I Bet Howard Dean Pays His Taxes


As Jane has reported, Tom Daschle has withdrawn from consideration to be HHS Secretary.

Which leaves a spot open for someone who has thought a lot about how to get Americans health care and a proven leader.

How about Howard Dean?

If you’re interested, there’s a Facebook group where you can show your support for Dean for HHS.

 I can’t imagine Rahm would ever let this happen. But then, the whole appointment process under Rahm hasn’t been operating so smoothly now, has it?

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Well, I hope Rahm does some political jujitsu on these GOP clowns in the near future.
    To my own amazement, I have come to hold the GOP in even more contempt than before the election — which I’d not thought possible.

    It’s not about Rahm.

    The media couldn’t be more infantile than they were on Daschle.
    Although, I’m sure they’ll tell us if Howard Dean ever stubbed his toe, forgot to take out the garbage one day late, or forgot to mail his mom a Valentine on time.

    Howard Dean = awesome.
    I’d be willing to buy a whole new bottle of good wine if he’s nominated, and I’d buy two if I could see a photo of Bill Frist’s face when he hears the news.

    • whitewidow says:

      To my own amazement, I have come to hold the GOP in even more contempt than before the election — which I’d not thought possible.

      I am having that same reaction, and I will include the Villagers and media and Wall Streeters in that, too. (and I am a former Registered Representative myself with 13 years working in brokerage and asset management businesses)

      I have actually been surprised at the depth of my loathing. I’m definitely approaching torch and pitchfork territory. Maybe it’s the whole non-changiness of the media and political narrative. Naively, I was thinking a total global economic meltdown and election smack-down might actually get some of these people to at least become more subtle. You might think that a few at least would try to help work for actual solutions, if for no other reason than to save their own craven way of life.

      All have failed to show any recognition that they were soundly rebuked at the polls and that they have destroyed the world economy. Quite the opposite, they act as if they are still in charge and calling the shots. I am really spittin’ mad that they are still controlling the agenda setting and the spin. And I’ve had it up to here with rich people telling me how we all need to get by on less but that those poor investment bankers just shouldn’t be expected to live without their bonuses.

      I hope Obama takes it direct to the people, much like Moveon and SEIU, etc running ads directly in districts, and more efforts similar to what Jane & Glenn, etc. did during the FISA battle. I am so f-ing tired of all of these failures still having any credibility. When they appear in public, everyone should just point at them and laugh.

      End of rant. Wow, I guess I needed that.

      On the topic at hand, I have to say I am quite surprised that Daschle actually pulled the plug.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Wow, you don’t even know the rant that I typed in and then deleted on this thread. But despite not having a finance background, and having to pay beaucoup money to keep an eye on my once-pristine credit rating, which almost got tossed in the shitter due to identity theft a few years back, I have to say that I’m actually finding that I have to shut out much of the news today.

        Already, I have to pay my bank every single goddamn f*cking month simply to do the fraud check that SHOULD be automatic for a customer. And yes, surprise, surprise, mine is has received my tax dollars to bail their asses.

        I’m pissed at Daschle for quitting.
        I’m pissed at the media — to my own amazement, I’m actually more pissed today than I have been since Plame.

        This nation faces absolute meltdown, and the incredible stupidity of the asshats on the teevee shows – including a quick check of Scarborough’s guest today, has me more angry than I thought possible.

        I can’t believe how utterly and absolutely I despise the press for being such idiot toady’s, and how unbelievably, incredibly stupid the GOP Senators are.

        Like you, I really didn’t think it was possible for me to be any more angry.
        But after reading up on Credit Default Swaps, hedge funds, and financial instruments, the GOP Senate who helped Bu$h get us into this mess are the last jackasses on the planet that any sane mind should listen to.

        I hope to heaven the Governors and Mayors raise holy hell with the Senate over this bullshit.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          How mad am I?
          So mad that I’m hitting the keyboard too hard to be grammatically correct.


  2. Rayne says:

    Here’s the wrinkle as I see it with Dean’s possible candidacy for HHS.

