The Open Thread for June 23, 2017

“When it comes to managing Republicans’ best interests, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, rarely loses. So it is possible that Mr. McConnell views the potential failure of a hastily written health care bill as an eventual boon,” the New York Times reports.

“His presentation on Thursday of the Senate’s health care measure to Republican colleagues — after the White House and key lobbyists got a peek the night before — was met with something other than unbridled enthusiasm. According to lawmakers who were at the unveiling, members from the left and right ends of the party’s spectrum were deeply critical of the effort.”

“As Democrats immediately took to the Senate floor to excoriate the bill and the secretive process in which it was put together, few Republicans, even those involved in crafting it, came to defend it.”

Caitlin Owens: “Only hours after the release of the Senate health care bill, four conservative senators put out a statement saying they can’t support the bill in its current form. As of now, moderates have held their fire, saying they need to finish reading and analyzing the bill.”

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds Democrats lead the generic congressional ballot by eight points, 50% to 42%.  It’s the largest lead any party has held on that generic ballot question since 2013.

A new Quinnipiac poll in Virginia shows Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the Virginia governor’s race by eight points, 47% to 39%.

Key finding: Just 25% of voters said they were more likely to vote for a candidate supporting President Trump, and 46% said they were less likely to vote for a Trump-friendly candidate.

Former President Barack Obama took to his Facebook page after the release of the Senate version of Trumpcare to call everyone to action on the bill.

He wrote, “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

The former President called upon people to call their Senators, visit their offices, and speak out against this terrible bill.

Conservatives in the Senate doesn’t like McConnell’s bill.  “Four Republican senators from the conservative wing of their party say they oppose the Senate health-care bill as it was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, which places the effort to overhaul the American health-care system in jeopardy as it heads for an anticipated vote in the Senate next week.  Those senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah — announced in a joint statement that while they cannot support the bill as it is currently written, they are open to negotiating changes that could ultimately win their support.”

“Moderate” Republicans are concerned.   For example, Susan Collins.  “She took issue with how the Senate bill, starting in 2025, used a rate of growth for federal funding for Medicaid that is significantly slower than the typical increases of costs for the program… She added that she was concerned about how the cuts would negatively affect rural hospitals or prompt states to restrict Medicaid eligibility.  Collins also was critical of the Senate bill’s provision to defund Planned Parenthood, but previously she has hinted she could be OK with the legislation if she is allowed to vote on amendment to strip to defund measure.”

Rob Portman is also “concerned.” “I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.”

Some Republican governors are “concerned.” “Former presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich said he has “deep concerns” about the new health care legislation that Senate Republicans made public Thursday, joining other GOP governors who aren’t thrilled about the Obamacare repeal bill.

Mike Allen: “President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is rightly seen as a terrific legal blunder: He undercut an investigation that might have shown he never colluded with the Russians, and spawned one that could result in obstruction of justice charges.”

“Regardless of the legal outcome, it’ll go down as one of the dumbest political mistakes in the modern era. One of the president’s outside advisers calls it the gravest political mistake since Richard Nixon decided not to apologize to the American people for Watergate, and instead proceeded with the cover-up.”

“The White House is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week that would slap tough new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block any future move by President Trump to lift any penalties against Moscow,” the New York Times reports.

“The effort is designed to head off an awkward and politically damaging veto fight between the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress on Russia at a time when Mr. Trump is laboring under the shadow of multiple investigations about his campaign’s potential collusion with Moscow.”

President Trump “called for a new law barring immigrants from receiving welfare for at least five years at a rally on Wednesday. But neither Trump nor nearly 6,000 of his die-hard supporters seemed to realize that the law has already existed for more than 20 years,” USA Today reports.

“Trump received a standing ovation and pledged his administration would put the legislation into effect ‘very shortly.’”

Jack Shafer: “Trump doesn’t really want to be president. If he did, he’d nominate candidates to the 404 important but vacant administration jobs and get on with the job of governance. He doesn’t seem to want to be commander in chief of the armed forces, either, having outsourced Afghanistan troop-level decisions to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Don’t burden him with foreign policy—which so daunts him that he’s postponed an official trip to Britain because (as some report) he fears the inevitable protests that will greet him. Nor is he much interested in upholding the oath he took on Inauguration Day, promising to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ He proves this lack of interest every day by ignoring the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause.”

“Instead, Trump lusts for the job of White House communications director, a position that has been open since mid-May, when Michael Dubke resigned. By not replacing Dubke, Trump has telegraphed his preference to be his own communicator-in-chief and amplified that preference by constantly second-guessing Sean Spicer, his hapless press secretary.”

One of President Trump’s newest appointees is a registered agent of Saudi Arabia earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on the kingdom’s behalf, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Since January, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has paid longtime Republican lobbyist Richard Hohlt about $430,000 in exchange for “advice on legislative and public affairs strategies.”

“The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers,” Time reports.

“In one case, investigators found there had been a manipulation of voter data in a county database but the alterations were discovered and rectified.”

