Sunday, November 23, 2014

How About a Hillary-Elizabeth Warren 2016 Democratic Ticket?

       Right now it seems Hillary is a shoo-in, but you know what they say: the best laid plans of mice and men. She was a shoo-in in 2008 as well, but as you might remember, a funny thing happened on the way to Inevitability Mountain.

      I make the suggestion of a Hillary-Warren ticket as a friend. I am, always have been, and always will be a Hillary man. I was disappointed when she came up short in 2008, though of course, I came to like President Obama-to say the least. To like him at least as much as Chris Matthews did back in that 2008 campaign trail.

      As this point, I want to believe that Hillary 2016 can be a reality. I mean, c'mon, the woman has just earned it by now. I mean in the 90s all the humiliation of the scandals of her husbands infidelities. Then her disappointment in 2008. She's been a good, loyal foot solider for President Obama and the Dems since.

     Don't get me wrong she needs to be as the one thing that could lead me to be disillusioned by her-and I never have been in 20 years-is if she at any point took pains to distance herself from the President at any time in the coming campaign.

      I assume she's running. The case to make for her Presidency is easy enough. Just to piss off Rush Limbaugh and friends is enough. When you recall how hard they went after the Clintons in the 90s how relentless their desire to destroy the First Family, well wouldn't it just be too much if they were subjected to another 8 years of a Clinton-after 8 years of Obama? Who knows maybe 20 years another Clinton-maybe by 2036 Chelsea is ready to run?

     There was a great late night joke about Chelsea's new daughter where the newborn Clinton immediately gave a statement to the press that she can neither confirm or deny a plan to run for the President in 2056.

     So why Warren? Well, to make sure there isn't another funny thing on the way to Inevitability Mountain it seems to me Warren is the best insurance as she is the most likely thing I can imagine to undo Hillary. I mean you see that far Lefties are already whining about Hilary she's not Left wing enough and Warren is their Great White Hope as the case may be so why not just put the two ladies together? That would forestall the worry that a Hillary White House won't be liberal enough.

    What could be a fly in the ointment? If for some reason one or both of these power chicks don't want the matchup. It's possible that Hillary might find Warren too liberal for her-let's hope not.

     Interestingly, I'm not the first to propose this, though I hadn't read this before coming up with the idea-Krugman already has proposed it. Of course, I'll take the company all day long.

     Krugman actually goes on to say the chances of this are pretty remote. For one thing, Warren will want to go where she can have largest effect and that may be the Senate for now. I just hope the won't run against each other. I say this as someone who cares first and foremost about the Democratic party. If you've seen my Twitter page you should understand why. I care about the party. This is something that too many so-called Dems don't care about. I mean they just use the party.  They just want a candidate that pushes their pet issue be it the environment, financial reform, or immigration reform but what about the party? I mean I think that all of these are important but someone has to look out for the party so that the most amount of these items can be achieved.

     For me the goal is not necessarily the most liberal candidate, though probably I would usually agree that I want the most liberal candidate that can win. I doubt she's as Right wing as she's imagined to be by the firebagger crowd. I mean she is a politician and knows how to adapt which people forget. I mean she was more conservative in the past based on the electorate she and her husband had faced in the past. As Krugman points out, she's been more liberal during the current run up to her next presumed run.

    The irony is that if all the presumption of Hillary 2016 turns out correct, it would mean that we've now gone full circle in Presidential politics where the Dems are now like the GOP is supposed to be-the Repubs are supposed to be the  ones where it's all waiting your turn, whereas with the Dems it;s always a free for all. This time could be the opposite.

    P.S. So while a Hillary-Warren ticket may be unlikely, it really would be a pretty powerful ticket I think. Both more liberal and more centrist Dems would have someone they could throw themselves behind, and we'd have the ultimate balanced ticket with not one but too females. It may not be in the cards but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be.

    P.S.S. I do think that's the problem with the Dems-too many individual Dems care nothing about the party itself seeing it as just a vehicle. Yet, it's absurd to run with a party then throw this party under the bus as all those Blue Dog Dems discovered a few weeks ago to their sorrow.


