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Quinn Bee, Drones and Hillary

Ezra Klein tweeted a shocking revelation the other day from the Vox account. He posted the results of a study showing how negatively/positively the candidates had been portrayed by the media and found:

I find this surprising. Coverage of Trump feels *overwhelmingly* negative to me, much more so than of Clinton:

crimsonhexagon1

Ezra is confused. Coverage of Trump falls into the train wreck observer category. Even the Political Gabfest Trio sound like they’re watching a tsunami from a different country and have that “Oh, those poor souls, someone should do something” attitude. They make references to Hitler and Mussolini but in a detached way. It’s nothing personal.

With Hillary, it is. She’s just not exciting. Oh, sure, she’s competent and everything but can we trust her?

Nobody wants to say anything nice about her. EVER.

That graph up above shows the kind of candidate the media prefers. Kasich presents as a kinder, gentler, less radical Republican. We know he’s nothing of the sort. He’s just better at being not in your face about his radicalism.

And then there is Bernie, who is attracting all of the creative class people, to which class the media types cling desperately so they don’t lose their youth and beauty.

Even Vox, after looking the evidence in the face tosses it off as just a manifestation of the media going after the perceived frontrunner. Except, we know that’s only partially true. In 2008, Hillary was the frontrunner early in the primary and she was hammered relentlessly. Then when the party refused to credit her Florida and Michigan delegates, that made Obama look like the frontrunner. But as David Plotz admitted a couple of weeks ago, the media treated him with kid gloves because they were “totally in the tank for him”.

So, frontrunner syndrome is not equally applied and Clintonistas have known this for a long time. Decades, in fact.

What happened decades ago that would have made the Clintons so incredibly unpopular with the press? From what we can tell, it all started when uber narcissist Sally Quinn, self-appointed Queen Bee of Washington establishment and party set, condescended to invite new first lady Hillary Clinton to Georgetown to meet the other DC ladies who lunch. Here’s how Hillary’s welcome to DC went according to Harry Jaffe who wrote a scathing piece called “The Not So Mighty Quinn”:

All of this reporting and writing prepared Quinn for her true calling: being a hostess and party girl. “She would go to the opening of an envelope,” says one socialite. She positioned herself as the Perle Mesta of the 1990s. She reveled in inviting the usual suspects in the political and media world to her Georgetown manse, then leaking gossip from the parties to reporters at the Post. It was a cozy relationship that depended on Quinn’s ability to reel in big-name guests, especially the biggest of all, the first couple — which brings us to the root of Sally’s beef with Hillary.

According to society sources, Sally invited Hillary to a luncheon when the Clintons came to town in 1993. Sally stocked her guest list with her best buddies and prepared to usher the first lady into the capital’s social whirl. Apparently, Hillary didn’t accept. Miffed, Sally wrote a catty piece in the Post about Mrs. Clinton. Hillary made sure that Quinn rarely made it into the White House dinners or social events.

In return, Sally started talking trash about Hillary to her buddies, and her animus became a staple of the social scene. “There’s just something about her that pisses people off,” Quinn is quoted as saying in a New Yorker article about Hillary.

Quinn’s antipathy to Hillary became the subject of a New York Observer piece in 1996 that turned the spotlight on Sally, now 56. “No longer a journalistic star, Ms. Quinn seems restless and unsatisfied,” wrote Mary Jacoby, “despite her wealth and prominence and her Georgetown mansion with swimming pool and tennis court, not to mention her house in the Hamptons.” Wondering about the roots of Quinn’s spat with Mrs. Clinton, a younger and more powerful woman, Jacoby wondered if Quinn was “frightened” that her good looks were fading and “bitter because she’s no longer on center stage.”

[…}

“There’s a very incestuous relationship between the New York-Washington journalistic elite,” says Washington columnist Chuck Conconi, who edited Quinn at the Post. “They take care of each other. It shows.”

