finally, finally, finally -- 97 years after Teddy Roosevelt first proposed it -- pass comprehensive health care reform. I think the right sports analogy to use is the extended, exhausting, NBA playoffs: after 82 regular season games, 16 playoff teams play in a best-of-7 series to get to the second round, and then the remaining eight teams play best-of-seven to get into the conference finals for another exhausting best of-7 series. I think that's about where we're at, the conference finals, where the coming days will seem like a long tiring 7-game series that is only the preparation for the even more intense final championship round.

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3 Important Lessons Dems Should Learn From Grayson

Usually when Republicans and conservative media join together to throw a coordinated hissy fit against something "outrageous" a Democrat has said, it resulted in apologies (John Kerry in 2006), resignations (Van Jones) and public condemnations in Congress (MoveOn.org). Yesterday, however, Republicans actually backed down from their hissy fit when Rep. Alan Grayson stood up to them. Even as Grayson intensified his rhetoric, Republicans withdrew their resolution to condemn him on the House floor.

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Best Little Whorehouse in Washington

 D.C. is a town teeming with corporate brothels. You've got your non-profit bordellos like Third Way, your for-profit massage parlors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, K Street is the single biggest red-light district in the world. But bar none, the best little whorehouse in definitely the New Democratic Caucus, and this Bloomberg News story could serve as its advertisement:

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Dems Regain Electoral Footing Looking Ahead to 2010

Earlier in the week, in my first House forecast for 2010, I looked at generic congressional ballot polling from August 20th through September 17th.  At that time, the most recent survey from the nine polling organizations to publish generic congressional ballots conducted entirely since August 20th showed Democrats ahead by 3.5%.

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Blue Dogs Offer Bogus Justifications for Opposing Real Health Reform

The primary justification that conservative and moderate Democrats offer for their policies is not the strength of the policy, but rather its electoral and legislative viability. The way that members of the Senate Conservadem group talking about the public option is a good example of this:

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The Wrong Kind of Pressure from Obama?

In my post earlier today, I suggested that if the president wanted to pass legislation, rather than just be a famous person, he would probably need to do the hard, unglamorous work of, ya know, trying to pass legislation. That is, he'd have to start pressuring senators to pass specific legislation. I suggested that with House Democrats taking a progressive pro-public-option stance on health care, and with 60 votes not there for a non-public-option bill in the Senate, a straightforward path would be for him to specifically pressure public option opponents to relent.

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Blue Dogs Have More to Lose Than Progressives

Responding to the Progressive Block strategy, which was designed to put the Progressive Caucus on equal footing with Blue Dogs, Ezra Klein seems to conclude that Progressives can never have more influence than Blue Dogs. This is because Blue Dogs only have incentives to oppose must-pass Democratic legislation, while Progressives only have incentives to support it:

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The Myths of the Battle of Health Care Reform

The relentlessly cynical and negative traditional media has talked itself into believing certain things about the fight over health care reform, whether there is any serious evidence beyond their own self-reinforcing stories or not. Unfortunately, what happens when these kind of stories are written, everyone - Congresspeople, unnamed lobbyists, unnamed administration, other journalists, progressive activists, and bloggers - then reacts to these stories, usually to reinforce their own point of view or their client's interest.

The problem is that so many of these assumptions are unproven/unknown at best, or downright mythological at worst. Having been deeply immersed in both the lasting health care fight in 1993-94 and this one today, I feel fairly confident in pointing out some of these things that most traditional media reporters seem to believe as gospel that in fact are not all certain. Let me just mention a few of the biggest:

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It Is Possible To Pass A Public Option Now

In both branches of Congress, Democrats already have the votes and procedural options in place to pass a public option on health care reform. This means it is possible to pass a public option now. It also means that if a public option does not pass as part of health care reform, it will be a because of a political calculation made by the Democratic leadership, not because there was no way to pass one.

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2008 Winners Considering Governing Without Permission From Losers

The NY Times will be reporting on page A1 that Democrats are considering passing a health reform bill whether Republicans support it or not.

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CNN Dives Head First Into Television Payola

In the wake of the Richard Wolffe brouhaha, some may still insist that its rare for television networks to promote corporate spokespeople as disinterested, nonpartisan "political analysts." If you are one of those people, check this out - it gives you a good sense that this happens all the time:

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The Republican White Voter Strategy

Tom Edsall discusses how whites are the primary demographic target of conservative attacks on President Obama:

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The 13 Tyrants of Health Care

We do not live in a functioning democracy - republican, direct, or otherwise. You don't have to look at the 2000 election to know that - as I've discussed before, you can just look at the basic mathematics of the U.S. Senate, which gives the same representation to 600,000 people in Wyoming that it gives to tens of millions of people in California (and that says nothing of the filibuster, either). And, as my newspaper column today shows, American tyranny - that is, America's lack of democracy - is now distorting the health care debate.

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