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President O. Decides With President W. 99% of the Time

From The Hill (h/t to memeorandum) — “Boehner a rubber stamp for Pelosi?“:

It’s an attack ad that writes itself: The House Republican leader, Rep. John Boehner (Ohio), votes with liberal Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a majority of the time.

The statistic seems impossible to believe, given the ferocity with which Boehner denounces Pelosi, the progressive champion of San Francisco elitism and favorite GOP villain.

But it’s true, according to an analysis by Democrats. Boehner has voted with the Democratic leadership 52 percent of the time in 2010. So has Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the Republican conference and former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House Republican whip, and Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), head of the GOP’s House campaign committee, are even cozier with Pelosi. They’ve voted with her 57 percent of the time.

And Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), the conservative firebrand who has compared the Democratic agenda to socialism? She’s with Pelosi on 58 percent of House votes.

The data come from a Democratic leadership review of the 565 roll call votes in the House from January through the end of September, when Congress left Washington for the campaign trail. Since the Speaker herself rarely votes, the comparison is made using the recommended vote of the party leadership.

The percentages do not reveal a hidden bipartisanship in the rancorous 111th Congress, but they do throw into sharp relief the statistic that campaign ad makers use more than any other to cast opponents as ideological rubberstamps.

Republican campaigns nationwide are running dozens of ads that cite the percentage of time an incumbent Democrat votes with Pelosi.

In Alabama’s 2nd district, the National Republican Congressional Committee attacks Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright in radio and television ads for voting “with Pelosi 70 percent of the time” since 2009. In Idaho’s 1st district, Republican Raul Labrador’s ad criticizes Rep. Walt Minnick (D) for voting “with Obama/Pelosi over 70 percent.” Bright and Minnick of two of the most conservative Democrats in the House who opposed their party’s major agenda items.

The percentage appears high, but when Bright and Minnick are compared with the conservative Bachmann, the difference is only a few dozen votes. And compared with more centrist Republicans like Reps. Tim Murphy (Pa. – 66 percent with Pelosi) and Charlie Dent (Pa. – 65 percent), the disparity is even smaller.

The explanation for the elevated voting percentages is simple: While hotly-disputed legislation on healthcare, climate change and government spending command the public’s attention, the vast majority of congressional votes occur on more mundane and non-controversial items, like the naming of post offices or designating weeks or months to cancer awareness and other causes.

Social security is veering perilously close to the chopping block, unemployment is at over 10%, insurers are hiking up fees for sick kids’ , the big banks are trying to get away with what the Cassandra of Derivatives calls, “the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets,” … just to name a few of the concerns from a day in the life of an ordinary American… and what is the Democratic leadership up to?

Answer: Conducting serious study on how much Congress votes alike on procedural and mundane votes and how few votes there are where they actually vote on anything big that they disagree on.

Yeah, I sure remember all the diligence and painstaking efforts taken to achieve clarity about the facts when Obamacrats ran around like banshees screaming John McCain votes with George Bush 95% of the time, ergo any Hillary supporter who wouldn’t immediately jump up for joy to vote for Obama in June of 2008 must be a Republican.

Screw all of you DINOcrats and the asshat unity pony you rode in on in 2008.

Since you’re making it abundantly clear that it comes down to those big votes, all you are doing is reminding voters that when those big votes come down the pike you vote in a bipartisan matter with the GOP when you think the American people aren’t looking and will miss it, and when you actually bother to vote differently than the GOP it’s often to vote for unhelpful crap like a junk insurance mandate.

Hello? If it comes down to GOP and GOP clone, the rightwing is going to vote for the real thing and everybody else has less and less reason to vote.

It is no wonder that “a majority of voters say they want a viable third party in politics” (also from The Hill):

A majority of likely voters think a viable third party would be good for American politics, according to a new poll of likely voters in 10 key open House districts. Those voters are split, however, on whether the Tea Party should be that alternative.

Fifty-four percent of respondents in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll said they’d like an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

That number rose to 67 percent for self-identified independents. But even a plurality in the established parties — 49 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans — said they’d like another choice.

