Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

58 Seats - Begich wins Alaska

Democrat Begich won the Alaska Senate seat yesterday, unseating Ted Stevens. Good riddance to Ted Stevens. The Bridge to Nowhere is now a Bridge to Jail. By keeping Lieberman in the caucus, the Democrats now have 58 votes at least nominally on their side. Chances for Franken to win the Minnesota recount are, according to, at least even. And we don't really know the chances of Martin v. Chambliss in the Georgia Senate recount, but it leans Chambliss. So we're looking at Republicans having 41 or 42 seats at most, meaning they have to keep everyone together to filibuster which will put extreme heat on certain Republican senators who are not at the extreme right of their caucus. This is all very good news for making real change in this country. It's the biggest majority for either party since the Democrats had 58 seats 1978-1980.

Here's what I think we can now get out of Congress in the first six months (not in order):
1. Universal health insurance
2. Climate change legislation (cap and trade)
3. Mortgage foreclosure relief
4. Green Energy legislation
6. Card Check Legislation (Labor)

Health insurance is by far the most important to me of all. It must be universal and (of course) affordable. It must be made so that you cannot lose it or be barred by pre-existing conditions.


Raised By Republicans said...

I hereby warn the Democrats not to go on a policy shopping spree of the sort that seems to have LTG so wide eyed with excitement. Each of these issues should be tackled - absolutely. But the Democrats should be careful not to appear to be forcing through policies without a hint of compromise.

For example, I'd be very suspicious of any health care plan that couldn't get even two Republican votes in the Senate. If the Democrats are planning on moving so far to the left that Senators like Specter, Snow and Collins would consider a filibuster to stop it, they should stop and take a breath.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Policy shopping spree? RBR- you are WAY off base. These are Obama's most basic campaign promises.

A policy shopping spree would look very, very different.
-For example, that would be single payer health care, not just universal health *insurance* of the kind that Mitt Romney approved in Massachussetts or is the law in Maine where Collins/Snowe come from.
-Cap-and-trade had support of McCain too - that's not shocking. I didn't suggest signing onto Kyoto or CAFE standards of 50mpg.
-ENDA has widespread support even outside Democratic circles. It failed because GOPers didn't want to vote for it and have the PResident veeto it, thus getting the worst of both worlds.
-Mortgage foreclosure relief is definitely coming from both parties.
- Green Energy legislation- bipartisan support for some version.
-Card check bill: this is the only really hard-nosed Democratic/liberal bill in the bunch they would have to muscle through. It is so important to labor that they must try it. I suspect they will succeed if coupled with some GOP goodie.

I am totally against a liberal shopping spree, because we all know that will fail in the Senate. I have said so on this blog repeatedly, and said that the real fight will be within the Democratic caucus to control the agenda.

What on earth, RBR, made you think this was an outlandish set of proposals? What did you expect Obama to do if not try to enact items from his campaign promise list?

Things that would be on a real shopping spree: (1) repeal DOMA; (2) new gun legislation; (3) big changes in tax policy; (4) large increase in minimum wage; (5) nationwide closed-shop rules; (6) repeal RFRA; (7) repeal Patriot Act in entirety; (8) prosecute for violations of FISA; (9) single-payer health insurance Canadian style; (10) mandatory even funding for schools by states across districts; (11) gays in the military by executive order on day one; (12) really tighten tax exemptions for religious groups that engage in politics; (13) Pass the Freedom of Choice Act; (14) Bar offshore drilling; (15) repeal no child left behind; (16) make all student loan payments tax deductible.

If you start thinking that universal health insurance is overreaching, I'm shocked.

Raised By Republicans said...

Well, Obama's plan isn't actually universal. It leaves some gaps. It is far more comprehensive than anything the Republicans proposed but as I understood it during the primaries, Obama's plan was significantly less "universal" than either Hillary's or Edwards'.

I'm not opposed to universal health care mind you. But I'm wary of what happened the last time Democrats had majorities in both House and Senate and controlled the White House. They lost both the House and Senate largely on the issue of health care reform. This is a dicier issue than it might appear at first glance. Especially if it will be expensive.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The difference between the Obama and Hillary plans was whether there would be a mandate requiring individuals to purchase coverage. Otherwise they all had the same basic mechanisms to lower the costs and provide coverage to all.

I understand that the Clinton(s) screwed the pooch on health care reform 15 years ago. This is quite a different atmosphere, a different Congress, and a very different plan.