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ACA Second-Guessing, From the Right

[ 174 ] April 19, 2012 |

Jim Webb gives us a familiar story:

Webb voted for the law, but also for more than a dozen GOP-offered amendments to it.

“If you were going to do something of this magnitude, you have to do it with some clarity, with a clear set of objectives from the White House,” added Webb, who opted not to run for a second term this year. “…It should have been done with better direction from the White House.”

He faulted Obama for playing too passive a role in shaping the legislation. Taking a lesson from Bill Clinton’s failed 1994 health-care overhaul effort–which was faulted for its micromanagement of the details of the bill–Obama opted to spell out a broad set of goals, and let Congress work out the details.

As always, it’s impossible to know for certain if this kind of baseless counterfactual speculation is correct. But we can say that it is extremely implausible. The biggest problem — which Tumulty, to her credit, notes — is that what Webb is describing is the Clinton strategy, which Obama had very good reasons not to use since it was a complete disaster. The resulting process in the World’s Worst Deliberative Body was highly inefficient, but it’s not clear how that’s Obama’s fault. At any rate, I think it’s pretty clear that had Obama tried a more high-handed approach Webb would now be complaining about how Obama failed to treat the members of the Greatest Legislative Body There Absolutely Ever Was with due respect and this explains why the bill is unpopular.

But what would a better approach have been? Here, Webb gives away the show:

Webb also said that if Obama had opted for a smaller measure, he would have stood a chance of winning the support of a significant number of Republicans on Capitol Hill.

So ultimately this is Frank’s argument from the right — what Obama did wrong was actually tying to get some kind of serious health reform passed. He should have done something “small” enough to attract “significant” Republican support; presumably, the “give lots of money to insurance companies while cutting Medicaid and not requiring them to cover anybody” act.

But Webb does make clear what we’re dealing with. The Webb/Frank critique is at least coherent — essentially, it’s that Obama’s mistake was trying to pass any kind of significant health care legislation, and continuing the status quo for another generation would have been fine. But the critique from the left — that Obama could have used the Game-Changing Political Capital of the BULLY PULPIT to get the Senate to pass a robust public option — is about as clearly wrong as a counterfactual can be. You have no negotiating leverage over people who don’t care if anything passes, and Webb and the other conservative Democrats who held the balance of power in the Senate can’t even be bothered to pretend that they cared.

Comments (174)

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  1. You would think that Frank’s comments alone would put the Green Lantern theory to bed. When even a long time member of Congress that we would all certainly stipulate doesn’t need to defend his progressive bona fides goes on the record as saying he wasn’t wild about about prioritizing a large scale healthcare reform bill, you really ought to get an idea of how hard it is to herd those cats, especially with only abstract powers at your disposal.

  2. Craigo says:

    Is there an argument to be made that the Clintonian strategy would have been preferable in 2009-2010, given that in 1993-1994 the Village had yet to decide that the Constitution mandates 60 votes for passage in the Senate?

    • njorl says:

      I’d say that the increased use of the filibuster made the Clinton strategy even less desirable. Every single Democratic Senator was essential. Giving any of them an excuse to bail would have been fatal.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Right. What the entrenchment of the filibuster means is that Obama wasn’t really in a more favorable position than Clinton was, and it also means that Frank is crazy to think that health care reform could have passed even had Democrats held the House in 2010 (which of course they wouldn’t have.)

  3. R Johnston says:

    You have no negotiating leverage over people who don’t care if anything passes

    Great post, except for the entire history of politics and the legislative process proving this wrong. Politics is all about extracting leverage by tying votes that legislators don’t care about to other votes they do care about. If you want my vote on Bill B or Amendment B that matters to vote, give me your vote on Bill A or Amendment A that matters to me.

    • R Johnston says:

      If you want my vote on Bill B or Amendment B that matters to you.

      Ugh.

    • Except for the rather obvious fact that there really is no such vote or bill that Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman, actually cared enough about to leverage them on an item as big as healthcare reform. So, no, there’s nothing wrong about this at all except in a very abstract circumstance that we aren’t/weren’t actually dealing with.

      • catclub says:

        Exactly. And the reason why there is no such vote is that the rest of the democratic caucus is relatively close to Lieberman on many things. If the rest of the democratic caucus could convincingly say that they will vote against aid for Israel — and defeat said aid, unless Lieberman goes along with their public option plan, they do not have leverage. Similarly for the Defense appropriations bill. No leverage because they will vote similarly ( if not as enthusiastically) to Lieberman on the those.

      • mark f says:

        “Listen, Evan, if you don’t vote for ACA then we’re going to make sure Dodd-Frank never even comes up for a vote.

        Why are you smiling?”

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Except for the rather obvious fact that there really is no such vote or bill that Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman, actually cared enough about to leverage them on an item as big as healthcare reform.

        Obviously, yes.

      • PSP says:

        Unused leverage points that Nixon wouldn’t have hesitated to use:

        Lieberman: Electric Boat, Sikorski, Pratt & Witney jet engines. Connecticut is not just insurance companies.

        Snow and Collins: Bath Iron Works and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

        If DOD announced they were considering ending contracts with BIW or Ingalls, or shifting contracts between them, Snow would have voted for ANYTHING to protect BIW (probably the biggest and best paying employer in Maine).

        • Or, in the world as it exists outside of Aaron Sorkin scripts, Republicans and a not unsubstantial number of Democrats would have screamed bloody murder about the White House daring to use the Defense budget to try to influence votes on domestic policy and the White House would endure a relentlessly negative news cycle until they capitulated.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Please to be citing evidence if Nixon (who was in fact extremely deferential on most domestic policy) actually doing this.

    • mpowell says:

      Except the modern Republican party is a historically unique party. They behave more like parties in the UK than traditional US parties. And there top priority in the 2008-2010 run was to deny Obama any legislative accomplishments. There’s not much you can do in that situation.

      • This. In fact, the Republican caucus in the House was chiefly concerned that Obama was trying to accomplish so much that something might get past them.

      • Cheap Wino says:

        Right. This is the elephant in the room of the current political climate. The GOP is anti-Obama (and democrat) on everything. Everything. The particulars do not matter. They are solely an opposition party, nothing else.

        Which is why you get useless, empty bills like the Ryan budget rather than a serious efforts to legislate and govern.

