The Obama Double Standard

by: David Sirota

Thu Aug 20, 2009 at 09:15


As the White House continues to move toward dropping the public option, I wanted to dispel two important myths - the ones about the administration's legislative leverage and ideological outlook. Specifically, just in case you were under the illusion that the Obama White House has no ability to play political hardball and or/treats progressive and corporate Democrats equally, I wanted to just highlight this crystal clear contrast.

Wall Street Journal, 8/15/09:

Obama Won't Punish Blue Dogs, Jarrett Says

Valerie Jarrett, the president's senior adviser, said that President Barack Obama will not punish Blue Dog Democrats for their role slowing the health-care debate.

Huffington Post, 6/12/09:

White House Browbeats Dem Freshmen On War Money: "You'll Never Hear From Us Again"

The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won't get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday.

"We're not going to help you. You'll never hear from us again," Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.

The double standard doesn't get any more clear than that. And it is predictable. Indeed, this is what you get from a White House that is run by Rahm Emanuel and former Baucus staffer (and famous corporate bumlicker) Jim Messina: A White House that plays hardball, but only with progressives. It is a White House that ignores its president's own progressive campaign rhetoric, treats congressional progressives as second-class citizens, and treats corporate shills as the most important players of all.

David Sirota :: The Obama Double Standard

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He doesn't have to punish BlueDogs. But why is he bribing progressives... (4.00 / 3)
..instead of the conservative Dems who are slowing the process down? Marc Armbinder reported this yesterday (hat tip to our Desmoinesdem, who put this into a QH)! Now, this goes far beyond refusing to punish Bluedogs, this is a move into the opposite direction! And this gives additional credibility to Glenn Greenwald's opinion that the WH sold out to the insurance business. What other explanations can there be?

(BTW, I elaborated on this in a diary, too)


he should also be threatening Blue Dogs (4.00 / 1)
but you are right--if the WH wants to bribe people with "inducements" in the form of funding for pet projects, the Blue Dogs should need that kind of help more, since many are in districts that tilt R. Most members of the Progressive Caucus don't have to worry about getting re-elected.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Either threatening, or bribing Blue Dogs to support the public option. (4.00 / 3)
But he doesn't do this, despite his public announcement that the supports it. Instead, he applies a lever to move progressives to a "compromise" bill, despite the GOP rejecting that, and despite the progressives gaining traction in gathering votes for the public option. I mean, really, what other explanation can there be as that the WH is playing a kabuki theatre, and secretly wants to sell out to business interests? This is looking damning, and imho it shows Glenn Greenwald has a very good point (as usual).

[ Parent ]
Pharmaceutical Companies (0.00 / 0)
And what about Obama selling out to the pharmaceutical business? I requested from my pharmacy a print-out of how much I paid in 2008 for my prescriptions. It showed not only the amount I paid but also how much my insurance covered of the original cost of the medicine. It is absolutely ludicrous what my insurance pays for my prescriptions (which of course trickles down to my cost; yet my cost is not even close to the original price). There is no question that I would be dead if I didn't have insurance. I have heard Obama say almost in passing that his reform would help SENIORS pay for their prescriptions, and that is good, but IT IS NOT ENOUGH. I don't understand why pharmaceutical companies are ignored in these discussions, except for the occasional mention of prescriptions being less expensive in Canada. Or am I not listening?

[ Parent ]
good obama-bot fight on kos, diary bout (4.00 / 2)
glen greenwald

Greenwald Nails It: Rahm Is Protecting the Blue Dogs...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/...

for those inclined to defend obama as NOT yet another clintonian sell out ...

YAWN. you part of the club on the vineyard?

rmm.  

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way


Apples and ... (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps this is fair.

On the other hand, we are comparing strong-arming against progressives on a final vote to the way they are dealing with Blue Dogs in mid process.

We are not at the final vote yet.

How hard did the White House push Blue Dogs during the stimulus vote?  Did Landrieu feel pressure from the White House?  I think you'll still find evidence for your case, but not nearly as much, once you compare apples to apples.


Um, but the way you pressure people (4.00 / 1)
is during the process, so they get on side and don't derail anything.  Unless of course, you want the end result to be utter crap, so it doesn't matter whether or not they vote for it.

[ Parent ]
Different levels (0.00 / 0)
As any good parent knows, you can't apply full pressure all the time.  You don't use the same voice for "eat your peas" that you use for "get out of the street".  Timing is important.

So yes, you always apply some pressure, but you don't pull out the big threats until you absolutely need them.  That kind of thing only works so many times before it becomes background noise.

Now you will still see a discrepancy between pressuring liberals versus Blue Dogs.  Conventional wisdom is those from conservative districts need to be protected more.  Even Pelosi does this, working with her members when determining if she needs their vote or not.  Heck, someone like Reid might like the reconciliation idea not because he can bypass the Blue Dogs but because he can protect them from a hard vote.

But once negotiations are done and you have the final bill, I expect full pressure will be applied everywhere needed to get passage, ideology be damned.  Which means if the Progressive Block holds, you will see more pressure applied to our right-leaning members, because to do otherwise would be to fail.


[ Parent ]
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