Dear Senator Hagan.

I don't want to like you. You defeated my candidate, but that isn't why. I don't want to like you because of what you did several budget cycles ago, penning a secret Senate budget that came out with cuts in Medicaid for old, blind, disabled people so that wealthy people could get a tax cut.

It was immoral, and that is why I don't want to like you.

But, you're just making it too easy.....to not like you.

Another Senate budget has been unveiled after being hidden from scrutiny by the Senate leadership you and Senator Dalton represent. And, this time it is even worse than before. Really, it's worse. Because this time you are taking away funding for kid's health care. Health care for kids. You.Are.Taking.Away.Kid's.Health.Care.

Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand says the state doesn't have enough money to pay for Health Choice until the end of the year. The program provides health care for kids in families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

...

It seems like a no-brainer to cover kids who are eligible for care now under Health Choice and not wait for Washington. And the money is there, whatever Rand and other Senate leaders say.

There is $2.7 million in the Senate budget for renovation of the polar exhibit at the zoo and another $4.3 million for an oyster hatchery, not to mention that the Senate recently decided to give wealthy people another tax break by voting to repeal the state gift tax, which will reduce state revenue by $18 million.

Depending on how you look at it, we either need $8 million, $13 million, or maybe $20 million to cover a whole slew of uninsured kids and actually be a leader on this issue.

Adam Searing says it is all gamesmanship and that it is a game that doesn't make sense (read the whole, coherent thing here).

...In this budget the honorable Senators eliminate all funding for NC's expanded sliding-scale premium child health insurance program for working parents...

Even worse, NC Senators, all of whom by the way have free – yes, that's right, they don't pay any premium – health care provided by the taxpayers through the NC Health Plan, propose in their budget to close NC Health Choice,...

"Too bad, mom and dad. We couldn't find the extra $8.3 million the House came up with, so we are shutting you out. Maybe next year." Or perhaps they should run for the NC Senate....

Now, the NC Senate is notorious for playing these sorts of silly games with health insurance coverage for kids. Put something outrageous in your proposed budget, get the public riled up, use it as a negotiating point. I understand political gamesmanship, but NC Democrats hurting children while they play like seven-year-olds trading for Pokémon cards seems a little much...

I can't understand why the debate in the Senate isn't over how many more kids we could help with affordable health coverage. For $13 million more in state money in addition to the $7 million allocated last year, we could thumb our noses at the federal government and start NC Kids Care immediately.

Finally, what the heck is the political calculation here? Will NC Senator Kay Hagan, currently running against US Senator Elizabeth Dole, vote for this budget? Health insurance for kids is one of her signature issues against Dole and she's going to give that up just when it looks like she might have a chance of winning?

...Why are we even having this debate? Nationally, Democrats and a large section of moderate Republicans are united around efforts to expand health insurance to more children. Why is the NC Senate running against this trend with policies that look more like those coming out of the Bush administration? I guess back where they draft the budget there aren't very many people asking these sorts of hard questions.

An interesting side note, 170 elected House and Senate members each receiving ~$500/month in free premiums is about $1 million a year in "wasteful" government spending if you ask me. Their kids deserve health care because they work a low-paying job, but someone else's kid doesn't?


But, Senator Hagan, it doesn't stop there. You are infamous among Democrats for supporting telecom immunity, and we are supposed to accept that, because you're our nominee. Well, not good enough, and today's New York Times Editorial explains why.

More fundamental, Mr. Bush’s powers do not supersede laws passed by Congress or the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures...

That law expires on Aug. 3, and Mr. Bush is demanding even more power to spy. He also wants immunity for the telecommunications companies that provided the government with Americans’ private data without a warrant after Sept. 11.

Lawsuits against those companies are the best hope of finding out the extent of Mr. Bush’s lawless spying. But Democratic leaders in Congress are reported to have agreed to a phony compromise drafted by Senator Christopher Bond, the Republican vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee...

The new bill has other problems. It gives the government too much leeway to acquire communications in the United States without individual warrants or even a showing of probable cause. It greatly reduces judicial review, and it would remain in force for six years, which is too long...If any significant changes are going to be made, they should be made under the next president.

There are clear differences between the candidates. Senator John McCain, who is sounding more like Mr. Bush every day, believes the president has the power to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant.

Senator Barack Obama opposes immunity and voted against the temporary expansion of FISA.
We hope he will show strong leadership this time. He might even take time off from the campaign to vote against the disturbing deal brewing in the back rooms of Congress.

This is the year for Hope, the year for Change, the year we stop doing things they way they used to be done and fight for an open and honest government that takes into account the needs of the people first and foremost.