        • steelpenny says:

          Given that fact, why the hell does Obama negotiate with them as though they’re acting in good faith? It kills me. Must be 11 dimensional chess or something.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            No, I think the simpler point is that if he had treated them otherwise at various points 1) they would have piled the crazy even higher (or plausibly would have) and 2) the squishy Dem/villiager center right would have piled on.

            I don’t think avoiding that pile on is the only goal, but it’s unclear how best to deal with either of these things other than pretending that they aren’t nuts.

            • steelpenny says:

              Except that 1 and 2 are exactly what happened. And each time he tries to appease them, he’s got to go a little farther and everything moves to the right.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                1 and 2 are relative to what we saw.

                That is the crazy would have been higher and more importantly 2 might have cost votes.

                It’s one thing to (incorrectly) believe that you can stop the crazy by being respectful. It’s another thing to think you can limit the crazy at the margin by giving. And it’s yet another thing to think that some of the enablers of the crazy might be even less helpful if you don’t go the extra mile.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            Must be 11 dimensional chess or something.

            Well, it’s fooled you.

    • Murc says:

      You’re absolutely correct about this, Johnston, but you neglect one minor point; you have to have the credible ability to kill things that people care about in order to get the log-rolling started.

      It doesn’t do much good to tell someone you won’t vote for their special thing if their special thing is something that is supported by massive bipartisan majorities. If you threaten to zero out pork to Nebraska to punish Ben Nelson, he’s going to laugh at you, because he knows that he has at LEAST sixty other Senators who will regard that threat as a direct menace to their own power.

  4. rea says:

    if Obama had opted for a smaller measure, he would have stood a chance of winning the support of a significant number of Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    I wish someone had sked Webb to name one measure supported by Obama that the Republicans on Capitol Hill have supported (at least, after Obama supported it). Hell, they’ve come out against nutrition, just because the first lady says we need to eat more healthily.

    • Gang of Six, meet Jim Webb. I believe you guys work in the same office.

    • BigHank53 says:

      Honestly, the only action that Obama could take that the Republicans would support would be for him to resign.

      • JohnR says:

        I’m not so sure about that; the Republican outrage generated by Obama is significantly higher than that generated by just some generic Democrat (eg What’s-his-name, the VP). I’d bet that the GOP would formally require that Obama not be allowed to resign, but must be impeached and removed in shackles instead. And waterboarded and then shot. And then suspended from the top of the Washington Monument as a warning to the rest.

      • Davis X. Machina says:

        It would have bi-partisan support, at least in the blogosphere.

    • H-Bob says:

      The Republican proposal contained in the ACA (the individual mandate to buy health insurance) is the very basis on which the Republicans have challenged the constitutionality of the ACA.

      The dumb-ass Blue Dog Senators fantasize that their personal friendships with the Republican Senators will override the Republicans’ party discipline.

  5. Tom Hilton says:

    Webb also said that if Obama had opted for a smaller measure, he would have stood a chance of winning the support of a significant number of Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    And of course the optics of getting Republican votes is far more important than anything as trivial as the substance of the healthcare bill.

    (Now, if it hadn’t passed, Webb’s comment might make sense. But it did pass, so what he’s talking about here is trading substance for empty symbolism.)

    • chris says:

      And of course the optics of getting Republican votes is far more important than anything as trivial as the substance of the healthcare bill.

      Well, the Republicans seem to think so, that’s why they oppose anything Obama supports regardless of whether it’s their own ideas. IDK why Webb agrees with them though.

      He’s still better than George Allen, though, let alone the kind of Inhofe clones that are all that get through Republican primaries nowadays.

  6. Blue Neponset says:

    Just retire already!

    I am as big of a BULLY PULPITER as they come, but the idea that there were more than two Republicans votes for health care reform in the Senate is laughable.

    Obama could have used the BULLY PULPIT to give Democrats more cover during the death panels of August but the idea that he could have done anything to convince R’s to vote for health care reform is just plain stupid. What the hell happens to otherwise intelligent people when they get elected to Congress?

    • rea says:

      What the hell happens to otherwise intelligent people when they get elected to Congress?

      Webb? Well, he had been in Reagan’s cabinet, so I’m not sure why what he did in Congress comae as a surprise. What was surprising was how reasonable he was.

      • Murc says:

        I remember when Kos and ActBlue and everyone else were sporting gigantic boners for Webb back when he was originally running for Senate, and I was regarded as something of an idiot for pointing out that however impressive Webb’s resume, and however reasonable he sounded on foreign policy, the man was as Republican as they come and would knife us in the back eventually.

        But even I was shocked that he decided to become a one-termer.

    • joe from Lowell says:

      Since you agree that the BULLY PULPIT doesn’t actually work to win the votes of your political opponents in the legislature, then you are not nearly as big a BULLY PULPITER as they come.

  7. superking says:

    I honestly don’t know anyone who makes the bully pulpit argument that Scott loves to rail against. I don’t think anyone believes that making simple speeches would change anything. However, there was very little political organizing from the president, and the White House took a very light touch in setting the terms of the debate. The second may have been justified given the Clinton failure, but the first certainly wasn’t.

    In any case, the Clinton failure wasn’t about setting the terms of the debate, but rather trying to force a nearly complete bill on a Congress that didn’t like being pushed around. There is middle ground between Clinton’s approach and Obama’s approach. Obama appears to have decided that his people would not be involved in the drafting of the bill in any significant way. There’s hands-on and there’s hands-off, but there is also managing the process. Obama took a largely hands-off approach and did little to assist his congressional allies.

    • mark f says:

      Consecutive threads went on for hundreds of comments with people making bully pulpit arguments of all types. I don’t think anyone quite said that Obama should’ve made people watch him take shits the way LBJ did, but they went right up to it.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        Disagree.

        Those threads tended to consist of

        1) Scott and others arguing against Green Lanternism (i.e. the belief that Will + Speeches results in whatever policy a President advocates).

        2) Those of us who believe that a marginally better outcome could have resulted had the White House taken a different political approach denying that we believed in Bully Pulpitism / Green Lanternism.

        3) The first group insisting that the second group did, in fact, believe in Bully Pulpitism and Green Lanternism.

