Thursday, July 06, 2017

I Love A Parade... Republicans, Not So Much


Yesterday we talked about why Beto O'Rouke spent two July 4th weekend days campaigning in deep red Lubbock and why that should serve as a model for Democrats everywhere. The Lubbock 4th of July parade is a big west Texas tradition. The the Midwest, the traditional biggest Independence Day parade is in Racine, south of Milwaukee, one of the biggest cities in Paul Ryan's district. Ryan normally marches in the Racine parade. This year, though, he didn't show up... or at least didn't march. The star of the show was, clearly, @IronStache-- Randy Bryce, the iron worker and union/veterans activist running for the congressional race Ryan thinks belongs to him. Parade rules insist that only local elected officials are allowed to march in the Racine parade. Randy walked with an alderman who's also a good friend of his. Sticking to the rules, he didn't have any signs or campaign gear. But the response was overwhelming, people shouting out encouragement and chanting his name. (Homemade video.) There were rumors Ryan showed up, understood that all that cheering for Bryce might mean boos for him and stayed in his car and then headed west for the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin, which has about half as many people as Racine and a much lower key parade... but is more Republican-friendly. He marched in that parade instead-- although people had some signs prepared for him:

The NY Times reported that Senate Republicans laid low on the Fourth mostly unwilling to "face single-minded pressure" against taking away their constituents healthcare coverage. Democrat Joe Manchin was at the big West Virginia 4th of July parade in Alderson. Republican Shelley Moore Capito didn't show up this year-- not in Alderson or anywhere else. Rob Portman (R-OH) boycotted his state's parades, as did Cory Gardner (R-CO) Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Dean Heller (R-NV) rode a horse in the parade in tiny Ely, population 4,221, county seat and biggest town of White Pine County, which gave Trump a massive win over Hillary-- 2,723 (72.2%) to 707 (18.7%)-- as well as a big win for the GOP's losing Senate candidate, Joe Heck (69.1%). The last time Heller ran-- 2012, White Pine County gave him 70% of its vote, gave Romney 70% against Obama, and gave losing perennial congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian 68%. In other words, if you have to find a safe Republican town in Nevada, remote tiny Ely would be your place. Heller was heckled by Trump fans and cheered by normal people for standing up against TrumpCare. No one had expected to see him show up at their parade.
It is a tough summer for Senate Republicans, who are trying to combine a long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act with a replacement that has, in legislation drafted so far, been as popular as sunburn. Protesters have held sit-ins at Senate offices, phone lines have been jammed and editorial writers have blasted their states’ congressional delegations. Planes have even flown admonitory, if occasionally poorly conceived, banners over state capitals.

Republican senators have had to decide whether public appearances would be fruitful or the crowds hostile. Many lawmakers seem to have given up on town hall-style meetings and parades. Others are still braving them, knowing they may get an earful on the health care bills.

“Never before, in the 15 times that I’ve marched in this parade, have I had people so focused on a single issue,” Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who rejected the latest version of the bill, said in an interview shortly after walking the parade route in Eastport, Me. “I think it’s because health care is so personal.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Collins and the few other Republican senators who ventured out-- most of them opponents of the current bill, and most in rather remote locales-- were largely rewarded with encouragement to keep fighting.

This may be promising for other senators who are not planning to stay in all week. Ms. Capito and Mr. Portman, for example, have public events set for the coming days. The delay in voting on the Senate bill, which Ms. Capito strongly rebuffed, has taken some of the heat off, though activists in West Virginia said signs had been readied for Tuesday’s parades just in case.

Other Republicans will soon be out and about, and some already have been. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was met with chants of “Vote no!” in a Baton Rouge church on Friday as he discussed the state’s recovery from the 2016 floods. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas will hold three town hall-style meetings this week in the western part of the state, and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa has scheduled nine as part of his annual tour of the state’s 99 counties. Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania is holding a televised meeting on Wednesday, albeit with an invitation-only audience.

While the receptions they receive may vary, judging by those in the streets on Tuesday, the primary subject will not.

“Health care! Health care! Health care!” Hilary Georgia, a part-time resident of Eastport, cried as Ms. Collins passed the spectators in camp chairs unfolded before neat wooden houses.

Eastport, which is recognized as the easternmost city in the United States, draws a large and festive crowd on Independence Day, even though it is remote. So is Wrangell, Alaska, where Senator Lisa Murkowski, another key Republican in the health care debate, took part in a parade on Tuesday as well.

There was no escaping politics, however. The reception for Ms. Collins was one of gratitude and fulsome thanks for her disapproval of the Senate bill, mixed with some anxiety over whether she would stick to her position.

“I’m still concerned because I know it keeps getting revised,” said Kristin McKinlay, 44, an independent voter who is worried that a new bill could leave her without health insurance and stopped Ms. Collins to introduce herself because she had called the senator’s office so many times. “I hope we have her commitment.”

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At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's only a tiny bit reassuring that 10 (as of today) Rs are "NAYs".
What is ominous is what they are saying is their reason.

Not a single one of them wants to fix it so people have health care and costs are reined in. Nobody says dick about it being a big tax break for the richest .1%.

Most want it to not be so obviously a death warrant for millions of sick, elderly, poor and kids. But nobody says that killing them is bad... just that "in its current form", the killing isn't correctly done.

What will happen is that the rich will get their trillions in tax breaks and the death warrants will be doled out at an acceptable rate over 10 years with certain gimmicks to make it seem like they won't die all that fast... and then all but 2 (Collins and one other) will be given dispensation to vote NAY. If the pos manchin votes with the Rs as usual, it'll pass. If not, then pence breaks the tie and it passes.

And the corpses will start stacking up within months.

And you know what? I doubt americans will give a flying fuck. Most of the corpses will be those "too 'spensive" to keep alive and poor nonwhites. Even a lot of democrat voters can abide a few thousand of those per year.


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