Open Thread

The Open Thread for February 26, 2017

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez has defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, The Hill reports.   “Perez won with 235 votes on the second ballot, with 218 votes needed to reach a majority. He fell just shy in the first ballot, totaling 213.5 votes.”

Perez wisely and immediately nominated Ellison to be his deputy Chair, which was unanimously approved.   Like I have said before, I would have been happy with either, and I really do not understand how some Berners are upset because they think Perez is some centrist Establishment guy that will protect the status quo.  To them I have and will continue to say: name one difference on policy or strategy between Ellison and Perez.  There is none.    And what status quo?   We are rebuilding a party here, not preserving some functioning status quo.   It is time for Berners to leave the primary back in 2016.   Not every race is Bernie v. Hillary.    Hillary is never coming back.  She is gone.  Perez is not a proxy for Hillary.  If anything, he is a proxy for Obama, and good luck trying to tell any Democrat that Obama must be defeated.  He is the most successful and popular Democratic President since FDR.

Rick Klein and Sushanna Walshe: “The best thing to happen to Obamacare might have been Donald Trump. A new Kaiser tracking poll has the approval rating for the Affordable Care Act up to 48% – the highest it’s been in some 60 such polls. Lawmakers, of course, are hearing about that newfound popularity firsthand at raucous town halls that are developing into mirror-image opposites of the famous Tea Party events that hurt the bill’s popularity back in 2009 and 2010.”

“With President Trump’s address to Congress coming on the eve of the month slated for repeal/replace, it may be that Republicans have lost critical momentum around what they all once agreed would be their top priority. Former House Speaker John Boehner’s statements on the difficulty the GOP will have in undoing Obamacare is a clue to the anxiety Republicans are feeling right now about their promise of repeal.”

“A critically ill woman from El Salvador who was awaiting emergency surgery for a brain tumor was forcibly moved from a Texas hospital to a detention center by federal agents, raising concerns about President Trump’s directive to more aggressively pursue people living in the country illegally,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Sara Beltran-Hernandez, 26, a mother of two young children, was bound by her hands and feet and removed by wheelchair from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who brought her to a detention facility in Alvarado, Texas.”

New Yorker: “For many national-security officials, the e-mail hacks were part of a larger, and deeply troubling, picture: Putin’s desire to damage American confidence and to undermine the Western alliances— diplomatic, financial, and military—that have shaped the postwar world.”

“The working theory among intelligence officials involved in the case is that the Russian approach—including hacking, propaganda, and contacts with Trump associates—was an improvisation rather than a long-standing plan.”

Said one official: “After the election, there were a lot of Embassy communications — to Moscow — saying, stunned, ‘What we do now?’”

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that all five of the media outlets President Trump singled out for attack last week are seen as credible by majorities of the public.  Out of the Trump friendly outlets only Fox News comes out seen as more credible than not, but it is still seen as less credible than all the mainstream outlets Trump targeted in his media attack tweet last week.

A draft House Republican repeal bill would dismantle Obamacare subsidies and scrap its Medicaid expansion, Politico reports.

“The legislation would take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high-risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020.”

“The replacement would be paid for by limiting tax breaks on generous health plans people get at work — an idea that is similar to the Obamacare ‘Cadillac tax’ that Republicans have fought to repeal.”

“A Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of Russia’s effort to influence last year’s U.S. election is shaping up as an unexpectedly bipartisan effort that could take months to complete as it explores the most significant controversy shadowing the new Trump administration,” Bloomberg reports.

“The investigation, which will involve scouring highly classified material, is still in its early stages, but Republicans are so far joining Democrats on the panel in pledging to conduct it in a serious manner.”

“Republican replacement plans for Obamacare would lead to significant declines in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage,” according to a McKinsey analysis presented at the National Governors Association and obtained by Vox.

“The analysis includes graphs on what the Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare’s tax credits, generally making them less generous, would do. They are based on the recent 19-page proposal that Republican leadership released about their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

President Trump announced that he will not be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a break with past presidents, The Hill reports.  “Many have speculated that Trump’s appearance at the 2011 dinner fueled his desire to enter the political arena.”  Hollywood Reporter: “Following president Trump’s announcement… users on social media began suggesting actor Alec Baldwin take his place at the event.”

 

 

 

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