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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Reid’
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
Tea Party Kicks off Tour as 20,000+ Rally in Searchlight, Nevada as Reid Supporters Attack Throwing Eggs; UPDATE: AP Admits Huge Crowd, Omits Reports of Reid Supporters Attacks; Breitbart testimony added; UPDATE #2: Politico reports 20,000 in attendance, debunks Palin smear, reports claims of Reid supporter attacks; 2008 Obama Violent Quotes Added
Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Building upon a tide of rising of discontent throughout America regarding the recent historical passage of the gigantic Democratic comprehensive health reform plan known as Obamacare, tea party activists held a rally in the hometown of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today with at least 20,000 gathering to hear headline speaker Sarah Palin. In what many are terming a “conservative Woodstock,” Sarah Palin spoke about the need for the federal government to cut its bloated budget and to rollback the massive Obamacare package, a desire held by many across America and perhaps everyone in the crowd today judging by the cheers. Palin’s key moment came when discussing Democratic control of Congress, when she stated that Americans should say in November 2010 that “You’re Fired”.
The establishment media, of course, is working to delegitimize and smear the tea party movement in the wake of the passage of Obamacare, with the AP clearly putting out this narrative before today’s rally:
Organizers predict as many as 10,000 people could come to tiny Searchlight, the hardscrabble former mining town where the Senate Democratic leader grew up and owns a home. But a light turnout or disruptions could lead to questions about the emerging movements’ credibility and direction.
The rally that’s been called a conservative Woodstock takes place just days after the historic health care vote that ushered in near-universal medical coverage and divided Congress and the nation.
The vote was followed by reports of threats and vandalism aimed at some Washington lawmakers, mostly Democrats who supported the new law.
Police don’t expect problems but the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is sending dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers to patrol the crowd.
The AP, of course, fails to mention that the senior Jewish politician in America, GOP House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), had a bullet hit one of his Virginia offices (as confirmed by Richmond, VA police). Considering the massive turnout today, clearly exceeding the estimates of organizers, Americans now know that the tea party is far from finished and perhaps still building strength after the passage of Obamacare. Live reporting from the scene on cable reports that the main highway into tiny Searchlight, Nevada is hopelessly jammed with other folks trying to make it to the rally while a mile long line to enter the rally area, as all available parking on the scene is occupied and folks are parking in town and having tour buses drop them off near the rally and heading in on foot.
Despite the establishment media’s claims that the tea partiers are an violent, angry mob, today’s event was marred only by attacks from supporters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), as about 35 Reid supporters lined the street leading into the rally and threw eggs at the passing traffic, including the Tea Party Express buses. Such conduct is clearly a threat to the safety of those traveling on the street and a sign of the extremism rising on the left, despite what the media may report. Further, other Reid supporters actually attacked conservative media personality Andrew Breitbart, throwing eggs at him and threats of violence according to those on the scene:
Supporters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staged a counter-protest today in Searchlight, Nevada, the Senator’s hometown. Reid supporters gathered just down the road from the launching point of the Tea Party Express tour, and when Breitbart happened upon them, he was met with threats of violence. At least one protester threw an egg at Brietbart, missing him. Eggs were also thrown at the Tea Party Express bus.
We expect the establishment media to ignore these violent acts and threats of violence by Reid supporters directed at tea party activists, as such incidents do not fit into the establishment media’s narrative of tea party “extremism”. At a minimum, the media should demand answers about what Reid campaign officials organized the 35 Reid supporters to show up on the side of the street and whether the highly dangerous tossing of eggs into a motorway was sanctioned by such officials, and if not sanctioned, what did Reid’s people do to stop it, if anything.
Indeed, the level of enthusiasm necessary to pack a town of only 500 registered voters like Searchlight with 10’s of thousands of people is unlike anything seen in America in many decades. Considering that President Obama’s approval has again begun to decline, dipping back under 50% after a brief post-Obamacare bounce, the conventional wisdom of the establishment media and all Democratic politicians that the passage of Obamacare would lead to a substantial jump in Democratic fortunes appears to be collapsing, one rally and one poll at a time.
UPDATE: The Associated Press this evening filed a story about the tea party rally today in Searchlight, Nevada, and as expected, did not report the fact that Reid supporters pelted passing cars and tea party buses with eggs from the side of the motorway and threatened Andrew Breitbart, as documented by Breitbart’s radio appearance later in the day. Considering the AP’s reporting of the phantom racial slurs in DC that no one in America has any video or audio evidence actually occurred, despite the presence of many network cameras and folks’ video phones that day in DC, it is unsurprising that the AP refuses to report the Reid supporters’ conduct. Amazingly, the AP did report on the Reid supporters’ presence in the area, but did not report on their activities of throwing eggs at passing vehicles or their threats of violence towards conservative activist Andrew Breitbart:
Reid supporters set up a hospitality tent Saturday in the parking lot of a Searchlight casino, about a mile from the tea party rally. The Senate leader planned to spend part of the day at a new shooting range in Las Vegas with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
Luis Salvador, 55, an unemployed fire sprinkler fitter, drove down from Las Vegas to support Reid, who he said has done a lot for the state and doesn’t deserve the protest brought to his hometown.
