Weakness In the Progressive Block?

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 17:30


Back on Thursday, The Hill claimed that at least some of the 60+ House members forming the Progressive Block--that is, members claiming they will not vote for health care reform legislation unless it contains a strong public option--are soft. From the article:

But the 60 signatures might be soft. The signers include lawmakers who have said they can accept health cooperatives and others who say they wouldn't vote against the House bill in the end.

That article in The Hill provided no examples, anonymous sources, or links to support this claim.  So, I asked Open Left readers to contact The Hill, and find out what this assertion was based on. To his credit, author Mike Soraghan emailed me a link to an August 3rd article he co-wrote on the subject.  It contained many specifics on possible Block weakness, including the following:

But at least one of the 60 lawmakers who signed the letter admitted he might not be able to follow through on his threat.

"I probably wouldn't vote against it. But we have to let leadership know that we're serious too."

You really have to wonder about the strategery of a member of Congress signs a letter stating the following:

Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates - not negotiated rates - is unacceptable.

And then, off the record and anonymously, immediately says the following,

"I probably wouldn't vote against it. But we have to let leadership know that we're serious too."

Letting the leadership know you are serious by telling The Hill that you plan on caving? Truly, a great strategic mind is at work.

It is not so much that I doubted Soraghan as it was that I wanted to know what specific information he had on potential weakness in the progressive group, if any. I am glad he sent it along. Admittedly, there are reasons to believe that the Progressive Block won't hold itself together. It is something we will have to work at to keep in line.

Chris Bowers :: Weakness In the Progressive Block?

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The Senate has to have report a bill with a public option (4.00 / 2)
With over 60 signed on in the House, there is room for a little wobbliness, but the Senate has to really think that if the bill has no public option it won't pass.  And the Senate Dems, except for a couple like Lieberman and Nelson want a bill, so the pressure has to be on getting to reconciliation, not bipartisanship and cloture.

I think the whole trip through bipartisan land has been more than a distraction, it has undermined the public's regard for health care reform.....Reconcilation needs to be sooner rather than later.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


I think reconciliation being in October (0.00 / 0)
is part of the law about budget reconciliation, though I am not sure. So there was no way to have done it sooner (though reconcilation, anyways). The only question is how to have passed the time until then -- going on a pointless crusade for bipartisanship and trying to pass it earlier with 60 votes was one option, using the time to paint Republicans as obstructionists and demonize the insurance industry was another. Or maybe we could've tried to pass a cap and trade bill or something in the meantime. I dunno. But that's all water under the bridge by now -- we seem to have chosen the first option.

[ Parent ]
the 1993 budget vote was in the spring (0.00 / 0)
the bush tax vote was in the spring....

These were reconciliation votes

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Keep them in line with threats (4.00 / 1)
If the activist left wants to signal that health care is of prime importance, then perhaps there need to be plans now to label anyone who caves a traitor who will be lumped in with the Blue Dogs as a primary target, no matter how progressive they are on other issues.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

And respect, and comfort and encouagement. (0.00 / 0)
We are human beings.

But you are also correct. A firm, sober and solid reminder that it matters. That strength is victory, and principles are the road to not just to a health reform that alters American lives for the better, but changes the way changes are made.

This is history, this is the way America is saved. This way we begin to believe in Americas promise again. This is the way we believe in democracy again.

Donna Edwards is with us. She knows. She has been here. She will not be swayed by intimations of 'power later' or insider access or knowledge the rest of us don't have.

She has heard these lies, and defeated them. I trust Donna Edwards. I will dance with Donna at the victory Party, and she will tell us all secrets of principles and love.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Are you saying Jane Hamsher is lying? (0.00 / 0)
"She has heard these lies, and defeated them. I trust Donna Edwards."

[ Parent ]
Hey thanks for the help in making this clear. (0.00 / 0)
I am recapitulating Donna's history. She knows well why she was chosen, why the people of her district worked so hard with her to defeat just such a do nothing, non progressive, seat holder of a candidate who would not represent his district.

That sometimes

A firm, sober and solid reminder that it matters.

is needed. Even for the best candidates. Because we can all get caught up in issues, and personality and forget our main purpose.

It s important even for good people to take stock, and hear again

That strength is victory, and principles are the road to not just to a health reform that alters American lives for the better, but changes the way changes are made.

That these

firm, sober and solid reminder(s)
can help us focus to
not be swayed by intimations of 'power later' or insider access or knowledge the rest of us don't have.

Thank you for your help in making sure that I was clear with this.

I am glad you helped me make clear that I was not somehow oddly

saying Jane Hamsher is lying

Please keep up these efforts to make us all better members of this varied coalition going forward.

--

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


[ Parent ]
that won't work (0.00 / 0)
Almost none of these people would be vulnerable to a primary challenge.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
I called De Fazio's office this afternoon (4.00 / 2)
informed them of my donation to him via Act Blue, and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

Hoorah! the simple acts of principle and honor. (0.00 / 0)


--

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


[ Parent ]
It will become clear... (0.00 / 0)
who is corrupt and who is not.  Some corporate whores will shill out front and in the open.  Others will sandbag.  We will know who to take down after it's all said and done.

But keep sending them money, folks... (0.00 / 0)
As if you could compete with Big Capital when it comes to cash and other bribes.

We could, and we have in the past (4.00 / 1)
but while I love JH's idea, and contributed myself, I'm disappointed that there hasn't been more of a groundswell. We could raise millions for Dean, Clinton, or Obama almost overnight, but now that we're talking about actual policy...most people sit on their hands.

What was it? 55 million...60 million people voted for Obama? And do you realize that he had 2.5 million small donors? 2.5 million people whose aggregated giving was $200 or less.

I would bet that at least half those people are in favor of the choice of a public option. Where are they now?

Probably sitting on their hands, trying to convince themselves that the guy they voted for and donated to is really a reformer. And that brings us back to the whole discussion of how closely to align ourselves with the President...it is human nature for people to put their hopes on one leader, to the point where they simply begin to hope for the leader's success, (mis) equating policy with someone's career ladder.

While I certainly don't want to demonize the President, or burn bridges, I do think we need to keep him at arm's length. That way the base will keep its eye on the prize.

Besides, if you want to know where vigorous support of Obama gets you, ask Valerie Plame.


[ Parent ]
Well even making mistaken offerings of solutions is helpful, so we can discard them early. (0.00 / 0)
Thanks

--

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


[ Parent ]
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