    The role is supposed to be that of salesperson — and the first person to be sold on anything is Rahm.

    Can Dean sell Rahm on his candidacy? (Doesn’t matter if he’s the most qualified to run HHS, mind you…)

    Can Dean sell Congress on health care reform, in the eyes of Obama and Rahm?

    And can WE sell Dean to both Obama and Rahm?

    He should have been the first choice, IMO.

    • JTMinIA says:

      That – in my opinion – is old thinking. Dean is Dr. 50 State. You get him to convince the electorate, then watch it happen.

      The biggest problem (I see) is how easy Dean is to make fun of. The Hannitys and Limbaughs could kill him in the eyes of the 20%ers. And without at least some of them, the trick of going over their heads to the people will not work.

      So, for a different reason, I agree that Dean is probably not optimal.

    • bmaz says:

      Answer to all three extremely cogent questions you ask is, regrettably, no. That is why Marcy @13 and the friends she refers to are dead on the money; ain’t happening.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Did Rahm happen to notice the number of bodies on the Mall during the inauguration?

      If Rahm’s ambitious enough and committed enough, he’ll come around.
      Totally agree that Dean should have been the first choice.

      Here’s hoping that Rahm is burning with ambition to actually be more than an odd footnote to history.

  3. Hmmm says:

    Maybe there was a deal to give Dean a little downtime between the phenomenally successful campaign and a plum major PBO admin appointment. Anything else would be beyond churlish — unless there’s some unsurfaced dirt on Dean as well, which would explain his sudden submarining.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Not to worry.

      Because we’ll never have a black president.
      The markets will continue to expand forever.
      And the GOP has a permanent majority.


    • phred says:

      EW, perhaps I was too terse before… can you give us any insight as to why your sources tell you that Dean has no chance at the appointment? I get that Rahm doesn’t like him, but is that the sole reason or are there others? Does BO consider Dean a serious threat to his authority? Or is it just that bipartisanship only looks right-ward from a centrist-Democrat?

      After choosing Gregg for Commerce, Dean would offer a nice counter-balance for those of us in the Democratic-wing of the Democratic Party.

      • bmaz says:

        Dean is polarizing to people on both sides of the aisle and therefore really probably is not the best one to finesse this through Congress. It will take someone patient and acceptable to both sides to get the job done. At least that is the theory she is referring to and what you asked about.

      • emptywheel says:

        Reasons why he won’t be picked: not just Rahm’s opposition, but Geppy’s opposition. Obama got where he is today because of a lot of people who really dislike Howard Dean (though, of course, Obama would not have gotten where he is today without Dean’s model and the 50 state strategy, but that’s different than personal obligations).

        Reasons why he probably shouldn’t be picked: Dean is not a DC player. His power base only ever was with DFHs like you and me, and a bunch of state party members in places like Mississippi. Arguably, hiw power base now extends to some freshmen who got elected because of the 50 state strategy (but it’s worth noting that one of the Reps who was most vocal in attributing her success to the 50 state strategy–Nancy Boyda of Kansas–is already gone.

        We need an insider to be able to really twist some arms if we really want health care to pass, bc the person is going to be going up against one of the most entrenched lobbies in the country.

        I’m thoroughly unconvinced Daschle was the best pick–he was too close to the industry himself and he was never a superb majority leader. But we do need someone who’s got some arms to twist on the Hill.

        • phred says:

          Thanks to both you and bmaz for the elaboration — I appreciate it!

          So, do either of you have anyone in mind who would have both the ability to perform the requisite arm-twisting and represent the interests of us DFHs or does that combination not exist?

        • jdmckay says:

          Reasons why he probably shouldn’t be picked: Dean is not a DC player. His power base only ever was with DFHs like you and me, and a bunch of state party members in places like Mississippi. Arguably, hiw power base now extends to some freshmen who got elected because of the 50 state strategy (but it’s worth noting that one of the Reps who was most vocal in attributing her success to the 50 state strategy–Nancy Boyda of Kansas–is already gone.

          As far as not being a DC’er, that’s in his favor AFAIC.

