Tag Archive: Affordable Care Act

Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley show substance at Democratic Town Hall

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama after clinching 2008 Democratic presidential nomination

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama after clinching 2008 Democratic presidential nomination

Last night, one week before the Iowa Caucus, CNN hosted a Town Hall event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, featuring Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. The three candidates showed differences in their views and policies while answering questions from the audience of mostly undecided Democratic voters and from moderator Chris Cuomo. But perhaps more striking was the level of knowledge, substance and forcefulness each candidate exhibited on the issues.

Barack Obama, the anti-lame duck president

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Barack Obama this week signaled that he would have a robust final year in office as he announced executive actions on the registration of gun purchases, especially narrowing the “gun show loophole.” Obama also held a town hall meeting aired by CNN on Thursday to talk about his anti-gun violence actions. Moreover, just a week ago, President Obama appeared on an epic, hilarious episode of Jerry Seinfeld‘s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Obama was not only very funny and relaxed, he also managed to plug his Affordable Care Act, which has covered an estimated 17.6 million more people in the past two years, causing the percentage of Americans without health insurance to drop to the lowest level ever measured. In short, President Obama is exploding the stereotype of the lame duck president.

Winning the gun violence argument

America's intersection of children and guns

America’s intersection of children and guns

After yet another mass shooting in America, this time in San Bernardino, California, the debate over what to do about gun violence has been rekindled. However, when both sides simply fall back into their standard arguments, there’s no reason to believe that a different result will occur. To achieve a different outcome, we need some new thinking and new language. Here’s how the majority of Americans can win the argument to reduce gun violence:

Glimpsing the future of politics at Politicon Los Angeles

James Carville meets Trevor Noah at Politicon 2015

James Carville meets Trevor Noah at Politicon 2015

Los Angeles is one of the finalists to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, but L.A. had its own early Summer Olympics this this past Friday and Saturday, at the first L.A. Politicon convention. The stadium was the L.A. Convention Center, and the athletes were the stars of the political and entertainment worlds who joined together to demonstrate what has become obvious: that politics and entertainment have merged.

Chuck Todd and colleagues enabled Boehner

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

After announcing his resignation from Congress, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner told John Dickerson of CBS“Face the Nation” that we should “beware of false prophets” from the Republican Party who promise things that they know can’t happen in our current government, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. Most people think that Boehner was referring to Republican U.S. Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz, among others. However, the corporate mainstream media are giving John Boehner a pass by portraying Boehner as the adult in the room who was unable to manage an unruly Republican right wing, when in fact Boehner was part of the GOP’s anti-government anarchy. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said upon hearing the news of Boehner’s resignation, the Republican Party is “a political party at war with its own government.”

No country for old conservative white men

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a word from one of his dissents

During the past week of momentous U.S. Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Housing Act, the biggest loser may have been Republican Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Thankfully, Scalia represents an old conservative white male demographic whose notions are becoming extinct.

Fighting the culture war in Nevada

The politics of plastic straws

The politics of plastic straws

Last week in Nevada, we asked the waitress not to give us straws in our soft drinks. The drinks didn’t need to be stirred, and we didn’t need to waste more plastic that ends up in a landfill or a floating trash archipelago in the ocean. “Oh, you’re one of them,” said the waitress. We could only conclude that “one of them” meant a hippie liberal environmentalist who should be mocked for wanting to conserve our resources. We concluded that our waitress is a conservative who might be brainwashed by Republican talking points from Fox News and other sources that sheath their pro-corporate messages behind a veil of “individual freedom” and an “us versus them” mentality.

Messaging Maxim #8: Don’t use the other side’s labels

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Republicans and conservatives, which are curently one and the same, love to come up with short, catchy labels for things. Here’s a list of popular Republican political phrases. Those labels and phrases are always loaded, either in favor of the Republicans, against the Democrats, or both. So, if you’re a Democrat, a liberal or a progressive, why would you ever use those Republican labels, making them even more popular so they get taken up by the mainstream media and become part of our vernacular? The answer is, you shouldn’t. But plenty of Democrats, liberals and progressives are making this mistake lately. Here are a few examples of Republican-loaded phrases that Democrats, and thus the mainstream media, are using all over the place. Hopefully, these will serve as a reminder to cut it out:

An issue-based approach for Democrats and progressives

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Mainstream Democratic and progressive voters don’t agree on everything, but they all seemed to agree on one thing after last Tuesday’s elections: the Democratic Party let them down. Democratic officeholders and candidates running for election ran away from President Obama and his agenda. One example was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Grimes not only refused to assert that she had voted for President Obama, she was reluctant to tout the stunning success of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky (known as Kynect), and instead began most answers by naming problems with the ACA that need fixing.

Running away from the President’s record in 2014 made no sense for Democrats, as President Obama’s agenda literally was the Democrats’ agenda. Every law that President Obama signed, from the Stimulus to the Affordable Care Act, was something that a majority in Congress, and certainly a majority of Democrats in Congress, first had to pass. Perhaps some Democrats need to go back and read their Constitution, or watch Schoolhouse Rock.

Framing the new Republican majority

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

President Barack Obama and other White House officials (such as Communications Director  Jennifer Palmieri and Press Secretary Josh Earnest) have been quick to characterize Tuesday’s Republican Election Night victories as the beginning of a period of Republicans being “partners in governing” the United States. For example, at his post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said:

… So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda…. I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years…. I’m looking forward to them putting forward a very specific agenda in terms of what they would like to accomplish…. And what we’re going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is. And my hope is, is that they’ve got some specific things they want to do that correspond with some things that we want to get done…. They’re the majority. They need to present their agenda.

This is an important Democratic frame, because, up to now, the Republicans have acted as a minority party even though they held a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, President Obama tried this “shared responsibility” frame once before, after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, and the frame did not stick. The question is whether Republicans will be held responsible for co-governing now that they will also run the U.S. Senate.