Jasper Smith

Commentary on politics, economics, culture and sports.

Archive for January 2010

Advance Patchwork

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Would parliamentary procedures allow the Senate “patch” legislation to be passed on a provisional basis? (ie., it only affects legislation that hasn’t been passed in the house yet, and would therefore be moot if the House doesn’t pass it).

In other words, maybe one way to let cooler heads prevail, and placate House liberals, is for the Senate to quickly put together and pass (via reconciliation) a “patch” bill in advance of a House vote. That way, there’s no “Lucy removing the football” fears on the part of House Democrats.

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January 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Weather and turnout

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I think everybody seems to agree turnout is a critical factor tomorrow. I’ve heard one or two comments to the effect that the sloppy weather predicted for Tuesday across most of the state favors Brown, by holding down turnout.

But I think bad weather clearly favors Coakley, myself. As a Massachusetts resident following this race very closely, my sense is there’s a huge spike in interest and enthusiasm from a lot of independent (we call them “unenrolled” here in Massachusetts) voters. I could be wrong, but the bulks of these voters strike me as being usually not particularly involved in politics. Brown needs a healthy turnout from these people to counter what I expect to be a larger than expected turnout of committed (and scared!) Democrats and liberal independents. I can imagine many a low information Brown supporter getting up tomorrow with the intention of hitting the polls on the way to work, and then realizing the roads are pretty crappy and thinking “Hmmm, maybe I should go to work first and vote on the way home.” Not all of them will make it — especially if they’re overconfident in the porn star’s chances. City lefties like me can walk to the polls even in a blizzard.

Martha could still pull this thing out. The wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of the right wing would be enough to stave off my seasonal depression for the remainder of the winter.

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January 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Should Dems ditch ObamaCare?

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I’ve been hearing lots of speculation and commentary that the healthcare bill is primarily what is to blame for tomorrow’s shocking GOP victory, and that Democrats would be well-advised to dump the legislative effort and focus on other things.

Needless to say I don’t agree.

If voters are really that pissed off about ObamaCare, aren’t they simply going to vote for the real McCoy, a Republican, no matter what? Why even consider voting for a member of the party that came pretty damned close to shoving Socialist medicine down our throats when we can have real, manly, rugged individualist proponents of freedom like Scott Brown?

Seems to me savvy Democratic law-makers will quite rightly recognize that some of the angst on display in Massachusetts flows from the perception that the Democrats are ineffective. What we see on display is a preview of what it will be like for Democrats to go before the national electorate without a substantive accomplishment under their belts, exactly like in 1994. Passing a bill will remedy this.

It’s also clear to me that the perception of what ObamaCare is now, before it is enacted, is likely to be significantly more negative than the perceptions of what the legislation actually is, once it’s passed, and people are protected by guaranteed issue and community rating, and death panels mysteriously fail to materialize. As a number of pundits have noted, there is very little support in Massachusetts for getting rid of that state’s existing universal health care bill. Turns out voters like health care security once they possess it.

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January 18, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Some largely overoptimistic thoughts on tomorrow’s election

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There are Republicans, Democrats, and independents (unenrolled) here in Massachusetts. The first of these will have a huge turnout, but they’re only 13% of all registered voters. I’m guessing registered Republicans might cast something like 22% of the votes tomorrow. Democrats account for something like 35% of the electorate. They won’t turn out in the same percentage as the GOP, but they should nonetheless turn out in higher percentages than independents; I don’t think it’s out of the question about 45%-48% of the votes cast tomorrow could be by registered Democrats. If Coakley does slightly better than expected among Democrats (most polls I’ve seen suggest Brown will pick up at least 25% of the Democratic vote) — perhaps holding onto a full 80% of this cohort — and Democrats get to the polls in greater numbers than independents — it could get interesting.*

*I’m thinking one possible scenario that would be less than the worst case would be a very narrow win for Brown. If he beats her with, say, 50.9% of the vote, a somewhat more leisurely certification process will look a lot more justified than if Brown wins pretty convincingly and Coakley calls to concede at 9pm. And that just might buy enough time to produce and score a melded bill and get the cloture vote out of the way. I half wonder if Brown himself — despite vows to the contrary — might not actually welcome the chance to avoid being blamed for killing the healthcare bill. If he’s smart, he’ll have already begun to think about 2012.

Anyway, this is all probably wishful thinking because, though my head tells me by rights it should be a close contest and Martha’s still got a shot, my heart (and my eyes — you simply don’t see any Coakley signage even here in Boston) tells me Martha’s numbers are collapsing and Brown could thump to a huge — approaching or surpassing 60% of the vote — victory.

I certainly hope I’m wrong.

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January 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Posted in Miscellania