What Coakley’s people want you to believe…

…is that an elephant is an otter because they both have four legs.  Those mammals have about as much in common as Coakley’s and Capuano’s postures on the health care bill.

Thus far, I’ve been more neutral on Coakley v Capuano than any past Democratic primary (see my last post: “Capuano or Coakley for Senate“).  This latest bull has pushed me off that neutrality.  And what Coakley’s supporters, people who know better, are pushing is bull — trying to equivocate two very different things.  And hoping nobody notices.

On health care, Capuano is willing to play out the game to the bitter end then use the coup de grace of a no vote when and only when necessary.  Coakley would refuse to retake the field if losing at halftime of a football game — better to lose in a forfeit.  She’d vote no right quick.


Capuano has said that if the final bill, after the Senate and conference, includes the odious Stupak anti-choice provision (which it won’t), he’d vote no.  This isn’t flip-flopping, it’s the legislative process.  Granted, it’s the part of the process that desperate opponents exploit in an effort to scare impressionable voters, but it’s still part of the process.  Generally, you want to give fundamental reform for the better every chance before you give up.

Coakley said that if a bill at any time included the provision she’d vote no, regardless of consequences.  She’s ready to give up at the first sign of difficulty.  Coakley would choose to preserve wider access to abortion over any public health care system if forced.  In her world, a real chance at health care reform is as frequent and likely as a chance to preserve access to abortion.

Note that Capuano is willing to let the process play out, to let the Senate or conference shear off Stupak (which, again, it will).  When Capuano advocates a smart approach that requires reading the final bill, he’s razzed for it.  They are both pro-choice and are both against restricting access to abortion in the final regime.

BUT….but….Coakley is far more willing to jeopardize health care reform in order to preserve that access.  Flexing her itchy trigger finger, Coakley struggles to advocate for two good ideas at once, and would instead torpedo the whole effort at the outset.  That kind of impulsivity has no place in a deliberative body dedicated to good policy.

PS:  Forgive me, but when it comes to defending choice, I’ll look to battle-hardened Democratic warriors such as Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi (two yes votes) before Martha Coakley.

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64 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Excellent Sabutai

    This is exactly right, and a huge difference.  Capuano didn't flip flop, he just clarified the voting strategy, finally stating how he would vote on a completed bill should it contain the Stupak amendment. I can't believe how the media and Coakley supporters have taken this and spun it out of control. It's rather infuriating.

  2. Anyone have a Boston.com login account

    The people commenting there are running with the spin too. Someone needs to set them straight. Sabutai, in the interest of speed, could you copy and paste parts of this post over there on this article.

    • Coakley Takes a Stand-

      Here's what Martha Coakley really wants you to believe- the truth http://thephoenix.com/Boston/N...

      "Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley this week separated herself from the gang of essentially like-minded candidates seeking to fill Senator Ted Kennedy's Washington seat by rejecting the US House of Representatives compromise that traded approval of a health-care-reform bill for greater restrictions to abortion access. Good for Coakley."

      Great editorial from Boston Phoenix

  3. There

    PS:  Forgive me, but when it comes to defending choice, I'll look to battle-hardened Democratic warriors such as Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi and Mike Capuano (three two yes votes) before Martha Coakley.

    fixed it for you.

  4. Sorry but this is the problem with $quot;horsetrading$quot;

    I like Mike Capuano and worked for him in his primary against 9 other candidates, but the helath care bill vote is the problem with being a Washington insider.

    The so-called "horsetrading" concept talked about in the JFK Library debate is an issue. Congressman Capuano says he voted for a bill with provisions he doesn't support to "move it forward". AG Coakley says she would have voted against a bill with provisions she opposes. A critical difference. Congressman Capuano is willing to play the insider game - Ag Coakley isn't.

    The next Senator may well have a vote on the health care bill in January. I would rather have AG Coakley fighting for what she believes rather than the insider horsetrading candidate.

    And that is the other problem. The off-the-cuff, shoot from the hip, "mamnna from heaven" Mike Capuano works in the House. The Senate is a far different body. Better the deliberate and thoughtful candidate on this issue.

    • No deliberate and thoughtful candidate would have voted to kill healthcare..

      last Saturday.

      Martha Coakley has no more claim to pro-choice principles than Mike Capuano who has a 100% record over ten years in the congress (check out www.votesmart.org).

      Taking tough votes to get things done is part of the legislative process. Martha's comments indicate that she may not be ready to do the tough things necessary to get things done for us.

    • Odd

      Guess Ted Kennedy would never have passed muster for you? He voted for a lot of bills with provisions he didn't like, No Child Left Behind, Immigration Reform with McCain, SCHIP with Orrin Hatch, Amnesty with Reagan. Yes he is voting to move it forward, which means, that OMG it actually passes and helps Americans. In Coakley's world nothing passes that doesn't pass her litmus tests 100%, thats the kind of strategy Tom Coburn employs on the right, it doesn't win you friends in the Senate, it doesn't help you pass legislation, it doesn't allow you to actually serve the public that elects you because you become a do nothing NO vote. Capuano is not a rubber stamp either, he is nuanced, considering all the angles on the vote, and fighting for what he believes in. As is Coakely. The difference is Capuano will win his fights, and Coakley won't.  

    • your argument does not support your conclusion

      no where close.

  5. Coakley's Stand -- A Union Problem?

    by David S. Bernstein

    From a strictly dispassionate political calculus, Martha Coakley's declaration that she would have voted against the House health-care bill looks like a dumb move. A frontrunner never wants to open up new differences with her opponents, which this obviously did -- since Michael Capuano actually did vote yes. And this is not just any old issue, this is the Big Vote, the Ted Kennedy Legacy, and all that.

    Read on

  6. The poll is truly unworthy

    Stupak-Pitts will bar from the Exchange policies that offer coverage foe abortion.  This isn't a 'typo' - it's denial of coverage for a legal medical procedure for not just poor women or those who obtain subsidized coverage, but for anyone who gets (and pays for!) their insurance from the Exchange, such as employees of small employers.  It goes far beyond the Hyde Amendment.  Pelosi and her leadership team should have delayed a vote until they had a better deal.  This bill as is is unacceptable.

    • do you know if that was a realistic possibility?

      Pelosi and her leadership team should have delayed a vote until they had a better deal.

      Do you happen to know something that gives credence to the argument that a better deal was possible, beyond just wanting it? I'm not asking to be argumentative - if there's some information missing from the discussion that shows it was indeed possible, I'd like to know.

      The other question is: wait how long? This has been going on longer than expected as it is and if we wait long enough, I'm sure the Republicans who will replace the Democrats (who don't get reelected because their base is discouraged and the independents who voted for them before aren't there for them this time) will not be nearly as accommodating.

      I have a really hard time swallowing Stupak-Pitts. But I also have a hard time telling a woman without insurance that we could have passed something that would cover a yearly OB/GYN exam, but we didn't because it wouldn't also cover an abortion for her.

      • Doesn't it seem strange

        That they waited so long to get this bill going and then all of a sudden it was a must do in the middle of the night?  How come the progressives are always sucking up to the blue dogs- always giving in? I'd like to see a bit of push back in my representatives.  Capitulation on issues effecting civil rights is unacceptable to me.  Trading off women's rights, half of the population has been minimized by many here.  Check out the rest of the world's progressives.  Crooks and Liars; Daily Kos; Huffington Post one after another - anger over the easy rollover on abortion by our supposedly mostly democratic pro-choice congress.  If it weren't that Capuano voted for this tainted bill I have a feeling there are many who would feel some outrage like the rest of America's liberals.

      • I am reading things that indicate that a better deal may have been out there

        For example, this Time blog article indicates that the language that went into the bill is more than what Stupak originally asked for.  

        the Democratic leadership and White House dropped the ball on finding a compromise with pro-life Democrats. The deal reached late last night/early this morning in the Speaker's office is not a compromise; it is in fact more than the Catholic bishops and Stupak himself asked for as late as mid-summer.

         

    • arguing that Pelosi had better options

      to pass HR 3962 than to receive (24) necessary votes from Blue Dogs in return for a vote on the Stupak Amendment, is to call the pro-choice first female speaker of the house a person of poor political savvy and worse judgment. I dunno that just doesn't seem to fit.    

