Some Republican governors continue to resist implementing health insurance exchanges in their state as required under the Affordable Care Act, but former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is urging Republicans to embrace health reform. In an editorial for The Week, Frist argues that both parties should accept the exchanges, which originated as a “Republican idea”:
State exchanges are the solution. They represent the federalist ideal of states as ?laboratories for democracy.? We are seeing 50 states each designing a model that is right for them, empowered to take into account their individual cultures, politics, economies, and demographics. While much planning has yet to be done, we are already seeing a huge range in state models. I love the diversity and the innovation.
States have until November to turn in their exchange plans, but governors in states like Florida, Wisconsin, and South Carolina are refusing to act on the law until after the November election if Mitt Romney is elected and tries to repeal the law. After the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) called on the governors to ignore the ruling and stop implementing the state-level programs. But as Frist correctly notes, inaction would only lead the federal government to establish the new insurance marketplaces.
A suicide bomb killed the Syrian defense minister and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law today, among other top officials, in the most direct and effective attack on the Syrian regime since the beginning of the uprising and civil war.[...]
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"I couldn't conceive of people being so pig-headed, so stubborn, so willing to see our economy go up in flames as. ... I knew it would be political, but I didn't think they would literally shoot the hostage." That was...[...]
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Ed Marsh, International Man
It usually starts as a tug on the sleeve, or a gentle touch on the elbow. And it’s almost always ignored, because it feels similar to the common plaintive touch . . . → Read More: Crosswalk Index
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At this point, I?m actually a little impressed that Mitt Romney has managed to resist the growing calls to release his tax returns. Romney is under a tremendous amount of pressure from conservatives?including prominent supporters?to reveal his finances, and his continued refusal is a sign of impressive, if short-sighted, discipline.
Of course, the longer Romney goes without releasing his tax returns, the more opportunities there are for awkward questions. In particular, there?s the question of his vice presidential vetting process?did candidates submit returns, how many were there, and is there a double-standard? After all, if you deserve to know the most about your potential running mate, isn?t it also true that the public deserves to know the most about its potential president?
As it stands, neither Rob Portman nor Tim Pawlenty?the two most likely choices for the vice presidential nominee?have revealed anything about their taxes. Both candidates have been asked by reporters, and both have demurred. Portman reportedly ?laughed? when asked how many tax returns he released to the Romney campaign, while Pawlenty was unclear as to the number of returns he released. ?I don?t remember the specific number of years,? Pawlenty told ABC News. ?I know I provided some tax returns going back a number of years, but I don?t know if it was three or five. I don?t think it was probably more than that.?
Indeed, despite Pawlenty?s eight years as governor of Minnesota, and Portman?s experience throughout government?from six terms as a member of the House to stints as U.S trade representative and OMB director?there is no sign that either man has ever released his tax returns to the public. Pawlenty was pressed on this after his first run for governor, but refused to acquiesce.
I expect that Romney will ignore these questions, and continue to keep his tax returns from public view. As an incredibly risk-averse person (read the story of how he became head of Bain Capital), this makes perfect sense. It?s not so much that there?s something damning in his returns, perhaps, as much as it is that Romney can neither predict nor anticipate the outcome of releasing his returns. Even if they?re damaging, he would rather go with the known knowns of continued secrecy, rather than the known unknowns of public scrutiny.
It should be said that if Romney is as risk-averse in office as he is as a candidate, then we should expect maximal accommodation to the demands of congressional Republicans. As someone with real weakness on his right-flank, Romney doesn?t have the strength to challenge conservatives, and it?s more than apparent from this episode that he will always take the path of least risk and resistance. At the risk of kicking a dead horse, if elected president, there?s no way that Romney would ever govern as a moderate.
From TPM Reader JEH ... I'm seeing a common theme in various aspects of the Republicans' new defense of secrecy. Remember how McConnell (I think) argued that requiring disclosure of big donors was an attack on free (money) speech, because...[...]
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?Mitt Gets Worse? is a play on Dan Savage?s ?It Gets Better? project. Here?s the ?welcome? kickoff, plus a couple of video of testimonials, with more to come.[...]
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“It took a lot of work to get to where are are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family,” says Abedin, 37. “Anthony has spent every day since [the scandal] trying to be the best dad and husband he can be,” she says of her husband, who does all the laundry. “I’m proud to be married to him.” – Anthony Weiner Shares a Family Photo
DEMOCRATIC SELF-LOATHING has robbed the party of many talented people. Republican voters seem to always forgive their guys. Democratic self-loathing doesn’t seem to allow for it, because for some reason Democrats are trying to live up to a religious conservative standard that not even Republicans can meet.
Republicans self-righteousness allows nefarious womanizers like Newt Gingrich to believe forgiveness is due them, because right-wingers think they’re connection to God entitles them to be forgiven and politically redeemed. Rudy Giuliani is another classic case, who also ran for president after humiliating his wife, as is David Vitter, who remains in the U.S. Senate.
