TODAY: The Winners
THURSDAY: The Losers
Well that didn’t take long. After months of “negotiating” and trying to persuade the legislature to expand the Obamacare/Medicaid program, the legislature slammed the door and told the Governor and the federal government not just No , but Hell, No.
RTP offers a handy easy-to-use guide as to who were the winners in this drama and who were the ones that had their ass handed to them. Enjoy.
1. Taxpayers of Tennessee.
Despite the Governor’s oft repeated promise that his scheme wouldn’t cost Tennesseans a penny, few believed him. The fact that Obama made the same sort of promises when he created Obamacare didn’t help the Governor. Nor did the fact that other states, like Ohio and Arkansas, are facing massive cost overruns with their own Obamacare expansions. For once, the “free money” pitch wasn’t believable…because it wasn’t true! So count “truth” as a winner, too.
2. Durham and Kelsey.
Representative Jeremy Durham and Senator Bryan Kelsey stepped out early in opposing the plan and never let up. Durham and Kelsey have the reputation of sometimes being a bit brash, but in this case “brash” trumped Bill. Senator Mark Norris also gets at least hat tip for telling the Governor no on sponsoring the bill in the Senate. Ambitious legislators should learn an important lesson: hiding in the weeds on important issues is not a dependable path to higher office. (Like Cong. Marsha Blackburn and her fight against the income tax).
3. Conservatives in the House.
Long suspected of being the largest faction in the House GOP caucus, conservatives scored big in their principled opposition to InsureTN. With this win at their back, look for more activism on their part. God help the leadership and the establishment if the rabble ever get organized and simply exercise the power of their numbers.
There have been consistent rumors that Haslam might go “full Obama” and force expansion through executive order after the session ends. If that were to happen, look for a complete revolt – led by the rabble.
4. AFP and Andy Ogles.
Radio ads, direct mail and grassroots activism beat the vested interests of the governor’s allies, who spent far more money on the same weapons. AFP’s disciplined approach and message beat the governor’s demagoguery and deceit. AFP did a great job to insure the administration was not able to separate Haslam’s Obamacare from Obama’s Obamacare. If they can keep up the level of activity they demonstrated in this fight, Ogles and his team will be a force to reckon with on every important battle this session and beyond. Just ask Kevin Brooks.
5. Tom Ingram.
Once our readers collect their wits, they undoubtedly will ask: How is Ingram a winner? Let us answer that with another question: Did anyone see Ingram anywhere near this issue? Heck, when was the last time someone has even seen Tom? True to form, Tom was collecting his checks yet was nowhere to be found at the scene of the accident – a singular talent that he displays whenever a train wreck is about to occur. Word is, he even had his regular table at Jimmy Kelly’s moved to the back of the kitchen until the crisis had passed. Little did Haslam know that he when paid Ingram under the table that Tom would actually be hiding under the table.
Talk radio such as Joe Carr, Ralph Bristol, etc. as well as the Tea Parties. News of their demise was greatly exaggerated.
InsureTN is dead.
This just in from the Tennessean:
“A new report from a state financial expert says Gov. Bill Haslam’s controversial Insure Tennessee health plan will cost more than $15 million annually to administer, and it’s impossible to definitively determine the potential economic benefits of the plan.
“The estimated fiscal impact to commerce in the state as a result of the proposed legislation cannot be reasonably determined due to a number of unknown factors,” wrote Jeff Spalding, new executive director of the Tennessee Fiscal Review Committee.”
“Haslam spokesman David Smith did not respond to a request for comment.”
To be precise, Haslam has said his InsureTN plan “won’t cost Tennessee taxpayers one dime.” Aside from the obvious misleading nature of that statement (it will cost Tennessee taxpayers billions of dollars in federal tax money), $15 million is a lot of dimes, Governor.
If by now you don’t have enough information to vote “No” on this dog, then you’re just not paying attention.
This headline from the Knoxville News-Sentinel:
“Haslam: Insure Tennessee is not Obamacare”
Anytime you are still arguing semantics on the eve of a vote, you have already lost your case. Remember Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is?” That was just before his impeachment hearing. Then there is Bill’s new BFF Barack Obama, who seems congenitally incapable of spitting out the words “Islamic terrorists” when every damn fool from Nairobi to Nashville knows that is who we are fighting. When Islamic nut jobs shoot up an Army base, Obama prefers to call it “workplace violence.”
Even the governor’s hand-picked Attorney General, Herbert Slattery, had to admit Insure TN is funded and administered by ObamaCare.
But the topper is this quote from the governor’s speech last night (as reported by the Dean):
The governor said that, in a meeting with governors, the president was asked by a Republican why he did not make Medicaid a block grant program – just giving states the federal money and not imposing rules on how its spent.
Obama’s “candid” reply, according to Haslam: “Because I don’t trust you to take care of the least of these.
Then just why in the hell are you asking legislators and the taxpayers of Tennessee to get in bed with and trust the very person who invented Obamacare and who told you to your face he does not trust you?
Just quit digging, Governor. The hole to bury this thing is big enough already….
In a cruel twist of fate, the bright and smiling faces of this year’s GOP class of freshmen members of the House and Senate are being asked, with their very first vote, to jeopardize their entire fledgling career as a representative.
The governor’s maladroit handling of the negotiations, the “verbal deal,” and the ham-handed statewide roadshow has led the GOP freshmen like lambs to the slaughter.
And for what? An ill-conceived expansion of Obamacare in a state that gave Obama about 35% of the vote?
For example, we hear that Rep. Patsy Hazelwood is leaning to a “yes” vote. How did Obama do in your district, Patsy? Did he get 24%? 28%? Given any thought on how you are going to explain to the folks on Signal Mt. or in Soddy-Daisy that your very first vote was for expanding Obamacare with their tax dollars? Thanks to Bill Haslam, if you vote for InsureTN your next opponent will make sure Barack will be your running mate in the next election.
All of you seem like real nice people. We would like to get to know you better. But if you vote to expand the very Obamacare you ran against during the election, we may never get the chance.
The columnist for the liberal Tennessean, Frank Daniels the Third, has had many lucid moments. But his column yesterday on InsureTN isn’t one of those moments.
After meandering around the issue for most of his column, he finally delivers a cogent declaration:
“I still don’t understand why defeating Obamacare, or marginal, if any, reductions in federal deficits are rational reasons to quash the InsureTN solution.”
We suppose the fact that most opposition to Obamacare is predicated on the belief that it is a monumental governmental bureaucratic mess that has harmed the health care system in this country, is opposed by the large majority of the people and has/will drive up the deficit is too much for Frank the Third to absorb.
So here’s a thought that will probably blow Frank’s mind:
The little ol’ Tennessee legislature has the rare opportunity to directly affect the federal budget with this vote. If they reject the governor’s plan, it will mean billions of dollars donated by the taxpayers of Tennessee and elsewhere will not be spent on this abomination. The libs in the media would undoubtedly regard such a position as utter madness.
So let’s take the madness a step further. We should tell our representatives in Congress that not only do we not want the money, but we want the savings to be applied directly to reducing the national debt. The insanity! What’s next – demanding the feds balance their budget like we have to do here in Tennessee every year? Where will all this conservative radicalism end!?
Next time Frank the Third deigns to pen a column, maybe he should remove his liberal blinders and look at it from the perspective of the clear majority of the people of Tennessee.
Now THAT would be radical.