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June 16th, 2009
08:57 PM ET

For Dems: In disunity there is strength, and maybe comprehensive health care reform

Robert Zimmerman
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst

When I was reviewing the Senate races with a member of the Senate Democratic leadership in October of 2008, I was told that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that we could come close to 60 seats. The bad news was that approximately 10 of the potentially new senators voted like Republicans.

When I discussed this on CNN, Democrats were upset with me for undermining the sacred party unity theme, and Republicans claimed that I was just trying to counter the argument that the Senate would soon become an extreme liberal bastion. That experience just proved to me that when both parties criticize you, you are probably on to something.

Even before President Obama took the oath of office, that "something" came into focus. While the political pundits and media were focusing on the speculation around presidential appointments, the new Democratic majority in the United States Senate cast its first major policy vote on January 15, 2009.

The issue was whether or not to release the second half of the financial industry bailout fund. The vote did not receive extensive media attention and analysis, but was indicative of the new climate on Capitol Hill. President-elect Obama personally lobbied new and senior senators for this vote. Lawrence Summers, director-designate of the White House National Economic Council, made three visits to the Capitol and sent two letters to senators with his assurances that the program would be run with tough oversight and better management. When all was said and done, it took six Republicans to join with 46 Democratic senators in order to give the President-elect the 52 votes he needed for passage.

That vote now seems like ancient history. However, it was a very early indicator of this new Congress and the role it will play in shaping our national agenda. After the Republicans lost control of Congress in the 2006 election, a senior Republican House member said to me that they failed because they allowed themselves to become a shadow of the Bush Administration. As the Republican Congress lost their identity, they lost the Congress. There is no question that this Democratic Congress supports the Obama Administration and its goals. However, they have made it very clear since that January 15, 2009 vote that they are a separate and equal branch of government and expect to be treated accordingly.

The Democratic Congress has demonstrated that independence on numerous occasions in large and small ways as well as substantial and political ways. The Administration sought – and occasionally was forced into – legislative compromises on the stimulus plan, budget priorities and energy and global warming legislation. They confronted a bipartisan rejection by Congress for funds to close Guantanamo due to the lack of a plan for the prisoners.

Additionally, 10 Senate Democrats joined Republicans in April to protect more wealthy American families from the impact of the federal estate tax, a change that could cost the Treasury $100 billion over 10 years. A vote on an amendment that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify troubled mortgages was defeated when 12 Senate Democrats voted with 39 Senate Republicans Even the Administration's modest, if not token, proposal to cut $17 billion from 121 government programs ran into broad opposition on Capitol Hill.

The Obama Administration has not let these skirmishes and setbacks distract them from their ambitious goals and agenda. Their respect for the role of the legislative branch and a keen understanding of the diverse coalitions that built the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate has enabled them to pass significant legislation.

It also has built an inclusive climate for a discussion and possible formulation of comprehensive health care reform. Over the next several months, the political pundits will fill the air waves reciting their partisan and special interest talking points. However, their sound bites will be drowned out by the tragic realities of the health care crisis in American today – realities that impact both the medical community and the public.

President Obama has maintained the confidence and trust of the American people to lead this debate. Senators such as Edward M. Kennedy, the Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Max Baucus, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and Kent Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee all have different approaches and proposals to address this crisis. They are working with senior Republican Senators such as Charles Grassley and Olympia Snowe in that mission.

The Democratic Congress has never been more geographically and philosophically diverse. This will produce a climate that defies traditional party politics and those seeking "one true answer." The demand for action by the American people, the diversity of the Congress and, yes, lack of partisan unity on this issue can forge a true coalition for comprehensive health care reform. In fact, that maybe the only way to get it.

Watch an AC360° Report on the health care debate here.

