Category Archives: GOP Hubris

GOP Senator Admits His Obamacare Alternative Would Burden The Elderly

MSNBC Host, Chuck Tod and Sen. Orin Hatch | CREDIT: MSNBC

I saw the segment this morning and I was rather surprised at Senator Hatch’s total disconnect on the issue…

Think Progress

At the beginning of this week, three GOP senators unveiled their alternative to Obamacare — a set of conservative policies that would essentially dismantle the health law’s core consumer protections, and give insurers an opening to deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. And on Thursday, in an interview with one of the primary architects of the proposal, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), MSNBC host Chuck Todd exposed another consequence of the GOP measure. It would actually serve to raise premiums for vulnerable Americans, like elderly people with debilitating health issues.

The Republican proposal promises to allow younger Americans to pay lower premiums for their health plans, and loosens some of the regulations that prevent insurance companies from setting their rates based on factors like health or gender. Todd pointed out that could ultimately result in older people, particularly those who are dealing with the health consequences of aging, paying much more for their care.

Hatch didn’t dispute that, acknowledging that “somebody has to pay for these things”:

CHUCK TODD: One of the assumed benefits in your new plan would allow for cheaper policies for young folks. At the same time, you would allow insurers to sell insurance at varying rates. So if you allow for a cheaper policy for younger, healthier people, right, this has been among the issues, the translation is you’re going to see — how do you prevent a spike for older Americans who, maybe just by default of genetics, are starting with a lot of health care problems, and because of that, end up getting charged more? How do you prevent that spike in rates for them?

ORRIN HATCH: Well, we have a formula in there that it can’t go beyond a certain position. But the fact of the matter is, somebody has to pay for these things. And the Obamacare bill doesn’t pay for things, they pushed them into — into Medicaid, which is non-functioning and not doing what it should do right now.

Watch it:

The two went on to discuss a 25-year-old unmarried man who will be able to get a cheaper policy under the GOP’s plan, since he won’t be required to purchase one that includes maternity coverage. But Todd pointed out that means a woman who needs that type of gender-specific coverage will ultimately have to pay more for it. “Aren’t you essentially shifting the costs to the health insurance user?” he noted. “Somebody is paying here.”

Republicans have maintained that their alternative to the Affordable Care Act will “reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care.” But doing away with the consumer protections that intend to regulate the insurance market for Americans who are older, sicker, and poorer will ultimately end up encouraging a shift toward requiring those individuals to shoulder a higher portion of their insurance costs.

In 1993, Hatch co-sponsored a much more moderate health reform proposal that would have established a minimum benefits package for American consumers. That measure also included a version of the individual mandate, which Hatch later decried as an unconstitutional policy during the fight to pass Obamacare.

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UPDATE: Harry Reid Told Caucus That Pete Sessions Was Behind Obama Insult, Senators Say

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, emerges from the office of Speaker of the House John Boehner, Oct. 15. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

No solid proof yet, but the issue is getting hotter…

The Huffington Post

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told his Democratic caucus last week in a private meeting that a top House Republican said to President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you,” according to two Democratic senators who were present.

The account was confirmed by two Senate Democratic aides who said they independently learned of the exchange from other senators.

A White House official said Thursday that the administration did relay such a message to Reid, but that it was the result of a miscommunication.

“While the quote attributed to a Republican lawmaker in the House GOP meeting with the President is not accurate, there was a miscommunication when the White House read out that meeting to Senate Democrats, and we regret the misunderstanding,” the official said in a statement.

Asked to clarify, then, what the White House originally told Senate Democratic leaders about Obama’s meeting with House Republicans, the official said only, “Not going to read out the details of private meetings with the President, or private meetings between WH and Dem leaders.”

The two senators who spoke to HuffPost did not hear the Republican make the remark, but said a top White House aide who was present later told Senate Democratic leaders that the lawmaker who made the remark was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Reid then told the caucus about the incident on Tuesday and named Sessions, according to one of the two Democratic senators who spoke to HuffPost. Reid also told the caucus that he was “sorry” to have to tell them about it, per this senator, but gave Obama credit for his “dignified” response to Sessions. Reid reportedly told the caucus that Obama responded to Sessions by saying he understood that they disagreed on many issues and he respected their differences.

The revelation from the senators sheds new light on a Capitol Hill whodunit that burst into the public sphere when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shared the exchange onhis Facebook page on Sunday. The alleged incident took place in the throes of the government shutdown, when Obama was meeting with different factions of lawmakers to try to find a resolution to the debacle. (Neither of the two senators who spoke to HuffPost are Durbin.)

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney flatly dismissed the story.

“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said during his daily briefing.

Sessions spokeswoman Torrie Miller said Thursday that the lawmaker never made those comments.

