Not About Whether Obama Supports the Public Option

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 13:00


There is an argument taking place right now in the progressive blogosphere about whether or not President Obama supports a public insurance option in health care reform. There are two quick responses to this fight:
  1. In the theoretical abstract, of course President Obama supports a public option. He said so on the campaign trail. White House spokespeople reiterated that support yesterday. Inside sources I have tell me that President Obama has told them personally that he supports a public option. And I'm not the only one. So yes, every indication is that President Obama supports a public option.

  2. The goal isn't to have a President who agrees with the concept of a public option. Rather, the goal is to actually have a robust public option that is available to all Americans. Some people might be confusing these two ideas. Personally, I think this is because some people in progressive media are more interested in engaging the long running "Obama is a progressive versus Obama hurting progressives" argument, rather than actually achieving legislative results. I don't know how large either group actually is, and even combined they are certainly not a majority of the progressive blogosphere community, but both groups are more interested in winning that argument than  actually achieving legislative results.
We are at an impasse where, due to a Progressive Block in the House, health care reform legislation cannot pass that chamber without a robust public option. In the Senate, it appears that no bill with a robust public option can reach 60 votes. As such, whether or President Obama supports the concept of the public option is not the important point. Rather, the important point is whether the Obama administration, in order to achieve a health care bill, is more willing and able to pressure the Progressive Block in the House or the Conservadem Block in the Senate.

In this light, I don't actually blame the Obama administration and elite Democratic surrogates from starting to apply more pressure to the Progressive Block in the House. From the bailout, to the housing bill, to the stimulus, to the climate change bill, Progressives have consistently proven more willing to fold than Blue Dogs and / or Conservadems. Given this, the White House is simply pressuring what recent history has shown to be the more easily pressured group when it needs to pass legislation. Past collapses have made the Progressive Block on health care less credible, and so pressuring Progs is the obvious play.

Well, we have to change this dynamic once and for all. It needs to be made clear that Blue Dogs / Conservadems are just as, if not more likely, to fold than Progressives. Otherwise, not only will be lose meaningful health care reform, but we will lose pretty much all legislative fights down the road.

So, it is up to us is making sure that the House Progressive Block turns out to be stronger than the Senate Conservadem Block. That is the only way we are going to win this, not with arguments about what the White House supports or does not support in the abstract. As such, get on the phone and thank as many of the members of the Progressive Block as you can for standing firm. Make sure that the easier play for the White House is to push Senate Conservadems to fold. That is the only way we are going to win this.

Chris Bowers :: Not About Whether Obama Supports the Public Option

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Don't worry, Chris! (4.00 / 11)
I already started hitting the phones today! I wrote to Harry Reid and Dina Titus (my Rep. in the House), and I called Titus' Las Vegas office. The staffer couldn't say if Dina will take the pledge, but at least I got her on record again in support of the public option. I'll later call Reid's Las Vegas office and ask him to make sure the final Senate bill has a good public option.

And yes, The White House will also be getting yet another angry letter from me. ;-)

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.


Good job! (4.00 / 1)
However, it's unfortunate that you don't live in the district of one of the unashamed saboteurs, like Conrad or Baucus. It's essential that especially the constituents of the Blue Dogs call them and make it claear they have no sympathy whatever for the lawmakers blocking the public option. Don't forget to point out that polls show a two third majority among the voters supporting this! Turn up the heat and make the bastards move!!!

[ Parent ]
Actually, I kinda sorta am... (4.00 / 1)
Harry Reid says he supports the public option, but we have no clue how hard he'll fight for it (like Obama). Dina Titus actually voted against HR 3200 in committee, but now says she supports the public option and hasn't yet made up her mind on the final bill. Reid and Titus were disappointing at first, so it's been a LOT of hard work for us progressives in Vegas to get them to where they're at now. And frankly, we still have more work to do.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
Obama also vehemently promotes... (4.00 / 2)
...reduced tax deductions for high income earners to finance the health care overhaul... He repeated it last week several times. Yet, none of those appear in any committee bills, nor is it likely to...

Which supports your argument...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


Yes its in HELP (4.00 / 2)
I stand ready to be corrected, but paid for with a tax on the wealthy is still a part of the mixed up mix of bills moving toward rewrite in reconciliation.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I Agree With The Conclusion, But.... (4.00 / 12)
Not this:

In this light, I don't actually blame the Obama administration and elite Democratic surrogates from starting to apply more pressure to the Progressive Block in the House. From the bailout, to the housing bill, to the stimulus, to the climate change bill, Progressives have consistently proven more willing to fold than Blue Dogs and / or Conservadems.

You're judging them by the standard they want to be judged by: political efficacy, regardless of practical result.

This is not just bad for those of us who have to live in the real world.  It's also bad for Obama, too.  Every time he shows that he prefers to do the easy thing rather than the right thing, he encourages vigorous opposition, since he's shown how effective it can be.

LBJ was a legendary arm-twister.  But one of his most basic secrets is that he actually believed in what he was doing.  So whoever was getting his arm twisted knew that LBJ was serious about what he was doing, and that tended to take the fight out of them.

But with Obama?  Heck, they know just the opposite.  He just wants to get something passed, and doesn't really care what it is.  So I'll just hold out until he decides to give up.

Real political genius, that.

It's time for Congressional progressives to wise up, too.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


I think it is fair to judge them both ways (4.00 / 4)
I think that it is perfectly fair to judget hem both ways. This is because the effects of the policies do actually matter, and because the administration does seem more interested in political efficacy than in results (at least that is my take).

But if they are approaching this from the perspective of political efficacy, then we have to respond with a strategy that makes doing the right thing also the efficacious thing in the short-term. If we ignore that, and just expect them to do the right thing, then I don't think we will develop an effective strategy to make sure that they do the right thing.


[ Parent ]
I Guess I Didn't Make This Point Sharp Enough (4.00 / 3)
What I'm trying to say is that efficacy alone is ultimately an incoherent framework, and that actually being committed to some particular outcome is necessary in order to be truly effective.

Again, I agree 100% as to the logic of what we must do.

But I think it can help us to point out that their strategy is ultimately self-defeating.

The GOP certainly figured that one out in the first two weeks or so.  And they have less brain cells than a sea cucumber.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Should troll rate you (4.00 / 1)
For insulting sea cucumbers.

But you are correct, the opposition, whether repubs or Blue Dogs can tell whose going to fold first in this high stakes poker game, and it's not going to be them.


[ Parent ]
There is 'one fight,' one story that needs telling right now, one thing to organize. (4.00 / 2)
We need to win this battle. We need to support Public Option Supporters, we need to barricade the line in the sand.

Your analysis of why we have to fight this this way is important, but right now we just have to fight this, this way, right now.

This is Agincourt. We can sit before the battle and say we need more troops, we can worry about losing, we can doubt our weapons and we can wonder if that Norman leading us really cares about Brits, but its Agincourt, and its St. Crispins day.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
LBJ's arm twisting reputation is overreated (0.00 / 0)
To this day, no one person can give me the name of one Senator whose arm he twisted.


