Democrats Will Avoid Tough Issues Until After The Election

Scott Brown’s historic win in very blue Massachusetts was a shock wave that had been building in momentum. Even if he had lost the tightness of the race was cause for concern among Democrats who are expected to win by huge margins in Massachusetts. The Democrats and their big money supporters were forced to spend a lot of money in this race, money they had not planned on spending.

The ramifications of a contest this historical are nearly immediate. Senator Jim Webb said that there should be no more votes on health care legislation until Brown was sworn in. This is in opposition to all the stories over the last weeks (as a Brown victory became a possibility)that Democrats would drag their feet in getting Brown sworn in. I am still waiting for them to say Biden is at an undisclosed location so he will not be available to swear Brown in.

A story from al-Reuters today indicates that Democrats are unlikely to take up cap and trade legislation this year instead focusing on a separate energy bill that has bipartisan support. Cap and trade is very unpopular, like say, health care and the members of the House are already on a limb because they voted on it and are now stuck with their votes after the Senate dropped the issue leaving House members hanging.

The Democrats were reading the writing leading up to this election and now they are reading the writing all over the place. They can see that the people are angry and want blood (figuratively for those inclined to call law enforcement) and they are not too keen on the idea of voting on something that might well end their careers.

There might be 58 Democrats in the Senate and 256 in the House but they are really 58 individuals in the Senate and 256 individuals in the House who are worried about their own individual careers. When push comes to shove they will look out for their own political life.

Democrats are not likely to put anything on their legislative agenda that will result in tough votes that will require explanations to constituents.

If Coakley had won they would be full speed ahead.

Elections have consequences and this election has effectively defanged the Democrats.


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43 Responses to “Democrats Will Avoid Tough Issues Until After The Election”

  1. Adam says:

    The media as much as anyone made this election about health care. I disagree with that.

    The assumption that the public is so dramatically opposed to the plan is an illusion. Barely a majority are opposed to the plan as a whole. Of that opposition 10% is generally because it’s not liberal enough. Do you think that 10% would rather have no reform than this one? To say they would is not supported by polling data.

    A Gallup poll shows 37% of folks want congress to vote for the bill with 12% of people leaning that way. Compare that to the 41% against and 5% leaners and you can see that the majority want the bill passed or lean that way.

    In another recent poll only 31% of people said this would make them vote against their representative. Add 22% who support their representative voting to 45% of people saying it won’t matter to them either way and you can see that 67% of people aren’t opposed to their representative voting for this thing.

    Notice that 31% above is close to Bush’s base that never stopped supporting him and the 30% of people that never supported Clinton in anything he did. I would go out on a limb and say these are the same people every time. People like you.

    We don’t have real exit polls to say for sure, but I believe what we saw most of all had very little to do with health care and a lot to do with a decent Republican candidate running a strong campaign against a strong Democratic candidate that somehow managed to blow it consistently in her campaign.

    Add in the Kennedy residual anti-incumbent sentiment due to the economy and unemployment plus a sizable wrong track measurement and you have a formula for an upset.

    The worst thing the Democrats can do now is run scared now that their effective majority in the Senate is now only 59 to 41. The best thing for the Democrats right now is to shut off the TV and not listen to the words of the other side that always likes to dole out the advice after winning an election.

    In a few weeks the spin and the crowing will have died down and the real ramifications of this election will be clear and the Democrats can formulate their plan for November based on that. In the meantime they just need to work on getting a health care compromise in place and passed on to Obama.

    • Blake says:

      The liberal Dems can see the writing on the wall- moderates have about 6 months to prove that they do not have their nose where Barry’s sun don’t shine- they will have to prove their independence from the administration, or 2010 will be a true blood-letting- and that will be a grand and glorious thing to behold-

  2. Big Dog says:

    You throw out the straw man again. Do you think people would rather have no reform than this bill.

    Nearly everyone agrees there needs to be reform but we do not need this reform.

    No one is saying not to do something, they are saying this is not the thing to do. We need reforms but we need free market reform where people are not forced by government to pay for scores of things they do not want and do not need. We need competition where companies can compete acress state lines and people can shop across state lines.

    The people who say it is not liberal enough are misguided by the false idea that health care is a right. It is a commodity that people pay for. It is not a right. A right is something no one else has to provide for you. If someone has to provide it or pay for it then it is not a right.