    P.S.S.S.  I remember in the early 90s with the rise of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) there was a lot of talk about how the Caucus system is detrimental to the Democrats. There's some truth in this but what needs to be understood is that the Democrats have had this kind of problem throughout their long history-they remain the world's oldest party.

   I mean, traditionally, the Dems have never actually been a party but rather two or three parties in one. Right to its first days you had the Northern Dems and the Southern Dems. The Democrats always had a liberal tendency, but the need to placate the Southern Dems was a problem from the start. Ironically, it may be now with the eclipse of the Southern Democrats-the Solid Democratic South is now the Solid Republican South-the Dems now have a better chance of finding a more unified voice and direction. There will be disparate interests, but it will be a more liberal party and that's a good thing. There is a large sense in which previous Democratic majorities in the House and Senate were misleading with all the Blue Dog Dems. With them gone the party may for now at least be smaller, but party discipline will be easier to achieve.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Obama's Executive Action is a Boon for Democrats in 2016

       It just brings us a lot of clarity. I mean the GOP is trying to make this a big procedural quibble. Which is understandable as most Americans actually agree with Obama and the Dems on substance. I mean even most GOP leaders agree on substance at least based on what they've said in the past. They're arguments are always about process.

       So they say Of course we want a humane and rational immigration policy but not this way. Rather than get it through executive action we'll be better of with our previous inhumane, irrational policy. Isn't this basically the GOP argument on everything?  I mean this is the argument against Obamacare. In this case, it was actually a Republican plan, it was Romneycare. It's what Nixon wanted back in the early 70s, Newt favored it in the 90s.

      The GOP is hoping all this talk about 'Emperor Obama' and a constitutional crisis will spook basically White middle of the road Independents. That's what they're aiming at. They're trying to convince these Middle of the Roaders that Obama's way of doing this is such an outrage that it doesn't matter even if you agree with his move on substance. They're hoping it will lead to a major backlash against Dems by these Middle of the Road White voters.

       In a way this is microcosm of most issues in American politics. The American people agree with the Dems but the GOP screams process and confuses and scares the heck out of a lot of rather impressionable, susceptible people. Sure you agree that people should have access to healthcare but what about Jonathan Gruber! What an elitist snob. That this works so often is why I can't resist wondering if Gruber wasn't right about the intelligence of the average voter.

       Is there danger here for the Dems? Of course there is, there's always risk. This screaming about process may work to a greater or lesser extent. The early polls before Obama's announcement seemed to show people disapproving Obama's proposed action though not by any overwhelming margin-even the WSJ showed just a 10 point deficit. At the end of the day, the beauty of this move as far as skittish Middle of the Roaders is this is fully 2 years before the Presidential election. It's doubtful that this will be the biggest thing on their minds in by then. 

        Any 'working class white votes' the Dems will 'lose' likely would not have been in play anyway. What matters much more is the growing Latino electorate for the Dems going forward. Believe it or not, many Latinos in this last election when in making no distinction at all between Obama and other Democrats who support immigration reform and GOPers who are the ones who tabled it in the House. No difference between Obama and Boehner. 

       Now there's just no way not to get it. 

       "There’s precedent for eruptions of border-hawk ire followed by energetic mobilization among Latino voters and progressive allies. Polls throughout the 2010 midterm election showed strong support for enforcement crackdowns like the one Arizona pioneered that year, with a law allowing law enforcement officers to check the citizenship status of persons they detain. It was taken by some as a warning sign for Democrats intent on pursuing comprehensive reform."

         "But two years later, public polling in swing states such as Ohio and Florida showed voters supportive of an apparently contradictory Obama decision to defer deportations for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors. That executive action was credited with helping re-energize the president’s campaign and driving a spike in Latino turnout. Nevada legislator Lucy Flores, who just lost a race for lieutenant governor, said the absence of a motivator like that — indeed, Obama’s explicit decision to postpone his executive actions — hurt Hispanic turnout this year."

