Ringside Seat: NObamacare or Bust

As any parent knows, small children often believe that when you've been denied something you want, repeating your request over and over will eventually produce the result you're after. It works on occasion, if the stakes are low enough, the parents are weak of will, and the child is particularly exasperating. Fortunately, this behavior usually disappears around age eight or nine.

Today, President Barack Obama held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a short breather from their talks on how to deal with a little problem called Syria. Not, however, if you're the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives, a group of people who are, all evidence to the contrary, full-grown adults. Today, House Republicans cleared their schedule for the eagerly awaited 37th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (or 38th vote, by some counts—it's hard to keep track). Was 36 not enough? Heavens, no. As Joshua Green wrote, "At this point, repealing the health-care law is practically a daily affirmation: 'I am Republican House member [Your Name Here], and I want to repeal Obamacare.'"

The stated purpose was that freshman Republicans hadn't yet had the opportunity to express their futile rage at Obamacare, so the vote allowed them to do so. And lest anyone wonder whether they could be sufficiently petulant about it, good-governance crusader Darell Issa created the Twitter hashtag #ObamaCareInThreeWords, encouraging Republicans to come up with the most creative descriptions of the law and all its horror they could muster. The White House quickly responded with its own entry, "It's. The. Law." John Boehner then tweeted back that the White House's inarguable declaration that Obamacare is in fact the law showed "Arrogance of power." And then James Madison's ghost nodded approvingly and said, "Indeed, this democracy is most noble and sublime."


So They Say

"I'm very ambitious. I'm very aggressive. But I do it in a really nice way."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Daily Meme: News from the Fronts

  • "We're going to keep increasing the pressure on the Assad regime, and working with the Syrian opposition," Obama said. "The prime minister has been on the forefront of the international effort to push for a transition to a democratic Syria without Bashar Assad."
  • The staid and sober presser proves quite the contrast to the ever escalating horrors in Syria, which have left over 1.5 million refugees fleeing the torn country.
  • And, as the war drags on, the less sanity prevails amongst rebel leadership.
  • As one British official put it,  "Everyone is getting arms except the good guys ... It means that people are becoming more and more radicalised."
  • Death and destruction don't foment in Syria alone. In Afghanistan, where our long war of attrition hasn't translated into an erosion of conflict, a car bomb killed 16today.
  • At home, more and more veterans are committing suicide, over 2,700 since 2001.
  • The war on terror shows no sign of stopping soon. Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said in a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing today that it will last, “at least 10 to 20 years" more.

What We're Reading

  • Development economist turned moral philosopher Albert Hirschman made a career of crossing boundaries, leaving a body of work with no obvious place to put it. "This is a loss to our collective wisdom," writes Robert Kuttner , since Hirschman "is one of a small number of 20th-century social scientists whose work can be called timeless."
  • "Remember last year when we all cared about voting policies?"asks Abby Rapoport . If you still do—and as an upstanding citizen of the world's leading democracy, you should—she breaks down the past, present, and future of voter ID, same day and online registration, and early voting.


What We're Reading

  • "If the shootings aren't even important enough for politicians to spin, then it's truly reached a black hole of irrelevance." A disheartening essay on America's unwillingness to collectively mourn the tragedies that happen on Chicago's South Side or in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
  • The history of 501(c)4 exemptions is confusing.
  • Turnout for Los Angeles' mayoral race is sure to be lame, if historical patterns hold.
  • "Women led eight of Washington’s 50 most politically active trade lobby groups and earned about $600,000 less than their male counterparts, according to salary data compiled by Bloomberg." Gross.
  • There's been a break in the DOJ's suit against Apple for price-fixing its ebooks. All Things D reports on an email exchange between the late Steve Jobs and James Murdoch, head of News Corp's publishing division, in which Jobs cajoles Murdoch to “throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99.”
  • Jon Lee Anderson looks at the role of videotaped atrocities in warfare.
  • Shuffling off the mortal coil got you down? The death positive movement aims to change that.
  • Economic freedom isn't correlated with racism, two tolerant Swedish economists argue.
  • Nate Silver says "the idea of the second-term curse is sloppy as an analytical concept" and he has the numbers to prove it.
  • Jesccia Valenti says she's voting for a woman whether she's feminist or not. "I'm just too fed up to do anything else."

Poll of the Day

Forty-seven percent of Americans now believe being gay or lesbian is a birth factor and not a product of environment, according to a recent Gallup poll. That's up from 42 percent in 2011, when the country was pretty evenly divided. According to pollsters, "that 14-percentage-point gap in favor of 'nature' over 'nurture' is the largest Gallup has measured to date," and a sign of a significant upward trend.

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