Reasonably Functional vs Unreasonably Dysfunctional House Majorities

I was intrigued by a comment Nate made in his latest (Oct 1) House forecast :

[Democrats] have only about a 10 percent chance of holding onto 230 or more seatsin the new Congress, according to the model, which might allow them to retain a reasonably functional working majority.

I have posted this question on the NYT Comments thread, but we all know how that song goes. So let’s discuss it here.

Does the same math apply to the Republicans? That is, can they govern with 218 members of the House, or do they need 230 (plus or minus) as well? If you think that they can govern with 218, why? If you think they need 230 like the Democrats, why?

What disturbs me is that (if the election were held today, and if Nate’s model is reasonably accurate) that there’s about a 2 in 3 chance that the number of House seats will fall in the “dead zone” between 230D/205R and 205D/230R. That means two years of gridlock in the House. I don’t claim perfect knowledge of what the American people want this election cycle, but I’m almost certain that very few Americans want gridlock in the 112th Congress.

About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. http://www.logarchism.com | http://www.sevendeadlysynapses.com
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58 Responses to Reasonably Functional vs Unreasonably Dysfunctional House Majorities

  1. The Real Mike Is Back says:

    They vote for gridlock because it feels good to punish someone when times are difficult. There is clearly a faction of anti-Pelosi Democrats in the House (Bobby Bright, Heath Shuler, Gene Taylor, just to name three) that would earn them a lot of political points at home to vote for Boehner for Speaker. They also owe nothing to anyone in the Democratic leadership, maybe with the one exception of Steny Hoyer. I’m just saying that it is in the realm of the probable that we will have coups in a result within 205 to 220 Democrats elected. An impotent House would be Obama’s dream, because it will allow him to ignore the House, focus on a Senate where you need 60 to do anything and force the Tea Party to nominate Sarah Palin.

  2. shrinkers says:

    Does the same math apply to the Republicans? That is, can they govern with 218 members of the House,This is going to sound snarky, but I”m completely serious.I don’t think the Republicans can govern regardless of how many members they have in either the House or the Senate. But then, I may mean “govern” in a way differently from Nate.If you are talking about “Can the Republicans enact the legislation they wish to enact?” The answer to that is, Yes. If they have a majority – half plus one – they will enact whatever they please.If you mean, “Will the legislation they enact become law?” the answer to that is more questionable. If the R’s get slim majorities in Congress (or any majority at all) they will likely begin to pass incredibly extremist far-right nonsense. This will be vetoed. Unless they have 2/3 majorities in both chambers, the vetoes will not be overridden.If you mean, “Will they pass legislation that is in the interest of the nation and its people?” then, no. As I said, any legislation they will attempt to enact will all be far-right absurdities. Most of it will be posturing for the 2012 election, knowing it will be vetoed. A repeal of HCR. Repeal of all corporate income taxes, capital gains taxes, and estate taxes. Outlawing abortion. Repeal of FICA and repeal of Social Security. Billions for a 20-ft-high electrified border fence. And so on.None of this is an attempt to govern. It is a mere continuation of their mindless anti-tax, anti-human rights, far right religious insanity.

  3. Jeff says:

    My best guess is that Pelosi would quickly go catatonic if she had only a 5-seat majority. She’d probably have 25 Blue Dogs to deal with, and wouldn’t be able to pass much if anything of consequence due to problems from her right. Give Boehner a 5-seat majority, and he’ll also have problems from his right. However, he’d be in a much better position to get things through — his dissidents are further away from the Dems than he is, while Pelosi’s dissidents are closer to the R’s. You can be sure the Republicans would be in total agreement on many budget issues (such as defunding obamacare 100%). In a narrowly divided Dem-controlled House, it’s also not inconceivable that the House could defund HC — some of the survivors will have had the fear of God (and voters) put into them. Major advantage to the R’s in capturing the House — control of committees. We’ll see lots of investigations…..Major disadvantage to the R’s in capturing the House — sharing responsibility for the next two years.As a Republican, my dream outcome is a Democratic House by 218 to 217, a 51/49 Senate, and 36 governors. No matter who wins, the economy is not going to be back to the good-old-days before 2012, and let the Dem’s retain responsibility for the mess they’ve made.

  4. Monotreme says:

    @Shrinkers:I understand what you’re saying, but I think it might be more interesting than that.If you are talking about “Can the Republicans enact the legislation they wish to enact?” The answer to that is, Yes. If they have a majority – half plus one – they will enact whatever they please.It’s the “whatever they please” part that I’d disagree with. Given the watered-down and mind-numbing nature of the Pledge, I think a House with less than (say) 250-255 Republicans will have just enough Tea Party members to piss in the punchbowl, as it were.It’s the same problem the Democrats had with the Blue Dogs, but I’d be willing to bet cold, hard cash that by any objective measure, Speaker Boehner’s effectiveness is much less than Speaker Pelosi’s.I also agree that a bare Republican majority would suit the Obama Administration just fine, because it positions them quite well for 2012.

