Tag Archives: Health Care

Harry’s Math Problem OR, Why Harry Reid might lose a little sleep this time around

Seems like every day we read breathless articles about angst and remorse in the Republican party, and how civil war may be about to break out. Will they lose the House in the next election? Will they kill each other over immigration? Is Boehner out?  Is Karl Rove a traitor? Is the Tea Party over/leaving the party/imploding? Is this what is really going on?

Here’s something else to think about. Something that might bother Harry Reid even more than deciding  how to vote on the assault rifle ban.

Harry Reid

Harry has a math problem.  Don’t worry. Keep reading. It’s just arithmetic.

There are 45 Republicans in the Senate. They need 6 more to control the world’s greatest deliberative body.  In  2014, there are 20 Democrats and 13 Republicans up for reelection.  In other words, the Democrats have a lot to lose. 

The Republican in the tightest race last time was Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate, and he won 53% of the vote. I’m sure it is possible some of the Republicans will have a tough time. 

But let’s look at the Democrats. Seven of the states  with Senate seats up in ’14 were won by Romney in 2012, most by a large margin:

Baucus, Max (D-MT)

Begich, Mark (D-AK)

Hagan, Kay R. (D-NC)

Johnson, Tim (D-SD)

Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA)

Pryor, Mark L. (D-AR)

Rockefeller, John D., IV (D-WV-Retiring)

Granted some of these  individual senators may be very popular at home, but what if they are pushed to vote on major issues out of step with their states?

Here’s a word problem for Harry: What happens in Montana, where Obama got 41.8% when they are reminded  their Senator is a Democrat? Will they be happy if they find out he is the one  pushing the Obama tax agenda as Chairman of the Finance Committee, that he was instrumental in passing Obamacare?

If seven seats aren’t enough to get you thinking, consider retirements and toss-ups. The rest of the 2014 class of Democratic Senators:

Coons, Christopher A. (D-DE)

Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL)

Franken, Al (D-MN)

Harkin, Tom (D-IA- Retiring)

Kerry, John F. (D-MA)

Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ)

Levin, Carl (D-MI)

Merkley, Jeff (D-OR)

Reed, Jack (D-RI)

Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)

Udall, Mark (D-CO)

Udall, Tom (D-NM)

Warner, Mark R. (D-VA)

Levin and Durbin haven’t announced for reelection. Harkin and Rockefeller are retiring. John Kerry’s seat is open. Al Franken won 42% of the vote last time. And Michigan has a Republican governor.

Shaheen won a tight race.  Both Udalls and Warner won easily, but their states were in the toss-up column in 2012 until election day.

And when did Delaware become solidly blue? (Since they haven’t had a strong candidate run for a Senate seat since Bill Roth). New  Jersey is usually a safe seat for Democrats, but what if there are two seats open?

Of course, the same thing could have been said of the 2012 election. The Republicans had a huge advantage going in, but managed to lose what should have been some easy seats. But in an off-year election,  in the second term of a President…anything can happen.

When you drill down on the details–do the math–things will need to go very, very smoothly in the next 18 months for Harry Reid to sleep well on election night.

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Romney Campaign Strategy REVEALED by Jack Abbott

Looking at the race with a novelist’s eye has a certain advantage:  I can make things up. I’m going to share something I found in a stack of Jack Abbott’s papers. Jack is the main character and voice of Spin Doctor. Apparently, he just can’t stop spinning. I had no idea he was involved with the Romney campaign, although I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he has been trying to advise the Obama campaign, too. Will they listen to him?  Take a look at his plan:

Game Plan for Victory

Like a horse race, you have been pacing Obama, drawing close in the polls, staying on his heels, and even nosing ahead sometimes. Now you are rounding the far end of the track, preparing for the homestretch, but not quite there. You don’t have to break out, but you have to gather strength. Don’t waste this time and don’t lose momentum. Here’s what you need to do: 

Get Boehner to do something with the House

I don’t have to tell you how much the American people hate Congress. If the House can’t get their act together—get on the same page with you— they are going to drag you down. So get Boehner to hammer the Democrats on key issues over the next few weeks. See if you can draw blood from the Democrats in tight races on these key issues:
Week of July 9th  —  Health care votes

Week of July 16th  —  Defense spending

Week of July 23rd  — Regulatory reform
Week of July 30th —  Tax reform

And please, not just the usual boring talking heads and men screaming at each other on the House floor. We need visuals, some story, and some drama. A dog and pony show. Whatever. Get creative and make it compelling.

Foreign policy cred:  On July 24, head out to the VFW convention in Reno, NV. Friendly audience, perfect venue. Get some visuals with those guys. Advance should be able to put together a lunch or maybe drop by their “health fair” to show your compassionate side and your concern for protecting their benefits. Then, a serious, scathing speech. I don’t care what you say, but figure out a way to look mad and like a statesman at the same time.