[ Parent ]
He asked Canadian Prime Minister Mike Pearson (4.00 / 1)
 to come to the White House after he gave a speech in Delaware (I think) against the war in viet nam. He had been invited to speak as a world renowned and Nobel Peace Prize winning diplomat and Statesman, many times.

Before leaving the US, and returning to Ottawa, upon arriving at the Oval Office, Johnson strode across the floor only to not take his hand, but to grab him by his lapels and lift him off the ground saying, "you pissed on my rug."

The Prime Minister was not impressed. Nor did it alter Canada's position, nor Pearson's speech making.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
This is true (0.00 / 0)
looking deeper into history, one would find that LBJ's arm twisting strategy did not work at all.

What worked is that he was a shrewd negotiator and compromiser who was about to hatch out a compromise strategy with Republicans and make the obstructing Dems irrelevant.

Obama doesn't have that type of situation now.  


[ Parent ]
This is not the history I have (0.00 / 0)
read.

I suggest you read some of Goodwin's account.  I was lucky enough to sit next to him on a flight from Boston to NY years ago.

LBJ, he said, could actually be physically intimidating.  This was made even more effective because he was President, and you damn sure couldn't hit back.


[ Parent ]
btw, Lester Pearson lol (0.00 / 0)
and I think it was Temple University in Philadelphia where Pearson spoke.  

[ Parent ]
Jeepers, yues Lester pearson, I will be hung by anyone in canada who saw that mistake. (0.00 / 0)
BTW. Lester got his Nobel Peace Prize not when he was Prime Minister, but before, when he was Minister of External Affairs. He got the medal for using the UN to stop the American / British Invasion of Egypt, cause they didn't like that Egypt said the Egyptian Suez Canal belonged to Egypt.

This is a long long way from the present Canadian Liberal Party leader Ignatieff's position on the American Empire's imperial need for resources is a good way to spread democracy.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Pearson butted heads with many foreign leaders (0.00 / 0)
his fracas with Charles de Gaulle nearly tore Canada apart, and led to Pierre Trudeau's premiership.

But to the larger point, LBJ's arm twisting strategy didn't yield changed votes or opinions...of course because he won on these issues, his supporters are allowed to frame history however they want. So they framed it to present LBJ as a master in coercion.  


[ Parent ]
Oh no thats not right. (0.00 / 0)
Sorry. De Gaul was an ass, he came to Canada, and went not to meet the Prime Minister, but to Quebec, where he made a very public speech quoting the slogan of a seperatist party, "Vive Quebec, Vive Quebec Libre!" Long live Quebec, long live free Quebec.'


In repeating the slogan of a Quebec sovereigntist party, De Gaulle, in the words of The Canadian Encyclopedia, provoked "a large diplomatic incident which forced the cancellation of his visit, initiated an incredible campaign of French interference in the domestic affairs of Canada and, above all, lent his worldwide prestige to the Québec independence movement."[5]

The crowd's reaction to de Gaulle's phrase was emotional, and has been described as frenzied.[5] Federalist Canadians, on the other hand, were outraged at the implied threat to Canada's territorial integrity and took the words to be an insult to the thousands of Canadians who had fought and died on the battlefields of France during two world wars. The Canadian media harshly criticized the statement, and in a brief speech broadcast the following evening, Prime Minister Pearson, a World War I veteran and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said that "Canadians do not need to be liberated. Indeed, many thousands of Canadians gave their lives in two world wars in the liberation of France and other European countries."[3


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V...

He was at the end of an illustrious career. He was born in the 1800's for heavens sake.

This was not a hard headed man at all. He was soft spoken, even lisping, man who had massive, still has the massive respect of the Canadian People.

You misinterpret that time I assure you.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
In America, we were taught (0.00 / 0)
that the Pearson/De Gaulle feud nearly ripped the country apart.

But then again the closest Canadian province to where I live in Quebec, so it wouldn't surprise me if that's how they see it in Montreal.


[ Parent ]
Yes well seperatism was a fervent desire of many many Quebecois (0.00 / 0)
and De Gaul's arrogant interference give powerful support to many. The seperatist movement is alive today, very stgrong still, the great majority of the members of the Quebec delegation to the federal Parliament are Bloc Quebecois Party members, whose charter is about seperatism. But the federalist Liberal Party is in power in the province proper, and has won the last many elections.

Trudeau was PM while the crisis was at its zenith, with kidnappings, and the murder of a British diplomat, and the placement of tanks in the streets of the province. The war measures act was invoked. But it was not a Pearson provoked situation.

In great respect it was the natural outgrowth of the maturing of Quebec. Throwing off the yoke of anglo rule, and the near disappearance of canadian french culture. Just as it disappeared in much of north America. It was "maitre chez nous" - masters in our own house. they nationalized (in one province) the energy sector and used the money for national (provincial) development.

The young in Quebec have set aside that project, and are setting sights on a social democratic Canada. This last weekends NDP convention's delegation from Quebec was the largest ever by far.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
In America, we were taught (0.00 / 0)
that the Pearson/De Gaulle feud nearly ripped the country apart.

But then again the closest Canadian province to where I live in Quebec, so it wouldn't surprise me if that's how they see it in Montreal.


[ Parent ]
Ah Yes! That's Just What LBJ Claimed! (0.00 / 0)
Here in the dictaphone logs at UT, for April-June '64, under the heading of "Legislation and Arm-Twisting":

Citation No.SpeakerDateTimeTape Number and PNO
....
3659Karl Mundt6/09/644:55PWH6406.04/13
Mundt will vote for cloture on civil rights. LBJ denies that he arm-twists.

LOL!  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
LOL fail (0.00 / 0)
Mundt was a Republican...he was one of the GOP votes that changed when Everett Dirksen and Mike Mansfield presented their compromise bill.



[ Parent ]
Totally Irrelevant! (4.00 / 1)
The point was in the bolded italic text, doofus!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
What was the point? (0.00 / 0)
that LBJ didn't arm twist? that's what I said.

Of course he didn't arm twist Mundt. Mundt was one of about 15 Republicans to agree to vote for cloture once the compromise bill came to the floor.


[ Parent ]
Catholic Church (0.00 / 0)
Mundt and Roman Hruska of Nebraska, both arch-conservative western Republicans and key swing votes, switched their votes after intense lobbying from the Catholic Church. Mundt even complained about phone calls from Catholic bishops after the vote.

The reason for the entry was the suspicion of the time (and Mundt's) that LBJ instigated and backed the church's pressuring of Mundt and Hruska.  


[ Parent ]
Thank God for Lyndon Johnson (4.00 / 1)
LBJ was a legendary arm-twister.  But one of his most basic secrets is that he actually believed in what he was doing.  So whoever was getting his arm twisted knew that LBJ was serious about what he was doing, and that tended to take the fight out of them.

Just imagine if someone like Obama had been president back then!  Scary, isn't it.  For example, instead of the universal health care passed under Johnson's administration, we might have been stuck with some sort of compromise that only covered the old and poor!


