HOW THE HEALTH INSURERS ARE DOING

Thanks in part to those who won’t allow single-payer or a public option or anything except tort reform (which, done sensibly, I, too, favor), top health insurers saw profits jump 58% last year even as 2.7 million more Americans lost coverage.

FILIBUSTER

I’m mad as hell, and I hope Congress is getting ready not to take it anymore. It’s time for the nuclear option – and for another must-watch Rachel Maddow clip showing the inconsistency of the Republican position.

But here is Harry Reid saying the votes aren’t there to change Senate rules. (It took 15 years to modify the filibuster the last time – here’s the history.)

And here, from Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen, is an assessment of the current situation . . .

Senate Republicans are well aware of the fact that they’re breaking the American legislative process, and making it impossible for the majority to govern, which suits them fine.

. . . and of how reform just might be possible . . .

[P]rocedural changes happen when there’s a credible threat. A quarter-century ago, the threat of eliminating the filibuster altogether led to reform. Five years ago, the Gang of 14 got together when the “nuclear option” appeared likely to happen. Just a couple of days ago, President Obama threatened a slew of recess appointments, prompting the Senate GOP to quickly approve 27 pending administration nominees. To be sure, it’s naive to think Republicans would simply stop filibustering to prevent a Democratic “nuclear option” from coming to fruition. But a credible threat is far more likely to have an effect than the alternative – which is to simply tolerate the GOP’s unprecedented abuse. If Harry Reid were to make clear, with varying degrees of subtlety, that the status quo is simply untenable, and that he feels like he has no choice but to make it possible for a majority to govern again, it would possibly change the nature of the existing dynamic. At this point, he has nothing to lose.

ABE

James Gleick: “You write: ‘You know one person who would be appalled by what the Republican Party has become? Abe Lincoln.’ It reminds me of how the historian William Lee Miller (President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman, p. 142) paraphrases Lincoln’s view of what the Civil War was really about: ‘Republican government – democracy, we say now – requires a tacit understanding between majorities and minorities. Majorities rightly prevail, but they respect the liberty of minorities to agitate to try to replace them; minorities have the right to express and organize in behalf of their view, but when the votes are counted, they must acquiesce.’

 

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