President Snowe Opposes Public Option

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 16:25


Today, President Olympia Snowe declared her opposition to a public option:

"The point is I don't support a public option. And none of my Republican colleagues do and some Democrats in the Senate and even in the House. I think the point is how do we bridge the divide?" That is why, she said, she suggested the so-called trigger mechanism months ago.

In response to this statement, Open Left's rudimentary deductive logic analyst, Chris Bowers, says that if President Snowe opposes a public option, but she supports a trigger, then she only supports a trigger that well never result in a public option.  Otherwise, she is contradicting herself, and actually supporting a public option.

Previously, President Snowe stated that the reason she did not support a public option is because it would offer lower-priced health insurance than private companies:

"If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages," she said.

Some people, including national speech-giver Barack Obama, argue that the entire point of the public option is to offer lower-priced health insurance than private companies. However, their concerns have been noted, and placed in a filing cabinet no one will ever open again.

Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., it has been reported that a group of House Progressives are threatening to defeat any health care reform bill that lacks a robust public option that is available on day one (of 2013) and tied to Medicare rates (for a few years).  However, even though Progressives tend to get their way on everything, there was no indication that either President Snowe, or anyone in her administration, believed a word the Progressives said.

Chris Bowers :: President Snowe Opposes Public Option

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Brilliant (4.00 / 5)
Because it's true. How did we get to the point where Olympia Snowe's opinion shapes healthcare (and the stimulus) for tens of millions of Americans? Simply unbelievable.

President Snowe Is An Anti-Pragmatist (4.00 / 4)
She opposes the public option because it would work!

One wonders if she's an anti-pragmatist on all matters.

Was that the real reason she insisted on cutting aid to education and children's health care from the stimulus?  Aid that would have prevented devastating state (and local) budget cuts?

Or is she just a mean-ass sadist like the rest of her GOP colleagues, and is everyone in Versailles just too blind to see?

"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


It's not about pragmatism to her and never was (4.00 / 10)
You're asking the wrong question. She's not looking for the most "efficient" plan, in terms of what's best for most Americans. She's looking for what's the most "fair" plan, in terms of what's best for the already quite rich--her kind of people. She couldn't have put it more clearly. She agrees that a public option would lower costs and be better for most people. But that's not the point for her. The point is that it would hurt business interests, and in her world view, these trump the public good. It's a classic "liberty vs. equality" issue, framed in economic terms (i.e. property vs. the common good. And in her mind, the "right" of the rich to be free to remain rich, and become richer, whichever way possible, trumps the right of the people to have some minimal equal level of health care. Period. I'm not even sure that this is a matter of selling out to these corporations. In her case at least, she might literally believe in this ideology, that the "right" to make as much money as possible trumps peoples' right to their basic human needs, including health care--even if the former clearly impinges upon the latter.

Why Dems haven't made this the moral core of their agenda is beyond me. Fuck fear of "Class Warfare". That is PRECISELY what we have here, framed in health care terms.

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


[ Parent ]
And also, even "moderate" Snowe doesn't want a huge success... (4.00 / 1)
..,on the scoreboard for the Dems. With all respect for the Senator, which I see as at least a somewhat reasonable conservative, but I don't think we can totally dismiss partisan concerns influencing her stance. Healthcare reform being the first major legislation in a long time that lessens the burden of the middle class and the lower income household would probably result in a serious shift of the public opinion and the political landscape to the left side. I don't think that's in Senator Snowes interest.

[ Parent ]
Coincidentally (4.00 / 3)
She opposes the public option because it would work!

That's pretty much why the private for-profit health insurance industry opposes the idea. Go figure.

I saw Keith Ellison at the recent State Fair answer this with a question: "So what?" when told that the worst part of a PO was that it would "put private insurers out of business". Then he explained to the alleged Republican that had expounded that nugget that such is the entire point of competition within the marketplace.

Oh but that such could be secreted onto the teleprompter this evening. "Make me do it" at a whole 'nother level.


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


[ Parent ]
Day One (4.00 / 7)
"of 2013."

[rimshot. laughter]

Glad somebody else checked the detail for the "Available on Day One" talking point...  

