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Too Honest

I’ve had a week to mull over Mitt Romney’s now infamous 47% tape, and my final conclusion is that Romney is too honest a republican. Nothing he said in that tape in regard to “poor” people (he was actually talking about the middle class) is any great departure from his party, either in rhetoric or in action. He didn’t make up that 47% figure.

He just repeated something that has been floating around in republican ideology for decades now. The 47% is the GOPs go-to demonization group when they don’t have Muslims, Russians (Romney is still clinging on to them as a threat), gays, or minorities to fall back on. You probably all know by now, that the 47% number that republicans like to toss around isn’t really accurate. It includes retirees, who don’t pay taxes on their social security checks (which represent the taxes they paid their whole lives), veterans deployed in combat zones, students, and the disabled.

It also includes the working poor. This is a particularly interesting group, with regard to the republican rhetoric. You see, the working poor don’t pay federal income taxes (they do pay sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, and state income taxes) because they get a deduction called the “earned income tax credit”(or EITC). The EITC in combination with the Child Tax Credit usually wipes out their federal tax burden. Where did these tax credits come from? Republicans. Milton Friedman (yes, that Milton Friedman) cooked up the EITC deduction. It was passed in 1975 under a democratically controlled congress, and signed into law by Gerald Ford. The idea behind the EITC was that if working people didn’t make very much money, minimizing their tax burdens would keep them working, and therefor off any public assistance programs. Makes sense, right? It made sense to Ronald Reagan. He was a big fan of the EITC.

Shouldn’t all republicans, past and present support this? It’s a tax credit. I thought they were all for people paying less taxes? What the fuck is the problem? Shouldn’t the GOP look upon these people as being American heroes for finding the taxless utopia they say they want? And why is it that modern republicans refer to Mitt Romney as a financial genius when he writes off $77,000 a year to maintain a fucking dancing horse, in order to minimize his tax burden, but a married couple with two kids making $30,000 a year can’t take a $3,363 EITC deduction without being freeloaders? Why is there such disdain for one class of people taking a relatively minute tax write off, when there’s nothing but praise for another class taking much more robust deductions?

The answer is obvious; the middle class and the working poor don’t have lobbyists, and therefore aren’t real people. They’re abstractions that don’t get any consideration at all. So much so, that republicans can’t even see that this class of people are doing what the GOP platform is based on; not paying taxes. Republicans have worked themselves up so much in their demonization, that they are no longer capable of consistency.

To them, Mitt Romney didn’t say anything wrong in that speech. He just got caught telling the truth. No one has talked about this, but did you hear any booing or jeers on that tape? I didn’t. I heard laughter when Romney said that he would have a better shot at getting elected if he were Mexican. Really , Mitt? Your father would have been the CEO of a major car company in the 50s if he were Mexican? He would have been elected to be the Governor of Michigan if he were Mexican? He would have been able to send you to Harvard and given you millions of dollars of seed money to start Bain Capital if he were Mexican?

These people have spun themselves into an inexplicable state of victimhood by putting themselves up on pedestals from which to look down on everyone outside of their class. They really believe that they are the anointed ones, being preyed upon by the rest of us. They’re entitled to $77,000 a year for dancing horses, while being galled by the idea of anyone taking $3,363 a year to feed themselves.

These people aren’t rational anymore. They see themselves as both anointed and victims simultaneously. What’s worse, they have absolved themselves of any civil responsibility. They are the elite puppet masters that make the world go round, and yet they bare no responsibility for fixing the country’s problems because problems they don’t have aren’t legitimate problems. Poor people are poor because they are lazy, and therefor not a problem. Rape victims that get pregnant obviously weren’t raped, since their bodies allowed he pregnancy to happen. Poor kids that want to go to college should just borrow the tuition money from their parents. Rising health insurance costs aren’t their problem because they don’t ever have to worry about being able to afford to buy health insurance.

The elite in that room don’t bother me nearly as much as the people that will vote for them. Romney was dead wrong when he said that “the 47%” won’t vote for him. An alarmingly large percentage of them will. Remember the tea party rallies full of senior citizens in medicare and social security? Remember how they were riding around on their fancy scooters that medicare paid for, while screaming about how they were being tread on? No, these are the real assholes among us. I can understand the 1% trying to protect their own self interest. I can’t understand the bottom 20% that go along with this crap, just so that they can elevate themselves in their own minds by punching down at the fictional people below them on the social totem poll.

