Our radio ads in NJ-7 and FL-24, exposing the gross hypocrisy of Leonard Lance and Sandy Adams-- each of whom tried to deceive their constituents by claiming to not be taking government-subsidized healthcare while getting it from their respective state's programs-- have stopped running... at least for now. We have some more plans for these two liars.

As Jim Rosen pointed out for the McClatchy newspapers a few days ago, Norman Ornstein, an analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, notes a significant gap between the talk and the walk of lawmakers who oppose "the federal takeover of health care" while accepting taxpayer funded medical benefits for themselves and their families. Ornstein points out that "The amount of hypocrisy here is obviously very high for people who talk about how we all have to make sacrifices, but don't make any sacrifices themselves. They talk about how the health care system is out of control, but then they take these very generous benefits they get as members of Congress."

One or two of the Republicans-- but literally only one or two-- actually sound almost like progressive Democrats when they refuse the healthcare package. Florida freshman Richard Nugent, in turning down the federal medical benefits to which he was entitled, seemed to indict the vast majority of the other GOP freshmen as hypocrites. "When you have Americans that are struggling, why should I get a cost savings because I've just got elected to the United States House of Representatives?" Sounds great, right? Except... does the former sheriff get taxpayer-funded healthcare through his old job, the way Lance does?

Seventeen new Republican lawmakers, almost one-fifth of the large House GOP freshman class, have rejected federal medical coverage for themselves and their families to highlight their opposition to President Barack Obama's showcase health insurance law.

South Carolina's four rookie congressmen aren't following their lead.

Reps. Tim Scott, Mick Mulvaney, Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan all voted last month to repeal what they and their Republican colleagues scathingly call "ObamaCare," the landmark bill the president signed into law last March to provide federally mandated coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans.

Yet the state's four freshman representatives aren't repealing their own new memberships in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, a heavily taxpayer-subsidized plan with broad choices, generous provisions and low premiums thanks to discounted rates for its 8 million policyholders nationwide [72% of whose costs are paid by taxpayers].

...Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Spartanburg Republican who defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis last year in the Upstate's GOP primary, said he now has the same health coverage he had from 1994 to 2000 when he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenville.

"The way our health insurance is set up in this country is-- you receive health insurance from your employer," Gowdy said.

Gowdy said he chose to go on the federal health plan instead of using state government coverage provided to his wife and their two children through her job as a Spartanburg public schools teacher's aide.

"It may have scored political points for me to tell everyone I turned down my federal health insurance, but it seems disingenuous and would have added to the South Carolina rolls someone who has employment elsewhere," he said.

However solid it may be, that kind of reasoning could extract a political price.

Only one-third of Americans believe that new House members who campaigned against Obama's health insurance law should accept their federal medical coverage, according to a survey in November by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C.

Fifty-two percent of Americans think the GOP freshmen lawmakers should reject the federal benefits, while 15 percent have no opinion.

Republican and independent voters had even stronger feelings, with 58 percent of them saying their party's new House members should turn down the medical coverage.

We're trying to raise the funds to put our ad on more New Jersey radio stations. If you haven't heard it or would like to donate to that effort, you can do both here. And if you'd like to read a guest post from Ed Potosnak, the progressive Democrat who ran against Lance in 2010 and plans on doing the same in 2012, here's a link.



Republican Congressmen Reacting Badly To Being Treated Like Ordinary Americans When It Comes To Healthcare

This is Healthcare Hypocrites Month for DWT. Blue America is working with our allies at Daily Kos, Americans United For America PAC and Americans For Change to expose Republicans who voted to repeal healthcare for their constituents while getting government-funded healthcare for themselves. We have ads up and running in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida and New Jersey so far. Some of the Republicans are wily. Sandy Adams, for example, claims that she turned down the congressional package. And she did. That's because she's already getting government subsidized healthcare because her husband is a circuit court judge and signed up on his taxpayer-funded benefits package. That's more than hypocritical; it's dishonest and an affront to the people in Seminole, Orange, Brevard and Volusia counties who elected her. You can hear the ad running on WIXC (Brevard's Newstalk 1060) here:

But yesterday Marin Cogin reported on an ironic twist to this sordid story of right-wing heartlessness, greed and hypocrisy. Some of the Republicans who did turn down the congressional healthcare packages, in the hopes of not looking like complete hypocrites, are now sorry.

[T]alk to some of the 16 freshman lawmakers who have declined their government health benefits, and you’ll hear... about tough out-of-pocket expenses, pre-existing conditions and support for health reforms that would help those who struggle with their coverage. As they venture into the free market for health insurance, these lawmakers-- many of whom swept into office fueled by tea party anger over the health care law-- are facing monthly premiums of $1,200 and fears of double-digit rate hikes.

The experience has caused some of them to think harder about the “replace” part of the “repeal and replace” mantra the GOP has adopted regarding the health care law.