  7. No, I say thank you Martha, myself

    THIS bill is not healthcare reform, not the parts I have read.  It is a sham and an illusion, more of a Potemkin Village.  Whether it is failing to cover decent gynecological care [NOT just 'choice" aka abortion] or truncating care and coverage for pregnancy and delivery - THIS bill is one step forward, five steps back.  Better to wrestle it down, and do it right.

    All the males attacking Martha Coakley when gender-specific care that affects women is marginalized, and even forbidden - tell me, what if there was no treatment for male sexual dysfunction, all viagra [and similar medications] were not covered, and prostate cancer required a $5000 deductible before coverage.  What then?

    • I guess it's priorities

      Deb, how are these problems managed in the current public health care system?  They're not, because we don't have one.  Would a woman fighting breast cancer be better served by denying a chance at better access because the gynelogical provisions of the law aren't there yet?

      If we're going to "wrestle it down", then it won't "be done right" for another 15 years.  No professional politician would set up to do this again for the next year.  What we have is the best we could get -- Rahm Emmanuel, Steny Hoyer, and Nancy Pelosi are a great team for getting the most bang for the vote.

      I remember when health care reform was a distant dream, progressives were ready to do pretty much anything to make it happen.  Now that actually beginning the process is achievable, now I'm suddenly hearing all these objections.

      Something is better than nothing -- you don't think we'll be revising and bettering the system as time goes on?  Was the original Civil Rights Act the last law in civil rights?  You need a starting point, and I guess I'm surprised how many people want that to be nowhere.

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • Sabutai, as I keep saying, read the bill! Why was it $quot;sneak it in at midnight or else$quot;?IF this bill is $quot;reform$quot; than I am a member of the Bruins Hockey Team.

        Here is the bill, in a post of mine, all 1018 pages:

        http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

        NO I don't think this bill is an improvement on the current patchwork!  No I haven't read all 1018 pages but I am willing to bet I have read more of this poorly written, gender biased, discriminatory hodge-podge than YOU have!!

        • I'm skimming the bill...

          ...and here's what I'm reading.

          Millions of Americans don't have access to medical care.

          This bill will give those 36 million of those Americans access to many medical procedures.  Things like oncology.  I don't like that men get sexual health help that women don't.  We need to do more.  But...I love -- LOVE -- that millions of women and men will get access to cancer treatment.  It's worth the trade to me.

          So the choice is to accept this bill as a starting point, or flush it and start all over...probably in about 15 years.  (Hopefully not too many people will die of lack of access to medical treatment in the meantime).  I'm surprised this isn't an easy choice.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • please read the fine print

            Skimming just doesn't cut it.  The dangerous parts will always be thrown into dark corners of the bill.

            Have you gotten to earmarks yet?

            • This is classic

              "Read the 1,000 page document.  Don't trust President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Congresswoman Waters, or anyone else we supported until the other day.  Then after you're done reading it, we'll tell you it doesn't say what you think it says."

              If you want to join McCain in standing against earmarks -- the oil of the machine of democracy, and the most direct sign of local representation, go ahead.

              If you want to join Eric Cantor in opposing this bill because it isn't 100% of what you want go ahead.  I never said this was perfect -- there are too many provisions in there which continue to eject religion into health care for me to like it.

              If you want to oppose it because Coakley announced yesterday that she'd oppose it -- not due to earmarks or a failure to cover certain services, but due to the Stupak Amendment, which you and Deb don't mention -- go ahead.

              If you want to sit around 10 years from now and say how Democrats should try to get government into health care -- go ahead.

              I want it to happen now.

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
              • we've moved into tea bagger territory

              • You forgot to say

                If you want to oppose it because Capuano announced yesterday that he's oppose it if had similar language in the final bill.

                Isn't that what he said?

                They are both running for the Senate- that's all that matters and after arrogantly ridiculing her comment -oops, he has the same opinion!  

                • Er, no

                  It's a different opinion, that's been established from many directions....even if you don't like that.  

                  I favor the bill because I want 36 million Americans covered by health insurance so they can live longer.  That's way more important to me than electing Him or Her Senator...

                  sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • is it that bad?

      I'm interested in what's so bad about the bill (beyond Stupak). Is it just the requirements (or not) for women's health? I assumed a federal reform bill would require a few minimum levels of coverage but leave that mostly to the states, many of which have been active in what they require of all plans. Is the disparity in the bill itself that bad? Where are our pro-woman legislators and bloggers on this? Seriously, I'm curious.