Follow that up with a foreign trip. Yes, of course you can drop by the Olympics. Great way to remind everyone how you saved our Olympic ass a few years ago.  I know some of your folks are going to say, ‘Jack are you nuts? Leave the country in the heat of the campaign?’ Trust me, the people you will need in November are turning off the campaign in early August.  

Here’s what I have in mind. Think Michael Deaver. “Morning in America” visuals: Romney shaking hands with heads of state (Please, no bowing). You may be able to dominate the news, mainly because the press will watch you like a great blue heron looking for softshells, hoping you screw up and say something embarrassing. Instead, you will look like a statesman who can go toe to toe with world leaders. Plus we can use the footage for fall spots.

So shake a few hands in London, then pop over to Israel, hang out with Bibi, Shimon Peres, opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) and some Palestinian officials. Have a meeting, a conference on Mideast policy or whatever. Maybe even a fundraiser, to show the depth of your support.Then, if you can get a meeting with Merkel, the only grownup left on the continent, go to Germany. After that, on to— as Rumsfeld would say— New Europe. Specifically, Poland—so you can figuratively moon Putin out of the back window of the plane.

Come back home for more debate prep, to get ready for the convention and the VP announcement. Once you get past the convention, you won’t have much time to cram.  And it isn’t like Obama is going to change his positions or tactics before the debates. Work on your likability.  

I know you have dogs, but consider adopting kittens. Remember, we know you are a nice guy, but a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll work up something separately on likability.

Naming the VP—timing is everything!
Wait until after the end of the Olympics, August 12th. There will be nothing but dead air in the space between the Olympics and the convention. No news—unless you make some.  So, announce the VP on August 13th or 14th. This will give Rubio two weeks to prepare for the speech of 

his lifetime at the convention.Okay, I’m not going to beat you up over this again. You already know he has led in the NovelPolitics blog’s poll. Of course, I don’t know if you found something on him. And there are a lot of great choices. But, just think of the visuals of Rubio debating Biden. If you want to pick someone else, I can’t stop you. Regardless, you will dominate the news cycle for at least three or four days. Maybe the full two weeks. It’s all about planning—as long as Egypt doesn’t decide to dismantle the pyramids, or Iran doesn’t misbehave. Not to give them any ideas.  
That takes you up to the convention. After that, how about another bus trip? Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio?  I’ll get that part to you in a few weeks.
On reading this, I have to apologize. I don’t think Jack came up with this plan at all. It looks like he pulled it out of various news stories and blogs, and it is the actual plan of the Romney campaign.

Unless. . .

No, that’s just not possible. . .  is it?

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Now What? Who will win the SPIN? Vote in my Poll!

Okay, the ruling is out. I’m not going to regurgitate it here. What do you think about the spin? Will it be the best thing to happen to reinvigorate the Obama campaign or a  Pyrrhic  victory? Will it propel Romney with more angry money? What do you think?

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The Health Care Cliff: Obama at the Edge

When we look back on the 2012 campaign, will the turning point be the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare?

Not only the decision of course, but how the candidates react to it—how will they spin it? The Obama campaign has not exactly been deft in handling touchy matters so far. And the Romney campaign is still untested.
Supreme Court police are said to be ready. Justice Ginsberg predicts it will be contentious. The decision will spring soon–in the next few days.

Most of the impact of the health care law will take effect in the distant future. But efforts to assuage the electorate do not seem to have worked so far.

The most recent Rasmussen has 52% in favor of repeal.

77% of those with health insurance now consider it good or excellent.

“Seventy-six percent think they should have the right to choose between expensive insurance plans with low deductibles and low-cost plans with higher deductibles. A similar majority believes everyone should be allowed to choose between expensive plans that cover just about every imaginable medical procedure and lower-cost plans that cover a smaller number of procedures. All such choices would be banned under the current health care law.”

And there is this one:  “65% angry at government policies.” A bit vague, but ominous.

For the Obama campaign, whatever the outcome, they had better bring the A game, because the polls are opposed to the decision.

An outright win for the Obama administration will set up repeal of the law as the defining domestic issue in the campaign: Repeal vs the imprimatur of the Court’s blessing. How will the Obama campaign try to do what they have been unable to do for the past two plus years?  Surely they have a major media blitz, unlike anything we have seen from them so far. Andy Griffith with guns blazing. Betty White exuding reassurance and calm. Pitches from other popular media personalities. Will it work?

A partial or complete loss for the Obama administration will be more difficult: Opponents will crow that their hand is called. They overreached. The professor didn’t understand what would be allowed under the Constitution, etc.

Proponents of the health law will be quick to brand the justices the “Bush Court” and dismiss their views as partisan.

But the Obama campaign will  have  to convince already hostile or indifferent voters that the remnants will need to be protected from the savages in Congress.

The Romney campaign has a much easier game plan. Win, lose or partial loss, they can be for repeal. The law can continue to be the economic bogeyman. Fear of the law’s impact on our future health is easier to imagine than fear of the status quo—our current system.
Regardless of the decision and your health care views, watch the spin. The best spinners are going to win in November.

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