“He did not,” Miller said. “I think it was made clear yesterday from Jay Carney that the exchange you are referring to did not happen.”

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has been demanding an apology from Durbin.

“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air,” Buck said in a Wednesday statement. “The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize.”

But Durbin isn’t backing down from his original claims.

“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told HuffPost Wednesday.

A request for comment from a spokesman for Reid was not returned.

This story has been updated with comment from a senior White House official.

 

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Poll: Republicans’ Handling Of Shutdown Gets Low Marks From 3 Out Of 4 Americans

The Huffington Post

Nearly three-quarters of Americans disapprove of Republicans’ handling of the budget crisis, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday.

Disapproval of the GOP, which has risen steadily since just before the government shutdown began, is now at 74 percent, up 11 points from late September.

A majority of Americans are also discontented with Democrats’ role in the budget negotiations. But disapproval ratings for Democrats in Congress and for President Barack Obama, both of which started at a lower level than disapproval of Republicans in Congress, have remained largely unchanged in the past two weeks. Sixty-one percent of Americans now dislike congressional Democrats’ handling of the crisis, while 53 percent dislike Obama’s. Those are rises of only 5 points and 3 points, respectively, from before the shutdown began.

Republicans themselves are increasingly negative about their lawmakers. In the latest survey, Americans who identified as Republican were about evenly split on congressional Republicans’ performance, with 47 percent giving them a thumbs-down. Sixty-three percent of “very conservative” Republicans, however approve.

Other surveys have found similarly bleak results for the GOP. A Gallup poll last weekshowed the party’s rating at a record low, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, also released last week, found that Americans assigned Republicans far more blame for the shutdown. The latter survey also found evidence of an “ideological boomerang” against the GOP, with support rising for a Democratic-controlled Congress, Obama’s health care law and an expanded role for government.

The current political atmosphere is reminiscent of that surrounding the government shutdowns in 1995-1996, said pollster Gary Langer, from which he drew a note of caution.

“That result might give some pause to prognosticators who suggest that criticism of the GOP today will spell losses for the party in the 2014 midterm elections, just more than a year off,” Langer told ABC. “No such impact seems readily apparent in the 1996 election: Ten months after those shutdowns, Clinton won re-election, but the Republicans held the House and Senate alike. Now, as then, what may matter most is not just today’s blame, but the eventual resolution of the crisis, and the extent of damage done en route.”

The ABC/Washington Post poll surveyed 1,010 adults between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13, using live telephone interviews.

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GOP Rep. Complains He’s ‘Stuck’ Making ‘$172,000 A Year’

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) – Center

Many of us should be that “stuck”…

TPM LiveWire

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who’s running for Senate in Georgia, complained that while his staff can jump to K Street and make $500,000 a year by lobbying, he’s “stuck” in Congress making a bare $172,000 a year.

The comments, relayed by congressional aides to National Review, came during a closed door meeting among Congressional Republicans on Obamacare.

The lawmakers were debating a proposal that would exclude members of Congress and their staff from a part of Obamacare that requires them to engage in federal health care exchanges. A number of lawmakers complained that participating in the exchanges would be costly. Gingrey, according to NR, stood up and said that Congressional aides “may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street.”

“Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year,” he added.

In a followup phone interview with National Review Gingrey told the conservative magazine that he did not remember making the comments. The Georgia congressman said his point was that “it is completely unfair for members of Congress and Hill staffers to get this special treatment that the general public are not getting.”

Gingrey added that he “was engaged in a dialogue with some members of our conference who truly believe that Congress should get special treatment. And some also believe that staff members should get special treatment. I happen not to believe that.”

 

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Bad News GOP: 51% Would Blame Republicans for a Government Shutdown, Up from 40%

The “Usual Suspects”  McConnell-Cantor-Boehner

PolitcusUSA

It’s bad news for the embattled Speaker of the House and the Republican congressional leadership. Just months ago, the public was much more confused about whom to blame if the government were shut down. But according to a new CNN/ORC International survey, the public would now blame congressional Republicans much more than they would blame President Obama.

“Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP – up from 40% who felt that way earlier this year,” CNNPolling Director Keating Holland explained.

In March of this year, 38% would have blamed President Obama while 40% would have blamed Republicans and 19% would have blamed both. The September poll has Republicans bearing the brunt of the blame, with 51% blaming them and only 33% blaming Obama and 12% blaming both. Thus Republicans stand to bear the brunt of the blame if the government is shut down.

Things are even worse for Republicans when it comes to the debt ceiling. If the debt ceiling is not raised, only 25% would blame Obama while 54% would blame Republicans. In July of 2011, 30% would have blamed Obama and 51% would have blamed Republicans.

House Republican leaders delayed a vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown Wednesday because they lack the votes. The Tea Party is insisting that Republicans do anything, including shutting down government, to defund ObamaCare, but leadership knows that this is not only an unpopular idea, but it could be politically deadly.

