TPM has a go at why the health care reform bills are on life support right now.
I’m linking to it not for the post — which is what you would expect — but for the fight in the comments, which more than anything helps explain what’s going on.
Needless to say, I hope they stay in that state till November, and don’t realize that they can have most of what they want simply by passing the Senate bill in toto…
Well, we’ll see what happens.
Contra the National Post, whose hard-libertarian editorial line I generally agree with, I’m still where I was five years ago on this case — let him rot.
If Khadr came back to Canadian soil, he’d probably have to be let free. Which is as it should be, I suppose, barring a treason charge and trial. The man’s a Canadian citizen, and has the right not to be barred from his country.
But I still see no affirmative obligation to go and fetch him. With my Canadian hat on, I say let the Americans deal with him.
If and when the Yanks return him, then he’ll be Canada’s problem.
But with my American hat on, what do I think of his continued incarceration at Gitmo? I’m really not losing any sleep over it… though I would prefer that the military tribunal get on with it and put him on trial, finally.
Update: Actually, I rather like Spector’s prescription –
As soon as he’s digested the Supreme Court decision and had time to be advised by the Government’s lawyers, the Prime Minister should request a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. At that meeting, which need not be publicly announced, Mr. Harper and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada would explain the decision. As a Harvard Law School graduate and former professor of constitutional law, Mr. Obama will easily grasp the issues.
After excusing the Chief Justice, Mr. Harper should then ask the President – who’s in a difficult spot in public opinion these days, with Republicans hounding him mercilessly on several national security issues – whether his administration would welcome a formal request from the Government of Canada to repatriate Omar Khadr to his country of birth, on the understanding that he would likely not stand trial here but would undergo some form of rehabilitation organized by his supporters.
That’d be the most honest way to deal with it. Let the president know what really would happen — upon his return to Canadian soil, OK almost certainly walks free.
And then let his people decide.
But I’m skeptical. Can it really be so good for conservatives in America right now?
How about that Q4 economic growth data — are we on the verge of an Obama comeback?
Update: But I’m over-confident enough right now to want to see a reconciliation fight on the Senate floor.
How much fun would that be? I mean, a rolling filibuster of amendments, with debate going on for days straight.
I’d love it. I’d be glued to C-SPAN.
Meanwhile, look at the charts here. I see at least ten Democrat-held seats that could go Republican.
Someone at the Weekly Standard has been eating his (or her) Wheaties:
“Of course, it’s difficult to imagine that a Senate seat held by Representative Patrick J. Kennedy’s father was invulnerable to bloodthirsty voters for 47 years. It’s even more painful to consider that the Democrats’ nationalization of health care seems to have been scuttled by Aryan support groups and right-wing militia. But that’s the view from Rhode Island’s delegation to Congress—and as Rhode Island goes, so goes The Nation.”
Nice. As Rhode Island goes, so goes “The Nation“.
As for the substance — whatever. My great fear was that the Brown victory in Massachusetts would serve as an early wake-up call for the Congressional Democrats — that they could moderate, having lost only one seat, rather than after massive losses in the midterms.
That doesn’t seem to be a threat now, does it?
And may I declare, if any chief executive gave a speech like Otter’s at the SOTU or any other official occasion — why, I’d have to vote for his re-election.
Obama is no Otter.
Would that he were.
A comment on my last post made me think about what’s going on down here.
President Obama has run into a bit of a problem — and it’s one I suppose I’ve seen coming for quite some time.
He has a bad habit — he says things that … well, sound good but aren’t strictly true. I noticed it first in his Philadelphia speech about race, just before the Pennsylvania Democratic Party primary in 2008. There were a lot of analogies made that just weren’t valid.
He did it again on the second stimulus bill. (The Bush-Pelosi ’08 one being the first.) Same thing for the Sotomayor nomination — his people encouraged a discourse on her judicial outlook that was simply a number of word games, stealing conservative phrases to describe judicial philosophy to pitch a nominee whose views are 180 degrees from them.
And so it happened again with the health care bill, on the abortion and immigration issues. It gets to be a little annoying — there’s a disrespect for the audience. It’s one thing to express outright opposition, but it’s something else to say that you’re doing one thing which it’s manifestly obvious, when one looks at the objective reality of the situtation, that you’re doing something else. Hence Rep. Joe Wilson’s cry, “YOU LIE!”
These little evasions and elisions, they add up. One or two, you can skate on. But when you keep on doing it, it really starts to grate.
People on the left have started to notice. Has Gitmo been closed? Was there a push for a strong public option, the necessary step towards their dream of single payer health care? See Paul Krugman on the president — “He wasn’t the one we’ve been waiting for“, and “Obama liquidates himself“. See also Bob Herbert on Obama’s credibility gap (and Taylor Marsh’s related comments).
[Of course, there's Jim Geraghty's line -- "Every promise from Barack Obama has an expiry date -- every single one."]