What about you Senator Hagan?

Will you renounce a budget "that [looks] more like those coming out of the Bush administration" and vote against it?

Will you change your mind and put the rule of law and the Constitution above the Republican scare-tactics and declare that you are against telecom immunity?

Or, will you continue to make it hard for voters to tell the difference between you and Elizabeth Dole?

Comments

It's not too late to stand up for what is right Senator Hagan.

Before you have to stand on that stage next to Senator Dole and explain why you are a better version of her.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Just to clear up some misunderstandings.

This is most definitely about my problems with Kay Hagan. Kid's health care is one of those issues, but so is FISA and telecom immunity. Kay Hagan doesn't automatically get my vote or any vote just because she won the primary. If I told you I was voting against the Senator who voted for a tax cut instead of children's health care, and who supported keeping George Bush's illegal wiretapping of the American people - you wouldn't have a problem with that. Unfortunately, you would think I was talking about Elizabeth Dole, but no I'm talking about Kay Hagan.

However, I will make a promise. If Kay Hagan comes out strongly against this budget, which perhaps that is her plan all along, I will promise her my vote and my support. If she is the reason we end up with full budget support for these programs I will be on her side, forgetting her support of George Bush's illegal activities.

Now, for those of you talking about "purity". Are you freakin' kidding me? Have you not been here long enough to know that I grew up a gun-totin', death-penalty-supportin', huntin', fishin', redneck, coal-mine/logging, moderate/conservative? The idea that I'm a liberal purist is laughable. What I am is someone who grew up, examined his views later in life and realized that I could not live with hypocrisy.

I support the lottery and some sort of legalized gambling because if we can give women the right to choose, everyone the right to booze, then we should sure as hell give everyone the right to lose, money.

I have a belief, a core belief, that health care is a right, not a privilege. Anyone who attacks that right is my enemy.

Kay Hagan is running for my vote, she has shown time and time again that she supports profits and wealth over health care for CHILDREN. She's no friend of mine.

If she reverses herself, if she can see the light, then I will support her.

Period.

I don't really care what anyone else thinks, this is a moral issue and if she is no better than Elizabeth Dole then maybe her loss will send a message to Democrats that being Republican Lite is just not enough.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Heh, this sounds familiar...

Er, not the gun-totin' part, the why-don't-you-automatically-support-the-nominee talk. I'm not saying I don't understand it, but I don't even KNOW what "party purity" means anymore, especially on the national front.

Last time I checked, candidates still had to earn votes...

Robert has already clearly stated

that he will not vote for Kay Hagan in November, so this isn't even about earning his vote.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

....

However, I will make a promise. If Kay Hagan comes out strongly against this budget, which perhaps that is her plan all along, I will promise her my vote and my support. If she is the reason we end up with full budget support for these programs I will be on her side, forgetting her support of George Bush's illegal activities.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

You might as well have asked

that she lasso the moon to get your vote.

Unfortunately, when someone repeatedly posts just how much they loathe a candidate or elected official and then holds their vote and support hostage with a list of demands - even honorable demands - it just rings hollow. The anger and hatred you've directed at Kay Hagan isn't easy to see being dismissed over support for an issue. You started this piece reiterating just how much you don't like Kay Hagan. I quit reading. I guarantee I wasn't the only one.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Not all of us can turn our backs.

I can't believe you would ever compare voting for children's health care over tax breaks for millionaires to lassoing the moon. Gee, what does that make voting against the Iraq war, lassoing Mercury?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I didn't compare them

As Greg said, it isn't likely she would go against the full Senate. I was speaking to that. So, I didn't compare them.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Should these grapes continue to sour...

or age into a fine WHINE?

It's always interesting to see these posts attacking Senators Hagan and Dalton while leaving out Senator Cowell. Ya know, she's running a statewide campaign too! She's voted for a budget or two herself. Even Orange County's own Ellie Kinniard has a voting record on these budgets.

Further, Hagan and Dalton have been replaced as budget chairs by Senators Albertson and Dannelly, but no attacks on their records find their way into these posts.

The primary is over.

The budget chairs have changed.

The future is in front of you, not behind you.

 

I'm an equal opportunity caller-outer.

Senator Kinnaird has received generous does of my displeasure on this site, after all she is supposed to be the Progressive Voice of the NC Senate, but always toes the party line.

Senator Hagan is in the national spotlight, I am hoping that she will use this time to rethink her conservative positions on these issues.

Also, if you care to dig into the past you will see that the Senate budget process and outcomes are something I have been attacking for far longer than I have known about Kay Hagan. Or, you could ask your candidate to stand up for what is right. Or, you could ask her why she would support positions that are more in line with conservative republicans than with democrats.

