spine

Time profiles Congressman Awesome, who teaches us all a lesson

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November 5, 2010
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John Yarmuth just can’t help but be Congressman Awesome:

“One of the problems we had nationally was that we had a lot of members who had been in office a long time and had kind of been cruising,” Yarmuth told TIME on late Tuesday over the still raucous cheers of relieved supporters in the background. “So when they found themselves in an environment where people were yelling in their faces, they lacked the skills and the confidence to defend the good things they had just accomplished.” Instead, he said, too many congressional Democrats “pandered” to an angry and frustrated electorate, instead of selling them on the benefits of health care reform and the rest.

Yarmuth, easily the most liberal member of Congress from Kentucky in decades, never apologized for any of the legislation he has helped passed since Obama’s Inauguration. “I’ve been outspoken on these issues for a long time,” he told TIME. “And when I’ve been out talking to constituents, I have never wavered on my positions. They know I am someone who will say exactly what I feel.”

It was a strategy that proved pivotal compared with those of his compatriots across Kentucky. Much more moderate Democrats fared far less well. Democrat Ben Chandler declared apparent victory but only after he squeaked ahead by a few hundred votes in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. Paul’s opponent in the Senate race, Democratic state attorney general Jack Conway, never seemed to show voters exactly where he stood or find his voice — at least not before giving a passionate and articulate concession speech on Tuesday.

Yarmuth was reluctant to criticize Conway, who is also from Louisville, but he agreed that the Democratic Senate candidate had failed to convince skeptical voters that he stood for something powerful. “I hate to talk about Jack’s campaign, because I feel Jack did what he had to do,” Yarmuth said, giving a nod to the fact that Kentucky voters as a whole are far more conservative than the ones he faced in Louisville. “But one of the problems Jack had was that he never — well, he tried to kind of guess where most Kentuckians were on the issues. And voters usually can see through that. He didn’t stand up for particular values and say, ‘This is my position, even if it’s unpopular.’ He may have believed in every position he took, but he never convinced voters.”

Is it possible to overdose on Awesomeness? Yarmy may have to tone it down a bit, for his own health.

Did any of you ever hear Jack Conway answer why he supported the health care bill? Almost invariably, he spent the first 30 seconds talking about what was wrong with it, going straight into apology mode. But there was one time where I heard and felt something different from him. It was at the Max Cleland event in Lexington (just after the Aqua Buddha ad exploded), when someone spoke up to thank him for favoring it. Jack seemed to throw away the script for about 5 minutes and talked passionately about how this bill effected someone he knew. It might have been the only time I’ve ever really believed something that came out of his mouth. For me, Jack had always been some person that I supported by default. He would make much better decisions than Stan Lee as AG. He would make much better votes than Dan Mongiardo or Rand Paul. But I never really believed, or at least was never sure, that he really believed what he was saying. When he talked about “Kentucky values” or “why would Rand join a group that mocked Christ” or “the Hometown Tax Credit” or how evil cap and trade was or how those Bush tax cuts for the top 2% were so vital to keep, I didn’t believe him. But for those 5 minutes when he was talking about how health care reform changed the life of someone, it was the first time up to that point that I was sure Jack was speaking from the heart. I would have loved to hear Rand Paul try to counter that story, explaining how it wasn’t fair to insurance companies or the exponential spirit of capitalism. I was kicking myself later for not videotaping the Q&A session that day, because it was one of the few truly inspirational moments of this year’s senate campaign.

Unfortunately, it was also the last.

Just throwing that out there, since Congressman Awesome went and beat me to it.

And if you haven’t seen Yarmuth’s victory speech yet, please set aside 12 minutes of your time sometime today or this weekend and watch this thing from start to finish. We should all be really grateful to have someone like this in Washington DC representing our state.:

Rand Paul already flipping on the Fair Tax (UPDATE)

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October 14, 2010
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Is anyone on the face of earth shocked by Rand Paul abandoning a position at this point? Anyone? Brammer:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul appeared to distance himself Wednesday from a proposal to abolish the federal income tax.

*****

But when reporters asked Paul Wednesday why he thought the tax should be abolished, he said, “I really haven’t been saying anything like that.”

He apparently meant he had not been saying it on the campaign trail.

RAND’S LAW. I’ve been telling you folks for ages: Just because Rand Paul repeatedly and passionately and in writing advocates for something, does NOT mean that he supports. You cannot take his word on anything.

