Court and Racket
March 08, 2010
WASHINGTON -- In a city where the phrase “bipartisan initiative” is becoming an oxymoron, the urgency of containing the damage the Supreme Court could do to our electoral system creates an opportunity for a rare convergence of interest and principle. At issue is the court’s astonishingly naive decision in January that allows unlimited corporate spending to influence elections.
March 01, 2010
Washington—The word "partisanship" is typically accompanied by the word "mindless." That's not simply insulting to partisans; it's also untrue. If we learn nothing else in 2010, can we please finally acknowledge that our partisan divisions are about authentic principles that lead to very different approaches to governing? Last week's health care summit was a day-long seminar that should make it impossible for anyone to pretend otherwise. But before we get to that, let's examine the Senate debate over whether to extend unemployment insurance coverage.
Be There and Be Square
February 24, 2010
The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.
Republicans Love Medicare, Except When They Don't
December 01, 2009
Remember those days of yore, when John McCain was a man who put principle over partisan politics, somebody who could be counted upon to speak the truth? John McCain doesn't. Yesterday, McCain began the Republican assault on health care reform by proposing to strip the Senate bill of its proposed $487 billion in Medicare reductions. The "unspecified" reductions, McCain said, would "directly impact the health care of citizens in this country": All of these are cuts in the obligations that we have assumed and are the rightful benefits that people have earned...
October 06, 2009
On the first day of the Senate Finance Committee's hearings on health care reform, Senator Jon Kyl, a fiery free-market fundamentalist, assailed reform as a "stunning assault on liberty." By day two, he had turned to the more prosaic task of reversing the bill's cuts in the Medicare budget. The elderly, Kyl fretted, "have reason to be worried that portions of this bill could affect their care." Note that neither health care experts nor even the AARP believes the cuts would hurt senior citizens.
Jon Kyl's Theory of Justice
September 25, 2009
We now have video of today's exchange between Senators Jon Kyl and Debbie Stabenow over requiring that insurance policies cover specific benefits--in this case, maternity benefits. It's worth considering Kyl's quote in full: I don't need maternity care and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something i don't need and make the insurance more expensive. Kyl's statement is absolutely true. He doesn't need maternity care and never will.
Line of the Day: Debbie Stabenow
September 25, 2009
Via Wonkroom comes this back-and-forth at the Senate Finance hearings, between Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican, and Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat. The subject is requirements that all insurance policies cover certain benefits. KYL: "I don't need maternity care." STABENOW: "I think your mom probably did." I'm hard-pressed to think of a single exchange that better captures the sensibilities of our two political parties--or the principle of shared risk upon which universal coverage is based.
The Trouble With Bipartisanship (cont'd)
August 18, 2009
This time as defined by Jon Kyl, who told reporters today that the co-op plan (which Kent Conrad came up with as a compromise to the public plan) is also a non-starter for Republicans: "On the co-op... as Democrats have said, it doesn't matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something that Republicans are opposed to," Kyl told reporters. "That is the step towards government-run health care in the country. The president himself said you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition of a public option." "It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse.
The Empathy War
July 14, 2009
For the past few weeks, we've heard a lot of debate about whether constitutional law can possibly survive close contact with the concept of empathy. But after spending the afternoon at the Sotomayor hearings, listening to senators left and right prattle about empathy and its relationship to justice, I have another question: Can the concept of empathy survive close contact with constitutional law?
Jon Kyl, Economic Hitman
June 05, 2009
There's a rather extraordinary passage in today's Times piece on the banking industry's success at killing legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages: The industry’s worst fears began to come true in early January when Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he had persuaded Citigroup to endorse the idea. Mr. Schumer had held discussions with Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup’s chief executive, and Lewis B. Kaden, a vice chairman. Mr.