Commenting on comments to comments

If you print stuff and carry it in boxes it looks like you have more!

Our post yesterday regarding the Douglas County Republican Party’s website post, using AFP’s talking points about opposing proposed Nebraska Health Care Exchanges, stirred up a lot of emotion on the comment boards here.

A few follow-ups:

1) On the purely political issue we found it “interesting” / strange / huh? that the DCRP would cut and paste something from AFP onto the party website. Mainly we find this unusual because the concept is essentially contrary to the stated objective of the Republican Governor. Not to mention calling it “Pro-ObamaCare legislation”.

We are not really sure how these things work. We suppose the party chair has pretty much complete latitude to post whatever he wants on the party website. In theory, he could state his 100% support for open borders and free silver without consulting anyone. But could the county central committee reign him in? Or vote him out? Not sure how that works — and certainly not suggesting that what was done was worthy of such drastic measures.

There are those who feel that what was written is the way to go. But this is hardly the consensus of the party — considering, again, that the Republican Governor has stated that he will do the opposite of what was suggested on the site.

The rest — below — is arguable, though we will restate our position. But the above part is what we are more curious about.

2) The basic argument against a state-run Health Care Exchange seems to be, if you support it you’re FOR ObamaCare!!!!

(We probably did not put enough exclamation marks there.)

We just do not follow that argument. If the law says, “Make your own state exchange, or you will have to submit to the Federal exchange,” what is unclear about that?

The counter is that if you create a state exchange you will have the power to create something that suits Nebraska, as opposed to what suits Chicago, that Nebraska has to go along with.

Some on the comment board argue, “Oh you rube! Obama will reject your Nebraska board, and make you submit to the Chicago style whether you like it or not!!!!!!!!!

Again, we do not follow that. Now it may be true. May. But what if it is NOT true. Then you have flushed your opportunity to set up your own exchange to spite your face. So where did that get you?

The “argument” also goes that if you set up an exchange you are showing support for ObamaCare. How is that again? Reluctantly following the law shows support for a law you disagree with? So the plan is some sort of civil disobedience? Yeah? OK, well when that fails, then you have just been stuck with the Federal exchange.

Hey, if there is an actual plan to prevent ObamaCare, we are all for it. But this Occupy-esque “plan” of resistance does not seem to add up to anything to us.

***

We got a chuckle out of the LJS story / opinion piece Sunday that Mike Hilgers’ campaign for the legislature “raised speculation” because he has — gasp! — raised lots of cash. Moreover, some of that cash came from — doublegasp! — out of state!

Hilgers went to college not at “the University” — consider that strike three Hilgers! — practiced law and moved back to his home state.

But the thing that really caught our eye in this story was this line:

But there has been speculation on Internet comment boards and elsewhere that Hilgers, who is Catholic and pro-life, was brought to Lincoln to oppose Haar, who is a pro-choice candidate and voter in the Legislature.

Oh yeah? “Internet comment boards” huh? Which ones?

Not ours. Hasn’t come up here.
Not the NNN, where it would be most likely.
Not the OC or the OWH.

The only one we could point to would be….the LJS’s comment section on their December 15th story which essentially published Hilger’s campaign announcement.

And here are the 2 comments:

frost said on: December 15, 2011, 5:31 pm
Obviously, Julie Smug-Albin and the Bishop have been out beating the bushes for candidates and turned up this guy.

and

Richard D. said on: December 15, 2011, 7:32 pm
Heard he just moved into Lincoln to run.

And then, as the LJS notes in their recent article, Julie Schmit-Albin responded

I have never met Mr. Hilgers nor did I or anyone with NRL have anything to do with his entry into the LD 21 race.

So, just so we are following:
The LJS says, “Nebraska Democrats have questioned Hilgers’ contributions.” Yet they don’t quote a single Democrat.

Then they source, “Internet comment boards” — without noting that it was THEIR comment board (singular, not plural) from which a total of TWO anonymous comments came.

And then they throw in the “…and elsewhere…“ Elsewhere? Where, elsewhere? Out on the loading dock? At your coffee shop? In your head, JoAnne Young? Do tell us the source of this conspiracy, so that we may root it out.

