Tag Archive: Obamacare

DCCC releases Thanksgiving dinner table talking points

Thanksgiving dinner table: calm before the storm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the official arm of the Democratic Party seeking to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives, has released its annual “Know Your Stuffing” Thanksgiving dinner table talking points. This year’s DCCC guide, sent by email to supporters and available in .pdf format, is billed as a “guide to surviving Thanksgiving with your Republican family.” The DCCC guide, which has a friendly graphical format, has been kept simple, covering just four topics, in the form of suggested Democratic responses to the following political statements expected by Republicans around the Thanksgiving dinner table this Thursday:

Republican Senators sending mixed messages

Sen. John McCain at a recent hearing.

It was big news on Tuesday when Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona took to the Senate floor to announce that he would not run for re-election, and to attack Donald Trump and fellow Republicans for enabling the Trump administration’s “flagrant disregard for truth or decency” and a “regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms.” Just hours later, however, Flake joined all but two of his Republican colleagues to strike down a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would have allowed class action lawsuits against financial institutions for predatory and deceptive business practices. This juxtaposition between words and deeds among Republican Senators is sending a mixed message to Americans.

Don’t celebrate John McCain’s No vote on healthcare just yet

Sen. John McCain and his favorite prop, the microphone

People are still celebrating Senator John McCain‘s “No” vote on the Republicans’ “Skinny Repeal” bill regarding the Affordable Care Act. Such celebrations may be premature.

Recall that, last Tuesday, during a procedural vote to move the GOP bill forward, McCain first criticized the process, then voted “Yes” to proceed to a full vote. Many Democrats attacked McCain as a heartless hypocrite for voting to move a bill forward that would deny healthcare to millions of people when McCain himself is receiving gold-plated healthcare for his brain cancer at taxpayer expense. Three days later, however, McCain cast one of three Republican votes against the bill, sending it to defeat. McCain’s dramatic “thumbs down” accompanying his “No” vote caused many observers to cast McCain as the “deciding vote,” although Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were just as courageous in standing up to their party to vote “No.”

Republicans find out they have nowhere to hide

GOP Health Plan

On Monday night and Tuesday, the latest Republican Senate scheme to repeal the Affordable Care Act but not replace it for two years, went down in flames. Republican Senators including Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito came out against moving the plan forward in the Senate, effectively killing this version for now.

Republicans are learning a powerful lesson: the obstructionism that worked for them when they did not control all three branches of government does not work when they do.

Democratic and Republican healthcare plans reflect very different values

Maternity and newborn healthcare, on the Republican chopping block.

Maternity and newborn healthcare, on the Republican chopping block.

Republicans yesterday were forced to pull their American Health Care Act (AHCA) for lack of Republican support. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his GOP colleagues made more changes to the bill, were subjected to more arm-twisting, and are reportedly voting on it today. While it’s conceivable that House Republicans can ultimately agree on a bill that has enough giveaways for recalcitrant members, the so-called “healthcare” bill is as good an example as any of the vast difference in values between the Democratic and Republican Parties.

In the Trump age, be your own news editor

Faux News, the original Fake News

Faux News, the original Fake News

In September 2015, we gave some recommendations on how to bypass the corporate mainstream media, which were doing an awful job reporting real news. We suggested that readers and viewers choose their own news sources, follow such sources on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and share important stories. This way, you can act as your own news editor and broadcaster. Given the mainstream media’s abysmal 2016 election coverage, and with Donald Trump now in the White House, these efforts are more important than ever.

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.

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.”

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:

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.