It’s only fitting, that the all-time gold medal record is on the line in this afternoon’s hockey game — Canada’s thirteen gold medals tie the record held by the Soviet Union and Norway. (While Canada failed to own the podium, except in the proprietary sense, she did own the top of the podium.)
That game may provide the moment that best exemplifies the Vancover Olympics.
Till then, Jon Montgomery’s beer run has it:
Frame it first:
Rubin Navarette: It’s all about the Dems –
So the summit was a fraud? A charade? I hope not. Even in Washington, there has to be a limit to cynicism. And I’d hope this would be it. I’d hope that Obama and Democratic lawmakers wouldn’t toy with the American people on an issue as important as this one.
Talk about broken government. The public wants solutions to our health care problems — however they’re defined — and not partisan gimmicks that give “a face to gridlock.” Even many of those Americans who oppose the Democratic plan turn around to tell pollsters, in the next breath, that the current system has too much cost and not enough common sense. No one approves of the status quo. That’s at least something to agree on.
And while Obama got a lot of things right in his remarks, he also made a big mistake when — at the very outset of the discussion — he defined as the baseline “the House and the Senate legislation that’s already passed.” That told Republicans that they were not getting their blank sheet of paper, and that the best they could hope for was to tweak but not substantially change the Democratic plans.
It also did something else. It reminded the American people of who calls the shots in Washington. It’s the party in power. Democrats control all the levers of government, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. …
Whatever happens on health care, Democrats alone deserve, depending on your view, either the credit or the blame. You see, the real face of gridlock is theirs.
And so, given that it’s all about the Dems…
Obama to GOP: It’s over –
Obama listened politely for six hours, with occasional flashes of temper, but in the end, the message was clear: It’s over. We’re moving forward without Republicans.
Whether Obama and Dems will succeed in passing reform on their own is anything but assured, to put it mildly. But there’s virtually no doubt anymore that they are going to try — starting as early as tomorrow.
That was the subtle but unmistakable message of Obama’s closing argument. After hours of hearing Republicans repeat again and again that only an incremental approach to reform is acceptable to them, Obama rejected that out of hand. …
Unless I’m misreading that, Obama is saying that unless Republicans support comprehensive reform as Obama and Dems have defined it — dealing with the problem of 30 million uninsured and, by extension, seriously tackling the preexisting condition problem — they will almost certainly move forward with reconciliation.
What’s more, Obama also essentially accused Republicans of approaching today’s summit in bad faith — after they had sat there with him for six hours. He said that even after the public option was taken off the table, Republicans continued to use the same “government takeover” slur. …
Also: This summit was always about laying the groundwork for Dems to go forward alone, barring a major capitulation from Republicans. As noted here repeatedly, Dems will find themselves in exactly the same position tomorrow as they did yesterday: Confronting the enormously difficult task of passing ambitious reform on their own.
Conservatives to Obama: It’s over –
The day before yesterday’s White House health care summit, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told reporters: “The only way this works is for the House to pass the Senate bill and then, depending on what the package is, the reconciliation provision that moves first through the House and then comes here.” When Conrad was reminded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has repeatedly insisted that the House will not pass the Senate bill until the Senate passes a second bill that fixes the first, Conrad replied: “Fine, then it’s dead.” …
And that reality is already spreading throughout Capitol Hill. Politico reports that while Democrats were hoping to pass Obamacare by Easter, “there were signs Thursday night that the schedule was slipping. One Democratic lawmaker involved in the negotiations, who asked not to be identified to speak candidly of the process, said the party would not, in fact, start down the path of reconciliation next week.”
That is some rare great news for the American people. As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ably explained yesterday, Americans do not want Washington dictating their health care decisions to them, and that is exactly what Obamacare would do …
President Obama bristled at this analysis, responding: “Can I just say that, at this point, any time that a question is phrased as, “Does Washington know better,” I think we’re kind of tipping the scales a little bit there since we all know that everybody is angry at Washington right now.”
When two sides are declaring, simultaneously, that something is “over”, but in diametrically opposed directions… Well, we have a reality problem here.
Update: How about this. If the harder-core righties are right and the Dems are left ideologues, they’ll manage to ram it through. If they aren’t, then it really is dead.