[ Parent ]
Which btw also helped insurance companies (0.00 / 0)
think about it, who are the most expensive to cover? the people with the most health problems, right?

Who do they tend to be? Old and poor.

What better way to help the insurance companies than to get the old and poor off their backs. Let the taxpayers worry about them.

There's a reason why if you're on Medicaid, you MUST use it as your primary, even if you have private plans.  


[ Parent ]
I'd Be Pleased As Punch (4.00 / 2)
if Obama's compromises got us anything remotely like what LBJ achieved.

From 1959 to 1974, the elderly poverty rate fell from 35 percent to 15 percent.  Increases in Social Security benefits were a large part of the reason, but Medicare was also a substantial contributor.

I'd love to see Obama fail like that.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Some of the best hours (4.00 / 3)
of my life were spent listening to Goodwin tell LBJ stories. The story of LBJ and George Wallace meeting was amazing and Goodwin could tell it brilliantly.  

But I think you miss the point.  LBJ was the nihilist blue dog   who became a true believer. His is the story of the sinner who comes to Jesus (and I mean that to some extent quite literally).  His story resonates in part because it is unusual.

The usual story is of the liberal reformer who sells his soul in the pursuit of power, and who tells himself in doing so that he will make good in the end.  But the liberal reformer finds in the end that when he finally gets to power, he is so compromised that he can deliver nothing.  This is the story of Bill Clinton, and I hope it is not the story of Obama.  


[ Parent ]
Actually the better truth is (0.00 / 0)
But the liberal reformer finds in the end that when he finally gets to power, he is so compromised that he can deliver nothing.

The liberal reformer who comes to power with such hopes and dreams only to have them dashed by political realities. That was the story of Bill Clinton and Obama.

and in the end, except on the far left and far right, Clinton is viewed as a positive President.


[ Parent ]
History will not look kindly.... (0.00 / 0)
....on Gramm-Leach-Blilley and repeal of Glass-Steagal.

For all the derision he gets thanks to RW propaganda, Al Gore's far-sighted investment in commercializing the Internet may survive historical scrutiny better than the asset bubbles enabled by Clinton-Bush strategies.

But if I would criticize Clinton, it would be on the basis of the lack of discipline of his political operation.  WaPo and NYT had daily updates on the internal machinations of his operatives.  Rahm appears to have brought that culture of gossip to the Obama WH.


[ Parent ]
Dems Need to Force Conservative Dems' hand (4.00 / 3)
It's time to kick the health bill out of the Finance Committee, combine it with the  HELP Committee's bill with a strong public option and find out which Dems will stand with the Republicans in a filibuster. But Reid and the progressive Dems need to explain to them that if they join that filibuster they can forget about any leadership positions in the next Congress. See the editorial at The Progressive Populist.

Ted Kennedy is bailing out insurance companies? (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
The bill, with the public option, will lower costs to americans (4.00 / 1)
make preconditions meaningless in application for coverage, put a cap on what an insured person pays in co-pays and prevents people being dropped when costs keep going up.


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Getting a public-option-bill out of the Senate is the point (0.00 / 0)
That will get conservative Dems on the record for or against the public option. Then they can work out the details in the conference committee.  

[ Parent ]
Let's keep the door open (4.00 / 1)
I definitely want a robust public option but half a loaf is better than no loaf.    Even without the public option, this health care reform bill could be a major step forward.     I just hope that the reform is drafted such that congress could revisit the public option at a latter point in time (after the Democrats have picked up a few more seats in the Senate.  

Nate Silver mentions doing PO as seperate bill... (0.00 / 0)
Somewhere down the line.... it remains popular, even if the other reform bills are not!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
No. All at once, no delay. Win the fight. Nate is not a leader on this. (4.00 / 10)
Stand with the progressive caucus.

Win this fight.

No Public Option, No Deal

Support our heroes, support the line in the sand.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
With all respect for Nate Silver, but he's good at statistics... (4.00 / 1)
...not strategy!  

[ Parent ]
NO DOOR. NO LOAF. (4.00 / 5)
NO



NO PUBLIC OPTION, NO DEAL



--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
No, it won't. (4.00 / 4)
As I've said before, a health care bill with an individual mandate and no pro-consumer reforms like a strong public option will result in a national version of Romney-care in Massachusetts. Sure, more people are insured... But many still aren't, many of the newly insured have inadequate coverage, and the HMOs can still mess with consumers. The ONLY way health care reform will work is with a strong public option to give consumers a real choice.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
No! (4.00 / 5)
A mandate requiring people to buy health insurance from the insurers without any meaningful way to keep the health insurers from gouging people is simply a regressive tax with the proceeds handed to the health insurers. And what will they use their newfound income for? Keeping us from enacting any stronger legislation of course.

The health insurance industry provides nothing of value. There is no reason we shouldn't have a Medicare-for-All system that would be cheaper and provide better healthcare without all the bureaucracy, rescissions, excessive CEO income, and excessive profits that comes from having health insurance companies intruding. The compromise is to have a robust government financed public option that can force the insurance companies to reduce costs. Without a strong, robust public option, we are just making the problem worse and ensuring that it will continue to be bad for a lot longer. We've already waited 50 years, we can't wait another 50 years for a decent healthcare system.


[ Parent ]
Make that 64 years since (4.00 / 4)
Truman proposed a single-payer health insurance plan in 1945. And the idea of universal healthcare was first floated before World War I so that has been almost 100 years.

[ Parent ]
Rich - you are assuming that we even end up with half (4.00 / 3)
Giving up single payer, we already are fighting for less than half a loaf.

It seems like the administration and the "moderates" in the party keep moving the goal posts on this.

By the time something does pass we will be like "wow isn't it great we are getting vouchers for our medical care" lol


[ Parent ]
Best you can get (0.00 / 0)
Drawing hard lines in the sand, such as for a public option, is part of getting the best you can get.  It is all about bargaining.

But at the end of the day, if all we got was community ratings -- which is in all of the bills -- it would be a huge advantage over what we have now.  It also wouldn't come anywhere close to actually fixing the problem.


[ Parent ]
Although I agree with you (4.00 / 1)
But at the end of the day, if all we got was community ratings -- which is in all of the bills -- it would be a huge advantage over what we have now.  It also wouldn't come anywhere close to actually fixing the problem.

I have come to understand that now is not the time for this sort of analysis.  The fight is on, and there's no way this won't be seen as defeatist.  

A House-Senate standoff will ultimately lead to a better bill and we must support the Progressive Block.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Yup. Going for the smallest commin denominator ain't change! (0.00 / 0)
And this won't help in reassuring the public that the Dems are serious about reforms. Obama's recent polls show that there is already lots of doubt about the committment to "change". Regarding this, I can't understand why the prez doesn't go to greater efforts to get the party in line. Wishywashy compromises won't help him, and the party. When you drop the public option, in spite of polls shwoing a clear majority supporting it, this can't be seen in another light than as surrendering to business interests. And this impression is horrible for the Dems, and will may ruin the 2010 elections. Imho the infight inside the party is really irresponsible.  