“You don’t come to a man’s house and start creating a ruckus,” said Salvador, a registered independent. He and several others taped signs saying “Nevada Needs Harry Reid” to the side of a truck near the highway that runs through town.
Another Reid supporter, Judy Hill, 62, said she doesn’t understand the hatred of Reid. The longtime Democrat from Searchlight said she thinks people just don’t know the man she calls a friend.
“They listen to the rhetoric. I think he’s very misunderstood and under-appreciated,” she said.
It is beyond question that this AP reporter, Michael R. Blood, had access to the internet and could have, and probably did, read the release of the tea party organizers which reported the violent activities by the Reid supporters. The AP’s Blood could have easily talked to Breitbart or listened to his radio appearance, or talked to Levi Russell, who issued the release for the Tea Party Express describing the violent conduct of the Reid supporters, and then interviewed others who were on the tea party bus that was attacked. However, the AP’s Blood chose not to pursue this angle of the story, as it would have been damaging to the Democratic Party, which the AP has sworn undying fealty to in all of its reporting, apparently.
Sadly, this cover up of the violent activities and rhetoric of the Democratic Reid supporters, as testified to by Andrew Breitbart, is just another chapter in the biased and slanted reporting of the establishment media, explicitly demonstrating the double-standard employed by the establishment media of always downplaying or omitting any untoward activities by liberals while inventing or exaggerating any untoward activities by conservatives. Indeed, reporter Blood seems somewhat perplexed that there was no violence amongst the tea party’s 10,000+ crowd, saying that the event “appeared peaceful“.
Further, the AP’s Blood makes a curious point in reporting on Breitbart’s speech:
Conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart disputed accounts that tea party activists in Washington shouted racial epithets at black members of Congress amid the health care debate, although he didn’t provide any evidence.
“I know you’re not a racist group,” he told the crowd.
Unmentioned by the AP’s Blood is that the Democrats did not “provide any evidence” that any tea party protester “shouted racial epithets at black members of Congress” other than their own “testimony” in front of the cameras. Indeed, also unmentioned by AP’s Blood is the fact that Breitbart offered a $10,000.00 donation to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could produce any audio or video evidence of the use of any racial epithets:
If we let them get away with Saturday’s stunt — using the imagery of the Civil Rights era and hurtful lies to cast aspersions upon the tea party whole — then they really will have won the day.
It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.
And surely if those cameras did not capture such abhorrence, then someone from the mainstream media — those who printed and broadcast his assertions without any reasonable questioning or investigation — must themselves surely have it on camera. Of course we already know they don’t. If they did, you’d have seen it by now.
THOUSANDS OF TIMES.
Rep. Lewis, if you can’t do that, I’ll give him a backup plan: a lie detector test. If you provide verifiable video evidence showing that a single racist epithet was hurled as you walked among the tea partiers, or you pass a simple lie detector test, I will provide a $10K check to the United Negro College Fund.
Of course, no such evidence has been forthcoming or produced because, in all likelihood, the claims of racial taunts by Democrats were simply spurious claims made to distract the American public from the content of the massive Obamacare package and to smear those who oppose it. Recall the story a few weeks ago that Democrats were planning ways to bring down the tea party movement, by perhaps turning one of its leaders into a “mole” and smearing the rest as extremists:
Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a “push/pull” strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign. (Has MSNBC already been notified?)
Big Government has also learned that James Carville will head up the effort.
Obviously, there is no love lost between Obama and the Clinton machine. It may at first seem odd that Clinton would rush to Obama’s defense, but the tea party movement poses a threat far beyond the immediate goals of the Obama Administration.
The tea party movement could evolve into a new political realignment, one founded on a belief in limited government and less government interference in the economy. The Progressive agenda, which has been painstakingly built up over the last three decades, could be left in tatters.
As the Clinton’s know, “politics ain’t beanbag.” Expect the counterattack soon. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
The avalanche of Democratic claims this week of racial slurs and hysteria about “threats” appear to be the very “counterattack” of the Democrats against the tea party that was predicted by Breitbart. Nancy Pelosi and company strolled down the middle of the tea party protest hoping to get a you-tube moment of a screamed slur or even a physical confrontation – but the tea party protesters simply didn’t provide any such video moment to the Democrats. Because of this lack of evidence, the Democrats have been forced to go out on a limb and, in our view, falsely assert that slurs were made that no one managed to get a recording of, despite the rolling cameras of multiple networks and hundreds of camera phones during the walk up to Capitol Hill. It is truly a sad day in America when the establishment media reports as fact claims made by Democrats about racial slurs for purely political reasons without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.