    What right does anyone have to the fruits of my labor (or yours for that matter)?

    Health care needs to be made affordable by free market principles and fewer intrusive government regulations.

    A common sense approach.

    The problem is, common sense is not that common.

    • Adam says:

      It’s not a straw man. It has nothing to do with support for reform in general versus this bill in specific. My point goes in a different direction. The lack of a strong support for the bill does not equate to lack of strong support for this bill to pass. You use the first value to assume the second and polls do not back that up.

  3. Big Dog says:

    You also make a generality that is false. I supported SOME of the things Bush did and opposed others. I supported some of the things Clinton did and not others. I supported at least one of the things Obama has done but not many of the others.

    The fact that I would fall into the approve of the job Bush is doing camp is based on the fact that many of the things done are in line with my beliefs. Some were not. In general I approved but on some issues I did not.

    You can spin this as not being about health care but Coakley’s numbers started going south when the Senate rammed the vote through. Was it the cause? Who knows (as you say, no exit polls) but we have to consider it.

    • Adam says:

      I should say that I think health care was a big issue, just not an issue so big as the Democrats in Congress need to run scared and try and un-vote their support for it. There is strong public support for passing this bill even if the public is luke-warm on the exact nature of the bill.

      • Big Dog says:

        Perhaps but they are already coming out of the woodwork to say they should have a do over.

        As for the straw man:

        Do you think that 10% would rather have no reform than this one?

        Rather have NO reform than this one. The only options in this argument are this one or none. The same argument has been used all along. it is either this or nothing and no one has proposed that. It is a false argument.

        • Adam says:

          I assure you that any resemblance to the argument you’re referring to is only from my inability to word that better.

        • Adam says:

          There’s already 10% of people opposed to the bill because it’s not progressive enough. To start over means make it less progressive which will only add to that number. The Democrats are doing the right thing in pushing through this bill that has moderate support but not the kind of strong opposition you argue it has.

        • Blake says:

          While reform of the system is needed, this was not the way to do it- and this becomes more apparent every day- If the libs try to water down this bill, rather than do over and get it right, I think the result will not be favorable to the Dems- Perhaps they really should listen to the people they so cavalierly dismiss- the Tea Party people- this is a loose affiliation of discontented voters- but they should be seriously heard- by both sides, or Politicians from BOTH sides ignore them at their political peril.

  4. Big Dog says:

    OK Adam, I can accept that. It is only that the same argument has permeated throughout the debate.

    Yes, some people oppose it because it is not liberal enough. Many more oppose it because it is an intrusion into our lives and a place where government does not belong.

    I do not believe that they should just pass it and try to fix it later. They should work to get a good bill that reduces government interference and allows competition.

    As for people who want more, move to a country where people think it is OK to pay for the goods of others.

    Health care in not a right. We all have access and that is great but no one has the right to have their health care paid for by others any more than they have the right to have their cars paid for by others.

    Both are commodities and if you want them then you pay for them. Government should ensure there are no obstacles and then let the market decide the price.

    • Adam says:

      “…no one has the right to have their health care paid for by others any more than they have the right to have their cars paid for by others.”

      You always frame it that way but the truth is we already pay for each others health care. The old, the disabled, public servants, armed forces…our taxes pay for them and others already. We’ll extend that list further someday and it won’t even seem strange anymore.

      • Big Dog says:

        We certainly ahave programs to take care of the disabled though there should be better vetting. I have taken care of too many people on disability who were able to work but liked the free ride.

        Public servatns work for their benefits ditto the military and the elderly paid into the care they now get.

        None of them are getting a free ride, they work and pay for their health care.

      • Darrel says:

        ADM: “We’ll extend that list further someday and it won’t even seem strange anymore.”>>

        And we can do that, while spending less money.

        Do we really need to have a health system that tries to compensate a single CEO with one billion dollars? I don’t think so.


        • Big Dog says:

          Health care is a business because health care is a good not a right. If someone provides it for you it is not a right. If a health care business makes money then the CEO should be compensated however his private business feels is appropriate. If one is dissatisfied then one can change companies.

          Keeping government out and allowing competition would lower costs.

          What next? Will we declare baseball is a right and that baseball players make too much money that fans end up paying with higher ticket and concession costs? No person who hits, throws, or catches a ball is worth millions of dollars unless someone is willing to pay that much to watch him do it.