[ Parent ]
You don't go to the negotiating table asking for half of what you want and settling for less. (4.00 / 1)
You go asking for more than what you want and "settling" for something very close to what you really want.  This isn't rocket science; it's politics.  Nothing meaningful was ever accomplished by the left in giving away the whole f***ing store.



[ Parent ]
Mr. Kwiatkowski, please do not troll rate my comments. (0.00 / 0)
You complained when I criticized a post of yours that I was "telling you to shut up" when of course I was not, and did not. You then said I was "implying that you should shut up." Again not true, but closer, I was merely making critical points. Why you would then go on to find comments of mine and try to hide them is beyond me.

However, I hope you quit doing this, as your ethically challenged behaviour may become noticed by people who do have the power to ban you.

But in the meantime, why don't merely continue repeating your point over and over, and not hypocritically abuse the site and its rules.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Actually, "repeating your point over and over" is trollish... (0.00 / 0)
..and does deserve a TR rating, so I don't think this is really good avice, HoP!
:D

[ Parent ]
the Public option was half a loaf (4.00 / 6)
without it reform is just a bail out for insurance companies.

[ Parent ]
"That is the only way we are going to win this." (4.00 / 4)
And if we win it we change the country forever.

Because it means this IS a nation of the people for the people by the people.  It is a deeply important time.

Strengthen the progressive caucus, thank Obama for still* supporting strongly the public option. Win this fight.

Win this fight. Stand ready, get ready be ready. Work for this win.

.
.

*
Obama spoke more in favor of a public option than ever before at this townhall meeting in a very Conservative part of Colorado and did not get screamed at.
The Colorado town hall was pro-public option..

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


Has a "robust" public option ever been on the table? (4.00 / 4)
I think the key is "a robust public option that is available to all Americans".

That is what we need, but as far as I know, the corporate Dems (with the complicity of the White House) gave that away at the very beginning.

As I understand it, the only public option now under consideration unavailable to most Americans (those employed by medium and large employers).  It is guaranteed to be too small to compete with big insurers, and guaranteed to fail.

I can't in good conscience urge my progressive Representative (Lynn Woolsey) to go to the wall for crap like that.  I'm afraid this fight is already lost, from a progressive point of view.


This is already what the progressive caucus has pledged. (4.00 / 2)
This is the deal. Get the their or you aren't on the side of Health Care Reform.

If you want healthcare reform, get their back, cause there will bve no Bill without it.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Yes, it is! (4.00 / 3)
Thanks to the House Progressives forming the Block, Nancy Pelosi is keeping the robust public option on the table. They already succeeded in preventing Pelosi & Henry Waxman from cutting an egregiously bad deal with House Blue Dogs to weaken the public option in the Energy & Commerce Committee bill. We need to thank the progressives for doing this, thank House leaders like Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Waxman for showing some real leadership, and whip everyone else into line.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
Aye, ready aye. (4.00 / 1)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I'm confused (4.00 / 1)
None of this post makes any sense unless you assume bills are written and passed by congress, not the president.  But everything is the president, right?  I thought everything that happens in Washington was 100% Obama's fault and/or credit.

Huh.  I'm confused.


Even your good humor sir, appreciated as it is, is not moving us forward. (4.00 / 1)
Lets not not do anything unless it brings us together, helps the caucus, pushes the line in the sand, moves us to reconciliation.

No Public Option, No Deal

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Agreed! (4.00 / 1)
Huh.  I'm confused.

No argument there!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
I'm always confused (0.00 / 0)
It is a constant joke around my house or when driving the car.  My wife claims it is because I expect people to be rational.

[ Parent ]
And I'm Always Teasing! (4.00 / 1)
Get's me into trouble sometimes.  But I trust you've figured me out by now.

If not, then you're really confused!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Self-awareness is the best way to improvement! (0.00 / 0)
"And I'm Always Teasing! Get's me into trouble sometimes."
Indeed, indeed.
:-)

[ Parent ]
Of course you are! (0.00 / 0)
But this really is a long running joke in my family -- that's why I instinctively went with it.

And yes, I've figured you out by now -- for the most part.  You actually know some real stuff I don't, so I can't always write your responses for you, but I can come close.

That actually happens sometimes.  I start to write something but then realize you would respond some specific way -- and I have to admit it is a good point -- but I still think your wrong on something but I can't really put it into words...  I just hit cancel.


[ Parent ]
Well, Another Subtext To This (0.00 / 0)
is that Dazed and Confused is one of my all-time favorite movies.


"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
What? (3.00 / 4)
I don't think you know WTF you're talking about, Bowers.  If a "public option" isn't in the final Healthcare bill" it isn't worth a f**k!  Got that?!  Obama is nothing more than a weak suck President who doesn't have the balls do anything that the American people desperately need!  This is simply "politics as usual" - something Obama insisted he wanted to change during the 2008 campaign but hasn't even made an effort!! One more thing....lets ee if you can get your head this - If meaningful healthcare fails (I said meaningful, Bowers - not some waterdowned bullsh*t) ) Obama is ought of here in 2012!!  Got It??

cough troll cough (3.00 / 4)
this one didnt even read Bowers post.

We stand with the public option, we stand with the progressive caucus, we stand with Obama's continued strong defense of the public option.

I stand ready.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Hey, Kwiatkowsky, why tf are you TRing HoP??? (0.00 / 0)
Would you pls bring up a valid reason for this? Not the first time you're abusing this feature!

[ Parent ]
I was going to troll-rate this (2.67 / 3)
But it is so funny it is worth leaving up just to embarrass you.  Next time, try reading what you bitch about.

What an idiot.


[ Parent ]
And ANOTHER TR abuse by Kwiatkowsky! (0.00 / 0)
Come on, Chris, throw him out for 48 hours. This guy really has to learn a lesson!

[ Parent ]
This is borderline TR (0.00 / 0)
Come on, the tone of your rant, especially accusing Chris of not knowing "WTF" he's talking about, based on an obvious misinterpretation of his argument, is really a bit much. You bark up the wrong tree here. And you deserved the decisive answers by HoP and Mark. More thoughtful comments pls, less rants!

[ Parent ]
I don't see the debate so much about whether (4.00 / 3)
Obama supports a public option, it's whether he is willing to fight for it and his other campaign promises.

In that respect, it should be a no-brainer who Obama should be pressuring, and that he's pressuring the progressives instead is where the Obama disillusionment is coming from.

Obama is unable or unwilling to fight the Blue Dogs, and he's a lame duck if public option does not end up in the final bill, with cynicised young Dem voters from the last election sitting on their collective butts in 2010 and 2012.

John McCain won't insure children


We gave up on calliong down the republicans, because calling down the republicans doesnt affect ANYTHING (4.00 / 3)
Now we have seen where the barricade is, where we hgave to stand, what the important fight is now.

Stand with the progressive caucus, or stop pretending to be progressive.

The line in the sand has been drawn, The progressive caucus are heroes of the American people, No Public Option, No Deal.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
God damn right! (4.00 / 4)
Get on the phones.

Call the following progressives and THANK them for drawing a line in the sand.

Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)- 202-225-4811 Corrine Brown (D-FL)- 202-225-0123 Michael Capuano (D-MA)- 202-225-5111 André Carson (D-IN)- 202-225-4011 Judy Chu (D-CA)- 202-225-5467 Yvette Clarke (D-NY)- 202-225-6231 William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO)- 202-225-2406 John Conyers (D-MI)- 202-225-5126 Elijah Cummings (D-MD)- 202-225-4741 Bill Delahunt (D-MA)- 202-225-3111 Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- 202-225- 4865 Donna Edwards (D-MD)- 202-225-8699 Keith Ellison (D-MN)- 202-225-4755 Sam Farr (D-CA)- 202-225-2861 Chaka Fattah (D-PA)- 202-225-4001 Bob Filner (D-CA)- 202-225-8045 Marcia Fudge (D-OH1)- 202-225-7032 Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)- 202-225-2435 Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)-202-225-8203 Phil Hare (D-IL)- 202-225-5905 Alcee Hastings (D-FL)- 202-225-1313 Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)- 202-225-6335 Mazie Hirono (D-HI)- 202-225-4906 Michael Honda (D-CA)- 202-225-2631 Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)- 202-225-3816 Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)- 202-225-8885 Hank Johnson (D-GA)- 202-225-1605 Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)- 202-225-4146 Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI)- 202-225-2261 Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)- 202-225-5871 Barbara Lee (D-CA)- 202-225-2661 Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)- 202-225-3816 Eric Massa (D-NY)- 202-225-3161 Jim McDermott (D-WA)- 202-225-3106 James McGovern (D-MA)- 202-225-6101 Gwen Moore (D-WI)- 202-225-4572 Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)- 202-225-5635 Grace Napolitano (D-CA)- 202-225-5256 John Olver (D-MA)- 202-225-5335 Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)- 202-225-5751 Donald Payne (D-NJ)- 202-225-3436 Chellie Pingree (D-ME)- 202-225-6116 Laura Richarson (D-CA)- 202-225-7924 Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)- 202-225-1766 Linda Sánchez (D-CA)- 202-225-6676 José Serrano (D-NY)- 202-225-4361 Albio Sires (D-NJ)- 202-225-7919 Jackie Speier (D-CA)- 202-225-3531 Pete Stark (D-CA)- 202-225-5065 Bennie Thompson (D-MS)- 202-225-5876 John Tierney (D-MA)- 202-225-8020 Ed Towns (D-NY)- 202-225-5936 Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)- 202-225-2361 Maxine Waters (D-CA)- 202-225-2201 Diane Watson (D-CA)- 202-225-7084 Mel Watt (D-NC)- 202-225-1510 Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)- 202-225-5161

And these are the members who are credibly onboard with the FDL Pledge:

Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)- 202-225-4535 Pete DeFazio (D-OR)- 202-225-6416 Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- 202-225- 4865 Donna Edwards (D-MD)- 202-225-8699 Keith Ellison (D-MN)- 202-225-4755 Bob Filner (D-CA)- 202-225-8045 Barney Frank (D-MA)- 202-225-5931 Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)- 202-225-2435 Phil Hare (D-IL)- 202-225-5905 Rush Holt (D-NJ)- 202-225-5801 Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- 202-225-7944 Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)- 202-225-5635 Chellie Pingree (D-ME)- 202-225-6116 Maxine Waters (D-CA)- 202-225-2201 Robert Wexler (D-FL)-202-225-3001 Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)- 202-225-5161 John Yarmuth (D-KY)- 202-225-5401

h/t NYCeve

John McCain won't insure children


[ Parent ]
Thank you! (4.00 / 3)
This is good work, on the money work. We also need to call our relatives, post Chris's advise in you own words on other sites, and let everyone know. Call in shows to praise the caucus, write letters, find ads to pay for.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Yep... (4.00 / 7)
And here's the DFA Petition thanking The Progressive Block. It will also be sent to other House Dems to remind them what they must do to earn our campaign time and $$$$.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
Yes! (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Excellent post, Chris. (4.00 / 4)
This is bigger than helathcare.  If we fold, it's over for change and the Dem party as a instrument of change.  

I am always amazed at the clarity. (4.00 / 2)
The goal directed thinking, the lack of personal self involved bullshit. We are lucky, as I have said enough times to worry Natasha, to have such a good thinker provide such good writing on such a good site.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Yes, this is what I meant below (4.00 / 2)
There is a point I made yesterday about the short distance between weak PO (HR3200) and no weak PO.

But I made that point based on the pessimistic thought that the Progressive Block would cave.  

They're not, at least not so far, and that changes everything and I should not have talked that way.  So, hats off to them and they deserve our full support.



sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
"Supports" is a term of art, as I've been saying (4.00 / 4)
It means that Obama prefers a public option, but not necessarily that it's his line in the sand or is willing to fight hard for it. The US "supports" Aung San Suu Kyi, but it's not about to do anything substantive to free her. Huge difference. As Obama's shown time and again, there are lots of things that he "supported", but didn't go to the mat over. E.g. no telcom immunity, investigations of high-level Bushies, closing Gitmo, ending the abuse of states secrets, etc.

There is a smooth-talking punk-like aspect to Obama that a lot of people still don't see, or are unwilling to see because it would shatter their fantasy of a brilliant post-partisan true progressive reforming government with little more than gentle persuasion and the sheer power of his enormous brain.

No, this isn't about whether Obama is this or that. What this is about is pushing Obama to stick to yet another promise that he appears set to break and has been preparing us for with these terms of art, and pushing progressive Dems to not let him do that.

Obama, I believe, is a lost cause, in terms of directly pressuring him to do this or that, or not doing this or that. He's insulated from criticism and citizen pressure, at least directly, and is facing way more direct pressure from industry, donors and conservative Dems. No, the way to get to him is via congress, specifically, its progressive caucus. They are the bulwark against conservative Dems, Repubs, and a president who appears to stand for nothing other than what he can get passed with minimal political capital spent or risk taken.

Btw, I "support" free luxury yachts for all. It's up to everyone to actually get one, though.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


Unity without unity of ideas is a failure (4.00 / 1)
Though I am for a different kind of system (guaranteed income), I applaud the show of unity concerning a government run insurance option.

But it was only a show.

Some were for complete nationalization of health care, others were for the "public option", others were for expanding medicare/medicaid, others were for tort reform, an emphasis on primary care, an emphasis on preventative medicine, an emphasis on increasing the supply of medical labor and equipment.

Others thought that the best social program was a good job and that only with a tariff could Americans have the jobs that could afford a middle class lifestyle.

Others thought that we could offset losses in manufacturing income with service jobs, handouts, and credit cards.

Others thought that peak oil necessitates a New Penury for the once wealthy American, others thought that saving the environment or overpopulation or some combination thereof lead to the same conclusion.

What did Obama believe? We don't know. But if psychoanalysis and real politic have anything to teach us, he simply wanted to feign an attempt at change and "fail forward" into his more natural stance of profound conservatism.

Without clarity from the top there could have been no clarity of ideas from which we, at the bottom, could fight the right wing -- who were very united intellectually, against socialism, against big government, against the survival of the poor, and, uber alles, against anyone with visible amounts of melanin in their epidermis.