      We're in a position where it's either single-payer (not happening) or some complicated, insurer-friendly system of mandates, stricter regs, and subsidies (a Mass. plan). The bill is the latter. It's always going to be ugly. But it puts in place a new framework within which to do the incremental reforms that happen all the time at state and fed levels. Expecting to get a perfect law out of DC is nuts. If we get mandates and a public option, we can work from there.  

      • Cannoneo - read the bill! YES I think it is $quot;that bad$quot; and ugly...

        Good or great legislation isn't crammed down the throats of exhausted and groggy legislators at midnight.

        The link is within this post:  http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

        • Why are people getting all upset about the time of day?

          The debate started midmorning and happened to last several hours, including various motions and amendments.  This was no let's-pass-it-when-nobody's-looking conspiracy.  If the debate were concluded midafternoon I'm sure they would have gladly held the vote then.  If I were a member of the House I would want to hold the vote as soon as we could rather than delay another day just so it could be held during a civilized hour.

        • No way I'm reading the bill!

          You've got to give me a few pointers. Not as to why it isn't perfect, but why it makes things worse.

          Here is Speaker Pelosi's summary of why women gain more than anyone else in the bill.

    • get back to me

      when there's a vote on the final bill.

  8. Thank you, Sabutai!

    Coakley's blown it for good in my book, and they don't come any more pro-choice than I.  

    There's nothing more toxic in politics than purity, especially when it comes at the cost of thousands of uninsured lives a year.  

    Stupak is a poison pill to be sure, but anyone who lets this amendment get in the way of meaningful reform is a fool.  

    • Please read the informed post above by Deborah Butler

      "nothing more toxic in politics than purity"  what is that supposed to mean? Purity as in honesty, integrity, decency, ethically -those are the definitions?  Gee we live in different universes.  Call me crazy but those are exactly the qualities I look for in my leaders.  

    • Blown in my mind too

      For full discretion I am not as pro-choice as they come, but to me the vote comes down to whether or not you want to insure 36 million Americans, and not fund abortions, or insure no one, and not fund abortions. Abortions won't get funded either way, but in one scenario millions of Americans have better access to quality, cheaper healthcare, and millions of poor women can have access to health care services that are still essential to their lives. I understand many poor women seek to have abortions that won't be covered, but many more poor women want to have breast cancer exams, exams on their babies they want to carry to term, vaccines for HPV, and even health care outside of the OB/GYN office. To deny them that health care coverage over a largely symbolic fight is immoral. Especially when one considers that Stupak will not likely see the light of day as actual law so it really comes down to where your priorities are, making a stand an issue that really wont affect too many people while torpedoing the best chance we have at real healthcare reform, or actually passing health care reform and then, at a better stage politically, restore the abortion funding if you are so inclined. Frankly I am convinced keeping the Hyde Amendment language in the final bill would not have happened without the Stupak amendment, and Stupak himself said he would rather support an amendment with just the Hyde provisions than his amendment, but knew enough about politics to propose a more extreme bill so the watered down bill fits his ideal. In retrospect maybe Obama should have done that with healthcare (propose single payer and let Boehner water it down to having a two tiered public option for instance).  

    • Lightiris: READ that bill:

      http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

      It isn't just "not so good", it is so bad it had to be crammed down legislator's throats at midnight with a "take this or else" gun to the head!  Rejecting this kind of holding legislators hostage and passing bad legislation which is deliberately written to be as long as War and Peace - twice over takes courage, not false purity.

      • We agree to disagree.

        I'm sorry, I just don't see scuttling the entire bill as progressive in any way.  I'm of the camp that the poison pill should be dealt with later in a final vote.  Deep sixing the closest we've ever come to meaningful HCR this early in the voting process is shortsighted and does, indeed, smack of purity politics.  Sorry.  

  9. Beautiful sabutai

    An elegant analysis. Thank you. I agree with B/in/B that the poll trivializes the issue, but I did literally laugh out loud and voted. My bad.  

    • Judy - again we agree to disagree. Did YOU read that horribly drafted, gender biased hodge podge of a bill?

      Here is a post and a link:  http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

      Go to it.  I ahve to get back to paid work trying to help poor kids get home and poor parents not get stripped of their kids due to homelessness & etc.  I just got an 18 1/2 year old mother back home after DCF rendered her homeless yesterday.