         “I wish this wasn’t a partisan thing, but it is,” she said, forecasting that this week’s announcement would help reelect Harry Reid in 2016. “It’s very apparent that Democrats have been leading the way on this issue … Republicans are not doing anything.”

        Ben Monterroso, executive director of the advocacy group Mi Familia Vota, put it in starker terms than that.

         “People will see Obama did it and fear Republicans could undo it,” Monterroso said. “It will be very clear in 2016 who is with us and who is against us.”

      See that's beauty of this. The White moderates who might be scared by GOP screaming over process likely will have forgotten all this in 2 years-after all, at the end of the day it really isn't going to effect their lives at all, one way or the other. 

      However, Latinos now will have no way of not seeing who is with them and who is against them. Again, this brings us all clarity. A Democratic election in 2016-not just President but in Congress means more actions in this direction? If you're in the Latino community but you worry about those not included in last nights EO? Well then you need more Democrats elected. A Democratic President along with both Houses of Congress would get this done today. If more Republicans are elected what was done last night will be rolled back. 

      Many don't like the title of my blog but at the end of the day this is a partisan issue.  Those who are too faint of heart to get this shouldn't be in politics. More Democrats means more done about humanizing our immigration system and making it much more rational and also is a major boon to the economy-it can only increase economic growth. 

       P.S. I guess if there is anything my blog is supposed to be about, it's that there is no shame in being a partisan. There is also certainly no virtue in being 'bipartisan' if it's in the David Brooks' sense of the word where any policy is legitimate if it can be claimed to be bipartisan. If both Republicans and Democrats agree about concentration camps it's therefore a good policy. If Obama were to sign an executive order ending them, it'd be bad as it's just not the right process. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Deconstructing GOP Outrage Over Obama's Immigration Action

      The President did what he needed to do tonight and I couldn't be happier for the country, for the millions of good decent people who just want a better life and no longer need live in fear, and more proud that Barrack Obama is our President. I know, maybe you think I gush about him too much but if there wasn't so much ugly, puerile hatred of him-on both the Left and the Right; the Teabaggers and the Firebaggers-I might not have to belabor this so much. He is a very good man and we're very luck he's our President.

      I watched his speech on MSNBC and you had Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and others wondering what the GOP reaction would be. It seems that some at least had hoped the GOP reaction would be positive! I find such an idea laughable. I knew they'd react as themselves-just spoilt, bratty bullies who just want their own way always, all the time, without ever allowing logic to intrude in their absurd demands.

      Republican Steve Schmidt then came on the show and showed that my pessimism was utterly and completely on target. He was talking so fast and he was sweating and just making not a whit of sense. Chris Hayes pointed out that the GOP only wants to discuss process here-isn't this s clear hint they're losing on the issues? However, Schmidt would have none of it-turns out 'process is important.' He just believes that Obama did something unprecedented here, though, he didn't try to claim it was illegal-and not many Republicans are seriously trying to claim this was illegal. Because Obama did this terrible thing that is actually totally legal the GOP won't pass immigration reform that it wasn't going to pass anyway.

     This is why their threats have been so laughable-you know, doing this will be waving a red flag in front of a bull, do this and there will never be immigration reform. The reality is the GOP has no intention of doing immigration reform. Think about it. After 2012, they had decided they had to do it-the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, the RNC all understood this.

     Yet they didn't do it. A bipartisan bill passed the Senate but then Boehner just let it collect rust in the House. So after a bad loss when they had to admit something went wrong, they still didnt' do it. Why now, that they won so in Pavlovian style they are presuming they did everything right the last 2 years, would the consider doing it now? And this is what's happened. In 2012 Reince Priebus was saying the GOP had to do immigration reform. Now he's singing a different tune-because of those kids at the border this Summer, immigration is off the table.

     So when GOPers like Schmidt say that maybe the GOP would have passed immigration reform if not for Obama's diabolical but perfectly legal action, Preibus told us himself, they have no intention.