Not that this is going to cause me to abandon Obama. On the contrary, it will cause me to rail against those who toy with the notion:

Obama was always and will always be Ben Nelson in Harold Ford Jr.s body. He's half Kansan middle class and half Kenyan elite. He is thoroughly bourgeois, conventional and conservative.

But at least he won't throw us into camps. That was and still is the alternative.

After seeing the foot soldiers of the right wing elite out in force over health care, we can all FINALLY see these people as the modern camp guards and train operators.

And in that is the nucleus of unity.


Great post! (0.00 / 0)
Obama is now faced with a real finesse job since he did not draw a line in the sand over the public option earlier in the game.  Obama faces a progressive revolt over the public option in the House, or the failure to get a bill that fixes the system in a meaningful way out of the Senate.

I think Obama needs to define what he wants and push for it now, because the alternative approach appears to be headed toward a very weak compromise bill that may not fix the system much at all, or no bill at all.  Both scenarios are very disconcerting for Dem prospects in 2010 and even worse, a major disappointment for those without health insurance, or with policies they would like to change.


The point is that its not important to talk about Obama (0.00 / 0)
though thanking him for supporting the public oiption is great, the point now is sprrading the word about the line in the sansd that our progressive caucus has drawn, and support them strongly.

Obama wants reform, and so do we, real reform, with the public option he supports, in fact we demand it. Our biggest allies, America's biggest allies, is the progressive caucus.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Nicely argued (4.00 / 2)
Voting no on a crappy bill will pay dividends for progressives....if it comes to that.

Also, it's not just the conservaDems who should feel the pressure but Repubs in blue states/districts.  


Ah, there's our problem (0.00 / 0)
You mean people like Grassley who even blogger desmoinesdem admits is unbeatable...or Olympia Snowe who despite her obstruction, still has a 70% approval rating?



[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1)
They are only unbeatable if they are careful. It would be careless to vote no on health care reform and oppose the president on such a big vote.  

[ Parent ]
Are they? (0.00 / 0)
Seems to me they will vote no and oppose the President if he gets a public option...and they still will win reelection.

[ Parent ]
we need to test that assumption is my point (4.00 / 2)
Look at this example for Joe Lieberman:

1994: reelected with 67% of the vote
2000: reelected with 64% of the vote (and no campaigning since he was the VP nominee that year)
2006: lost a Dem. primary

What was the difference? Two things: some bad votes on important issues and a credible challenger. Every Senator and House member can lose if there is a credible challenger and the politician went against the will of his/her constituents on an important matter.  


[ Parent ]
But he still won the general (0.00 / 0)
and Lieberman is in Connecticut, and was a Democrat.

The same thing doesn't hold true for Democrats in states like North Dakota and Nebraska, or Republicans, since they're not facing Democratic primary challenges...the only way we can beat them is in a general, and Lieberman won the general election by 10 points.

Another words we can beat (barely) conservative democrats in blue states, sure, but what about Republicans in the general election?


[ Parent ]
yes (0.00 / 0)
see 2004 and 2006 and 2008. picked up lots of seats in blue and purple states.

[ Parent ]
Neither of whom (0.00 / 0)
were the two Senators from Maine...or Chuck Grassley in Iowa.


[ Parent ]
"if it comes to that" (4.00 / 2)
I'd rather see a non-"crappy" bill get voted down, or better yet filiblustered, by the GOP. Then watch them defend it in the 2010 election cycle.

The 'robust public option' has to be in the final bill. No way around it. If the Congress passes a "crappy" bill, i.e. w/o PO, I have no illusions that the President will veto it.

The onus is on the progressives in congress - either they keep the bill from further watering down, or they have failed to distinguish themselves from the CorporoDems.



"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
putting lipstick on a pig (4.00 / 2)
Chris I usually agree with your posts but you are full of crap this time. It is Obama who cut a sweetheart deal with the drug companies, it is Obama who couldn't have foreseen this "Fake public outrage". He should have been WAY out in front in this. You can't blame him, WTF?

A real plan would be as follows. Back a public option or nothing!
Back off a timeline, realize we lost this battle but this is a war!
These astroturf campaigns don't last in peoples minds.
Work out an effective strategy going forward, get ALL your
suporters on the same page.
Twist arms in the senate! Have meeting one on one with dems not on board, pull an LBJ moment!
Quit this Bipartisan CRAP! Repugs WANT YOU TO FAIL!
Come back when you have the support and pass it in the dead of night if you have to.


All true (4.00 / 1)
but that boat has sailed.

If you want a strong PO in the bill, focus on Congress - the Senate in particular - because Obama will sign what they put on his desk.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Welcome to openleft. Or welcome back. (0.00 / 0)
I see you just joined. If its been a while since you've been here look around see whats changed and what we are trying to do.

We arent working to do anything but change the laws of the country to more reflect the needs of the American people.


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Symbolism is important (4.00 / 1)
I made a lot of "friends" here yesterday by arguing that the public option was more similar and that the distance between the shrunken PO and a bill without it might not be all that great - the distance between the HR3200 PR and the original Hacker concept is much larger.

That may still be true.  However ...

But I was wrong to discount the importance of symbolism.  I really didn't expect the "Progressive Block" to stand tall.  I would like to salute them now for doing so.

However this comes out, it will be better because they took this stand.


sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


"However this comes out, it will be better because they took this stand. " (0.00 / 0)
Unless, of course, they actually have to vote no because there is no public option and we have to wait 20 more years for the cycle to begin anew.

The reality is negotiating is always hard.  Both compromise and toughness are required.  I'm in favor of this Block because I think it will lead to a better bill, but I could be wrong.  It could lead to no bill at all, which would be much, much worse.


[ Parent ]
20 years? (4.00 / 3)
Do you honestly think that the American people will let that happen?

Far worse, in my opinion, is pass an ineffective bill, thus giving the illusion of solving the problem and letting opponents to a "better option" have the solid argument that "we already reformed healthcare". If no bill passes, then no one can claim that the problem has been solved. Healthcare reform remains an issue.



"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
You may be right, but I'm glad (0.00 / 0)
that neither you nor I are the ones negotiating here.  You, and I yesterday, are committing the negotiating sin of exposing your bottom line.

Yes, you could be wrong and they will undoubtedly be tested.  And somewhere out of that process it will be smoked out what the true value of the Public Option in HR3200 is.

As to whether no bill at all will be "much much worse", it all depends if there's really 20 years for the cycle to begin anew.  I don't think it would be that long.  

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Oh yeah. (0.00 / 0)
I'm a horrible negotiator.  I'm not signing up for this job anytime soon.

But I think the record is pretty clear that it is easier to revisit a subject if you pass something then if you don't.  There are many examples of things improving (or at least changing) over time though various bills.  But when something is shot down dramatically in public it usually takes a long time before someone else is willing to revisit it.