      THIS  is not a paid vacation day for me; I don't get any and from the perspective of someone who pays for their own health insurance, this legislation is not just bad, it is awful.  It leaves women, the working poor, students, and otherw WORSE OFF.

      It is NOT NOT NOT reform or an improvement it is a cynical sham.

      • Been lucky to be reguarly briefed

        by a team of experts who have been reading and analyzing various drafts for months. Not being an expert myself, I do learn and listen to health policy folks.  

      • Is it just me -

        • or are you starting to sound an awfully lot like certain protesters at this summer's "Town Hell" meetings, with your exhortations to read the bill and harping on how long it is?  Even members have staffs to read the bills and not being a member myself I'll gladly take the summary, and yes, it does look a heck of a lot better than the current status quo to me.  Rather than telling us to read it, why don't you highlight provisions you find objectionable and we can discuss those.
  10. This would be more believable

    if Capuano had come right out and said it.  Instead, he (1) hammered Coakley immediately with his now-famous "manna from heaven" line, while not saying a thing about the final bill (despite BMG and perhaps others asking him directly); (2) refused to answer that question when even the Globe asked him; and (3) finally announces his position on the final bill.

    Frankly, I think it's even money whether this is what Capuano was thinking all along, or whether he (a) hadn't thought about final passage; or (b) originally thought that he'd vote yes even if Stupak was in the final bill but changed his mind based on internal discussions held during the time that he was refusing to talk about what he'd do on the final bill.

    • what just happened in this campaign?

      1) Capuano is running for Senate too so in addition to making votes on Stupak and HCR in the house he's running a campaign in an abbreviated special election. We expect him to make statements relative to his opposition, especially when they initiate which Martha did.  

      Coakley's implicit criticism of his YES vote on HR3962 demanded a response. He said what any Congressman would say, Martha is clueless about the vote he just made on HR 3962, Coakley just handed him a big issue which is like manna from heaven.  

      I'll wager Coakley's statements was made without consideration of the context and if anything was made in the context of her presumed vote in the Senate. SHE was comparing her presumed vote in the Senate to his vote in the house (unreasonable so and indicative of her cluelessness) while using it as a club that he doesn't care about pro-choice issues.

      His record say s otherwise. NARAL fives him a 100% rating.  

      Coming out of round one, a round Coakley started, she gets credit from voters and she has taken it in the chops according to other voters.  

      None of this has anything to do with her position that the Hyde Amendment should be repealed. She hasn't talked about that position and whether she would pursue it now as part of HCR.  

      2) You say "he refused to answer that question" and "finally announces his position on the final bill." I say he spent less than 24 hours on a Tuesday when Congress was in session to get back with the right answer.  

      Was there a wrong answer in between the time he was asked and when he answered? NO, there wasn't.  So your complaint comes down to his taking 24 hours to respond to a question that grew out of a Coakley attack on his vote in the house.

      Frankly, I think it's even money whether this is what Capuano was thinking all along, or whether he (a) hadn't thought about final passage; or (b) originally thought that he'd vote yes even if Stupak was in the final bill but changed his mind based on internal discussions held during the time that he was refusing to talk about what he'd do on the final bill.

      You identify the right questions. I think he did not yet consider a future vote to be taken on the bill that comes out of conference committee (seven weeks from now) based on a hypothetical - whether that HCR bill has Stupak like language or Hyde amendment like language.  The only reason he wouls have to answer that quetion now is the campaign.  

      You say he refused to answer it. I think that's unfairly critical.  I say he took time, a day, and made a decision. The right decision to boot.  

      You see a Congressman and candidate for Senate who "didn't come right out and say it."  I see a Congressman who responded to Coakley's implied naive criticism of his house vote, defended his vote and criticized Coakley's criticism, was asked how he'd vote on the bill coming out of conference, and gave exactly the right answer after spending 24 hours to consider, even as Congress was in session on a Tuesday.    

      • Show me?

        How did Coakley implicitly criticize Capuano's vote?  She was asked directly what she would have done.  She didn't lie.  She told straight out the truth and that's when the firestorm and "manna from heaven" began. Her position is one that she has stated over and over again (see her day one campaign on Hardball).   When you speak your truth you don't hesitate.  Her position is lifelong as she has stated and well thought out.