Mitt Romney didn’t write off a constituency that the republican party cares about. He just made the mistake of saying that they’ve been written off out loud. He was too honest, and his crime was that he was careless enough to say out loud, what his party believes.

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Never Play Poker With Republicans

That’s actually not fair. You can play poker with them, as long as you make sure you get the money from them up front. If you let them play on credit, you’re going to get fucked. They’re never going to pay you what they owe you.

Think I’m being unfair? Let me give you the basis for that advice.

All of this talk about not raising the debt ceiling is bullshit. And frankly, I don’t even know why congress has to vote on whether to raise the debt ceiling. It’s a bullshit vote. They already voted in the affirmative to spend the money that necessitated raising the debt ceiling. If they were concerned with government spending, they should have voted “NO!”

But they didn’t. They voted for all of the crazy ass spending that added to our debt. They voted for “emergency supplementals” to keep two wars going, they voted to spend money on medicare part D, and they voted to pass obviously bogus budgets that didn’t include these expenditures, year after year.

They voted to spend the money. So when the debt ceiling issue comes up for a vote, they’re basically voting on whether to welch on their debt.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is about whether or not they want to honor their word. Period. It’s not about spending more money, and it’s not about “making sacrifices”. They spent the money, and they did it with every single entitlement they now want to cut in the budget. As an aside, they’re called “entitlements” because it’s your money. You’re entitled to get it back, exactly as you were promised you would. Anytime a republican uses “entitlement” as if it were a dirty word, you should set them straight. Let them know that you’re damned well entitled to get your money back, and they should be entitled to theirs too.

And don’t let an idiot republican tell you that we shouldn’t raise the debt ceiling. If they try, let them know that they’re deadbeat welchers that won’t ever be allowed to play poker with you, unless they show you the money first.

See how simple this issue really is?


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Deconstructing Stupid

Here’s a newsflash; I’m not opposed to making cuts to medicare. I believe that we can cut medicare spending significantly, while improving services for medicare recipients. One of the really good aspects of the health reform bill was how cuts to medicare were made. I wholeheartedly agreed with cutting funding to medicare advantage.

If you’re not familiar with medicare advantage, let me give you the broad strokes. It was an experiment that Bill Clinton tried, where he outsourced medicare to private insurance companies. The idea was the old republican mantra that private companies can “do it” more efficiently than government can. I believe it was an experiment worth trying. But fifteen years into it, the results were in; not only did it cost 14% more than traditional medicare, but it didn’t deliver better results. It was a nice try, but it failed. Defunding it and getting our 14% back made all the sense in the world.

I believe that there are similar cuts that can be made. I’ll get to those later.

Paul Ryan put this out yesterday:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJIC7kEq6kw[/youtube]

Apparently, he’s decided that instead of back peddling out of his disastrous plan to fuck seniors, he’s going to double down. I’m not sure if he’s going for an Oscar a la Al Gore, but I wouldn’t waste my time lobbying the nominating committee if I were him.

Bear with me while I go through this point for point, because it’s not all bullshit.

The first point that he makes is that Americans spend fifty times more on healthcare today, than we did in 1960. Yes Paul, that’s because we have a system run by private corporations. He fails to mention that we pay more than double (per capita) for health insurance than other countries with nationalized health care systems do.

Next he talks about how medicare spending will nearly double in the next ten years. The actual increase amount is 86%, but I can see how “double” has a more dramatic effect. Those figures are true. What he didn’t say is that in relation to GDP, this represents a growth difference from 3.6% of GDP now, to 4.1% of GDP in 2020. Yes, the amount of spending is going to explode, but a little bit of relative perspective goes a long way. By the way, I love it how everyone acts like no one saw the number of baby boomers coming. What the fuck? You couldn’t count all of the births from sixty-five years ago, and predict how many medicare recipients there would be today? If we’d been making incremental adjustments all along, there wouldn’t be a “crisis” now. Shut the fuck up with your crisis nonsense, especially if you’ve been in the house for over twenty years.

The next point he makes is actually a good one. We have a system that pays for procedures, rather than results. It’s referred to as “fee for service”. This system doesn’t encourage curing a patient. It incentivizes doctors to rob the system by running tests in perpetuity so that they can get paid for each test. We should absolutely change the system so that it pays for results. This is the type of cost savings measure I can get behind. But I have to say that his line about, …” A patient is very disconnected from the cost” made me vomit in my mouth a little. Do you really think that if a patient knew what each procedure cost, they would know enough to pass on an MRI that may or may not be necessary? How the fuck are they supposed to know if it’s necessary? People go to school for nine years to learn if the MRI is necessary. The implication is that the patient is glutting themselves on health care as if it’s a luxury item, because they don’t know how much it costs. Asshat.