The CNN poll only reinforces what non Tea Party Republicans already know – they can’t afford to be blamed for a government shutdown.

This can only be seen as a warning shot for Republicans who are still threatening to shut down government and are childishly tying raising the debt ceiling to delaying the implementation of ObamaCare.

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Six Crazy Stories From Wingnut Land You Might Have Missed This Week

So, let me get this straight:  They hate that President Obama won a second term so they have gone full throttle bat sh*t crazy with their insane rhetoric.  #Sorelosers  #Batsh*tCrazyPols.

Some have bashed the president enough  and moved on to more homophobic attacks against the LGBT community.   #Getalife.

Democratic Underground

Joe Walsh Commemorates March On Washington With Racially-Charged ‘I Have A Dream’ Rant

Idiot Conservative admits the goal is punishing NC voters for voting early for President Obama

Rock Bottom: Cory Booker’s opponent resorts to homophobia

Pat Robertson: Gay community hunts people down and infects them with AIDS via special rings

Gohmert: “Scary” that liberal elites would use vaccines for “culling the population” of humans

Maine candidate questioned by Secret Service after posting Obama photo labelled “shoot the ni**er”

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The Right’s Blind Hate

Republican depravity – http://mariopiperni.com/

Mario Piperni

This is one of the hot stories of the day so you’ve probably come across it already. I’m posting it here in the event that I ever forget why I loathe the tea party and Republican politicians as much as I do. I’ll just come back to this story, read the first sentence below, and instantly know that every ounce of repulsion I feel for these people is justified.

A Tennessee tea party Republican congressman told a frightened little girl at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Murfreesboro, TN that laws are laws and that her undocumented father is going to have to be deported. According to ProgressivePopulist.org, 11-year-old Josie Molina told Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R) that she has papers but her father does not.

During a question and answer session at the meeting, Molina stepped up to the microphone and, with a quavering voice, asked, “Mr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who’s undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?”

Rather than make any attempt to assuage the girl’s fears, Desjarlais said, “Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking,” but “the answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.”

Disgusting, right? But what would you expect from a former doctor who had a number of adulterous affairs with female patients. Desjarlais had run on a strict anti-choice platform although he insisted that one of his mistresses have an abortion after discovering that she was pregnant with his child. That’s how it works with pigs like Desjarlais. In front of a microphone, they’re anti-choice conservatives preaching family values. Away from the stage, they’re screwing around like rabbits on Viagra and setting up abortions for their daughters and mistresses. And if they get caught, they know that simply informing the pea-brained baggers who will vote for them that God has forgiven them for their unfortunate act of indiscretion is all that is required to make the pain go away.

In case you think this story could not get any uglier, there’s this. After Desjarlais destroyed a little girl’s dream of keeping her family together – and doing so without a single word of compassion or concern for her impending and tragic loss – here’s what happened.

The tea party crowd whooped and applauded wildly as the little girl took her seat, head down. Progressive Populist reported that Josie Molina’s father is currently in the process of being deported and that the girl is seeing a child psychologist in order to cope with the stress and anxiety.

Is there any doubt that blind hate is at the core of tea party politics?

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GOP May Hold Debt Ceiling Hostage To Enact Paul Ryan’s Budget

Think Progress

House Republicans will hold the national debt ceiling increase hostage until President Obama agrees to mandatory spending cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the National Journalreports, and will seek to use the leverage of default to force Democrats to enact the policies in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget.

Since slashing discretionary spending to historic lows — the discretionary side of the ledger has grown at a slower rate than inflation since 2007 and now makes up a smaller share of the economy than it did before the Great Recession — the GOP has shifted from demanding dollar-for-dollar immediate spending cuts and is now focusing on drafting a range of options to significantly restructure mandatory benefit programs.

The idea is to throw in the “kitchen sink” and allow Obama to pick and choose the cuts. “If what makes it easier to find the deal is to go in and pick and choose among a dozen different programs and just grab a little bit from all 12 — instead of a lot from one them — then that works just fine,” Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA), who heads the Republican Study Committee’s budget and spending task force, told the Journal:

For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three-and-a-half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the holy grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

For a medium-sized increase in the debt-limit, Republicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.

For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.

While the menu includes plenty of variables, the underlying strategic goal is to reduce mandatory spending — whatever the scope of the deal. Even at the smallest end of the spectrum — another months-long extension of debt-limit — there is talk of pushing back the eligibility age for Social Security by an equal number of months.

For 50 years, Congress routinely increased the debt ceiling as needed, including seven timesunder President George W. Bush. But in 2011, Republicans decided the debt ceiling was “a hostage worth ransoming. The brinksmanship caused the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s and cost the country a million jobs and $19 billion.