        It was in fact Capuano who did more than implicitly criticize, he arrogantly and condescendingly berated her for her opinion.  That's a fact.

        • she crticizes the house for passing the bill saying its not progress

          "'To pretend that now the House has passed this bill is real progress - it's at the expense of women's access to reproductive rights,' Coakley said in an interview, after making similar comments yesterday morning on Boston radio station WTKK-FM.

          "She said later at a campaign appearance in Worcester, 'I refuse to acknowledge that this is the best we can do.'

          "Coakley's opposition to the bill put her squarely at odds with her three rivals for the Democratic nomination, including US Representative Michael E. Capuano, who voted in favor of the plan and blasted Coakley's stance yesterday, calling it 'manna from heaven' for his campaign." link

          • Martha would have voted NO on HR3962 in the house

            I thought she meant she would have voted no in the Senate:

            I'll wager Coakley's statements was made without consideration of the context and if anything was made in the context of her presumed vote in the Senate. SHE was comparing her presumed vote in the Senate to his vote in the house (unreasonable so and indicative of her cluelessness) while using it as a club that he doesn't care about pro-choice issues.

            She would have voted to kill HR 3962 in the house:

            BOSTON (AP) - U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley says she wouldn't have voted for the health care bill that passed the House over the weekend because of an amendment restricting abortion funding.

            Rep. Michael Capuano (cap-yoo-AH'-noh), another Democrat vying to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, voted against the so-called Stupak-Pitts Amendment but in favor of the overall health care bill that narrowly passed the House late Saturday.

            The amendment would prohibit abortion coverage for any health insurance product subsidized in any way by the federal government.

            House Speaker Nancy Pelosi favors abortion rights, but she compromised to gain the votes needed to pass the broader bill.

            Coakley is the only woman in the race and she's heavily supported by abortion rights groups.

            She made her comment Monday on WTKK-FM.link

            Shouldn't we know if Coakley would have voted no if she were the 218th vote?

          • Concede she did criticize the bill

            But unlike Capuano I didn't see these statements as personal digs.  And keep in mind, she was getting heat and questions that she was answering.  I agree with her as well,   this was not the best we could do as seems to be the common myth.  If we never push back and are constantly conceding highly principled stances we lose whatever ground we worked hard to achieve.  For some choice isn't as important.  I am 60 years old and lived during a time when coat hangers were common.  Those of us who've worked hard for decades to protect this right have more intense feelings I suppose.  Martha's approach is that we should be able to have both.  I know you are well aware of the threat that Stupak represents.  I have appreciated your wisdom on this.   I believe that had the House not been exhausted and taken a bit more time we might not be in this position.  It would have certainly been worth a shot. Someone should have had the courage to stand up and speak out.   Let's blame is on exhaustion but I'm hoping in the future we would have a few good men and women willing to go against the grain and speak truth to power.  It's especially hard when it's your own team going along to get along.  

          • Neil - I agree with Martha. Have YOU read the bill? Link is below.

            Go Neil.  Read the bill:  http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

            THIS bill is NOT reform.  It is largesse for certain insurance companies and leaves people like me WORSE OFF.

            • how many times are you going to post the same thing

              ... read the bill, it sucks? by my count that's 7 so far.  

            • martha said

              she would vote no becuase of Stupak not becuase the bill sucks.  

              • Neil, just curious, HAVE you read the bill?

                Just wondering...

                • Please

                  I'm sure he hasn't read the bill, just like I haven't read it and just like virtually everyone else on the face of the planet hasn't read it.  If you have problems with what you've read about it let's hear them.  Otherwise please stop this silliness.

                  Here's a link that includes a summary of what's in the bill, for those interested in doing some productive reading (unlike trying to read the actual text of the legislation).

        • her position on Hardball

          was advocating for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.  

          She has not spoken on that position since Hardball.  She probably should say whether she would choose this health care reform bill as a battleground to repeal the Hyde Amendment.  Is she taking question?  

    • Agree the optics are horrible

      Capuano spoke before he thought this out all the way to endgame.  I wouldn't be surprised if this is a not loss for him among people who don't follow the legislative process beyond what can be summarized in a couple sentences.