The AP did, however, grudgingly admit that a giant crowd of tea party supporters descended on tiny Searchlight, Nevada:
At least 9,000 people streamed into tiny Searchlight, a former mining town 60 miles south of Las Vegas, bringing American flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” signs and outspoken anger toward Reid, President Barack Obama and the health care overhaul.
Organizers had said up to 10,000 people might come; around 1 p.m., police estimated the crowd was between 9,000 and 11,000.
Note that the first paragraph excerpted above, near the top of the article, uses the low estimate, and only later in the article, near the end, does the AP’s Blood admit that “police estimated the crowd was between 9,000 and 11,000” which was what organizers had hoped for. Of course, earlier in the day, before the rally, AP’s Blood had this to say, trying to set up his ability to write a hit piece on the tea party after the rally:
Organizers predict as many as 10,000 people could come to tiny Searchlight, the hardscrabble former mining town where the Senate Democratic leader grew up and owns a home. But a light turnout or disruptions could lead to questions about the emerging movements’ credibility and direction.
Of course, as Blood reported, the turnout was heavy at the rally and the rally “appeared peaceful“. One might expect Blood to write a story reporting that the tea party showed its building “credibility and relevance” after the passage of Obamacare, considering the rousing success of the rally; one might also expect the AP’s Blood to report upon the press release of the Tea Party Express claimed Reid supporters were engaged in violent acts against the passing tea party buses from the side of the motorway, throwing eggs, or the threats of violence against Breitbart. Sadly, AP’s Blood was not there to report objectively on the facts of what happened, he was there to write a hit piece on the tea party – which, fortunately, he was unable to do because of the indisputable success of the rally today.
The violent acts and threats of Reid’s supporters will now fade into the memory hole of unreported facts, despite Breitbart’s testimony, as the AP story on the rally will likely be the only mainstream media reporting to emerge from today’s rally. If tea party supporters had been the ones tossing eggs into oncoming traffic on the side of the highway, or if tea party supporters had been the ones shouting threats of violence, we can be certain that the AP’s Blood would have started and ended his story reporting those facts. All told, the biased and slanted reporting of the AP today is yet another example of the partisan and ideological nature of America’s media in the 21st century.
“When we talk about fighting for our country, let’s clear the air right now about what it is that we’re talking about,” she told a crowd estimated by organizers at 20,000 gathered for a rally in a windswept desert lot about four miles north of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s tiny hometown. “We’re not inciting violence. Don’t get sucked into the lame-stream media lies.”
Palin said “violence isn’t the answer.” She said “our vote is our arms” and encouraged activists not to be discouraged by the passage of the Democratic healthcare overhaul bill last week, but rather to channel their energies into defeating congressional Democrats who supported the legislation.
Democrats this week accused Palin of exacerbating the already tense atmosphere after last weekend’s House vote passing the overhaul by telling her followers via twitter “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” and by singling out 20 House Democrats who voted for the health care bill as targets on her website using a map with cross-hair gun sights on their districts.
The targeting phraseology is commonly used by political pros to indicate priority races, but Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told a New York television station that Palin’s presentation was dangerous, given the context.
Even left-leaning Politico cannot stomach the Democratic strategy of claiming Sarah Palin is “inciting violence” by targeting vulnerable Democrats for electoral elimination, noting that such “targeting phraseology is commonly used by political pros to indicate priority races”. Perhaps today’s rally will be the turning point where the establishment media stops reporting the ridiculous smears of Palin and the tea partiers fed to them by Democratic strategists and instead begins to actually focus on the substance of the massive Obamacare passage the Democrats have just passed into law.
Amazingly, Politico actually reported the egg throwing at passing tea party buses by Reid supporters and the violent threats upon Breitbart:
Conservative talk show host Mark Williams, an official with the political action committee that sponsored the rally, rejected media reports of slurs directed at House Democrats during tea party rallies in Washington before Sunday’s vote, which were based on first-hand accounts from reporters and members of Congress.
“That’s a crock,” he said, alleging that when his group’s buses – emblazoned with “Tea Party Express” – drove down Searchlight’s main street, they were pelted with eggs by Reid supporters, who lined the sidewalks waving mass-produced placards saying “Welcome to Reid Country.”
Williams declared “Thuggery is a left-wing tactic. We denounce it. We will not stand for it.”
On the homepage of the Big Government site of Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, who spoke at the rally, a headline reads: “Harry Reid Supporters Attack Tea Party Bus!… Update: Breitbart Attacked!”
Now that an establishment media source has actually reported the violent, unsafe actions by Reid supporters and their violent threats to Breitbart, perhaps the story will gain some traction. Finally, regarding the claims that the GOP engaged in the incitement of aggression or violence by tea party protesters over Obamacare, perhaps the media should take a trip into the way back machine and review these Obama quotes:
Barack Obama, June 2008: “‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun”
Has any Republican or tea party leader told his or her supporters to “bring a gun” to a fight with political opponents, or told his or her supporters to “argue with them and get in their face” in reference to liberals? Of course not, because if that had happened, it would be front page news in the extraordinarily biased establishment media.