The Treasury Department has not yet said when the nation will hit its debt ceiling and has repeatedly moved back the deadline as a result of “lower spending levels and higher tax revenues.”

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GOP could pay price for gerrymandering

Voting booths are shown. | AP Photo

This sounds like a case of - Be careful what you wish for…

Politico

No one disputes Republicans used the once-a-decade redistricting process to lock in their House majority — almost certainly through 2014 and possibly until the next round of line-drawing in 2020.

But the party could pay a steep price for that dominance.

Some top GOP strategists and candidates warn that the ruby red districts the party drew itself into are pushing House Republicans further to the right — narrowing the party’s appeal at a time when some GOP leaders say its future rests on the opposite happening. If you’re looking for a root cause of the recurring drama within the House Republican Conference — from the surprise meltdown on the farm bill to the looming showdown over immigration reform — the increasingly conservative makeup of those districts is a good place to start.

The shellacking Republicans took in 2012 has triggered months of consternation that the party is too white, too conservative and too male. But tell that to the increasing number of House Republicans who are safely ensconced with nary a worry that a Democrat might unseat them in the next election.

The bigger threat to them is a primary challenge from the right bankrolled by the Club for Growth or another deep-pocketed outside group angry they went soft on a key vote.

“It’s obviously easier for a House member to focus on their district. They’re in cycle every day of the year, always on the hot seat, and there’s always a challenger around the corner,” said Matt Schlapp, who served as political director in the George W. Bush White House.

Still, Schlapp added, “You want to be sensitive to the district, but you also need to be cognizant of how your party is going to be successful over time.”

The clash of priorities between the House rank and file and party brass has been on display for months.

In December, House Speaker John Boehner had to pull his Plan B legislation to avert the fiscal cliff before it came to the House floor because it didn’t have enough Republican votes. Last month, 62 Republicans went against Boehner to help sink the farm bill — a measure that typically passes with overwhelming bipartisan support. And most House Republicans appear dead set against an immigration reform bill that cleared the Senate last week with 68 votes — ignoring warnings of GOP leaders that the party is flirting with demographic disaster if they dig in.

Gerrymandering and partisanship, of course, aren’t new phenomena in the House. But the post-2010 redistricting process driven by GOP-controlled state legislatures — Republicans wielded line-drawing power in nearly five times as many districts as Democrats — produced significantly more districts that are overwhelmingly conservative.

Of the 234 House Republicans, just four now represent districts that favor Democrats, according to data compiled by The Cook Political Report. That’s down from the 22 Republicans who resided in Democratic-friendly seats following the 2010 midterms, prior to the line-drawing.

They’re also serving districts that are increasingly white. After redistricting and the 2012 election, according to The Cook Political Report, the average Republican congressional district went from 73 percent white to 75 percent white. And even as Hispanics have emerged as America’s fastest-growing demographic group, only about one-tenth of Republicans represent districts where the Latino population is 25 percent or higher.

For Democrats, the GOP conundrum offers a glimmer of hope, with liberal groups trying to tap into the weakness of the party’s brand. House Majority PAC, a prominent Democratic outside group, recently released a Web ad highlighting some of the more silly statements that have come out of the House GOP’s ranks — the vast majority of them from members who occupy overwhelmingly conservative districts.

Read more here

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MSNBC’s Brzezinski And Heilemann Blast ‘Childish Purely Political’ GOP

TFC wrote about Sen. Pat Toomey’s “revelation” here.

Mediaite

On Thursday, Morning Joe took on Sen. Pat Toomey‘s (R-PA) remark about how many Republicans opposed background checks because they didn’t want to be seen helpingPresident Obama. The roundtable criticized the GOP for being “childish” about an important issue, making their moves based purely on politics. It may work now, John Heilemannargued, but it’ll do the party long-term damage.

“In the end, we didn’t [pass the measure] because our politics have become so polarized,” Toomey said. “There were people on my side who did not want to be perceived to be helping something that the president wanted to accomplish, simply because it’s the president who wants to accomplish it.”

“You would want to argue that that potentially couldn’t be happening” Mika Brzezinski remarked. “And that, potentially on issue is as important as this, would not happen — that Republicans would not be so childish.”

Yet polling shows otherwise, she asserted, including among Republicans. It’s “purely political throughout,” Heilemann later added, noting that it’s just the latest development in what has been congressional Republicans’ strategy for some time: Opposing Obama.

“This feeds into this fundamental dynamic of the Republican Party right now,” he asserted. “The things that they do to try to thwart the president every turn do not hurt them particularly at the level of congressional politics. They will likely hold on to the House of Representatives in 2014, they may even make gains in the Senate in 2014. But they continue to do themselves long-term damage at the level of a national party because of the fact that 88 percent of people are in favor of this bill.”

Take a look, via MSNBC:

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