        In short, those threads consisted of hundreds of comments worth of people talking past each other, with very, very few if any people laying claim to the Green Lantern view.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          I do not use the phrase “Green Lantern” in this post. I’m addressing the specific argument that Obama could have gotten a more progressive outcome on the ACA through use of the Bully Pulpit. As your ongoing agreement (in the face of utterly overwhelming evidence to the contrary) indicates, it’s not a strawman.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            Perhaps we need to clarify our terms here.

            My understanding of the Bully Pulpit argument is that Presidents are able to move public opinion through speeches.

            I think that claim is actually not entirely relevant to the ongoing debate about whether or not the President could have gotten a better deal out of Congress had he started negotiating from a more progressive position.

            I’m actually agnostic about whether or not the President could have. But I think it’s a more interesting question than you seem to. And I don’t think that the claim that the President could have gotten a better deal with a different negotiating strategy is necessarily dependent on any particular beliefs about the President’s ability to move public opinion.

            • mark f says:

              I think that claim is actually not entirely relevant to the ongoing debate about whether or not the President could have gotten a better deal out of Congress had he started negotiating from a more progressive position.

              But this rests on two things:

              1. A sense that a bill on the issue must be passed.
              2. The president’s original position being somewhat plausible.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              But I think it’s a more interesting question than you seem to.

              This is exactly the question I’m addressing in this post. I don’t see how Obama could have persuaded Webb to vote for a robust public option. I use the bully pulpit because it’s the most obvious alternative negotiating strategy, but this is exactly my point in saying that Webb held the leverage in this situation.

        • mark f says:

          Some people made more plausible arguments than others, but there was a strong contingent dedicated to the idea that the president could’ve used powers inherent in his position, devoid of context, to somehow force a better bill. Someone who subscribes that way of thinking would have to conclude that whatever passed would be ipso facto exactly what Obama wanted, and that is indeed what many of them argued.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        People forget the bully pulpit arguments they made during 2009-2011, the way they forget what their hair looked like when they 15, and for similar reasons.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Also, I would have thought this wasn’t too subtle, but when I invoke “the Game-Changing Political Capital of the BULLY PULPIT” I’m subsuming all “public option/single payer is there if you want it” thinking into a single category, not just narrowly referring to the ability of the president to move public opinion.

    • njorl says:

      In any case, the Clinton failure wasn’t about setting the terms of the debate, but rather trying to force a nearly complete bill on a Congress that didn’t like being pushed around.

      They were upset that Clinton usurped the privelidge reserved for lobbyists.

    • DiTurno says:

      Agreed about the bully pulpit. I’d love a public option, but I recognize (and recognized at the time) it had zero chance of passing.

      The critique from the left is that Obama gave away too much, too soon, and that (like Webb) he thought he could get Republican support. Those are inexcusable.

      • Beyond Snowe, I think it’s highly dubious to say Obama or anyone other than Max Baucus and his comrades thought you could get Republican support for a bill. Unless you count Arlen Specter, I guess.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        I don’t think Obama thought he could get Republican support. I think people like Baucus and Webb thought he could get Republican support, and he had to go through the motions of trying to get it in order to bring those Democrats on board.

        The time the bill spent in Max Baucus’ committee, while he futilely tried to win bipartisan support, didn’t gain it any Republican votes, but it gained Max Baucus’ vote.

    • catclub says:

      Weren’t there significant negotiations between Obama and the insurance companies to get them on board? Not direct writing of the Legislative bills, but still important.

      And yes I know that the insurance companies still funded ads and lobbying against the bill.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      The Clinton failure wasn’t just about the fact that he largely went over the head of Congress. It was also the fact that his primary focus was communicating with the public and believing he could use that as leverage. But of course he didn’t make health care reform more popular, because there’s overwhelming evidence that the president can’t make policies more popular by using the bully pulpit.

      • Murc says:

        But of course he didn’t make health care reform more popular, because there’s overwhelming evidence that the president can’t make policies more popular by using the bully pulpit.

        … wait, there is?

        It seems to me that the last thirty years of watching a parade of Republican Presidents, Speakers, Senators, Governors, etc. stand up at the metaphorical pulpit and spew their bile without pause, hesitation, or shame has in fact resulted in policies that would have been considered anathema in the year I was born becoming mainstream political opinions with very strong support both from policymakers and from the populace at large.

        • Hogan says:

          the president can’t make policies more popular

          a parade of Republican Presidents, Speakers, Senators, Governors, etc.

          Comparing apples to orchards.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Which of these policies, specifically, are more popular? After 8 years of Reagan, for example, defense spending tax cuts and spending cuts were less popular than they were before.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          has in fact resulted in

          I don’t believe that you can establish causation between the bloviating and the political culture.

          Was it politicians’ bloviating shifted mainstream opinion about gay relationships? Or is it different because we’re the good guyz?

        • Bill Murray says:

          it doesn’t work in the short term, but there is plenty of evidence that people generally respond better to things that are constantly repeated, so it does work in the long term. Unfortunately the Democrats can barely maintain a constant message across a month let alone several years.

  8. BradP says:

    Is it possible to say anything about this topic that hasn’t already been said repeatedly on this blog?

    • njorl says:

      There is no evidence that the Bully Pulpit has any effect whatsoever on the faith of cows, bulls, steer, oxen or even any ruminant at all.

    • There is no evidence that the use of the Bully Pulpit can in any way influence the content of this blog. Unless the SCOTUS breaks precedent and allows a law prohibiting the typing of the words bully pulpit, green lantern etc. Which, given this SCOTUS, I guess is not totally out of the question.

  9. George bush's feminism says:

    presumably, the “give lots of money to insurance companies while cutting Medicaid and not requiring them to cover anybody” act

    Interestingly, we may yet end up with exactly this after June. I await eagerly your defense of the ACA if such a thing happens.

    • That a right-wing Supreme Court might impose their right-wing policy preferences changes what Democrats actually did…how, exactly?

      • George bush's feminism says:

        it doesn’t? what’s your point?

        • That if you were okay with the ACA on the merits when it passed, what SCOTUS does with it after the fact changes nothing about it on the merits.

          • George bush's feminism says:

            so, an ACA that is entirely a mandate with no will-cover isn’t defensible?