Or, you can just post silly sour grapes/whining comments and continue to live a life with blinders firmly attached.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Hagan is running for the U.S. senate

The others aren't.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Health insurance for kids

is a legitimate issue and a fair question to raise here.

Usernamehere, don't confuse the substance of the question with the blunt manner of the question. Robert hasn't asked the question in quite the way I would, sometimes overly diplomatic soul that I am. Regardless, it deserves a straight answer on the merits.

I was frankly flabbergasted to see the Senate budget draft cut out the (very modest) funding for a children's health program expansion that makes strong economic sense and is a basic moral imperative. How can the Senate budget-drafters justify deleting this item? The answers provided simply make no sense--legally, fiscally, or even politically. I have communicated my displeasure on this item privately, and I am doing so publicly.

Only the hardest-core Scrooges begrudge affordable health insurance for the children of working lower-income families. I know that there are issues on which the morally right position can be a political stretch, but this is not one of them. It's right; it's affordable; and it's even a political home run with swing voters.

Kay. Walter. This is your chance to be the heroes for the good guys. If necessary, break caucus cover and stand up on the Senate floor to get this money put in the budget. Show leadership. This one counts.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

If it's good for Kay and Walter, how about Linda?

Does the remaining budget chair, Senator Linda Garrou, get a pass on this?

I don't truly disagree with the substance of the argument, but the style is one of hypocritical rage.

Of course, I am often chafed by either chamber's leadership failure to do this or that.

Is the tent too big in the NC Senate or anywhere else? Do we trade 31-19 for 29-21? How about 27-23? How far does ideological purity go? All the way to a minority leaving Phil Berger in control?

Or perhaps the leadership is crazy like a fox. Cutting children's health care in a budget they know will go to the floor and to conference. It brings the issues to the front burner, and maybe allows us to refocus on Dole's record, and allows someone(s) to be the hero - just as Dan suggests.

I've come to the conclusion that I am glad Dems have a 31-19 majority in the NC Senate. I'm glad Jim Webb beat George Allen in Virginia's last Senate race even though he's not as closely aligned with my opinions as other Democrats. I understand others will disagree with that school of thought.

In any case, I'm glad Hagan, Dalton and Cowell are opposing Dole, Pittenger, and Daughtridge, and I will be working to ensure their success, rather than their failure, as we move toward November.

 

Nicely said

I believe it was Jim Neal who said to get Kay elected first and then hold her feet to the fire.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

We're Trying to Get Her Elected

But she is on the wrong side of the polls on children's health care. This may be a tactical move but it doesn't help Hagan get elected. Running against families and kids' health is no way to get elected.

After the election

we have no leverage. This is the ONLY time you make politicians listen and commit themselves to doing what is right.

We are now entering our second month since Hagan said she would reach out to the liberal wing of the party and sit down to talk.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

I'm not aware of Linda Garrou asking for my vote.

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
Rabbi Hillel

If I don't stand up for my beliefs it seems clear that no one else will. If we care only about ourselves and our own self-interests, what is wrong with us? If we wait until later, well later never comes.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It's good for all of them.

I have directly asked Linda Garrou, as the Democratic Senator from my county, to support expanding health insurance for children. She gets no more or less of a pass than any of our Senate Democratic leadership on this matter.

"How far does ideological purity go?" Are you suggesting that you have poll-tested health insurance for the children of poor working families and found this to be unpopular? I seriously doubt that. I call you out on the facts.

This is a common-sense program.

It is an economically positive program.

It helps people who need and deserve our help.

It is, for goodness' sake, even a politically POPULAR program.

I am absolutely baffled by the Senate leadership's resistance to it. It makes no sense on any level.

I have publicly and privately endorsed Walter Dalton, whom I opposed in the primary, and let him know that I am available and happy to work for him this fall. That is not an issue.

I am happy to vote and work for Kay Hagan against Elizabeth Dole.

Your premise, that children's health insurance somehow makes a logical bargaining chip with the N.C. House in budget negotiations, is not a rational position. That's not to say that you may not have read certain members of the Senate leadership's tactical thinking correctly--that may well be what's happening. I am saying, however, that the tactic is absurd. This tactic does not make them look like "fiscal conservatives". It simply makes them look foolish and out of touch. Whomever is responsible for this tactic is making a very bad call.

This is not an appropriate bargaining chip, and it is not a winning issue (on the opposition side) for Democrats of any stripe.