        • Adam says:

          If you think baseball and health care are similar in any way then maybe that explains why you think some kinds of work deserves tax payer funded health care while other kinds don’t.

          • Big Dog says:

            They are the same as to the free market determining the salary of the people involved. You call these things taxpayer funded health care when the reality is people have earned the care. As taxpayers, we pay for that as part of the compensation we pay pople to join our military and protect us. People pay into Medicare and get benefits from it. It would do much better if it were privately run and the company would have to do things efficiently because, unlike the government, they could not rape us for more money when they mismanage.

        • Mike Radigan says:

          Big Dog, you’ve got to add a wink icon so Adam knows when you’re joking.

        • Darrel says:

          Bigd: “Health care is a business because health care is a good not a right.”>>

          This completely misses the point. It has nothing to do with it being a “right,” or not being a right. That’s your red herring. Health care is a business in nearly all of our peer countries and they do it better, for less, irregardless of the fact that as a bonus, they also do it for everyone.

          Oh, and baseball is subsidized.

          “Yet a shadow-the shadow of big government-looms over the great pastime. While the actual sport of baseball is an excellent metaphor for the free market (illustrating how individuals and teams work together and compete against one another), at the professional level nearly all the teams play in government-owned or government-subsidized ballparks.”

        • Mike Radigan says:

          Geez, Darrel, the baseball analogy was a joke!

        • Darrel says:

          MIKE: “Geez, Darrel, the baseball analogy was a joke!”>>

          Really? Which is it, an analogy or a joke? Was Bigd joking when he said this?

          “No person who hits, throws, or catches a ball is worth millions of dollars unless someone is willing to pay that much to watch him do it.”

          Nope. He’s making a perfectly clear analogy, not a joke.

          People argue about whether baseball players are over paid. I couldn’t give a flip. Pay them whatever. When the US spends more than any other peer nation by far, per capita, on health care and gets crappy results and tens of millions not covered, we should all give a flip. Part of the reason we pay so much is to feed the fat cats, as in my example of a CEO almost getting a billion bucks. Bigd thinks that’s fine and dandy (as with baseball players), and he’s not joking.

          When GM spends more on health costs than it spends on steel, this destroys American competitiveness because other countries don’t have such foolishness. They have their costs under control (comparatively). Don’t care what they pay their ball players.

          It’s one of the reasons this country can’t make a piano anymore. Two Japanese factories, located here since the late eighties, just packed up and shipped off. They have to pay an extra $4-$5 per hour (just compared with Canada), per employee to pay for the over priced US medical mess.


        • Mike Radigan says:

          Now I can’t speak for Big Dog, but he was just responding to a response. Check his post on the 20th at 14:37 at the bottom of this.

        • Blake says:

          This is a Capitalist society, and money should be received for goods and services rendered- there should be no argument there, but libbies want to extend entitlements more and more, so their control and that of government in general creeps ever more into our live like a poisonous fungus.
          The time to stop this is now.

  5. victoria says:

    If anyone watched Fox last night Luntz had one of his focus groups on–all Democrats from Massachussetts–and the majority of them had voted for Obama but they voted for Brown because of healthcare and big spending.

    • Adam says:

      Ah, one of Luntz’s classic misleading focus groups. It may be enough to fool conservatives with all the quick ups and downs of the hands but if you tally up the people and their answers you find a much different story than Luntz wants us to get out of it.

      First of all this wasn’t all Democrats, but only 4 of the 18 people there who voted for Obama switched to vote for Brown. This is not a majority.

      Most of the people allowed to speak were Brown voters who never voted for Obama in the first place, specially the two in the back who were voting to send a message to Washington.

      The same goes with the question about seating Brown. He makes it look like a big majority want him seated when the most hands were Brown voters. Of course they want Brown seated first. Not even half of the Coakley voters cared to say they wanted him seated first.

  6. Big Dog says:

    The shock wave continues:

    “The [Massachusetts] election shows that the American people want us to work together,” Reid said. “…We are not going to rush into anything. We’re going to wait until the new Senator arrives before we do anything new on healthcare.”


    • Adam says:

      Harry Reid is an idiot. He’s blowing smoke. The only way the Democrats will wait for Brown is if they’re bypassing the Senate. They can have it both ways if they’re smart. If they want Brown to be able to vote on the matter then I guess we can kiss reform goodbye for another 20 years.

