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Member since: 2001
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Dear GOP Senator: Do the Political Math

Dear GOP Senators,

Tomorrow, your leadership promises, you will once again have to go on record making a helluva tough choice. Do you:

a) Vote for the latest version of Not Obamacare; or

b) Vote against it (or abstain, which would be the same thing, effectively)?

Let's set aside the policy details and fiscal numbers, for a moment. Whether you believe the CBO analyses or not, whether you're looking at the big ideological picture or not, when you go home tomorrow night, the thing that's going to haunt your last moments of wakefulness and possibly give you nightmares will really be "what is this going to do to me politically?"

In the short term, the arguments on the side of "voting for it" look pretty compelling. After all, you wouldn't have run as a Republican if that didn't imply a certain commitment to working with your Party's legislative leaders on the Party's agenda. You may be willing to assert some independence on occasion, when the stakes aren't quite so intense and public, but Party leadership has made it abundantly clear that this is NOT that time. The free passes have already been handed out. The ghost of Saint Ronnie expects everyone with an "R" after their name to do his duty.

And consider the loose cannon at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, who's well-known for holding grudges and unleashing hordes of flying monkeys on Social Media against those who offend him. Not to mention the hardline superPACs funded by his supporters and others who've espoused a Sacred Mission to mix it up against opponents of Not Obamacare in the next election cycle.

There's also the little matter of your own public promise, implicit or explicit, to lift the heavy yoke of an imperfect and costly system from the shoulders of those burdened by mandates and premium increases and less-than-optimum options. Who wants to make a public liar out of themselves in this fraught political environment?

I'm getting depressed just reading these powerful arguments, because frankly (well, on a site called "Democratic Underground" it's hardly a stretch to intuit, right?) I'd prefer you looked at the other side of the equation for a minute.

So, first- I've lost track, on the game program, but this is either the third or the fourth go-round for y'all with respect to some version of Not Obamacare, in a period of weeks. After seven years of swearing to drive a stake through the loathly creature's shrivelled and ashy heart, and replace it with something that will be a genuine improvement, those optics don't impress. Everyone- including your own constituents, and plenty of Not Obamacare supporters- knows this is a hot mess of a bill, being jammed through just because Reasons, and not very good Reasons. So... irresponsible, at best.

Second... the PROCESS. OMG, could y'all have gone about it in a more obviously sleazy, underhanded, opaque, slip-one-over-on-the-rubes fashion? Apparently all of these fragrant offerings have been cobbled together in back rooms by a small number of Senators and staff, each with a particular part of Not Obamacare they want to consign to oblivion forever, but without a whole lot of reality-based experience in health care policy and economics, and What Happens When Lots of People Need Health Care but Have No Money. And then having put in all their favorite bits, and added a few clauses that essentially say "and everything else that has anything to do with Obamacare is hereby consigned to outer darkness", they called it "a bill."

And now they want you to vote on it. Without discussion. Without hearings. Without a chance to even make it look as though you're acting with mature and responsible deliberation on behalf of the people of your great state. Get on the bus, wherever it's going, you're all going there together.

And that brings me to the final bit of political math: Where it's going.

Here's where you need to pay attention, Senator. Because while you may be invited to Yet Another Rose Garden Victory Lap, those photo ops are soon over, and those "triumphs" of Legislative Will can go sour awfully fast. Suppose you "win" this one? You and the whole GOP? What does that get you?

It should be fairly clear by this time that one thing it will get you is a turn in the barrel, holding a sackful of turds, as the many people in your great state who lose their insurance coverage or see deductibles and/or premiums take off like a rocket, or see their insurance plans exclude coverage for anything that can be labelled a pre-existing condition, get REALLY PISSED OFF.


It will get you more than a little blowback, since you own the papers on this stumbling nag that brings down the whole field, when your great state's governor has to try and cope with the opioid epidemic, lost Medicaid funds, rural hospitals closing, and a whole nightmare of other consequences.

The GOP will own the results of tomorrow's vote. They (and you) can own a short period of embarassment as y'all admit you maybe jumped the gun on trying to keep a promise, and now going forward you'll have to take the time and deal with the sausage machine to try to do it correctly.

Or they (and you) can own a long, long period of being The Party That Screwed People Out of Their Health Care because they wanted to have a Rose Garden Victory Party with an increasingly unpopular administration.

There it is, Senator.

Your choice.

Choose wisely, and may God help us all.


How it Adds Up: The Bottom Line

Very simple.

Foreign power hostile to the US attempts to influence US elections.


US Presidential Candidate & his campaign know this, see it as in their favor, and collude with foreign power.



Just like 2+2=4.

This is a simple sum. Can't make it add up any other way.

Unless of course you're a Teeper GOP Congressroach.


A Question for Lawyers on DU

As y'all know, at some point in both civil and criminal defense practice, you often end up having to have "the conversation" with your client.

You know... "the conversation" in which you use a lot of gentle euphemisms and tactful terminology, but it essentially comes down to:

"Do you want to look stupid? Or do you want to look criminal?"

