"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Only Bipartisan Thing About Obama's Health Care Experiment Is The Opposition To It

34 Democrats Joined Republicans In Opposition To Obama's Government-Run Health Care Experiment. (H.R. 3590, Roll Call Vote #165, Approved 219-212; D 219-34; R 0-178, 3/21/10)

Rep. John Adler (D-NJ): "I Will Vote Against This Health Care Bill. The Final Health Care Reform Bill Does Not Do Enough To Make Health Care Affordable For Middle-Class Families, Small Businesses, Seniors And Taxpayers." (Rep. John Adler, "Congressman Adler Statement On Health Care Bill," Press Release, 3/19/10)

  • Rep. Adler: "Once Again, Congress Is Failing To Make The Tough Choices. ... We Need Reforms That Will Spur Job Growth And Reduce Health Care Costs For Future Generations." (Rep. John Adler, "Congressman Adler Statement On Health Care Bill," Press Release, 3/19/10)

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA): "The Cost Of Inaction On Health Care Is Great, But It Would Be An Even Bigger Mistake To Pass A Bill That Could Compound The Problem Of Skyrocketing Health Care Costs." (Rep. Jason Altmire, "Altmire Statement On Upcoming Health Care Vote," Press Release, 3/19/10)

Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-NY): "The Health Care Package Expected To Be Voted On In The Coming Days Doesn't Do Enough To Keep Health Care Costs In Check." (Rep. Mike Arcuri, "Arcuri Announces Stance On Proposed Health Care Reform Package," Press Release, 3/18/10)

  • Rep. Arcuri: "My Opposition To This Health Care Reform Package Is Based On Three Items... Doesn't Allow Medicare To Negotiate Drug Prices. Doesn't Remove The Anti-Trust Exemption For Insurance Companies; Includes An Excise Tax On High-Quality Health Insurance Plans..." (Rep. Mike Arcuri, "Arcuri Announces Stance On Proposed Health Care Reform Package," Press Release, 3/18/10)

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA): "I Am Strongly In Favor Of Reforming The Health Care System, But I Don't Think This Bill Is Going To Do It... It Puts Too Much Of The Burden Of Paying For It On Working Folks Who Are Already Being Overcharged... It Threatens To Overwhelm Medicaid In Georgia... And It Barely Touches The Insurance Companies..." (Rep. John Barrow, "Barrow Statement On Health Care Legislation Before Congress," Press Release, 3/19/10)

Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR): "[T]he Senate Health Care Reform Bill Does Not Adequately Address The Issue Of Federal Funds Being Used To Pay For Abortions. Despite The Recently Announced Executive Order Addressing This Issue, I Remain Concerned That This Legislation Does Not Go Far Enough To Satisfy My Concerns." (Kate Phillips, "Live Blogging The House Vote," The New York Times's "Prescriptions" Blog, 3/21/10)

Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK): "'I Will Be Voting 'No' ... Boren's Two Biggest Concerns With The Bill Are The Cost Of The Bill Overall, And The Cost To Taxpayers Through Tax Increases Included In The Legislation." (Kevin Duke, "Boren To Vote 'No' On Health Care Bill," Durant Daily Democrat, 3/19/10)

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): "U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., Said Friday He Could Not Support Health Care Reform Legislation That Includes Heavy Cuts To Medicare..." (Steve Igo, "Boucher Won't Support Health Reform With Medicare Cuts," Kingsport Times-News, 3/13/10)

Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL): "I Remain A Firm No On The Proposed Health Care Plan... I Simply Believe We Cannot Afford The Massive Cost Associated With These Proposals, Especially While Our Fragile Economy Continues To Recover." (Rep. Bobby Bright, "Where I Stand On Health Care Legislation," Press Release, 3/2/10)

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY): "'Congressman Chandler's Position On The Bill Remains The Same. He Expects To Vote Against The Legislation,' Chief Of Staff Denis Fleming Said In An E-Mail Wednesday." (James R. Carroll, "Chandler Again Opposes Health-Care Bill," The Louisville Courier-Journal, 3/17/10)

  • Rep. Chandler: "But Chandler Said In An Interview After That [November 7, 2009] Vote That His District Overwhelmingly Opposed The Bill And That He Was Concerned The Measure Would Not Cut Costs For Federal, State And Local Governments, For Small Businesses, For The Medical Community And For Individuals." (James R. Carroll, "Chandler Again Opposes Health-Care Bill," The Louisville Courier-Journal, 3/17/10)

Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS): "I Have Reviewed The Bill And I Remain Deeply Concerned About The Legislation's Large Price Tag And The Absence Of Sufficiently Strong Language To Prohibit Federal Funding Of Abortion. ... In Addition, Insurance Companies, Which Are A Large Part Of The Problem, Need To Be A Bigger Part Of The Solution." (Rep. Travis Childers, "Congressman Childers Releases Statement On Upcoming Health Care Reform Vote," Press Release, 3/18/10)

Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL): "I Will Vote No... I Will Repeat What I Said Several Weeks Ago: A Comprehensive, 2000 Page, Near One Trillion Dollar Overhaul Of The Healthcare System Is Just Too Cumbersome And Too Costly In A Time Of Trillion Dollar Deficits." (Rep. Artur Davis, "Congressman Artur Davis To Vote Against Final Health Care Legislation," Press Release, 3/11/10)

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN): "Davis, Who Represents Tennessee's 4th District, Said He Supports Health Care Reform, But On A Smaller Scale. Davis Is Looking For Reform That Addresses Some Of The Gaps And Problems In Health Care Coverage Experienced By Americans, 85 Percent Of Whom Have Coverage, Without Redoing The Entire System." (Susan Ferrechio, "Two Tennessee Democrats Announce 'No' Votes," The Washington Examiner's "Beltway Confidential" Blog, 3/21/10)

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX): "I Voted 'No' On The House Health Care Reform Bill, And I Will Be A 'No' Vote On The Senate Health Care Reform Bill. At A Time Of Massive Federal Deficits, I Believe These Bills Could Make Those Deficits Worse." (Rep. Chet Edwards, "Edwards Will Vote "No" On Senate Health Care Reform Bill," Press Release, 3/10)

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD): "I Will Not Vote For The Senate Bill As Is... I Will Not Vote For A Package Of Changes That Would Go Through The Reconciliation Process. ... I Don't Support Using Reconciliation..." (Kevin Woster, "Herseth Sandlin Says No To Senate Health Bill, Reconciliation," Rapid City Journal, 3/5/10)

Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA): "I Will Not Vote For The Senate Bill... It Makes Significant Cuts To Medicare And Medicaid ... And The Restrictions On (Federal Funding For) Abortion Are Not As Strong." (Ben Wolfgang, "Conservatives Urge Holden To Oppose Reform Bill; Holden Says He's Planning To Vote 'No,'" The Republican Herald, 3/11/10)

Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC): "I Made A Promise And Commitment That I Would Look Out For Medicare, And I'm Doing That...The Method Of Funding Makes It Impossible For Me To Change My Vote On That Bill." (Jim Morrill, "Kissell Faces Pressure On Health Care," The Charlotte Observer, 3/03/10)

Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD): "[A] Number Of The Concerns I Have Raised Throughout This Debate Have Still Not Been Addressed, Which Is Why I Will Be Voting 'No'. The Bill's Overall Price Tag Of $1.07 Trillion Is Above The Target Set By Democratic Leadership Earlier In The Debate..." ("Kratovil: 'No' On Health Care," The Baltimore Sun's "Maryland Politics" Blog, 3/21/10)

Rep. Kratovil: "I Am Also Concerned About The Impact This Bill Will Have On The Cost Of Coverage For Middle Class Families In The Non-Group Market, As Well As The Impact That The Employer Mandate Would Have On Employment At A Time When Job Creation Must Be Our Top Priority." ("Kratovil: 'No' On Health Care," The Baltimore Sun's "Maryland Politics" Blog, 3/21/10)

  • Rep. Kratovil: "And While Some Of The Most Egregious Backroom Deals In The Senate Bill Would Be Ended By The Reconciliation Package, Other Provisions Benefitting Individual States At The Expense Of Maryland Taxpayers Would Continue." ("Kratovil: 'No' On Health Care," The Baltimore Sun's "Maryland Politics" Blog, 3/21/10)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL): "Congressman Lipinski Remains Concerned About Whether The Bill Does Enough To Lower Soaring Health Care Costs For Families, About Its Long-Term Effect On America's Budget, And About Its Impact On Seniors On Medicare." (Rep. Dan Lipinski, "Final Health Care Bill Is Released - Lipinski Stands Firm Against Senate Bill Providing Federal Funds For Abortion," Press Release, 3/18/10)