Here’s some more from AP:

Ky. Senate candidate won’t talk about ‘fair tax’

By BRUCE SCHREINER (AP) – 13 hours ago

HENDERSON, Ky. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul sidestepped questions Wednesday about revamping the federal tax code, a day after the tea party favorite took a stand to replace the income tax with a national sales tax.

*****

“I haven’t really been saying anything like that,” Paul told reporters following a speech in Henderson as part of his Kentucky bus tour. “I think it’s probably better to go … with what I’m saying on the campaign trail.”

*****

When asked by a reporter about his written comments about taxes, Paul turned his focus on government spending.

“Right now the primary problem we have in our country is a spending problem,” he said. “I am for a simpler tax code, and there are various ways you can get to it, but I think the first thing we have to address is … spending.”

He declined to answer further questions on the topic.

Alright, let’s just go ahead and add another one to the list:

$2000 Medicare deductible, Bailout Ball, Civil Rights Act, ADA, farm subsidies, the Drug War, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, the border fence, Mitch McConnell as Republican leader, Fair Housing Act, Department of Education, $2000 Medicare deductible (2nd time), ending the Fed, regulating big oil, term limits, mine safety rules, medical marijuana, and now… the Fair Tax.

“Dr. Paul, there’s a “Guinness” on the line?”

UPDATE: And now he’s in full denial mode. But the record doesn’t lie, unlike himself.

Reginald Meeks delivers the awesome

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April 19, 2010
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This guy is following up on his 2009 Rootie runner-up for best KY Democrat with more win. Check out this snarktastic email that he just sent out skewering the right in Kentucky over at Gay Skeletor’s House of Fancy Snark:

National Republican politics and the tremendous response to come one, come all Tea Party invitations have impacted this session more than you know. With the GOP scrambling to prevent further internal hemorrhaging, they see the value added by increasing numbers with folk who have a taste for tea.

An interesting Elephant Wrestlemania match is pending. The main event features the tag-team of JB, RP, DW, and they now seek to introduce their newest team member, “BIG T Party”! They don’t have a team name, but will be going up against the team known throughout the state as “The Established Link”. This team is composed of Big Daddy Mc, Tre’ Baller, and the Elephant, man. Let’s all be sure to watch just how far out in middle of the mat DW goes with BIG T. I hear the Established Link team has also made contract overtures to BIG T Party, so there is a question of Party loyalty, for sure, and no one wants to be bushwhacked by a supposed team member!

After all, there are so many different Tea groups in Kentucky. I am trying to learn if they have a consistent message; a common purpose and plan; a direction they are all moving in together and one they all are in agreement with? I want to know and understand this group, but they seem to be all over the road – and reckless driving is dangerous. Get that corn popped – extra butter please — and put up your feet. This should be fun to watch!

It is the belief of some knowlgeable individuals that Senate President David Williams was never interested in having a budget. No need for one if he, too, has developed a taste for tea and the Tea Baggers are insisting that government is dysfunctional and not being able to pass a budget is proof.

By helping to mobilize and shore up this new political ideology that is to the right of even the state Republican party, Mr. Williams has clearly made his stand against the Republican establishment; perhaps because of the angst he feels for not being the Chosen One for the US Senate seat.

And is there anyone who believes Mr. President might have overplayed his hand this session? Rumor has it that an anthropologist found what might turn out to be backbone material in the Senate Chambers this session. It is unknown just how old this material might be, but it is currently being studied at a confidential UK lab facility. When queried about why Dems in the Senate seemed to follow the leader on the budget, I was advised it is commonly thought that it’s better to go home with a budget. Really? Seems this session they violated their own rule…

Somebody get this man a blog. The Kathy Stein of Louisville?

Ben Chandler’s statement on his shameful health care vote

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March 22, 2010
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Yeah.

“As I traveled throughout the sixteen counties in my Central Kentucky district, I have heard much about healthcare reform from the people I represent. In November, I voted against the House bill because it did not lower the cost of healthcare in the long term and did not adequately protect our rural hospitals, our seniors, and small businesses. After reviewing the new healthcare reform proposal and talking with Central Kentucky hospitals, physicians, healthcare providers, and citizens, I believe this legislation helps usher in much-needed reforms—like expanding coverage and eliminating the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. However, this bill still does not address the concerns I had about its effect on our seniors, rural hospitals, and the overall cost to taxpayers. Because of this, I voted against the bill today.”