Editor’s Note: Robert Zimmerman has been a Democratic National Committee member since 2000. He is a partner at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations firm based in New York.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Democrats • Health Care • Raw Politics • Robert Zimmerman
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Donald Delle donne

    Reform health Care: Who thinks that the government doesn't already set the rules and terms for health care for the insurance companies. yes they do!!! Just contact AARP and they will tell you Who sets all the policies. The U.S. Government, so it won't change if it is run by the government they already run it!!! But just maybe it will be cheeper because they will eliminate the middle man. Just like whem Home Depot opened up all the wholesale hardware distributors went out of business.
    All they have to do is take away the Social security tax and the medicare tax you pay every week out ot your pay check and give it back to you, about $6,000.00 per person a year. You get a great yearly raise of $6,000.00 What a stimulas package. the copporations get the same per person, that should make them happy???
    Now how do you pay for Medicare and S.S. You Tax gasoline .25 cents a gallon for all uses, trains, planes, trucks, autos and teenagers, etc. Now you have $6,000.00 a year to pay for the gasoline and a lot of other bills and you build a great S.S. and medical plan paid for by you and every other person in the United States.
    simple isn't it, but the government wants to keep the payroll tax deduction and charge you a .03 cents sales tax on candy or any sweets. You get nothing back you just pay more!!!
    the county I live in has a 1/2 cent gas tax it pays for all medical expenses for people whho make under $23,000.000 a year and it works. one half cent pays it all. Polk county Florida. if the nation can't do it on a quarter something is way wrong.

    June 21, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  2. susan

    in fairness both the Republicans and the Democrats were against Civil Rights, but it was the Democrats who took the risk and passed the Civil Rights Act, even though, as President Johnson predicted, would assure that the South would be lost to the Democrats for at least a generation. They did the politically inexpedient thing, but did the Right thing.

    June 18, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  3. Mary

    Obama has already spent/wasted so much of my money, I can't even imagine the price tag of wasteful spending he will sink into Healthcare. I do believe we need health care for all, but not ran or controlled by the government..........just look how much money has already been wasted by Obama! I didn't think it was possible for a President to waste so much money in such a short period of time.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:46 am |
  4. slickwilly

    the best way to fund universal health care is to remove the entitlements that politicians receive in retirement, health care and other perks and use this savings along with the elimination of welfare and slim down the enrollment of ssi to retired and severely handicapped only and the elimination of new fuel and farm subsidies. funding of Medicare and Medicare can be absorbed in to the new health care system.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Larry

    Why do wealthy Canadians go to the U.S. for treatment?

    June 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Michelle from Iowa

    Those of you screaming about potential tax increases to fund universal health care ... wouldn't you rather pay for that than some fat-cat's bonus? The system has been broken for a long time and fixing it won't be cheap. The engine light on the health care car has been ignored too long; after neglecting pay-as-you-go $25 oil changes, the motor either needs to be replaced or it's time to buy a new car. Can't afford it? Too bad. If you need transportation, you'll just have to find a way to suck it up. If you keep your lemon and replace the parts piece by piece, over time, you will have invested at least double the original price of your car despite it's depreciated value. Examine the health care systems of other countries, pick the top two and then decide. Money is a moot point- we either continue to strangle ourselves with higher premiums/out-of-pockets and pay higher taxes to cover those who are excluded, or pay the same in taxes to cover everyone. Get over it! If you're one of the screamers, all you're doing in the long-run is delaying the change and supporting on-going profits for the A.M.A., drug companies, insurance companies, for profit hospitals....

    June 17, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  7. Melissa

    Ray, of course we were obstructionist. Look what Bush was doing. He entered into a war based on lies, got thousands of people murdered, caused trouble for science, promoted ignorance, spent $10 billion a month on a foreign war, and caused the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. If you think that Democrats shouldn't have been obstructionist to that, there's something wrong with your head. Its not funny at all

    Obama, on the other hand, has put discovery and science back where it belongs, is promoting the rights of people regardless of religion, has caused the recession to to stop its lightning fast tumble, is promoting health care and education for his people, and is reluctant to go to war after the expense of the last one. Thats not funny either.

    You really need to think before you type.

    June 17, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  8. RLWellman

    The Democrats don't want to cross over the great divide. They could care less if the Republicans cross either.

    Lets look at the first bill that was passed with the new administration. The porkulus 2nd stimulis bill. The Democrats wrote the bill, showed it to the Republicans and gave them less than a day to read it. Then, when the Republicans wanted some things revised, the Democrats said this is it, sign it or get out of the way. This is working together?