[ Parent ]
Oh my God... (4.00 / 2)
Chris, why do you insist on being so incredibly naive?  Sure, Obama SAYS he supports a "public option."  He SAYS a lot of things.  But as the last five years and especially the last six months have demonstrated, there is an enormous and gross disconnect between what he says and what he does.  Here are some questions that need answering:

1.) If Obama supports a public option, why was he caught making back-room deals with Insurance and Pharma to completely gut health care reform - including dropping the so-called public option or making it as toothless as possible?

2.) If Obama supports this so-called public option, why isn't he on Capitol Hill pressuring Congress to pass something with teeth?  Why is he letting the right-wing of the Democratic Party join with Republicans in neutering the bill now being worked out?

3.) Why should we believe Obama is on our side when his actions so blatantly reveal that he is not, and never was?

Chris, do us a favor.  Do your homework before you write excuses for Obama.  He is the enemy, not a misguided ally or friend, and the sooner you realize that the better.  What you're doing, making excuses for a guy who doesn't deserve it, is hindering the left from making any real effort to oppose what's being done to this nation.



uh huh (0.00 / 0)
please tell us more about how the Progressive Party is a rousing success because they managed to get an astonishing 3% of the vote in Vermont's House race last year.


[ Parent ]
Sir, it is Chris' very cogent point that Obama is almost beside the point. (0.00 / 0)
The fight is support for the progressive caucus, who are supported by Sanders BTW, and that that is what we need to talk about to get done what we need to get done.

The rest of your comment is familiar stuff.


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
some process questions (0.00 / 0)
it's possible for the House to pass a bill that contains a public option while the Senate passes a co-op fail bill, right? (i seem to remember something about spending legislation needing to originate in the House but i guess this doesn't fall into that category.)

if that's right, who will be in the conference committee that then tries to reconcile those bills?

after conference, the final legislation has to go back to both chambers for a vote, yes?

the decision about trying to pass a bill through the Senate using the reconciliation process has to be made beforehand, right? like, they can't only try to get the conference version through with 51 votes.

it seems like the likely flow will be to let the House do whatever it wants initially, cave in conference, and then start breaking liberal arms to accept the conference deal.

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.


Some answers (4.00 / 1)
It's the most likely scenario, House passes a PO, Senate does not.

The conference committee is usually made up of applicable committee chairs or whoever is appointed to by the leadership.

My guess is the most likely names to look for here are Waxman, Rangel, Miller, Pallone from the House, Rockefeller, Baucus, Kennedy (if he can do it), Dodd from the Senate. It's risky because Conrad also has a right to make a case to be in conference as he's chair of Budget, but Rockefeller sits on both HELP and Finance, so I see no way he doesn't make it to conference committee.

The Blue Dogs might demand someone from their represent the House, but realistically, none of them are in any leadership position associated with this bill, so.  


[ Parent ]
so it's at least possible (0.00 / 0)
they could come out with a real public option and make the cloture vote the pressure point. god knows the ads and the rhetoric writes itself, all they'd have to do is quote verbatim all the "up or down vote", nuclear-option lines from Republicans not so long ago...

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

[ Parent ]
While your list looks good for PO out of conference, (0.00 / 0)
there will of course be Republicans on that committee too. So a Baucus siding with all Republicans looks formidable; Baucus and Conrad siding with R's makes it look impossible.

So when you say "leadership" decides who is on the committee, well that means Harry Reid. That doesn't make me particularly optimistic, but Reid could surprise.

Remember, the Oct 15 reconciliation language for healthcare legislation came out of a conference committee also. And I believe that Conrad was part of it. He admitted at that time to being influenced by Obama's pressure.

So, I think this thing is going to take all kinds of twists and turns until its over. I guess the final determination will be a head count in the Senate to see whether PO can actually get 50 votes.  


[ Parent ]
Republicans are irrelevant in this case (0.00 / 0)
because there will be more Democrats on the conference committee than Republicans. In order for it to look bad for us, there needs to be enough Democrats to swing it over, if all they get is Baucus and Conrad, that's probably not enough.


[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure (0.00 / 0)
Who determines how many will be on the conference committee? For example, if it is 4 D's and 3 R's, then its close. On the other hand, 5 D's and 3 R's provides some breathing room.

"Ideally", it would be 3 D's and 2 R's to reflect the 60% Democratic margin in the Senate (or 6 D's and 4 R's)


[ Parent ]
Size of majority (0.00 / 0)
the conference committee would be broken down to, I believe, 59% Democrats, 41% Republicans, because that's the size of the majority.

That's how committee memberships are allocated.

That's why having the largest possible majority is so important, even if there are a lot of Blue Dogs.

If we had a 20 seat majority, it would be more like 53% to 47%.  


[ Parent ]
Can we promise Obama a 2012 primary? (4.00 / 2)
If he doesnt get reform done with a strong public option.  If he had that to worry about, he would be doing everything possible to get this done.  

lol yeah right (0.00 / 0)
who the hell is going to primary him? Kucinich?

Only time Presidents are primaried is when they're unpopular and likely going to lose anyway, if that's his problem in 2012, the primary is the least of his worries.  


[ Parent ]
Howard Dean? (4.00 / 2)


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
delusions of grandeur again (0.00 / 0)
Howard Dean to the progressive rescue..until he's President and he's shown to be just the same realist they all are.

Sorry, wishful thinking.  


[ Parent ]
I get you now (4.00 / 2)
The "realist" line did it. Anything other than capitulating to republicans and corporodems is not "realistic", eh?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
No, that isn't it, (0.00 / 0)
but failing to recognize and deal with the very real power of corporations isn't realistic either. The corporodems are the best that money can buy, and corporate control of the MSM is a fact of life.

A public that gets its news and "motivation" from the MSM is not going to be of much help.


[ Parent ]
When you put it that way (0.00 / 0)
probably not, no.

If you think Dean isn't going to "capitulate to Republicans and corpodems" you're not paying attention.  


[ Parent ]
To be honest (0.00 / 0)
I'm not sure anyone that could get nominated from either M$P is gonna stand up and bite the hand that feeds their coffers, all the time and on every issue.

But on the current issue, healthcare reform, Dr. Dean is far more outspoken in support of a strong public plan. So I threw his name into the mix.

You've a keen eye for shooting potential candidates down, any names you care to toss up for others to take a few shots?



"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
because no one with a realistic chance of winning would be any better, in fact, most would be worse.


[ Parent ]
You've won! (0.00 / 0)
That is the most cynical statement I've heard in a long time. I like cynicism, too! The worst part is, I think I agree.

How do we change this situation, or should we even try?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Obama gets four years (0.00 / 0)
if he can't get it right someone else deserves a chance. Maybe Dean would be just as bad but I'll have to see it for myself, thanks.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Ok fine (0.00 / 0)
but this is exactly what I heard about Obama.  

[ Parent ]
It's not what I heard. (0.00 / 0)
I heard he was the new messiah.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Bingo. (0.00 / 0)


Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Heh, thats actually not a bad idea (4.00 / 2)
I could see Dean being upset enough to run if Obama cant get through healthcare, which is Dean's signature issue.  