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
In a most unwelcome development for President Barack Obama and the Democrats, the Senate Parliamentarian made two ruling in the GOP’s favor on point of orders regarding the add-on student loans portion of the reconciliation bill, meaning that Obamacare must return to the House for another vote. Democrats have been parrying GOP amendments all night long with the excuse that no changes can be made because the bill must pass now without any further House votes while admitting some agreement with some of the merits of the amendments themselves. Politico reports:
The all-night session came as Republicans offered 29 amendments in a final attempt to scuttle the bill, or at least force Democrats into taking politically difficult votes that could be used against them in November. Democrats steadily rejected each amendment, arguing that any changes would send the bill back to the House for another vote, an outcome Senate Democrats worked mightily to avoid before the parliamentarian’s ruling early Thursday.
Obama and the Democrats now face the worst of both worlds: after having voted down many reasonable amendments, such as closing the exemption from Obamacare’s rules for top Congressional and White House leadership or banning the use of federal funds to purchase viagra for sex offenders, for the sake of avoiding another House vote, now there will be another House vote, making the rejection of all GOP amendments appear unreasonable. It has been a long night in the Senate, with continuous voting occurring all night until about 3AM, with 29 GOP Obamacare amendments voted down in with only a few Democratic crossover votes. Of course, no GOP votes were with the Democrats, meaning that once again only the opposition to Obamacare was bipartisan. Obama and the Democrats were desperately attempting to avoid that exact outcome, as noted by the NYT:
WASHINGTON — With the Senate working through an all-night session on a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care legislation, Republicans early Thursday morning identified parliamentary problems with at least two provisions that will require the measure to be sent back to the House for yet another vote, once the Senate adopts it.
Senate Democrats had been hoping to defeat all of the amendments proposed by Republicans and to prevail on parliamentary challenges so that they could approve the measure and send it to President Obama for his signature. But the bill must comply with complex budget reconciliation rules, and Republicans identified some flaws.
The key question in Washington tomorrow is whether Obama and the Democrats can get the reconciliation bill out of the Senate tomorrow and obtain the needed additional House vote to allow the completion of the Obamacare legislating before the Easter recess:
Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Republicans consulting with the Senate parliamentarian had found “two minor provisions” that violate Congress’ budget rules. The provisions deal with Pell grants for low-income students.
Manley said those two provisions will be removed from the bill, and he expected the Senate to approve the measure and send it to the House. Manley said Senate leaders, after conversations with top House Democrats, expect the House to approve the revised measure.
Both chambers are hoping to begin a spring recess by this weekend.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (D-IO) stated that Senate Democrats expected the House to “quickly pass the bill with these minor changes.”
A spokeswoman for Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the provisions struck out by the parliamentarian were minor.
“The parliamentarian struck two minor provisions tonight from the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act,” the spokeswoman, Kate Cyrul, said. “These changes do not impact the reforms to the student loan programs and the important investments in education. We are confident the House will quickly pass the bill with these minor changes.”
A third issue, in addition to the two successful GOP challenges related to the add-on student loans measure, remains in front of the Senate Parlimentarian, so more changes may end up being made. The fact that another House vote will occur at all is sure to magnify the political impact of the votes cast on the 29 GOP amendments, as now the GOP can argue that some of the reasonable changes suggested by the GOP could just have quickly been passed by the House. One such issue that is sure to draw a lot of focus is the attempt by Iowa GOP Senator Charles Grassley (R-IO) to pass an amendment which would have closed a loophole inserted by Harry Reid which excludes White House and Congressional leadership and their staffs:
An amendment that would have applied the new health care law to the president, vice president, top White House cabinet members and staffers and certain Congressional staffers failed Wednesday night, 43-56.
Three Democrats—Evah Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska—broke with their party to vote in favor of the motion to waive the point of order on the amendment.
The current law signed by President Barack Obama Tuesday applies to members of Congress and their staffs, but includes a loophole that does not require committee or leadership staffers to participate in the exchanges established by the government.
Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who spent months over the summer working on the health care legislation in committee, said in a statement following the vote that “Congressional leaders have had other opportunities to fix the double standard but have repeatedly opted not to do so.”
“It’s only fair and logical that administration leaders and congressional staff, who fought so hard to overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves,” Grassley said. “If the reforms are as good as promised, then they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, public officials will be in a position to really understand the problems, as they should.”
Obama and the Democrats will now have to explain why they and their staffs need an exemption from Obamacare’s provisions while all other Americans do not, feeding into a narrative about how the Democratic leadership sees itself as above the law. GOP Senator David Vitter (D-LA) also got into the act by imploring the Democrats to pass his amendment, which would have exempted mobile breast cancer detection units from fuel taxes, because the “bill is already going back to the House.”