(Well, my characterization of the thinking isn’t quite right — Ann Coulter thinks it’s dead till the next time the Dems win both chambers and the presidency…)
Update again: Here’s some polling data that might give someone pause — today’s Rasmussen:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for President Obama.
The only other time the Approval Index was this low came in late December as the U.S. Senate prepared to approve its version of health care reform (see trends). Most voters continue to oppose the proposed health care plan. …
Overall, 43% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That is the lowest level of total approval yet measured for this President. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove. The President earns approval from 76% of Democrats while 86% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 38% approve and 61% disapprove. The President earns approval from 37% of men and 49% of women.
I shall point out one datum from that poll. The combined total of all who approve, either “somewhat” or “strongly”, 43%, is the same as those who “strongly disapprove”.
That might — might — lead some to think, “Hey, maybe we should throttle back on this one…”
Or not. There’s an argument to be made for pushing through the public policy you think is best, expecting to be able to defend it in future, at the next election. Thatcher did that with privatization in the 1980s.
Should President Obama be making that same calculation — well, he’s not up till 2012.
9:24 PM, EST: There’s actually a non-trivial chance that Canada loses tonight — that Slovak goaltender, Halak, has been amazing.
Canada will get 45 shots on goal and a whole bunch of chances — that isn’t really in doubt.
The final result, however, is.
Just minutes earlier, the MILFish Canadian skip, Cheryl Bernard, blew two shots at curling gold.
9:30 PM: But… well, the Canadian women got it done in style last night, winning gold over the American women’s hockey team and then celebrating with beer, champagne and cigars. (Rush noticed, and approved.) [Hope they can keep their sport.]
So now it’s the men’s turn.
Get us that rematch with the Americans — we have unfinished business.
9:34 PM: Gretzky predicts our best game of the tourney, for what it’s worth.
9:35 PM: Game on!
9:40 PM: Brian Williams left Canada a nice goodbye note. He’s a class act.
9:41 PM: I don’t like this. We look sloppy, starting out. It’s not the team that crushed Russia.
9:42 PM: MacKinnon — “The Americans had six goals by now…”
9:54 PM: That was a long fourteen minutes before our first goal… (Will it count? We think the stick was below the crossbar…)
10 PM: Okay, a 2-0 lead makes me more comfortable, with five minutes left in the first.
10:09 PM: 2-0 Canada, first intermission.
That’s a comfortable place to be. 4-1 was even more comfortable, mind you. Or 6-0, where the Americans were a few hours ago…
10:38 PM: Eleven minutes into the second, still two-zip. Play going pretty evenly in this period, but a two goal lead is okay to sit on… Right?
10:49 PM: Powerplay goal with three mins left in the second. Okay, this is a lead to sit on, against this lot.
Though I think the Canadians are hungry for more.
Apparently missed awesome 500 m short track final — with a giant crash, as all good short track finals should have…
11 PM: Three-zip, second intermission. (Yawn.)
Keep boring me, hockey gods. I don’t want excitement till Sunday.
11:17 PM: Why mess with a good thing? Cocky fans appear again, with fourteen minutes left.
“WE WANT USA!” is the chant now…
11:23 PM: Canada apparently has the gold medal lead now — add a relay gold.
11:26 PM: Not over yet — the Slovaks have closed to 3-1. 8:25 left in the third.
11:35 PM: And it’s a one goal game, with less than five minutes to go.
Fans with soul are probably cheering for the plucky Slovaks.
Not I. I’m cheering for Goliath to hang on against David.
11:37 PM: I feel like the Slovaks are pushing us around in our own end…
11:42 PM: Thanks to the goalpost, Canada just barely hangs on.
A miss is as good as a mile, I say. Bring on the USA!
The inevitable partisan ending to today’s bipartisan kabuki. I know you’re bored with summit vids by now but the baldfaced lie told here makes it must-viewing. Quote: “I think most Americans think that a majority vote makes sense.” That’s simply flatly untrue and there are not one but two polls posted in the last 24 hours to prove it. Ed already flagged Gallup’s finding of a 39/52 split opposed to reconciliation; Fox News followed up a few hours ago with even worse numbers. …
No matter. If a bipartisan deal hasn’t been reached within six weeks, says Obama, it’s reconciliation or bust. The alternative is “Plan B,” but while Blue Dogs might warm to that, House progressives probably won’t. And so, as one Democratic aide said to Politico, “It’s probably the big bill or nothing.” I don’t think I’ve seen any polls yet that have tried to gauge how the Democrats will fare in November if they pass a bill with reconciliation versus if they just call the whole thing off now, but if you see one, shoot it along to us. I’m eager to know just how toxic this toxic process is becoming.