  5. shortchain says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for quite a long time, and reading about it in various places. Synthesizing and putting it into my own words, the GOP has enjoyed more cohesion in their caucus because their funding has been through the national party or the state parties, which have been closely allied to the state parties.A member voting in opposition to the party when it counted (as opposed to the kabuki operations run by both parties to give cover to endangered members) would find their funding dry up, and they’d be hung out to dry.But note that this has been broken in the current environment, where Rove and crew, the Chamber of Commerce, and direct web fund-raising have changed that top-down authoritative model.This may mean that, if they win the House by a small majority, they may be unable to pass any legislation. Which won’t upset their strategy in the least, as they have no desire for that anyway — their explicit intent is to simply hold investigations and let the gears of government grind to a halt, and they can certainly do that with only a majority of one.

  6. Monotreme says:

    @shortchain sez:their explicit intent is to simply hold investigations and let the gears of government grind to a halt, and they can certainly do that with only a majority of one.Or even a minority in the 210R/225D range. The only difference would be who gets to be in the majority on committees.I don’t see any conceivable scenario in which the 112th Congress runs smoothly, unless the Republicans take 100 seats or more.It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but I don’t think it’s as likely as Nate does. I have a nagging feeling that the polling data are so corrupt that it will only be on Nov. 3 when we see where we stand, but I’m almost certain it will be somewhere between 230D/205R and 205D/230R.

  7. shrinkers says:

    @MonotremeI also agree that a bare Republican majority would suit the Obama Administration just fine, because it positions them quite well for 2012.It has been mentioned many times (most recently by Jeff) that if the R’s win control of committees, they will begin and endless series of increasingly over-the-top “investigations” (Did Obama’s dog have an accident in the Oval Office? Do you REALIZE how much taxpayer money that wastes? And hey — was Obama really born in Afghanistan? Not saying he was, just want to investigate is all…)While this will grind the House to a halt, it also will reveal the R’s to be nothing but a bunch of vapid and vengeful hatemongers, since none of their investigations (beyond a handful, like Charlie Rangel) are going to find anything. Do recall that when the R’s impeached Clinton, it actually helped Democrats.Anyway, if the R’s do get any kind of majorities in 2010, they’ll lose them in the backlash of 2012. And they’ll be having too much fun holding “investigations” that they’ll probably not actually have come to any conclusions by then anyway. And the Dem majorities of 2012 will certainly shut them down.

  8. shrinkers says:

    @MonotremeI have a nagging feeling that the polling data are so corrupt that it will only be on Nov. 3 when we see where we standI suspect, if this is true, we’ll find out a little before that.It may be that the “likely” voter screens are being created based on the supposed “enthusiasm gap”, and on the historical demographic data about who generally votes. 2008 blew the demographic assumptions out of the water, and there has never been any evidence that “enthusiasm” actually has a significant effect on turnout.But pollsters don’t like to look silly. IF the things I said in the last paragraph are true, then I suspect we’ll see the polling close significantly in the last few weeks before the election, and increasing numbers of tossups will turn blue. And the pollsters will explain this by saying “Ohmygod! The Dems are getting enthused! Who could have predicted that!” So the polling in the final week or so will very closely match the actual election, and the Dems will lose, at most 20-30 seats in the House and maybe 5 in the Senate. Note, I said IF what I said is true, about how they are constructing the current LV polls. I’m making no predictions, only offing one possible scenario.

  9. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyWe’ll see lots of investigations…..~~~~~~~~~~No, that’s a major disadvantage ’cause “we the people” want congress to govern, not have a winger hissy fit! And we saw how well investigations and impeachment worked for Reps 1995 to 2000, eh ~ (2) terms for Clinton!Again, a catch-22 for Reps, economy improves, Reps in swing districts get re-elected in 2012 and so does Obama.>And as always, it takes (67) senatorial votes to override a presidential veto …>Indeed, lots of investigations ie the Reps fiddle while Rome burns!take care, blessings

  10. WA7th says:

    We’ll see lots of investigations….~~~~~~~~~~In theory, only if it takes that much to bring the federal government to a complete standstill. In practice, there will always be at least one attention whore in the House scrounging for a reason to investigate whomever is President. It’s a common route for a young unknown Congressman to become Lindsey Graham, er, I mean “better known”.

  11. Bart DePalma says:

    The only reason why the Dems require a supermajority is that any majority is going to include many center-right districts and they will lose many of the Dems from those districts in enacting a left policy.The GOP caucus is far more ideologically unified and, so long as they do what their center-right constituents want them to do, they are ideologically unified with their districts. Thus, they should not need much of a majority.Also, any surviving Dems in center right districts may jump aboard center-right legislation after their near death experience in November.Of course, if the GOP pushed beyond the national consensus in a serious way, then they too would need a cushion. However, with Dem filibusters and vetoes looming, the GOP House will be limited to offering popular bills daring to Dems to stop them and essentially defensive budget cutting the Dems cannot stop.