Before the discovery of the parliamentary issues, Democrats had already succeeded in defeating more than two dozen Republican amendments or other proposals aimed at derailing the legislation or making changes that would delay it by forcing an additional vote in the House.
Shortly before 2:30 a.m., Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, put forward yet another amendment. Mr. Vitter’s proposal would have exempted mobile mammography units from paying a federal fuel tax.
In urging adoption of his amendment, Mr. Vitter declared, “This reconciliation bill is already going back to the House.”
The AP summarized the major GOP Obamacare amendments rejected by solely Democratic votes:
Senators voted on 29 consecutive GOP amendments between 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 a.m. Thursday, when they recessed.
By 57-42, Democrats rejected an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., barring federal purchases of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. Coburn said it would save millions, while Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., called it “a crass political stunt.”
Democrats also deflected GOP amendments rolling back the health law’s Medicare cuts; killing extra Medicaid funds for Tennessee and other state-specific spending; barring tax increases for families earning under $250,000; and requiring the president and other administration officials to purchase health care from exchanges the statute creates.
It remains to be seen whether Pelosi will attempt to get another vote completed immediately after tomorrow’s likely passage of the altered reconciliation bill through the Senate. Considering the post-Obamacare passage polling that shows 62% of Americans, including 41% of Democrats and 66% of Independents, want the GOP to keep fighting Obama and the Democrats over Obamacare, we can expect the House GOP to use every procedural avenue at their disposal to delay the now-needed additional House vote on the Obamacare package.
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
In a Senate Obamacare vote that is certain to end up in 2010 GOP campaign commercials, Senate Democrats rejected a GOP amendment to Obamacare that would have banned the use of federal money to pay for Viagra for sex offenders:
Democrats killed an amendment by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to prevent the newly created insurance exchanges from using federal money to cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for rapists, pedophiles and other sex offenders. The amendment failed 57-42
“The vast majority of Americans don’t want their taxpayer dollars paying for this kind of drug for those kind of people,” Coburn said.
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus urged his colleagues to defeat the amendment.
“This is a serious bill. This is a serious debate. The amendment offered by the senator from Oklahoma makes a mockery of the Senate, the debate and the American people. It is not a serious amendment. It is a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second commercials, not public policy,” he said.
The Democrats appear intent upon ramming through the entirety of the separate House reconciliation amendment to Obamacare without any changes, including the maintenance of the use of federal funds to pay for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. Considering the fact that a substantial majority of Americans, at least 62%, agree that the GOP should continue to fight Obama and the Democrats to obtain changes to the Obamacare package, the present Democratic strategy of “no amendments” may end up backfiring.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
Yes, you read the headline right: Senate Democrats are so concerned about maintaining the exact language of the House reconciliation package for Obamacare that, as reported by Sam Stein of Huffpo, that Senate Dems will vote in lockstep against GOP Senator Tom Coburn’s amendment to ban the funding of viagra for sex offenders:
Democrats in the Senate say they are so committed to passing the House’s version of health care reconciliation fixes verbatim, that they are willing to vote against even the most alluring and unobjectionable of amendments — from legislation banning Viagra for sex offenders to language adding the long-elusive public option.
In what is the final act of the health care reform saga, the Senate on Tuesday began debating reconciliation fixes that the House of Representatives passed two days prior. The process includes a period of what could be unlimited amendments, during which it is widely expected that Republicans will try their best to get the legislation changed.
The idea is that by securing even a slight adjustment in the language, the Senate will have to send the bill back to the House of Representatives for reconsideration. Drawing out the process makes it more likely for it to be tripped up.
On Tuesday, the GOP put its strategy into action, with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okl.) introducing an amendment beyond agreeable. Titled “No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs To Sex Offenders” it would literally prohibit convicted child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders from getting erectile dysfunction medication from their health care providers.
While it will undoubtedly be difficult for Democrats to vote against the measure (one can conjure up the campaign ads already), the party plans to do just that.
“Democrats in the Senate are very unified that this is not going back to the House,” Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday, minutes before the Coburn amendment was introduced.
The coming votes in the Senate on the GOP’s many amendments, including the attempt to ban the provision of viagra to sex offenders, are sure to provide some entertaining political theater and perhaps form the basis for a campaign ad or two against Senate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2010.
CNN: 73% Say Start From Scratch (48%) or Stop Work Completely (25%) on Health Care Reform; UPDATE: 52% Oppose Use of Reconciliation
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
This afternoon CNN released some troubling findings for the Obama Administration: Just 25% of the American public wants Congress to follow the lead of the newly released Obama Health Plan and pass a health care reform plan similar to the plans now before Congress. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 73%, prefer that Congress either start from scratch (48%) or stop work completely on health care reform (25%). Obama’s Health Plan contains essentially the same policies as the bill passed by the Senate, with the addition of price controls for health insurance premiums.