          With all due respect Marcy, I don’t really think most congress kritters have a clue what to do w/HC… just like most don’t have a clue what to do w/most anything else that matters.

          Dean stands out in 2 areas: integrity and clarity of purpose. Integrity, it wreaks out of the man. Clarity of purpose: he’s said it like it is, and backed up words w/actions. Personally, I don’t think we can get enough of that.

          FWIW, I’ve spoken w/reps @ my congressman/2 Senators office on this already today. (not worth much, I know).

  4. plunger says:

    If Obama wants Dean, he can orchestrate the equivalent of a people’s movement, a “draft Dean movement,” right on his white house web site.

    Republicans can’t say shit about him being too political after eight years of Rove with top secret clearance working inside the White House.

  5. LS says:

    I would no longer be surprised if POTUS finds another Puke to appoint…I just don’t get what is really going on…but it all stinks…I’m now officially disillusioned by this Administration…same as the old one…just sneakin’ in new faces…Bushco laughing all the way to the bank. JMHO

    In a perfect world, Dean would be a great choice…but I just dunno about these people anymore…

  6. malcontent says:

    The current vetting crew is obviously failing so whoever is calling these shots (Rahm?) has an obligation to eat some crow. Given Howard Dean’s qualifications, both medical and political, he should be at the top of the list. The way he makes wingnut heads explode should make him the perfect antidote for the new sheriff of bipartisanship in DC.

    He gets such animated responses out of dead enders because they fear him as much as they dislike him. He has shown in the past that he can go on Fox and give as good as he gets.

    Maybe when Rahm quits Dr. Dean would make a great replacement too. Call me torn.

    • Petrocelli says:

      Nice catch … I read somewhere that Rahm is leaving in 2 years, which would be a great time to make Dean C.O.S. However, it’s a waste not to utilize him in some way in the interim.

  7. jdmckay says:

    I’m all for Dean to head anything.

    Obama isn’t executing on anything… he’s getting savaged. Personally, I’m sorry to say I think the “stimulus” bill sucks, and I don’t see much I like from him on that either.

    None of this is pretty, not at all.

  8. Loo Hoo. says:

    Firstread MSNBC:

    *** UPDATE 3 *** The White House confirms that Daschle will not stay on in the White House role as health care czar created for him.

  9. LS says:

    I’m not so sure that Dean will want to be associated with the way this Administration is being set up.

    Dean is not a “player”..he speaks his own mind…apparently BO is a player, or why else would he alienate those that supported him..Who’s his Daddy??? Kissinger?

    He should have stood his ground and not kept Gates on..because now there will be more war and violence in Afghanistan..and not, not, not, not…appointed Rahm or Gregg…etc.

    Something is stinking badly…sorry to say it…

  10. WilliamOckham says:

    Howard Dean would make an excellent Secretary of HHS. He’s got administrative experience, understands health care policy (and not just because he has that M.D.), and he’d make an excellent addition to Obama’s cabinet. He would suck at selling a health care reform package to Congress, but that’s not really the head of HHS’s job. Obama was giving HHS to Daschle only because he wanted him to have cabinet rank.

    I agree that Dean would be an unlikely pick, but I think we ought to judge Daschle’s replacement by how well he stacks up against Dean.

    • emptywheel says:

      Excellent point, WO. If Obama still plans on having a health care czar, then he could appoint HoHo to HHS. Still won’t happen, but that’s an important distinction.

  11. LS says:

    I wonder if Rahm will “go” when Blagoshizzola really hits the fan..things might change a little bit. With Rahm there…I don’t see any light.

  12. JTMinIA says:

    Mara “I work for Fox and NPR” Liasson said on NPR last night that “all bills take 60 votes to pass the Senate” (thereby conflating the issue of cloture/ filibuster with the issue of up-or-down votes on actual bills). But, in the case of universal healthcare, she’s correct that 60 votes will be require at some point and not all Democrats can be relied on here. (For example, do you really think Dodd, from health-insurance-dependent Connecticut, is going to vote for it?) Therefore, the person responsible for getting universal healthcare passed will need to have good connections with Senators. I think that’s why they went with Daschle in the first place (even though his prior connections to Big HealthCare made him rather suspect). That’s also why I don’t think it can be Dean. It’s also why H. Clinton had no chance way back when. It must be someone with good connections to a wide variety of people.