So look, if the LJS wants to take a hatchet to a candidate, hey go at. But how about you do it on the Editorial pages which show your true colors. Please spare us with the “sources say” or “internet boards say” crap in what is supposed to be a “news” article, yeah?

***

Congressman Lee Terry will be holding a “Twitter Townhall” this afternoon from 3:00 to 3:30pm…on Twitter! Enter the hashtag #NE02 or #Omaha with your question, and you can then follow his answers on his Twitter feed at “twitter.com/leeterryne“.

And for those of you who are not on the Twitter, you can write an email and send it to Bold Nebraska, who then will chop down a tree and carve your message into the bark, package it inside an elephant tusk and drive to Washington, D.C. in a jumbo jet, up to Terry’s office door.

See because it sends a better message that way.

***

Nebraska’s 1st District Congressman, Jeff Fortenberry, has taken the lead on fighting against President Obama’s war on church-based charities, universities and hospitals.

Fort is leading the effort in the House bill which would grant waivers to any employer that objects to the birth-control mandate for either religious or moral reasons.

***

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You’ll support our little DAILY blog here, anonymously and at no extra cost, when you do so. We appreciate all your support. And tell a friend (and/or an enemy) to read Leavenworth Street!

48 comments

  1. BOSS GDH says:

    Are you telling me that anyone in the state is going to dare to go against the gov? Why was there not a post on the gov going against Nebraska / Terry on the pipeline issue? Surely if the GOP is in the wrong here by going against the Gov than Terry was for sure!!!

  2. Hilgers Power says:

    Uh oh – Looks like Ken Haar has a real challenger who is raising actual MONEY *liberals cringe and point with envy* that’s right: MONEY! If it were Haar raising money out of state, this would be seen as “innovative”, but because Hilgers is truly a conservative (extremely scary to liberals) is raising money, it’s considered “Possibly criminal”. And how is it that Hilgers is raising so much money? Easy – he’s a plain-spoken Reaganesque Pro-life Conservative that people can, are and will continue to get behind. His constitutional conviction and appreciation for the foundational values our country was built on will ensure Haar’s radically environmentally liberal butt is going to get kicked to the curb. Haar hasn’t helped himself by remaining on the board of the radical Sierra Club, or the fact that his wife was/is so involved in Nebraska Planned Parenthood. Know how to find a true conservative? Look for who the media is going after with empty accusations and who the left is most scared of, and you’ll find the right candidate to support.

  3. onevoterNE says:

    Do Democrats really want to play this game?

    They were saying it was fine for Bob Kerrey who has lived in New York for 11 years to run.

    And what about state legislative candidate Sara Howard? She just moved back from Chicago where she worked for some socialist community organizing gig in Chicago to run back to run for mommy’s seat.

  4. Brad Stevens says:

    Street Sweeper, I won’t repeat what I said yesterday, save one basic Point: obama’s healthcare law offers no significant flexibility to the states – with or without an exchange! You can point to no significant local control a state exchange would give Nebraska under obama’s law. It’s the reason nebraskans overwhelmingly opposed the law in the first place, it is massive federal overreach and a state exchange does not change that.

    A state exchange does give responsibility to implement the
    Massive federal law, which is an implemtation responsibility thats being offered by the Obama Administration, not policy, and that’s a responsibility the state does not want and cannot afford.

    aND point to a remark from the Governor that he supports a state exchange? That’s a premise of yours that I don’t believe is true.

  5. Boss GDH,
    Why don’t you go ahead and click away on our October 25, 2011 post entitled, “Our questions for the Governor“, where we called out the Governor for his stance against the originally proposed route.
    And then after that, for your penance, click on our Amazon link, buy 4 iPads and donate them to the charities of our choice.
    SS

  6. Ken Haar's Bumper Sticker says:

    I say it all when it comes to what Ken Haar believes. I make that car look good no matter what state we’re driving in or where the driver’s campaign dollars come from.

  7. Brad:
    Governor Dave at State of State:
    “Our state has been working hard for nearly two years to protect Nebraska’s interests, and I want to assure you and our citizens that Nebraska will not default to the federal government regarding a health insurance exchange.”

