mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“And Four Years Later?”: How Much “Repeal” Must “Replace” Involve?

If you’re wondering why it’s taking so long for congressional Republicans to unite behind an Obamacare Replacement plan when there are several of them out there, look no further than the North Carolina U.S. Senate primary, where “Establishment” candidate Thom Tillis has incautiously said not all aspects of Obamacare are bad, yet appears to be afraid to endorse the “replacement” bill originally cosponsored by the senior senator from that state, Richard Burr. WaPo’s Greg Sargent has more:

Tillis has so far refrained from endorsing the Burr plan. And similarly, in interviews, he has claimed that of course he would replace Obamacare with something that would protect people with preexisting conditions and others who need protection, without specifying what that replacement would be. Republicans appear increasingly aware that they can’t be just for repeal, and have to promise replacements that would accomplishment some of what Obamacare accomplishes….

As the case of Tillis shows…Republicans must also simultaneously remain vague enough about those replacements so as to avoid embracing the tradeoffs they would require — since specificity there risks angering the right. Indeed, Tillis’ embrace of even some of Obamacare’s general goals has drawn fire from his primary opponent, Tea Partyer Greg Brannon.

The Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal is dangerous politically for a primary-challenged Republican because it simultaneously embraces aspects of Obamacare (an insurance purchasing exchange, albeit one selling “deregulated”—which means less generous—products; and subsidies for purchases on those exchanges by certain low-income folk) and aspects of more conventional conservative health care thinking that are wildly disruptive of the status quo at a time when Republicans are making big hay over Obamacare “disruptions” (notably the partial rollback of the federal tax write-off for employer-based plans). Indeed, messing with employer-based coverage has been a conservative policy pet rock for years, even though GOP politicians have been leery of it since John McCain proposed junking it in 2008, and left himself exposed to a “tax increase” charge.

There simply isn’t, and can’t be, an “Obamacare replacement” proposal that lets everyone who likes the status quo keep it, while dealing with pre-existing condition exclusions, expanding coverage, and holding down costs. This is why Republicans prefer to insist they want to repeal Obamacare and are stilling “working” on a replacement, four years after enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 1, 2014

 

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Target-Rich Environment”: Meet The Right-Wing Doctor Who Could Cost Republicans A Senate Seat

The upcoming U.S. Senate election in North Carolina just got a bit more interesting — and a lot more perilous for Republicans.

On Thursday, Republican candidate Greg Brannon received an effusive endorsement from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), one of the leaders of the Tea Party’s delegation on Capitol Hill.

“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress. He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests. And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works,” Senator Lee said. “Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him.”

Lee is just one of many prominent right-wingers to support Brannon’s campaign. Among others, the obstetrician from Cary, North Carolina is backed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), media personality Glenn Beck, and several Tea Party groups (including the influential, big-spending FreedomWorks).

It’s not hard to understand why the right is coalescing around Brannon, who has spent much of his campaign working to establish himself as the most conservative candidate in the race. But it could create a problem for Republicans who are counting on unseating Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) on the way to a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Hagan is widely regarded as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, and she trails each of her Republican rivals in early polling of the general election. But if Brannon captures the Republican nomination, it could give Democrats an unexpected gift. Brannon’s march to the right throughout the campaign has created a target-rich environment for Senator Hagan to attack. Among other incidents, Brannon has:

    • Been caught plagiarizing from Senator Paul’s campaign site (he later apologized and added proper attribution)
    • Called for abolishing SNAP, arguing that food aid “enslaves people
    • Warned that interstate toll roads are close to “fascism
    • Falsely claimed that abortion is linked to breast cancer
    • Been ordered by a jury to pay $250,000 in restitution after misleading investors in a tech startup
    • Addressed a rally co-sponsored by the League of the South, a well-known secessionist group
    • Served as president of an organization called “Founder’s Truth,” which routinely posted blog posts featuring conspiracy theories claiming that the Aurora massacre was a false flag operation, the TSA will soon force Americans to wear shock bracelets, and Intel hopes to implant microchips into your brain, among many others

It’s still far too early to declare that Brannon is the next Todd Akin, but it does seem likely that a matchup with Brannon would give Hagan the best chance to keep her seat.

Brannon would have to win the nomination first, however. North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis currently leads the Republican field, boasting a 5 percent lead over Brannon in the Huffington Post’s polling average of the race. Tillis is also leading the money battle, with over $1 million in cash on hand, according to the most recent data. Brannon reported just $142,329, putting him at a big disadvantage. Still, given the typically conservative character of midterm Republican primaries, endorsements like Lee’s could give Brannon the boost he needs to claim victory in the May 6 election.

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, March 7, 2014

March 9, 2014 Posted by | Republicans, Senate, Tea Party | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: