Billie’s Quickies…Early week news predictions

bllieddoseThis week should be fascinating, what with the new Veteran death panel talk, @mccainblogette on The View, Chuck Todd gettin’ cold yelled at about Blackwater, the reality show dude who killed his ex allegedly committing suicide, and the continuing debate about what constitutes a “right” in America.

Well, here are my predictions as to what will make the news, along with some just plain interesting, cool, or weird linkage.

Best health care in the world, eh?

Public Option the True Test of President Obama’s Game


This has seemed like a bad week for healthcare reform.  Congressional Blue Dogs are doing their damnedest to kill the public option, and the White House seeming to backtrack on their support of it.  While expressing strong support for it, Gibbs has consistently refused to draw a line in the sand on the public option, and this week, inched back a little.

If this were any other politician, I’d be throwing my hands up in disgust, because this is how these backslides start.  The obvious interpretation is that the White House is innoculating itself from the public option’s defeat.

In Barack Obama’s case, though, this isn’t so obvious.  I’ve spoken before about his unique political MO, likening it to the “rope-a-dope.”  In this case, I hope, he’s being more of a chess player.  Since I’m more of a Gnip-Gnop player, I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

It is important to note that my confidence in the President, to this point, is based on past performance, not magical thinking.  He’s a progressive in triangulator’s clothing.  I’ve been sure he was blowing it before, only to be proven wrong.

This time may be different, however.  He was right to determine that momentum was key to passing strong reform.  Already, this week, one poll is being used deceptively to claim support for a public option is slipping.  The spineless sellout Blue Dogs think they’re in the driver’s seat.  Opponents of the public option continue to pound the public with lies.  Now, it seems like the White House is sounding the retreat.

If Barack Obama is the chess player I think he is, he’s got a plan to rescue the public option from the Blue Dogs.  If I’m right, it will involve Rahm Emanuel and some blunt conversations about mid-term elections.

I don’t think that Barack Obama is a bad enough politician to take the disastrous hit of no public option when he’s got airtight majorities in both houses of Congress.  On the other hand, he likes for it to look like the other guy’s idea.

Either way, I hope the President knows that defying his base, and 76% of Americans, is not an option.  Time to use that powder.

Update: President Obama responds to ‘Public Option Cave’ Story

Update: I told you so.  Jump to the end for a statement the President released this morning, obviously in response to the WSJ article.

The Huffington Post is running the scare headline “WHITE HOUSE MAY CAVE ON PUBLIC OPTION,” linking toxraybanner this Wall Street Journal report that seems to have Rahm Emanuel begging Republicans and Blue Dogs to punch the public option in the face:

It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.

“The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest,” he said in an interview. “The goal is non-negotiable; the path is” negotiable.

What the frak, Rahm?  Didn’t I just get done saying how you guys punked the Blue Dogs with the $611 billion HELP committee bill that includes a public option?

Coming, as it does, on the heels of President Obama’s urging that outside groups stop attacking cojone-free Democrats on the public option, supporters of the public option are not too happy with Rahm’s comments (or “Rahmments). Continue reading

Senate HELP Committee Releases $611 Bil. Bill With Public Option


I think President Obama and the “Good Democrats” may have punk’d opponents of the public health care option, and of the President’s vision of health care reform.

The Senate Committe on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (originally Pensions, Labor, Education, and Health, but PLEH didn’t sound as good) has released a health care reform bill that’s going to be pretty tough to argue with when compared with the version that the CBO originally scored.  That incomplete bill carried a 10 year pricetag of over $1 trillion, and only covered about 70% of Americans.  The new bill?

The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly over $600 billion, and would lead toward an estimated 97 percent of all Americans having coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Chris Dodd said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

I’m not complaining, but it sure looks a lot like that earlier version, and the White House’s sparring with the CBO, were a classic rope-a-dope.  After the outcry over a $1 trillion plan that didn’t cover everybody, this one looks like a TKO. Continue reading

Democrats Standing in the Way of Healthcare Reform

I’m sure this is news to no-one, but HuffPo has a great panel discussion on the subject from The Ed Show about the difficulties in herding cats (although they mispell Christina Bellantoni’s name).  Whether it’s a simple lack of cojones, a desire to feel important, or a surplus of industry cash, there are a bunch of Dem monkeywrenches in the gears of real change.