     What is really driving the GOP so batty are a few things. One is they thought Obama was going to have to eat humble pie. Yet, right from the start, at his first post-election news conference he's very happily done nothing of the sort.

    Everyone thought the President had to eat all this crow over his 'shellacking' but he refused to take the bait. Why? Maybe because the President is becoming a better economist after 6 tough years. He recognizes a free good when he sees it. Basically, the GOP and the Very Serious Press are going to hate on him no matter what he does. So why not be himself and go big? I mean that was the lesson of this 'shellacking'-repducating your own party offers you no percentage in it. Why not grow some balls?

    My guess is maybe the public will respect him more now whether they like his actions tonight or otherwise or not. Americans don't like bullies but they don't respect people who humbly submit to bullies and no one is a bigger bunch of bullies than the Republican party.

     The President should just stand up for what he believes in for the next 2 years and the Dems should not be tricked into the rationally ignorant move in the Prisoner;s Dilemma of putting him under the bus to save their own hides. After all, it doesn't work-just ask Allison Grimes.

     The GOP doesn't understand this simple economic point-if you are going to hate they guy and look to insult, slander, and destroy him, no matter what he does, then why should he ever cooperate with you?

     The GOP is so furious for a few reasons. One is what we just touched on-they thought he had to come to them and David Brooks on bended knee and he didn't do that.

     The GOP is just the ultimate party of sore winners, when they lose they learn very little, when they win the forget what little they had learned when they lost. In their mind, they now had the largest mandate in human history. Some are now claiming that they have a majority now that will last the next 100 years.

       "NRSC chief Greg Walden has announced that the GOP may have built itself “a hundred-year majority” in the House, which is in no way an insane bit of overconfidence. Steve Benen has a good recap of some of the other times Republicans have responded to victories by saying that they would never lose again."

     Yet what Obama's action does so soon after their glorious romp is show them that they are still impotent. Rush Limbaugh has been saying that this election was all about stopping Barrack Obama why else were all these GOP Senators and Congressmen elected?

     However, the GOP wasn't able to stop him tonight no matter how much they talked about government shutdowns, riders on bills, impeachment, or even arresting him.

     All this big talk about throwing a red flag in front of a bull, but this is going to happen just the same. They still can't stop Obama even now. What is enraging them in part is their own powerlessness. Basically the Party of No has abdicated it's own power by refusing to even pass any bills-I mean pass them, not just voting a party line bill in the House that will never see the light of day. So in a vacuum, the executive power is via necessity, stealing it's thunder. Ezra Klein.

    "We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility," wrote Ron Brownstein in 2010. Perhaps this is a way American politics becomes a little more parliamentary. Congress can, in both this case and most of the hypothetical cases, remove the president's authority to act unilaterally. But insofar as it doesn't, we're creating a system where, in many cases, the tie goes to the executive — and then the electorate can judge the executive based on his actions."

     "A related argument is that this might help break congressional gridlock. As the executive branch begins to do more, members of Congress will want to recapture their rightful role as the engine of federal action — and they will decide that compromise is less painful than irrelevance."
      I don't know that they will ever make this choice-they'd rather bite their noses off, they've shown again and again. However, whatever, they will do or more likely not do, they are irrelevant. Obama's action here brings this home to them. 
      They truly are powerless here. There really isn't too much they can do in terms of defunding either as the USCIS is self-funded.
      Finally, this is really bad politics for the GOP-and great politics for Obama. What matters in the end-whether or not the President takes a short-term hit  on this-is what this means for the Latino vote in 2016. It's pretty clear who is a friend to the Latino community and who isn't at this point. 
     This is making the GOP crazy. They know it helps the Dems and kills them. What really worries them is the crazy GOP statements coming out. 
For Republicans the roiling debate over the president’s decision is not only a fight with the White House, but a test of whether they can contain some of the unhelpful passions among their swelling majorities in both chambers. The task is keeping on-message and away from the controversial and sometimes offensive comments that have traditionally hindered attempts to bolster support for the party among Hispanics.
….it is the tone of outraged rank-and-file members that most worries GOP elders. Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, they do not want to see Republicans tagged by Democrats as hostile toward Hispanics. Even as they battle the president on legal and legislative grounds, they would like to see Republicans shore up support with immigrants and their families.

