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Friday, January 22, 2010

Shoot Me Now

by digby

Hardball is almost unbearable today with Matthews babbling incoherently as usual and viciously attacking Grayson and the netroots, Chuck Todd competing with Little Luke for sheer vapidity and Ron Brownstein half heartedly trying to explain why everything they are both saying is factually incorrect and analytically absurd.  If this is the level of conversation in the Capitol right now, I think we can kiss sanity good-bye.

Matthews insisted repeatedly that the polling shows that the the Massachusetts voters explicitly rejected health care reform and Brownstein gently told him that the polling is quite disparate and that some polls show that it wasn't health care.  And then he agreed that actions speak louder than words and that Chris is basically right. Oy.

A befuddled Tweety went on to ask what in the hell people are really mad about and then said that they obviously know what's going on because health care reform is big government and Wall Street and big government are in cahoots. Chuck Todd agreed that everyone sees things exactly as Chris does.

Chris then said that Massachusetts  clearly means that Obama has to move right. Brownstein cited the Peter Hart AFL-CIO poll (calling it the best poll, incidentally) which said that the Democrats lost the working class whites, who are paying a big price in this economy. Chuck Todd babbled something stupid.

And then there was this exchange which shows you exactly how uninformed the average Village gasbag like Tweety is:

Brownstein: There's a separate issue here besides what's good for Obama over the next few years.  And the other issue is what we can accomplish as a country with the big problems that we face.  And the lesson of this health care fight again is that in a world where you need 60 votes to do everything because everything is filibustered.  And you cannot get any votes from the minority party, on anything, it is virtually impossible for any president to get anything ...

Matthews: oh, you're so depressing ...

Brownstein: to tackle these problems...

Matthews: You're depressing! You are depressing me. You are saying no new president can do new things.

Brownstein: We are moving toward a parliamentary system without majority rule, something that no country in the world tries because it simply does not work.

Matthews: You know what, I want presidents to lead and not just to check the polls and do what everybody wants them to do. Take a stance.

Brownstein: Well, on health care they have not been doing what everybody wants them to do...

Matthews: Well, lead.  The president should tell us what  the country needs and blow the trumpet and let's go.  It's tough, it's tough.

Chuck Todd delivers his own braindead analysis, straight from the hair helmet of Cokie Roberts:

Todd: Just to go back to healthcare.  Did they work hard enough to find out how to have 65 votes on this thing? You do wonder, why didn't they work outside the Republican leadership.I mean hindsight is 20/20 ...

Brownstein: Chuck. They spent three months over the summer with Baucus, Grassley, Enzi and Snowe and many people say that's the reason they're in the problem they're in today ...

Todd:  But there were nine Republicans who supported them on that children's health care initiative, they didn't reach out to at least four of them.  They could have brought them in here and wooed them.  It's hard work.  It's hard.

Brownstein: It just may not be possible anymore

Matthews: You know what we need? Good politicians. Not people denying they are politicians.
Obviously Chuck Todd is repeating some Republican spin he heard in the mens room because there is no way that the Republicans who voted for SCHIP (a reauthorization of an existing program, btw) were going to break ranks and vote for Health Care reform if the Dems couldn't even get the Maine twins to vote for it:


I'm sure Lamar Alexander and Kay Bailey Hutchinson could have been persuaded if only someone had made the effort.

Despite the fact that Brownstein is right about the parliamentary nature of our current politics(and hence, the necessity of eliminating the filibuster) I don't disagree that the president should be out there selling his plans. Indeed, that's what most of the netroots have been saying he should be doing for months and months. Which is why Tweety is such an ass for going after Alan Grayson  in the next segment.  He is so completely uninformed, confused and ridiculous that it's a wonder he can figure out how to get to work in the morning:

Mathews: Ok, ok. This show is about reality. Tell me how you pass this bill with 41. You just got a guy elected in Massachusetts ...

Grayson: Reconciliation takes 51

Matthews: ... he signs his name 41. It means it's enough to ..

Grayson: Reconciliation needs 51 Senators

Matthews: What procedure do you know that Harry Reid doesn't know?