I had initially thought this was a left-right thing — that President Obama was just expert at making a leftist agenda sound middle-of-the-road, and I was getting angry because he was very good at it.
But as time passed, I changed my mind on that — I see how progressives have soured on him, too.
Can he recover? Absolutely. He’s the president of the United States. He can turn on a dime, and the American people are very forgiving.
But he has to decide — is he going to go left, and try to ram health care through, or is he going to tack to the centre, like Bill Clinton did? There are arguments on both sides about which would make more sense to do. (Though I have my suspicions…)
But he has to do it — no more word games. Decide what you’re going to do, tell us, and do it. Can’t have it both ways.
If he tries to have it both ways… well, I think this president will make himself a one-termer.
Till then… well, Pat Toomey’s gone up 14 points in PA, safe seat senators like Russ Feingold find themselves in trouble, and the GOP heads even further ahead on the generic ballot. (NPR now has them up by five points, or by ten among the most likely voters…)
(The idea of a challenge is nonsense — people know what happened in 1968, 1976, 1980, and 1992. It’s death to the incumbent party.)
Update again: The AP factchecks the SOTU address.
Update the third: Althouse notes that Alito refuted Obama’s point neatly with that headshake…
And isn’t it ironic that, right when we saw the judge’s minimalist expression that overwhelmed the President’s torrent of words, Obama was railing about the “powerful interests” and that would use their great wealth to speak far too much during election campaigns?
It’s not how much or how loud you speak that counts, is it?
Update the fourth: Evidence –
One aside is worth noting. CNN as always had its focus group with their “magic dials,” where the Democrats, Independents, and Republicans could register their feelings toward the President. CNN showed a clip where the President began talking about health care reform. He was going along at about what looked like 50% with R’s and I’s, and 90% among D’s. The second the words “health care” came out of his mouth, the numbers among R’s and I’s dipped about 10 points. This suggests that he hasn’t made much progress in turning around the public’s views of health care reform.
Moreover, the speech went on: “Now, let’s clear a few things up. (Laughter.) I didn’t choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn’t take on health care because it was good politics.”
During this segment, the dials for Independents and Republicans plummeted. Republicans were around 20%, while Independents were actually around 0%.
Less popular among independents on this than he is among Republicans. That’s really quite something.
Earlier this morning, I tweeted, “If the arguments in the coming years are between spending freezes and spending cuts, then we’ve already won.”
I’m getting a lot of pushback on it, with quite a few folks pointing to all the exceptions in Obama’s spending freeze.
My argument is not “hooray Obama” and in fact it doesn’t have much to do with Obama’s specific proposal. My argument is that we’ve gotten a man who campaigned on expanding government to concede that his vision is not affordable. This is an enormous opportunity for those who want to see a smaller, more focused government. …
Mary Katharine Ham is of a similar mind, noting this promise is like Obama’s promise to have all health care legislation negotiations on C-SPAN. If he keeps the promise, it opens the door for good reforms; if he breaks his promise, it’s another fantastic illustration that he’s full of… it.
Krugman is despondent:
And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”
Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.
Give us the House and Senate in November 2010, and we might just be able to re-elect this guy…
Funny how it all comes down to this:
That’s Peggy Noonan’s take:
Is it a backlash? It seems cooler than that, a considered and considerable rejection that appears to be signaling a conservative resurgence based on issues and policies, most obviously opposition to increased government spending, fear of higher taxes, and rejection of the idea that expansion of government can or will solve our economic challenges. …
But the Republican candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, and now Scott Brown in Massachusetts, did something amazing. They played the part of the Creep very badly! They put themselves forward as serious about spending, as independent, not narrowly partisan. Mr. Brown rarely mentioned he was a Republican, and didn’t even mention the party in his victory speech. Importantly, their concerns were on the same page as the voters’. They focused on the relationship between spending and taxing, worried about debt and deficits, were moderate in their approach to social issues. They didn’t have wedge issues, they had issues.
… A centerpiece of Mr. Brown’s campaign was opposition to the president’s health-care plan, but he stressed that he opposes high spending wherever it comes from. “I’ve criticized President Bush for his failure to use his veto pen. There’s plenty of blame to go around. The question is how to solve problems. It’s not bailouts. What made America great? Free markets, free enterprise, manufacturing, job creation. That’s how we’re gonna do it, not by enlarging government.”
We’ll see. [via GayPatriot]
It seems to me that Republicans have an easy way both to rally its base and attract independent swing voters — it’s the freedom, stupid. Free markets, free enterprise, individual liberty, individual initiative.
Doesn’t mean we have to throw social conservatives under the bus — far from it, look at Bob McDonnell — but we need not to get sidetracked from the key issues on the campaign trail. And those are economic.
It’s nice when principle and pragmatism dictate the same answer.
You don’t want to see those sorts of videos cropping up? Stop calling us “tea-baggers”.
Otherwise… well, it’s certainly better to be the tea-bagger than the tea-baggee… :p And one has to assume ownership of the label.