Saturday, January 24, 2015

Curiouser and Curiouser

Joni "Get Your Bread Bags On" Ernst
Someone go buy Joni Ernst a pair of new shoes, preferably ones that won't lose their luster in the rain, so she won't need a pair of bread bags to put over them.  Turns out the Ernst family wasn't quite as poor as Joni made them out to be, as her extended family received close to a half million dollars in farm subsidies.  Much of these subsidies came after her heart-tugging childhood years on an Iowa farm, but if true it means that Reagan's America wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  Joni is only 44, not 84, which she sounded like in this pre-recorded speech.  Joni was just one of several Teabaggers to tank in their Post-State-of-the-Union speeches, making it tough for Jon Stewart to decide who to award his annual "Implody" to.

The Republicans have yet to get this SOTU retort right, but in all fairness the Democrats haven't been very good at it in the past either.  It seems it is better to just let the President have his night and go after him on the talk show circuit.  What makes the matter worse is that ever since Marco Rubio's infamous water gaffe the GOP has pre-recorded its "rebuttals," so these speakers are not actually responding to the speech.  Not that they ever did before.

It is more an attempt to get an alternative message out, but when the President takes up close to an hour of air time, who is going to stick around for a rebuttal except die-hard Republicans, who probably skipped his address in the first place.  The Democrats can scoff the next day, which they have done, especially over Joni's stale bread bags.

One-Eyed Harry
But, it wasn't just Republicans who were disgruntled with Obama's SOTU speech.  One-Eyed Harry Reid wants no part of Obama's "fast-track" trade plan, which seemed designed more to appeal to Republicans than to Democrats.  Fast-tracking would allow the President to negotiate international trade agreements without congressional amendment.  Harry wants all international trade agreements to come through Congress, where they stall due to partisan bickering.  Of course, Harry is thinking of the future when we might end up with a President not sympathetic to Democratic interests, as we know Barry only has the best interests of the Democrats in mind.  Wink, wink.

It seemed Harry was no longer relevant until the new Congress broke into pandemonium over an attempt to attach a tax hike to the notorious anti-abortion bill being pushed through the House, revealing a lot of division within the Republican ranks, notably among newly elected women representatives, who felt their male counterparts had gone too far with their pro-life rhetoric.  Now, these GOP women have come under attack from their own right wing.

A slightly less draconian bill ended up getting passed by the House, which could run into trouble in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes.  The Republicans are five votes short.  Unfortunately, Harry seems more concerned about the sport manufacturer of the exercise equipment that nearly put out his eye, considering a law suit against the company.

Bibi Almighty
Making matters worse, the Republicans decided to invite Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress without informing fellow Democrats or the White House.  I guess they plan this as their ultimate rebuttal to Obama, principally over the sanctions the new Republican Congress wants to levy against Iran over the President's objection.  Even Mossad has come out against the sanctions, much to Bibi's chagrin.

You might recall Bibi's infamous "red line" speech at the UN in 2012.  Iran still doesn't have nuclear weapons.  Obama is hoping that diplomacy will bring Iran to the table, not another round of sanctions, which he highlighted in his SOTU address.  Falling oil prices seem to have hit Iran hard enough as it is.

However, the President might have the last laugh, as Pope Francis has decided to take up Boehner on the invitation he extended to him last March to speak to a joint session of Congress.  After the Cuba deal negotiated by the Vatican, the Pope is no longer quite so revered among Republicans, dumbstruck by his "socialist" agenda.  No doubt Boehner would have liked to retract that invitation, but fortunately for the GOP Francis is not due in America until September.

John Bayy-ner
It's really hard to figure where this new Congress is going.  It appears to be striking out in all directions, hoping to counter Obama in some way that resonates with the people.  Their attacks on the Affordable Care Act have fallen flat, as several red states, most recently Idaho, have not only adopted health insurance exchanges, but have been very successful with enrollments, making any attempt to undercut the program a potential nightmare for the GOP.

More and more it seems that last November was a pyrrhic victory for Republicans as they find themselves boxed in by their own negative rhetoric on a number of issues  that have proven popular with the electorate.  This doesn't bode well for GOP Congressional and state candidates in 2016, much less would-be presidential candidates, forcing them once again to script rebuttals to the State of the Union Address.  Practice makes perfect.


  1. another Tea Bagger found to be a welfare cheat - no surprise

    I wonder what Washington DC's actual leader - Netanyahoo feels about that: after all he gets $3 billion every year in welfare but nobody in the far right objects to that

  2. ''attacks on the Affordable Care Act have fallen flat''

    TEN million (and counting) now enrolled under Obamacare which continues to save money and lives every day.


      11.4 Million Now Have Private Health Coverage Thanks to the ACA


      Five years ago, the Affordable Care Act became law -- opening the doors to affordable, quality health insurance for millions of people. And today, we learned that, thanks to the health care law, about 11.4 million Americans are signed up for private health coverage that suits their needs.
      In the final day of Open Enrollment season this year, more new consumers signed up for health coverage than on any day this Open Enrollment or last. Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell delivered the great news to the President today...

      "The Affordable Care Act is working," the President said. "And I'll tell you, everywhere I go around the country, I'm meeting individuals who come up and thank me. How passionate they are about the difference its made in their lives, it really reminds me why we do all of this."
      If one were to read aloud the names of the 11.4 million now with health care, it would take about 250 days.

      And if you count everyone who now has healthcare thanks to the ACA, that number is closer to 32 million, or approximately 10% of the U.S. Population! Here are the numbers from Charles Gaba (Brainwrap):

      Estimated 2015 ACA Policy Enrollment: 32.0M
      (18.6M Paid QHPs (10.4M Exchange-based +8.2M OFF-Exchange), 13.4M Medicaid/CHIP)
      What an amazing legacy the ACA leaves for President Obama. Break out the champagne, folks. And Supreme Court - do your worst, but keep an eye on the history books - you won't want your decision listed right next to Dred Scott v. Sandford.

      ACA success!