A new report this morning confirms that Republicans intend to use upcoming confirmation hearings for Obama’s HHS nominee to breathe new life into political attacks on Obamacare in advance of the 2014 elections.And this is why they need a new angle of attack:
Democrats should absolutely relish this development.
Reuters reports that Republicans plan to use confirmation hearings for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Obama’s pick to replace Kathleen Sebelius, to “re-energize their election-year attacks on his signature healthcare initiative.”
Here’s another unexpected way the politics of Obamacare are going to get scrambled in the days ahead – and not necessarily in the GOP’s favor — as the reality of mounting sign-ups sinks in.And some great research from Sabrina Siddiqui and Sam Stein at The Huffington Post provides further evidence that some Republican's aren't finding an all-out attack on Obamacare (and its lifesaving policies) all that appealing:
It turns out that several of the states with some of the hardest fought races of the cycle are also boasting some of the highest Obamacare sign-up numbers in the country [...] these numbers will make it harder and harder for Republicans to continue pretending the law’s beneficiaries don’t exist — even in states that constitute tough political terrain for the law and Democratic candidates.
In public, House Republicans show few to no cracks in their anti-Obamacare platform. They say they want the law repealed and -- if they deliver their talking points right -- replaced with a conservative alternative.Much more on the day's top stories below the fold.
The GOP mantra is repeated ad nauseam. And when someone deviates from the script, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did days after the 2012 elections, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) did last week, they quickly backtrack.
Scratch a bit below the surface, however, and the position that House GOP lawmakers take on the health care law becomes cloudier. On their campaign and congressional websites, in fact, a good number of House Republican lawmakers don't actually advocate for repeal at all. An equally healthy chunk of the GOP caucus say they want to get rid of Obamacare, then add that they support some provisions of the law.
On the other big story of the week, the botched execution in Oklahoma, Eugene Robinson pens an eloquent piece about the death penalty:
We fool ourselves if we think there is a “humane” way to way to kill someone. Sure, the second inmate, Charles Warner, probably would have suffered an equally agonizing death. But isn’t this the whole point?In case you missed this, this piece by Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, is a must-read:
When I read about the crimes Lockett committed, I wish I could support capital punishment. When I read about what Warner did, I want to strangle him with my own hands. But revenge is not the same thing as justice, and karmic retribution is not a power I trust government to exercise. The death penalty has no place in a civilized society.
Six years after the financial crisis, an alarming concentration of wealth and income at the top of this country is hobbling our economy and strangling our democracy. Wage stagnation is a fact of life for the vast majority of the United States. The bottom 90 percent of wage earners have experienced falling wages since the end of the Great Recession, and 95 percent of the income gains since June 2009 have gone to the richest 1 percent. But the problem predates the recession. Census data show that household income for the typical family in 2012 was lower than it was in 1989 and that the median income for men working full time is lower than it was 40 years ago.On the topic of campaign finance reform, Avram Billig makes an interesting suggestion:
This is regress. This is retreat. This is democratic capitalism teetering, held upright mainly through greed, speculation and fear.
The winners in our society, the top 10 percent, belong to both political parties, as do the 90 percent experiencing stagnant and falling incomes. And the winners in our losing economic game have pushed policies that benefit the super-rich instead of helping most of the United States: bank bailouts and fiscal austerity, NAFTA-like trade agreements, attacks on Social Security. The more this agenda gains ground in both parties, the more working-class voters get discouraged and don’t turn out.
Start with government contractors—groups that receive taxpayer money in exchange for goods and services. Because contractors receive federal funds, their relationships with politicians are especially prone to corruption. That’s why they are prohibited from contributing to candidates’ campaigns. Yet the same groups can spend unlimited sums to elect politicians without any public scrutiny. The president can correct this inconsistency by requiring any contractor who receives taxpayer funds to disclose its dark-money spending. In 2011, the administration drafted an executive order to do just that, but it was leaked and quickly quashed by Republicans in Congress. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. It’s time to reintroduce the proposal. Just as Obama led on minimum-wage reform by raising contractors’ pay floor, he can lead on transparency by requiring more contractor disclosure.Leonard Pitts Jr. examines "The racist misadventures of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling":
The truth is, the idiocy of these men doesn’t mean a whole lot, doesn’t impact much beyond their immediate lives. We hyperventilate about it, yet somehow manage not to be overly concerned as black boys are funneled into prison, brown ones are required to show their papers, voting rights are interdicted, Fourth Amendment rights are abrogated and some guy has his job application round-filed when the hiring woman sees that his name is Malik.Finally, Jay Bookman reminds us of the Republican's Benghazi broken record and provides a great takedown of their latest spin:
Charles Krauthammer says that newly released White House emails represent the long-sought "smoking documents." The courtly Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is ranting about "the scumbags ... in the White House who lied about this.” “We have a major, major scandal,” says the hapless Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
What you have, boys, is nothing. With sufficient application of hot air, even a dying ember of a scandal might be made to emit a puff of smoke, but you lack even that.