To summarize, Sally Quinn, is the Queen Bee of Washington. The ultimate Mean Girl, she is, like all narcissists, insanely envious of people who have something that she has not. Now, what would Sally Quinn, who has “friends” and influence in DC, homes in Washington, Maryland and The Hamptons, possibly be envious about? Let’s see, Hillary is a smart and academically accomplished lawyer. Sally majored in drama at Smith College and wrote a party column in the Washington Post. Hillary was a trusted advisor to her husband, a president. Sally was originally her husband’s mistress before he reluctantly married her. Hillary plans policy with her husband. Sally plans guest lists. Who knows if Ben Bradlee had any input into that. He probably left it to Quinn as it was her little hobby.

Come to think of it, Sally was probably better off NOT having Hillary attend her soirees so many years ago before the animosity started. Hillary would have attracted a lot more attention from her other guests while Sally would have been relegated to refreshing the drinks. Here we see a sharp divide in generations. Sally is only 6 years older than Hillary but she represents a generation with a different set of expectations for men and women. Sally wanted what Hillary had: a growing respect from policy makers for her intellect, but she couldn’t make the leap from party girl and wife. So, Sally unleashed the only weapon she had available to her to take out her rage at potentially being ignored: ostracism. Better to nip it in the bud early and make sure Hillary was persona non grata than to suffer the ignominy of realizing that DC entertainer was just not that interesting to the people who came to her cocktail parties. Sally had to be the center of attention so Hillary had to be excluded. Thus began Sally’s smear campaign against Hillary.

Maybe Sally’s notorious injury from Hillary turning down lunch with her was calculated. Knowing there was no way to compete with Hillary, did Sally set her up? Did Sally pick an inconvenient day, like the time when she scheduled her son’s wedding to conflict with her husband’s granddaughter’s wedding on the same day so that wedding guests would have to choose? Did Hillary think lunch with a bunch of society doyennes was not the best use of her time because she was moving into the White House and supervising staff?  Who knows? But narcissists are really good at setting themselves up to look like victims and then making sure that everyone hears about how they were slighted. They can hold a grudge forever. Note Jaffe’s comment that there is an incestuous relationship between DC and NYC media and Maureen Dowd’s viciousness towards Hillary makes sense.

But wait! There’s more. Remember Ken Starr, the independent counsel who was appointed to dog the Clintons for years without end and distract them from doing the things they were elected to do? Jaffe writes:

There’s also a reason why Sally Quinn is an apologist for independent counsel Kenneth Starr. “In some way,” she said on “Meet the Press,” “Ken Starr has become to Clinton what the evil empire, what the Soviet Union was to Ronald Reagan.” What she doesn’t say is that Ben Bradlee is indebted to Starr, then a judge, for ruling that the Post was not guilty of libel in a celebrated case in the 1980s.

There you go.

But, you say, what does that have to do with today? All that stuff happened 20+ years ago. Neil Gabler recently wrote about how it all filters down to the present day in The Media Have a Hillary Story and They’re Sticking to It. He also references the slight that Hillary dealt Sally and notes how Sally’s character assassination of Hillary has taken on a life of its own:

Still, false or not, once the virus was loose, every reporter caught it, fancying himself a would-be Woodstein. Remember Travelgate? Of course you don’t. Or the scandal over the Rose legal files? I rather doubt it. Or the Vince Foster suicide? Maybe you still think Bill Clinton pulled the trigger, which is an oldie-but-goodie being shilled to this day on righ-wing sites.

Whatever you may think of the Clintons, the scandals didn’t create the meme of untrustworthiness about them. The meme of untrustworthiness created the scandals.

All, in the final analysis, were non-stories, some of them cooked up by partisans and spread by the press to accomplish exactly what the Republicans wanted to accomplish: to create a vague nimbus of guilt around the Clintons.