              • Furious Jorge says:

                It seems like what he or she is saying is that if you liked the ACA when it was passed, you cannot ever change your mind about it, no matter what a completely separate and independent third party does to the bill before it is fully implemented.

                But I could be wrong.

                • George bush's feminism says:

                  I’m asserting that the writers of this blog will defend ACA to the hilt, no matter what it turns into.

                • Lesson: Don’t give trolls the benefit of the doubt.

                • Murc says:

                  I’m asserting that the writers of this blog will defend ACA to the hilt, no matter what it turns into.

                  … huh?

                  The defense the writers of this blog give the ACA is incredibly tepid, at best. When the thrust of your argument is “this is the best we could get, and at least it was better than the status quo” you are automatically admitting that the policy in question is pretty weak tea.

                  When you make that argument, you are either a really shitty debater, or you’re pre-emptively conceding that the policy you’re defending was pretty half-a-loaf.

            • joe from Lowell says:

              Interestingly, we may yet end up with exactly this after June. I await eagerly your defense of the ACA if such a thing happens.

              so, an ACA that is entirely a mandate with no will-cover isn’t defensible?

              I think you’re a little confused. The mandate is the portion of the bill that 1) benefits insurance companies and 2) is before the Supreme Court.

      • mark f says:

        Chess, Brien. Of the 11-dimensional type. This is exactly what Obama wanted.

      • David Hunt says:

        Actually, if SCOTUS significantly changes the ACA by striking down key parts of it, while leaving others in place, it could make sense to no longer support the bill as it would exist at that time. If you interpret GBF’s comment in that fashion, it can make sense. It still wouldn’t change what Democrats actually did, but it would mean that it was time to re-evaluate how much support to give to what was left after SCOTUS put down the hacksaw.

  10. Walt says:

    Dude, you really like talking about this bully pulpit thing.

  11. ploeg says:

    The main problem with both Clinton’s approach and Obama’s approach is that the vested interests were allowed to delay the process enough to throw the entire enterprise in jeopardy. The Clintons tried to negotiate with the vested interests by themselves, behind the scenes, with only minimal congressional involvement. When the Clintons finally put forth their proposal, the congressional Democrats were not 100% on board, which allowed the Republicans to mobilize opposition and ultimately defeat HCR.

    Certainly Obama and Congress had an economic crisis that they had to deal with first, and they could not get to HCR right away (as would have been ideal). And certainly Obama got better results in the end than the Clintons did. All this being said, Obama would also have failed if they had allowed Snowe and Grassley to string things out any longer.

    • mark f says:

      But what’s with this “allow” stuff? The president doesn’t set the Senate’s schedule. And if Harry Reid or Obama wanted to set a hard deadline, what would’ve been the ultimatum? “Pass it now or we’ll never vote on it again”? “Pass it or I’ll veto highway spending”? The latter is impossible and plenty of crucial votes would’ve been happy with the former. Looking at this as a White House failure is just odd.

      • Davis X. Machina says:

        Looking at this as a White House failure is just odd.

        No odder than a plywood horse full of Greeks, and that story’s been tossed around for as least as long as the War of the Bully Pulpit.

        Both possesses a certain narrative truth, tell a satisfying story…

      • ploeg says:

        Congress shares some responsibility for the delay, of course, but much of the impetus for trying to pass a “bipartisan” version of HCR came from the White House:

        On Wednesday, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) blamed the White House for the increasingly strident tone of the debate, saying: “They rejected our efforts to work together.” And Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a prominent GOP figure who is considering a 2012 presidential run, said bluntly: “The Republicans should kill the bill. It’s a bad idea.”

        Top Democrats are growing impatient in light of such comments and say they are increasingly convinced that there is little chance that any health-care bill will win broad Republican support. They have not, however, stepped up preparations to draft a Democratic bill or to use a procedural maneuver known as reconciliation that would permit them to push a measure through the Senate with 51 votes rather than the usual 60.

        “The White House and the Senate Democratic leadership still prefer a bipartisan bill,” said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.). “However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary.”

        Administration officials on Wednesday sought to tamp down the partisan fires, with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assuring reporters that the “president believes strongly in working with Republicans and Democrats.”

        Obama and Congress would have had a better chance of success if they had dumped the Republicans earlier and tried to pass something on their own with their 60 votes in the Senate and their House majority. Such a proposal would not have been to everybody’s liking, but it is distinctly possible that the proposal might have been better than what we ultimately got. More importantly, early passage markedly reduces the possibility of failure. You must remember that the ACA was a near thing after the Massachusetts Senate election, and if the Democrats decided to go their own way earlier, they would not have had to worry about that.

        • Cheap Wino says:

          I really think Obama thought he could forge some consensus on issues — that there was real possibility of bipartisanship. He is, after all, not any kind of leftist liberal but more a centrist, even right-leaning, guy.

          The biggest legitimate criticism that can be levied on Obama (at least in my mind) is that he was so slow to realize just exactly how committed to opposition the GOP has become.

        • mark f says:

          Obama stated publicly several times that he wanted to sign a bill before the 2009 summer recess. This article is from after that, and is a response to Boehner et al insisting (falsely) that the White House had locked Republicans out of negotiations.

          60 votes is a myth. It didn’t exist even on paper until May 2009, when Specter switched. But one of those 60, Franken, wasn’t sworn in until July, and by that time Kennedy was barely able to show up. Lieberman was also technically not a Democrat by that time and not a predictable or reliable member of the caucus. Besides which, the bill that eventually passed was on a party-line vote; it was several Democrats who threatened to scuttle that.

          • ploeg says:

            Obama stated publicly several times that he wanted to sign a bill before the 2009 summer recess.

            And I want a ham sandwich and a coke, and I don’t want to pay for it. It does seem like it took them a while to figure out that the desire for a bipartisan bill and the desire for early passage were incompatible, doesn’t it?

            60 votes is a myth.

            I count four months from the time of this article and the Senate vote. The 60 votes might not have been reliable, but they were able to get 60 votes, and the possibility for getting 60 votes was at least “on paper” for over four months before the actual vote.

            • mark f says:

              Heh. Your article was published on August 20, at which time Democrats had had 60 seated senators for about six weeks, two of which fell during the August recess. Ted Kennedy had been unable to vote during that time, and he died on August 25. Massachusetts state law had to be changed in order to have a successor in place for the debate; that took another month to complete. After that the bill was held up by . . . wait for it . . . do you know what I’m going to say? . . . Democrat Ben Nelson’s filibuster.