    Or you wait until Jan 2011 on the assumption that you’ve got 60 Democrats and then use all the nasty inside tricks you have to keep them in line, Dodd be damned.

    Or you tell Dodd “your days of needing campaign contributions are over. You will not be a cabinet member and never again run for anything. Now go get Conyers’ bill passed.”

  13. rkilowatt says:

    OT– SACEUR GenCraddock gives free-fire order in Afghanistan.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..62946.html [the source is Der Spiegel article]

    uh-oh. Rahm could be on a sizzling seat if he tries to save Craddock’s job…if newprezi goes A-to-B on verifying this and sacking the dolt.

  14. cbl2 says:

    I think you look wonderful in that photo.

    Glad Daschel is out because he only wanted insurance for everyone. We don’t need insurance. We need health care. Affordable. Health. Care. Not Medical Insurance.

    • rkilowatt says:

      “We don’t need insurance. We need health care. Affordable. Health. Care. Not Medical Insurance.”

      Great sound-byte. Exactly so…for saying what you mean.

  15. CasualObserver says:

    Dean could do it if they placed Biden as the middle man. Biden could grease the senate easily as well as Daschle. Meanwhile, Dean could be the force keeping healthcare reform from being a total giveaway to the industry.

    Dean can absolutely do this, if they’ll just give him (and Biden) a chance.

    • bmaz says:

      I think you are under selling the divisiveness of Dean. Just having him critically involved is probably poison. I wish that were not the case, but it indeed is.

      • CasualObserver says:

        Probly so. But if that’s the case, then its hard to see Obama getting some kind of decent healthcare change. If all he can pick from are comfortable corrupt insiders, he’ll get comfortable, corrupt, healthcare reform.

      • LabDancer says:

        One could argue Dean’s capacity for drawing heat as offering advantages–also his being so clearly not of the Beltway–and I would not wish to be seen underestimating the value of his being seen as a small state physician: a clear majority of Americans are inclined to think very highly of their doctors.

  16. LabDancer says:

    Reading thru this thread, considering this moment, and trying to envision history’s view of the options available & how this president chose to attack the way-overdue need for affordable assured health care, Dean doesn’t look unlikely: he looks timely, appropriate, obvious, necessary, & somewhere between inspired & inevitable.

      • LabDancer says:

        I have no reason to pick a fight with you, so please accept this in good humor: Go Frist yourself. ; >))

        • CasualObserver says:

          Absolutely. But it would be the ultimate irony, would it not? Frist takes a large share of credit for knocking Daschle out of the senate in the first place. Plus, he’s a doctor, and a republican. He’s the perfect post-partisan HHS secretary.

          the only drawback is that american healthcare gets worse.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Yikes! I don’t have enough good screen cleaner to get those words off my computer screen.

        Frist is to health care what Darth Vader is to fatherhood.

  17. JimWhite says:

    Why can’t a Democrat appoint a “divisive” figure?

    Why could Bush appoint Bolton to the UN, Rumsfeld to DoD, Ashcroft and Gonzales to DoJ and fookin’ Cheney as VP? Dean isn’t half as divisive as any of these jerks.

  18. 1boringoldman says:

    As a physician, I’m balking at ‘physician’ being a plus for HHS Secretary. I’m not sure we need a politician either. I think we need someone who can devise a system that works for all parties concerned and can pay for itself.

    That’s a Herculean task. There are plenty of people who can give medical advice, plenty of barely functioning systems to look at, and plenty of politicians to get it passed – but there are damn few people who can conceptualize all the factors involved in this issue. I think I’d look for someone who has put together a really big system that worked. I might even look among the ranks of Obama’s Campaign managers, or the people who masterminded Google. Experience in our Health Care system is certainly no prerequisite…

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Good suggestions. And isn’t Kaiser Permanente claiming to be a model Obama could use? It is a very state of the art system, but I have no clue if you could just take it and grow it.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Like Puget Sound’s Group Health Cooperative, it’s a huge system.
        Actually, yesterday the news came out that King County Exec Ron Sims is going to be #2 at HUD.