The operative word is “vague.” The press should have been a firewall against these allegations. Instead, they were an accelerant, not only because they didn’t like the cornpone Clintons, but because they knew the truth was likely to be far less interesting than the suspicions of wrongdoing. The media, after all, are in the reader business, not the truth business.

The bigger point is this: whatever you may think of the Clintons, the scandals didn’t create the meme of untrustworthiness about them. The meme of untrustworthiness created the scandals. The media just kept hunting for those scandals as confirmation of what they had already determined. That is how so many in the MSM work — backwards from presumption to incident. It also happens to be the surest path to career advancement for journalistic opportunists.

[…]

No, Hillary Clinton isn’t without sin. No candidate is. But she has been deliberately and unfairly abused by the press for years, her motives always impugned, her gaffes blown out of proportion, her missteps always attributed not to miscalculations or ordinary human foible but to deep character flaws. (Just Google “Hillary Clinton” and “character.”)

To be fair, the press are usually cynical about everyone — theirbrief Marco Rubio obsession notwithstanding. That is the new cool. And they would be cynical about Bernie Sanders, too, if they thought he mattered, which they clearly don’t. But the Clintons, who they do think matter, got on the wrong side of the press long ago — not haute enough for the Sally Quinns of this world — and they can never get on the right side. And besides, the idea of their nefarious misdeeds makes such good copy that any reporter would really hate to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So, there you have it, Ezra. The reason why the negativity bar goes off the chart for Clinton is because the media is relentlessly negative on her but also unaware of this tendency in themselves. It’s been conventional wisdom for 20+ years that if you want to succeed in journalism, you need to be mean to Bill and Hillary. It all started with Sally’s fit of narcissistic rage and it has ballooned into robotic bashing to the point where no one knows where assassination of character intersects with the real thing anymore. Hillary has become completely dehumanized by the media.

One thing is for sure. If Hillary ever does make it to the White House, it’s going to be difficult for her to forget how the media has treated her all these years. It will take a person of extraordinary character to treat them fairly. The media has given her no reason to trust it. You’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you.

But I look forward to Sally Quinn getting what’s coming to her for letting a contrived slight to her fragile inner self unleash a distracting legal firestorm that strengthened the radical right and brought misery on millions of regular Americans.

When Hillary takes office, maybe we can look forward to something like this from Sally, the drama queen:

 

 

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Marty Baron: Investigate the media

Hi Marty. I just finished watching Spotlight. I’d read that you moved on from the Boston Globe to The Washington Post. To be honest, I took WaPo out of my twitter feed. Over the years, I’ve become sensitized to artfully crafted turns of phrase, carefully selected words with specific connotations, and media narratives. I can tell when the media is trying to shape what I think and, since I prefer to draw my own conclusions, I don’t read as much of your paper anymore.

You probably don’t know who I am. I’m just a blogger, sitting out here in the Oort belt of the blogosphere. I’ve been posting semi-regularly and editing infrequently since 2008. There are a lot of adjectives in my posts.

Another reason you may not have heard of me may be attributed to the fact that female bloggers do not usually make the cut in Greg Sargent’s Plum Line. I’m not complaining for myself. I’ve never wanted to be famous or widely read. If I had any ambitions in that regard, I would have spent more time trying to toe the party line, jazzing up my CSS and editing. I might have chosen a more gender neutral pen name as well. Digby has done that. She had to.

Greg Sargent works for you, doesn’t he? At one point a few years ago, I was trying to find a way to represent how underrepresented women were in getting their opinions mentioned in the traditional media, and considered using the Plum Line’s evening round-up as an index. But then real life intervened and I was laid off for an extended period of time. Long term unemployment didn’t get a lot of attention in the major newspapers in the past five or six years. Maybe journalists found it boring or they were “whistling past the graveyard”. But I did find an interesting pattern with respect to the NYTimes coverage of the long term unemployed back in about 2010. It bore no resemblance to any reality I knew and looked like gratuitous kicking of people when they were down. Not only that but it was bound to have an effect on HR hiring managers and talent acquisition specialists. You may want to have a look at that post and tell me what you think. What were the NYTimes journalists up to?