Then he makes the tired, lame ass comment that medicare costs are going up because there’s no competition. Hey asshole, go back to the numbers at the beginning of your presentation and see how much “competition” had helped out with health care costs in the past sixty years. Also, review the cost difference between medicare and medicare advantage. You might be able to make this point if private insurance costs were growing at a significantly lower rate than medicare costs are. They’re not. They’re growing at a much faster rate, even with a much younger population in the private system. The only reason why medicare is in “crisis” is because of exploding enrollment numbers, not exploding profit margins. And by the way, in which universe are private insurance companies clamoring to grab that “hip replacement” segment of the US demographic? Let me reiterate, asshat.

Then he goes into how his plan is going to “save” medicare. This is the most comical statement of them all. Here’s how you know that he’s not saving medicare: right now when grandma goes to the doctor, that doctor gets paid with a check from medicare. Under Ryan’s plan, there will be no more checks from medicare. The doctor will ostensibly be paid with a check from the private insurance company that is chomping at the bit to get grandma’s business. Good god, there are so many things wrong with that last sentence. But the bottom line is that there will be no medicare. His plan will give seniors vouchers for $15,000 per year to go buy their own insurance. There will be medicare in the sense that those deductions will still come out of your paychecks for your entire working lives. But at the end of it, that money will ultimately get paid out to private companies. Do I even need to break down how fucking stupid that is?

Fortunately, Americans seem to viscerally understand that Paul Ryan’s plan blows. But the downside is that everyone is caught up in black or white thinking. The choice is either leave it alone or kill it. Neither of those will work. We need to take a critical look at the system and make smart cuts that improve the system and ensure its longevity. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we’re going to make it that far into the national conversation. My prediction is that we’re going to be plagues with “medicare crisis” talk for the next couple of decades.

That should be fun.

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My Heroes

The voters in New York’s 26th district are my freakin heroes for that they did yesterday.

Not because they voted democrat, but because they held their noses and voted in their own best interest. I say that the held their noses because the last time a democrat won in New York’s 26th, God was a child. This is a district that votes republican, always. They vote republican when a Bush is on the ballot, and they vote republican when a Palin is on the ballot. These are hardcore republicans. Voting for a democrat must have been physically painful for them. And yet they did it, because it was the right thing to do.

They left party loyalty at the door, and voted their consciences and their pocketbooks. I honestly wish that more Americans would take their lead. There should be no such thing as a “safe district”. Safe districts are a big part of what’s wrong with America. Safe districts make it possible for politicians to take your vote for granted and then shit all over you with it.

Every time your kids’ school district has to cut their budget, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time with no regard to party affiliation. Every time unemployment benefits or any other social safety net that you’ve paid into gets cut, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time, with no regard to party affiliation. Do your roads look like shit? Vote out the the person that isn’t budgeting for those repairs. Are there less cops on the streets of your neighborhood? You know what to do.

This idiocy of accepting that there’s “no money in the budget so what could your guy do?”, has to stop. Your guy will find the money if you incentivize him properly. There is no better motivator than job security to light a fire under someone.

I have repeatedly said that publicly financed elections must happen in order to fix our system. If you’re not inclined to hit the streets and collect signatures in order to secure a ballot measure, then at least stop being a party loyalist. You neuter your own vote every time you continue down the path of blindly voting for the candidate with the right letter after their name.

Don’t misunderstand me – I want you all to get out there and collect signatures for publicly financed campaigns. We’re completely fucked until that happens, so I’m not giving anyone a pass on that! But as you’re working up to the motivation to permanently fix our fucked up democracy, you can put a band aid on it by voting your own best interest and not being a dependable vote.

Whether the GOP will get the message that New York 26 sent remains to be seen. I can tell you they put the fear of God in democrats (including Obama) that were talking about cutting medicare. I’m going to go ahead and guess that talk of cutting social security isn’t going to continue either. Make no mistake, democrats were definitely going to agree to cuts to both programs. I would be shocked if they went in that direction after what happened yesterday.

They’re all going to start sounding like FDR now. Not because democrats are the good guys, but because democrats tend to be more afraid of their constituents than republicans are. Republicans know they have blind loyalty locked in with their voters, or at least they did. I’m not the kind of sunny optimist that expects that red districts all across the country will suddenly go blue in order to save the social programs that Americans resoundingly want. But I am the kind of sunny optimist that believes that we need just a few to flip, in order to get the GOP off this path of destruction (for a year or two, anyway).