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): "[L]ynch (D-South Boston) Said He Was Not Persuaded And Made It Official: 'I Am Firmly A "No" Vote.' ... Lynch Said His Biggest Objections In The Senate Bill Are A Proposed Surcharge On So-Called 'Cadillac' Health-Care Plans, Anti-Trust Provisions Favoring Insurers And Lack Of Cost Restraints." (Jay Fitzgerald, "Stephen Lynch Strong 'No' On Health Bill Despite Talk With President Obama," The Boston Herald, 3/19/10)

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA): "People Are Very Concerned About Cost; I'm Concerned About Cost. If You Just Do More Of The Same, Which Is Largely What This Does, More Third Party Pay, That's Basically What The Problem Is Here, Then You're Going To Get Continued Explosive Costs." (Jon Ward, "Blue Dog Democrat Says Obama Health-Care Plan Will Bankrupt Country," The Daily Caller, 3/5/10)

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT): "I Am Saddened That The Year-Long Debate On Health Reform Has Resulted In Legislation That Is Too Expensive, Contains Too Many Special Deals, Does Not Contain Health Care Costs And Will Result In Increases In Health Insurance Premiums And Therefore I Will Vote Against The Legislation." (Rep. Jim Matheson, "Matheson Statement On Health Care Reform Vote," Press Release, 3/20/10)

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC): "Health Care Reform Is Needed, But The Bill Before Us Is Too Expensive, Does Not Adequately Address Rising Medical Costs And Skyrocketing Insurance Premiums, And Tries To Do Too Much Too Soon. We Simply Cannot Afford To Create A New Federal Bureaucracy That Costs Nearly $1 Trillion When Our National Debt Is $12 Trillion And There Is No Plan In Place To Address It. I Will Not Vote For It." (Rep. Mike McIntyre, "McIntyre Says, "Yes To Jobs, No To Proposed Health Care Reform Bill," Press Release, 3/19/10)

  • Rep. McIntyre: "The Critical Issue Facing Our Nation Is Jobs. ... After We Help Jump Start Our Economy, We Should Again Turn Our Attention To Health Care Reform - But With A Clean Slate." (Rep. Mike McIntyre, "McIntyre Says, "Yes To Jobs, No To Proposed Health Care Reform Bill," Press Release, 3/19/10)

Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY): "'I've Made My Position Clear,' McMahon Said Yesterday. 'I Don't Feel Left Out. I Don't See Anything That Will Cause Me To Change My Mind And I Don't Want To Give The Wrong Impression.' ... Rather, He Has Advocated Incremental Changes, Including Insurance Reform, Keeping Children On Their Parents' Coverage Plans Longer And Eliminating Discrimination For Pre-Existing Conditions." (Judy L. Randall, "Staten Island Rep. Michael McMahon On Island Of His Own," The Staten Island Advance, 3/17/10)

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA): "We Need To Work In A Bipartisan Way To Make Health Care More Affordable And Accessible For All Louisianians, But I Am Opposing The Senate Bill And The Reconciliation Package Because They Cost Too Much And Don't Do Enough To Lower Health-Care Costs For Middle-Class Families And Small Businesses..." (Robert Zullo, "Melancon To Vote Against Health Measure," WWLTV.com, 3/20/10)

Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID): "'The Bill Has Not Changed In Any Substantive Way In The Last Few Weeks. And I'm Going To Vote Against It For The Same Reason I Voted Against The First One.' ... He Says His Biggest Concern Remains That He Doesn't Believe Enough Has Been Done In The Bill To Control The Cost Of Health Care." (Erika Bolstad, "For Idaho Democrat Minnick, It's Still 'No' To Health Overhaul," McClatchy Newspapers, 3/16/10)

  • Rep. Minnick: "My Biggest Complaint About All Of This From Day One, Is It Was Not A Bill That Was Developed With Bipartisan Input And Therefore Didn't Develop Bipartisan Support And Didn't Represent The Thinking Of The Middle Of The Political Spectrum -- Which I Tend To Pay Particular Attention To..." (Erika Bolstad, "For Idaho Democrat Minnick, It's Still 'No' To Health Overhaul," McClatchy Newspapers, 3/16/10)

Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA): "[I]t Became Very Clear That This Bill Was Not The Right Solution For Virginia's Health Care Challenges... This Bill Did Not Fix The Key Flaws With The Original Health Care Bill, Including Devastating Funding Cuts For CHKD In Norfolk And I Am Not Convinced It Will Effectively Reduce The Cost Of Health Care For Families And Small Businesses..." (Rep. Glenn Nye, "Nye: Not Convinced Health Care Bill Will Reduce Costs For Families & Small Businesses," Press Release, 3/21/10)

  • Rep. Nye: "Our Military Families Need To Be Able To Count On Their Health Care Benefits, And I Am Not Willing To Risk Negative Consequences For Our Military Personnel And Their Families, Particularly At A Time When Our Troops Are Serving Overseas In Harm's Way..." (Rep. Glenn Nye, "Nye: Not Convinced Health Care Bill Will Reduce Costs For Families & Small Businesses," Press Release, 3/21/10)

Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR): "I Have Said All Along That I Oppose Reconciliation... Or Any Other Parliamentary Tactic That Circumvents The Normal Legislative Process. The American People Deserve A Transparent Process And I Will Continue Opposing Any Effort By Either Party To Play Partisan Games With An Issue Of This Magnitude." (Rep. Mike Ross, "Ross Statement On House Leaders' Decision To Drop 'Deem & Pass' Efforts," Press Release, 3/20/10)

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC): "There Is No Question That Our Current Health Care System Is Broken And That We Need To Make Significant Reforms To Improve It In An Equitable, Fiscally Responsible And Sustainable Manner. In My Opinion The Bill As Written Does Not Meet Those Criteria..." (Bill Theobald, "Shuler Says He Will Vote No On Health Care Reform," The Asheville Citizen-Times, 3/19/10)

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO): "At The End Of The Day, Each Of These Proposals Still Could Have Serious Unintended Consequences For Those With Private Insurance And Could Negatively Impact Rural Health Care. Therefore, I Will Not Vote For Them." (Rep. Ike Skelton, "Health Reforms Are Needed, But Congressional Proposal Falls Short," Weekly Column, 3/21/10)

Rep. Zack Space (D-OH): "U.S. Rep. Zack Space Of Ohio Has Announced That He Will Not Support President Barack Obama's Health Care Bill. ... Space Says He Believes The Bill Would Financially Burden The Working Class By 'Opening The Door To Taxing Employee Benefits As Income' And Be A 'Windfall' For Insurance Companies." ("Ohio's Space To Vote 'No' On Health Care Bill," The Associated Press, 3/21/10)

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS): "Taxpayers Cannot Afford A New Federal Health Insurance Program. ... With The National Debt Nearing $12 Trillion And Projected To Grow Far Into The Future, I Believe That Congress Should Focus On Fulfilling The Promises That Have Already Been Made Rather Than Make New Promises That We Cannot Afford." (Rep. Gene Taylor, "There Are Better, Less Costly Ways To Make Health Care More Efficient, More Affordable," Sun Herald, 3/13/10)

Rep. John Tanner (D-TN): "After Thorough And Careful Review Of The Legislation, I Am Unconvinced That The Long-Term Trend Of Rising Health Care Costs Is Adequately Addressed And Am Therefore Unable To Support The Legislation." (Rep. John Tanner, "Tanner Statement On Health Care Vote," Press Release, 3/21/10)

Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM): "[I] Do Not Believe That The Bill Does Enough To Contain Costs And It Definitely Does Not Do Enough To Rein In The Out Of Control Insurance Companies That Are Driving Up Healthcare Costs In This Country." (Rep. Harry Teague, "Teague Statement On Health Care Bill," Statement, 3/19/10)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Cheap Shot from the Seifert Camp

Marty Seifert and his campaign continues to bash his opponent for endorsement, Tom Emmer, with their latest hit piece shown above. This is the fourth negative piece in a row since the precinct caucuses that Marty has mailed out to party activists.

