The DC Morning – 9/8/2010

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Democrats who hate Democrats and the Democrats who pretend to like them a lot — They may be a minority, but House Democrats who are running for re-election on what amounts to an anti-Pelosi platform are very, very real. TheDC’s Jonathan Strong counts Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, who joked that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “might get sick and die”; Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Indiana Dem who took Pelosi over his knee on the carbon tax just one year after supporting a vague list of supposedly quick and painless environmental fixes; as well as Reps. McIntyre, Nye, Altmire, and Childers, each of whom voted a big fat “no” on a piece of legislation close to Madame Pelosi’s heart. Ironically, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has actually given money to some of these people! That’s ironic, right? Maybe Dems are thinking that even the thorniest DINO can be Bart Stupak’d into doing something heinously stupid, making them preferable to an equally ornery but uncontrollable Republican? Meh. Who cares? It’s not like 70 seats are at play!

2.) It begins: Insurance rates migrate north in anticipation of Obamacare — “Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law,” reports the Wall Street Journal. This is “complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before” Republicans beat them senseless in November. Just how bad is it, comrades? Very bad. “About 9% of Americans buy coverage through the individual market, according to the Census Bureau, and roughly one-fifth of people who get coverage through their employer work at companies with 50 or fewer employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. People in both groups are likely to feel the effects of the proposed increases,” writes the WSJ, with some consumers facing total premium increases of 20 percent. The White House has chosen to ignore this reality. “I would have real deep concerns that the kinds of rate increases that you’re quoting… are justified,” Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House’s top health official, told the WSJ. “We believe consumers will see through this.” Through what is the question.

3.) Did Sen. Harkin plan to pedal some influence with Wall Streeters? — “Given his strong condemnations of Wall Street generally and of investor-backed higher education companies in particular,” writes Inside Higher Ed, “the idea that Sen. Tom Harkin would sit down with a bunch of investors to talk about for-profit higher education — and that the host investment firm would charge a whopping $10,000 a head for the privilege of meeting the Iowa Democrat — was more than a little startling.” Harkin, like Sen. Dick Durbin, has been itching to scalp a for-profit college or two in light of the DOE’s findings that several of these institutions have comically high drop-out and loan default rates, yet continue to suck up federal dollars via student financial aid. Not only has Harkin announced his intention of bending these institutions over the legislative drawing board, but as of Sept. 20, he “will have all of the internal memos and emails from the top 30 for-profit schools in the country.” Which means that Harkin has something these Wall Streeters–many of whom are betting against the success of these schools–want. Harkin’s office has denied the allegations, with a flack claiming that while one of Harkin’s fundraisers was indeed approached about a little get-together in NY, “at no point was there discussion of the senator participating in an event focused on any single issue.” It doesn’t take a PhD to figure this one out, Scooby: Tom Harkin hates edumacation!

4.) WaPo runs stimubucks redux: This ain’t working — “The loss of 8 million jobs reflects problems that are largely structural, not cyclical, which means they won’t be brought back by fiddling with a magic dial in Washington that controls how much the government spends,” writes the Washington Post’s Steve Pearlstein. “The reason there were 8 million additional jobs back in 2007 is that demand for goods and services was artificially–and unsustainably–inflated by cheap, plentiful credit.” But now that the bubble is just oily residue on our fingertips, it is like a no-man’s land out there. People are getting poorer, yet saving more, and business types are more austere, but selling less. According to Pearlstein, this means, unfortunately, that the jobs created by our willingness to spend money we never had aren’t coming back any time soon. “During the past two years, the federal government has been actively trying to take up some of the slack by going on a borrowing-and-spending binge of its own. But continuing on that path is also unsustainable – certainly politically, and probably economically as well.” GOD, isn’t the truth just cringe-inducing? But please, Dems, by all means keep yammering about a damn second stimulus. THAT WILL CLEARLY FIX EVERYTHING.

5.) Coming soon: The Stimulator: Rise of the Weenies — “It may be too early to tell, but after 20 months of supporting massive increases in government spending, President Obama’s proposal for a $50 billion infrastructure overhaul could offer some Democrats who say they are concerned with the size of the federal budget a late chance to prove themselves as deficit hawks before the November midterm elections,” reports TheDC’s Chris Moody, who was told by a Blue Dog staffer that “[Blue Dog members] are going to be very, very sensitive to deficit spending when they come back,” because “they’re the types of members that like to look through every single one of these proposals, or anything having to do with spending money. They really do gut these things before they’re willing to show their support.” It makes you wonder, don’t it? About how closely them ole Blue Dogs read through the first proposal? Maybe it done had too many pages, and that’s why so many Blue Dogs voted to spend $1 TRILLION ON ROAD SIGNS AND PUPPETS.

6.) AP discovers Gov. Gary Johnson — “Despite two terms as governor of New Mexico and recent visits to 26 states, most Americans have never heard of Gary Johnson,” reports the AP without citing a single poll, or even anecdotal evidence gathered from a diner or nail salon. “The former Republican governor is mulling a run for president, and his libertarian views and small government platform fit the disenchantment many voters feel toward Washington. Among his supporters is Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, who drew a committed following in his 2008 campaign for president and was quoted in the conservative online website (as opposed to the other kind of website!) The Daily Caller as saying if he didn’t run again in 2012, the best candidate would be Johnson.” The wire service then goes on to cite several Republicans who posit that Johnson has no chance of winning anything, because he is too concerned with not sending people to jail for smoking a damn plant. Ironically, Ron Paul is concerned with the very same thing, and keeps winning straw polls, and is an idol to Tea Partiers, who will probably take seriously the good doctor’s plug for Johnson, who nobody has ever heard of. GOOD JOB, WIRE SERVICE. THIS CRAP DON’T MAKE A LICK OF SENSE.