So I say, BRAVO to New York 26. You made what I know was a painful choice, in order to save a program that Americans cherish. I wish that more Americans would follow your lead.

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We’re Screwed

Okay, we’ve been screwed for about thirty years now, but we got an indication of just how screwed we are this morning.

But the good news is that as we found out how very royally screwed we are, we also got an answer to a question that has confounded me for about a year and a half.

I’ve maintained for years now that our political parties are actors on the stage of political theater. We don’t have two parties that are on opposing sides. We have two parties that are beholden to precisely the same corporate interests. We have two parties that are designed to appeal to two distinctly different groups of people. We have one party that appeals to the authoritarian, “tough guy” and another party that appeals to the big thinker, “consider the big picture”. One party claims to be for the working man, while the other professes to tirelessly work to stay out of our lives. All of this is, of course theater. They’re both batting for the same team. One party is more shameless about who they’re working for, but make no mistake; democrats will take this country to precisely the same place that republicans will. They will just do it on a longer timeline. And along they way, I will give democrats credit for doing a few things for the American people, while republicans have done absolutely nothing for us for over thirty years. But at the end of the day, both parties are going to place the health and welfare of the corporations over yours every single time.

So the question with democrats is, “how big of a shill is my representative?” We already know that all republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, are 100% shill.

Watching Obama acquiesce in perpetuity, to the point of absurdity had me wondering if it were possible for someone to be this bad at negotiation. Let’s review;

-He started off the health care debate by taking a public option off the table. Huh? Why not proclaim that anything short of a public option is a non-starter, and then back down slowly from there? But not our Obama! He starts in the middle and moves right from there. The end result was the Bob Dole plan from the 90s (subsequently the Mitt Romney plan). WooHoo! He got what republicans were willing to give eighteen years ago!

Republicans emphatically demanded that Obama cut 31B out of the 2011 budget. He releases a budget that cut 32B as his opening gambit. Was anyone surprised when republicans demanded he cut from where his budget started? He gave them more than they asked for as his opening move, and didn’t get any credit for that first 32B he cut. He then had to cut another 39B on top of that!

Be honest Obama supporters; if you were in the market for a new car, would you send Obama in to negotiate the price for you?

Honestly, he’s so fucking bad at this that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to believe that someone could suck at negotiating this much. I was honestly starting to think that he was the most wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, that we’d ever seen in politics.

This morning, my question was finally answered. When Obama caved into the craziest among us, and released yet another form of his birth certificate, he definitively showed me that he just sucks at this. He’s the world’s most incompetent negotiator, truly.

He sent some very clear messages this morning. He told the world that there is no demand too crazy for him to acquiesce to. And there is no person too crazy for him to cave in to. He took off his shirt, and showed the world the tire marks on his back.

This weakness is about to fuck Americans like they’ve never been fucked before.Let me explain why this monumental display of weakness concerns me right at this moment in time.

Paul Ryan just came out with a budget plan that literally everyone, republican and democrat alike hates, despite the main stream media’s best efforts. Remember how they all used words like “courageous” and “bold” to describe the plan for the first week after it came out? It didn’t take long for Americans to figure out that this plan was going to fuck the old and the poor, for the sole purpose of making the rich richer. By Ryan’s own admission, his plan wasn’t going to balance the budget for forty years. Forty years? That’s at least five presidential administrations!

Republicans never intended for this preposterous plan to fly. I think they underestimated how big of a shit storm it would start, but they never really believed that they would pull it off. They made a tactical decision to open with the most draconian far right wing hand job they could, so that they could negotiate from there.

Obama had already demonstrated that he was going to start the negotiations from a right wing position when he appointed two well known social security haters to his debt commission. He was obviously planning on making cuts to social security and medicare. Given the birther cave-in this morning, I’m positive that republicans are now going to get way more out of Obama in terms of cutting those two programs than they initially imagined they could get. They would have to be in a halcyon induced coma not to seize on the spinelessness that Obama now openly wears on his sleeve.

In short, we’re fucked. We’re more fucked than we would be if Obama were merely being controlled by his corporate masters. Bill Clinton was obviously the most corporate friendly democratic president we’d ever had until now. Every subsequent democratic president was obviously going to slowly up the ante on the democratic party’s corporatism. This president predictably did, but he has no conviction. He has no conviction, and no hard deal-breakers. There’s nothing he’s not willing to compromise on. And even if he did have conviction, he doesn’t have the balls to stick to them.

