POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/21

Public Option Creator Backs Bill

Jacob Hacker, the intellectual father of the “public option” — now eliminated from the Senate’s health care reform bill — writes that it would “be tempting for me to side with Howard Dean and other progressive critics who say that health care reform should now be killed. It would be tempting, but it would be wrong.”

First Senator to Primary a Sitting Governor

Ken Rudin predicts the Republican gubernatorial primary in Texas next year pitting Gov. Rick Perry (R) against Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison (R-TX) will be “one for the ages.”

Interestingly, he notes that “never before has a U.S. senator gone home to take on his or her own party’s governor in a primary. As it is, the list of senators elected governor is small; just five have made the move in the past half-century or so: Price Daniel (D-TX) in 1956, Pete Wilson (R-CA) in 1990, Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) in 1998, Frank Murkowski (R-AK) in 2002, and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) in 2005. But none challenged an incumbent to do so, in a primary or in the general.”

Health Care Bill Gets Bump in Poll

“Support for the health care reform bill that Democrats are pushing through the Senate has risen six points since early December,” according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, “and although a majority of Americans still oppose its passage, only four in ten agree with Senate Republicans that the bill is too liberal.”

President Obama’s approval rating also experienced a similar six-point rise.

This poll was conducted Wednesday through Sunday, “as Senate Democrats were negotiating a final health care bill, but before a crucial party-line vote early Monday morning.”

Whitehouse Predicts Day of Judgement

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took to the Senate floor yesterday to blast Republicans for “the desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear” over the health care bill.

The video of the speech is definitely worth watching.

Read more…

Just Asking

Now that Democrats have proven they have the votes in the Senate to pass their health care reform bill, why do Republicans still insist on delaying the final vote until Christmas Eve?

The Takedown of a Pollster

Mark Blumenthal takes a year end look at Strategic Vision, the polling firm that failed to document or even defend its polling numbers.

Since Nate Silver accused the firm of fraud, Strategic Vision has not released a single poll.

Blumenthal notes that just last week, Strategic Vision’s David Johnson penned an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Georgia politics and the firm “was identified as ‘a public relations and public affairs agency.’ In May, a similar op-ed described it as ‘a public affairs and polling company’ (emphasis added). So perhaps Johnson has decided to get out of the polling business altogether (neither Johnson nor the editors of the Journal-Constitution responded to my requests for comment).”

The entire episode is a good warning for those of us who pay a lot of attention to polls.

Democrats Expect Health Care Bounce

Though they won’t say it publicly, Ben Smith notes the White House at least thinks what Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is saying.

Said Schumer: “When people see what is in this bill and when people see what it does, they will come around. The reason people are negative is not the substance of the bill, but the fears that the opponents have laid out. When those fears don’t materialize, and people see the good in the bill, the numbers are going to go up.”

Former President Bill Clinton told Political Wire the same thing several months ago.

Worst Decade in 50 Years

Pew Research: “As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public’s recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all cases.”

FDR Had a Deadly Secret

In the mail: FDR’s Deady Secret by Steven Lomazow and Eric Fettmann.

“Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew he suffered from a life-threatening condition that he could not, and did not ever, publicly acknowledge. So in 1940 he began a cover-up that lasted for decades after his death. Until now.”

Pricey Perks

Taxpayers “are spending more than $40,000 per month on office space, staff, cell phones and a leased SUV for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, even as he works as a lobbyist for private corporations and foreign governments,” Politico reports.

“The payments are perfectly legal under a federal law that provides five years of benefits for former speakers — but only if Hastert never makes use of his government-funded perks in the course of his lobbying work. Ethics experts say that sort of separation is hard to maintain.”

Ominously Dysfunctional

Paul Krugman: “Unless some legislator pulls off a last-minute double-cross, health care reform will pass the Senate this week. Count me among those who consider this an awesome achievement. It’s a seriously flawed bill, we’ll spend years if not decades fixing it, but it’s nonetheless a huge step forward. It was, however, a close-run thing. And the fact that it was such a close thing shows that the Senate — and, therefore, the U.S. government as a whole — has become ominously dysfunctional.”

Quote of the Day

“This isn’t about partisanship or procedure. It’s not about politics, and it’s not about polling. It is about people. I cannot look away. I cannot possibly do nothing.”

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by the Las Vegas Sun, just before the health care vote early this morning.

Health Care Bill Clears Key Vote

“Senate Democrats won a milestone victory early Monday in the health-care debate, approving a procedural motion to move the reform legislation to final passage later this week, and without a single vote to spare,” the Washington Post reports.

“The 60-40 tally, taken shortly after 1 a.m., followed 12 hours of acrimonious debate and required senators to trek to the Capitol in the aftermath of a snowstorm.”

Roll Call notes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “goal of clearing the bill before Christmas and Republican hopes of derailing passage have combined to force three cloture votes, including late-night and early-morning roll calls, because of Senate rules mandating 30 hours of sequential debate time prior to each cloture vote. At present, the third cloture vote, on the underlying bill, will likely occur Wednesday afternoon, with the vote on final passage set for Christmas Eve night.”

Marc Ambinder: “Let it be said, at 1:15 a.m. ET, that Democratic Party discipline held, that Republicans failed to kill health care reform, that the President now has a strong chance to sign into law an historic, expensive and far-reaching health care reform legislation before his first official State of the Union address in a month from now. The bruising year-long battle has left the Democratic party divided, has expended virtually all of the president’s political capital, and ithe legislation’s fidelity to the goals sketched by candidate Obama are questionable.  “

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