Thursday, February 12, 2015

Last Call For Ore-Gone Crazy

I'm beginning to wonder if at this point, there's anything that Oregon Dem Gov. John Kitzhaber can do correctly without looking like a moron.

Gov. John Kitzhaber decided to resign Tuesday but then changed his mind, insisting Wednesday afternoon that he's staying, The Oregonian/OregonLive has learned. 
Events developed as the Democratic governor, now in a historic fourth term and fighting multiple investigations, faced eroding support from other elected officials and even his own advisers. 
The governor decided to pull back from resigning - set for Thursday or Friday -- after meeting with his attorney, Portland lawyer Jim McDermott, and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. Hayes' role in his administration has been the source of much of his troubles
The account of the tumultuous 24 hours was developed from a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the events.

"My lawyer and my crazy fiancee talked me out of resigning" is a really, really good sign you need to resign anyway, man.

To resign, Kitzhaber needed Secretary of State Kate Brown, who would succeed him if he steps down. But Brown, 54, was in Washington, D.C., for a conference of the National Association for Secretaries of State. 
Kitzhaber called Brown on Tuesday afternoon, telling her she needed to return to Portland for a face-to-face meeting as soon as she could. She was on a plane by Wednesday morning. 
The governor's staffers set to work Wednesday morning, planning for a resignation announcement that all understood was imminent. 
But word soon got back to Oregon that Brown had been called back, leaving Washington two days earlier than she planned.

As news reporters began calling for comments from his office, Kitzhaber met with Hayes and McDermott.

Both pushed back against the planned resignation. It's unclear what arguments Hayes and McDermott used to pull Kitzhaber back from the brink. 
The governor decided then against resigning.

I don't honestly know what to say about this, other than this seems to be an almost Rob Ford level of failure here.  You have less than zero credibility after this story.  Dude, just go already.

Take The Money And Run

If you want to get more into the weeds on Obamacare, you should be reading Richard Mayhew's posts over at Balloon Juice frankly, but I wanted to point out a couple of things in the latest Obamacare sign-up numbers.

Signups for ObamaCare are surging in southern states, with increases of nearly 100 percent in some states compared to last year, federal health officials said Wednesday. 
Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi have each seen 80 percent more signups compared to last year, Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said. 
The same states are also reporting the fastest rate of growth in the final two weeks of the current enrollment period, which ends Feb. 15. Each of the states has reported 5 percent more signups over the last two weeks compared to last year. 
The trend is particularly significant given that the Republican governors in each of the states have made little or no effort to promote signups, leaving the outreach to state and national healthcare advocacy groups. State leaders, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have been some of the law’s harshest critics. 
Real simply, I think word is spreading. I think word of mouth is spreading really positively as neighbors tell neighbors how easy it’s been to get coverage this year,” Slavitt told reporters in a briefing Wednesday.

And these new signups on federal exchange red states with no Medicaid expansion are exactly the folks who are going to get screwed should King v Burwell go south in June. They are the most likely to be able to get subsidies because of low income (providing they don’t fall into the gap left by refusal to expand Medicaid), and the ones least likely to be able to afford insurance without them, should Scalia and company have their way.

In other words, Jindal and Abbott and Phil Bryant and Nikki Haley are going to have a bunch of rather angry constituents on their hands. The conventional wisdom is that red state governors are somehow going to be the ones pushing for a post-King fix should it come to that.

I doubt they will. They’ll simply blame Obama and walk away from the mess. It’s not like voters give a damn enough to punish these clowns. It’s possible that there may be a critical mass demanding Congress fix subsidies, but even best case scenario on that is Boehner and McConnell going “OK, so what do you want to give us in order to fix this?” and that’s without a full Tea Party revolt at the idea of “fixing” Obamacare.

It’s just depressing to believe that we’re seriously talking about the likely possibility of the Supreme Court wrecking the lives of millions over a goddamn typo, and it’s just obscene to consider the aftermath of a situation.

Popcorn Populists

Ed Kilgore on Republican fake populism playing a role in the 2014 GOP rampage:

The allusion is to the success of Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and even more strikingly (since reproductive rights were central to the messaging of his Democratic opponent Mark Udall) Cory Gardner of Colorado, who used the Bobby-Jindal-suggested gimmick of supporting OTC contraceptives as an anti-government gesture that also superficially rebutted Democratic claims they wanted to restrict access to contraceptives. It was clever, if not especially deep or credible. But what Edsall is suggesting is that if swing voters want to vote Republican, such gestures on economic issues could be effective even if they are shallow and insincere.

That’s something for progressives to keep in mind before mocking Republican “populism” too much. A little bit can go a long way if that’s the way the wind is blowing.

I'll counter with two words:  Sam Brownback.

The Kansas governor's "populism" has been an absolute austerity disaster so far, and if Democrats are smart, they'll keep Kansas's terrible economy in the news as much as possible.  If there's any Republican who wants to take Brownback's austerity program nationally and put America back into a deep recession, it's "budget guru" John Kasich.

Democrats can easily take this approach apart if they move now to head it off.

But Kilgore is right: unchecked, Republican fake populism is going to help them in places where the Obama recovery hasn't helped the middle class much at all.


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