Was he trying to make the Republicans look bad—retrograde ogres who would leave uninsured babies to die in their cribs? If so, he didn’t succeed at all. On the contrary, they came out of it looking rather alert and grownup.
Was he trying to establish—perhaps in all sincerity—that the differences between the two sides were not unbridgeable, and that there was nothing that separated the two that couldn’t be resolved by a good, cathartic heart-to-heart on TV? If so, he didn’t succeed. On the contrary, he gave the Republicans a national stage on which to air their disagreements with the health-care bill—and air them they did, with something approaching panache.
Did he believe that he would, somehow, by his sheer charisma, “win it” for his side? If so, he didn’t succeed. On the contrary, he may have chipped his image in significant ways.
… It became apparent from the very beginning—when a testy Obama said “Let me finish, Lamar!” to the courtly Lamar Alexander—that this was not to be an open-minded exploration of the issues in question. It was, instead, a simulacrum of a debate, a pretend-conversation, one in which Obama established, yet again, his command over fact and detail, but in which he also revealed reflexive superciliousness, intolerance of different opinions, and a shortness of patience unbecoming of a president. (He also showed that he’s a tedious clock-Nazi, cutting people off all the time, while showing no inclination to edit himself.)
What was so striking about the summit was the preparedness of the Republicans. All of them had done their homework: Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Dave Camp, John Barrasso, and Paul Ryan.
Were there mistakes? (I think he should’ve listened to Rahm. Rahm created those majorities, with Howard Dean. Majorities which could have kept on slicing bits off the sausage of the private health care industry…)
7:32 PM, EST: I’m slightly disappointed not to see this game at midnight. But I understand why it had to be moved to prime time.
Crosby vs. Ovechkin.
7:35 PM: The Russian uniforms have the double-headed eagle of the Romanovs and a Nike swoosh. How times have changed!
7:38 PM: GOAL! 1-0, Canada.
7:41 PM: I think Canada is motivated tonight…
7:51 PM: Canada’s off to a solid start, ten minutes in.
7:55 PM: A power play that actually shoots. Will wonders never cease?
2-0 Team Canada.
7:57 PM: Oh my, beautiful goal for the three goal lead by Nash.
8:01 PM: Well, Russia may have gotten back in it — 3-1.
8:08 PM: Back to a three goal cushion — 4-1.
8:11 PM: 21 shots on goal for Canada in the first period? Wow.
8:29 PM: Minute into the second — Team Canada still playing well.
8:30 PM: 5-1.
8:40 PM: 6-2 Canada, and we’re not even halfway through the game…
8:42 PM: 7-2 with 10:09 left in the second period?!
9:00 PM: 7-3 after two. Not bad. Not as much of a rout as it looked like it might be earlier, but still up there.
9:32 PM: We may end up with a score-less final period… Pity, if so. I wanted eight.
9:42 PM: Cocky fans. Chanting “Na na na na…” with three minutes left…
9:48 PM: Game over. 7-3 final. If this weren’t an international hockey game, there would’ve been a fight or two to end it.
Good night for Canada.
Who’s up next?
10:40 PM: Sweden or Slovakia is who’s up next.
Fans were chanting “WE WANT SWEDEN!”
I guess there is some unfinished business, there…
2:15 AM: Sweden… lost?! Slovakia it is!
I’m sure there’s more to the story than one gets from press articles, but, that being said:
They’ve only ever danced with each other. That intimate knowing of one another was beautifully evident in their three-part competition here.
Virtue, who usually lets Moir take the conversation lead, remembers their early days thusly: “I know I had a crush on Scott, that’s for sure. But I wasn’t alone there.” (Moir snorts: “That’s certainly changed.”)
