Maybe the word "diktat" was over the top, but the President had no business allowing the political wing of the WH getting involved so much and so early in a Democratic primary. Sestak had alleged that he was offered an administrative position if he did not run in the primary. Sestak won not because of the President, he won in spite of the President. It's a political fig leaf to say that the President always supports the incumbent. I ask which incumbent? Because Specter was not a Democratic incumbent a year ago. I am sorry the people of the Democratic party just showed in PA and AR that they are willing to go their own way against the advices of Washington.
Some daft people might call the Presidential endorsement a weak one (incidentally I don't consider recording a political ad a weak endorsement), but if he came an actually campaigned for Specter he would have alienated Sestak and a huge chunk of Democratic activists forever. Most people I know here in PA were quite upset that the Democratic and WH political machinery was backing an opportunist rather than a proven rank and file Democrat whose only "sins" were he decided to run in a primary and he decided to run left of the Washington establishment.
He just get his head wrapped around the fact that rank and file Democrats have gone their way in two different states against the diktats of the White House. Until this last weekend David Plouffe was sending emails in support of Specter, while the President was cutting ads for him.
The Reed staff memo was to implement Hyde amendment as it stood in 1998 on to medicare funded abortions. In 1998 Hyde language covered abortions for women whose life was in danger and also for rape and incest. However, it banned abortion for vulnerable and disabled women and sympathetic cases that did not fit the Hyde restrictions. I apologize for quoting the report verbatim. Josh Gerstein who wrote the report linked above seems like an idiot who does not know how to read in the English language, I should have rechecked the memo myself. But the fact still remains that the memo encouraged the President to take a politically expedient stand, rather than side with women's rights.
Let's just say it once and for all, even though the HCR bill has some good things like high risk pools and letting people with pre-existing conditions buy insurance, all that could have been done without spending a dime. Instead what we have is a behemoth that as of today has projected costs $1T but has no adequate measures to keep costs down, nothing to enforce the insurence companies from raising their premiums, or for that matter prevent rescision. A few days ago, Frontline on PBS covered the HCR battle and painted it as a great example of this President's leadership!! The only reason this bill does not cost more and actually has a few progressive ideas is because of the Speaker. This President has time and again shown that when it comes to taking a principled stand, versus taking the politically expedient stand, he chooses the latter. Make no mistake, the HCR bill was always going to be a larger version of MA Commonwealth care with all the problems that is plaguing it now, that is why the President's point man in the Senate was the insurance company shill Max Baucus. So a centrist President gave us a Heritage foundation bill and the same centrist President is giving us Elena Kagan, who it is now revealed encouraged then President Clinton to "deny Medicare funding for abortions in cases of rape or incest – in part to avoid a messy battle with Republicans". How very Obamaesque!! More incumbent Democrats will lose their seat, or just retire because it is hard to run on something that is wishy-washy and politically expedient, versus something that is grounded on principles. And people ask why isn't the Democratic base energized?? sheesh!!
She reflects the President in his non-conformity and refusal to jump into the fray to take a principled stand. Read this opinion piece by David Brooks, you can freely interchange Kagan with Obama, and it will describe the personality traits of both individuals.
This race is being followed for a long time at FDL. Colleen Hanabusa has the backing of Hawaii's two democratic senators, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Emily's list and is a widely popular Democratic state senator. Ed Case on the other hand is supported by DCCC and Washington "Democratic strategists". End result, what should have been an easy win for Hanabusa might well end up being a win for the Republican, due to splitting of Democratic votes. Welcome to the Third Way politics, where Washington backs "moderate" candidates and proceeds to fuck it all up. Another reason why people should donate to Act Blue and individual candidates instead of the Washington based political machinery.
I think you mean the minority is governing, I get your point. Which makes it worthwhile for the President to encourage the Senate leadership to call their bluff on important issues. Let me them stand in front of the nation and read the telephone directory instead of debating important legislations. They should have done that during HCR (but that was extremely bungled by all parties esp the WH and the Senate), they called the Republican bluff during the current financial regulation bill and they should also call their bluff on immigration reform. That requires leadership and a certain amount of intestinal fortitude.
"Seems like you are fairly well connected there...perhaps you should take it up with them."
I swear you would think that she is the official mouthpiece of the OFA.
Anyway, regarding liability, the reason Russian and French companies can go ahead is because their liability is underwritten by their government. In case of private US companies the sticking point is what should the liability cap be, espcially given that one of the worst industrial disasters in India happened under a US based company, and the health and environmental fallout from that is still ongoing.
At some point of time the President has to decide when to go it alone. He came with a historical mandate and a clear majority in both Senate and the House. One would expect that he would use his bully pulpit effectively to push HIS agenda through instead of diluting it further and further for people who have stated time and time again that their goal is not only NOT cooperate with him but to actually see him FAIL.If anything his reluctance to take them head on is leading to disillusionment within his own base.
In the end it comes down to leadership. If there is a tough leader in Washington it's Nancy Pelosi and that's why she is the right's most hated person. Even this week, we saw the President make an effort to dodge leadership on immigration. He basically said that the Congress does not have the will to tackle immigration this year. What happened next? Harry Reid introduced the framework for immigration reform and Pelosi said that Congress will tackle immigration reform if there is leadership from the WH. Leadership in this case is the other way around, the WH trying to abdicate its responsibility of taking a stand on contentious issues, whereas the Senate and Congress leaders are not quite ready to give him a pass so easily, especially in the wake of this toxic Arizona law.
"While most Western economies have taken action to rein in excessive debit card swipe fees, here in the U.S., the credit and debit card industry continues to hurt retailers and consumers by setting rates indiscriminately and raising rates at will," said John Emling, senior vice president for government affairs at Retail Industry Leaders Association, in a statement. "Without interchange reforms in the U.S., reform in Europe means the credit card industry will look to American retailers and consumers to make up lost revenue. As Congress debates comprehensive financial reform, now is the time to bring appropriate oversight and transparency to interchange fees."
Before that bill got enacted, every credit card company raised their retroactive rates sky high. Now they are charging fees for going over the limit and while they cannot raise your rates retroactively anymore, they circumvent that by increasing your interest on future purchases, unless you decide to cancel your card. So behind the fancy name the bill does nothing to prevent the credit card companies from fleecing the average consumers.
The same thing can be said about the healthcare bill. It has no provisions to enforce that insurance companies do not drop people by rescision or raise their rates, beyond dropping them from the exchange. So if you are locked into your employer based insurance you are at their mercy.
Of course the senate is to blame. The money they get from various third parties is strong motivation to leave things as it is, and if you have to rock the boat, well not too much. Even now we are stuck with two choices on financial reform, a flawed bill versus do nothing. It is as if the American people are forced to swallow whatever crap that is dished out as the best thing out there. The present bill can be made much stronger if the Brown-Kaufman amendment is adopted. My bet is it will not happen, why? Same reason; too much money and power is wielded in the senate by the very same industry that this bill is supposed to regulate. If we have a modicum of progressive ideas in the healthcare or the finance bill, thank the House and Nancy Pelosi for that.
Come election time we will be asked to donate our money and time to people who don't give a damn about us, so know where your Senator and Congressman stands on the issue. If he represents you then vote for him, campaign for him and give him money, but if not don't waste your time.