      However, for people who do follow the process to consciously lie about what Capuano is doing is reprehensible.  And that's what the media and other campaigns are already doing.

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • regardless of what he was thinking

      he came to the right conclusion. THAT is the important part. What Coakley has said is STILL THE WRONG DECISION. She would have torpedoed HCR way before necessary, if it ever is indeed necessary. I agree Capuano botched the way he made the case, but it doesn't change the fact that what he said and did is 100% correct.

      I don't think progressives should have to choose between supporting choice or supporting health care, but the fact of the matter is voting to push the bill along to the senate and conference committee is not making that decision, it's just keeping health care alive for another day. The only one in the race who came to the right conclusion on this issue, the only one who actually had to make a decision on it legislatively, is Capuano. That's what's important here.

      You're boggled down on the horse race bs, David. BMG is supposed to be a reality-based community; we should not allow candidates to spin us with their spin.

  11. What did Coakley's people have to do with it?

    While I appreciate the thought that went into Sabutai's post, I take issue with the title, which suggests some sort of conspiracy here. The fact is, this is a mess of Capuano's own making.

    "Coakley's people" didn't write Capuano's manna from heaven comment, nor did they script his reversal less than 24 hours later. That was Capuano's doing, and that's what the public will remember from this episode.

    The reason that the comments on Boston.com and elsewhere have deemed this a flip-flop is not because of some nefarious spin machine. It's because Capuano stepped in it, and people are calling him on it.

    This episode isn't about the differences between voting for a bill at one stage of the legislative process and against it later. This is about a candidate attacking his opponent for a position she's taken one day, and then taking up the VERY SAME POSITION the next day.

    Perhaps Sabutai and others here are putting a little too much thought into this. In fact, this thread seems like an exercise in rationalization. Capuano's blunder today probably cost him the race, and Coakley's people didn't have anything to do with it. They didn't have to.

    • Hear, hear

      That's what I just wrote, more or less, and now I see it here too. Well said, blurgh!

      • I read - and write - legislation albeit I am not a state employee

        I am also totally opposed to taking someone else's word for something I have not read.

        I always tell clients "Don't sign anything you haven't read and while you are MY client - don't sign anything without me reading it first."

        For the record, I did download the whole Health Care Whale, and did read the areas I am concerned about and am concerned that this bill, if not changed in major ways, will set back health care for many many people, and be the "worst" for the working class and lower middle class.

        To me it looks more like a sell out, a "go along to get along" bill that doesn't do much if anything for ordinary people as it is.

        Well.  The ball is in the senate and I personally wish there was a "real debate" at a reasonable time of day after providing sufficient time to study the proposed healthcare bill before debating, amending, and narrowly passing what I view as "Putative reform".  

        Yes - the more deliberative senate...now has the bill and the ball.  

        I cannot, as an honest person, state that what I read [not what talking heads have said] constitutes health care reform.

        • Will you please

          tell us what specific provisions of the bill make things worse? If you've done that somewhere, can you link to it? You seem to be one of the very few outside of the wingnutosphere who is saying that the bill makes things worse.  

        • Yes AmberPaw

          As exciting as it is that this bill passed, I am generally flying blind about the contents.  I have little time to read the entire bill in order to find issues of concern.

          If you have concerns about this

          will set back health care for many many people, and be the "worst" for the working class and lower middle class.

          can you please point it out and expand on it. I know this bill is a compromise bill, it's important we know what the greedsters were able to get in it.  

          I appreciate your effort, please just notate the areas of concern you have and let us have the page numbers.

          Thanks AmberPaw.

  12. When did Coakley say what you claim she said?

    You wrote, "Coakley said that if a bill at any time included the provision she'd vote no, regardless of consequences."  The link to the Globe story no way backs you up on that, can you supply any other links to prove your contention?  

  13. Does the average Mass. Democratic voter care about this Capuano-Coakley dust-up?

    OK, I get it Coakley demonstrated her lack of political sophistication with the Congressional legislative process, and Capuano's supporters called her on that strategic misstep "to scare impressionable voters."

    Maybe, I am just one of those unsophisticated, impressionable voters sabutai is referring to, but all this sturm and drang about flip-flops and not understanding the intricacies of the Congressional political process, seems like a "lot of inside baseball" masquerading as crucial public policy differences.