“That’s probably the strongest number I’ve seen in a poll of people in America saying that they’re interested in a third party,” said pollster Mark Penn.

“There’s a record number of Independents and a record number of people looking for a possible third party,” he said. “And that’s a big finding. There’s an opportunity here.”

The Hill’s poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, which surveyed 4,047 likely voters in 10 open districts. The overall sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.

“I think there’s a greater potential for a third party than perhaps [at] any time in our history,” said Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist and former adviser to George W. Bush. “There is a very broad level of dissatisfaction throughout the electorate — right, left and middle.

“I think what’s happened goes beyond general dissatisfaction with the economy,” he added. “They want a new way — they want to feel empowered again.”

Well we can look past Mark Penn’s spin and the spin of Bushie McKinnon and just look at the raw polling data and trends for ourselves. Hell, as nice as it is to have the data, we don’t even need that.

We knew the frustration that was setting in for the electorate back when these asshats were yelling at us that John McCain votes with Bush 95% of the time and only a racist Republican or vagina voter wouldn’t be convinced immediately at that to vote for Barack Obama.

Look at how the ad to the right plays now. You can just put Obama’s face over McCain’s.

Here is the 1% of the time President O. decides differently than President W. (via the NYT, “Education of a President“):

As he welcomed me, I told him I liked what he had done with the place. Gone was George W. Bush’s yellow sunburst carpet (it says “optimistic person,” Bush would tell practically anyone who visited), and in its place was a much-derided earth-tone rug with inspirational quotations. The curved walls now had striped tan wallpaper, and the coffee table had been replaced by a walnut-and-mica table that, Obama noted, would resist stains from water glasses. The bust of Winston Churchill was replaced by one of Martin Luther King Jr. The couches were new. He told me he was happy with the redecorating of the office. “I know Arianna doesn’t like it,” he said lightly. “But I like taupe.”

Speaking of attack ads that write themselves, that last bit in bold would make a good one. Ick.

Thursday Morning News: Reading the entrails

Brittany is still not over The Clintons

Hey, all you Glee fans, did you catch this gem on Tuesday night?

Artie: I thought I was over someone, but I still think I have feelings for them.

Brittany: The Clintons?

Yeah, you and half of the country.

So, sports fans, are you ready to dive right in?

Let’s start with the latest cave from the Obama administration.  The NYTimes reports today that Obama will allow insurance companies to charge more for families with sick children. like parents of juvenile cancer patients or chronic asthmatics don’t have enough to worry about:

The Obama administration, aiming to encouragehealth insurance companies to offer child-only policies, said Wednesday that they could charge higher premiums for coverage of children with serious medical problems, if state law allowed it.

Earlier this year, major insurers, faced with an unprofitable business, stopped issuing new child-only policies. They said that the Obama administration’s interpretation of the new health care law would allow families to buy such coverage at the last minute, when children became ill and were headed to the hospital…

“Unfortunately,” Ms. Sebelius said, “some insurers have decided to stop writing new business in the child-only insurance market, reneging on a previous commitment made in a March letter to ‘make pre-existing condition exclusions a thing of the past.’ ”

The White House has been tussling with insurers for months, trying to get them to provide coverage for children with cancerautism, heart defects and other conditions.

In a letter Wednesday to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Ms. Sebelius said the decision of some insurers to stop issuing child-only policies was “extremely disappointing.”

Yes, I have found that sternly worded letters are always effective at achieving what is, apparently, voluntary compliance with the law.  “I’m terribly disappointed.  No beets for you.”  Hmmm, let’s see, the Democrats have slashed food stamps during a recession and now they’re allowing insurance companies to suck the last penny from between the cushions of parents’ worn out couches.  I’m beginning to think they don’t like kids.  Well, it’s not like they vote or anything…

Next up, Obama apologizes for being a Democrat, er, as defined by Republicans? Peter Daou found this revealing insight into Obama’s brain in a review of a NYTimes magazine article:

[President Obama] reflects on what he called the “tactical lessons” of his first two years: He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend Democrat,” realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” [see reference to Hudson Tunnel project below] and perhaps should have “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” in the stimulus. He said he and his team took “a perverse pride” in focusing on policy while ignoring the need to sell it to the country and that he realizes now that “you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.”