        My first reaction was that I was bummed Sims wouldn’t be at HHS.
        Because if I have the story correct, Sims was facing something like a $10 million dollar budget increase solely from medical coverage premiums for county employees a few years back.

        At a conference in SF, he asked someone how to get a handle on it.
        They said that between Seattle’s UW Physicians Medical program, Group Health, and other regional experts, he had about half the most qualified people in the US to work on the problem.

        So, the version that I heard is that Sims floated the idea and Boeing, Microsoft, and other corporate employers entered into a Task Force. The upshot: your health care premiums are based, or ‘linked’ to your willingness to follow wellness programs.

        Group Health (founded in the Seattle region) has long placed a huge focus on wellness: diet, exercise, ‘wellness habits’ in their health care model. And that’s the model that, IIRC, is now the base for the health care program changes that Sims helped implement — imagine ‘early morning aerobics’ classes for bus drivers. From a public health standpoint, it’s cost effective.

        So Sims has already walked through a revamp of a health care provider model.
        But he’s slated for #2 at HUD, and he can make a wonderful impact there.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          In other words, if you work out regularly and fulfill certain guidelines between you and your care providers, your payment is ‘tiered’.

          No one tells you to exercise, but if you don’t then you’ll pay more.
          It’s a tiered system, based on incentives for wellness behaviors.

          (I hugely respect Ron Sims.)

  19. Hmmm says:

    Look. Health care reform is never ever going to be a kum-ba-yah, get-the-Rs-to-go-along thing. It’s all-out war on the business front, the ideology front, the operational front… in every imaginable sense. The genius jujitsu move would be for PBO to handle this as a major, core, irreducible part of the EcStim initiative, an unavoidable indispensable emergency Shock Doctrine crash program. That will not take handholding and sweet nothings, it’ll take headbanging of the scale and kind that Rahm and Dr. Dean are perhaps uniquely qualified to administer. It will also take a PR campaign of the kind that PBO and his showbiz cohort are unquestionably uniquely qualified to administer. The wilting R party gots nuthin’, and if the popular wind blows hard enough then the Blue Dogs will get, uhm, bent over as well.

      • Hmmm says:

        The Dems have to get over the fear of being called silly names by a dying party that can’t in any way hurt them in the House.

    • LabDancer says:

      The numbers of those who all “those” DFHs & netrooters would be absolutely thrilled to get behind & work their tails for off more than Dean is very, very tiny. I would expect the president to be well aware of that. I also would expect a liberal Democratic progressive-inclined president willing to break bread with the likes of Krauthammer & Will, Super Bowl with the Oldies & invite GOOPers into his cabinet is certainly prepared to explain things to Gep & Dashle & all the insiders that placed their bets on him.

      This is an actual conversation I overheard, but I’ve also heard lots of variations on it: Speaker One: The trouble with Dean is too often he thinks he’s right and everybody else is wrong. Speaker Two: But he usually IS right. Speaker Three: And he’s very quick to point that out. Speaker Two: Otherwise it never gets done. Speaker One: That’s all very well for the DNC, but you just can’t do that & expect to be president.

      This isn’t about Dean for president.

      • Hmmm says:

        Well, exactly, this isn’t about Dean for President, where he’d have to make everyone sing kum-ba-yah (which I agree wouldn’t work any better than Rahm in that role), it’s about Dean for HHS. PBO, not Dean, is the one who’ll be in the position to rally support and shake hands and smile for the cameras and shit, freeing Dean (or whomever) up to do the hard side of the work (see supra in re. headbanging). DFH support is not the point, getting the right guy in there to handle the Bad Cop side (to PBO’s Good Cop side) is what the point is. And lookee lookee what Jim White found, the idea is not at all new.