              • ploeg says:

                Right, which still makes three months from the time that Kirk comes on board until the time that they actually voted. And Nelson’s opposition, such as it was, didn’t really come up until December, and it didn’t take long for the Senate leadership to buy him off.

          • mpowell says:

            The delay with Franken was more of a problem than people realized at the time. Republican legal efforts to prevent him from being seated where really effective and smart politically. What I have never understood is: could the Senate have voted to recognize his membership earlier? And could that have been fillibustered?

        • njorl says:

          Franken wasn’t sworn in until July. Chasing a handful of Republicans before that was the only way to proceed. I do think they should have been ready to pass a bill the day after Franken was sworn in, though. But it wasn’t Obama that decided to sit on it for three weeks before the summer recess.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          Obama and Congress would have had a better chance of success if they had dumped the Republicans earlier and tried to pass something on their own with their 60 votes in the Senate and their House majority.

          But they wouldn’t have gotten to 60 unless Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, and, apparently, Jim Webb saw they making a serious effort to get bipartisan support.

          • ploeg says:

            Baucus, Nelson, and Webb were simply looking to get stroked or greased. Certainly Baucus and Nelson should have known better than most that the opposition back home would be screaming partisanship regardless of how much effort Obama et al put into courting Republican support.

            • “Baucus, Nelson, and Webb were simply looking to get stroked…”

              Right, Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee with jurisdiction over bills pertaining to Medicare, wanted the bill to come through him and wanted to be allowed to feel big and powerful and important.

              Congratulations, you’ve disproved your own argument.

            • joe from Lowell says:

              I think you vastly underestimate how committed centrist wankers are to centrist wanking.

    • lawguy says:

      Nuts. Obama and or the democratic leadership were very careful about moving things one thing at a time. There is nothing preventing several major bills being introduced and pushed at the same time.

      Whether or not that would be better than what Obama and the democrats did is another question. But I am tired of people saying that this is the only thing that could have been done and the only way it could have been done.

  12. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Totally agree about Webb and Frank, Scott.

    But if we’re going to return to the Bully Pulpit argument, I have a question for you:

    Why is it totally unreasonable Green Lanternism to criticize Obama’s attempts to appeal to marginal Senate Republicans, esp. Olympia Snowe, during the healthcare reform battle, but utterly fair to criticize Frank’s and Webb’s (admittedly ex post facto) desire to do so.

    If you insist on characterizing all critics of Obama’s strategy from the left as Green Lantern Theorists, it’s very tempting to classify your view as totally Panglossian: you seem to think that what occurred was (almost by definition) the Best of All Possible Outcomes, so any criticism of it is necessarily unreasonable.

    • Hogan says:

      Why is it totally unreasonable Green Lanternism to criticize Obama’s attempts to appeal to marginal Senate Republicans, esp. Olympia Snowe, during the healthcare reform battle

      I don’t think the Green Lanternism lies in criticizing those attempts; it’s in the specific criticism that the attempts failed because Obama didn’t try hard enough, and a more focused exercise of presidential will would of course have succeeded.

    • jeer9 says:

      If you insist on characterizing all critics of Obama’s strategy from the left as Green Lantern Theorists, it’s very tempting to classify your view as totally Panglossian: you seem to think that what occurred was (almost by definition) the Best of All Possible Outcomes, so any criticism of it is necessarily unreasonable.

      This description is far too nuanced for Lemieux.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      You can absolutely criticize Obama’s attempts to appeal to Republicans, which show that he misunderstood how partisan politics has changed. Who says otherwise? Now, if the argument is that not trying to get Snowe on board would have magically gotten Evan Bayh to support a public option, that’s irrational Green Lanternism.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        To the extent that one thinks that Presidential insistance on a public option would get Evan Bayh to support a public option, that is Green Lanternism.

        To my mind the more interesting (if not necessarily correct) argument is based on the notion that “centrists” like Bayh and Lieberman are fairly flexible in their views and determine them, in part, simply by saying “no” to what is perceived to be the “left” view. If we’re going to name views of politics after fictional characters, we could call this Br’er Rabbitism: the view that some marginal political actors form their own views simply by saying “no” to (their perception of) others’ desires.

        An example is the argument that, had Obama insisted on single payer, he could have ended up with the public option.

        I’m not endorsing this view. But I am denying that it’s Green Lanternism.

        • mpowell says:

          I agree. It’s substantively different from Green Lanternism and interesting in it’s own right. I wonder how you could really test this theory though. It would be pretty tough, I think.

          • In any one particular case it’s impossible to test as a counter factual, but I don’t think we really need to test the theory that a President will always get some version of what he asks for and that Congress will never simply reject his proposal. Where you go on that axis at any given point is a balancing act, I suppose.

            • mpowell says:

              Bush didn’t get anywhere on SS reform, though. Maybe his initial offer was too extreme. But really I think the Republicans were just afraid to go there at the time.

              • Six of one, half dozen of the other.

              • Bill Murray says:

                but were the congressional numbers of 2002-2004 to occur again under say a Romney presidency, they would push this again and stand a good chance of getting the votes to gut SS.

                The R’s propose outrageous stuff most gets voted down, that that doesn’t messes up the country, the D’s come in react to the R outrageousness, try fix some of the damage while the R’s propose more outrageous stupid stuff, some of which gets passed the next tie the R’s get sufficient power and the rightward death spiral continues.

                • Why would that be any more likely? The Republicans had a rather thin Senate majority from 2003-05, and even from 05-07 didn’t get meaningfully close to 60 votes. Considering that you can’t use reconcilliation to touch Social Security, the biggest factor that you’d need to have change in this calculation is for the Democrats outright opposition to the proposal to collapse. I don’t see that as overly likely, especially with Bayh, Nelson, and Lieberman out of the caucus.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  and stand a good chance of getting the votes to gut SS

                  Wow. This is nuts.

        • Murc says:

          An example is the argument that, had Obama insisted on single payer, he could have ended up with the public option.

          This is a more straightforward criticism of the negotiating ability and tactics of the WH, and something I have a lot of sympathy for. I agree, IB, this isn’t Green Lanternism.