  12. shortchain says:

    shrinkers,You say: “it also will reveal the R’s to be nothing but a bunch of vapid and vengeful hatemongers, since none of their investigations (beyond a handful, like Charlie Rangel) are going to find anything.”Two things:a) Anybody who hasn’t noticed by now that the R’s in Congress are vapid and empty on policy but filled with hate for those who have “taken over our government” may not be able to notice it, no matter how it’s displayed, especially whenb) If you look long enough, and squint hard enough, you can find something where there really isn’t anything to find. The Clinton investigations proved that. The fact that it didn’t work in 1995 for the 1996 elections doesn’t mean it didn’t bear fruit for the GOP down the line, in 2000.Give the GOP a little credit. They can play the long game better than you might think, and demonstrating that government is ineffective and corrupt is the end goal of the Koch’s, Murdoch, et al. That over the longer term this will produce — how may I put this gently — less than optimal results for the country is not a problem for them, because their goal is to come out ahead, which they will, relatively speaking.

  13. Bart DePalma says:

    As if on cue, the NYT is reporting on how the White House is debating how they will to deal with a GOP Congress.How Obama deals with the first major repudiation of his charmed political career will be fascinating.

  14. Realist says:

    shortchain,They can play the long game better than you might think, and demonstrating that government is ineffective and corrupt is the end goal of the Koch’s, Murdoch, et al.This is perhaps the greatest disadvantage for the Democrats. It’s much easier to be destructive than constructive, particularly in a government that, by design, obstructs change. The Republican model of preventing things from happening and then using that prevention as ammunition for why government is inherently bad is diabolically clever, for combatting it requires that voters understand the more subtle nuances of how our government works. Few have either the time or inclination to do so.

  15. Monotreme says:

    The median of Nate’s forecast is now, and has been for some time, 224R / 211D (or close to it).I think it’s charming how the Republicans think they’ve got the Whips to keep 224 votes in line with only 6 defections.Party discipline is easy to maintain when you’re in the minority and it doesn’t matter, or when your majority is so strong that it doesn’t matter.Things as simple as making sure that your members are present for routine procedural votes, and not home with their families or constituents, suddenly loom large.Add to that the difficulty of freshmen who don’t know what they’re in for and may or may not have the mental capacity to understand what’s important and what’s not, and you’ve got a very interesting situation. “Cat herding”, while a cliché, certainly describes the job of the Whips in this situation.So the Republicans can stay all smug and stuff going into this election cycle, but mark my words, The closer you are to 218 the more painful it’s gonna be. The prima donnas are going to come out of the woodwork to try to hog their moments on the national stage and make Bart Stupak and Ben Nelson look like Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern.

  16. Jeff says:

    @realist: You talk about: “The Republican model of preventing things from happening.”===========Bullshit.If you want cooperation from the other side, you have to be willing to work with them and compromise. You have to allow votes on their legislation and amendments. Neither Pelosi or Reid compromised. THEY said “no” to working with the Republicans, and the Republicans said “OK.” There was a WSJ interview with Eric Cantor (#2 Republican in the House and in line to become Majority Leader). The article reported: “When asked to describe his relationship with Mrs. Pelosi, he says flatly that it is “nonexistent.” “The speaker has absolutely demonstrated she is not interested in having any policy discussions over legislation with Republicans, period.” When asked how many times the speaker has called upon him to talk about legislation. “None. In the past three-and-a-half years, not once.” And if you doubt Cantor, try and explain the famous Pelosi quote: You’ll find out what’s in the bill after it’s passed….” Of course, even the most fanatical leftist here will agree that Queen Pelosi is, ummm, “partisan.” How about the Great One himself: Here’s what Ryan says:Mr. Cantor recalls that shortly after Mr. Obama won election, “he came up here and met with [Minority Leader John] Boehner and me and there were a lot of nice words exchanged. We told him, ‘Hey, we have got some ideas on the economy.’ He said ‘Bring them on.’” At the White House only a few weeks later, “Mr. Obama said to us, ‘Look, elections have consequences and I won.’”Republicans “never even saw the stimulus bill” until it was voted on, says Mr. Cantor. “We had no opportunity to add to it or amend the bill at all. It was take it or leave it.”People talk here about the GOP being the “party of NO.” The reality is that the Democrats in DC have shut the GOP out completely, then started whining about not getting Republican support, and “how hard it is to govern, despite huge majorities, without their support. The end result has been a totally unified Republican caucus in both House and Senate. After November, newly elected Republicans will be more conservative. There will be party unity — and the Messiah doesn’t seem to be someone who compromises, so he’ll help (despite himself) the Republicans to stay unified.*If* the Republicans win one or both houses, look for a lot of populist/popular legislation. The GOP has gotten this far by opposing unpopular legislation. They’ll go even further if the Democrats start blocking popular legislation.In short, look for Republicans to maintain their unity.

  17. shortchain says:

    Jeff,*If* what you say is true, then how do you account for the comments from DeMint about the roadblock strategy? How do you account for the fact that the health care bill was basically modeled after GOP proposals, yet not a single Republican would vote for it?So on the one side we have the unsupported evidence of known liars, Cantor, Boehner, et al.On the other side we have the observed behavior of the Republicans.It’s evidence of something — I leave you to decide what — that you believe the liars without question, yet discount reality.Have a good day.

  18. Monotreme says:

    Jeff, I like discussing politics with you but when, on the one hand you use rhetoric like “Queen Pelosi” and “The Great One” and then on the other hand piss and moan about “they won’t work with us”, well, you answered your own question.Name-calling is probably the fastest way to harden the other side’s position, because it belies that you’re not negotiating in good faith.Using Filistro’s analogy, it’s like going into a divorce proceeding calling your soon-to-be-ex a “stone b***h” and then marvelling at her inability to compromise on custody of your precious children.Read Matthew 7, examine the beam in your own eye, and then get back to us.

  19. Bart DePalma says:

    If your didn’t know – and most folks don’t – today Ed Shultz and a couple dozen unions and leftist interest groups are trying to match the Tea Party and Glenn Beck DC rallies of the past couple years.Perhaps because of the small crowd size of the lefty rally, C-SPAN got caught using stock photos of the Glen Beck rally of a few hundred thousand.

  20. marc miwerdz says:

    Well what do you know? Newsweek just released their latest generic poll which finds Dems +5 over Reps. It also suggests that the “enthusiasim gap” is not quite what its cracked up to be.

  21. marc miwerdz says:

    BTW re: Newsweek poll, that is an increase of +5 from last months poll and among definite voters the spread is +8 Dem. This poll includes cell phone users which may more accurately reflect the pulse of the electorate

  22. marc miwerdz says:

    BTW re: Newsweek poll, that is an increase of +5 from last months poll and among definite voters the spread is +8 Dem. This poll includes cell phone users which may more accurately reflect the pulse of the electorate. O the tides they are a-changin

  23. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyBullshit.How about the Great One himself:~~~~~~~~~~Why so angry, bitter and sarcastic?Rhetorical question.>And good to see Bartles is already enjoying his vacation as he makes passionate love to his BlackBerry for the next (2) weeks instead of his wife …Shocking! ;)

  24. Jeff says:

    @monotreme”Jeff, I like discussing politics with you but when, on the one hand you use rhetoric like “Queen Pelosi” and “The Great One” and then on the other hand piss and moan about “they won’t work with us”, well, you answered your own question.Name-calling is probably the fastest way to harden the other side’s position, because it belies that you’re not negotiating in good faith.”===========Point taken. I’ll also note the following, just in this thread:shrinkers: “It is a mere continuation of their mindless anti-tax, anti-human rights, far right religious insanity.”shortchain: “we have the unsupported evidence of known liars, Cantor, Boehner, et al.” Also: “the R’s in Congress are vapid and empty on policy but filled with hate.”monotreme: it also will reveal the R’s to be nothing but a bunch of vapid and vengeful hatemongers….============I agree that calling the Speaker “Queen Pelosi,” and the President “The Great One: is sarcastic, and I further agree that it is unlikely to win friends and (favorably) influence people. On the other hand, I’d have to be considerably more vicious if I wanted to be even in the same league as most of the “left” commentators on this site, at least when they’re talking about Republicans in general. As for the Tea Party and Republican leaders, the venom and hatred towards them far surpasses anything the right says (excepting the nutcase 2-3% on the fringe). As you said: “Read Matthew 7, examine the beam in your own eye, and then get back to us.”

  25. shiloh says:

    Jeffrey, I feel your pain …

  26. Todd Dugdale says:

    Hey, it’s great to back among you folks! The “enthusiasm gap” is being credited with far too much influence. IMO. The real test is voting history in midterms. All that the “enthusiasm gap” tells you is that Republicans will probably turn out. Guess what? They already turn out at a pretty high percentage, even when not enthusiastic. You don’t get to vote twice just because you are really, really excited about the election.Let’s say that 70% of employed people are “not excited” about their jobs. Does that mean that 70% of the workforce will not show up for work on any given day? Or can we conclude that employees who have a history of low absenteeism tend to show up for work, regardless of how “excited” they are? Dealing with the topic at hand, however, the Republicans cannot get their agenda passed if they win a majority in the House. The extreme members on the Right will howl and fume. They will demand unpalatable concessions, which will doom a lot of legislation. Also, it’s a lot easier to organise campaigns in opposition to pending legislation than it is to organise supportive campaigns. And it’s a lot easier to vote for bills that are out-of-touch with your electorate when you know damn well that the bill will never be passed.Endless investigations are a losing issue, too. We can expect that they will carried out crudely and convince no one of anything that they did not already believe prior to the investigation. We can probably predict investigations into the investigations, as RW loons go over the top and outside the boundaries. The bottom line is that all of the newly-minted Representatives on the Right will have been sent there by people expecting RESULTS, not investigations. And there won’t be much in the way of results for them to show. The wingnuts will have spent two bloody years in a frothing rage for nothing, and 2012 will have a plethora of embarrassing sound bites from campaigns and the Floor to use against these RW freshman incumbents. And they won’t be facing a midterm electorate in 2012, either.

  27. Alki says:

    @ Jeff……why are you so sure that Rs like Cantor, Boehner et al are telling the truth? You’ve heard one side of the conversation and automatially think its the truth. Nonsense. Rs have done nothing but lie for the past two years. I have tons of saved links to prove it. And they most certainly include Cantor and Boehner.For not one minute has the GOP acted like the minor party for the past two years. Their edicts have made it clear that its their way or the highway.So then, why the sense of entitlement? Is it because they are mostly white and male? Legitimate question.

