Daily Archives: Aug. 13, 2009

Are angry protesters scaring off public, hurting GOP?

spectorprotest2Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, isn’t holding town hall meetings on health care reform because of threats he has received. Meanwhile, other Democratic lawmakers continue to be shouted down at town hall meetings. An angry Pennsylvania man (see photo) warned Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., this week that “one day God’s going to stand before you, and he’s going to judge you and the rest of your damned cronies up on the Hill.”
But columnist David Broder wonders whether such outbursts will end up backfiring. “What doesn’t make the news is what the reaction is among the larger population of voters whose views will ultimately influence the fate of health care legislation,” he wrote. Broder noted that some Republicans are starting to worry about this, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who last week called the reform plan “downright evil” but this week called for civil discourse.
Columnist Froma Harrop predicts the latest of the GOP’s “red-faced crusades” will hurt the party, pointing to how Republicans lost seats in Congress after impeaching President Clinton in 1998 and after trying to meddle in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000 and the Terri Schiavo tragedy in 2005. She concludes: “Other factors influenced these outcomes, of course. But politicians now facing the wrath of enraged right-wingers should note that similar unruly outbursts in the past probably worked against the Grand Old Party. Come November 2010, voters are not going to punish Democrats or the Republicans who work with them on health reform, if the product is well designed.”

Gates understandably upset with Brownback, Roberts

GatesDefense Secretary Robert Gates is understandably upset that Kansas Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts are blocking the appointment of a new secretary of the Army in an effort to keep Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to Leavenworth. “The secretary is very disappointed,” the Pentagon press secretary told Politico. “We are fighting two wars at once, and the service that is bearing the biggest burden is the Army. So it needs and deserves this leadership.” A senior administration official called the senators’ procedural move “simply irresponsible.”

Open thread 8/13

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Tiahrt wrong about immigrants and health care

illegalimmigration6Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, claimed during a town hall meeting Tuesday in Derby that a third of the estimated 46 million people in the United States who don’t have health insurance are illegal immigrants. But according to estimates by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, the number of illegal immigrants without insurance is 5.6 million, or about 12 percent of the total. That’s still a lot, but it’s far less than a third. Tiahrt also claimed that the health reform plan in Congress would pay for insuring illegals. But House and Senate bills explicitly prohibit “individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States” from receiving federal assistance to buy health insurance.

Six wise to pull back from sign fight

New AGAttorney General Steve Six was prudent in declining to devote additional state resources to defending a 2006 law placing limits on the size and content of signs for sexually oriented businesses along highways. Similar laws have been struck down in at least three states, including Missouri, making Kansas’ law a long shot as well. “It would be fiscally irresponsible to continue litigation that has very little chance of success,” Six said in a statement. “This agreement avoids unnecessary litigation costs and prevents taxpayers from being on the hook for the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.” The attorney for the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, which is along I-70 in Abilene and brought the federal lawsuit, estimated Six’s decision will save taxpayers $150,000. Legislators behind this attempt to curb adult businesses’ signs — even when, as in this case, they contain words and no pictures — should think twice before trying again next session. Even such businesses are entitled to the broad protections of the First Amendment.