I’ll wait a minute for you to recover the jaw you just dropped.  That last sentence is really funny.  It’s almost like he was projecting or something.  Read Daou’s post.  There’s more where that came from.  Maybe Obama doesn’t understand how the game is played.  Or he *does* understand how the game is played and you are really not going to like the next two years as he takes the country down and tries to pin it on the Republicans.

Speaking of Republicans, some of you may be wondering what it’s like living under the regime of Chris Christie in NJ.  I am happy to report that property taxes are still as high as ever and he has made no attempt to reform the state funding system.  But wait!  There’s more.  Christie has been going gangbusters trying to bring the densest state in the union, in more ways than one, to heel.  He’s been having a blast taking on the teacher’s unions and slashing and burning through school district expenditures.  Take online books, for example.  My district could afford them last year.  This year, Brook’s slender frame is being permanently warped from schlepping 80 lbs of books back and forth to school each day.  We have already had one catastrophic book bag failure and the sucker didn’t even make it through September.  Here’s a sampling of our Governor’s education “policy”:

Students have less, parents pay more as new school year begins in N.J.

Ex-education chief Schundler openly blames Gov. Christie for Race to the Top loss

N.J. school funding scores high marks, but does not account for Christie’s $820M budget cuts

Gov. Christie reveals plans to limit N.J. superintendents’ salaries, base pay on merit

The last item is clearly  Christie pandering to the spoiled Republican suburbanites who sit on their fat asses all day, leave at 3:00pm in the afternoon and don’t do 1/10th the amount of work that I witnessed superintendents doing when I was a school board member.  Running a school district is like running a company with hundreds of employees.  It’s a tough, demanding job but some Republicans I know cannot imagine why we pay our superintendents $150K/year.  Our own superintendent quit this year and we have an interim superintendent.  In all likelihood, the good citizens of —–villeburg thought that the guy should eke out a living on 100K/year or less. In New Jersey??  That will get you a decent but unspectacular condo and a second hand car here.  Would YOU want to run a large company but live like a worker in communist East Germany?  Seriously.  $100K isn’t even the average salary in my township.  But leave it to the short sighted burghers here to turn their anger on the schools instead of the property tax inequities.  Thank God we have all the school buses we can eat.  We wouldn’t want to charge for courtesy bussing.  New Jerseyans have their priorities all screwed up.  But the budget cuts have an unexpected benefit.  Whenever you ask why the school district doesn’t do X when we had X last year, the person behind the desk smiles sweetly and says, “The budget didn’t pass.  This is what people wanted.”  Ergo…

Then there’s the tunnel under the Hudson that Christie wants to cancel.  The tunnel project is a no-brainer so we can safely assume that Christie has no brain.  Commuting to and from NYC from Jersey is time consuming and expensive.  The tunnel would have made it a less arduous ordeal.  But Republicans are not into infrastructure.  That’s long term thinking.  They don’t do long term.  So, the commuting ordeal will continue until the state thoroughly hates Republicans with a passion.  It may be happening sooner than they expected.

And finally, here is the Podcast of the Day:  Yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed Sean Wilentz from Princeton, just down the road a spell.  Wilentz talks about how Glenn Beck is channeling the John Birch society.  I’m not sure he completely nails the current national problem though.  He thinks the roots of Democratic failure is in the 60’s.  I think it faced its steepest decline in 2008 when the Democrats jettisoned the working class for snobby Obama and his droogs.  Some of the working class, in anger and confusion, allied themselves with the Becks and Tea Partiers.  Well, if the Democrats have the “We don’t need no stinkin’ working class” attitude, they shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences.  We don’t like Beck either but we aren’t calling the working class bitter, guntotin’, holy rollers.  They’re simply acquiring power in a way that will cause distaste for the genteel Democrats.  Or as Wilentz puts it, in GlennBeckistan, it will be a “dog eat dog world, mitigated by religious charity”.  Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Don’t you miss the Clintons?

Ok, Conflucians, I’m off!  There’s a hot Swedish colleague giving a seminar this morning and I don’t want to miss it.