New York Times: “The repeal bill approved last month by the House would bar the use of federal tax credits to help purchase insurance plans that include coverage of abortion. But senators said that provision might have to be jettisoned from their version because of complicated Senate rules that Republicans are using to expedite passage of the bill and avoid a filibuster. If that provision is dropped, a bill that has already elicited deep misgivings among moderate Republicans — and stiff resistance from Democrats, health care providers and patient advocacy groups — could also generate concern among abortion opponents, as well as conservative lawmakers.”

First Read: “In other words, Senate Republicans are signaling they can’t include abortion provisions, because they would need 60 votes — not the 51 needed under reconciliation. Would conservative Senate and House Republicans walk away if the coverage of abortion was allowed under the legislation? Remember, abortion proved to be a tricky matter for Democrats during their health-care push in 2009-2010. Could the same thing happen on the GOP side?”

Rick Klein: “It’s a discussion draft that will leave much to discuss, and it’s unlikely to get prettier from here. The history of health care bills in Congress provides a clear lesson: process matters. On that count, the Senate’s health care effort is off to a distinctly unhealthy start, with members of the GOP’s conservative and moderate wings sounding similar only in their skepticism around a bill that’s been kept from even most of them until today. The secrecy has built anticipation and trepidation around the details, and now people will be able to judge the impact on their lives. Medicaid cuts, pre-existing conditions, abortion and Planned Parenthood; there’s enough cobbled together to convince senators that they’ll want to hear from constituents, or at least stakeholder groups, before taking votes that leadership insists need to happen before the Fourth of July.”

“‘I’ve been talking about a plan with heart,’ President Trump said Wednesday night in Iowa, in another implicit dig at the House bill he once celebrated, adding that he told senators to ‘add some money to it.’ Nobody is against ‘heart.’ But the details are not even an easy sell at campaign-style rallies, much less congressional hearings and voter gatherings, with an effort that starts out as unpopular as this does.”

“Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians,” CNN reports.

“Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

29 comments on “The Open Thread for June 23, 2017

  1. Believe the senate bill will play out like the AHCA in the house with Republicans running for non existent cover, that’s if they can get it passed. If they placate the ultra far right Cruz, Paul etc. they’ll lose alleged “moderates”. In any event the Republicans will be swinging in the wind for the next few days. Or months. How about those pictures of police removing demonstrators from in front of McConnell’s office? Nothing like having your hands tied behind your back when your in a wheelchair or on oxygen. Feelin’ proud are we? Surprised they didn’t spray them with Mace as they seem a dangerous bunch, hobbling along in dangerous wheelchairs and the deadly gas we call oxygen.

  2. delacrat

    A majority controlled Senate is having AHCA opponents ejected in zipties like the majority Democrat controlled Senate had Medicare-For-All activists ejected in zip ties.

  3. Whoa…

    Megan Messerly‏Verified account @meganmesserly 1m1 minute ago

    .@SenDeanHeller: “This bill … is not the answer. It is simply not the answer.” Says he’s announcing today he won’t support the bill.

  4. Sean Barney is sending out emails and has some sort of op-ed this weekend about Medicare for All. When did he come around to this?

    • cassandram

      Sean Barney is more progressive than people (Democrats) give him credit for. PLUS, there are ALOT of Dems getting on the single-payer train right now. If single payer is the goal none of us can be in the position of dissing the people who have “evolved” on this issue.

      • delacrat

        The time for Sean to “evolve” was when he was a candidate for House of Representatives.

        • cassandram

          Where he had quite a few very progressive policies. Not, of course, that you would ever bother to find out.

  5. anonymous redux

    ud professor dettwyler says warmbier got what he deserved in North Korea because he was one of those “young, white, rich, clueless white males (who) routinely get away with raping women.” quite a stretch. and some of you wonder why we can’t win elections

    • Yeah. Sure. That’s the reason.

      Stop using idiots to advance your agenda.

    • Delaware Dem

      Which is why I will reject any leftist strategy predicated on flipping Trump voters by dropping our commitment to equality. These Trump fucks are racists pieces of shit and they deserve their fate. The key to winning the next election is to maximize our vote, which we didn’t do last time.

      • What part of campaigning don’t you understand, beyond the fact that you need a unifying message? “Equality” is not a unifying message to people who think they’re better than everybody else.

        • You aren’t going to get people who think they’re better than everyone else – everyone else meaning women, POC, LGBT, etc. – because the GOP has that group locked up. However, we could lose a lot by depressing our base. There doesn’t need to be one message (why is this even an issue?). And every time someone says we need to push aside social issues we are losing our base voters and depressing turn-out.

          Trump voters believed he’d bring coal mining jobs back; that Trump stopped Ford from outsourcing production and adding more jobs here. How’s that working out for them? Oh, Ford is ending Focus production in Michigan and moving it to China? Are Trump voters upset about that? Doesn’t look like it – because it wasn’t about the economy. These Trump voters are like many anti-busing supporters, “Oh, we don’t have a problem with poor, black children, we just don’t like the bus rides.”

          We do, however, need to focus on voter suppression. Right now, unfortunately, that means turning out in larger numbers to counter this crap.

