Chuck Grassley Agrees with the Netroots

Like many of us, Grassley argues that if you bring an issue that has widespread support among the electorate up for a vote often enough, you will eventually convince intransigent Republicans to vote for it.

Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIPexpansion to a vote every three months, along with campaignadvertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way,pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on HouseRepublicans to override the veto.

Of course, Grassley is referring to SCHIP and not the Iraq War. But the comment–and the article more generally–is worthwhile nonetheless. For Grassley states clearly that the Bush Administration is willing to sustain awful policy outcomes to make an ideological point.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and White Houseaides agreed that Bush’s opposition to the legislation stems not fromits price tag but from far larger health policy issues. The White Housewants to use the issue of uninsured children to resurrect thepresident’s long-dormant proposals to change the federal tax code tohelp the uninsured, adults and children alike, Grassley said, callingthat a laudable goal but unrealistic politically.


Asked if Bush was holding the children’s health bill hostage, Grassley said, "Yes."

The reporter should have posed that last question Read more

Medicare Giveaways!

No, not to the seniors enrolled in Medicare, silly! To the private insurance companies. Yet another GAO report has found yet another contracting scam that BushCo is ignoring.

Private insurance companies participating in Medicarehave been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should havegone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly auditthe companies or try to recover money paid in error, Congressionalinvestigators say in a new report.

What’s remarkable about this though, is it is at least the third incidence where–when faced with accounting improprieties from a corporation working with the government–the Bush Administration refuses to ask for the money back.

Speaking from Cancer

Update: Here’s Murray’s own take.

It almost seems like Howie didn’t have the heart to do it, to insinuate that Murray Waas’ past struggles with cancer influence his current reporting. But true to his smarmy self, Howie musters up several suggestions that the cancer has compromised Murray’s reporting.

For a reporter whose specialty is digging out secrets, Murray Waas has been keeping one about himself for a long time.


It’s hard to say where the line should be drawn when it comes to suchan intensely personal disclosure. Did Waas’s near-death experience, andsubsequent complications, affect his journalism? How could such asearing experience not change your outlook on work and life?


Waas acknowledges that the disease influenced him in the late 1980swhen he was writing for the Boston Globe about the collapse of Floridahealth care facilities where some cancer patients had died. "I wrotethat as someone who my family and doctors thought was certainly goingto die from cancer," he says. "Is it relevant to my work when I reporton national security, foreign policy or politics? I don’t think so."

But the lines are not so easily drawn. In one of several conversations,Waas says his near-death experience made him more determined to reporton how the country got into both Persian Gulf wars, with theirlife-and-death stakes. After watching on Capitol Hill when the Gulf Warresolution was approved in 1991, Waas interviewed two men at theVietnam War Memorial who said two of their friends had died in that warand questioned why the United States was getting into another one. Hesaw in this "the mirror image of my own life" — the unresolvedquestions about why his cancer was missed — and vowed to fullyinvestigate the war.

As someone who has a pretty good understanding of where Murray’s coming from, let me just tell Howie to fuck off.