  28. filistro says:

    Hey… Todd Dugdale has finally found us!One of my all-time favorite commenters. So nice to see you, Todd. Welcome :-)

  29. filistro says:

    Todd… you sound like you’re thinking the R’s WILL get the House?I agree with the conventional wisdom that if somebody is going to narrowly win the House, it’s better long-term for Dems if it’s the R’s who have that tiny majority.Unfortunately I see it going the other way, with R pickups just falling short.

  30. Alki says:

    *Democrats will hold the House and Senate *For Democrats, it’s Rove time: Rally the base and save Congresshttp://theweek.com/bullpen/column/207701/democrats-will-hold-the-house-and-senate/

  31. Monotreme says:

    @Jeff:To be clear, I never used the words you attribute to me. Shrinkers used the term “vapid and vengeful hatemongers” in a post where he quoted me, but those are not actually my words, they’re his.

  32. mclever says:

    Recent history suggests that Republicans in the House can create a “functional” majority with a slimmer majority than Democrats can. Democrats have more moderates who are difficult to corral for votes, whereas Republicans are more easily herded to vote the party line. There are more DINOs than RINOs, basically. Or, seen another way, with the recent purging of moderate conservatives, the Republican Party tends to be more unified in both social and fiscal conservativism, whereas the Democratic members include a broader mix of ideologies. Several Democrats are either fiscally conservative while socially liberal or socially conservative while fiscally liberal–a toxic mix no longer welcome in the Republican Party, these Democrats may support most but not all of the Democratic platform. Therefore, given that there are certain issues where some Democrats may vote contrary to the official party line, the Republicans can use that to their advantage if they are in control of the agenda. Instead of the 230-235 that Democrats need, the Republicans may only need 220-224 to have a solid, consistent lock on driving legislation even with abstentions and absentees, and on some issues, a majority-plus-one is sufficient.Whether the Republicans can “govern” or not is an entirely different question. Given their stated objective of obstruction and intent to prove that good governance is impossible, it seems foolhardy to trust them to attempt to govern well.

  33. Jeff says:

    Alki said: “So then, why the sense of entitlement? Is it because they (GOP)are mostly white and male? Legitimate question.============I really don’t give a damn about the race or gender of a politician. I like to think that white males have the same right to their beliefs as black females or purple Martians (provided the latter group is in the country legally).One could just as easily say that Madame Pelosi believes she is entitled (has to have a Boeing 737 assigned for her personal use) and that it is “her way or the highway.” One might just as easily say that when the Leader of the Free World refused to take Republican suggestions and said “I won the election” that he was also feeling entitled.Fortunately or unfortunately, in politics you’re “entitled” to do as you wish, until your electorate no longer backs you. As matters would seem today, a lot of Democrats are about to lose their entitlement…..

  34. Jeff says:

    Monotreme wrote:@Jeff:”To be clear, I never used the words you attribute to me. Shrinkers used the term “vapid and vengeful hatemongers” in a post where he quoted me, but those are not actually my words, they’re his.”==========My sincere apologies. It didn’t sound like you.

  35. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: One might just as easily say that when the Leader of the Free World I see you’ve toned down the sarcasm a tad. Is it so difficult to say President Obama? We’re still waiting for a reply to shortchain’s question to you earlier today:*If* what you say is true, then how do you account for the comments from DeMint about the roadblock strategy? How do you account for the fact that the health care bill was basically modeled after GOP proposals, yet not a single Republican would vote for it?

  36. shortchain says:

    Jeff,You say “I really don’t give a damn about the race or gender of a politician.” — except, oddly enough, you seem enamored of the party which institutionally favors white males and wealth. This, you assert, is merely an innocent correlation, not a feature of your inner proclivities.And yet, your wording when referring to Speaker Pelosi, and your repetition of debunked talking points (the BS about the plane has been debunked long ago — a fact you could easily have ascertained, if you weren’t ready and willing to believe this without checking) indicates that you aren’t being honest even with yourself…

  37. shortchain says:

    Cleanup on hanging chad.

  38. Alki says:

    @ JeffAfter getting repudiated at the polls and becoming the minority party, the Rs have done nothing but obstruct and demand the Dems do things their way. I suggested the reason the Rs have behaved that is because they have a sense of entitlement. I have further suggested they feel entitled because they are mostly male and white. Is that the reason? Their behavior has been nothing but perpexing.

  39. Jeff says:

    Jean: *If* what you say is true, then how do you account for the comments from DeMint about the roadblock strategy? How do you account for the fact that the health care bill was basically modeled after GOP proposals, yet not a single Republican would vote for it?===========First, look at the DeMint statement in context. Second, Jim DeMint is on the extreme right of the party. You’ll note that he’s been openly opposing incumbent Republicans for being insufficiently “pure.” I don’t have to account for, or defend, Jim DeMint. His motivations are not the same as mine. As for the health care bill being modeled after GOP proposals…. yes, I’ll agree that a number of elements in the bill were originally Republican proposals. But you need to look at the bill in its totality. The HC bill as it currently exists will inexorably lead to a government takeover of HC, either directly, or through such tight regulation and controls that it will amount to the same thing. For example, McDonald’s is ending HC for its part-time employees, and the word is that many corporations are considering the same thing.The Republican approach to HC is to try and REDUCE government involvement, to empower consumers, and to try and cut costs (tort reform, anyone?). It aimed at deregulating a market that is already predominately government controlled, and providing incentives for savings. For example, most people would be better-served if they had HSA’s. Saying the HC bill is “modeled after GOP proposals” is absurd.