A universal coverage mandate, without a public option (which America wants), is just a big giveaway to insurance companies, much like the, at best, worthless deal with Big Pharma.

Luckily, Lee Stranahan shines a flashlight on the Dems who are gumming up the works in his newest video.  Why not give them a ring and let them know how you feel?

Blue Dog Democrats to Lift Their Legs on Healthcare Reform

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if the Blue Dogs are yellow, or just stupid.  The 98 pound weaklings of the Democratic Party51947543 are already signaling their willingnedd to roll over and play dead on a key aspect of healthcare reform:

These officials said drafters of the legislation will include a government-run insurance option as well as plans offered by private companies. The government option draws near-unanimous opposition from Republicans and provokes concerns among many Democrats, as well, although President Barack Obama has spoken out in favor of it.

For those of youwho don’t speak Democratese, “provokes concerns” means “causes fainting spells.”

What problem do the Republicans and their azure canine playmates have with the public option?

Equally troublesome politically is the issue of a government insurance option. Critics argue it would render private companies unable to compete, and it has emerged as a key sticking point in the Democratic search for a bipartisan plan in the Senate.

Wait, I thought a government-run plan would be a horrible disaster that would have patients lined up at clinics like Soviet bread lines, forcing them to see government-approved butchers instead of their own trusted physicians, and feature heartless bureaucrats denying lifesaving treatment.  Private insurance companies couldn’t compete with that?

Continue reading

Gavin Newsom to Run For Governor Without the Bro Code Vote

Americans are a forgiving people, by and large.  You can break most of the Ten Commandments, all of the Seveninauguration_gavin_newsom Deadly Sins,  even the First Rule of Fight Club.  But you don’t mess with the Bro Code.

Examples of this are evident all around us.  David Vitter mongers the DC Madam’s roster, yet retains his Senate seat.  Eliot Spitzer is on the comeback trail after he exploited a young girl who had been an abused teen runaway.  Bill Clinton is a great example of this, owing much of his forgiveness, I believe, to Kenneth Starr’s own violation of the Bro Code, to wit, “Bros don’t tell other bro’s wives about that girl they saw him with.”

On the other hand, Larry Craig probably owes his career crash-and-burn more to his clear infraction of the Code than anything else.  The Code clearly proscribes a “buffer stall or urinal” in all public restrooms, and states that if no buffer is available, then there is absolutely no communication allowed.  This was Larry Craig’s unpardonable sin.

Rudy Giuliani committed a Bro Code felony that cost him the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination.  No, it wasn’t the phone call from his wife onstage, those were fake, although still worth a whip-crack.  No, I’m referring to his lame excuse for cheering on the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series.  There’s a special section of by-laws in the Bro Code that goes over specific sports rivalries that supercede all other considerations.  When you’re an Anaheim Angels fan, you get to root for whomever you want in the Series (Angels fans barely even qualify as Bros.).  Not so fans of real teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs.  Saying you’re rooting for the Red Sox because you’re “an American League fan” falls into the “Dude, even a chick wouldn’t say that” category, from which Rudy never recovered.

Even John Edwards could have come back from his scanda had he not run afoul of the Code.  The Bro Code frowns on, but allows for non-judgement of, cheating on your wife, provided your bros don’t like her better than you.  He also broke the less serious “So not worth it, dude,” statute.

This is why Gavin Newsom has no chance to win the California Governorship, for which he has announced he is running today. (Following the “no prepositions at the end of a sentence” rule is, itself, a minor Bro Code infraction.  Sorry, Bros.)  Newsom committed a “Duuuuuude!”-level violation when he started sleeping with his campaign manager’s wife.  Not only will he not be governor, he will also not be watched football with, played poker with, nor allowed to drink beer.  If you see Newsom with a beer bottle, that’s because he snuck into the bathroom and poured his Zima into it.

It’s a shame. really, because the Bro Code, while high on inviolability, allows for all kinds of reprehensible behavior.  If you can’t manage to keep from shaming yourself in the eyes of people who don’t even require you to take a “full shower” every day (you’re permitted to substitute for up to 2 days with deodorant and Scope), you definitely don’t deserve to be governor.