          I would also like to note, in passing, that Green Lanternism isn’t confined to the left. The right has been saying for decades that the only thing we need to win the nasty foreign adventures they constantly advocate is to send in the troops and then just keep them there, demonstrating “willpower” and “resolve.”

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          I’m not endorsing this view. But I am denying that it’s Green Lanternism.

          In the context of, say, the stimulus debate — where the deal came down to dollar figures — it’s not Green Laternism. It’s very plausible that Obama’s initial stimulus bid was too small. With respect to health care, it’s so delusional it’s indistinguishable from Green Laternism. Everyone would have known that single payer wasn’t the “real” left part of the debate even as a negotiating position, and it also would have tied any presidential position to socialized medicine, which is fine if you want to rally the base but obviously a disaster if the balance of power is held by conservative Democrats.

          • bobbyp says:

            Similarly, when someone asserts “all options are on the table” we are free to laugh derisively at an exhibition of terrible bargaining strategy that for some reason is used by just about everybody, right?

            • Hogan says:

              “All options are on the table” doesn’t usually refer to the content of the negotiations; it refers to what I’ll do if negotiations fail.

              • bobbyp says:

                Perhaps. One can only note that “abject surrender” is not typically considered as an acceptable outcome of a failed negotiation, but then the meaning of the term “all” is more elastic than I thought.

                • Hogan says:

                  It’s a more common outcome than, say, actually eating your hat. And you’re still assuming negotiation between two parties neither of whose best outcome is “doing nothing.”

          • Tate says:

            single payer is not socialized medicine

            the VA is socialized medicine and is rather well liked by veterans including Bob Dole and Jim Webb and well respected in terms of innovation, health care outcomes and costs

            A Democratic administration afraid of being linked to Medicare is incredibly timid.

            • I liked The West Wing too.

            • joe from Lowell says:

              If we pretend that the adoption of universal single-payer health care has the same support as the continuation of Medicare, then we can pretend that abjuring an effort to pass a single-payer bill means the Democrats are afraid of being linked to Medicare.

              Nevermind that the Democrats travel around the country finding cameras to which they can brag about their support for Medicare.

              • I think even imagining that massive expansion of Medicare would be broadly popular after a few rounds through the political news cycle is rather naive. Universal Medicare would involve a massive change to the vast majority’s insurance plans, including forcing people off of their current employer provided plans. That’s a radical change to the status quo, and humans just aren’t wired to accept that easily unless they feel as though it’s absolutely necessary. Add in the fact that the doctor and hospital lobby would throw every bit of political muscle they could muster behind killing the proposal, and you have to be extremely short-sighted/ignorant of American interest group politics to just stop the conversation at “Medicare is popular.”

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Yeah, but there was that Aaron Sorkin where the president made a federal ban on handguns popular because he was tougher than Michael Dukakis!

                • Aaron Sorkin says:

                  I also understand the difference between single payer and socialized medicine.

  13. Jim says:

    For everyone who thinks Scott is railing against a strawman by invoking bully pulpit defenders, it bears mentioning that countless posters on liberal activist blogs (still) constantly refer to “Obama’s failure to propose single payer.” Certainly any post on health care at FireDogLake talks about it. Those people, among others, are who Scott is talking about: liberals who actually think single payer could have become law if Obama tried.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      The people who criticize Obama’s failure to propose single payer are only Green Lantern Theorists is they believe that, in doing so, Obama might have achieved single payer.

      Of course, they may still be wrong in arguing that Obama should have proposed single payer if they don’t believe this. But since nearly nobody actually does believe that Obama could have achieved single payer (even those who argue he should have proposed it) arguing against the Green Lantern view is, in fact, arguing against a straw man.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        To be more specific: the argument one regularly encounters on liberal activist blogs is that, had Obama started with single payer as an initial negotiating position, he would have ended up with a better bargain (often the public option is specifically mentioned).

        One doesn’t need to agree with this view to see that it is not Green Lanternism.

        • Lee says:

          Okay, its not green lanterism but it is a hopeless fantasy. If Obama started with single-payer the most likely outcome is a complete crash and burn with no healthcare reform. You have to start with something that is at least marginally passable by Congress. Single-payer might be passable in the House, but its no where close to passable in the Senate. At best, there would have been ten or so votes for it.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            In fact, I’m prone to agree with this.

            Obama’s problem in the Senate was not simply Evan Bayh and the folks on the right of the Democratic Caucus, but also the folks in the center of the Democratic Caucus, who were not willing to push the negotiation envelope via threats of reconciliation packages.

            • mpowell says:

              Yeah, even Russ Feingold preferred to uphold the perogatives of individual Senators rather than advance a liberal agenda. It’s just proof that becoming a Senator turns you into an asshole.

            • D A says:

              What if Medicare expansion is the basis of the healthcare reform plan?
              Seemed fairly popular with the right side of the Senate Ds before Lieberman nixed it.

          • lawguy says:

            Lee the point you are making is that the piece of shit we got is slightly better then what existed before. The argument people are making is that if Obama had started with something more radical perhaps we would have a little less shit right now.

            • Hogan says:

              And other people are arguing that there’s very little reason to think that’s true, and roughly as much reason to think that it would have resulted in no bill at all rather than a better one.

            • Lee says:

              No, the point I’m trying to make is that the American political system is cumbersome and filled with veto points. To get anything done, you need to start with something that is at least marginally passable by Congress, House and Senate. You can’t start with a bill that is completely unaceptable to either or both and get something passed.

              The Senate would have killed a single-payer bill and that would have been that for HCR.

            • chris says:

              The argument people are making is that if Obama had started with something more radical perhaps we would have a little less shit right now.

              That’s not an argument, it’s an assertion. Where’s the theory and the evidence in support of it?

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          It’s pretty much Green Lanternism. To state the obvious, empty threats don’t provide leverage.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            Again, I basically agree with the conclusion that it would have been hard to get leverage here (though, again, I think you’re stretching the meaning of “Green Lanternism” a whole lot).

            But why wouldn’t there be leverage here?

            There wouldn’t be leverage because the fifty left-most Democratic Senators seemed unwilling to provide it.