Let me be blunt: Cut it out. Stop defending the indefensible. This is a winning issue for Democrats who support the right side on this matter. Real Democrats should support making affordable health insurance available for the children of poor working families. Period. Full stop.

Now.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Well said, Dan

"Indefensible."

With a Democratically controlled Legislature coupled with a critical issue that also happens to be politically popular, there is no excuse not to stand up for what's right.

In fact, as was pointed out, doing the right thing here is a win-win.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Hagan was the one who made

a BIG issue about Dole and SCHIP. Now to have her hand Dole a shield to hide behind does not help us.

I have read all these kinds of excuses before on behalf of Joe Lieberman. I have been lectured by people who explained how candidates were being crafty with political tricks to outflank their opponents. In the end, they still sold us out. Currently I am being lectured about how selling us out to the telcos is not really selling us out to the telcos.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Dole

It's my understanding that Dole is trying to fund S-CHIP from a source other than tobacco. That will win her the rural, farming vote. Still looking for where I saw that online, anyone help out?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Hagan also

was in a tizzy over imposing taxes on the fine people peddling death for profit. She would support S-CHIP with tobacco money ONLY if their were no other choice.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

This is the point

We are suppose to vote and work for the candidates who have values we respect.

WE get to vote. We do not just register as a Republican or some other party and then blindly check off down ticket.

I am disappointed in this year when we have a majority that we are acting not like democrats in the Senate.

And the public outcry is hard to hear.

TurnNCBlue

However one choses to view the issue politically

It's hard to imagine that with an almost $22 Billion (22-thousand-million dollars) budget, the "honorables" can't find $20 Million to help provide health care to the the most vulnerable among us.

Seems to me it's time for the NC Dems in the Statehouse to either "put up or shut up." I think Robert is on target...and whether or not the way he says it is how someone else would choose to say it...it is the truth.

Lots of people in the Statehouse are wealthy beyond most folks wildest dreams. Our own Sen Boseman apparently has/had two properties here each worth over $1 Million. I'm pretty sure she can afford her own health insurance. Perhaps the folks in Raleigh ought to have a net worth test...and if it shows they can afford their own insurance, their $500/month premium could be redirected to children's health care.

Stan Bozarth

I think the problem is that.....

Robert showed that this was personal against Kay Hagan in his opening paragraphs. That distracted from the larger issue - and more important issue - the need to provide health care for children who live in or are at risk of living in poverty. He then jumped to telecom immunity - which makes it appear to me - and probably to others - that this piece doesn't really have anything to do with health care for kids. This is a compilation of his complaints against Kay Hagan.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Why is it "personal"

when someone expresses criticism of a candidate who is veering from party values?

A "personal" grudge is one that has nothing to do with the issues. The complaints have merit, the criticism is valid.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

From worse to worser

The issue got a little more complicated yesterday as Adam Searing reports. Sen. Hagan offered an amendment to the budget that seems to have made things worse. It requires enrollment of children if Congress authorizes the program beyond March 2009 but did not re-instate the funds needed to enroll them.

Robert I followed you on the health issue long enough to understand it and because I was following Adam also. Throwing in FISA makes it just about Kay Hagan and makes comprehension more difficult.

As a Democrat, she's not going to vote against the State Budget Bill. The changes should be made in committee or amendments. I believe both the House and Senate want to ram the budget through so they can end the session because as long as they are in Raleigh there are a great number of mischievous bills that can be hauled out to do greater damage to progressive issues.

Thanks for linking that post, Greg

I learned more from that than I did in all my research yesterday. Short, sweet and to the point.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

When do we get to give her a hard time?

So - when exactly are Democrats supposed to ask their candidates and elected officials to behave like Democrats? We're supposed to wait until they're in office?

Cutting Health Choice is bad for kids and bad for North Carolina.

Supporting amnesty for telecoms like the President and Republicans want is bad for America.

Kay Hagan's a better candidate than Liddy Dole, but I don't want Republican Lite.

No money for Hagan from me. I'll be giving to Democrats who believe in health care and civil rights. I'll vote for her because Dole is such a monumental flop, but she's hardly the inspirational leader she could be.

It's disappointing, wouldn't you agree?

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

There is a way to support and promote the issue

and point out the candidates and elected officials who aren't voting the way you/we want without making it look like it is a vendetta against one candidate. I happen to agree with you, but I think the way Robert went about it is counterproductive. Let's save the venom for the Republicans. We don't have to let the Democrats off the hook, but we don't have to treat them like they are the spawn of Satan either.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

You are REALLY not going to like

my next post.

For the record, I don't think anyone in this thread is treating Hagan like the "spawn of Satan".

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.