.
March 25th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Are Republicans sore losers?

ALT TEXT

U.S. Capitol police officers stand watch in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

At the NCAA tournament, the basketball team that loses shakes hands with the team that wins. It's called sportsmanship.

You see the same thing at NFL games, the World Series and boxing matches.

But where you don't see it much these days is in Washington, DC. We have become so bitterly divided that people on the losing side of a political debate - in the case of health care reform, Republicans and their supporters - have taken to hurling insults, using names like Baby Killer and using the most vile racial epithets to refer to African-American members of the United States Congress, as well as our President.

These recent examples follow the beginning of this descent into schoolyard behavior when during the President's State of the Union address - a Republican congressman yelled out: "You lie!"

That followed talk of death panels and the government killing your grandmother.

This kind of behavior by our leaders sends a subliminal message that this kind of behavior is acceptable, and eventually you get to death threats and perhaps worse.

What exactly are we becoming here? Do members of Congress start punching each other and throwing furniture the way they do in some legislative bodies elsewhere in the world?

In fighting health care reform at every step of the way, the Republicans may have made the political miscalculation of the century. When Republican Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, the GOP figured it had the health care debate in the bag and they didn't even have to be nice about it anymore.

But they lost, and now the residue of the bile they spewed during the debate has left a nasty taste in everyone's mouth.

Here’s my question to you: Are Republicans sore losers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Republican Party • Republicans
March 24th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should gov't be able to force you to have insurance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Health care reform is now the law of the land... and part of that law is that everyone has to have insurance. Those who don't could be fined.

The law creates penalties in the tax code as an incentive to buy insurance...

For example, by 2014 - an adult who doesn't have insurance would have to pay $95 or one-percent of their income... whichever is more.

In 2016, that penalty increases to almost $700 per person... and about $2,000 per household, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is more.

The penalty is only enacted if you go more than three months a year without health insurance; and it doesn't apply to everyone.

Some people are exempt - including those at the lowest income levels, people in prison or objecting on religious grounds, or members of Native American tribes.

Massachusetts has had a similar penalty system tied to its health insurance system for a few years. In 2008 - the state fined about 1.5 percent of all taxpayers.

Critics, including some Republicans, say this system means the Internal Revenue System will need to hire many new agents, and that the IRS will be "more deeply involved in our lives than ever before."

But Democrats say the IRS has been able to implement other new taxes without major problems; and President Obama insists that the only way to make insurers cover everyone is for everyone to be required to buy health insurance.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government be able to force you to have insurance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Health care
March 24th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Why vote same politicians into office if we disapprove of them?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A wise person once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, by that definition, the American people are insane - because we re-elect the same people over and over again and expect that this time it will be different. They will do right by us.

Here's yet another sign of what low regard we hold Congress in:

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows that just about half of those surveyed say that most Republicans and most Democrats in Congress are unethical.

The poll also shows only one-third of Americans approve of how the congressional leaders have handled their jobs.

Another poll by CBS news shows even worse results for party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Only 11 percent have a favorable view of Pelosi; and eight percent for Reid. And both these polls were taken before the health care vote.

All this seems to suggest that maybe this will be the year to vote incumbents out of office. Even though history strongly suggests otherwise.

Another survey we recently told you about in the Cafferty File asked: If there were a single line on the ballot that would let you vote out every single member of Congress - including your own representative - would you do it? Half of the people surveyed say "yes."

But we never do. Insanity.

Here’s my question to you: Why do Americans keep voting the same politicians into office if we disapprove of the job they're doing?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Senate and Congress • United States
March 23rd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Chances of meaningful reform of financial system?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With some wind at their backs coming off their health care victory, Democrats may use their "mojo" to target financial reform next.

It's hard to believe that a year and half after our financial system almost collapsed... we're still operating under the same regulations, or lack thereof.

On second thought, it's not hard to believe at all.