    And here is what I am told are the areas of flexibility for a State Exchange:

    QHP Selection Process
    Network Adequacy
    Marketing Standards
    Agent/Broker Role
    Applications for Coverage and Eligibility
    Governance
    Subsidiary and Regional Exchange Standards
    SHOP Employer/Employee Choice Model
    Exchange Tools – Website/Call Center
    Navigator Standards
    Requirements for QHPs
    QHP Accreditation
    Essential Community Providers

    SS

  8. Anonymous says:

    The DCRP chair is an idiot. I am worried that he is not recruiting enough people to challenge incumbent Dems for county offices

  9. DEM DEMS says:

    Did someone get deir bummy spanked at the party?

    We all know Heineman runs the state party anyways. So someone probably got scolded. Even though this is a free country.

    So is this post a mea culpa to the Governor or to the Leavenworth Street readers? It reads more like an apology to your dark lord Dave.

    Debate on a blog is a good thing. SS should celebrate that (on a number of topics).

    Apologizing to the Governor, AFP, DCRP, or Leavenworth Street readers was unnecessary and completely shows SS’ hand.

  10. Bryan Baumgart says:

    Are you kidding? Your proof that the Governor supports state health exchanges is the quote, “I want to assure you and our citizens that Nebraska will not default to the federal government regarding a health insurance exchange.”

    Nowhere in that statement do I find support for the two props to set up state health exchanges currently going through the state legislature or any other state health exchange for that matter! I can see why you would read it that way, since it is clear that you believe the only way to guarantee that we don’t end up with the fed’s version of a health exchange is to implement it ourselves. For your information, we all oppose defaulting to the feds on a health exchange! We just believe there are better ways to go about it than submitting to the administrations dirty tricks/bullying/bribing/threats.

    As far as I know, (based on folks who have spoken with Gov. Heineman) the Governor has not yet taken a stance on the issue of early implementation of obamacare. Though I’m sure it will be coming soon!

    It seems to me that the greater risk to Nebraskans lies in early implementation of obamacare (through state health exchanges), as it guarantees essentially that we are putting the noose around our own necks and ensuring that obamacare won’t be repealed.

    Once again…I encourage open-mindedness and welcome ideas on how to oppose obamacare, rather than starting to implement it because we were promised federal $$$ and threatened with less control.

  11. Lil Mac says:

    You may dislike Gov. Dave’s position on the pipeline (I dislike it too) but he ended up on the winning side of that federal decision. If that decision stands, what would you have Gov. Dave do? Send NE National Guard tanks to attack Washington to force a Canadian pipeline through Nebraska? If you want to win arguments and elections, you better stop the righteous indignation and start thinking strategically.

    Similarly, if you don’t like Obamacare being a federal law, then file your anger with Ben Nelson and Obama. They passed it. It is now the law. Sweeper did a good job of explaining that while we can hope that it will be overturned, if it isn’t overturned, by doing nothing we let the federal government shove its healthcare hand up Nebraska’s butt and work our state like a hand puppet.

    This won’t be Adam Smith’s invisible hand. If you think Obamacare hurts now, wait until your silly pouting causes Obama’s federal mailed fist to sail up the Husker patoot. There isn’t enough oil in Canada to grease away that pain.

  12. Bryan Baumgart says:

    I respectfully disagree Lil Mac. I believe obamacare is one big failure waiting to happen. We are only prolonging that failure through complicit actions with the administration. Let them do their own dirty work, while we make it tougher, rather than the opposite!

    As for public statements by Gov. Heineman regarding implementation of a state health exchange, as of February 1, 2012, he was quoted on NebraskaRadioNetwork dot com (with audio) as stating:

    “The state will wait on a health insurance exchange until the legal status of the federal health care law is determined.”

    Addressing criticism about waiting to create the exchange. Heineman says it doesn’t make sense to move forward now.

    “I think anybody with a little common sense wouldn’t make a major decision about this knowing that within 90 days of that decision, the United States Supreme Court could rule it unconstitutional,”

    “I’m saying; just use a little common sense here.”

    Heineman tells us that doing anything more than planning could prove to be a waste of time if the Obama Administration loses in court.

    “So, I just say, ‘Hey, let’s wait for the decision, but let’s don’t us make a major decision till we know how the court has acted,’” Heineman says.