[ Parent ]
Anyone who tihnks Dean would have an easier time (0.00 / 0)
pushing healthcare too needs to have their heads examined. He's basically in the same place as Obama on the healthcare issue, except he has the luxury of not actually having to be the one who signs or vetoes.


[ Parent ]
You're not watching the news are you? (0.00 / 0)
Dean is sticking up for the public option. Obama is kinda sorta maybe whatever.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Yeah that's great (0.00 / 0)
Dean isn't President. In case you haven't been paying attention, people change once they become President.  

[ Parent ]
Not really (0.00 / 0)
Obama was like this before he was elected. He never got in any fights, never even risked embarrassment.

Nothing he has done since being elected has surprised me.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
I've already got my bumpersticker (0.00 / 0)
slogan just in case I need it:

"Another DFH for Dean."

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
DFH? (0.00 / 0)
Discerning Female Human?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Dirty Fucking Hippy. (4.00 / 1)
You know, those crazy people who want a public option.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I know (4.00 / 1)
I was trying to compliment you.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Oh. (0.00 / 0)
Thanks. I thought it was odd that you didn't know Digby's famous expression but that would explain it.

Can't it mean both?

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Far be it from me to try and tell you what you are (4.00 / 1)
It can mean whatever you choose.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Hes going to be unpopular (4.00 / 1)
If he doesnt get healthcare reform through and Democrats lose control of Congress.  I certainly wont forgive him and many others wont either.  He should be primaried in that case.  

[ Parent ]
He probably wouldn't even run (0.00 / 0)
if he's unpopular in 2012 and if he's not, then, just like Bill Clinton in 1996, progressive become irrelevant.


[ Parent ]
He might not run for a second term (0.00 / 0)
He seems to have said something like that, and I am naive enough to believe him. If what happens on healthcare is unsatisfactory to him, and if it causes the Dems to lose seats in 2010, I could easily see him bowing out.

The man has been running nonstop. First the marathon election. Now stumping across the country for healthcare, a second campaign in less than a year. At some point you run out of energy, and opt for a calmer, safer life.

If this happened, I guess Hillary would be here to step in.  


[ Parent ]
Barack Obama is going to be an awesome ex-President (4.00 / 2)
Whenever he leaves office.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
reconciliation (4.00 / 1)
Somebody may have pointed this out in the 91 comments so far - even if they did it's worth reiterating.

Chris seems to presume only two options: Obama pressures progressives in the House to fold, or Obama pressures conservadems in the Senate to fold. What about the third option: use reconciliation to avoid the 60 vote barrier and pass this with 51 votes in the Senate.

If Obama hadn't weighed in on this earlier in the year, it's likely that the Senate would have closed off that path. Why would Obama have put the pressure to leave reconciliation open and then be unwilling to use it for the really really important issues: public option and financing?

Given the positions staked out by progressives and conservadems, this seems like the easiest path right now.


i don't have anything to add right now except: Thank You Open Left! (4.00 / 2)
david, paul, natasha, chris, all those who comment and even all those who lurk.

very few places in the intertubz are dealing with these issues the way you guys do.  and the the high quality of discussion here is uplifting.

we are all trying to make our nation and world a better place, and the passion that drives everyone is palpable; it even comes through the monitor.  


No Public option No reform bill (4.00 / 1)
It will be a disaster for dems to pass a bill with no public option. Obama will give Mittens 2012 with such a crappy bill. Actually I will vote for Mittens to get it reversed!

Realize we lost this battle and move on. Drop this timeline crap, we can't get it done and ANY bill is better than none, BULL! This lunacy of astroturfed townhall will pass and then you hit fast and hard, AND GET A GOOD BILL PASSED!  


Whoops! Obama has to look like he's standing up to progressives (0.00 / 0)
That's seems to be where the mainstream headlines are.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

Whoops! Obama has to look like he's standing up to progressives (0.00 / 0)
That's seems to be where the mainstream headlines are.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

You'll never reach your goal unless the prez takes a decisive stand (0.00 / 0)
But Obama seems to be determined to talk the talk, but noit walk the walk. This isn't even remotely good enough. What the prez should do is invite the saboteurs liuke Conrad and Baucus to the WH and make it very clear that he expects them to do everyhting in their might to get the public option into the bill, or else... If Obama doesn't know how to do that, he should read a LBJ biography first and apply the methods described there!

So, sorry, Chris, but I think you miss the point. Of course, it isn't the goal to get the president behind the public option. But it's a indispensable prerequisite regarding the Blue dog opposition that has run amok now!  


Or else what? (0.00 / 0)
make it very clear that he expects them to do everyhting in their might to get the public option into the bill, or else

or else what? Neither Baucus nor Conrad are up for reelection for a while, they are in states Obama lost, so he can't really help them. What leverage does he have over them?

I had this conversation early, that has never proven to work.

If Obama doesn't know how to do that, he should read a LBJ biography first and apply the methods described there!

Since you've obviously read these LBJ biographies, please tell us examples of who LBJ changed votes in the Senate by threatening "or else"

C'mon, names please, I'll wait.

 


[ Parent ]
Threaten their chairmanships, for instance. (4.00 / 2)
Like Ezra Klein advocates, it would be a good idea for the Dems to rethink their rules about chairmanship. The GOP already had such a reform years ago. I guess any such talk about changing rules now would send a clear message to Conrad and Baucus.

As for examples of LBJ's strongarming, make yourself comfortable while waiting. It's 4:39 here, and I'm sleepless in Germany. I certainly won't start searcing my bookcases in the middle of the night. Especially not when someone thinks he can command me around!


[ Parent ]
Done (0.00 / 0)
In case you haven't been paying attention, they already did threaten their chairmanships...didn't help.

As for examples of LBJ's strongarming, make yourself comfortable while waiting. It's 4:39 here, and I'm sleepless in Germany. I certainly won't start searcing my bookcases in the middle of the night. Especially not when someone thinks he can command me around!

So no one right?

Don't bother to check, because the answer is no one. The way he flipped votes was by compromising.


[ Parent ]
Indeed? When? Where? (4.00 / 1)
Yes, that's news to me. I don't think there has a serious move to rewrite the Dems' rules for chairmanship yet. So, who threatened the Blue Dogs, and how did he do it, absent any initiative putting a punch behind it?

As for the biography, I can't find it, maybe got lost during a move, dunno. But, anyway, it wasn't the 3 volume series by Robert Caro. And from googling I find there should be ample evidence of LBJ's skills in "convincing" Senator in the last 200 pages of "Master of Senate". And not only of using compromises. You can find a good summary, with some telling examples, for instance the ingenious exploit of "live pairs", here:
http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms...

So, while Obama, Emanuel, Reid and Durbin certainly shouldn't become like the controversial figure LBJ, imho they sure can learn something from him.


[ Parent ]
The thing about DT is (4.00 / 1)
nothing matters and there's no point in doing anything. He thinks cynicism is the same as wisdom.

So cut him a break, were you never a world-weary 15 year old yourself?

With any luck next year he'll get his driver's license, maybe even meet a girl, and his outlook on everything will change.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
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