And then gently explain that, while things don't look real good, and there's likely to be some stuff the client isn't gonna like having to deal with, either way, the stuff that'll come based on looking stupid will definitely last a shorter time and do less horrible long-term damage than looking criminal.

As in "Either way you're f*%&#d, but if you go with "stupid" you get lube."

THAT conversation.

So, tell me this: Do ya think >Redacted<'s legal staff are prepping for having that conversation?

And... how would you like to be them?

Because I don't think it's gonna go well.


Unifying Democrats

Put not your faith in an individual. No leader, no candidate. They are all human, they all have strengths, they all have flaws. The one who seems "just right" today may still be a fine human being next year or three years from now, but events, conditions, people may combine to eclipse their strengths and magnify their flaws.

Individuals can lead, even unify, political parties temporarily. But what unifies parties and gives them staying power over the long haul isn't this leader or that leader, but an idea. An idea that inspires, draws out the commitment and energy of the voters- both the party faithful, and the broader electorate.

Conversely, the most effective way to shatter a party is to prevent it from articulating and coalescing around an idea.

It's been a long time since the Democratic Party had an idea that could really inspire unity.

And no, "opposing the GOP", sadly, is not it. Nor is "opposing >Redacted<", potent as those notions seem to us right now as we suffer under the wrecking ball.

The idea that will unify us must have the kind of instant clarity that translates into widely shared understanding. It must embrace an array of concerns that includes an overwhelming majority of the electorate. It must both encompass and transcend the vast complexity of detail that is inescapable in the governance of 350 million people.

Every now and then I bring the idea I think best meets these demanding criteria out, and wave it tentatively around. It rarely gets more than a few smiles. Still, I persist. One day, I think, its time will have come. So today I'll try again.

Anyone willing to work full-time may raise a child and retire, without fear for basic needs.

Every single important word or phrase in that comparatively simple sentence encompasses important ideals that the Democratic Party should embody.

"Anyone"- young people, older people who choose to work, people with different physical and developmental capabilities, immigrants and people born here, people of all religious (or no religious) beliefs, people of all ethnicities, appearances, gender identifications, orientations. "Anyone."

"willing"- implying a commitment to participation, to preparation, learning, in pursuit of economic effort of all kinds. "willing."

"work"- an economy that will include enough economic opportunity for all. Wage employment, entrepreneurship, self-employment, co-operative enterprises, all kinds of models to provide all kinds of economic support. "work".

"full-time"- a definition that will balance the needs of a broad workforce and a diverse economy. Right now it's 40 hours, but perhaps it should change to 30? We should discuss. Along with expectations about family leave, vacation and other relevant policies. Certainly, no one should have to work more than that. "full-time".

"may"- everything in this statement is a choice, a choice that rests with each person. If you wish to do these things, the America of the Democratic Party will ensure that the choice is yours to make. If you don't wish to raise a child, work full-time, retire, no one will compel you. You won't be forced into jail, humiliating make-work jobs, deported, etc., just because you don't choose to do these things. "may".

"raise a child"- not just 'have' a child, but raise them. A Democratic America will ensure parents have the resources they need to raise healthy, well-educated children. Including clean air and water, soil that grows healthy food, quality child care, health care, education and more. We value our children and the people who raise them, for all of us. "raise a child".

"retire"- everyone who makes the choice to work full time should be able to look forward to a time when their work pays off in the form of freedom to work less or retire altogether, with dignity and comfort, including health care, communities that value them, safe and comfortable housing, transportation options, and other freedoms. How else can the rest of us enjoy the payoff of having the experience and wisdom of elders integrated into our lives? "retire".

"without fear"- we, the Democratic Party, will not use fear to manipulate voters, and we pledge to build an America secure from fear itself, working to promote equity and economic opportunity throughout the world, to fight terrorism and the forces of fear. "without fear".

"basic needs"- a livable environment, peaceful solutions to global conflicts, an economy that provides opportunity for all, a social infrastructure that supports everyone and embraces the diversity- ages, talents, needs and contributions- of ALL of us. No one willing to participate in this should have to worry about having a home, getting health care they need, education for their children, food that nourishes rather than makes us sick, communication and transportation for us all to connect and thrive. "basic needs".

Anyone willing to work full-time may raise a child and retire, without fear for basic needs.

I truly believe that if the Democratic Party stands for this, we WILL see a stronger unity, a more powerful appeal to the whole electorate, and a better future.

Will it solve all our problems? Hardly. But making this the one thing everyone can say when talking about what the Democratic Party stands for will build a stronger party. It will help us recruit committed members and leaders of conscience. It will give us a touchstone of accountability for the candidates we support.

It doesn't encompass everything. It doesn't include a specific mention of many issues that are critically important to many of us. It says almost nothing about the "hows" of getting from point A (where we are now) to point B (where we want to be).

But I think that's a strength. It gives us room to grow, to evolve as needed. As technology and global conditions change, there's space to adapt how we work to realize this goal.

Once again, I very much doubt this will actually have any effect. But it's worth my time to get it out and wave it around again, because I love America, and the Democratic Party means a lot to me. And so does my grandson's future.

Happy Independence Day, Democratic Underground.

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