You may be wondering why I am writing what seems to be a long, rambling, “stream of consciousness” blog post to someone who doesn’t have time to read long, rambling “stream of consciousness” blog posts from a virtual nobody who doesn’t read your paper. Recent events have compelled me to write this, specifically the collective freak out over Donald Trump. I am not a Donald Trump supporter. No, I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter for about 23 years since I was just a young suburban mom and scientist in New Jersey. I also haven’t been a Barack Obama supporter. In fact, I didn’t vote for him twice. There are many reasons for this, racism not being one of them. I’ve blogged about what I saw happening in my party, the media, my industry, and my own series of unfortunate events, since January 2008, if you’re interested in my perspective.

I’m writing to you because the media may be overlooking its own culpability in the strength of Donald Trump’s presidential run. Maybe that is intentional. After all, it’s a story, in a presidential election year, and it features a candidate who must be making David Broder roll over in his grave. These kinds of stories almost write themselves. It must be difficult for reporters to check their enthusiasm.

My opinion, for what it’s worth (see above for Plum Line index commentary) is that the public is reacting to the media’s obsession with 1.) covering Donald Trump and 2.) getting Hillary Clinton by any means necessary. It has succeeded beyond its wildest expectations where Hillary is concerned. Nobody trusts her. That could be a problem because even Hillary’s staunchest critics have to admit that she is the most qualified of the current crop of candidates and the one least likely to make a rookie mistake. That’s not a plug for my candidate. It’s just happens to be the truth. But she’s got an uphill climb to convince many Americans that she can be trusted.

Let’s take a news article about Hillary on today’s front page of The Washington Post. Here’s the headline and the blurb:

Clinton used private server to write 104 emails later deemed classified

The finding is the first accounting of her personal role in placing information now considered sensitive into insecure messages during her State Department tenure.

Do I need to read any further? I am assuming that the truth is in the headline. The emails were later deemed classified. That means, at the time they were written, they weren’t classified. I don’t know why they were classified later or what the subjects of the emails were. I have to ask myself, if she wrote emails on her gmail account and not her private server, and those emails were later classified, would we consider this a legitmate news story?

There were 104 emails. I’m sure that if there was something earth shatteringly critical and dangerous for the enemy to know, you would have put that in the headline. But this article looks like just another hit on Clinton. Now, I have to ask myself whose water you are carrying? Are those persons using The Washington Post because they know you are compliant? Is that compliancy the result of genuine study or previous bias?  You may consider this an unfair characterization of the Hillary pieces you run routinely. I might agree with you but I don’t find this kind of coverage for any other candidate. At this point, it’s just boring but it still serves the purpose of undermining her credibility. I don’t trust your motives. What’s in it for me, an average American, if you take down the one person I can safely rely on to not blow up the world while you let other lesser candidates bogart your main headlines?

This is one of the reasons why I don’t read your paper. It’s dishonest even when it’s reporting the truth. And if you’re dishonest about Hillary, who or what else are you not being honest about?

Donald Trump, on the other hand, can do no wrong. By that I mean, short of molesting a kid on live TV, the more that gets thrown at him, the more support he seems to attract. Even live TV child molestation might not work. He might say, “That’s not my short, stubby penis, I don’t know who that penis belongs to. I’ve never even met that kid and if I did, I don’t remember it.” And the journalists will try try again and people will ignore them and cheer and go vote for Trump anyway. To me, that’s a sign that the media narratives may only have limited traction these days. I used to think that was a good thing. Now, I’m not so sure.

So, if Trump really is as dangerous, unscrupulous and unpresidential as we are told, maybe you might want to investigate why it is that no one cares anymore.

Could it be that the major media has not been sufficiently critical of itself? Has it become a player instead of an objective analyst, with or without adjectives? Does the telecast of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner suggest a certain vanity?