  40. Realist says:

    @Jeff,I presume you were trying to prove that my claim of intentional Republican obstructionism as a political strategy was untrue by the following statement:There was a WSJ interview with Eric Cantor (#2 Republican in the House and in line to become Majority Leader). The article reported: “When asked to describe his relationship with Mrs. Pelosi, he says flatly that it is “nonexistent.” “The speaker has absolutely demonstrated she is not interested in having any policy discussions over legislation with Republicans, period.” When asked how many times the speaker has called upon him to talk about legislation. “None. In the past three-and-a-half years, not once.”Now, if my assertion were true, do you think that Cantor would have said “Yeah, she reached out to us, but we really don’t want anything useful to pass, so we started by moving the goalposts, and when that didn’t work we just blew her off”? His words in this case are useless in disproving my statement.try and explain the famous Pelosi quote: “You’ll find out what’s in the bill after it’s passed….”I have a better one for you. Try and find the quote you provided. She never said that. It was taken out of context and misquoted on top of that. But I’ll give you a hint…the “you” in that misquoted sentence wasn’t House Republicans.At the White House only a few weeks later, “Mr. Obama said to us, ‘Look, elections have consequences and I won.’”Of course he did. If the notion of “working together” is “you must sign Republican bills and veto Democratic bills,” there is no way that’s going to fly. Elections do have consequences, and he did win.The rest of your post presupposes that your earlier evidence was compelling. It’s not.

  41. Realist says:

    @Jeff,The HC bill as it currently exists will inexorably lead to a government takeover of HC, either directly, or through such tight regulation and controls that it will amount to the same thing. For example, McDonald’s is ending HC for its part-time employees, and the word is that many corporations are considering the same thing.Your “example” is a non-sequitur. How does a company ending its health coverage mean that the government will take over healthcare???To the rest of your post, I have a few questions for you:1) How much will tort reform reduce healthcare costs?2) What about healthcare was already “predominately [sic] government controlled” this time last year?3) Why would most peopole be better served if they had HSAs?I want specifics. Hand waving in questions of this sort is pretty much useless, especially since it usually comes with ideological talking points, regardless of the side of the aisle speaking.

  42. Todd Dugdale says:

    My impression was that the topic was along the lines of “can the Republicans if they win the House”. So I responded to that (mostly).I don’t think that they can. Even the NRCC doesn’t think that they can. If they do, however, I think it will be a disaster for the GOP.The wingnuts have been led to believe that everything will change after the midterms; that we will return to some lost time of conservative utopia. Mostly, though, they just think that the Left will fold and disappear in the face of their Awesome Power. It’s more about vengeance writ large than the implementation of any kind of real policy agenda.And that is why their policy agenda would fail – or, at least, ONE of the reasons it would fail.

  43. shiloh says:

    Jeffrey has no specifics and rarely if ever posts source reference links verify/certifying anything he says.And his song and dance deflections are sophomoric at best.but, but, but his Bullshit! utterance was quite compelling, eh.

  44. shiloh says:

    This is the same Jeffrey who replied to filistro the final week at 538:Jeffrey said… SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!~~~~~~~~~~And my reply:If you don’t think race has been a major factor in the birthers, 10thers, deathers, truthers, teabaggers, secessionists, 14thers, etc. you truly are clueless!Shame indeed!btw, as a rule 538 racists like MPM et al are fond of using capital letters to shout above the crowd …

  45. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: For example, McDonald’s is ending HC for its part-time employees, and the word is that many corporations are considering the same thing.Which specific corporations are you referring to, Jeff? It’s not McDonalds. McDonald’s is denying reports that it plans to cancel health insurance for almost 30,000 workers unless federal regulators loosen requirements for plans to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars on health care costs. “Media reports stating that we plan to drop health care coverage for our employees are completely false,” a McDonald’s spokesperson told Politico’s Pulse. “These reports are purely speculative and misleading.”Further, the HHS “says it has already given the carrier for McDonald’s and others the chance to seek exemption from new annual limits on benefit payouts.” “This story is wrong,” HHS spokeswoman Jessica Santillo told Pulse. “The new law provides significant flexibility to maintain coverage for workers. Additionally, this story is premature as guidance on the new medical loss ratio rules has not even been issued. The Administration is working closely with businesses like McDonald’s that are committed to providing health benefits to protect health benefits to protect health coverage for their employees.”http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/09/30/mcdonalds-mlr/

  46. Bart DePalma says:

    Jean:The story was based on McD’s own memo on the negotiations with our new Health Insurance Czar (formerly known as Sec HHS).HHS’ response essentially admitted that McD was demanding an exemption from HHS’ arbitrary decision to outlaw it’s insurance.WTF business of the government is it to tell McD or any of us what health insurance we are allowed to buy???Time for some rails, tar and feathers.

  47. shrinkers says:

    Shrinkers used the term “vapid and vengeful hatemongers” in a post where he quoted me, but those are not actually my words, they’re his.And I’m proud to claim them.

  48. Jean says:

    Gart,re: WTF business of the government is it to tell McD or any of us what health insurance we are allowed to buy???Yes, Bart, that is exactly the case. Exempting mini-med plans, such as McDonald’s, in order to protect the (limited) benefits of some 30,000 employees may make sense, particularly since these policies will probably end by 2014. Then, workers could enroll in more comprehensive health coverage through the Exchanges since mini-med plans would not meet the actuarial value of creditable coverage.Those pesky “Exchanges”, Bart, where small businesses and consumers will be able to go to choose among a broad range of private health insurance companies plans. Alas, no public option in the exchanges, but far better health insurance than even multi-national companies or small businesses provide or are able to provide to their employees.Summary: McDonald’s (and countless other) employees currently have only very minimal and limited coverage. That is in the process of changing and in 2014 they will have far better coverage, and that coverage provided by private health insurance companies.

  49. Jean says:

    Bart,Oops. Gart. That must be Italian for Bart. In any event, you and yours have a wonderful time in Italy.

  50. shiloh says:

    Bartles, since you’ve obviously canceled your vacation and will continue be here 24/7:In Fluid Race, House Majority Is Uncertain, G.O.P. SaysRepublicans carry substantial advantages as they move into the final month of the fall campaign, but the resilience of vulnerable Democrats is complicating Republican efforts to lock down enough seats to capture the House and take control of the unsettled electoral battleground. By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.Races typically tighten in the final month as voters on both sides become more engaged, and the political climate is no more favorable for Democrats than it has been all year, with no substantial signs of improvement in the economy or the outlook for unemployment.Yet even as spending from outside groups is threatening to swamp many Democratic candidates, Republican strategists estimated that only half of the 39 seats they need to win control of the House were definitively in hand. ~~~~~~~~~~>An HP comment was spot on:So if Republicans are outspending the Democrats 8 to 1 and still don’t win the majority, will they finally understand that we’re not buying their message? When will they finally figure out that blocking everything is not working for Americans — it’s a political strategy, because they could care less about the American people, and their only issue is winning the power back! NOT GONNA HAPPEN! You will never win the majority and the White House without the female, minority and youth vote! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! And you certainly aren’t going to win running on the premise that you will spend the next two years sending out subpoenas and finding anything they can to impeach the President of the United States, because they can’t run on their policies!~~~~~Yea, w/an 8 to 1 $$$ advantage the teabaggers still can’t seem to close the deal. Again, how embarrassing for the Reps if they don’t regain the House as one would think if the $$$ was even on both sides, they would still easily take control after listening to Bartles tsunami rants the past year, eh.Indeed: So if Republicans are outspending the Democrats 8 to 1 and still don’t win the majority, will they finally understand that we’re not buying their message?No, ’cause intuitive thinking isn’t Bart’s strong suit. ;)take care, blessings

  51. Monotreme says:

    @Shiloh:Maybe they’re reading Larry Sabato’s Twitter stream:http://twitter.com/larrysabatoTo wit:Some GOP leaders need a refresher course in basic campaign strategy. Predicting R House pickups of +60, +80, +100 is just plain dumb.(1) It isn’t going to happen;(2) It induces overconfidence;(3) If Rs win a narrow majority or just fall short, big gains look like a loss.

  52. Jeff says:

    realist asked me:1) How much will tort reform reduce healthcare costs?2) What about healthcare was already “predominately [sic] government controlled” this time last year?3) Why would most peopole be better served if they had HSAs?============There is no way to know how much will be saved with tort reform. I have seen studies that argue that the savings are relatively small, and estimates that unnecessary “defensive medicine” accounts for a quarter of HC expense. I also understand the argument that malpractice suits are a deterrent to lousy medical care, or are the only way to recover from errors.My OPINION is that tort reform, coupled with more rigorous policing of the medical profession, would produce substantial savings, much as no-fault workers comp insurance, coupled with OSHA, proved successful in lowering costs and making work environments safer. I would also point out that if we were to have “single payer” HC, I doubt if we’d have the current tort system for long…..2. Between Medicare and Medicaid and the VA, government is the dominant player in medical care. The private sector is split between thousands of HC plans and purchasers. There’s also an strong argument that one of the contributors to the rapid rise in HC costs is that the Feds under-reimburse medical providers, creating cost-shifting.3. HSA’s are a combination of pre-tax savings accounts and high-deductible catastropic medical insurance. Most people should be able to budget a few thousand dollars per year for medical expenses. If they start an HSA when they’re young, even if they contribute less, they’re also much less likely to NEED medical care. I like to think that if people can afford $500 or $1000 or $2500 a year of out-of-pocket care (NOT co-pays). The reason why the HSA concept makes sense (to me) is that currently, there is an almost total disconnect between who pays the bills and who receives the services. You don’t shop for the best combination of price and quality when you’re having a heart attack, but for most medical needs you do have the ability to shop. The basic problem we have with HC is cost, and I believe that the cost problem is driven by the disconnect between payer and recipient. There are only two general approaches to containing costs. One is rely on market forces (with appropriate subsidies and incentives), the other is to do top-down regulation and price controls (ie, government control).In my experience, I haven’t seen too many cases where the government has been very successful at providing high quality, affordable services. One other comment: The UK DOES have “death panels,” and they are virtually inescapable under nationalized medicine.(running out of time and space — will amplify later after the predictable howls of outrage).