Grayson: What makes you think Harry isn't going to do it?

Matthews: ... that all those top guys, that Ted Kennedy didn't know..

Grayson: They said they're not going to move to reconciliation?

Matthews: This secret move to the Indies that only you know about ...

Grayson: What are you talking about? They've been talking about this ...

Matthews: These Senators can't do it!

Grayson: Why do you think they can't use reconciliation?

Matthews: Because you talk to any one of these Senators. Have you talked to any of them lately?  And what do you think they'll tell you?

Grayson: What do you think, I'm their confessor?

Matthews: Have you ever called up a Democratic Senator and said why don't you do this by reconciliation?

Grayson: What makes you think they're not going to do it? What do you know that I don't know?

Matthews: Because they refuse to do it because they cannot get past the filibuster rule. The United States Senate is different from the House.You're allowed to talk as long as you want in the Senate. Unless you get cloture.

Grayson:  Reconciliation is 51 votes not 60 votes.

Matthews: You can't create a program through reconciliation! Congressman just name me the program that's ever been created through reconciliation!

Grayson: Tax cuts for the rich!

Matthews: That's not a program.  Under reconciliation you're allowed to do two things. Change fiscal numbers, raise taxes or cut spending.

Grayson: You're saying that. You don't know that. Nobody else thinks that.

Matthews: I just spent three years in the Senate budget committee when I was a kid and you can't do it. By the way, have you asked any Senator this question? This plan you have?

Grayson: I'm in the other place, I'm in the House.

Matthews: I know, that's why you're not in the senate

Grayson: Oh that's why I'm not in the Senate...

Matthews: This is netroots talk.  This is outsider talk and you're an elected official and you know you can't do it.  You are pandering to the netroots right now.  I know what you're doing.

Grayson: You are wrong.  This is something we talk about with our leadership in our caucus meetings every week! ...

Matthews: ...I know what I'm talking about and you ask anybody in the Senate right no. Go call the Senate legislative counsel's office and ask him if you can do this. Go ask the parliamentarian is you can do this. You haven't bothered to do that.

Grayson: No my leadership has done that ...

He arrogantly goes on and on and on pretty much saying that Grayson is a dipshit because nobody who knows anything about how Washington works would ever suggest such a thing as using reconciliation to pass the bill.

With the exception of the well-known netroots morons like Newsweek, I'm sure he's right:

For now, senior lawmakers are working the phones furiously to talk up the idea of the Senate promising to retroactively unravel several distasteful components. If House Democrats make the good-faith deal, Pelosi is arguing that the Senate promise would be easy to keep. Reconciliation votes require only a 51-vote majority. Or even 50, in which case Vice President Biden could break the tie.

This aide says that leadership considers reconciliation, with the House conditioning its support on promised fixes in the Senate, as the much more strategic route than breaking the package into parts, which isn’t ideal because all of the parts are interlocking. Asked what the timetable would be for that, this aide says weeks, not months.

This is from the top blog the NY Daily news:

A well-informed source tells The Mouth Nancy Pelosi is set to announce the House will go the reconciliation route on health care reform.

Of course, that means using a budgetary procedure that requires a simple majority to pass.

It’s still unclear to us precisely what that means would be passed, but possibilities would be creating a national health care exchange and expanding Medicare or Medicaid coverage.

Or perhaps the netroots idiot known as MSNBC First Read:

“Like a dazed boxer taking an eight-count, Democrats say they need time to recover from the devastating blow they suffered when Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday,” The Hill writes. “They made clear on Wednesday, however, that they are not giving up. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNBC Wednesday that healthcare reform is ‘not dead by any means.’”


Clyburn seemed to indicate that reconciliation should be used. And the AFL-CIO supports it. “One scenario under consideration would have House Democrats pass the Senate bill as is, paired with a separate bill formed under reconciliation rules carving out changes to the healthcare bill that House and Senate Democrats had previously negotiated,” The Hill writes.

Roll Call writes that the reconciliation option is gaining steam, and notes that Max Baucus could be central again.

Does Matthews read any of those news organizations? Even his own?

Maybe we should all send him some links.