He caved to the birthers. Enough said.


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Bitchy’s Strategy For The GOP

Not surprisingly, my advice centers around health reform. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this strategy of promising to repeal is going to be a disaster for republicans.

Let me first qualify what I mean by “disaster”. Historically speaking, the party that wins the white house loses 27.8 seats in congress in the following midterm election. Republicans could pick up as many as 50 seats this time around. I believe that they’re going to pick up around 20 seats. While that’s enough seats to declare “victory” and claim a “mandate”, it would in actuality be a disaster because it keeps them well in the minority.

Republicans are fighting a losing battle if their strategy is to run on repealing health reform during this election cycle. During the course of the next seven months, everything that is good about this bill will have kicked in. Closing the medicare prescription donut hole ensures that republicans will have lost the senior vote, which is their largest voting block. Allowing parents to keep their college students on their insurance plans wipes out that voting block. Losing those two demographics leaves the republican party crippled.

There’s not much they can do about the 2010 elections, but they can salvage 2012. By 2012, some of the ugly realities of this “reform” will have surfaced.  Republicans should instead change their tone to promise to fix the problems with the bill, while predicting massive premium increases. We are definitely going to see massive premium increases over the next four years. In the past week, both the CEOs of Aetna and Cigna have already promised that they’re coming. This bill does absolutely nothing to keep premiums down. My guess, based on my experience with corporate premium increases, is that 2012 premiums are going to be 40% – 60% higher than they are today. I’m not trying to be doom and gloom Bitchy, but that’s what I believe is going to happen. If republicans focus in on the problems with the bill, they can clean up in the elections after those problems materialize.

I want to say up front that I don’t believe there’s a snow balls chance in hell that republicans are actually going to fix the cost control problems with this bill. The only means of controlling cost is to force the insurance companies to compete with medicare. Nothing short of that will do anything to chip away at exorbitant premiums. If democrats ran away from a public option with 68% of democrats and 54% of republicans supporting it, there’s zero chance that republicans will make it happen. There is absolutely NO way to bring down costs while still maintaining a for-profit health insurance system. Trust me I’ve looked closely at health insurance systems all around the world. It can’t be done.

I have no idea what republicans can do, within the constraints of what they have become, to fix the problem. But actual solutions are meaningless in terms of winning elections. Republicans haven’t actually solved any problems for our country in decades. This is a fact that inexplicably hasn’t stopped republicans from controlling our government for the majority of the past 100 years.

Getting elected in this country isn’t about what you’ve done. It’s about what you say you’re going to do.  If republicans say they’re going to repeal health reform, they’re done. If they point out real problems with this health reform bill, they have a good shot at gaining power again.

On the other side, democrats have until 2012 to get a public option through. They definitely won’t touch the issue before November. I’m not very optimistic that they’re going to move in the direction of a public option at all, but if they do, it won’t be before the midterm election. They backed themselves into a corner with this bill. While they significantly strengthened their position for the midterm election, they insured that 2012 is going to be an unmitigated disaster unless they can fix this bill.

In the meantime, we need to keep the pressure up to get a public option through. Not because I give a damned if democrats keep control of congress, but because we desperately need meaningful health insurance reform. We haven’t gotten it yet. We need to keep the pressure on democrats because we have no chance of getting it under republican control. Trust me, if I though there was a chance of getting something that would help the average American out of the republican party, I’d be out there campaigning for them day and night. Our only hope is to come out en masse to let the democrats know that they’re in big trouble unless they fix the bill. And because democrats are historically obtuse, we need to spell out what those fixes need to be for them.

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Tilting At Windmills

I don’t know why I’m shocked by this, but the GOP is inexplicably trying to double down on health insurance reform by promising to repeal it. They have become Don Quixote.

There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that they’re going to be able to touch this bill for a myriad of different reasons.

First off, they’re going to get hammered if they try to run against this in November. By then, all of those elderly, overweight protesters that demanded that the government “keeps their hands off my medicare” will have evaporated. Why? Because all of those people will have avoided the medicare prescription donut hole that they’ve been grappling with for several years now. Every senior in America will be opposed to any candidate that runs on repealing this bill. Parents of college students are also off the table since their kids will have been on their insurance plan for several months by the time November comes around. If losing all of those votes isn’t bad enough, republicans are going to have some issues with their pharmaceutical and insurance company contributors. Those industries will never allow the huge gift that is this bill to disappear. If you think that United Health Care is going to walk away from 32 million new customers, you’re out of your fucking mind. They’re really going to have to make some appalling deals with these companies that will undoubtedly screw Americans more than the current bill does.

