Saturday, November 07, 2009
"I cannot comprehend that the enemy was among us," Padilla said.
of someone with, evidently, a clear sense of the "center."
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
(And Jews, white Catholics, and those earning over $200,000.)
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pulled out a narrow re-election victory on Tuesday, as voters angry over his maneuver to undo the city’s term limits law and his extravagant campaign spending provided an unexpected lift to his vastly underfinanced challenger, William C. Thompson Jr.
Unofficial returns showed Mr. Bloomberg with 51 percent and Mr. Thompson with 46 percent. The result will make Mr. Bloomberg only the fourth three-term mayor in the last century.
...the margin seemed to startle Mr. Bloomberg’s aides and the city’s political establishment, which had predicted a blowout. Published polls in the days leading up to the election suggested that the mayor would win by as many as 18 percentage points; four years ago, he cruised to re-election with a 20 percent margin.
The billionaire mayor had poured $90 million of his own fortune into the race, a sum without equal in the history of municipal politics that gave him a 14-to-1 advantage in campaign spending.
...“Everybody was shocked,” a Bloomberg aide said.
Mr. Bloomberg had based his third-term campaign largely on the argument that the city has been better run since he ushered in an era of corporate efficiency and nonpartisan leadership at City Hall... He also pointed to his accomplishments in education, crime reduction and public health.
...Stav Brinbaum, 37, a Web producer from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, described his own vote for the mayor as “unfortunate.”
...according to exit polls, Mr. Bloomberg tapped into his historic sources of strength: Staten Island and Queens backed him by comfortable margins, as did Jews, white Catholics and those earning more than $200,000.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
"Sources" close to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told The Hill yesterday that Reid is expecting Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to vote with the Democratic majority to close debate and move to a final vote when Reid's health care bill hits the Senate floor. Lieberman's public promises to join a GOP filibuster of the bill because it contains a public option are just his attempt to influence the final bill, the sources told the newspaper -- in reality, Lieberman is not a threat to an up or down vote on health care reform.
...Lieberman's official spokesperson denied the claim from Reid's office when the The Hill called. But the paper reports "connected" progressives inside the beltway share Reid's take. "Activists and liberal bloggers" have "seethed" over Lieberman's public comments because they are "out of the loop" on his actual thinking, the paper reports.
The paper reports that even as Lieberman has ramped up his public rhetoric about a filibuster of the health care reform bill, Reid has been telling progressives in D.C. not to worry about the Independent senator. The message appears to have been received.
From the report:
"At the end of the day Sen. Lieberman will vote to cut off debate," said Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager of Healthcare for America Now, a coalition of liberal and labor groups. "He'll do what he has to do. He's making a lot of noise."
If Lieberman's filibuster threats aren't real, why does he continue to make them? More "sources" give The Hill one answer:
Sources attribute Lieberman's public declaration of opposition as an effort to win concessions for his constituents, which include several major insurance companies based in the state.
If there really is a deal between Lieberpit and Reid, as Reid himself says, then you can be sure that Obama is in on the deal.
So what does this suggest? Is Lieberhole's seeming opposition to healthcare "reform" really a charade? Is Lieberanus going to do what Snowe was supposed to do and give Obama and the Dems the cover they need to pay off the death lobby?
Certainly it would serve everyone's interests, at least in the short-term. Everyone would get their money, and Lieberpiss gets to perform as centrist and audition for cabinet roles in future Rethug and Dem administrations.
Whether this serves the Dems' long-term electoral interests is another matter. But no one has shown the least bit of concern about that.
There may be little benefit for established Dems in holding power long-term. Their seats are safe regardless, so why not just worry about getting palms greased, etc.?
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Robert Reich -- Clinton labor secretary, not a left-winger by any stretch of the imagination-- says:
While health care reform, if done right, can help American families stay afloat in the economy, the current bills won't offer most Americans any appreciable decline in the cost of their health insurance nor clear improvement in the efficiency or quality of the health care they receive, and those who will benefit won't see the benefits until 2014 at the earliest. All this is partly a result of Obama's sharpest break from Clinton -- whose ambitious health care plan drew immediate fire from Big Pharma, the American Medical Association, and health insurers: The Obama White House bought off the medical-industrial complex by promising it fatter profits, bolstered by tens of millions of new paying customers.
That and other deals cut with industry -- including promises to Big Pharma that Medicare wouldn't use its bargaining clout to reduce drug prices, to the AMA that doctors wouldn't have to face larger cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates, and to private insurers that the White House wouldn't fight hard for a public insurance option -- are likely to make the resulting reform far more costly than it would be otherwise. These extra costs will be borne by those Americans who will be required to buy insurance but won't qualify for federal assistance, along with Medicare beneficiaries who will be paying more and receiving less. These people may not know they're indirectly paying the costs of buying off these industries, but they'll know they're getting shafted (Republicans will be sure to make them aware, even though the GOP has a much longer record of shafting the middle class for the benefit of big business).