       So ultimately this outrages Republcians for three reasons. 
       1. It shows that Obama is not at all humble in the face of a humiliating loss. 

       2. It underscores their impotence even after their big wins and lopsided majorities. 

       3. It is just really going to help Obama and the Democrats a lot politically. 

       If they weren't such a nasty group you could almost feel sorry for them.  

         UPDATE: Paul Waldman looks at why the GOP is so angry as well and his list has a good deal 

      in common with mine. He too leads with number 1. Our lists are very similar.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Jonathan Gruber May Have Been Right About American Voters After all

      The Right wing and the idiotic Centrist media are besides themselves because Gruber committed the blasphemy to suggest the average voter is stupid. Well if he's so wrong then how do you explain this?

        "Conventional wisdom is malleable, and it appears that conventional wisdom on the wisdom of shutting down the government is shifting, at least within the Republican party. While the old CW was that it was a terrible idea that Republicans suffered for, and it would be foolish to do it again, the new CW seems to be, "Hey, didn't we shut down the government and win the next election?"

        "The other day, influential conservative journalist Byron York beganpushing this line, writing that the 2013 shutdown "so deeply damaged GOP prospects that Republicans exceeded expectations in 2014, winning control of the Senate in spectacular fashion and making unexpected gains in the House." And now, as Dave Weigel reports, Republicans are taking it up:
In [conservative] circles, it's clear that the president can be stared down on immigration. And it's clear that a fight, even if it led to shutdown, would be either rewarded or forgotten by voters when they returned to the polling booths in November 2016. The reality of the Affordable Care Act had, after all, ended up winning elections for them in 2014. Why wouldn't the reality of Obama's new blunders elect the Republicans of 2016?
It's all deeply frustrating to Democrats. Virginia Representative Gerry Connolly, whose district's contractors and federal employees recoiled at the shutdown, had subsequently watched his state reelect its Republican congressmen and nearly knock off its popular Democratic senator. There clearly was no shutdown hangover for Republicans.
"From their point of view, frankly, while it had a temporary impact on their polling numbers, they fully recovered from that and paid no price at all on Nov. 4," said Connolly as he headed into a vote. "Politicians are all Pavlovian at a very elemental level. What's rewarded, what's punished. They look at that, and they think it seems to have been rewarded. It certainly wasn't punished."
     "This is entirely true. Approval of the Republican party took a nose dive in the wake of the shutdown, and though it is still viewed negatively by most Americans, that didn't stop Republicans from having a great election day. Because as at least some within the GOP understand, you can create chaos and crisis, and large numbers of voters will conclude not that Republicans are bent on creating chaos and crisis but that "Washington" is broken, and the way to fix it is to elect the people who aren't in the president's party. That in this case that happened to be precisely the people who broke it escaped many voters. The fact that the electorate skewed so heavily Republican in an election with the lowest turnout since 1942 also helped them escape the consequences of their behavior."
      As Michael Kinsley once noted, democracy can goof. Why is it that you can criticize the politicains, Wall Street, the media, the legal establishment, but not the 'sainted' people who fall for such puerile tricks again and again? I don't have a good answer.
      Why do they always have to be let off the hook-it's not their fault, their overworked, they have no time to figure out what's going on, they are lied, to and tricked, they would vote for a 'true progressive' if they were running-it's all or nothing with them. They're bad at math and hate to read and cynical economists and journalists lie to them. Like Kinsley said, while the politicians, the media, and Wall Street are no prize, the people don't escape responsibility either.  
       I couldn't be happier about Obama's planned executive action on immigration tomorrow.
        There is political risk here that many people will buy into the GOP line that there's something diabolical about Obama taking perfectly legitimate, legal executive action here.. While most people actually favor the kind of immigration reform the President wants-and the Senate Dems along with a decent number of Senate Republicans voted for, they also seem to think there's something wrong with taking executive action to do this thing they claim to want.
      Whatever. I see this as what the economists call a free good-the GOP won't pass immigration whether Obama does this or not and they'll try to blame him whether he does it or not and it may well work and convince all these stupid people out there whether he does it or not so you might as well just do it. When people are going to knock you no matter what you do you might as well do what you want to do anyway. 
       The Dems need to stand with their President here. Harry Reid gets this.
        I hope most Dems do. We see where throwing your own President under the bus got you. If they're going to knock you anyway, why not show some balls?
        Maybe Americans will respect that-they surely didn't respect the Allison Grimes gambit-Barrack Obama?! Yuck, he's got cooties! 