          • “You aren’t going to get people who think they’re better than everyone else – everyone else meaning women, POC, LGBT, etc. – because the GOP has that group locked up.”

            If that were true, you wouldn’t have to keep complaining about liberals who aren’t SJWs. Make up your mind.

  6. anonymous redux

    in another thread pandora described the core democratic party as “women, poc and lgbt.” that puts a pretty fine point on it and puts the rest of us in our place. but since the republicans are a very bad alternative, I think those of us not in the core will have to stick around even if we annoy you. sorry.

    • Nope. White voters have voted Republican in the Presidential for the approx. the last 50 years. That means they aren’t the core support. If only POC, LGBT, women, etc. voted then Dems win every time. That’s what core support is. We need to find a way to get more core supporters to vote (and overcome voter suppression) and attract white voters (who we always lose, no matter what D is running). I’m calling for a more expansive agenda – one that includes everyone.

      If someone has a plan to win these elusive white voters over, while holding onto our reliable core base… I’m all ears.

      • No, you’re not all ears. You reject every proposal put forward and have done so for over a year now. Whenever people say an economic justice message is needed, you go back to saying that it’s racism and misogyny and you can’t win over those people.

        I don’t mind — your assessment is as valid as anyone else’s, though I would point out that you consistently find the problem everywhere except with the Democratic Party — but I do mind your claim that your position is “I’m all ears.” That’s pissing on my back and telling me it’s raining.

        Also, that “how do we get white people to vote Democratic” question — Obama seemed to figure it out. A black on the ticket brought about the highest black turnout ever. Doesn’t seem like difficult arithmetic t me.

        • I have never said that an economic justice message is not needed. Not once, and I’ll ask that you prove this claim. I have said that we can focus on multiple issues; that we don’t need to jettison certain issues to chase a voter who, in the end, doesn’t vote for us, and we if we are going to somehow court that voter we should be careful not to lose our base.

          Obama did not win the white vote, so I’m not sure how we win over moderate Republicans. The one thing I know about Republicans is that they always come home or, our best case scenario, stay home.

          • Please. Go look up the numbers. Lots of people voted for Obama and then Trump. No, he didn’t win a majority of the white vote. No Democrat has done that since the parties switched in the South. He won more of the white vote than Hillary Clinton did, though.

            I’m not interested in “winning over” Republicans of any stripe. I’m interested in using factually based arguments to dispel the lies the GOP has been telling about the economy for 40 years.

            I do have some experience in changing those moderate Republican minds. The ones that are changeable are the ones open to factually based arguments. The rest are unreachable dross. We’re not aiming for the 90% in the second group, just the 10% in the first.

            “I’ll ask you to prove this claim.” You go to this line every time. I’m not interested in spending the day looking up what you did and did not say. I have a better idea — YOU look up all that you’ve said and see if you can come up with why so many men have taken issue with you over the past couple of years.

            You apparently have no idea how to avoid alienating the people you claim to want to win over.

            • You can’t prove your claim about what you claim I’ve said.

              And I’ll ask that you stop with the personal comments about “men” having a problem with me. Thank you.

              • Now you’re denying that you alienate liberal men? You’re in more denial than I realized. If any of the people who have disagreed with you were women, IO missed it.

                I have no idea whether I can prove it or not. I have no interest in trying. What kind of ass goes around demanding such things? You don’t go back and read what you’ve wriitten. Why should I?

                Meanwhile, you deflect, deflect, deflect. Must not be any mirrors in your house.

                • cassandram

                  If liberal men are alienated by Pandora, that would be the problem of those liberal men. Stepping in here to bully her into a stance that you clearly want her to take is pretty damned cowardly on your part. If you could stop creating strawmen out of her arguments you wouldn’t have to retreat to your alienation as a defense.

  7. anonymous redux

    31 percent of Hillary voters were white males, and most of them were not gay. that’s a lot of people. are you willing to toss out the many members of this group who don’t totally embrace the progressive agenda? thought you wanted to win elections. don’t let purity stand in your way.

  8. anonymous redux

    it was a question. “are you willing to . . . ” based on your other comments. anyway, you’ll keep the non-orthodox white liberal males you need in the fold since we’ll never vote for trump. but you might have to make room for — gasp — moderate republicans who don’t like trump and are looking for a reason to vote for democrats. maybe even encourage them.

  9. anonymous redux

    let them know you don’t think they’re assholes just because they’d like to ease up a little on social issues or don’t want to tax the rich quite as much as you do. these are political issues, not tenets of religious faith. you can give little, take a little and still get most of what you want in the long run. lose elections and we’ll get a lot less of what we want.

    • cassandram

      Moderate Republicans already know this. It is why they are moderates. But why should Democrats keep giving up key bits of their agenda to peel off moderate Republicans? Ossoff in GA 6 was accused of having too moderate a message and yet he made his dent in that R+10 district largely because he could peel off moderate Republicans (women, esp.).

  10. Here’s what I would tell moderate Republicans who would like to ease up a little on social issues or don’t want to tax the rich quite as much as I do: “You can give little, take a little and still get most of what you want in the long run. Lose elections and we’ll get a lot less of what we want.”

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