Chuck Grassley

Putting a Cork in It

Nate Silver makes the sharp observation that all the public hand-wringing by red state Democrats about how they won't vote for the health care reform bill in its current form may not do them much good with their voters: Take a look, for instance, at some evidence from Montana, where we have a bit of a controlled experiment. In Montana, a purplish-red state, there are two Democratic senators -- Max Baucus and Jon Tester -- each of whom have ultimately decided to support the Democrats' health care reform plans.

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Via Ben Smith, Radio Iowa reports that Christie Vilsack--wife of the guy currently responsible for grading your meat--might challenge Chuck Grassley in 2010. A couple months ago, Matthew Yglesias and Ezra Klein argued that Obama screwed up by putting Tom Vilsack in his cabinet when Democrats would have been better served by having the popular former Iowa governor run against Grassley.

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I'm sure many people saw that, over the weekend, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) penned an op-ed with John Kerry in The New York Times laying out a pathway for a bipartisan deal on climate legislation. That's big news. Maybe not a "game-changer," as some greens have been crowning it, but big news all the same. A cap-and-trade bill likely can't survive the Senate without some Republican support, and while Graham isn't exactly co-sponsoring the Kerry-Boxer proposal just yet, he's at least naming his price (namely: more support for nukes, offshore drilling, carbon tariffs).

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WASHINGTON--The strangest aspect of the debate over a public option for health coverage is that the centrists who oppose it should actually love it. It doesn't involve a government takeover of the health care system. The idea is that only consumers who wanted to enroll in a government-run health plan would do so. Anyone who preferred private insurance could get it. The public option also uses government exactly as advocates of market economics say it should be deployed: Not as a controlling entity but as a nudge toward greater competition. Fans of the market rightly oppose monopolies.

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This was the best speech I've heard Barack Obama give as president--possibly the best since January of 2008. Unlike his inaugural address, or even his convention speech, this one really soared and inspired by the end--a bit counterintuitively for a health care speech.

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Middle of Nowhere

“I think that often where I am is just in the middle. The middle is often the commonsensical place to be. The notion that one side is right and one side is wrong is generally, as one finds in life, not the case.” --political commentator Cokie Roberts Roberts has a great point. The sensible position usually does lie halfway between two extremes. Just look at history. In the 1960s, the country was split between extremists who wanted to deny civil rights to African Americans, and extremists who insisted on completely equal rights everywhere.

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At HuffPo today, Sam Stein explores an irony that I've also been thinking about: many of the very conservatives who are ventilating claims that health care reform will interject the federal government into end-of-life decisions--with or without "death panels"--were hell-bent on Congress dictating an end-of-life decision in the infamous Terri Schiavo case in 2005: Some of the same conservative figures taking potshots at Democrats for wanting to fund voluntary discussions about end-of-life decisions between doctors and their patients were leading the charge four years ago to contravene the deci

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The contrast between Chuck Grassley's increasingly obvious signals that he has no intention to support health care reform and Max Baucus's insistence that negotiations are absolutely fine is making Baucus look increasingly pathetic.Grassley has been railing against a fictitious "government takeover" of health care and fanning fears of "death panels."He stopped participating in Gang of Six negotiations during the August recess because of a supposedly packed schedule. And now he's saying as explicitly as you can that he no longer supports reform at all: Sen. Charles E.

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The contrast between Chuck Grassley's increasingly obvious signals that he has no intention to support health care reform and Max Baucus's insistence that negotiations are absolutely fine is making Baucus look increasingly pathetic. Grassley has been railing against a fictitious "government takeover" of health care and fanning fears of "death panels." He stopped participating in Gang of Six negotiations during the August recess because of a supposedly packed schedule. And now he's saying as explicitly as you can that he no longer supports reform at all: Sen. Charles E.

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At least as Chuck Grassley defines it. From MSNBC's "First Read": Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley admitt[ed] that he probably wouldn’t vote for any type of bill -- even if he got everything he wanted in it. “I am negotiating for Republicans, and if I can’t get something that gets more than four Republicans, I am not a very good representative of my party,” he told one of us on MSNBC yesterday morning.

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