    The Democrats like to build and grow. They want to become so large that they will have control over every aspect of our lives. They are our big brother and want to care for us. They don't care how much anything costs or where the money comes from. They will just keep taxing us until they come up with it.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  9. AZO

    From what I understand of what I've been hearing from Obama and other discussions, basically the government will have control over who gets the tests, and how much the tests will cost. So what happens when... say... a 70 year old man comes into the hospital needing his third heart cath. Wait, a third? Our criteria shows he doesn't fit the bill for us (the Government) to cover this, but he's more than welcome to use a private insurance company... which he can't afford to do. Then comes his neighbor, with the same criteria who happens to be able to afford the private insurance to get it done. It becomes a rich have more advantages, the middle man or poor are being left out. How to fix it? We'll tax the rich even more. It's a never-ending, viscous cycle.

    We don't need a NEW health care system, we need to fix the one we have. It worked before, it's just been abused so much that it's a wreck and everyone takes advantage of it. CAP malpractice pay-outs, and divert the funding. Get more people involved in Disability Insurance fraud. I bet they'll find a TON of money there to put towards better health care for everyone. I can't tell you the number of times a patient has walked through the ER with a back injury, which they got while jet skiing or roofing their garage (two recent examples seen in our ER). Look down on the paperwork and whoa.... they're on disability for a back injury on the assembly line. This is just ONE of so many examples. It's sad.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:31 am |
  10. Dan - San Mateo

    In order to do great things we must "Make Them Do It"! otherwise vote in a new set of Representatives in 2010 and a new President in 2012!

    The best way to stop frivilous malpractice suits is to fight each and everyone and not allow Insurance companies to settle in order to save money and then raise Doctors premiums. Then disbar those in the legal profession who bring in these frivilous lawsuits. Tort reform will only enrich the pockets of the insurance companies and limit the rights of the people. Do you want a drug maker to get away with knowingly making and selling bad medicine? They will do it when they can shield themselves from be accountable at a limited price.

    And now, lets Make Them do a "Public Option" without any strings on the public. Set minimum standard coverages and pricing for all and that includes those with pre existing conditions.

    If we had 70 votes in the Senate, we'd have Single Payer.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  11. Mimi Vangel

    Are you a journalist reporting in an unbiased fashion?. Are you really a political analyst who looks at both sides? Your report says that when speaking to a Democratic strategist, he told you there was good news and bad news. The good news was that WE (you didn't say the Democrats you said WE) were close to 60 seats..........interesting.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  12. Heartlight3, Maui, HI

    Ray, you are correct, the Democrats tried to put the brakes on when Bush kept proposing the policies that have brought us to this point of near collapse of the economy, the climate, and our standing in the world, but clearly they were not successful. Look at where we are. The Republicans did not attempt any semblance of bipartisanship and just pushed through pretty much everything Bush wanted.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    The only thing "comprehensive health care reform" will do, if Americans are so unfortunate to have it imposed on them, is replace a damaged system with a catastrophic one. Most of the mess of the current system is due to government meddling, and the Dems want to stick their noses in even farther?

    Lunacy!

    When has government ever done anything right? When has what they tell people something will cost ever been right? And when has the cost ever been less than two or three or ten times what they've claimed.

    Don't be naive, people! Look at the disasters of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security! Every one of them insanely expensive–far more so than politicians admitted to when trying to get people to buy into these schemes–and every one of them bureaucratic nightmares.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  14. Richmond Pam

    Healthcare is a critical economic and social issue facing our country, it is critical for everyone to work together to move our healthcare programs forward. The recession has resulted in many not having 40 hour a week jobs and therefore no healthcare. I hope Zimmerman is correct because a great society like ours should be able to provide affordable healthcare for all.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  15. Constance

    I find it interesting that the only people I have ever seen advocating the Republican's free-market-competition-will-drive-down-costs-and-make-healthcare-affordable-for-everyone are media types who have sponsors such as Aetna and Pfiser at every commercial break, politicians who receive "donations" from pharma or insurance company lobbyists, and all otherwise wealthy people who stand to lose if our nation ever does the right thing and makes healthcare a right rather than a privilege. While they are all screaming "SOCIALISM!", people are dying because they can't afford to live.

    Free-market capitalism will never have a conscience, people. And no matter how competitive the doctors and hospitals become, a triple bi-pass will never be offered in the Sunday coupon adds or be affordable to someone who works part-time mowing lawns (and grateful to have a job at all).

    I wrote my congressman a few weeks ago to beg him to consider backing up healthcare reform that covered all Americans. He wrote me back and told me no. (He's GOP) I wrote back and said I would make it my goal to get him out of office since he obviously does not care about the people he is supposed to represent.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  16. Raj Singh

    If a doctors office runs like a "for profit" business, then there needs to be more open competition in this space, like in every other industry. Patients need to see their bills.

    Now suppose someone works for a pharmaceutical company and develops a drug to cure a certain disease. Under the current system, if this person were not to have Health Insurance at some point in his life, he can be denied the same medicine that he helped invent !!

    If those without Health Insurance are allowed prescription drugs over the counter, medical care will become accessible. (If someone really wants to hurt himself, they are unlikely to buy expensive prescription medicines – even now they can go to the nearest Home Depot to buy dangerous stuff. )

    June 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    IF this Congress cannot come up with a good health care plan for the American people, I hate to think just how long it will take and what kind of changes and suffering will occur before it does. Too many people uninsured, going without basic health care, having to decide whether to buy medicine or groceries each month, scared that a large health care bill will come their way that will wipe them out and everything they have worked for over decades. Too many people stuck in jobs they hate because they can't afford to go to another job they will enjoy more because the company with that desired job has no health care plan ; and for those companies that do provide health care the ever increasing costs which make their product costs go up and make them less than competitive. Its time Congress acts. I hope they realize that.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  18. Brad W.

    Melissa, you may want to put some time and effort in to learn about politics. Democratic Congresses have been hugely obstructionist in the past. Not to mention Republicans ARE putting out their own health care proposals, but the Democrats aren't too eager to even look at them. It takes two to tango. If Obama puts down his pack of Marlboro Reds for a second, he and the Democratic Congress may want to at least peruse the much more Centrist health care plan that the Republicans have offered. It's easy to call Republicans names now that Democrats actually won something. Act like like you've been there before.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  19. Mary

    As a registered democrat, I need to rethink my party. There seems to be no 'common sense' in use of the tax payers dollars. If Congress and Obama are saying they can 'save' all this money, then do it with Medicare and Medicaid....what's stopping you? Bogus numbers, right?

    Just like the the car company can't go bankrupt......oh wait they can go bankrupt, after they receive billions of the taxpayers money....and then apply Chicago style politics, to override the nation's bankruptcy laws/court.

    I can't believe the corruption! Based on Obama's run for President, I just didn't see this much waste and corruption coming.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  20. Ronnie

    The GOP hasn't had a good idea in a hundred years!No wonder their party is self destructing!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  21. Sarah K.

    It is amazing to me that everyone has forgotten and forgiven Ted Kennedy for murdering a woman.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  22. Lampe

    Melissa: Obama said he wanted to change the way things are run. So let's see if I got this right. He doesn't want all the fighting and name calling crap. Right? So if that's the case, why then shouldn't Democrats be willing to work across the divide as you put it? And, if they are not willing to. Doesn't that make them just as bad as The Republicans?

    June 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  23. D.J.

    This writer seem to be well informed on some issues, but he fails to speak of the trail of fear that Obama has approached each and every item he has decided that he would jump into. Not once has he given the public the info that we so desperately need to understand the reason for his actions. He will release a part of the info at least 2 days before he go to the press and he acts like you already have all the info you need and you are wasting his time if you ask and goes on to the next reporter. One day the headlines will scream "I have found the money to allow us to pay for Health Care" then we find that it was only a couple of billion and the real cost is closer to 1.6 trillion. Why do we never get the truth?

    June 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  24. Jonf

    Congress and President Obama's biggest fault with health care is their inability to acknowledge that the insurance industry causes a great deal of disparity and needless suffering- and is the biggest roadblock to inuring the uninsured. We don't need to reinvent health care in America, we needs to fix it. With basic changes we can make many of the uninsured able to afford insurance. But that means telling the insurers to change or leave the marketplace. The President and Congress don't want to do that. They seem to want to change everything rather than fix the parts that are broken. If only the President's ego would settle down and he could settle on being less than the "great reformer."

    If you could regulate the insurers, especially the ones carrying individual policies, we could prevent the exorbitant costs and the horrors of companies that do not seem to know right from wrong. No more medical underwriting, no more roadblocks in the middle of someone's medical treatment – the government can put a stop to this. You don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get there either.

