​The Graham-Cassidy reform-and-perhaps-replace-but-not-really-repeal plan has earned praise from a fair amount of analysts on rightish side of center, and it does indeed use a vigorous federalism as it’s guiding principle, kicking the debate down to the individual state level.

This is really chasing the emerging reality. Texas already delivers health care in ways that are different from New York or California. Graham-Cassidy would give states more room to work out their own solutions by block-granting money that would have gone to Medicaid expansion or premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. You want single-payer and high taxes? Move to California. You want affordable premiums and higher-deductible plans that mean you pay more for day to day health care but you’re covered for the larger expenses you may face? But lower taxes and more jobs? Move to Texas.

Their plan is a reasonable solution to what is becoming an unbridgeable gap between Democrats who now increasingly pledge their allegiance to single-payer systems (until they find out what rationing is like when it comes to healhcare) and Republicans who want real choice and real competition in the health insurance market.

Ah, the health INSURANCE market. Yes, insurance industry lobbyists have been a constraint on innovation you might say. But, health CARE is so much more than just insurance premiums. That is not a clarion call for big spending, by the way. It’s merely to point out that a major factor in increasing premiums is often lost in the current debate:

Hospitals in America are producing very high-cost products and services and are a supported by powerful lobbyists that do their share of whispering and bending ears to ensure that innovative competitive solutions do not threaten their cozy, coast-to-coast oligopoly.

One reason for this is the employer-based plans where customers don’t see the true cost and thus the true price of the health services they select. So the big and fat and getting fatter hospital networks can keep raising prices far beyond what almost any other industry is able to get away with. And if money from employer-based plans is not enough to cover the increases, why there’s always the federal government.

So let’s hope that if Graham-Cassidy can get passed into law – and it perhaps just might – then the next step would be to look at freeing up healthcare in America from the welter of self-serving regulations that keep competitors at bay. And maybe the state level is indeed the best place to attempt those types of innovations

The 2020 Democratic Bench

© 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.

It’s never too early to speculate. The Democrats are fired up for the 2020 Presidential election in a way they haven’t been in years. The pall of Hillary Clinton’s loss to the supremely unqualified, fraudulent shell of a candidate that was and is Donald Trump hangs over the party as a constant reminder of a nightmarish reality, brought about by an unimaginable string of unforced errors, miscalculations and unpreventable random outside events that conspired together to produce the greatest upset in American political history.

Is it hyperbole to say that never in the history of Democratic politics has an election loomed larger and more important than 2020?

There are three 70-something nationally-known potential 2020 Democratic candidates right now, but to any objective observer, they seem stale, predictable and shop worn. It’s unlikely that Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could put together a support coalition across the generational boundaries that would prove strong and vital enough to constitute an actual winning majority. Are any of them a surprise in any way? Do any of them hold even one position on any issue that isn’t already known in advance by everyone? Do any of them inspire the undecideds or strike fear into our international adversaries?

Warren, in particular, may not even live to fight until 2020. Although her national standing is quite high among the hard-core far-Left wing of her party, her personal shortcomings, shrill unlikeability and hypocrisy are becoming increasingly apparent even to her MA base. It’s widely felt that a strong MA Republican Senate candidate, with good funding and a sharp communications strategy, will give Warren a very difficult time indeed in 2018. From her living the lifestyle of a privileged 1%-er while railing against “the rich,” to the embarrassingly shallow understanding of foreign policy she demonstrates whenever she speaks at length on the subject, to her deception of her ethnic background as a “native American” that she used on her application to Harvard, she’s a “target-rich environment,” ripe pickings for a sharply-run opposition campaign. As Republican Charlie Baker’s overwhelming election to the Governorship showed, MA will elect a Republican if the Democrat is deemed personally unworthy, unknowledgeable or out of touch. Warren is arguably all three. As a MA resident, I can see that Warren’s 2018 Senate re-election is far from a sure thing.

So if the 70+ sect is not properly equipped, who is? Where will the Dems turn?

Two names jump out as possibilities: VA Governor Terry McAuliffe and MA Congressman Seth Moulton. There are others, no doubt, and some that no one has even thought of yet. But let’s look at these two for starters.