Now, the Senate Banking Committee has sent a massive Wall Street regulation bill to the full chamber - on a strictly party line vote.

Once again, not a single Republican supported it... although some top Republicans sound optimistic that the final bill would get bipartisan support.

The bill would give the government unprecedented powers to split up companies that are considered a threat to the economy - the so-called, "too big to fail."

It would also create a council of regulators to watch for risks along with an independent consumer watchdog.

The American Bankers Association was quick to come out against it - no surprise there. The House already passed a version of the bill last year. But with midterm elections around the corner - unless the Democrats act fast and President Obama gives it everything he's got - passage this year could be a long shot.

Meanwhile a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 53 percent of Americans favor greater government regulation of financial institutions... 43 percent oppose it.

Support for regulation is highest among upper-income people... probably because they have more to lose.

Democrats are also much more likely than Republicans to support reform.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
March 23rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Where do the Republicans go from here?

ALT TEXT

Supporters of the Tea Party movement demonstrated outside the Capitol over the weekend against the health care bill which was just signed into law. (PHOTO CREDIT: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The health care debate represents the "most crushing defeat" for the Republican Party in four decades... and that's coming from a Republican.

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says the GOP may be overly optimistic about its chances of winning seats in the midterm election; and that the party has only itself to blame for what has happened.

Not all Republicans feel this way - some think they haven't miscalculated; and they're prepared to campaign on a pledge to try to repeal health care reform. Their mission now will be to prove to voters that this bill is a bad idea and that it will cost them.

But that won't necessarily be easy. The Democrats were smart - and timing is good. Very good. Consider this: Some of the benefits of health care reform go into effect only weeks before the midterm elections - a lot of them being the most popular and least costly to implement.

Also, voters may be left with a bad taste in their mouths from the way some Republicans behaved at the end of this debate... including shouting insults in the House chamber and encouraging outbursts from the galleries.

Of course - there is hope for Republicans. They were very effective last summer at controlling the message with tea parties and town hall meetings; and polls show that Republicans are among some of the most motivated voters heading into the midterms. But it's definitely time for the GOP to step up and prove they're more than what the Democrats call the "party of no."

Here’s my question to you: Where do the Republicans go from here?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Republican Party • Republicans
March 22nd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What would you like to see Congress do next?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

So whaddya got for an encore? And do we have the stomach for it?

Lights on at the Capitol as the House of Representatives worked during a rare Sunday session last night.

Lights on at the Capitol as the House of Representatives worked during a rare Sunday session last night.

If you liken the passage of health care reform to a birth, the pregnancy was difficult and the labor and delivery were worse.

But - now that the health care baby is here, what's next? There's no shortage of issues facing this country that demand attention from our government.

Start with immigration reform. Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in Washington this weekend, frustrated with the lack of action so far. The president promised to make immigration overhaul a top priority in his first year... but we all know what happened there.

It's an issue that has defied resolution. Congress failed to agree on immigration reform under President Bush... and with the highly partisan atmosphere in Washington today, I wouldn't bet they'll have any more luck this time.

There's the economy... with nearly 10 percent unemployment, bringing the jobs back is issue one on millions of Americans' minds. There are also skyrocketing deficits and our more than $12 trillion national debt - that we are unceremoniously dumping on future generations.

Add in reform of the financial institutions, no coherent energy policy, education, and gays in the military… the list is long.

Not to mention a whole basket of foreign problem including two wars, nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea and a disintegrating situation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress
March 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

What will passing health care mean for Pres. Obama?

ALT TEXT

Pres. Obama delivers a statement to the nation following the vote in the House of Representatives on health care reform from the East Room of the White House. (PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Perhaps gloating just a little, in the wake of the passage of health care reform yesterday, President Obama said, "This is what change looks like."

There were serious doubts that he could pull it off... but after more than a year of an often bitter debate, the health care sausage is made.

Whether you support it or not - this bill is a big deal... with some likening it to the passage of Social Security and Medicare.