            Now here’s the slightly more interesting question: could the Obama administration have twisted the arms, not of Bayh, Pryor, Lincoln, Nelson, etc, but of the leftmost fifty Democratic Senators? If he could, he and they might have had the leverage to move the rightmost ten toward a better compromise. To put this another way: those threats would not have been empty with the support of the leftmost fifty Democratic Senators.

            I don’t think Presidents have any magical Green Lantern powers. And, personally, I hold both Senate Democrats and the White House responsible for the mediocrity of the outcome (which is still an improvement on the status quo and thus substantially better than nothing).

            But I do think the question of whether different political strategies by the White House and the Senate leadership could have led to a better outcome is an open one.

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              Is it very open? Were they far more likely to be better and knowably so at the time?

              The two big moves were 1) inverse of Clinton strategy and 2) be facially and substantively conciliatory toward Republicans. Everything else was pretty much tactics and the tactics were, frankly, bewildering, with a lot riding on Franken winning the recount and Kennedy dying. Hard to see how you plan for those.

              Both moves seem to help with success. Given the sympathies of the squishy Democratic right wing toward the feefees of Republicans, I can’t see 2 as anything but the best alternative (however much I loathed it or thought otherwise at the time). I’m not sure what other alternatives there were to 1.

              So….flesh it out?

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              So let’s say Obama twists enough arms to get 20 votes for single payer. So what? Everyone know it’s not going to pass. Where’s the leverage? And this isn’t even discussing the downside risks.

  14. BradP says:

    One of the gentlemen over at ordinary-gentlemen.com had a pretty good addition to this subject:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2012/04/18/barack-obama-and-the-supertanker-of-state/

  15. Joe says:

    Obama opted to spell out a broad set of goals, and let Congress work out the details.

    Yet another reason why “Obamacare” is a b.s. name.

    CONGRESS worked out the details (btw, I found Jon Gruber’s graphic novel helpful) that gave the law life, as legislators do when they make “laws” etc., but Daddy Obama of course is the source of all things.

  16. joe from Lowell says:

    If everyone else who ever tried to do something failed, and then somebody actually managed to do it, the question to ask is not “Why did that guy screw up so badly?” but “How did he do that?”

    Otherwise, you sound like a talk radio caller explaining that Roger Marris could have hit 70 home runs if he’d only fixed his batting stance.

    • ploeg says:

      Flipside, if one just barely ekes out a win (and the result could easily have gone either way), one should probably be thinking long and hard about what one could do differently to get a blowout the next time. Doesn’t mean that one would be right about it (“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…” etc. etc. etc.).

      • joe from Lowell says:

        if one just barely ekes out a win (and the result could easily have gone either way), one should probably be thinking long and hard about what one could do differently to get a blowout the next time.

        Thinking about how to improve on one’s success is a different exercise from thinking about how to fix a broken team. Barely eking out a win, when you’re picked to lose big, like every other President who tried to do this, is not an indication of bad performance.

        • TsB says:

          In November 2008, no one was predicting President Obama would ‘lose big’ on healthcare reform.

          • burritoboy says:

            True, but the previous teams who attempted it all ended up in ridiculous failures. Barely winning is pretty good compared to losing 100-0.

          • Hogan says:

            I don’t remember anyone predicting in November 1992 that Clinton would lose big. And yet.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            In November 2008, no one was predicting President Obama would ‘lose big’ on healthcare reform.

            Then they were idiots. Every President, except one, who tried to do comprehensive health care reform lost big.

            Except one. If you don’t understand that succeeding in passing HCR, even with a close vote, is a massive overperformance, then you don’t understand anything about American political history.

  17. scott says:

    At this point I wonder if there is any critique of Obama’s legislative agenda-setting that Scott would contemplate or whether, as seems to be the case, it really is for him that Obama Has Achieved The Most He Could In The Best Of All Possible Worlds.

    • elm says:

      I dunno, but it seems to me that Scott is claiming that “Obama has achieved the most he could in this far them the best of all possible worlds.”

      If we had a unicameral legislature or a more proportional Senate or no fillibuster, the law would have been better than it was. Obama has no control over the first two and just about as little control over the third, so it is hard to know how he could have done better given the rules and composition of the Senate.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      I don’t think anyone thinks that the particular content of the ACA was predetermined and optimal. I feel pretty sure that there were a lot of possible alternative with interesting differences around the margins.

      But a radically better outcome, esp of specific types, seems highly unlikely. And some moves (not stripping Joe Lieberman of committee positions) turned out to be rather helpful (in spite of the extreme pain he inflicted on the process and the direct worsening of the bill; I can’t see ANY bill passing if Leiberman had been punished by Ried).

      They might have gotten lucky with an alternative, but probably not. Very probably not. If you treat that probably not as a nearly definite success, then you’re up for some scorn.

    • Murc says:

      What’s there to complain about, exactly? Obama has put health care, economic stimulus, infrastructure investment, financial reform, and a bunch of other really important things on the legislative agenda.

      And the legislature promptly decided to take big, steaming shits on most of those. That is, in fact, their prerogative.

      There is much to criticize about Obama. His record on civil liberties is abysmal. His failure to prosecute the war criminals and banksters who walk amongst us every day is appalling. And he’s done an awful, awful job of leading the Democratic Party; one of his responsibilities is to try and move the needle so the NEXT Democratic President has a better environment to work in, and his endless accomodationist stances work against that.

      But those are things he has ACTUAL CONTROL over. Obama is NOT A LEGISLATOR. He used to be, but he isn’t now! And you know what? He’s to the LEFT of the Congress.

      If the Congress had sent Obama bills establishing a fully nationalized health care system on the british model, re-instating Glass-Steagal and in fact toughening it, a trillion-dollar stimulus and infrastructure investment package, and draconian carbon taxes backed up by a strong carbon regulatory scheme, he would have signed them. ALL of them, every single one.

      CONGRESS is where you want to focus your ire.

      • bobbyp says:

        well said.

      • chris says:

        And specifically, the Senate, because the House actually did pass a far more liberal agenda, including the public option.

        The Senate is systematically biased to the right of the American people and status quo biased on top of that, but the President can’t make it go away just by waving his hands.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, this is what I never understand. Why do so many people, including very informed commentators, continue to focus on Obama, when they should be persistently condemning aspects of the senate and ways in which the party coalitions in the senate have operated?