  53. alki says:

    Posted these comments at 538. Not sure they will get through there:Some things to keep in mind. Most of the undecideds in the polls are with the Dems [see PPP polling]. The Rs pretty much know whom they want…..anyone who reflects their anger and hate. So if there’s to be any movement……its with the Dems. Secondly, in 2008, at the end of September, most of the polls showed McCain winning the presidency. In fact, it looked like McCain all summer. It was in Oct that Obama caught up and won. Can’t say if the same scenario will play out this year but its possible. Thirdly, the press all year has been about the ascendency of the Rs. In fact, R candidates have been in their respective markets all summer while Dems have been quiet. That’s changing now………dems are starting to spend and we see the impact that is having in CA. Brown and Boxer have moved into the lead. We are the same here in WA state. Patty Murray is back in the lead. I think that’s happening in other places that don’t get as much polling. Finally, recent generic polls show that blacks and Latinos are becoming more enthusiastic. Its critical that they vote in big numbers like they did in 2008. In the meantime, OFA has moved into action. I got an email on Thursday asking me if I was still registered and encouraging me to check. They provided a link to my local registrar. They are doing that all over the country. Obama knew the Dems would be in a weaker position come these midterms. Its one of the reasons why he has made sure that OFA has remained strong and active. Dems, we are in good hands. Obama is smart, competent and thorough. Now do your part and GOTV. Its critical in this election year, Polls are prescrptive; not predictive………..esp most of the “dime store” polls we are seeing.

  54. shiloh says:

    Jeffreywill amplify later after the predictable howls of outrage~~~~~~~~~~No, your posts er ad nauseam, winger deflections are mildly amusing at best.take care, blessings

  55. Jeff says:

    @shiloh,I said I would amplify my comment that the UK does have “death panels” that decide whether you’re worth spending HC money on.Here’s what the BBC has to say:”If you get an extra year of life for less than £10,000 then it is generally considered that that is a reasonable buy.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/251988.stm In other words, cost drives the decision as to whether you get the drug you need. Please note also that the BBC is NOT a right-wing outfit, but almost as far left as the Guardian.So what does the Guardian have to say? Here’s their response to some of the US critics of obamacare:The claimGovernment health officials in England have decided that $22,750 (£14,000) is what six months’ life is worth. Under their socialised system, if a medical treatment costs more, you’re out of luck – Club for GrowthThe response:The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) decides whether new drugs represent value for money for the NHS in England and Wales. It replied: “This is a gross misrepresentation of how Nice applies health economics to try and address the central issue: how to allocate healthcare rationally within the context of limited healthcare resources. Nice assesses the cost of a treatment in terms of a cost-utility analysis which takes account of the quality adjusted life year – the amount and quality of extended life it is hoped the patient will gain. The current ceiling is £30,000 but exceptions are made.”<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform“>http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reformThe claimIn the UK, breast cancer survival rates are 11% lower than they are here in the United States – Sue Myrick, a Republican congresswoman from North CarolinaThe responseIf anything the gap is wider than Myrick says. Breakthrough Breast Cancer cite two recent studies from Lancet Oncology. One says that 83.9% of women in the US diagnosed with breast cancer between 1990-94 lived for at least five years compared to 69.7% in the UK – a 14.2% difference. The second showed that, among women diagnosed with the disease in 2000-02, 90.1% in the States survived for at least five years whereas in England it was 77.8% – a 12.3% gap.<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reform“>http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/11/nhs-sick-healthcare-reformIn other words, the UK system decides how much they’re willing to spend on medicine to keep you alive, and how much they’re willing to spend in general to keep you alive. Imagine if a US insurance company used their formula!Sarah Palin was right. The UK does have panels that decide whether you should get life-saving treatment.

  56. filistro says:

    Isn’t it going to be fun when Bart gets back from Italy in two weeks to find all the races have tightened and the wave (just as we predicted) has subsided to a mere muddy trickle?He’s going to be CERTAIN that if he had just stayed home with his finger in the dike, he could have prevented the massive tsunami from draining away.Poor Bart… he’ll be just riddled with guilt and remorse.

  57. Jean says:

    Jeff,re: There’s also an strong argument that one of the contributors to the rapid rise in HC costs is that the Feds under-reimburse medical providers, creating cost-shifting.Jeff, talk about cost-shifting. There’s also the strong argument that the rapid rise in HC costs is that folks who do not have health insurance coverage, or who have only mini-med very minimal medical insurance coverage, or who have no health insurance coverage at all have no choice but to use the hospital Emergency Room – an expensive way of obtaining healthcare – thus raising overall health insurance costs for all of the rest of us.

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