Have you asked yourself whether Thomas Friedman’s chat with various cab drivers conveys sufficient understanding of the plight of the average American? Are you comfortable with the accusation of racism that the administration and its surrogates casually throw out when it is criticized? Could it be possible that not challenging this accusation has lead many people to feel powerless to get their concerns heard? Is it possible that not all of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists but are frustrated at having their issues ignored?

Has your paper been fair in reporting what it is that concerns Americans? Has it dug deep into the problem of long term unemployment and underemployment? Does it know what it’s like to live on Social Security in retirement without a pension? Has it done any investigative reporting on the 401K problem? I have to give credit to the NYTimes for its series on the cost of healthcare. Have you done any reporting on how the ACA was developed and who the major players were? What were their goals? How much skin in the game did they decide would cripple the act?

Has your paper examined why it has such hatred of the Clintons? At this point, after years of investigations that went nowhere and several searches of the Clintons’ underwear drawer, it’s starting to look like this is personal. I’m not singling out the Washington Post on this but the media does seem a little bit incestuous. There are only so many major newspapers in the country and it seems like most of the reporters have jumped from one to the other, and back again. Does it feel too clubby? Do you all hate the right people?

Major papers do not change their columnists frequently either. Do you think the shortage of female opinion columnists has anything to do with the treatment of Hillary Clinton or lack of interest in issues important to women in general?  How many female columnists would it take to balance this inequity? Studies have previously suggested that when women represent 30% of country’s government, this can have a substantial positive impact on the overall quality of life in that country. Are you prepared to increase the number of women on your editorial page to improve its quality?

Do you find there is a problem with credentialism in your newsroom? Do you only hire from certain schools? Does it help to be a legacy? Is it better to hire someone with contacts in government who are friends and acquaintances?

I ask these questions because the quality of journalism can also have a systemic effect on the news. If your newsrooms are cluttered with journalists who are captured by their social group, academic credentials or gender, that is going to be reflected in what hits the front pages and gets covered by cable news. If your reporters and columnists do not accurately report the news, or care to understand what it is like to live as a middle class to low middle class American, or how the powers that be have affected that American’s life and future, does your paper remain relevant? Should you be surprised when Donald Trump starts winning primaries?

Maybe someone is trying to tell you something.

 

WaPo: US Pushes for more scientists but the jobs aren’t there

Kudos to Brian Verstag for getting the truth out about the reality of the STEM professional.  There just aren’t any jobs out there.  Read the story here.  Here’s the money quote:

Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in the field.

But it’s questionable whether those youths will be able to find work when they get a PhD. Although jobs in some high-tech areas, especially computer and petroleum engineering, seem to be booming, the market is much tighter for lab-bound scientists — those seeking new discoveries in biology, chemistry and medicine.

“There have been many predictions of [science] labor shortages and . . . robust job growth,” said Jim Austin, editor of the online magazine ScienceCareers. “And yet, it seems awfully hard for people to find a job. Anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed.”

Disclaimer: I talked to Brian for this article and though he got a few of my details not *quite* right, overall the article is spot on about what we are going through.

There are more than 3700 comments so, clearly, he has struck a nerve.  Thank you, Brian.

One other thing:  Just because we are losing a lot of jobs in the life sciences doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of work to be done.  That is perhaps the most painful reality when it comes to the crisis in the STEM professions.  The truth is that biology is undergoing a radical transformation at the present time.  We *should* be throwing as much brain power as possible at every problem just to stay on top of it.  There are more than enough problems to be solved to keep every scientist on the planet fully occupied for the rest of their natural lives.

The problem is that no one wants to pay for it.  And there are no shortcuts in science. It is a lengthy process where we sometimes end up with more questions than we started with.  That kind of endeavor isn’t very profitable anymore, or not to Wall Street’s standards anyway.  To solve some of biology’s biggest problems, we will need much more government intervention.  Fortunately, infusions of cash into the research area would amount to a tiny fraction of what we have already thrown at the banks.