“Most of the girls at the skating club did,” Virtue continues, ignoring the interruption. “But I was really shy and Scott was so outgoing. It was maybe two years before we started talking. He was always funny, always making everyone laugh, always doing crazy pranks.”
Kept that up on Tuesday, too, hanging his head in the kiss ‘n’ cry as the duo’s marks flashed, whispering to Virtue that the score wasn’t high enough, that they’d blown gold. And she believed him, for a fleeting moment, though didn’t entirely care, so bursting with pleasure over the performance. At that point, with a rapturous crowd on its feet, it wasn’t about medals any more. It was about arriving at the destination they’d set four years ago, after failing to make the Turin team.
Well… apparently he’s seeing someone else.
“When we were little kids skating together for the first time, we didn’t say much for the first couple of years. She had a huge crush. That crush has lasted 11 years. There, it’s out in the open. It better be in the paper now,” laughed the 20-year-old Moir after they made magic together here yesterday.
“No comment,” said Virtue, 18.
I mean, of course you can’t choose who you like — like that scene in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” where Fiona admits she has had a thing for Charlie for years and years (and she’s much, much more interesting than all the other women in the film) — and there’s almost certainly other stuff going on that doesn’t make the papers. (Maybe Virtue’s terribly, terribly annoying in person, or something.)
From the beginning it has been a perfect match. The first time she laid eyes on her skating partner, Virtue said, she had a crush on him.
But Moir needed a little convincing, since he usually liked older girls.
Their entire skating career has revolved around each other, and Virtue won’t even entertain the thought of gliding alongside a different partner. …
The connection they have on the ice goes beyond the show they regularly put on for the judges. In their teens, they started dating for a short period, but the off-ice romance nearly derailed their careers before they reached their first major international competition.
After they decided to break up socially, they actually started communicating better with each other on and off the ice.
But the romantic bond they once formed — like that of Canadian pairs gold medallists Jamie Salé and David Pelletier — has seemed to give them an edge over their competitors.
Well, if I were seeing someone I had to work with, 24/7, it’d probably drive me nuts.
Here’s the right’s view:
Here’s the left’s:
I’d tend to say it’s dead, that it can’t get the votes, but I’d have said the same about the House and Senate bills late last year. And yet they passed.
So who knows? If it does pass through reconciliation, I suggest that the GOP do as my friend Cliff said and ride it to the presidency and a Senate majority in 2012… But who knows? Opinions can change…
Update, next day: Let’s start keeping track of metaphors that have been used at various times.
Can it pass through reconciliation?
When it comes to legislative procedure, I am a strict Hobbesian. There is what a Senate majority can do, and what it can’t do. “Appropriate” or “inappropriate” are not applicable phrases. Congress is sovereign over its own procedures, which are the product of self-interested members working to secure reelection and/or policy goals. Morality doesn’t enter into it. (See the note at the bottom of this post for another thought on this topic.)
It’s getting interesting.
7:11 PM, EST: Well, here’s my take on Team Canada –
1. Bench Brodeur for Luongo.
2. Play a first line of Crosby-Nash-Iginla.
That is all.
Those two changes should be enough to win, with this team.
We’ll see. Puck-drop with Germany in fifteen minutes.
But because anything less than a gold medal is considered a failure, here are how Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock will be viewed after the games:
- Gold Medal = Geniuses (20%)
- Silver Medal = Failures (15%)
- Bronze Medal = Major Failures (15%)
- Not in the Medals = Withdrawal of Citizenship (50%)
Right on the last one. :p
Apparently the coaching staff is going with the “let’s not play Crosby with Iginla” theory. I don’t know why.
7:34 PM: Well, Feschuk’s liveblogging this one.
Won’t bother trying to find an English-language German liveblog — what’s the point?
Puck’s about to drop.
7:35 PM: No need to feel anxious. Canada’s 11-0-0 all time against Germany.
And we’re off.
7:46 PM: A few mins in, Canada outplaying opponents hugely again. Main thing is, can we score?
7:52 PM: GOAL!! Thornton!
7:56 PM: Okay, guys. Let’s put this game away early and then rest up for Russia.
8:24 PM: Canada only up 1-0 in the second period. Don’t like this…
8:27 PM: 3 mins into the second period — will Canada get a goal for that puck that went through the net?