David Sanger stated in the New York Times, "Mr. Obama proved he was willing to fight for something that moved him to his core... he showed that when he was finally committed to throwing all his political capital onto the table, he could win, if by the narrowest of margins."

The president succeeded where many others failed... but the real question is, at what cost?

For starters - the president has likely lost for good, his campaign promises of a post-partisan Washington.

Consider that for the first time in modern history a major bill passed without one single Republican vote. Even LBJ got almost half of House Republicans to sign on to Medicare in 1965.

Some top Republicans are already calling for a repeal of health care reform. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the legislation "will not stand"... and that this is only the "beginning of the fight."

Gingrich insists the 2010 and 2012 elections will be an opportunity to "save America from a left-wing machine of unparalleled corruption, arrogance and cynicism."

If you think it's ugly now - and it is - just wait.

For his part, the president acknowledges he doesn't know what the political future will bring - but insists the legislation is "a victory for common sense."

Here’s my question to you: What will passing health care reform mean for President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care • President Barack Obama
March 19th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Tipping health care vote one way or the other?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's "do or die" time - when it comes to the president's signature issue of health care reform.

House Speaker Pelosi walks through the Capitol. The House is expected to cast its verdict on a Senate bill Sunday. A 'yes' vote would enshrine into law comprehensive health care reform, bringing coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack insurance.

House Speaker Pelosi walks through the Capitol. The House is expected to cast its verdict on a Senate bill Sunday. A 'yes' vote would enshrine into law comprehensive health care reform, bringing coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack insurance.

After more than a year of debate, the showdown is set for Sunday when the House is expected to vote.

In the meantime - it's not clear if the Democrats have reached the magic number of votes needed to pass this thing. Both President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are meeting one-by-one with lawmakers on the fence, trying to turn "no" votes to "yes." It's political arm-twisting at its finest....

But it's not all good news for the Democratic leadership... with some caucus members showing signs of defecting.... including those not satisfied with the abortion language.

Meanwhile the stakes couldn't be much higher for President Obama. The future of health care reform could play a large role in the future of his presidency.

Which is probably why he's postponed his trip to Indonesia and Australia until June. But some are criticizing the president's decision to cancel the trip for now, and stay in Washington for the health care vote.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to tip the health care reform vote one way or the other?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care
March 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Eve of health care vote, pres. & Congress declining approval

ALT TEXT

Left: Clinic workers rally in support of Pres. Obama's historic health care reform package, urging congressional leaders to vote 'yes'. Right: Opponents of health care reform demonstrate against Obama's proposed health care legislation. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

On the eve of that historic health care vote - the American people are fed up with Washington.

A new Gallup poll shows President Obama with the worst job approval rating of his presidency. 46 percent approve of the job he's doing - while 48 percent disapprove.

As for Congress - Americans think even less of that bunch; only 16 approve - which is close to an all-time low - and a whopping 80 percent disapprove.

And, There are more signs that incumbents better watch their backs come November.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asks: If there were a line on the ballot that would let you vote out every single member of Congress - including your own representative - would you do it? Half of the people surveyed say "yes."

As a piece in the Journal suggests: "Congress always looks worst when it's in the middle of making the sausage known as legislation... By contrast, lawmakers usually look better when the sausage is finished, packaged and displayed on the store shelf."

What's unclear is whether the American people will look more favorably on the president and Congress if - and it's still a big "if" - they can make the sausage, also known as health care reform.

Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia summed up the way a lot of people feel about our lawmakers when he put it this way: "If you don't tie our hands, we will keep stealing." He was talking about how the only way for Congress to be fiscally responsible is to give them no choice.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say that on the eve of the health care vote, President Obama's approval rating in one poll is the lowest ever and Congress' approval rating is nearing an all-time low?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Health care • President Barack Obama
March 18th, 2010
08:00 PM ET
« older posts
newer posts »