How Sweet it is: Delong Links to me and Obama to do Executive Action Friday

     Two big reasons to be psyched! Delong linked to a couple of posts I wrote last year about Obamacare bashing-it was at the time when the GOP was gloating about the website.

       I pointed out that they were getting ahead of the website problems-this year things are much, much better, of course.

       Naturally the Obamacare bashers have moved on. Now they are belaboring the point about Jonathan Gruber's 'shocking remarks' as if this shows the law is inherently flawed.

       Notice how the Tea Party attacks of the Right on ACA come to sound indistinguishable from the attacks of the Left like at Firedoglake: the Teabaggers and the Firebaggers have more than a little family resemblance.

        It's all sort of reminiscent of the 1936 campaign when all the haters of Social Security of the Left and Right-both Father Coughlin and Huey Long joined forces under the Frances Townsend aegis to defeat it. Then as now the Left and the Right unite against the Center.

        Ralph Nader is now best friends with Rand Paul.

        I think you'll find that Obama hating on firebaggers today are not less than on teabagger blogs. They all just haaaaaaatteee  President Obama.

         Meanwhile I'm very happy to hear the President is going to 'tear up the Constitution' on Friday-obviously I'm being ironic. I know, the David Brookses of the world will throw up their hands at this lost hope of bipartisanship next year. I'm sure Boehner was going to pass immigration in January if only Obama hadn't tied his hands.

          Ok, GOP, there's mud in your eye. What are you going to do now? Shut down the government, refuse to raise the debt ceiling, or maybe just go right to impeachment? Any one of these things will just amplify that you're the part that hates Latinos and can't stand the idea of there being more of them in this country and consider their existence an existential threat to your very party.

          Is this the best time for him to do this? There is no 'best time'-in June the best time was after the election but now it's after the GOP funds the government, then, there will probably be some new best time. Let's do it now and remind the GOP that there are checks and balances. Yes they run Congress now but they don't run everything and the executive branch has its prerogatives just like the legislative branch does.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

David Brooks Makes a Great Argument for Obama to Do Executive Action

     This doesn't say much for Brooks as he was trying to make the opposite argument-that this is some terrible prospect that will destroy the world for bipartisan government for years to come. What he seems not to realize  that this milksop that Very Serious People like him call bipartisanship is an illusion that exists nowhere but between his ears. 

      Brooks comes from a point of view that the Holocaust would have been a perfectly justifiable thing-if only both the Democrats and the Republicans agreed on it. 

      " there is an entire class of “centrist” pundits that know nothing and care nothing about actual policy. Their entire analytical skill is “bipartisan=good and partisan=bad,” regardless of which side is being more reasonable or has better ideas."

       You know me-I'm no fan of FDL but what the hey-this here is very well said in describing the 'centrist pundit.' Greg Sargent. regarding Obama's promised-I take it as a promise-executive action on deportations says this:

        "I actually expect the public to tilt more strongly against Obama’s action, if and when he does announce one. It seems likely that, even if majorities tend to support legislative legalization, Americans could react very differently to executive action on immigration."

