Saturday, June 24, 2017

Despite The Corrosive Effect Of The DCCC, There Is A Reason To Believe


Hard to imagine, but even today 42% of Americans still prefer to see Republicans control Congress. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that just 50% of Americans would prefer Democrats take over Congress in 2018. NBC reports “that’s the largest lead either party has held on that generic ballot question in the NBC/WSJ poll since 2013, and the first time either party reached 50 percent on that question since 2008.” But still… this is the Republican Party those 42% want in control, the GOP so eloquently described by Charles Pierce for Esquire:
Today is not the day for you to ask for my understanding as to how you're going to afford Grandma's chemo now that she's busted the lifetime cap on her insurance. Today is not the day for you to ask for my sympathy for Grandpa who's going to get his ass hoisted out of his rest home and dropped onto the couch in your basement family room because his Medicaid ran out. Today is not the day for you to moan into TV cameras about how Cousin Clyde with the opioid problem has to go back to sticking up tourists for his fix because the little hospital up by the mountain closed.

Not today. Not this particular Thursday. Maybe by Monday.

The Senate unveiled its big secret tax-cut plan on Thursday morning. It also contains some elements dealing with healthcare that will make the lives of millions of sick and elderly Americans immeasurably worse, but, since it's actually a tax-cut bill, and it actually does cut taxes for the wealthiest among us, then I guess you can say the strategy was a success. And they say the Republicans can't govern. Hah.

Of course, it's as bad as we all thought it would be. It virtually zeroes out Medicaid down the line-- letting it "die on the vine," just the way Newt Gingrich recommended 20 years ago. It forces low-income people to pay more for policies once called "street-surance" back in the day. (John Grisham should sue these guys.They stole the entire plot from The Rainmaker.) There's a lot of "handing back to the states," which can be translated as "Give Sam Brownback more money to hand out to his donors." The bill is such a transparent sham that one of its provisions, the repeal of the tax on investment income for wealthy individuals and families, was made retroactive to the end of last year. There is no reason on god's earth to make this retroactive unless your main purpose is to shove more of the nation's wealth upwards. Which is what this bill is primarily designed to do.

Let me put it in measurements that are particularly of interest to me. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 16 million people in the United States with Alzheimer's Disease. Right now, in 2017 dollars, the estimated costs of treating and caring for AD patients is $236 billion dollars. Of that, $154 billion is picked up by Medicare and Medicaid. Tell me now how that gap is made up by a plan that virtually eliminates Medicaid entirely by the time we get to 2025. Churches? Families? Winning the Lotto?

A cure?

Fat chance.

So, yeah, suckers. This is what you voted for. In fact, this is what you've been voting for, over and over again, ever since the Death Valley Days of jellybeans and missiles to the mullahs. This bill is the pot of gold at the end of Paul Ryan's personal rainbow. This bill is everything that every young conservative brought up in the luxurious terrariums of wingnut welfare is taught to revere from the first day of his political gestation, right down to its playing-to-the-cheap-seats whack at Planned Parenthood.

So far, four GOP senators have said they cannot vote for the bill. They are Ron (Shreds of Freedom) Johnson of Wisconsin, Aqua Buddha from Kentucky, Mike Lee, the konztitooshunal skolar from Utah, and Tailgunner Ted Cruz. They can't support it (at the moment) because it isn't repeal-ish enough for them. (Translation: The bill still coddles the poor and infirm beyond the limits God intended when He wrote the Constitution.) Now, as the redoubtable Digby often points out, if they were to torpedo this plague ship, it wouldn't be the first time the wingiest members of the tribe saved the day. But my money stays on the notion that they will find enough crazy ideas in the House during reconciliation to satisfy the likes of these four. As for the vaunted Republican "moderates," I have no faith in them whatsoever. I think Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will get bought off by an increase in the bill's stingy provisions regarding the opioid epidemic. Some version of this creature will stalk its way into law.

I'm sorry, but I can't let the suckers off the hook on this particular Thursday, not when I know in my bones that, in a year or so, there are going to be more expeditions into The Real America in which we hear sad tales about the closing of rural hospitals, and medical bankruptcies, and children who died because the insurance company denied them a life-saving treatment. There will be all kinds of reasons postulated for this terrible state of affairs. "Culture" probably will be one of them, and it will be the stupidest one of all.

What will not be mentioned is that many of these people brought their tragedies on themselves, that voting has consequences, and that using a presidential election to hock a collective loogie at "The Establishment" and at Those People is a particularly dumbass way to participate in democracy.

But, as Nick Harwood pointed out in his NBC News poll reporting “Republicans retain some important advantages as both sides look ahead to 2018. By 18 percentage points, Americans say they prefer Republicans over Democrats for dealing with ISIS; they also prefer Republicans for changing Washington (by 9 points), dealing with the economy (7 points), and dealing with taxes (4 points).”

Now, about that map up top. It shows what will happen nationally if the same swing towards Democrats and away from Republicans that happened in the Montana special election, happens across the country in 2018. Yes, the GOP will still win in Montana… a 14.5% swing won’t be enough there. But… look at Orange County, CA, look at the suburban districts around Philly, look at the “untouchable” Texas districts around Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio and Austin, all 3 Republican-held swingy Iowa seats and, finally, O.K.L.A.H.O.M.A., Oklahoma-- OK! And say buh-bye to as many as 70 Republican incumbents-- not just poor doomed schlepps in blue-leaning districts, but GOP leaders like Paul Ryan, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ed Royce, Virginia Foxx, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Lamar Smith… all those committee chairs flooding K Street with job applications at once! Sad!

And I’ll tell you something about that map-- it doesn’t take into account some special circumstances, like Duncan Hunter’s likely corruption indictment in a much redder southern California district or Devin Nunes’ little massive Putin-Gate problem up in California’s Central Valley.

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At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there?

"The Democratic Party presents the biggest organizational quandary for the American left today. The current state of the Democrat’s standing with the voters would not be a problem for the left in general if the likes of Sen. Sanders did not spend all their political energy spreading the illusion that the party can be re-oriented. A lot of honest progressives inside the Democratic Party work with sincere intent that’s channeling [sic] the energies of millions of the youth mesmerized by radical-sounding rhetoric. But the enthusiastic youth must pay attention to the Democrat’s history. As generations of radical American leftists have observed and lamented, the Democratic Party is the biggest obstacle to the creation of a nationwide political party of the left."
-REZA FIYOUZAT, Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?

I thus disagree with the title premise.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TY 10:09. You and the wizened one quoted are quite correct.

If the democraps take another dump on their dinner plate in '18, we're fucked.

If the democraps take the house in '18, knowing that nothing progressive will be tolerated by their donors AND their slate of miscandidates always reflect this, we're fucked.

bottom line. Ds stay = we're fucked.

And the fucking we're taking gets worse every year.

Truly astonishing that that big a fraction of americans is that purely evil? No, not at all. I've been watching this shithole fester and percolate for over 50 years. The right gets meaner. The left gets more feckless and hapless. 5 decades ongoing.


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