 

Kill this rumor: Hillary as VP in 2012

The Washington Post says the Hillary Clinton for VP in 2012 rumor just won’t die.

It won’t die because troublemakers like the Chris Cilizza at the Washington Post keep bringing it up.

I guess the expectation setting that reporters and party leaders tried recently that if we just let Barack win this year, we’ll get to vote for Hillary in 2016 wasn’t working, especially with women in full panic and fury mode. We could almost hear Pelosi’s syrupy voice saying, “And won’t that be nice for all you ladies?  Here’s a biscuit, {{pat, pat on head}}, now go take an old, cold tater and wait.”

To which I say, “Ok, then I’ll skip voting for president this election cycle and wait.  You sound so SURE that she’s going to run.  I wouldn’t do it in 2016 if I were her.  I mean, if she ran in 2012, it would be like running for her second term but in 2016?  Ehhhh, I’m just not diggin’ it.  She’ll be 68, not that it’s old but at some point, you have to retire just to get a nice afternoon nap once in awhile.  And by then, the new generation of voters will not remember the Clinton years.  She’ll be like Andropov or Chernyenko, who they also probably don’t remember.  So, you know, I’m a skeptic about 2016 but if Nancy says it’s true and she’s not just pacifying us, thinking we’re too stupid or naive to figure things out, well, ok, I’ll call her bluff and wait until 2016 because there is no f^&*ing way I am going to vote for that misogynist in the White House. Nah-gah-happen.”

But there’s a bigger reason why I doubt you could make her take the VP slot in 2012.  I don’t think she wants it.  And I don’t think she wanted it in 2008, which is probably why she made the pre-emptive move and asked for State first.  I’m guessing that Joe Biden was destined for State but the positions got flipped.

And why would she want to pass on VP?  Biden, who??  What has he done in the past 4 years?  Sure, there may be some women who temporarily (because we would quickly set them straight) might fall for the Hillary as VP gambit as being a big win for women.  But as VP, she’s going to be deep-sixed.  Unless she rings some concessions from the party and Obama, she will be treated like an ornament, brought out like some shiny, mesmerizing object whenever Obama needs to silence the grumbling of dissatisfied women.  Why the hell would she ever sign on to something so utterly beneath her formidable talents and contrary to her personal convictions?

So, if the Washington Post wants to continue playing this game, go right ahead.  What it is REALLY saying is that the Republicans have analysed the electorate pretty well, are going to divide and conquer the women’s vote and Obama will start to see his re-election chances slipping away because women are not united for the Democratic party.  Thanks for confirming that.

Of course, the party could always go bold and swap out Obama for Hillary.  The Republicans have analysed this too.  They’re probably guessing that the Democrats don’t have the cojones to do it.  So, they’re going to try to win by the skin of their teeth than make a bold move.  That means they’re going to pander to every group imaginable and go with no particular Democratic platform in particular.  Whisper sweet nothings in the ears of each constituency and hope they don’t compare notes before the election.

And that, dear friends, is the end of the Democratic party as we have known it.  They have just mutated themselves out of existence.

Have I got that right?  My record has been pretty good in the last 4 years so…

“Unnamed Sources” Up the Ante on Massa Harrassment Accusations

Eric Massa

Why are the powers that be so afraid of what newly retired New York Representative Eric Massa has to say about the treatment he has gotten from Rahm Emanuel? If Massa’s complaints are really so “ridiculous,” as the President’s press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Good Morning America today, why isn’t the White House simply ignoring him?

Carol D. Leonnig of the Washington Post has a new story up about alleged ethical accusations against newly retired Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY). According to these anonymous sources,

Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) has been under investigation for allegations that he groped multiple male staffers working in his office, according to three sources familiar with the probe.

