Tales from the Trail

Reid to Republicans: healthcare reform is now law of the land

reid pelosi

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proudly proclaimed on Wednesday that the “historic healthcare reform is now no longer a bill it is the law.”

Someone please tell Republicans.

They are planning a flurry of amendments to try to stall a package of changes being considered by the Senate that Democrats want to make to the legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama.

House Democrats demanded the changes, which among other things would close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap for the elderly.

Republicans want to change the new law too. They want to repeal it. Some of their amendments would do just that. It is unlikely Senate Democrats will reverse course and undo the hard fought victory for Obama.

But other proposed Republican amendments could force Democrats to take politically unpalatable election-year votes on measures such as one that would strike Medicare spending cuts from the bill.

So how’s he doing now? New polls on Obama healthcare

The White House (whether its occupant is Obama or Bush) has a tendency to be dismissive of public opinion polls, shrugging them aside as inconsequential to the president’s decision-making and basically to be brushed off like dandruff on a shoulder.

That is unless the polls are going their way.

USA-HEALTHCAREWhite House spokesman Robert Gibbs, amid the glee of the healthcare bill signing Tuesday, tweeted @PressSec “In the polling obsessed town of Washington, DC this will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on” with a link to a story about the USA Today/Gallup poll that said 49 percent vs. 40 percent saw passage of  the bill as “a good thing.”

But while early post-healthcare polling data show a bump in President Barack Obama’s favorability ratings, it remains to be seen whether there’s a trend in the making.

Palin using her star power against selected House Democrats

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Sarah Palin really has the 2010 congressional elections in her cross hairs now.

As President Barack Obama signed healthcare reform into law, the potential 2012 Republican White House wannabe was out on Facebook with her own campaign to unseat 20 House Democrats who voted for the legislation. The page identifies targeted congressional districts via a map of the United States dotted by white and red cross hairs.

“We’re going to fire them and send them back to the private sector, which has been shrinking thanks to their destructive government-growing policies,” she says in a rallying note to supporters that also seeks donations for her political action committee, SarahPAC.

Palin’s aim is to go after House Democrats who voted for Obamacare and represent districts that she and John McCain carried in the 2008 presidential race.  USA-HEALTHCARE

Democrats lead on fundraising for 2010, but the gap may be closing

CHINA

If new campaign dollars were votes, Democrats would be leading Republicans in the early returns for the 2010 congressional elections by about 7 percentage points overall. But that’s with Republicans closing the gap and eight months to go before Election Day.

A report by the Federal Election Commission says the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled in $183 million in new donations during 2009, the first half of the 2009-2010 congressional election cycle.

That put Democrats about 9 percent ahead of their Republican counterparts – the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee – which raised $168.6 million together.

Are Republicans admitting defeat before the timorous Democrats?

HEALTH INFLUENZA

Republicans who urged anti-healthcare supporters to help them “kill the bill” only days ago suddenly seem to be shouting “repeal the bill,” as if Democrats are truly destined for victory. Yet their Democratic opponents in the House seem too scared to say ‘yea’ without more than a little hand-holding.

Dozens of Republican lawmakers and candidates are reported to have signed a pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, should the GOP take control of either the House or Senate in November.  The Washington Post says 37 House and Senate members and 163 congressional candidates have already signed the pledge.

That’s an agreement to overturn legislation that hasn’t even seen sunlight. And it comes less than two days after fiscal conservative activists kicked off an 11th hour bid to drown the Democratic cause in a torrent of phone calls, e-mails and congressional office visits.

Are folks ‘for’ or ‘agin’ healthcare reform? Both, according to the partisan rhetoric

USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMA

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Republicans say Americans don’t want the president’s healthcare reforms. Democrats beg to differ. What’s true? Depends how you figure, though as Mark Twain observed: figures don’t lie, but liars … well, you know.

Not that anyone would lie, of course. But opinion polls have been dumping figures aplenty into the debate in Congress, and the debaters have been eagerly using them to patch up their arguments’ foundations.

Take the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey: 46 percent want Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s plan; 45 percent don’t.

Millions of dollars shelled out in TV ad war over U.S. healthcare

A TV ad war is raging on healthcare legislation. And it’s costing millions of dollars on both sides. USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMA

The campaign-style messages target Democratic and Republican lawmakers who will decide the fate of the White House-backed measure, and are up for reelection in November.

“Pass health insurance reform now,” declared an ad by Health Care for America Now, a coalition of more than 1,100 groups — including labor, civil rights, children and women. The group announced it had begun airing the spot on Tuesday in selected congressional districts at a cost of $1.4 million.

Armey says “unreliable” Republicans are Tea Partiers’ only hope

ARMEY

Dick Armey says the Tea Party movement is willing to back Republicans for office, but only if they agree to reform their sinful ways when it comes to fiscal dangers like the budget deficit and the federal debt.

In fact, he predicts that Tea Partiers and their conservative allies will be around for a long time to make sure Republicans who get into office avoid the perils of backsliding on the road to fiscal purity.

“If we’ve got any hope at all, we must put it, as unreliable as they are, with the Republicans and try to rehabilitate them, reform them … and manage their behavior,” the former House Republican majority leader told a National Press Club luncheon.

Massa waning as news fodder but may rise again to plague Democrats

AUTOS/BAILOUT

Eric Massa may soon vanish from the 24-7 news cycle. But the martyred Democrat, who says he fell from grace beneath the naked power of Satan’s spawn, could reappear some day soon as a burr under the saddles of his former congressional colleagues.

Republicans would like Massa to do for them what Mark Foley did for Democrats four years ago: provide a scourge with which to flail the other guy in a mid-term election year.

Foley, a Republican, resigned from Congress in September 2006 amid allegations that he sent sexually explicit emails and instant messages to male congressional pages. As such, he was among the denizens of that swamp of Republican corruption that Nancy Pelosi vowed to drain just before Democrats took control of Congress and gave her the speaker’s gavel.

Obama seeks to cast healthcare vote as test of courage

Do they have what it takes?

In a new twist, President Barack Obama is trying to turn the tough politics involved in the healthcare reform push into an argument for passing his top domestic priority. OBAMA/

Obama is telling fellow Democrats that supporting legislation to overhaul the $2.5 trillion healthcare system, despite its lack of popularity, would be a mark of courage.

At a pair of fundraisers in St. Louis for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Obama said voters sent their politicians to Washington to make hard choices and that passing healthcare was the right thing to do.