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


As "moderate" as Snowe is (4.00 / 8)
She could not possibly have articulated a more definitive expression of what the modern GOP, and their faux Democratic allies, believe, be it out of ideology, or simple corruption. Namely, that the public good is secondary to private wealth. Period. End of discussion. Profit trumps the general welfare. Always. Period. And anything that reduces the ability of private entities, no matter how few in number and how already filthy rich, to make as much money as humanely possible, even if it's for an obvious public good, even if it's a matter of literal life and death, is BAD. Period. Stop arguing with me. I'm not going to budge. Property rights trump human rights. My right to make a shitload of money trumps your right to life. Period. End of story. I'm getting tired of explaining this to you.

And these people call themselves moral, upstanding, god-fearing "Christians". Or, "Compassionate" Conservatives. Uhuh. There is only one god in their world, and he's green and flat and easily folded. And there's only one kind of compassionate conservatism in their world, and it's for the rich and powerful.

I can't believe that we're allowing them to frame the terms of debate in this manner, as being between what they assert is the legitimate and superior right of corporations to make as much money as they can, and what they imply is the questionable and inferior right of people to be healthy. This is literally what they're saying, and they're being allowed to get away with it. It's just another way for them to yell "Class Warfare!", and use it to shut down debate. This has been one of the fundamental ideological debate in US history from the start, that of the property and profit "rights" of the few (namely, the rich, monied and powerful), vs. the human and moral rights of the many (everyone else). And the other side is once again winning the practical war, because they're being allowed to win the ideological war, unchallenged, because Dems are afraid of being accused of being anti-capitalist "socialists".

Property and profit vs. people. That's literally what this comes down to. Not "efficiency" and "costs" and "practicality". Those are all misdirection. It all comes down to what you value most, the desire of the few to be filthy rich vs. the need of the many to be healthy. And after decades of RW indoctrination and propaganda, I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of Americans actually favored the former, even if it meant hurting their own interests, because deep down most Americans believe that they one day will be rich, or at least should be, and thus don't want to vote against their inner millionare.

I don't know how to win this war without completely changing the terms of debate.

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


What a fucked up system we have.... (4.00 / 3)
...when one obstructionist can override the will of the majority.  We complain about the conservadems here, rightly so, but often extend that frustration to the rest of the party.  The fact is, most of the democrats are good democrats who are with us, but, somehow, due to the fucked up nature of our government, the entire country is held hostage by an extreme minority that represents a tiny fraction of the population...

I doubt the founders ever envisioned this happening with their constitution...

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!


I believe this is where we go wrong (0.00 / 0)
we don't truly understand the population and tend to group everyone as either extreme right wing republicans or democrats and include progressives in the democrat colum.  

the fact which is still true today is that the majority of the country still considers themselves conservatives.  In this category, you can include virtually every republican.  Also, although I am not sure of the exact number, I understand that a large number of democrats also consider themselves conservatives. Now, you throw in the conservative independants and this number begins to look much larger than expected.  

As you can see from recent pollings, independants who Obama pretty much carried during the election are begining to pull back to the center again.  

I do not believe that conservatives which includes moderate conservatives are a tiny fraction of the population and this is why progressive initiatives continue to be challenged at all levels.  


[ Parent ]
The majority do not consider themselves "conservative" (4.00 / 2)
Perhaps a plurality, but most certainly not a "majority."  2008 exit polls pegged self-described conservatives at 34%:

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/20...  

This is a problem, but as others have often noted, ideologically speaking, the plurality or even majority of the country is actually center-left even if they consider themselves "conservative".


[ Parent ]
Sorry, not even a plurality... (4.00 / 2)
44% consider themselves moderates, so yeah.. not even a plurality... More people describe themselves as conservative than liberal... that's about all you can say.

[ Parent ]
Don't you see that these generic descriptions (4.00 / 5)
are just that, generic descriptions?

In terms of their relation to policy preferences, they're utterly data free and insipid.  


[ Parent ]
Why do these so called conservatives (4.00 / 2)
overwhelmingly support a public option and want to bring back a version of the WPA?

Saying "I'm a conservative" in a poll is not the same as stating what policies you'd prefer - there's a lot of cognitive dissonance here.  

The GOP pushes its agenda come hell or high water - the Dems roll over on their back, call the GOP "daddy" and cry out "give it to me now!"

We've got a president who has misunderstood the degree to which people believe the gov't can improve their lives.  He thinks the problem with Bush was temperament, not policy.  He's wrong, and the people and the Democratic party will pay a huge price for his arrogant, stupid miscalculation.    


[ Parent ]
There was a blogpost here maybe two weeks ago... (0.00 / 0)
..showing how and why the "fact" that "the majority of the country still considers themselves conservatives" is misleading. Pls look this up in the archives!