The allegations surrounding the former lawmaker date back at least a year, and involve “a pattern of behavior and physical harassment,” according to one source. The new claims of alleged groping contradict statements by Massa, who resigned his office on Monday after it became public that he was the subject of a House ethics committee investigation for possible harassment.

Leonnig also writes that two anonymous sources claim that the sexual harrassment complaints against Massa were reported to the House Ethics Committee by a former staffer.

Massa’s former deputy chief of staff Ron Hikel provided the information about the staffers’ allegations to the House ethics committee three weeks ago. Hikel had earlier sought advice from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office about brewing internal complaints, the sources said, and had been urged to report the allegations to the committee.

Hikel, reached at his home Tuesday, declined to comment on the ethics investigation.

According to this local WGRZ story, from March 5, Hikel claims to have been sexually harrassed by Massa.

An alleged harassment scandal involving the Southern Tier Congressman began four weeks ago.

That’s when a young male staffer in Massa’s office went to a senior member of the staff and said that Massa had been harassing him.

According to the Gannett’s Washington Burerau, that senior member was Massa’s former legislative director, Ronald S. Hikel, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Hikel is a military veteran and friend of Massa’s who was hired last year as the congressman’s expert on health care issues, the source said. His last day at work was Feb. 26.

2 On Your Side’s Erika Brason spoke to Hikel on the phone, but he would not confirm or deny any information.

I’ll continue to update this post with any new information I find.

Chuck Schumer Might Need to Watch His Back

You tell 'em, Chuck!

You tell 'em, Chuck!

Wow! In an interview with Huffington Post over the long weekend, Chuck Schumer said that with Franken seated, there is no more need for compromise on health care legislation.

Schumer offered a detailed and frank assessment of the political landscape of the current health care debate. Predicting that the final bill will include a public plan, he painted the Republican Party as rigid to a fault when it comes to negotiations.

“This is where we are going to end up,” he said of a health care overhaul that included a public plan. “And I think, it would be much better for the Senate Finance Committee if we did it in the committee… I think the Senate HELP committee compromised already, because you have a lot of members on the HELP committee who would’ve liked [the public option] to be much closer to Medicare. The idea seems to be catching everybody’s imagination, and sense of fairness. And the only holdouts are sort of ideologues on the Republican side of this saying no government involvement whatsoever.”

Schumer didn’t add, but I will that we have a President who is too wimpy to stand up to the Republicans and fight for a public option and who opposes singer payer because it would “suddenly upend” the current health care system.

Back to Schumer:

“My bottom-line criteria is that it has to be strong, national, and available to everyone on day one, to keep the insurance companies honest and I’m not sure we can get there,” Schumer said. “I’ve been talking to [Sen.] Olympia [Snowe] about this,” he added, referring to the trigger option’s main proponent in the Senate, “but I’m not sure we can bridge that gap.”

Similarly critical remarks were offered for the idea of replacing a public plan with health care co-ops, which Schumer described as insufficient and unpractical.

“[Sen. Chuck] Grassley hasn’t closed the door, but it seems in general that his model of co-op is little co-ops popping up like they do in farm country,” he said. “And the model that we are saying we need is they have to be strong, national and available everywhere from the first day. And I think we are very far apart on this.”

I wonder if the Senator from New York has discussed this with the big boss. Hasn’t Obama been making noises about compromising on the public option in order to get Republication votes? And then when people keep complaining, “expressing concern” about grass roots effort to get single payer health care?

Can Schumer withstand the presidential blowback? I just hope he sticks to his guns, even after Obama returns from his latest trip and starts talking about compromise and trying his best to make sure his buddies in the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are well taken of. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I do have hope.

And maybe Shumer has been hearing from his constitutents. Today’s Washington Post has an interesting on-line post by Doug Feaver on the views of “health-care lobbyists vs. real people

Our Readers Who Comment are nearly unanimous this morning in condemning the news that more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress are lobbying for major health-care firms in the legislative attempts to reform the broken system.