  13. RWP says:

    There’s also an interesting article in the WSJ this morning, about the preventative care part of the program. Basically, a single federal panel, meeting behind closed doors, is going to decide which procedures must be covered, and which don’t need to be. The expectation is that if coverage isn’t mandated, no insurer will provide it.

    I seriously doubt the consumer will see the difference between state and federal regulation.

  14. Voter who wants choices says:

    onevoterNE – The fear is that Gwen Jr. will merely carry on where mommy left off. I suppose she will use mommy’s old signs too. But that is ok since it is recycling. Last time Gwen Sr. ran unopposed and I wonder if Jr. ran home just to carry on, hoping no one else would step up.
    March 1 will be here quick…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    What is Sen Ashford’s big fascination with merging governments? He has one bill (LB344) which is forcing Omaha and Douglas County to begin the merging process because we haven’t started it yet; and now is proposing that for cities to get the additional half-cent sales tax increase, they’ll have to start consolidating.

    Why are people taking this head case seriously? His ideas have brought nothing but trouble for this state and end up making things worse.

  16. Anonymous Rural Lancaster County Farmer says:

    Ken Haar has already went toe to toe with an out of state oil interest with a mountain of money and defeated them soundly, vanquished them from the sandhills. Ken will win re-election by a landslide.

  17. Macdaddy says:

    Sweeper, if the items you listed are truly the areas where Nebraska has flexibility, then the whole thing is a joke. Those items are chump change. We get to say how companies can advertise? Wow! We get to design the application form? I’m getting a tingle down my leg. Those items are make work, pure and simple. Something to give government bureaucrats some job security. In essence, the state exchange is really a federal one except we get to choose the font. I’m glad Heineman is getting right on that.

  18. Polly Tics says:

    I think y’all are forgetting that the Feds have yet to release the final super duper version of the regulations. Without those, it’s kinda hard to know for sure what you can and cannot do. This is in addition to the court ruling. So, if it goes forward, isn’t that like diving into the deep end of a pool and discovering that there is about an inch of water? I mean, the pool ain’t all empty, but darn near.

    Another thing, has anybody thought about how long it may take to get a state (or heck federal) exchange going? Can you go to Walmart and buy an exchange? I don’t know but I doubt it. So, if you can’t buy it right away and there is some assembly is required, is anybody going to get this thing done by the time frames E.Ben and Nancy P. put in the ol’ law anyway?

  19. Re: Anonymous Rural Lancaster County Farmer says:

    Great to see that Ken Haar, who is calling himself “Anonymous Rural Lancaster County Farmer” on this comment section, had time to stop by and leave a note of support for himself. That’s neat. I had no idea he even knew how to use a computer.

  20. Anonymostly says:

    Ken Haar will win by a landslide? In what parallel universe would that happen? He won election to begin with by the narrowest of margins defeating a political novice who was nice enough but politically tone deaf and didn’t work very hard. Haar, to his credit, worked his A off, had plenty of money, has run for office multiple times and still only won by something like a dozen votes.

    Since Haar’s been in the legislature, he now has a record to run against — a record that won’t appeal to his constituents. And he has an opponent that even his friends belive is formidable. His close friends. The people who will be pouring him money. Those people sure don’t think this is going to be any kind of cake walk. Not for Haar anyway.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ken Haar can be seen on occation leading his grandchildren, the Lord only knows how they survived the abortion mill he protects, through the road side ditches looking for flowers.

    He will lose, heck he barely beat an old man who had been hit by a car.

  22. Anonymostly says:

    One more thing about Haar vs. Hilgers: Hilgers has $55K in cash on hand; Haar has $21K.

    Best of luck to Ken. In all his future endeavors. Which won’t include being re-elected to the legislature.

  23. Brad Stevens says:

    Street Sweeper,

    Again, your quote from the Governor does not say he supports a state exchange. That’s a leap.

    Most important, you provide a laundry list of technical components of state exchanges that seem to come straight of a lobbyist’s mouth – or from the NE health care alliance advertising on your site – but your is essentially this: ‘a state exchange will provide us more flexibility’.