CNN buries the lede in its article accompanying the release of its findings, never mentioning that an overwhelming majority (73%) of the American public disapprove of passing a bill similar to the one before Congress, including four in ten Democrats who want the President and Congress to start over. CNN does manage to state that “nearly three quarters” of Americans want some kind of reform, including in that figure the 48% who want Congress to start over in that grouping in a somewhat dishonest fashion:
Washington (CNN) – Although the overall health care reform bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate are unpopular, many of the provisions in the existing bills are extremely popular, even among Republicans, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that only a quarter of the public want Congress to stop all work on health care, with nearly three quarters saying lawmakers should pass some kind of reform.
Twenty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say Congress should pass legislation similar to the bills passed by both chambers, with 48 percent saying lawmakers should work on an entirely new bill and a quarter saying Congress should stop all work on health care reform.
The poll’s release comes one day before a critical televised health care summit hosted by President Obama that will include top Congressional Democrats and Republicans.
The survey indicates nearly half of all Democrats say Congress should pass legislation similar to the bills passed by both chambers, with nearly 4 in 10 Democrats saying Congress should start from scratch and just 1 in 10 saying lawmakers should stop all work on health care.
A majority of Republicans questioned, 54 percent, want Congress to start from scratch, with just under 4 in 10 saying lawmakers should halt work on health care reform and just 6 percent saying Congress should pass into law the current legislation.
Fifty-two percent of Independents want Congress to start work on a new bill, with 27 percent saying lawmakers should stop all work, and 18 percent saying that the current legislation should be passed into law.
The final finding noted above in the CNN excerpt is truly incredible: a full 79% of Independents reject passing the current bills before Congress or something similar and only 18% of Independents favor moving forward with the present bills as advocated by the Obama Health Plan. That’s a 61 point gap between approval and disapproval, running against the plan initiated by the release of the Obama Health Plan last Monday and subsequent advocacy of the reconciliation process to circumvent the filibuster and push through Obamacare by the President and his Democratic congressional allies. With the mood of the country so clearly opposed to moving forward with the present bills or something similar in Congress, Obama must provide an incredible performance tomorrow to move public opinion back his way to convince nervous Democrats in Congress that proceeding with pushing through Obamacare now is in their best electoral interest.
UPDATE: Hotair points out that a new USAToday/Gallup poll taken yesterday shows the public opposed to Obama’s possible use of reconciliation to pass Obamacare by a 52%/39% margin and that only 22% of the public thinks the health care summit will result in a bipartisan deal.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated Monday that, if necessary, the White House was open to using a parliamentary maneuver known as reconciliation to bypass a prospective filibuster in the Senate. That means a measure could pass the Senate with a 51-vote majority rather than the 60 votes needed to end debate.
Americans are opposed 52%-39% to using that device to get a bill through.
The poll of 1,009 adults nationwide, taken by landline and cellphone Tuesday, has a margin of error of +/—4 percentage points.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Explosive new video has surfaced today that shows President Barack Obama, and many other prominent Democrats condemning the Bush Administration in 2005 for Bush’s attempt to use reconciliation to push through judicial nominees. These 2005 quotes are particularly jarring when compared to the 2010 quotes from the same folks about Obama’s attempt to use reconciliation to pass Obamacare. Senator Barack Obama, on 4/26/05, in response to a question on the “nuclear option” (how Democrats in 2005 characterized then-President Bush’s attempts to use reconciliation):
“He hasn’t gotten his way…uh…and that is now prompting a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate uh forever and uh what I worry about would be that you essentially have still two chambers the House and the Senate but you have simply majoritarian uh absolute power on on either side and that’s just not what the Founders intended.”
Present Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid weighs in as well back on 5/18/2005, noting that
“The right to extend a debate is never more important than when one party controls both Congress and the White House. The filibuster serves as a check, on power, preserve our limited government.”
Considering Leader Reid’s comments yesterday that the Republicans should “stop crying” about Obama’s planned use of reconciliation to push through Obamacare, Reid’s comments in 2005 are particularly explosive in terms of today’s health care debate. Present Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also chimed in with a verbal barrage on 5/23/2005 against then President Bush about controlling himself and calling upon her GOP collegues to go to Bush and tell him reconciliation is “a bridge to far” and that “you have to restrain yourself Mr. President.” One could argue, in aftermath of the shocking GOP upset win in the Massachusetts Senate race in January 2010 by a candidate, Scott Brown, who explicitly campaigned against passing Obamacare, that a Senator from the Democratic side should have the type of conversation with the President as suggested by Secretary Clinton back in 2005.
Vice President Joe Biden weighed in with his familiar bombastic rhetoric in 2005 as well, stating that “this nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power…it is a fundamental power grab” and further opining in prayer that “”I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.” Of course, Biden now supports the Obama Administration’s plan to use reconciliation to push Obamacare through the Senate with only 50 votes (and his tie breaking vote).