    The problem with disunity in Congress is that it allows the President to run all over him with his grand plans – even though he has repeatedly said that he would leave the details of health care up to Congress. He obviously meant that they had to agree with him also.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  25. Ray

    You're pretty hilarious Melissa. During the Bush administration, I remember the Democrats being obstructionist about pretty much everything Bush proposed, including trying to win a war in the Middle East.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  26. saray

    Love your show; I watch it all the time… There are a few things that bother me about the conversation we are having about Health Care reform/ Debate/overhaul/ whatever you want to call it:
    1. My understanding is the government’s plan is only to cover/insure the 50 million uninsured right now?
    2. This cannot be called an overhaul if people outside of the 50 million are still paying premiums higher than car notes. And I’m talking about really nice cars... How does the overhaul help everyone else?
    3. This is not government health care, so why do your pundits muddy the water by calling it government health care? Please do us a service by calling it what it is. Or simply say the government will provide insurance for those not covered and therefore the government should be treated/called an insurance provider/agency.
    4. We should have a public insurance program to compete with private insurers. If that benefits we the people, I’m not sure I understand what the problem is. Are we being asked to feel sorry for the already rich and powerful? If it does drive the private insurers out of business, well that means it’s time for a change to their business model…
    5. The health care providers are still in the private sector not government doctors competing with the private doctors.
    6. For the AMA to fight this makes plenty of sense, you’d be mad too if I was taking money out of your pocket… As a middle class citizen, that is exactly what they have been doing for years, taking money out of our pocket at every opportunity.
    6a) They tell us to look for doctors in a network, so we do, and then they bill us because a technician or doctor who was called in at their request but not on the network. Guess who pays for that? Yep! We do!
    Even when we follow their rules and do exactly what they tell us to do, we are forced to make many phone calls from one department to the next because the left hand has no idea what the right is doing… Is that what I should be worried about when a loved one is going into surgery?
    6b) This is all by design, they are betting that we’ll give up the fight or we are too dumb to understand how things work.
    7. Overhaul the system means change it all together. Make it right, fair and affordable for everyone …
    8. I love Obama, but it’s time to Man Up! This is the time to change everything we know doesn’t work… The people are behind him because we do want change. So change it for heaven’s sake! And make the change lasting and meaningful, push the envelope, if not now, then when?

    PS, if my understanding is off base, then dumb it down so I get it! I’m sure there are many more like me…

    Saray
    Santa Barbara CA

    June 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  27. Als

    I think the Pres should adopt the Canadian system for health care. Some people worry about waiting in the ER. We already wait in the ER forever anyway. It is clear the canadian people are cared about. How are we going to pay for it write the check like you did for Bush for 8 years. At least the money will be spent for the American people. The money Bush spent was for the greed of wall street etc.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  28. Larry

    Still waiting for Obama to keep his campaign promise to folk that could not afford a health care plan; that they would receive the same health care plan he was receiving as a U.S. Senator.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  29. Tim Gibson

    Never count your chickens before the eggs hatch. Obama in words as of yet fails to match Obama of actions.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  30. sherman

    I agree with Zimmerman. Disagreement often moves issues forward and to a more amenable resolve for all. I certainly hope this will be the case with healthcare reform. It is distressing that before the healthcare conversation really begins ads are already running with a negative slant on healthcare reform. It's hard to view our society as one of equality for all without healthcare for all.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  31. fran Frank

    My family has faced several major illnesses recently. We are fortunate that we are able to afford health insurance – which is a larger monthly amount than our mortgage- and the additional money that is needed to effect excellent outcomes. It is heartbreaking to know that many people die because they can't afford chemotherapy or end up in a wheel chair because they can't afford a knee replacement.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  32. Richmond Pam

    There is health care crisis is real and affects everyone. Zimmerman has an excellent take on Democratic matters and I certainly hope he is
    correct that the current Congress can create a plan that will move our nation forward with healthcare for all.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  33. Anne Vincent

    Nobody is talking about the biggest elephant in the room! The American health care fiasco is in existence because our Democratic legislators have allowed the adversarial malpractice system to continue! The American Trial Lawyers and their many lobbies have obvious total control, and keep the legislature impotent to make necessary changes in the whole system.

    Every single physician in the US pays over $40,000. per year to malpractice companies; this enormous cost to the whole of health care could be used to pay for arbitration panels for compensation of medical injuries, so that victims and their families could be compensated, rather than rich attorneys and the legal system. (Like the panels used to compensate victims of 9/11.)This would provide much better compensation for those who require it, and would allow us to divert the hundreds of billions of dollars from the adversarial system toward the new health care plan that our nation requires! There is only one reason that nobody is publicly discussing this issue....including our news media. The stench of corruption is rampant!