The first piece titled, Seifert Continues to Stretch the Truth, which I critiqued on this blog, was misleading, much like this one. It makes me wonder if Marty and his supporters are in desperation mode with such tactics, and, if Marty is willing and able to "walk-the-walk" if he is to be elected governor. Why do I say this? Because Marty has, in my opinion, a history of the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. Take for example this line from an email I received from Marty, "Any trashing severely on me now will be documented and used should I be the endorsed candidate." Marty and I had much back and forth correspondence after my previous post in which I questioned the accuracy of his literature. He considered my previous post to be trashing him. Yet I get the impression from him and his campaign that it's the acceptable thing to trash Tom Emmer.

Here is what Tom Emmer's campaign chair, Representative Mark Buesgens has to say about Marty's latest hit piece,

A message from Mark Buesgens

March 19, 2010

Fellow Delegates:

To quote Ronald Reagan: “There he goes again.”

Marty Seifert once again found it necessary to mail a negative attack piece into the homes of delegates and alternates to the state convention. By my count, this is the third or fourth piece he’s mailed – if he keeps up this pace, the post office might be able to stay open on Saturdays after all. And this does not include the negative messages he’s passed out at conventions, sent in emails or whispered over the phone.

Unless Marty Seifert figures out that delegates would rather hear about his vision for the future of our state instead of what’s wrong with Tom Emmer, it’s going to be a long 40 days until the convention.

This week’s attack on Tom’s profession as a lawyer and his votes on tort reform are not new but are very ironic. Tom spent his career as an attorney defending businesses and individuals from frivolous lawsuits – he is the last person who would oppose comprehensive tort reform. Tom Emmer’s real world experience in the courtroom as a defense attorney makes him uniquely qualified to advocate for a comprehensive tort reform package, not the piecemeal attempts he has opposed in the past.

Unfortunately, political campaigns run by career politicians always resort to taking votes out of context. A robust discussion of voting records is valuable as long as it realistically informs how a candidate will act once in office.

Seifert’s attack that Tom Emmer voted against some of the piecemeal tort reform efforts in the past is technically accurate, but not informative. When he takes those votes out of context and calls Tom a “trial lawyer,” he does not make a convincing case that Emmer will somehow oppose tort reform efforts as governor. Because he won’t.

Seifert’s attack that Tom Emmer voted against an amendment to strip Northstar rail funding from a bonding bill is technically accurate, but not informative. When Seifert fails to explain he actually supported final passage of the bill while Emmer opposed it, he doesn’t make a convincing case that Emmer will support frivolous rail projects as governor. Because he won’t. In fact, Seifert’s support of numerous bonding bills actually calls into question his ability to say no to pork spending if he is elected governor.

Seifert’s attack that Tom Emmer voted against an amendment to allow Hennepin County residents to hold a referendum on the Twins stadium is technically accurate, but not informative. When Seifert fails to tell you Emmer voted against the Twins stadium, he doesn’t make a convincing case that Tom will support future stadium projects as governor. Because he won’t. In fact, Seifert’s support for bonding money for a football stadium in his hometown of Marshall calls into question his ability to say no to stadium proposals in the future.

And the same standard should be used for Seifert’s cap and trade vote. Marty now says he’s against cap and trade and will veto any efforts to create such a system in the future. I take him at his word. But in order for delegates to understand the context of Seifert’s support of the Next Generation Energy Act (and other pro-environment bills), they need to ask why Marty got caught up in the green energy movement that was sweeping the nation before the economy collapsed. Will Seifert stick to core principles in the future and resist the urge to join the latest big government fad? That is the question.

Our job as delegates is to sift through the voting records of each candidate and examine each communication from the campaigns in the proper context. What is the point of the attack? Is it technically accurate but out of context and not informative? Does it credibly make the case that the candidate will act a certain way in the future?

On April 30th, I trust my fellow delegates to see through the attacks and make the right decision. To help in this effort, we launched EmmerTruth.com to provide accurate context for the negative attacks and misrepresentations of Tom Emmer’s record.

Over the next 40 days, please visit this website or call the campaign if you have any questions about Tom’s voting record. During that time, you will hear Tom talk about his vision for leading this state to economic prosperity and his plan for winning the November general election.

Thank you,
Mark Buesgens
Delegate, SD 35

P.S. For the most part, Marty Seifert’s attacks on Tom Emmer have involved his voting record, but I’m afraid the way the campaign is going he will soon switch to negative personal attacks. Please visit EmmerTruth.com to get the facts on the Republican race for governor.