Eliot Spitzer would be a lot more effective in the political arena than he is on Current TV and I say this as one of his viewers. John Edwards, the idiot pretty boy, spoke of “two Americas” long before Occupy was born and his message was very similar. Whether he can resurrect his reputation with voters in North Carolina is highly unlikely and if he decides he can’t he has no one to blame but himself and I bet he’d be the first to agree. But his focus on the poor is worth a lot more today than the Democrats supporting austerity in the Congress.
It shouldn’t just be former Pres. Bill Clinton who is forgiven and allowed to keep his job against all Republican efforts to take him down. The American people decided he should, through a lot of help from Hillary Rodham Clinton, who saved his philandering ass.
Mr. Weiner is keeping mum about any forays back into politics, but he and his family didn’t do the People article for grins. So, I’ll take the question left unasked. There is no reason Anthony Weiner shouldn’t be allowed to put himself back into the political arena, if that’s what he and his wife decide, though he told People he has no plans to run for mayor. New York voters can decide from there. They’re smart and are very capable of assessing what politician has their best interests in mind.
We have far too few politicians on the leaning-away-from-center-pushing-the-left-ish-side of the political aisle as it is.
The other issue is that our politics is rotten at the core. It’s a dirty business and what Anthony Weiner did was sleazy, but it wasn’t illegal. It’s not even out of the ordinary. People also have to get over the ridiculous idea that politicians are role models. It’s patently absurd. Read history and you’ll see that the marketing of legends didn’t match up to the men they actually were in real life. What’s laudable about an Administration letting Wall Street crooks off the hook, while the American taxpayer pays the bill? What’s exemplary about promoting entitlement “reform,” while funding drone programs that kill innocent people? What’s moral about cutting food stamps for the neediest Americans? Have you read Mitt Romney’s economic plan?
Has Anthony Weiner done anything to keep the middle class from thriving? Is he against American workers getting a living wage? Does he support austerity? His Middle East views are right-wing, but it’s still the expected norm if you represent New York, as well as the Democratic Party. These are the questions that should make a difference to Democrats, not whether he can pass the fidelity test, which a lot of men and women can’t.
But then, I’ve done time researching and investigating relationships, sexuality and the dating scene, so I know Anthony Weiner isn’t an anomaly. He’s just someone who got caught.
Everything else is between he and his wife, the beautiful and talented Huma Abedin, Secy. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, who has forgiven him after what I’m sure was a walk through hell.
image via Shutterstock
enlargeThe Obama campaign has filed suit against Ohio over a law passed quietly that would eliminate early voting in the three days ahead of the election this year, at least for people most likely to vote for President Obama.
Ohio Republicans were busy at work last year trying to make sure less people vote in 2012 than 2008. When voters caught wind of their plan, a referendum was planned on House Bill 194, a draconian piece of legislation which would have made drastic changes to Ohio's voting system. After SB 5 was so resoundingly defeated at the polls, gathering signatures for the referendum was a pretty simple task and the referendum would have been on the November ballot. In the meantime, the "reforms" to voting would not take place until after the referendum.
Ah, but those tricky Republicans had a plan up their sleeve. While signatures were being gathered to put HB 194 on the ballot, another bill passed the legislature. This one was a "technical corrections bill" intended to reconcile the early voting dates for absent military and overseas voters with the voting dates in HB 194. There then began a series of legislative machinations that are so twisted it's hard to believe they weren't intentional. An "emergency bill was passed by the Ohio General Assembly -- HB 224 -- which set a conformed deadline for military and non-military early voters to be the Friday before the election.
As it is, after a careful examination, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde made a disturbing discovery. The Kent Democrat found that the Senate's "repeal" bill, Senate Bill 295, really amounts to a sneak attack. Instead of simply striking down House Bill 194, the repeal bill seeks to reinstate one of the most objectionable features -- imposing a deadline on in-person absentee voting starting the Friday before Election Day, cutting off a three-day window when interest reaches its peak.
This is a really big deal. Look at the numbers to see why. In 2004, before reforms were made including that in-person absentee voter measure, 7.6 percent of Ohio voters were absentee voters, representing 10.6 percent of the votes cast. In 2008, after the reforms, 20.7 percent of Ohio's registered voters cast ballots, representing 29.7 percent of the total votes cast.
Moreover, the effect is to keep a longer deadline in place for military and overseas voters while shortening it for in-state absentee voters. Guess which party benefits most from that?
I would be curious to know which ALEC members laid awake at night trying to figure out ways to disenfranchise Ohio voters. Hopefully the court will put a permanent injunction on any implementation of these voting restrictions for the November election. If not, we can count on Republicans to steal Ohio in November. Again.
After all, they're counting on their Voter ID laws to win elections for Romney, don't forget.
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This is wonderful.