    June 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  34. Lisa in CA

    Those Dems who voted with the GOP to protect wealthy Americans and their estate taxes says a whole lot - they want to protect THEMSELVES at the expense of the nation.

    As for the Senators who will be on the committee regarding healthcare reform, let me know when they get a procedure denied. I can not take seriously any ideas from anyone on this issue who doesn't have to go through the process we normal Americans have to go through. You cannot solve what you do not understand. And you cannot understand what you yourself do not have to go through. Any healthcare reform will cost us (and by us, I do mean middle class America) more than what is projected. One only need look to the Medi-Care Prescription Drug Program for proof that these same folks don't have an understanding of what they are attempting to legislate.

    June 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  35. Samuel Johnson

    I would have to say I agree with you but we are going to need alot more co-operation from the people up top to see the neccesary changes that NEED to be done.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  36. Mari

    President Obama inherited a disaster from Bush. He has a long, long mountain to climb.

    About healthcare, let's not forget that the GOP were also against:

    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Social Security
    Unemployment benefits
    Minimum wage
    Any and all unions

    Don't fall for the lies, America, do your own research, become informed. THINK for yourselves. There are powerful lobbies like the AMA that will do everything in its power to derail healthcare for all Americans.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  37. Joanna

    You're much more positive about this than I am, but I certainly hope you are right about this.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  38. JC- Los Angeles

    Judging from the deplorable state of our nation, it's unfathomable to suggest that anyone in Washington deserves to keep their job.

    While President Obama and his team should be given ample time to prove that they are more than flawless campaigners, the same standard should not be applied to the failures in the House & Senate.

    Education? please; Healthcare? I'm getting sick; Wall Street? collapsed; corporate executives? worthless; Real Estate? pure fraud; Oversight? non-existent; expense accounts for career politicians? check.

    It's time to start over and we should start on Capitol Hill.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  39. susan

    But that disagreement and freedom to vote contrary to "party line" is precisely why the Democratic Party is more democratic than the Republican Party. The message of the Republicans seems to be "tow the line" or risk being tossed out. (see response of Cheney, Limbaugh re: Powell et al.)

    The Democrats can sometimes Agree to Disagree. In doing so, they keep lines of communication open. You find that those points of disagreement are flaws in your own argument and that you are not god (or God) and must look to refine your own stance/argument. This leads to improvement, or you realize you havent got it right. Or, more importantly, is there a single Right versus Wrong. (Look at this issue of killing – if killing is ALWAYS wrong, then why do people go to war, or why do we have a death penalty? Or why do we develop instruments whose sole purpose is to kill. )

    June 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  40. Laurie from GN

    very informative and knowledgeable about the issues

    June 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  41. Michael C. McHugh

    I'm afraid to see what "Bipartisan Compromise" they are about to come up with on health care reform. It will probably be the worst of all world, mandating that every individual buy health insurance from private companies, rather than the menu of choices Obama has been talking about, in which people dissatisfied with their current coverage could choose a cooperative, a public option, or subsidized private insurance.

    No, I don't even what to look at what's coming down the line on this one, for fear of just how bad and unpopular it might be.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  42. Melissa

    The problem is that the Democrats may be willing to cross the divide but the Republicans arent and that is going to cause alot of trouble. The Democrats would be better off not trying to cross the divide and just doing what is necessary whether the Republicans want it or not.

    The Republicans are obstructionist. The Democrats are constructionist.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  43. Rob Snowden

    Hi,

    Coming up, a comment about what I don't like about your show, even though I like your show.

    That's right, the comment will be coming up in just a few seconds. It's about a faithful fan who is annoyed by something that is done repeatedly on the show.

    Stay tuned, the comment about what is irritating about the show is next.

    I enjoy your show, but started to get irritated once I noticed how much time is spent on your show previewing the next stories that will be coming up on the same show. I guess it is done to keep people tuned in, but I bet 10-15% of the air time is telling you what you will be seeing, and in some cases, like the video of the cop and the ambulance driver confrontation, the several previews, when combined, exceeded the length of the actual story. How about just previewing it at the beginning like 60 minutes does and not repeating it before every commercial break. Just keeping you honest and to the point.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:25 pm |

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