GOP To Unemployed: ‘Tough Sh*t’

So says GOP Sen. Jim Bunning, who is blocking an extension of unemployment benefits that would serve to benefit 1.2 million Americans:

Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: “Tough shit.”

Not only did Bunning kneecap America’s unemployed, he then had the gall to complain that his obstructionism caused him to miss–wait for it–a basketball game:

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

“I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he said, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.

That’s the GOP for you–they got theirs, so they don’t care about anyone else.

Jim Bunning has a massive, taxpayer-funded salary, so he cares more about his basketball game than the 10.7% of Kentuckians who are unemployed.

Unemployed? Tough. Uninsured? Tough. Sorry, Republicans have basketball games to go to, they don’t have time for you and your problems.

But there is hope–Jim Bunning’s retiring. And, this year, we have a chance to replace him with someone who really cares about the people–Dr. Dan Mongiardo.


BREAKING: NY-GOV: Paterson Out

David Paterson–New York’s unpopular, scandal-plagued, accidental Governor– will not seek re-election this year:

Embattled New York Governor David Paterson has decided to withdraw from the race for governor and will not seek election this year, local media reported on Friday.

The Democratic governor, implicated in newly raised questions of impropriety involving a top aide, has been under growing pressure to pull out of the race.

His withdrawal, reported by the New York Daily News and the New York Post, focuses political attention on state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has been widely expected to challenge Paterson for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.


Paterson was elected lieutenant governor and ascended to the top post two years ago when former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal.

It now looks almost certain that Attorney General Cuomo will enter the race. On the Republican side, their candidate is likely to be former Congressman and failed Senate candidate Rick Lazio.

An Important Distinction

Reconciliation is a process, outlined in the Senate rules, through which certain kinds of bills can be passed by a simple majority.

The ‘nuclear option’ was a proposed change to Senate rules that would have eliminated the filibuster in all circumstances.

Why bring this up? Because Republicans are pretending that the nuclear option and reconciliation are the same thing–they’re trying to attack Democrats as hypocrites for opposing the nuclear option but supporting reconciliation for health care reform.

Sorry, Republicans, but words have meanings–you can’t just redefine them in order to smear your political opponents. Reconciliation and the nuclear option are not the same thing, no matter how often you lie about it.

UPDATE: And if conservatives try to claim that reconciliation is rarely-used or somehow unprecedented they should be reminded that–between 1995 and 2007–the GOP used reconciliation 7 times.

Most recently, the GOP used reconciliation to pass–wait for it–a health care reform bill:

  • 2005 – Legislation That Reduced Spending on Medicaid and Raised Premiums on Upper-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
  • 2003 – President Bush’s 2003 Tax Cuts
  • 2001 – President Bush’s Signature $1.35 Trillion Tax Cut
  • 2000 – $292 Billion “Marriage Penalty” Tax Cut (VETOED)
  • 1997 – Balanced Budget Act
  • 1996 – Legislation to Enact Welfare Reform
  • 1995 – “Contract With America” Agenda

[Emphasis mine]

Michael Steele Demonstrates Republican Priorities

The RNC Chair is living the high life using other people’s money:

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers – expenses that are infuriating the party’s major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress.

Most recently, donors grumbled when Steele hired renowned chef Wolfgang Puck’s local crew to cater the RNC’s Christmas party inside the trendy Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then moved its annual winter meeting from Washington to Hawaii.


A POLITICO analysis of expenses found that compared with 2005, the last comparable year preceding a midterm election, the committee’s payments for charter flights doubled; the number of sedan contractors tripled, and meal expenses jumped from $306,000 to $599,000.

“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman,” said one longtime Republican fundraiser. “He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”


When Steele took over the chairmanship last winter, he inherited a $23 million surplus. Since then, the former Maryland lieutenant governor has raised $10 million less than the party collected in 2005 and has spent $10 million more. By the end of 2009, the committee’s surplus had shrunk to $8.4 million, according to campaign finance reports.

[Emphasis mine]

The RNC tries to justify this mess by saying that, since there isn’t a Republican in the White House, Steele has to travel a lot more to fundraise than some of his predecessors.

But, again, Steele is spending more and raising less–it certainly doesn’t look like the exorbitant travel, lodging, food and floral (really?) expenditures are profitable investments.

Personally, if I were a Republican donor, I’d be angry that my hard-earned money was going to pamper the RNC Chairman rather than win elections.  Without enough funding, the pool of potential GOP pickups will shrink–and for what? Fancy food, private jets and all of the pretty flowers Michael Steele desires.

(Not to mention the hypocrisy of complaining about Democratic spending policies when the Chair of the GOP is using other people’s money to keep himself knee-deep in Hawaiian junkets and gourmet food. At least we’re creating jobs and improving health care.)

Senate Passes Jobs Bill

Thanks to newly-elected Senator Scott Brown, Democrats were able to pass a jobs bill through the Senate earlier today; the final vote was 70-28.

For your convenience, here are the 28 Senators who voted against putting Americans back to work:

Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Nelson (D-NE)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)

Scott Brown, The Right’s Falling Star?

A day after the Massachusetts special election, I wrote:

[W]hile Scott Brown may be the GOP’s golden boy of the moment, keep in mind that he’s up for re-election come 2012. In Massachusetts.

So, unless Brown is content being a partial-term Senator, I highly doubt he’s going to remain a right-wing darling for long.

In fact, Brown could end up being the Dems go-to guy when it comes to peeling off GOP votes in order to beat a filibuster.

And here’s what happened this morning:

In his third vote as a Senator, Brown vote against Republicans, helping break a filibuster on a jobs promotion bill crafted by Democrats.

Now, I’m sure a lot of conservatives are telling themselves this morning that Sen. Brown is still better than Sen. Coakley would have been.

But there’s a huge gap between the raucous support Brown received since the election and a begrudging “at least he’s not a Democrat.”

I imagine that, with a few more votes like these (necessary if Brown wants to be more than a partial-term Senator) his popularity on the right will end up being a mere shadow of what it once was.

The President’s Health Care Reform Plan


  • Provide the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing costs for tens of millions of families and small businesses.
  • Cover 31 million currently uninsured Americans.
  • Create a health insurance market that will give tens of millions of Americans access to the same insurance choices members of Congress have.
  • Set policies to lower premiums and prevent abuse and denial of care.
  • End discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion in the first two decades.

Of course, I expect Republicans to oppose the plan. My question to them is, which parts specifically are you against? The middle class tax cut? The $1 trillion deficit reduction? Giving Americans more choices? Ending waste, fraud and abuse? Preventing discrimination based on preexisting conditions? What part of this, exactly, doesn’t sit well with you?

I mean, the right can gibber on and on about ‘socialism’ and ‘big government’ and ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies but–unless they can point to specific parts of this plan they oppose–that’s all just so much empty fearmongering.

We’re dealing with concrete proposals and detailed policies here — if the right can’t tell us which specific policies they oppose then they don’t really have a leg to stand on, do they?

UPDATE: And for anyone who tries to complain that the President’s plan doesn’t contain any Republican policies–guess what? You’re wrong.