[ Parent ]
No, most of the country is NOT conservative... (4.00 / 1)
Otherwise, what happened to President Palin?

Seriously, look beyond the labels. 60-75% of Americans want a public option. A plurality now supports Medicare for All single-payer. Is that what you call "conservative"?

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.


[ Parent ]
No, I'm right... (4.00 / 1)
The people holding up reform in both the house and the senate are from the least populous states/districts in the country.

I'm not talking about the country at large... I refer to the senators and house members who represent a tiny portion of the overall population of the United States.

They do represent the minority of the population, yet have more say that those in more populous regions...

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 ]
you know (4.00 / 4)

the fact which is still true today is that the majority of the country still considers themselves conservatives.

This blog has disproven this claim dozens of times, it is difficult to read this as an intellectually honest statement on your part since I know you read here regularly.  If you read even 1 of Paul's 27,000 diaries on the GSS you know otherwise.


[ Parent ]
The Democrats have targeted their appeals (4.00 / 2)
to an intransigent GOP rather than the constituents they serve, the overwhelming majority of whom support our position on this issue.  We're twittling and tergiversating a great opportunity away trying to please people who won't support anything we come up with under any circumstances.  

Hell, Baucus's K-Street bill is too much for the "moderate" John McCain.  These people are wild-eyed free market ideologues, and we had no chance with them from the start.  

I wouldn't place the blame on Senate procedure, however - remember the GOP has been willing to use reconciliation on wildly controversial issues.  Rather, the Dems since the mid-70s have displayed a pathological aversion to political confrontation.   This is in part due to a party structure that privileges the "expertise" of corporate contributors and their think tanks over the concerns of real people.  

The only reason I voted for Obama was to maintain Howard Dean's efforts to decentralize the party and make it more responsible to voters and grass roots organizing.  When Obama brought Kaine in after the election, I knew that I'd been had.      


[ Parent ]
This is exactly what they wanted though (0.00 / 0)
they were afraid of tyranny of the majority.  

[ Parent ]
Yes... (4.00 / 1)
But, were they afraid of a supermajority as well?

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 ]
The unwillingness of Democrats (0.00 / 0)
to use reconciliation here has nothing to do with early modern-era political theory.  

[ Parent ]
Pendulum (0.00 / 0)
Balancing the tyrannies between personal and populist.

By "they" I assume you mean the founders of the nation. Let's remember that "they" were fallible humans, too. "They" put together a radical document, but its not the last word on the subject.


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


[ Parent ]
You have such an accurate finger on the pulse (4.00 / 2)
of this issue and the strategies involved, one begins to wonder if you are not orchestrating the whole drama.


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


Yeah! What a show! Great entertainment. (0.00 / 0)
Pass the popcorn, pls.

However, lots of people are going to complain if there isn't a happy end. That would be so, uh, unamerican, you know?


[ Parent ]
Yeah, but Chris is a communist hippie-nazi. (4.00 / 1)
What would you expect?

[ Parent ]
"Happy" is a matter of perspective (0.00 / 0)


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


[ Parent ]
He already admitted he was responsible for killing single payer. (4.00 / 1)
Doesn't sound like much of a stretch, to be honest.

[ Parent ]
ambinder-obama will taget dem base tonight (0.00 / 0)
true or false? better be true mr ambinder
http://tinyurl.com/klrqg9

Heh. Ain't that the truth? (0.00 / 0)
Previously, President Snowe stated that the reason she did not support a public option is because it would offer lower-priced health insurance than private companies:

"If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages," she said.

Some people, including national speech-giver Barack Obama, argue that the entire point of the public option is to offer lower-priced health insurance than private companies. However, their concerns have been noted, and placed in a filing cabinet no one will ever open again.

Obama seems to have lost control of his own administration long ago. Maybe he never really had control? This is why Democrats need to figure out how to grow a spine... And FAST!

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.


Is it posible (4.00 / 1)
that the president and my fellow Democrats do not realize what political poison a individual mandate without a strong public option is? This will bury our party if something like that passes.

Filibuster (4.00 / 1)
If Snowe were vote #50, you would just be complaining about the realities of democracy.  But she ain't.

The only reason she has any leverage in this debate at all is the filibuster.  We seriously need to dump that unconstitutional rule.

We should just get 50 votes and have Biden cast the tie breaker while holding a copy of the constitution.


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