A common theme of all of the Democratic Senators remarks in 2005 revolves around the destruction of the “Republic” and the elimination of the “checks and balances” intended by the Founders that would ensue should President Bush succeed in his effort to use reconciliation. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is now leading the Senate effort to pass a public option through reconciliation, had this to say on 5/18/2005 about Bush’s attempt to use reconciliation:
“We are on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis. The checks and balances which have been at the core of this Republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option. The checks and balances which say if you get 51% of the vote, you dont get your way 100% of the time. It is amazing its almost a temper tantrum.”
Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.) also condemned Bush for attempting to use reconciliation, stating if used reconciliation would mean “the Senate becomes ipso facto, the House of Representatives” while also showing her more dire concern is the use of reconciliation for substantive legislation, not judicial nominees, by stating Bush will start with reconciliation for judicial nominees but then move on to its use in legislation. Perhaps most bombastic of all in 2005 regarding Bush’s attempted use of reconciliation is Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-ND), who solemnly stated that “[t]his is the way that Democracy ends not with a bomb, but with a gavel”. Of course, Bush did not actually use reconciliation to get his nominees through the Senate as a bipartisan deal was reached.
Incredibly, each and every one of the above-quoted then-Democratic Senators, Obama, Reid, Biden, Clinton, Schumer, Baucus and Feinstein, are in favor of the use of reconciliation to pass Obamacare, with many of those same folks actively leading the effort, including now-President Obama. Perhaps an enterprising reporter could ask Harry Reid to explain if this comment also applies to Democratic Administrations like Obama’s: “No, we’re not going to follow the Senate rules…no…because of the arrogance of power of this Republican Administration.” Finally, Harry Reid posts in April 2005 on his Senate website an explanation as to why the improper use of reconciliation must be rejected and the claim to entitlement to an “up or down vote” is suspect:
For the past several months, the Senate has operated under a nuclear cloud. As a result of the Senate’s decision to reject a small number of President Bush’s judicial nominees, the Republican majority has threatened to break the Senate rules, violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.
It is astounding that Republicans would precipitate this destructive confrontation, especially since this President has a better confirmation rate than any of his recent predecessors. The Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush’s judicial candidates and turned back only ten, a 95% confirmation rate. Ten rejected judges – only seven of whom are currently before the Senate – does not seem reason enough for Republicans to break the Senate rules.
My Republican colleagues claim that nominees are entitled to an up-down vote. That claim ignores history, including recent history.
UPDATE: ABC’s Jake Tapper adds another Obama 2005 quote on reconciliation and the Framers of the Constitution:
At the National Press Club on April 26, 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about a move being discussed by Senate Republicans, then in control, to change the Senate rules so as to require a mere majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a potential filibuster.
“You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward,” then-Sen. Obama told the audience.
His remarks have garnered some attention in recent days given the current likelihood that Senate Democrats will next week use “reconciliation” rules, which require only a 51-vote majority, to pass health care reform legislation, bypassing the current Senate rules of requiring 60 votes to cut off a potential filibuster and proceed to a final vote.
The White House has been in recent days setting the table for use of reconciliation rules for health care reform.
UPDATE #2: American Spectator’s blog reprints the 2005 comments by the various Democratic Senators in full.
UPDATE #3: Thanks for the link, Memeorandum.com. Welcome to Memeorandum readers, please take a look around and stay a while. A quick flashback to early February 2010, when President Obama and the new media left were in full attack mode about the evils of the filibuster. This excerpt supplies a stark contrast to the comments made by the left-leaning Democratic Senators quoted above in 2005 when Bush was trying to circumvent the Senate filibuster with Obama’s comments in bold:
The Filibuster Was Never a Good Idea
Yesterday, talking to Democratic Senators, the president offered some thoughts on the filibuster:
So the problem here you’ve got is an institution that increasingly is not adapted to the demands of a hugely competitive 21st century economy. I think the Senate in particular, the challenge that I gave to Republicans and I will continue to issue to Republicans is if you want to govern then you can’t just say no. It can’t just be about scoring points. There are multiple examples during the course of this year in which that’s been the case.
Look, I mentioned the filibuster record. We’ve had scores of pieces of legislation in which there was a filibuster, cloture had to be invoked, and then ended up passing 90 to 10, or 80 to 15. And what that indicates is a degree to which we’re just trying to gum up the works instead of getting business done.
I appreciate what the President is trying to do here and I agree with the spirit of his comments, but the history here is bad. There was no point in time when supermajority voting in the Senate was well-suited to the challenges of the time. Indeed, as David Mayhew has demonstrated it’s simply not the case that there was routine supermajority voting until the recent past. When FDR’s opponents were seeking to block court-packing and when LBJ was lining up support for Medicare, vote-counters assumed that a majority was needed to block initiatives.