        "On the other hand, as Drum points out, this probably holds little political risk for Democrats overall, even if executive action does bring about partisan Armageddon. David Brooks is very worried about this prospect. He predicts that Republicans will “rightly take it as a calculated insult,” driving everyone “into warfare mode,” resulting in “two more years of dysfunction that will further arouse public disgust and anti-government fervor.”
     "But as Drum notes, the poll also finds that almost nobody in America — 15 percent, to be exact — even expects Obama and the new GOP Congress to work together to find bipartisan compromise to begin with. In this case, Obama will be acting — belatedly, and after far too much dithering and delay, in the minds of many of his core supporters. As E.J. Dionne puts it:
Yes, Washington may again be engulfed in partisan warfare. But at least this time, it will be over things that are actually happening.
       "I would also reiterate that what probably matters most politically over the long term, particularly heading into 2016, is what overall general impressions of the two parties Latinos end up retaining after this is all over.
       The last paragraph tells you why this is a no-brainer for the Dems. Obama should just do it as soon as possible and see how much the GOP can overreach. As for those who say he should postpone it, my trouble is, when he wanted to do it in June we heard that he couldn't because of the election-it might hurt Democrats in the election! They sure did well after he did what they asked-now we're hearing he as to at least wait until the GOP funds the government. I'm sure if he listens to them again there will be some reason in January and February why he can't do it. Mr. President: just do it already Sir. 
      As for Brooks, the whole problem is his nightmare narrative of partisan gridlock and dysfunction is already baked in the cake-it's going to happen either way.  To listen to him here, it's hard to believe he's actually witnessed our politics for the last 5 years. 
     The president was in no rush to issue this order through 2014, when it might have been politically risky. He questioned whether he had the constitutional authority to do this through most of his first term, when he said that an executive order of this sort would probably be illegal.
     But now the president is in a rush and is convinced he has authority. I sympathize with what Obama is trying to do substantively, but the process of how it’s being done is ruinous.
     Republicans would rightly take it as a calculated insult and yet more political ineptitude. Everybody would go into warfare mode. We’ll get two more years of dysfunction that will further arouse public disgust and antigovernment fervor (making a Republican presidency more likely).
     This move would also make it much less likely that we’ll have immigration reform anytime soon. White House officials are often misinformed on what Republicans are privately discussing, so they don’t understand that many in the Republican Party are trying to find a way to get immigration reform out of the way. This executive order would destroy their efforts.
     There are so many absurdities here, it's hard to know where to start. What 'efforts' is the GOP working on? The House GOP tabled a Senate immigration bill with the most wondrous wine for a David Brooks-bipartisanship-and they have actually decided they don't need to do immigration reform at all anymore. In any case, even if they were why would Obama taking perfectly legal executive action stop them? For more on the legality of his move see here.
     The reality is that the GOP has no intention of doing anymore in the next two years than the last two-after all they won this time which means that the public wants only their priorities passed, or so the GOP believes. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Krugman and CNBC Agree: Obamacare Works

     It's not a surprise that Krugman thinks so.

     "Then there’s health reform. As usual, much of the national dialogue over the Affordable Care Act is being dominated by fake scandals drummed up by the enemies of reform. But if you look at the actual results so far, they’re remarkably good. The number of Americans without health insurance hasdropped sharply, with around 10 million of the previously uninsured now covered; the program’s costs remain below expectations, with average premium rises for next year well below historical rates of increase; and a new Gallup survey finds that the newly insured are very satisfied with their coverage. By any normal standards, this is a dramatic example of policy success, verging on policy triumph."

        However,  CNBC agrees about Obamacare's recent success:

       Obamacare—like love—appears to be better the second time around.        

       Open enrollment season appears to be off to a much smoother start this year, but not without a few bugs in the online insurance marketplaces.

        More than 1 million people were able to successfully navigate over the weekend, according to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
        That was a dramatic difference from Obamacare's first open-enrollment launch one year ago, when a technological meltdown prevented all by a handful of people from creating accounts or applying for coverage, much less signing up for health plans.

        So what do all the government haters have to say about this? Maybe they can do a Scott Sumner and deny that Obamacare is part of the government-he now has a new measure of recessions that have nothing to do with GDP.