    That is simply not true. Here is what HHS Sec. Sebelius offered as ‘options’ for states in a 2011 letter to Governors (read Michael Cannon from CATO for more):
    1) States can restrict insurers from participating;
    2) states can add even more benefit mandates than Obamacare requires;
    3) come 2017, states can opt out of Obamacare by creating a single-payer health-care system;
    4) states can adopt their own “governance structure” and “operational philosophy.

    “In sum, states can impose harsher regulations than Obamacare requires and can choose who sits on their exchange’s board. That’s it. The only additional latitude the Obama administration has offered came when President Obama told the National Governors Association that he is open to letting them launch single-payer systems in 2014 rather than 2017. ”

    I can see why companies that formed the Health Care Alliance support exchanges, because they will have access to more customers and can increase costs (i.e. make more money).

    This is crony capitalism and is why we oppose government intrusion into the market; which includes state exchanges under the Obama health care scheme.

  24. DEM DEMS says:

    How’d that last Lancaster out-of-state idiot fare when running against Conrad in 2010? Or when he ran for City Council? What was his name again? Turns out he moved to Nebraska, established a jank business, ran for two offices and lost soundly both times (with plenty of help from Ricketts), then moved back home to Mormon country.

    Of all the times Ricketts has given cash in contested legislative races, HIS only victory was Brasch over Rogert.

    Congratulations.

  25. John W. Orr says:

    Brad Stevens, RWP, Bryan Baumgart and Macdaddy are backed up in their comments Dr. Robert Moffit, a senior fellow in domestic and economic policy at the Heritage Foundation who says:
    “Under this law, states have virtually no regulatory control at all. This is not a state-based insurance exchange at all. It is a federal market based in states. Congress decided to regulate the markets within the states with this law. The secretary of health and human resources is to by regulation establish criteria for the certification of health plans in the states. The states have no independent authority to authorize plans. State officials will have to implement quality improvement strategies as determined by the federal government.”

    It is only an illusion of state control and a ruse by Obama to deceive states into implementing Obamacare. Don’t fall for it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Orr is this the same Heritage Foundation that came up with the current health care law in the 1990’s? Is this the same Heritage Foundation that said it was a good idea and a lot better way to do health care than anything Bill Clinton came up with? Is this the same Heritage Foundation that took this plan to the GOP National Convention in 1996 and got it part of the party platform? Is this the same Heritage Foundation that came up with what many people now call Obama care? So If was ok with republicans and the Heritage Foundation a few years ago, why is it bad now? It can’t just be that a black man who happens to be a Democratic President took that same Republican policy and made it law? Can It?

  27. John W. Orr says:

    So far no commenter here has shown where states have ANY authority for meaningful control over Obamacare. Setting up a state Obamacare health exchange does nothing to change that fact. Diverting attention about the Heritage Foundation doesn’t either.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Good for you Mr. Orr. Your starting to figure out that the Federal government is the Supreme law of the land. That States rights is barely there. Good for you. Your right, who cares about a state exchange. The Federal government runs this country. You might ask a guy named Jefferson Davis . He could tell you a thing or two about the power of the federal government. One last question. The Heritage Foundation , I guess you think they were wrong in the 90’s? So maybe in a few years you might think what the are saying now is wrong?

  29. TexasAnnie says:

    Well you brought up the Heritage Foundation.

    The states will have “authority” in so far as they may work within federal guidelines. (Remember the 14th Amendment axiom I quoted yesterday?) You need not worry about state control of an insurance exchange in Nebraska. That will belong to Nebraska insurers!

    And you can bet that the Heritage Foundation recommendation of interstate purchasing will go ignored, given that the insurance industry is so powerful in the halls of your state government. You are aware, aren’t you, of their available favored tax status under guise of “economic development.”

    Basically, here’s your choice: Federal OR corporate oversight. You can’t get to free market capitalism under current tax law.

  30. anonymous says:

    Sara Howard was a Chicago community organizer who moved back to Omaha just before the filing deadline to run for mommy’s seat.

  31. Bryan Baumgart says:

    Still no comments indicating a strong reason/benefit for early implementation of obamacare on this board?! The risk is clear though…forfeit of the possibility of repeal and complicit participation in implementation of this overreaching law! The support for your pro-state exchange position you are receiving from democrats and liberal groups should be red light enough!!!