      • Mike Radigan says:

        Well, Adam, we agree on that. That said, the point is that too many Dems do see the writing on the wall. They want to be reelected. And before you respond that the GOP would do the same, you’re right, they would. They ALL protect their butts.

        • Adam says:

          Too many Democrats are spineless cowards, is the better phrase. I like this quote that’s been going around liberal blogs:

          Scott Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate

          The writing on the wall is all GOP spin designed to do nothing but hurt the Democrats and prevent any meaningful health care reform.

        • Blake says:

          How do you climb that ladder, Adam?
          One step at a time, and Croakley was that first step- actually, New Jersey and Virginia were the actual start, so- my bad.
          It’s still so sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet-

  7. Big Dog says:

    The government owns many of the stadiums so it can charge the teams rent to play there. One of the ways they make money.

    I don’t buy the they do it better. I don’t see other governments doing it better in Haiti.

    I don’t see the vast network of trauma hospitals and modern technology. Cuba, Venezuela, the UK, Canada, none of them are as good.

    • Darrel says:

      Bigd: “I don’t see the vast network of trauma hospitals and modern technology.”>>

      Let’s see the countries you choose to use. Let’s see how ridiculous/desperate you can get.

      Bigd: Cuba,>>

      The tiny poor little island of Cuba. GDP about $125b (113x smaller than the US). Good choice. Hey Mike, is he joking?

      Bigd: Venezuela, the UK, Canada, none of them are as good.”>>

      Don’t know about Venezuela, why didn’t you pick East Timor or Somalia? The US looks real good compared to them.

      Here’s a nine country match up I don’t think I’ve referenced before. Eight stats considered. “[A]lthough the U.S. system is the most expensive, it consistently under performs compared to the other countries.”

      Cross country comparisons

      Regarding Canada, you can’t just make stuff up. This has been carefully studied and, for the forth time:

      “The most comprehensive study that was ever under taken on the two health care systems, the US and Canada’s was done jointly by Harvard University and McMasters University:

      Overall, 14 of the 38 studies showed better outcomes in Canada, while only 5 favored the U.S. The remaining 19 studies showed equivalent or mixed results in the two nations. When the studies were combined statistically, the mortality rate was 5% lower in Canada.”


      • Big Dog says:

        I put Cuba and Venezuela in there because Moore praised them in his movie. Castro had doctors flown in to treat him.

      • Darrel says:

        Well, for a tiny impoverished island, they do beat the US in several stats, such as longevity and Doc’s per capita (second highest in the world). So that’s worth some praise.

        • Blake says:

          You mean Docs that have to take chickens in payment? You are probably right there- too bad colleges won’t take chickens as payment for student loans.

        • Mike Radigan says:

          Life expectancy has many other factors besides health care:

        • Darrel says:

          MIKE: “Life expectancy has many other factors besides health care:”>>

          Yes indeed it does. But it’s one of them nonetheless.

          I have read that Forbes article. It notes:

          “A less spurious comparison of the impact of different health care services among countries would require comparisons of survival rates for illnesses rather than life expectancy figures.”

          He’s right. Let’s do that now:

          “Preventable mortality: The U.S. fell to last place among 19 industrialized nations on mortality amenable to health care—deaths that might have been prevented with timely and effective care. Although the U.S. rate improved by 4 percent between 1997–1998 and 2002–2003 (from 115 to 110 deaths per 100,000), rates improved by 16 percent on average in other nations, leaving the U.S. further behind.”

          Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008.

          Also: “Up to 101,000 fewer people would die prematurely each year from causes amenable to health care if the U.S. achieved the lower mortality rates of leading countries.” –ibid

  8. Big Dog says:

    Yes Darrel acts as if the baseball teams are the ones on government subsidies. The teams pay rent (the ones that do not own stadiums) on stadiums that the local gubmint built using taxpayer money.

    The teams exercise capitalism. They pay to play.

  9. Big Dog says:

    Of course any prediction of mortality assumes people will go to the doctor to have the problems taken care of or will comply. I have taken care of a number of people with good health insurance who have died from disease that they were being treated for simply because they did not comply with treatment. I had a young diabetic have limbs amputated and eventually die because he ate things he was not supposed to and his family enabled him by bringing candy to the hospital and sneaking it to him.

    You can have all the health care in the world available but if people remain obese or refuse to comply with treatment they will still die.