Election Catch Up

Meant to post this earlier — a round up of the results of last Tuesday’s election.


Meanwhile, Healthcare!

What’s been happening while the rest of the government was sleeping.

Meet Obamacare.

And how is that working out? Results, so far, are all over the place. Normally when a big, new policy rolls out, the parties work together to tweak the law in order to get out the kinks. The Democrats objected to the Republicans’ Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during the Bush administration because it was unpaid for. But once it passed over their objections, they pitched in to make it work. Tea Party resistance has kept the Republicans from doing the same thing with Obamacare in the hopes that not fixing the kinks would make the plan fail.

The jury will be out on Obamacare for some time yet, but so far people are having mixed experiences. Most of those in the states that have their own insurance exchanges and where the governors have accepted Medicaid expansion are getting new, cheaper insurance easily. The federally-run exchanges, in those places where Republican governors have refused to cooperate, are not faring nearly so well. Technical glitches still keep many people from signing up. Jonathan Cohn, a liberal leaning health care expert, gives you the rundown here.


Speaker Boehner tried to pass a bill opening the government and raising the government with some sweeteners attached for the Tea Party but could not get the votes. To give him time to try, Mitch McConnell backed off his negotiations with Harry Reid in the Senate. As of last night McConnell and Reid were back at work. Best guess is their bill passes a more or less clean extension of the government through Jan 15 and an extension of the nation’s debt ceiling until Feb 7, and that Boehner allows it pass in the House with a bipartisan majority. Best account of yesterday’s events is here.

Pre-Weekend State of Play

Lots of good stuff to read today and I may add other items to this post as I discover more. Right now , this New York Times piece is a pretty good summary of the thinking on the GOP side of the aisle.


This is pretty good too — Andrew Sullivan (who has a super interesting blog and who is the Profiles in Citizenship subject in Chapter 15) is collecting reader contributions he calls “The View From Your Shutdown.”  Worth browsing through for real life first person accounts of the toll the shutdown is taking.

America Held Hostage, Day 2

A couple of very good pieces to read today.Tom Friedman from the New York Times hits the nail on the head.  And this piece from Business Insider makes a similar point.

Think about what we argue in Chapters 1 and 2 about people who do an end run around the democratic process when it doesn’t produce the results that they want. What kind of political system is it where the leaders believe they know what is right for the people and impose their vision regardless of what the people would choose themselves? What is the place for that in American culture?

Also think about what Madison had to say about the effects of factions.  What would he say about the Tea Party?

And for comic relief, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has some fun with how people feel about Obamacare.

Ticking Clock

It’s a crazy Monday morning, but let me quickly give you two pieces to think about as the clock ticks down to a possible (and increasingly probable) shut down at midnight tonight.  The first is from the National Review, a conservative journal with very good sourcing among Republicans.  What does that mean? It means Republicans talk to their journalists and those journalists know what they are talking about.  Costa and Strong paint a fairly grim picture of how intra-party politics is going for the Republicans.  A second view, a little less insidery but more comprehensive, is here.

Think about the split in the Republican Party in terms of the figures on American political ideologies you read about in KTR‘s Chapter 2.  Is this playing out as we would expect?  Who do you think will win and lose in this internal power struggle for control of the party?