The authentic tradition is of using the filibuster as an extraordinary technique for the specific purpose of maintaining white supremacy in the South. A Harding administration anti-lynching initiative fell prey to the filibuster back in the 20s. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Act of 1960 both had to be largely gutted in order to surmount filibusters. And it was recollection of the filibuster’s specific role as a bastion of white supremacy that led to the bipartisan effort to reform the filibuster in 1975 when northern liberal Democrats teamed up with the Ford administration and many Republicans to cut the cloture threshold to 60.
The institution has always been pernicious, just as the malapportionment of the Senate has always been the result of a hardball political negotiation rather than expressing some underlying good idea about the design of political institutions. Part of what makes the filibuster a bad idea is that it’s viability depends on minority party restraint. But the nature of human psychology is to create a procedural downward spiral in which each time there’s a change of partisan control, the new minority steps-up its obstruction.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
In a dramatic statement this morning reported exclusively by Ben Smith at Politico, Democratic House Rep. Bart Stupak rejected yesterday’s 11 page Obama Plan as “unacceptable”:
I was pleased to see that President Obama’s health care proposal did not include several of the sweetheart deals provided to select states in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, the President’s proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.
While most of the media’s focus in the past few days has been on whether Obama and Harry Reid can find 50 Democratic Senators (with VP Biden as tiebreaking vote) to push Obamacare through the Senate using reconciliation, little ink has been spilled regarding whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi can again find 218 Democratic votes for Obamacare. It may be that the more difficult task will be finding the 218 House votes, and Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak’s “unacceptable” comment this morning brings that difficulty into focus. Dick Morris recently wrote about the coming battle to find 218 votes in the House:
We don’t believe that there is any chance of stopping Obama’s renewed push for his horrible health care changes in the Senate. Harry Reid is going to use the reconciliation procedure to jam it through with 51 votes — and he will get them. All the hype about how difficult it will be is to distract us from the real battle which will come in the House.
There, where every member faces re-election, it will be a lot harder for Pelosi to round up the vote she needs. Last time she passed health care by 220-215. This time, a lot of the Democrats who voted for health care are going to be so worried about re-election that they might be induced to jump ship.
Stupak previously led the fight to conform the prior House version of Obamacare to existing law regarding federal funding of abortion and succeeded in forcing through an amendment in the House with tough language disallowing any federal funding of abortion through Obamacare. The Senate bill has much more permissive language regarding such federal abortion funding, and Stupak’s “unacceptable” statement this morning highlights the importance of the abortion policy in Obamacare and could be a sign that the House of Representatives will not pass the Obama Plan without the insertion of Stupak’s prior restrictive language. The key question in days and weeks to come is whether liberal Democratic House members will buckle under and support the restrictive abortion language Stupak is advocating or risk the defeat of Obamacare in the House of Representatives.
Of the 39 Democrats who voted against the House health care bill [in November], 31 of them were elected in districts that went for John McCain in 2008, according to a TAS analysis. One of the Democratic “no” votes, Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama, has subsequently switched parties. Given that a Republican who campaigned on being a vote against the health care bill was just elected to fill the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy in a state that went for Obama by 26 points, it’s hard to see why anybody in a McCain district who already voted “no” would decide switch their vote to “yes.”
While Obama won the districts of the remaining eight “no” votes, in six cases, he won by only single digits, making them potentially competitive races this time around. And a closer look at several members who represent these areas are not very encouraging to proponents of Obamacare…
The biggest problem she faces is that President Obama’s proposal maintains the abortion provision in the Senate bill, rejecting Rep. Bart Stupak’s more restrictive language. When the bill passed the House the first time around, 41 Democrats voted for the health care bill only after voting for the Stupak amendment. Any of them could explain switching to a “no” vote on a final bill by citing abortion funding. Stupak himself has said there are at least 10 to 12 Democrats who voted for the bill the first time who would vote against it if it didn’t include his amendment (he reiterated Tuesday morning that the Senate abortion language adopted by Obama was still “unacceptable”). One of his co-sponsors, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, said at the time that he was only able to vote for the bill after the Stupak language was adopted, and he’s now running for Senate in Indiana, where a Rasmussen poll taken last month shows voters oppose the health care legislation by a 23-point margin.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who opposes abortion rights, has released a statement saying the White House health care reform plan is “unacceptable” because it “encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion.”….
The House health care bill would likely not have passed without the Stupak amendment, which attracted the support of 64 Democrats when it came up for vote.
While the Senate and White House plan bans direct funding of abortions, it allows subsidized individuals to pay for covered abortion services with personal funds.
Meanwhile, according to Politico’s Mike Allen, there are currently not enough votes in the House or Senate to pass a health care reform bill.
“Moderate and endangered lawmakers want the spotlight off comprehensive health reform,” he writes. “Instead, it’s about to take center stage.”