  18. Joe Bohemouth says:

    The main thing that could have made the bill better and/or lessened the political damage would have been passing it before the summer. I will remedy this with my time-travel email acct:

    Dear Max Baucus,

    Plz shut down negotiations. I know this will cost you something small with your friends in the insurance lobby & the Republican caucus, but if you don’t, Nancy Pelosi will lose the speakership (you will, however, remain committee chairman.

    Hold on, the answer is coming back through…

    lolz whatever.

    Somehow that didn’t manage to sway him.

  19. Heron says:

    Bully Pulpit? No. Control of their campaign funding because you just replaced the entire leadership of the DNC with people loyal to you an no politician these days does their own fundraising? Yes.

    How did LBJ get progressive legislation passed? Did he do it because everyone generally agreed it was a good idea? No. Did he do it by giving grand speeches to the US population? No. Did he do it by knowing the districts and the funding sources of politicians better than they did and threatening to run as many candidates as it took to unseat them if they stood in his way? Yes.

    The President, as Party leader, wields enormous power over politicians so long as the leadership in the DNC and the Lege -the people who control all the campaign funding- are willing to go along with him. Now we can argue about whether or not they would have been willing to do so to force through a truly progressive health bill, I certainly recall Pelosi was willing to at the time though that was years ago and maybe I’m misremembering, but the idea that the liberal critique of Obama was merely that “he didn’t give enough speeches” is ludicrous. It’s that he started from Republican premises, giving up for nothing concessions he could have made the industry pay him for and expecting they’d reward him for such a sign of “good faith”.

    In that first year the R’s were weak enough for the ACA to get passed, and I would suggest that a larger, more progressive, more ambitious plan could have been passed just as easily, and not after having to spend a month right before the vote brow-beating the progressive caucus into going along with it as the plan we currently have was. Talking it up, which would have included running ads defending it in key markets, would have helped to convince shaky pols they could vote for it, but it would have only been part of a complete legislative strategy.

    • Murc says:

      Control of their campaign funding because you just replaced the entire leadership of the DNC with people loyal to you an no politician these days does their own fundraising? Yes.

      You are absolutely wrong about this. Categorically. Where the hell do you think primary challengers get their money, from their national committees? They raise it themselves, and many of them maintain super tight control of the infrastructure they build in order to give themselves an independent revenue stream and, thus, an independent power base.

      Now, its true that many House members are vulnerable to pressure from the party. Those guys are up for election every two years, the House is run like a parliamentary chamber in which top-down control is the norm and filibusters are impossible, and the influence any individual member can wield is far less. It’s entirely possible to kneecap those guys.

      But in the Senate, which is where health care reform was going to live or die? You have NO financial leverage over a lot of those guys. None. Oh, sure, the DNC/DSCC will go to bat for Senators in super tight races or candidates trying to unseat incumbent Republicans, and they can be a big help. But they don’t control who gets elected and who doesn’t.

      Ben Nelson has his own funding sources that come from Nebraska interests and from the industries he services. He can fund a perfectly cromulent re-election campaign without any help from the DNC whatsoever.

      It seems like you’re arguing the Democratic Party should be willing to declare sitting members of their own caucus as apostates and work hard to bring them down, funding primary challengers and taking to the airwaves to proclaim them as traitors and heretics. That’s… never going to happen. Ever.

      • chris says:

        It seems like you’re arguing the Democratic Party should be willing to declare sitting members of their own caucus as apostates and work hard to bring them down, funding primary challengers and taking to the airwaves to proclaim them as traitors and heretics. That’s… never going to happen. Ever.

        Actually, depending on how you define “Democratic Party”, it already *had*. To Lieberman. Who was still in his seat regardless. Which makes the point even more strongly — if you can piss him off, but you can’t get rid of him, what do you have to gain by pissing him off?

        • Murc says:

          Well, it was Connecticut rank-and-file Democrats who told Lieberman to go to hell.

          That’s MUCH different from, say, the chairs of the DNC and DSCC publicly declaring that Joe Lieberman is a traitor to the party and please, won’t someone primary his ass?

          Former happens all the time. The latter, never.

    • Hogan says:

      no politician these days does their own fundraising

      Are you high?

    • joe from Lowell says:

      no politician these days does their own fundraising…the DNC and the Lege -the people who control all the campaign funding

      Wait…what?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      1)You’re wrong about LBJ. The median votes in Congress in the 60s weren’t substantially to LBJ’s right. A world with actual liberal Republicans is just very different. Money had some effect on the margins, but it didn’t have the impact you ascribe to this.

      2)You do know that many of the key votes — Bayh, Nelson, Webb, Lieberman — weren’t running again and you needed every single one of their votes, right? So how the hell does taking away campaign money give you leverage? Their future paychecks depend on monied interests, not the party.

      • Murc says:

        It also bears mentioning that LBJ did not have the filibuster to contend with. Even given the presence of actual liberal Republicans, had he been dealing with today’s Senate dynamic basically of his signature legislative accomplishments would have cratered.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Well, on non-civil rights legislation, anyway.

          • LeeEsq says:

            Even on civil rights legislation, you can make an argument that Southern Senators used the filibuster with less creative flair than the GOP Senators use it with presently. They caved in sooner than the GOP did with HCR.

            • Murc says:

              Eh?

              The opposition factions in both the CRA 1964 and ACA fights did not, in any sense of the word, cave.

              They got BEATEN. Straight up. They didn’t have the votes to maintain a filibuster and cloture was invoked successfully.

  20. cpinva says:

    let me clue messrs. frank and webb in (and really, i shouldn’t have to), nothing obama did/does, short of resigning, will ever get republican agreement, period. after 3 years, you’d think these smart gentlemen would have noticed, wherever have they been?

  21. Kitano Asumi says:

    During Drive 2010 and beyond, Danny Malanie Perera ended up being rotting in jail in Sri Lanka purportedly intended for posting a novel when it comes to Sinhalese which belittled Buddhism, Christianity, and additionally Hinduism. Master of science. Perera is usually a become Islam out of Buddhism. Within a world which will values convenience associated with key phrase the lady ought not and does not are actually arrested and censored folks who would not want just what exactly this girl autho

  22. Omg, adore!!! The interaction amongst the 2 is wonderful. So are your images

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