  20. BayStateLibrul says:

    The way Obama is heading, he should nominate Mitt Romney, who can implement
    the Massachusetts plan for Universal Health Care.

  21. Hmmm says:

    It occurs to me that this is the exact same disease that did Ted Stevens in: Failure to recognize the impropriety, tax consequences of, and/or the very reality itself of the acceptance of a lavish and inappropriate gift. Mentally trying to make it into something different than what it actually is. Remember Ted saying the fancy stuff wasn’t really a gift because inside his personal head he didn’t think he’d accepted it — even though it was sitting right there in his home? Same deal with Daschle’s car & driver. Is it income or is it a gift? Gee, I dunno, it’s too hard to figure out… but this here upholstery sure is cushy-soft… Yawn, I’ll figure it out later… … …FAIL.

    Now, why it was used against him is a separate question, and there I conclude that someone must have been afraid that Tom was a guy who really could get the job done. Which they would (and can we all agree here?) just hate.

  22. charliea says:

    Howard! That was my first thought when I saw the news about Daschle. I hope Obama sees the harmony in such a choice.

  23. LabDancer says:

    Is it out of order to remind everyone that Howard Dean has said consistently – the reason he went into politics was to get universal health care?

  24. JTMinIA says:

    readerOfTeaLeaves –

    I don’t know if this will help or hurt (you)….

    Roman Senator: Emperor Nero, Rome is burning! Why are you sitting here playing the violin?

    Nero: Because the makers of violins are too big to fail.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Oh, and so are their bow-makers, their music-sheet makers, and anyone else who had contributed to the GOP.

      (Which, in the past, at one time included Yours Truly. Yes, I have done penance. And since learned a bitter, invaluable lesson. On the upside, I gave them a chance — at the state level. I’m over it.)

  25. JimWhite says:

    Look what I just found:


    Among those considered for the post before it went to Daschle was Howard Dean, the physician-turned-politician who ran for president in 2004 and recently left as head of the Democratic National Committee.

    That’s the only name mentioned…

  26. JTMinIA says:

    That article is useful in that it puts two dots close enough for people to be able to connect them on their own.

    When Killefer withdrew, Daschle had to.

    Imagine the alternative: two males with tax problem push through; the one woman with tax problems withdraws. Given that nobody really believes it when a nominee withdraws and says it was their decision (just as we never believe that any politician really wants to spend more time with their family), for Daschle to stay on after Killefer withdrew would look very, very bad for Obama.

  27. tanbark says:

    [email protected]:

    If Fitz has Emanuel doing even a little dickering with Blago/Harris on those tapes, a footnote is just what he’s going to be. It doesn’t have to be indictable; a breath of “we’ll see what we can do…” will be toxic. Too much capital has been spent on questionable appointments, already, for Obama to waste any more of it protecting damaged goods.

    And [email protected]: It’s not out of order at all.

    It’s a good reason to put Howard in the cabinet. :o)

    I mean, WTF; if he can put Hillary in, with the campaign she ran, why not reward the politician who was instrumental in kicking the shit out of these assholes, with H&HS? If he wants it…

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I can only assume that you haven’t dealt with enough assholes in your life.
      The people that Rahm is dealing with are Tab Babies.
      Sometimes the way to deal with those people is to blow them off ‘politely’ and then let them walk themselves farther into a noose of their own making.

      Blowing them off with a non-committal and then covering your butt has worked for me more than one time.

    • phred says:

      I would like to agree with you about Rahm, but given the blatant deal between Obama and Lynch to get Gregg in the cabinet, I suspect they will spin any Blago-Rahm contact as business-as-usual. And they would be right. Funny thing is though, they don’t seem to get how fed up people outside the Beltway are with business-as-usual. By the time Obama finally gets a clue it may be too late to get a second chance to deliver on “change”.

  28. freepatriot says:

    I vote for Doctor Wheeler

    she’s the candidate I’d most like to have a beer with

    Sorry Howie, nothing personal (gotta go …)

    (Ducking an running)