  32. Macdaddy says:

    I see Sweeper’s point about trying to make lemonade out of lemons, but unfortunately, Obamacare, brought to you by the Right “Honorable” Senator Ben Nelson (D-Obama’s Backside), is not lemons but rather, in the words of Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, a sugar-coated satan sandwich. The whole abortion/contraception brouhaha is just the nose of the camel.

    BTW, if Heineman really thinks Obamacare is a mistake, maybe he ought to get his AG Bruning to go find some judge to grant a stay in implementation until the Supreme Court decides it. In the meantime, we have better things to do than pick out fonts. BTW, has Kommissar Sebelius said how many different languages the application is required to be printed in?

  33. Nebraska Pipefitter Currently On The Bench says:

    Nebraska Democrats really think that their extreme opposition to creating jobs for me and my brothers is going to help them? I can name at least one major, traditional and loyal voting block that will not be siding with Nebraska Democrat candidates this election cycle. We stand with those who want to create jobs here. Not obstruct.

  34. Anonymostly says:

    Soooooo, the Senate passed the extension of the payroll tax deal. Without any method to make up the revenue. So, the gov’t loses out on those funds and doesn’t replace them with any other revenue source, driving us deeper in debt.

    Which brings up a couple of issues. First, when Candidate Obama was running for office, he PROMISED that he wouldn’t spend anything he didn’t have a way of paying for. He called it “pay-go.” We’d pay as we go. The Democrat Congress even passed a pay-go law which even required tax cuts to be accompanied by spending cuts and spending increases to be accompanied by some sort of revenue offset (a spending cut somewhere else or a tax increase somewhere). There’s no offset here. We just go deeper in debt. Was that “pay-go” thing just a lie? Was Candidate Obama just pandering to get votes?

    And the bottom 47% who don’t pay income tax now don’t have to cover payroll taxes either so they have no skin in the game at all. When the Social Security trust fund dries up, they won’t care since they didn’t contribute to it. And President Obama keeps on bloviating about how the wealthy need to “pay their fair share.” Um, these people who pay no federal taxes and use up most of the entitlement benefits, when do we ask them to pay THEIR fair share?

  35. Anonymostly says:

    RWP, would you have time to comment on the letter to the ed in the LJS today from Robert Oglesby about global warming, etc.?

    And Dennis, if you’re still around, I’d appreciate it if you could fill me in on how Obamacare is paid for and deficit neutral. You used to mention, a lot actually, how the CBO had determined Obamacare would not increase the deficit. But that was based on a cut in how much we pay doctors for taking care of Medicare patients.

    The House and maybe the Senate also has now passed the “doctor fix” which reverses the provision of Obamacare that helped make the numbers work. Am I missing something here, Dennis, or is Obamacare no longer deficit neutral? One of the major assumptions built into the CBO analysis on the cost of Obamacare just went away and that nullifies the CBO assumption, does it not?

    Frankly, Dennis, I feel lied to. In order to get that craptastic healthcare plan adopted, they had to make the numbers work and so they found a spending cut that it appears they never really intended to actually make. They put it in there long enough to get the deal passed and now that it’s law, they repeal it. It’s almost like they never meant to keep it there from the very beginning.

  36. Kortezzi says:

    Yes, it appears Sara Howard plans to run for her mother Gwen Howard’s seat in the Legislature – District 9, central Omaha.
    Sara’s a lawyer for a non-profit, so that’s strike one against her.
    Noelle Obermeyer from Forward Omaha group (the “Save Suttle’s Job” outfit) is Sara’s campaign manager. A big strike two.
    And Sara just moved back to Omaha 6 months ago, which Bob Kerrey only threatened to do. Strike 3.
    I’m pulling the lever for Vernon J. Davis. He’s a Ron Paul guy, but since the NE Legislature doesn’t make foreign policy, Davis is all right by me.

  37. LD 9 Watcher says:

    LD9 will get nasty! Sara makes a great target. Chicago will not bode well for her. Wheras her mother was a somewhat symathic candiate to vote for who ran against a candidate with huge baggage in 2004. This will not be the case for Junior Howard in 2012.

  38. RWP says:

    Anonymostly:

    i tried to reply to your question, but it hasn’t appeared. It’s kinda off topic anyway. I’ll put a critique of the letter on my blog.

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