Terry McAuliffe

Currently the Governor of VA, McAuliffe is a long-time Democratic operative and high-profile figure in the Party. A prolific fundraiser and rabidly partisan but highly effective public speaker, McAuliffe was co-chair of President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, Democratic National Chairman from 2001 to 2005 and chair of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. He won the VA Governorship in 2013 by a close 2-point margin over former VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. As governor, McAuliffe has maintained his high profile, making a dramatic national splash with his declared intention to restore the voting rights via Executive Order of more than 200,000 ex-felons in Virginia—a naked attempt on his part to “stack the VA voting deck” in the Democrats’ favor. His order was overturned, but the very fact that he would even think of doing this is a testament to his aggressive creativity with regard to hardball partisan politics.

McAuliffe’s persona can come across as a bit of a “used car salesman” to those pre-disposed to viewing him negatively, but few Democratic politicians have their base more squarely in their sights. Even more importantly, McAuliffe’s opportunistically-contrived reasonableness (he recently gave Donald Trump a “Gentleman’s C” when asked to grade him so far, in contrast to virtually every other Dem who’d have unhesitatingly said “F”) will get many undecided voters to think, “Hmmmm…not so bad,” which is the key to any hope for victory. He’s a tough cookie who knows the ropes. Republicans should not underestimate him.

Seth Moulton

A 2001 Harvard graduate, Moulton joined the Marine Corps in 2002 and served four combat tours in the Middle East, earning the Medal of Valor and Bronze Star for bravery under fire. He won his Congressional seat in 2014 and takes all the perfectly-Democratic positions on gun control, women’s/LBGTQ rights (yes, including “Q”—perfect), the environment, healthcare, student loans, etc. Perfectly positioned, on every single issue.

As this Boston Globe article shows, there is some talk right now of his candidacy in the next Presidential election. Granted, in 2020 Moulton will only be 42 and assuming re-election to the House in 2018, will have just six years under his belt as a junior elected representative. Nonetheless, his personal résumé is nearly unimpeachable with regards to his military service credentials, his having “saved” a Democratic seat from the failings of a corrupt incumbent and his central-booking rugged good looks. If he’s not the Democratic nominee in 2020, a surefire sign of the Democratic establishment’s opinion of Moulton’s potential as a future high-office candidate will be whether or not he is accorded a prime speaking role at the 2020 Democratic Convention. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were similarly groomed before they achieved main event status.

President Trump is not yet six months into his first term. If three years from now his presidency has been even modestly successful at growing the economy, improving health care, reducing taxes and curtailing illegal immigration, he will prove to be an extremely tough candidate to beat. Although truly hard-core anti-Trump far-Left Democrats will never cede even a micrometer of legitimacy to his presidency, an electorally-significant fraction of the so-called “swing” electorate will have acclimated to his presence and will, in fact, vote on 2020 results rather than a by-then-irrelevant cartoonish cliché from 2016.

However, as interesting as these two potential Democrats may be, absent the next coming of JFK, the Democrats’ chances in 2020 rest more on President Trump’s actual first term performance than the inherent attractiveness of their candidate.

So here we sit, the afternoon before polls open and the answer is still very much in question.

Both candidates are conducting last minute campaign blitzkriegs, seeking to sway the precious few Americans that are planning to vote, but that have not yet made up their mind.

There are grand predictions of landslides for both sides, which look silly. No, more than likely, this is election is going to be more like 2000 or 2004, rather than 2008.

The national polls remain virtually tied, but they realistically mean nothing, as Al Gore will tell you after winning the 2000 popular vote, but losing the White House to George W. Bush. The swing states are where this election will be decided. The RCP state polling aggregate lists 11 states as “toss up”, and President Obama has leads in nine of them. The Romney states are North Carolina and Florida, while Obama holds the lead by three points or more in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Closer are Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire. Even closer are Colorado and Virginia.

So let’s have some electoral college fun!

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We’ve given away some strange prizes through the years at PD. But there’s one thing that lures in the lurkers more than any other: Cold. Hard. Cash.

So today, we’re giving $100 to the winner of our Super Tuesday Tip Sheet Challenge.

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We have a good idea who will win in Florida, but by how much will Mitt Romney win? Or will you predict an upset? Newt Gingrich seems destined for second, but third place is a toss up. Not finishing last is probably more important to Rick Santorum’s campaign that lacks any solid base, as opposed to Ron Paul.

As for the contest, predict the order of finish, including percentage of the vote for the four main candidates. If anyone gets all four percentages rounded to the nearest whole number right, Jason will send you a book from his stash. If two people pick all the same percentages, the person whose comment time stamp is earlier will have the valid entry. Now begin channeling your inner Nostradamus.

We are giving away two packages of goodies from Jason’s personal New York Times bestselling stash including a Christmas Jars collection.