Republicans will be getting it from all sides if they keep going down this road. They lost and they have nothing to gain by revisiting this loss in perpetuity over the next seven months.

And then there’s the ridiculous state attorneys general that are trying to sue, claiming this bill is unconstitutional. They may not be aware of this, but our current president is a former constitutional law professor. I can understand how they may have gotten used to having a dumb president that doesn’t know anything, but that’s not what they’re dealing with anymore. Thirteen states have already filed suits claiming this bill is unconstitutional. See the story here. Let’s examine this list closely.

Florida   $1.02
South Carolina   $1.38
Nebraska   $1.07
Utah   $1.14
Louisiana   $1.45
Alabama   $1.71
Pennsylvania   $1.06
Idaho   $1.28
South Dakota   $1.49
Colorado   $0.79
Michigan   $0.85
Texas   $0.94
Washington   $0.88

Those numbers I have next to each state represents how much money those states get back from the federal government for every dollar they contribute. Only four out of the thirteen are known as “donor states”, meaning that they pay more in federal taxes than they receive. The other nine states receive more federal funding than they contribute. Not coincidentally, the states that receive more federal dollars than they contribute are very poor states that will benefit most from the medicaid expansion in this bill. These attorneys general are willing to screw their own constituents for what they perceive to be political gain. These guys are going to get SLAUGHTERED in the next election if their democratic opponent spells out what they’re doing.

This strategy is a total disaster for the GOP. More importantly, it’s a disaster for the American people since republicans are obviously going to continue to play politics rather than to govern.

PLEASE, GOP stop tilting at windmills and start getting involved in the legislative process! America can’t be ruled by one party!

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Fear And Loathing In San Francisco

For three years now republicans have painted Nancy Pelosi as loathsome. Not because of anything that she did, but because she’s an easy target.

Let’s face it, she’s not viscerally likable. To be honest, between the turbo charged blinking and the overabundance of plastic surgery, she’s just not that appealing. Republicans leveraged those unappealing qualities to make her the focus of their base’s hatred because until a few months ago, President Obama was far too popular to effectively target. So poor Nancy has been loathed for a few years now, simply for being in a position of power.

Republicans don’t like their women in power. They like them cute and cheerleady. Okay, they like their men to be cheerleaders too. They just like the cheerleading in general, but I digress. I can’t think of one smart republican woman that the party has put forward as a leading voice. No, they give us Sarah Palin. When John McCain picked her, he clearly picked her as the antidote to Hillary. The problem is that his antidote sent a clear message to women, that any dumb bitch will do.

If republicans are smart (I know, I know, there I go with my optimism again), they will have figured out on Sunday that Nancy Pelosi is someone they should fear. Health reform is a victory that belongs to her more than anyone else. She’s fought republicans, democrats, the senate, the president, and his chief of staff to make it happen. There are reports that President Obama wanted to scale the bill back (even further) after Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts. Nancy refused to have any of that, referring to the president’s proposal as “kiddie reform”. She pressed on to fight for us when everyone else was ready to retreat. She one of a very few handful of tough democrats.

But beyond just being tough, she knows how congress works in a way that very few of our representatives do. When she announced that they were going to pass the vote by using “deem and pass” it wasn’t because she didn’t have the votes (Nancy doesn’t lose votes, look at the record), it was because she rightfully doesn’t trust the senate. Using “deem and pass” (as republicans have done hundreds of times), would have allowed the house to adopt the sucky senate bill while simultaneously reconciling the improvements to the bill. She was trying to bypass a lot of the reconciliation noise that I suspect we’ll be hearing this week. She wasn’t trying to be sneaky with “deem and pass”. She was being very smart.

Despite my early doubts, Nancy Pelosi has proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with. President Obama owes the (I predict) 8 – 10 point jump in his approval rating to her. And we owe the glimmer of hope that we have that health reform is possible to her.

Take heed republicans, Speaker Pelosi isn’t just a dumb liberal with San Francisco values. She’s going to go down in history as one of the most significant speakers this country has ever had. Sorry Boehner, no one will remember you for anything when you’re gone (much like Denny Hastert).

So don’t limit your feelings toward her to loathing. You should fear AND loathe her.

Bravo, Madam Speaker!

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