Shorter Ben: “I’m more interested in getting re-elected than actually passing legislation that will help my constituents. Also, I think that Teabaggers will flood to my side in the election this November, and those Democrats criticizing me are all talk. They’ll come back to me no matter what I do.”

Well, the KDP’s Facebook wall doesn’t look like it:

Oh, and you’re still welcome at the Facebook group devoted to those who will never, ever vote for Ben Chandler again.

Kill the Bill?

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December 15, 2009
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Holy Joe LIEberman wants to kill people to settle a grudge, so now we’re stuck with something that either (1) sucks or (2) does very little.

Howard Dean says “Kill Bill”

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Markos says “End the mandate, or else kill the bill”:

My take is that it’s unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer that enjoys sanctioned monopoly status. It’d be like forcing everyone to attend baseball games, but instead of watching the Yankees, they were forced to watch the Kansas City Royals. Or Washington Nationals. It would effectively be a tax — and a huge one — paid directly to a private industry.

Without any mechanisms to control costs, this is yet another bailout for yet another reviled industry. Subsidies? Insurance companies are free to raise their rates to absorb that cash. More money for subsidies? More rate increases, as well as more national debt. Don’t expect Lieberman and his ilk to care. They’re in it for their industry pals.

*****

Strip out the mandate, and the rest of the bill is palatable. It’s not reform, but it’s progress in the right direction. And you can still go back and tinker with it at a later time. Whether this passes or not, any further reforms will still need new legislation. And any new legislation will be just as furiously opposed as this one was. It’s not like the opponents of health care are motivated by reason. They are motivated by the health insurance industry’s bottom line. Nothing we do with this current bill will change that.

Ezra Klein says it way not be great, but it’s still good enough to pass.

Either way, the Democrats are getting killed next year. Big time.

Courier-Journal on Ben Chandler

7 comments
December 15, 2009
By

Yeppers.

“Increasingly, he seems less like a Blue Dog than a fellow traveler with the Republican minority.”

Yes, unfortunately for Ben, there aren’t any Republicans who will actually vote for him this year. And not too many Democrats that will actually waste the energy to vote for a woman-hating, Wall St. derivative enabling DINO.

A message for the Jack Conway campaign

4 comments
November 16, 2009
By

Thinking that you can go the entire campaign without taking any public position on an issue besides “pedophiles are bad” is not going to work. You will lose. Badly. And deserve to.

Love,

MC

Ben Chandler lies about his Stupak vote

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November 13, 2009
By

Blatantly.

“I support a woman’s right to choose, I support Roe v. Wade – I’m not for repealing that,” Chandler said.

“But I have been fairly consistent on the expenditure of public money for abortions, and I have generally been against that.”

The amendment’s proponents say the goal is to ensure that a longstanding ban on using federal dollars for elective abortions continues under the new health care legislation.

Abortion-rights advocates say it would make it harder for millions of women to have health insurance that covers abortion. They depict it as an assault on American women’s reproductive rights.

“There is a dispute about the effect of it, and I think that’s still being disputed by both sides,” Chandler said, adding that some say it goes further than the current ban on federally funded abortions.

“I don’t think it affects private plans,” he said. “I think there are those who think that it does.”

That is a LIE. He knows that it affects private plans. And he is lying to all of us, because he thought he could gain cheap points from the rabid Frank Simon crowd by voting for it.

This is pretty much bottom of the barrel, Ben. It’s really hard to see how you could go any lower, voting for the biggest setback to women’s rights in over 30 years, and then lying to your constituents about what you voted for.

“I’m proud to represent the people of central Kentucky, and I hope that they will give me another chance to continue to do that,” he said.

Count me out.

I’d suggest you keep calling Chandler’s offices today and let him know that you don’t appreciate both his vote, and his nerve to try to lie to us about it.

Lexington office: Phone: (859) 219-1366

DC office: Phone: (202) 225-4706

Spineless Ben spins and spins and spins…

3 comments
November 11, 2009
By

Ben Chandler finally talked to the media about his shameful votes on health care reform.

Or should I say “vote”, because apparently neither Jim Carroll or Halimah Abdullah felt that it was called for to ask him about voting for the biggest setback to women’s reproductive rights in over 30 years. Which is…. odd, no?

Anyway, here’s Ben Chandler’s spin about being stuck in SUCH a conservative district full of pitchfork wielding teabaggers who hate people having affordable health care.