To enter, leave your name, state, and the best gift you ever received for Christmas. There will be two winners, one chosen at random and a second for the most creative as determined by the editors and input from your comments.

Finally, don’t forget to “Like” Political Derby on Facebook!

Congrats to Ray Brennan and Ron Turner. With the concession of Rossi in Washington, Ray and Ron correctly picked every race. Both also predicted Murkowski in Alaska, which seems the likely outcome.

Having tied on the number of correct picks, we went to the tie-breaker. Ray predicted the GOP would pick up 54 seats in the House and Ron predicted 51. So the big prize goes to Ray.

Ray, if you’re able to contain your excitement, please drop us a note with your mailing address.

PDers, give Ray some PD love and offer hearty and horsey congrats.

Click here to play the Political Derby 2010 Mid-term Pick ’em. Predict the outcome of 9 races and how many total seats the GOP will pick up. (Polls are closing and the deadline for entry has now passed).

Deadline is Tuesday when the polls close. Good luck! (It’s closed!)

Winner gets $100 cash and a signed copy of The Seventeen Second Miracle.

The title of this post is in honor of our long-lost friend Boru. It is fair to criticize the stupid people on all sides of the debate. But if you actually watched and listened to the video, you will see this is one isolated person who acts stupidly (unlike President Obama, we do have the facts on this one, and this person was in fact acting stupidly). Everyone else was searching for the police to handle the MoveOn.org paid operative, Lauren Valle (who was charged with a felony as a Green”peace” operative in May of this year), seeking to add to this photo roll (because apparently only Democrats are allowed to accept donations from big business, like President Obama’s $77,051, the largest corporate contribution from BP during this past election cycle, but Republicans are all selling their votes, who knew?). Further, you can hear someone saying: “No no no no, come on,” successfully convincing this idiot to not stomp on this unfortunate lady’s head again.

On another note, today I confirmed that Harry Reid’s book sales did not contribute to the $750,000 in cash he paid for his Washington DC Ritz-Carlton condominium. You know, that is the place where he doesn’t live, he only “stays” at in Washington, because, remember, being paid $193,400 per year, he knows what is best for the average smelly American, which is why he had played such a vital role in socializing our health care, extending the annual federal operating budget deficit to $1.3 trillion, and destroying our economy (remember when the “stimulus” package would never allow unemployment to exceed 8%?) . Harry Reid certainly does know something about “The Good Fight”, well, “The Fight,” anyway. This stack of books pictured below the jump was priced at only $1 each, covered in dust, and apparently couldn’t be marked down low enough! So the evidence appears conclusive that “The Good Fight” did not fund The Ritz for Harry Reid.

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DeMint wants to rid the party of Moderates and understands that you must run candidates that uphold your ideals and not candidates that are “viable.”

Rush says this better then I ever could and it also applies to those who call Paulites kooks.

Unless you’re in hiding deeper than Sandra Bullock these days, you know that the House is scheduled to vote on the 2010 Welcome to Canada Health Care Bill. So let’s have some fun.

Predict the final outcome (example: 220-215) and whether it passes or fails. Whomever predicts the final vote will win a copy of my latest novel, The Cross Gardener.

I’ll post a tiebreaker question only if needed after the vote.

By now everyone knows CPAC is well underway. Between now and Saturday, attendees will have a chance to vote in the most important 2012 poll of any kind to-date. Who will win?

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Well, the truth is out. Indisputable. Inevitable. Indubitable. Irrefutable. Incontrovertible.

The verdict is in.

Earlier this morning, Punxsutawney Phil took one look at the proposed new federal gov’t budget, saw the shadow this debt-riddled monstrosity cast over him, let out a shriek, and quickly scampered back into his hole.

His last words were, “What the #@$% is THAT?” …or something to that effect.

So there you have it – six more years of recession. Have a nice day.

I wonder if someone could slip him a copy of the latest Derby rankings and see if he could give a few thoughts on it?

I suspect he’ll go for Paw-lenty over Mittens…by a hair, of course.

It could be argued Tuesday is the most important day thus far in the Obama presidency. Obviously a win by the GOP in Massachusetts would shake the Senate and send ripples through the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda.

So who do you think will win?

Pick the winner of Brown v. Coakley in the comments and include your prediction of the final percentages for each candidate. (Don’t forget the independent candidate, Joseph Kennedy.)

Closest guess to actual percentages wins a signed copy of one my books. Take your pick. They’re all equally mediocre.