Feaver provides a sampling of reader responses. Here are a few examples:

sashab1 wrote, “…Single-payer, universal health care is the only reform that will actually work. The insurance industry is going to water down the public option until it won’t work, and they will be back in business (and we will be wringing our hands again) in a couple of years.”

lionelroger predicted that “Obama will most certainly be a one-termer if he falls in with a corrupt Congress and does not deliver a public option Plan or single-payer universal health care… It is a monumental travesty for Congress and Federal employees to enjoy a cafeteria-style Health Benefits Plan subsidized by taxpayers but not available to all our citizens. Enough of this injustice.”

texanrme said, “This a war for the survival of those that have profited at the expense of the sick and elderly for generations… They want to argue how government can not handle healthcare administration, but they have proven beyond a doubt that neither can they…”

Of course some commenters still think that Obama is looking out for their best interests, but it does seem that generally people are starting to wake up and smell the corruption.


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Friday : Shmoonity

I fried the hard drive in my macbook the other night and as a result, I can’t hearken to the call of my muse, Hypergraphia, at 3:00am like I normally do. It would mean I have to go downstairs to the other computer and oddly enough, I have found the arms of Morpheus much more compelling. In other words, I overslept this morning so this will be brief.
In case you guys haven’t heard, we made the Washington Post this morning. Or, I should say, Diane Mantevaulos, our head mischief maker and editor of the JustSayNoDeal Coalition did. The PUMAs are official. We have finally made the big time. The article, Hill, Yes! O,, No! was actually pretty fair to us. Diane and Murphy lay it out very well. So well in fact that even Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is getting it:

The Obama-McCain comparison is what Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has been trying to emphasize. A prominent Clinton supporter, Wasserman Schultz said for women who care about reproductive rights, the economy and a range other issues, the only choice is Obama. “The opportunity to elect a woman has been missed this time, and that’s deeply disappointing,” she said. “While I understand the temptation to gravitate towards a Puma attitude, I don’t think that is productive. In fact, I think that is counterproductive. It will result in an outcome, if it becomes widespread, that elects John McCain by accident or de facto.”

Ding! Ding! Ding! Who said a Superdelegate can’t be taught? Yes, Debbie, while you were making political deals to screw Clinton over so Barack Obama and Howard Dean wouldn’t punish you, the voters in the rest of the country, and your state in particular, had this crazy notion that their votes and phone calls and emails and letters and PLEADING with the RBC would actually, you know, *count* for something. If not, why did we bother to spend our states’ precious wealth on primaries in the first place?? Do you know how much New Jersey is in debt? It’s in the billions. Ånd do you know how much money they spend on gifted education last year? $0. That’s right. Instead of funding a primary that cost millions and millions of dollars, maybe we should have put that money into making sure that my daughter has access to a decent math class. I mean, if it was all an exercise in futility in the first place and you SDs were just playing chess, why bother with a primary at all?

No Debbie, we are not going to come to terms with this. Time is not going to heal this wound. Oh, I take that back. If I wake up on Nov. 5 to find that Barack Obama, the inexperienced, untested, unvetted, lightweight candidate who we counted on you to stop, if I find that he is NOT my president, I will finally be over it. If the man who called me a racist because I thought he was unready does not take the oath in January, I will be satisfied. If all the people he threw under the bus, the old, poor, working class, Appalachians, women, latinos, asians, gay and Muslims find that the Democratic Party is now genuinely shocked and chastened for screwing us over as well as any Republican would have done, then we will have exercised our power.

That’ll learn ya’!

(The pic is of the lovely Diane with her designer stilts by Marni. I don’t know how she walks in those things either.)

Gary and Mawm are in NH at the Shmoonity rally. Can’t wait to hear about their day. For those of you who are going, make a lot of cheering whenever Hillary comes on stage or says anything. Be silent whenever Obama does. Booing is so unclassy in a PUMA.