8:29 PM: Yes! 2-0.
8:33 PM: 3-0.
8:40 PM: 4-0! Iginla! 2nd goal tonight!
See — put Crosby and Iginla together, and Iggy starts scoring tonnes.
8:51 PM: Okay, get Iginla his natural hat trick and then rest the top players.
9:12 PM: 4-1 Canada in the second intermission.
Things may change before then, of course…
9:14 PM: 5-1!
9:23 PM: 6-1! I think we’re ready for Russia.
9:30 PM: Okay, 7-1 and they’re playing music from Rock’em Sock’em 5.
9:40 PM: 8-1, and we’re told that Canada-Russia is at 7:30 PM tomorrow, instead of midnight.
Too bad, I’d have enjoyed the midnight marathon…
9:41 PM: Cocky fans chanting “WE WANT RUSSIA” now.
9:50 PM: Okay, bring on Russia.
The White House is going for it:
The White House has outlined a package of fixes to the Senate health care bill, which they hope can bring reform over the finish line, and they’re prepared to push the changes through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process if Republicans insist on filibustering.
“This package is designed to help us [use reconciliation] if the Repulbican party decides to filibuster health care reform,” said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. “That was certainly a factor that went in to how we put this proposal together.”
Pfeiffer said the White House views this as “the opening bid,” for the bipartisan health care summit scheduled for this Thursday. The hope–a long shot–is that one or more Republicans can agree to support this proposal, allowing Dems to pass it via more standard legislative channels. But if that fails, reconciliation can be used as a backstop.
Key questions: Do they have 50 votes in the Senate for this? Do they have 218 votes in the House? (Less than 218 votes remain in the House from those who voted for the bill last fall.)
Update again: What are the president and his congressional allies telling the other Democats? Read E.J. Dionne’s column.
Update the third: What’s my take on it?
The White House has no reason not to go for it.
Obama’s not on the ballot this fall — he’ll still be around.
And if he lets the Republicans stare him down — even though they do have majority opinion on their side — what’s the point of having a majority? Push as far as you can with a friendly Congress, and if it then flips in the fall, so what? That’s instant triangulation right there.
I cheer for Canada in winter sports, and lean towards the USA for summer sports — it’s a feeling of what’s fitting, I suppose.
Anyway. Team Canada outshot Team USA 19-6 in the first period, but they’re still losing, 2-1.
Note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, so the Americans are motivated. They’d like to honour it somehow.
But no, 19-6 in the first period — Canada’s got this. I’m dead sure.
Now for the second period!
Al Michaels is pretty outspoken about his right-wingedness. (“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!” But not today.)
8:39 PM: Yes! 2-2.
8:44 pM: I rather wish I had a Canada jersey…
8:48 PM: This is a dam’ good hockey game.
8:56 PM: Five minutes left in the second period, Canada out-chancing the US 15-6. Outshooting them by some ridiculous margin. Really, the goaltenders are the only reason Team USA is still in this game.
9:01 PM: Brodeur strikes again — second goal tonight that can be blamed on him.
USA up 3-2, 3 minutes left in the second.
9:07 PM, end of the second period: Team Canada, are you actually going to find a way to lose this game?
9:29 PM, a few mins into the third: I think we just might manage it.
That would take some talent… On the other hand, if we win, we’ll play the Russians in the quarter-finals. Do we want to win?
9:32 PM: 4-2 USA.
This is getting ugly.
9:36 PM: Less than ten minutes left. Come on, Crosby! Come on, Iginla!
9:42 PM: You know, I’ve had about enough of the “we just ran into a great goaltender” excuses.
It’s like the Obama administration saying, “We just haven’t gotten our message out.”
No, it’s not that. There are deeper problems.
9:48 PM: Crosby finally scores. Down by a goal with 3 minutes to go.
9:53 PM: Oh, Canada — why do you always do this to us? USA 5-3. That’s the game.
9:57 PM: Canadians, please remain calm.
Help me with this rope.
And tell me where that ^&^%*$###@@ MARTIN BRODEUR IS HIDING!!!
11 PM: My prescription — bench Brodeur, and leave Crosby and Iginla on the same line for the whole game and let them score us some frickin’ goals.