“We’ve got an older district, and here in central Kentucky, particularly in rural areas of the district, there was an enormous amount of opposition to the health care bill,” Chandler said in the interview.

He said he liked a lot of things in the reform measure, such as requiring insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and trying to insure more Americans.

But, Chandler said, “We need to bring down the costs — we need to bend the cost curve.”

Oh, really? And how would you do that, Ben?

He declined to say what would need to change in the bill in order for him to support it.

“I’d just have to see the whole thing and analyze it,” Chandler said. “I want to see the costs controlled, I want to see more people get insured, I want to see the quality of the health care people receive maintained.”

Wow, not only is he mimicking Republican talking points, he’s mimicking their strategy of tearing Obama apart without offering any alternatives that would work.

Here’s some more sage wisdom from Ben:

“Was this a political vote? To tell you the truth, I was going to get hammered either way,” he said.

Actually Ben, that’s far from the case. The Republicans are going to hammer you either way, because that’s what they do.

If you voted for… I don’t know, what your own constituents in your Party wanted, they would have had your back and I think you’d manage just fine. See Dr. Garrett Adams, state coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program:

The lawmaker “underestimates his constituency,” Adams added.

“He runs more scared than he needs to,” said Adams, whose group supports a government-financed system with private health care providers. “I think his district…is more tolerant and more progressive than he gives them credit for.”

Instead, you have decided to curry favor with the teabaggers that astroturfed your office with phone calls. And I have to give a hat tip to them, because they exploited what is thought to be your biggest weakness: that you are a spineless wuss who cowers in fear at the slightest criticism.

And the question remains, because neither the Herald-Leader or Courier-Journal thought that it was worth asking:

Why is a self-described “pro-choice” representative voting to END PRIVATE INSURANCE COVERAGE OF ABORTION IN AMERICA???

Because unless he pulls a pathetic and dishonest excuse like Jim Cooper, there is no excuse.

P.S.- Jim Carroll did mention our little FB group:

But some progressive Democrats in the state already started a Facebook site called “KY Democrats who will never vote for Ben Chandler again.”

“Fighting Republicans is one thing. It’s when we have to fight so called ‘allies’ that I want to scream,” one contributor wrote on the site.

LHL and CJ unload on spineless Ben Chandler

22 comments
November 10, 2009
By

From his hometown Herald-Leader’s editorial:

Chandler’s disappointing vote

We’re not sure what Chandler hoped to accomplish politically with his vote. He endorsed Obama and voted for a cap-and-trade allowance system to reduce the heat-trapping gases that are causing climate change. The energy vote, opposed by coal interests, was probably more politically risky than this one. And he’s not going to get right with the tea baggers no matter what he does.

This is no time to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. We would have rather seen Chandler stand up for positive change rather than hunker down with Kentucky’s House Republicans who reflexively vote against anything Obama wants, even Rep. Hal Rogers whose constituents have the lowest life expectancy of residents of any congressional district.

Hats off to Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, the lone Kentuckian who put his people’s interests first.

Yes, they called them teabaggers.

And from the CJ:

The other is Rep. Ben Chandler, the Lexington Democrat who represents Kentucky’s 6th District. He voted against the bill, insisting that it is too expensive, a concern which apparently bothers him more than that 16 percent of his non-elderly constituents are uninsured.

House leaders implored their members to vote for historic reform. Mr. Chandler, handed an opportunity to show political courage, instead stared at history and blinked.

And from the CJ letters to the editor:

Kentucky’s Congressman John Yarmuth deserves our thanks for not only all his extensive hours of work in researching, negotiating and discussing health care reform, but also he gets a heart-felt thanks from me as standing up to the last-minute Stupak Amendment. It not only bans the public health insurance option from funding abortions, but also bans any private plan operating within the exchange from funding them as well.

Our neighbors in Lexington are not as lucky in their representation. Their congressman, Ben Chandler, although elected to his office as a Democrat, voted for the Stupak Amendment. I hope he doesn’t get too excited about the new “pro-life” feather in his cap. Democratic voters would just as soon have a Republican voting their conscience than a Democrat being a coward.

Merry Christmas, exploratory candidate Andy Barr. Looks like you have a chance, after all.

Feeling lonely yet, Ben? What, you mean the teabaggers haven’t run to your defense yet? You mean the Frank Simon Fetus Fetish crowd hasn’t come over to your side?

Well, you better get used to that feeling, Ben.

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