“I have a niece who has pre-existing conditions, and I worry about her if she was ever to lose her job,” said Florida Rep. Richard Nugent, one of the freshman lawmakers who declined federal health insurance benefits.

Every single House Republican voted to repeal the health care law last month.

“I can simply, honestly say that this is going to impact my wife and I to a fairly serious degree, like it would any average American out there,” said first-time Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

Walsh’s wife has a pre-existing condition and will need a procedure in the coming months, but because he declined federal benefits, they’re paying for it out of pocket. Meanwhile, Walsh is contributing to a health savings account to cover his expenses.

“It’s a cost we will feel, a cost I will have to pick up. I won’t turn down benefits because I have something to fall back on or because I’m independently wealthy,” he said.

Maryland Rep. Andy Harris caused an uproar during freshman orientation when he demanded to know how long it would take for his federal health insurance policy to kick in. Since then, the question of whether lawmakers who ran against the health law should accept their own government benefits has become a favorite game of partisan ping-pong in Washington. Democrats are demanding that the lawmakers who voted to deny reform benefits to the American public turn down their own federal employee health insurance, and Republicans have argued that accepting benefits from the government is not inconsistent with GOP support for employer-based coverage.

Roughly 85 percent of federal employees get insurance benefits from the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Among the freshman Republican class, the number opting out is only slightly higher: About 18 percent are on record as having denied insurance coverage. Most — including Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Michael Grimm of New York and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina — are accepting the benefit plans provided to federal employees. Ellmers took some heat from local North Carolina media for telling a radio show that “it costs a lot of money to be here in Congress” as a way of justifying her health coverage.
The current FEHB program allows policyholders to pick and choose from a variety of coverage options. In that way, their experience with insurance policies is akin to the state-based insurance exchanges that will allow citizens to shop around for their policies beginning in 2014.

The freshman members who declined insurance have had to find other ways to cover their health needs.

Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry is enrolled in an individual health savings account. New York Rep. Nan Hayworth, an ophthalmologist, gets employer-based coverage through her husband, who is a doctor. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado purchases his plan through an insurer in his home state.

Nugent, a former sheriff, doesn’t receive federal employee benefits, choosing instead to purchase a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for retired county employees, which he said costs about $1,200 a month for his family. Still, he said, his niece’s experience has contributed to his support for ending coverage bans on pre-existing conditions. “One of the key components with the ‘replace’ [bill] was to make sure we take care of people who have pre-existing conditions,” he said.

As the owner of an automobile dealership with about 150 employees, Rep. Scott Rigell, a freshman from Virginia, said he’s had firsthand experience with the rising costs of insurance for business owners.

“I’ve never disputed that true reform is needed,” Rigell said. “Every year we brace ourselves for the renewal — is it going to be 18 percent or 25 percent or 30 percent [more expensive]? It’s going to well exceed first the overall level of inflation and also going to well exceed any ability on our part to raise our prices by anything approaching that. So it is terribly burdensome,” he added.

“Right now, there are 14 some million Americans and growing who are out there in the individual market who have a much tougher battle,” said Walsh, who has an individual health savings account.

“I suppose you could say that I’m dealing with this as any average American would. This will financially impact us,” said Walsh.

Now that Republicans have made good on their pledge to repeal the health care law, some of them are already feeling pressure to offer policy solutions that would address the problems in the insurance market-- ones that the new members, having declined benefits, should have some experience with.

One new Republican House member, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, recently told a local TV program that he needed a commitment from GOP leaders that they’d offer their own health care proposals before he voted to repeal the Democrats’ bill.

“My position during the campaign and today is, let’s reform the reform or repeal and replace. And so, I wasn’t going vote for it,” Duffy said. “But I went and spoke to the leadership, and I got a commitment that we were going to bring forward our ideas on this replacement bill.”

Regardless of lawmakers’ reasons for accepting or declining federal health benefits, Gardner said the decision shouldn’t be used for political potshots.

“Our decision was not based on efforts by the Democrats to try to say that health insurance benefits and the health care bill are one and the same,” said Gardner. “Those complaints are completely misdirected. That’s apples and oranges. Our choice was simply made on what works for our family.”

If you'd like to contribute to our Healthcare Hypocites Campaign... here's the ActBlue page.



Did Mike Pence Rat Out Boehner And His Mistress?


boehner

Clicking on this billboard is a nice shortcut

Blue America and the Americans for America PAC are making these ads all the time-- like 3 or 4 a week. A few make it up onto TV; most are for the Internet. I guarantee you this one won't be on TV. TV doesn't run ads like this-- not even cable. Not even when they're this poetic.

They’re golf partners... But that’s not all they have in common...

Fans the world over love Tiger

Lobbyists throughout the business world love John Boehner!

Tiger has $100 million in career earnings and millions more in corporate sponsorships.

