Holy Joe's retirement closes the book, more or less, on a great question: was the decision by liberals to go all in on the primary challenge in 2006 a good idea? I called it "a reasonable gamble by liberals gone bad" a while ago, but I think I was wrong. Going back to the gamble...in 2006, Joe Lieberman was a very annoying Senator for many liberals, but he was not the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. He was, however, probably the Democratic Senator farthest to the right compared to his state, which made him a logical primary target, even if he wasn't so personally annoying.
Jonathan Chait devotes a long, detailed post today towards arguing, once again, that Republicans are wrong to consider the "doc fix" a real cost of ACA. He is, in my view, correct. But he's missing a larger point. The Republican argument to including the doc fix as a cost of ACA last year boiled down to: this is a serious problem, the Democrats know it's a serious problem, the Democrats intend to continue to do a doc fix, but they're artificially ducking the cost of the problem by omitting it from the bill. Therefore, the doc fix should count as a budgetary cost of enacting ACA.
The fight over the budget effects of ACA (or, hypothetically, ACA repeal) went a bit higher profile yesterday with a fine Paul Krugman column defending the CBO estimates and calling the GOP position a “War on Logic.” Conservative push-back from Yuval Levin here; Jonathan Cohn is reprising some of the arguments, and CBPP weighs in on “false claims“ from Republicans. On the merits, as regular readers will know, I find the CBPP arguments far stronger than the conservative case. Levin’s piece is about the best I’ve seen.
I’ve been saying that the ACA repeal vote now scheduled in the House for next week is basically a symbolic payoff to Tea Partiers and other core Republicans, who the leadership hopes can be bought off with symbols since their real goal—full repeal of ACA—is unrealistic in the current Congress. Note that there was another track Republicans could have taken.
Sometime after I read Ezra Klein’s terrific post about politics through a child’s eyes it occurred to me—and I apologize if others have already noted this, but I hadn’t—that Barack Obama’s choice to frame his speech in Tucson that way was fascinating, because the one thing I’d guess people remember from Obama’s Inaugural Address was his insistence that “the time has come to set aside childish things.” Can we reconcile these two apparently contradictory pieces of rhetoric? Yes, we can (as they say). But it takes me to a different place than where Klein winds up in his post (and, to be clear, I
I fully agree with both Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein that Members of Congress are getting bad advice about how to protect themselves in the wake of Tucson.
Yeah, okay, I’ll write about her. But really only because I want to quote Ta-Nehisi Coates: I would never put gun-sights on the districts of my political opponents. Should violence break out, I don’t even want to be in the conversation as a factor--contributing or causal. We may never know what caused Loughner to snap. But at night, I’d like the security of knowing that it could not have possibly been me. Perhaps Sarah Palin has that sense of security. I can’t know. It’s always tough to try to get into the heads of our politicians.
I’m trying to understand the math in today’s NYT story by Michael Shear about Bill Clinton people in the Barack Obama Administration, begged to the announcements of Bill Daley as Chief of Staff and Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council. Key quotes: The appointments add to the already significant ranks of Clintonites in Mr. Obama’s administration. Still, as some of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers leave the White House, his decision to revamp his staff by tapping more veterans of Mr. Clinton’s administration is notable. Can we get a bit of a reality check?
CBO’s first guess at the budget impact of ACA repeal is out, and, no surprise, it’s sort of the opposite of the fiscal impact of passing the thing in the first place. Jon Cohn has a quick analysis. How do the supposedly deficit-opposing Republicans deal with it? Two ways: by simply refusing to believe it, and by trotting out misdirection and long-disproved junk from the original debate. My favorite (so far), the one that gets the chutzpah award for the day, is this from Speaker John Boehner: CBO can only provide a score based on the assumptions that are given to them.
I think Kevin Drum (along with Austin Frakt) is right that John Boehner and the House Republicans are very obviously moving to the realm of pure symbolism with their ACA repeal vote scheduled right away. Drum asks: So he's scheduling a quick vote with no hearings and no CBO scoring just so he can say he's done it, after which he can move on to other business he actually cares about. The only thing that puzzles me is why he's being so obvious about it. Is this a genuine signal to Obama that he's kinda sorta willing to work with him on future legislation?