    Coakley and Capuano are very close on most of the key public policy issues of the day, including health care reform. Furthermore, I believe that the different professional records and experience of each candidate offer much more valuable insights into which candidate would be the more effective, progressive U.S. Senator than the competing statements offered by each candidate in this overhyped pseudo-controversy. (I feel that would be Capuano in a heartbeat.)

    I am pretty sure the average Democratic voter in the state, who is still dubious about the date of the primary special election, finds this controversy to be "much ado about nothing," and would prefer that each candidate introduce themselves to the voters (got give credit to Pags for those effective TV spots) and explain how each candidate would address the ailing economy, tackle Afghanistan and terrorism, stabilize the financial system to ensure adequate credit for small business and individuals, and ensure that the Bay State gets its fair, full share of federal assistance in key transportation, job training, economic development, education, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and health care. Is that too much to ask, Mr. Capuano, Ms. Coakley, Mr.Khazei, and Mr. Pags?

    • you are right of course

      about this

      Maybe, I am just one of those unsophisticated, impressionable voters sabutai is referring to, but all this sturm and drang about flip-flops and not understanding the intricacies of the Congressional political process, seems like a "lot of inside baseball" masquerading as crucial public policy differences.

      but it's changing and people are starting to pay attention., One of my relatively unsophisticated friends called a couple of minutes ago to ask if I could explain this curve ball she picked up in Globe Metro this afternoon.

      When political reporter Alison King asked her point blank if she would vote against the bill if the abortion amendment is included, Coakley said, "I'm not going to answer that question. I am not saying, you know, if I'm on the bridge and this is the only choice I have that, you know, I'd say we're not going to be there."

      A spokeswoman for Coakley said that she hadn't changed her position, and that she stands by her earlier comments.

      I don't understand my friend asked, what is really going on? Is she backtracking or not? I thought I understood this.

      An hour later and after much googling and reading of blogs, she is engaged.

      • I think, Judy, your friend's experience

        is somewhat emblematic of a machinery unable to deal in a meaningful way with a compressed schedule in an out-of-sync election.  Media coverage is spotty, at best.  I think people are genuinely confused, and their inability to find some resolution is, in part, due to a failure on the part of the media to bother to do the organizing, i.e.,  take the time to lay out the facts as we know them and apply some real, operative word real, analysis in a bold manner.    The fact that the vast majority of voters are unclear on a) when the primary is and b) who the Democratic candidates really are speaks to an inherently inefficient and ineffective process.  Were this campaign season more traditional in both scope and length, these issues would be more fully explored--either by design or by accident--and the voters would be better prepared in making their decision.  

        As it is, I fully expect Coakley to walk away from this primary a landslide victor and to repeat that performance on election day.  I believer, however, that the voters have been deprived of a meaningful campaign experience and will vote on the first hook available to them:  name recognition.  A quiz of voters on election day on the differences among the candidates would be rather revealing--and I don't think we'd all feel good about it.  Well, maybe the Coakley supporters will.  ;-)

    • I don't see it.

      Coakley and Capuano are very close on most of the key public policy issues of the day, including health care reform. Furthermore, I believe that the different professional records and experience of each candidate offer much more valuable insights into which candidate would be the more effective, progressive U.S. Senator than the competing statements offered by each candidate in this overhyped pseudo-controversy. (I feel that would be Capuano in a heartbeat.)

      This I don't get.    I think mere presence in the H of R doesn't, de facto, present you with effectiveness as a Senator.   Capuano's attendance record gives me pause when considering him for the seat:  he has a similar job, but nobody seems to critically evaluate the performance he's done to date.   I'm not saying he's done a poor job just that merely holding the job doesn't mean he does it well.

      Historically, Commonwealth voters tend not to exhibit a preference for specific experience in their Senators.  For instance, only 5 of the last 20 Mass Senators came from the US House of Representatives, the most recent being Paul Tsongas.  We've had Governors, Lieutenant Governaors, businessmen, AGs and party politicos.  In fact there doesn't seem to be a clear preference.

      Nor has there been a clear correlation between where a Senator has been before and job performance.  So simply assuming experience in the H of R (without asking even if it's good experience) doesn't necessarily assume an effective Senatorial career.

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Tue 21 Oct 5:28 PM