John has $32 million in career special interest contributions, and has taken hundreds of thousands more in corporate jet travel and special interest golf junkets!

Tiger is notorious for his indiscretions.

John is notorious for HIS indiscretions-- like handing out Big Tobacco checks to Republicans on the House floor!

Hey John, get a room!

On golf trips, Tiger brings along romantic interests.

On golf trips, John inappropriately brings along special interests-- like Jack Abramoff!

Tiger Woods is a three time champion of the British Open.

John Boehner is the tireless champion of British Petroleum, and said BP should be bailed out by US taxpayers for the Gulf spill.

Tiger is a billionaire.

John’s loves billionaires-- more than his own constituents!

Tiger skips lots of tournaments.

John skips out of work a lot and hits Capitol Hill bars with lobbyists.

But there’s one thing above all that Tiger Woods and John Boehner have in common:

Tiger, we were all shocked to learn, is a man ho.

John, we have all long known, is a corporate ho.

John Boehner and Tiger Woods.

HO HO HO!

It was... well, awkward when Chris Wallace interviewed John Boehner yesterday about his silly Pledge. The one-eyed aunt sitting atop the elephant in the room was Boehner's affair with what's-her-name... that K Street lobbyist. Wallace could have asked Boehner for another non-denial denial, but that would never happen on American TV... short of the Stephen Colbert Show (although then Steny Hoyer might get himself all puffed up and protest; ole Steny's only happy when he's bent over grabbing his ankles... and no one can find the lube.) Still, if it were a normal news program-- like in England maybe-- Wallace could have made it a more generic question about his long and sordid history with lobbyists without even bringing up the sexual part which, apparently only is allowed on TV after sunset.

Nor is Hoyer the only Congressional prig puffing and protesting. Last night Mike Pence, who wants to run for president, had his flack call me-- and late at night-- to demand I retract my assertion that it was Pence who leaked the story about Boehner and the lady lobbyist. The flack said it isn't true. I asked him how he knows. He said he was "100% certain." I said that that was impossible and that my informant was 100% certain it was true and that it was a firsthand account. He demanded to know who my informant was. I asked him to put Pence on the phone. He refused and said he would send me a written statement; he didn't.

So here's the newest in our series of ads. Enjoy it here; you won't see it anywhere else-- unless you're in Mike Pence's inner chamber and he's showing it to his cronies so they can all get a good chuckle. And if you'd like to chip in to our effort to help Justin Coussoule sweep out the barn in southwest Ohio, you can click on the graphic up top-- or you can donate here.

[Crossposted at Down With Tyranny.]



Darcy Burner fights the Republican smear machine

Darcy Burner is fighting back against Dave Reichert's last-minute smear campaign accusing Darcy of fluffing her academic record -- even though Reichert is guilty of exactly that himself.

The video above is a powerful response to Reichert's own smear ads, but that hasn't stopped the right-wing Wurlitzer cogs. On KOMO-AM today, the right-wing talkers were once again smearing Burner as a liar.

You know what to do. Go help Darcy now.



Dave Reichert: Another lying Republican hypocrite exposed -- no thanks to the media

Darcy Burner_11e08.jpg

It stands to reason that Darcy Burner's opponent, Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington's 8th District, would be getting desperate about now. After all, the most recent polling consistently shows him trailing Burner by about four points.

So of course, he's been trying to smear her with a cheap falsehood about her Harvard degree. And in the process, he appears to have really stepped in it. From Goldy at HA:

Let’s see if this, Rep. Dave Reichert’s official Congressional biography, makes the front page of the Seattle Times:

REICHERT, David G., .a Representative from Washington; born in Detroit Lakes, Becker County, Minn., August 29, 1950; graduated, Kent Meridian High School, Renton, Wash., 1968; B.A., Concordia Lutheran College, Portland, Oreg., 1970; U.S. Air Force Reserve, 1971-1976; U.S. Air Force, 1976; police officer, King County, Wash., 1972-1977; sheriff, King County, Wash., 1997- 2004; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Ninth Congress and to the succeeding Congress (January 3, 2005-present).

Problem is, Reichert never earned a B.A. from Concordia in 1970, because they didn’t even grant their first bachelors degree until 1980. In fact, the year Reichert started was Concordia’s first year as a Junior College; before then, it was merely a Lutheran high school.

What Reichert has is a two-year Associates degree from a small, Christian, Junior College. (And possibly, not even that; has Heffter bothered to ask Concordia’s registrar for Reichert’s records?) Thus Reichert’s official bio, which he has allowed to go uncorrected for four years, and which has been picked up by numerous news organizations and other web sites, is an undisputed lie.

You see, Reichert has been spreading the story that Burner fluffed up her resume by claiming to have a degree in economics from Harvard. And sure enough, the Seattle Times -- which has a long track record of explicit animus toward Burner -- bit on the story.

Continue reading »




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