Hitting The Jackpot

by: Mike Lux

Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 21:53


When the White House announced last week that the President would be addressing a joint session of Congress on the health care issue, I suggested that the President was raising the stakes not just through the roof but to the stars beyond. Well, he hit the jackpot tonight. I have been listening closely to Presidential speeches for about 35 years now, have watched quite a few oldies but goodies from the past, have even contributed ideas to a fair share of speeches in the Clinton years, and I am sitting here thinking that was one of the very best Presidential speeches I have ever heard. JFK's inaugural and a couple of FDR's best are the only ones I can think of that moved me so much. More importantly, though, he did everything he needed to do:

  • Lay out clearly what he strongly believes in

  • Make a powerful argument for why we need to get this done

  • Answer the phony scare tactics

  • Fire up the people around the country who want to get this done to keep working to make it happen

On the public option, as I expected him to do given his long-term strategy, he kept his options open. No one should feel surprised that he did that given that he has been clear from the beginning that he is going to be open to negotiations with Senators like Snowe and Ben Nelson on the issue. But I was pleased that he made clear not only that he was for a public option, but gave a full-throated multi-paragraph defense of it. He did what public option advocates needed him to do, which was to make clear that he supported it.

I was also very happy that the President took the Republicans on quite forcefully. While continuing to offer his hand, he made clear he wasn't going to take their BS any longer without pushing back.

As one who has been unhappy about a fair amount of Obama's communications strategy on health care up until now, I came away from tonight's speech a very happy man. He took a very big gamble, but I think he will get a great a pay-off from it. He stood and delivered. Now I just hope Congress will find it within itself to do the same.

Mike Lux :: Hitting The Jackpot

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Hitting The Jackpot | 94 comments
I wasn't suprised... (4.00 / 6)
So I'm not really disappointed. However, I'm still not impressed either. I guess this speech was just as I expected. We got tons of flowery rhetoric on "passing health care reform now", but no strong message on what he expects or demands out of that bill.

I wish he had done what President Clinton did 16 years ago when he held up his veto pen, but expanded on it by saying he wouldn't accept any half-ass "solutions". (Of course, I'm sure Obama would have been forceful without being as crass as I am.)

Sure, I guess it's a step forward. But as I said in Adam's thread, the A-level style and C-level substance averaged out to an overall B-level speech for me. Again, I expected it. I guess I was still holding out hope for more and better.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.


And that worked out so well.... (4.00 / 1)
I wish he had done what President Clinton did 16 years ago when he held up his veto pen, but expanded on it by saying he wouldn't accept any half-ass "solutions".

I remember him saying that, and being excited about it... then, over time, he had to backtrack it, which diminished his political capital significantly... and you know what ahppened after that...

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 ]
Of course... (0.00 / 0)
Because he didn't follow through! And guess what? Obama's now doing the same thing. He said in the campaign that'd he veto a bad bill with no public option, but now he says he'll take a bad bill because supposedly something is better than nothing.

Making threats isn't the problem. Rather, it's not following through on them.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.


[ Parent ]
"now he says he'll take a bad bill because supposedly something is better than nothing" (4.00 / 1)
Is that what he said tonight? WTF are you talking about? You're just making stuff up?

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
Read the speech! (4.00 / 1)
I did again after listening to it. He specifically told Democrats in Congress not to block a bill with no public option. He said it's "just a means to an end". WTF are you talking about? The public option is the only way to make the insurance industry comply with all the other reforms in the bill!

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
We got him to offer a multiparagraph defense of the PO (0.00 / 0)
if he's as spineless as we all think, progressives can speak with actions that demand respect and he will have to go through us if he wants his legislative centerpiece.

We've got him this far along a path that he would rather have not taken from the start - let's make sure he stays on it.  


[ Parent ]
Read what Mike Lux is saying on OpenLeft (4.00 / 2)
Read it.
This was a good night for the progressive movement. Realize when you've got a win -- even if the outcome is still ambiguous -- and move on.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
The timing is completely different (4.00 / 1)
from Clinton's speech.

Obama had no magic bullet to shoot - what he did was give us an opportunity to change the terrain of the debate.  We need to follow through - Sherrod Brown gave a good example of what needs to be done rhetorically on Olberman.  


[ Parent ]
I wasn't surprised either. (4.00 / 5)
Just mildly disappointed. I would have been more disappointed except that I didn't expect much better. Why can't he just pound the crap out of Republicans and tie them to the evil insurance companies who collect the outrageous premiums and then deny the claims and drop people when they get sick and leave them to die. Why didn't he personalize the flip side of the couple healthcare horror anecdotes he told by pointing out $100 million plus salaries of some specific health insurance CEOs? Seems like pretty low hanging fruit.

His kumbaya schtick may be good personal strategy, but there are institutional forces larger and stronger than individual personalities. Republicans will be oppositional assholes because the power and money will reward them for this. I just don't think kumbaya is an effective strategy for the reality of the situation.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
You weren't surprised because you have blinders on (4.00 / 6)
"Why can't he just pound the crap out of Republicans"
Yeah, that's what most Americans really want to hear in a prime-time national address. However, he did actually call what Republicans promoted in Town Hall debates "lies," he blamed the current deficit on the Bush administration, and he called out individual Republican Senators for being obstructionist. But I guess that's not "pounding" enough for you. But to you, this is "kumbaya?"

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
"kumbaya" (4.00 / 2)
Just because there was a tiny bit of red meat for liberals in the speech does not mean that there was not plenty of "kumbaya." Nate Silver describes it well:
On the other hand, there was a lot of the "bipartisan" pivoting of the sort that made Obama very popular during his 2004 DNC convention speech. He made himself look like the reasonable party in the room. He got a smile out of John McCain, and a golf clap out of John Boehner. At the end of the day, he probably acknowledged the sacrifice of the "robust" public option (although a version with a trigger remains possible, and perhaps even likely). But he got some mileage out of it: using it as the left goalpost by which he'd confidently kick the field goal through.

Also,...


Tom Schaller: This was classic Obama, both from a policy conceit and rhetorical framing. Anyone who read The Audacity of Hope knows how Obama works through issues-he sets up how one side conceives it and how the other side does and then, after admitting he is inclined toward progressive/Democratic side of the ledger, he humbly suggests the best solution is probably somewhere in between.

Basically, he humbly suggests the best solution is probably somewhere in between a pre-compromise (public option) of a better solution (single payer) and a pile of shit. We will settle for 75% away from single payer toward conservative suckness. [And single payer is not even "socialized medicine"; it's socialized insurance. I would prefer to gradually expand VA coverage to everyone.]

He dismissed single payer as being a bad idea with one line at the beginning of the speech, then positioned the public option as the left goal post (as Schaller said) and then gave deference to bogus Republican "concerns," giving the message that he thinks the best solution is somewhere between public option and the Republican position (of essentially killing reform.) Sweet. Yay.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 1)
And "call[ing] what Republicans promoted in Town Hall debates "lies,"... blam[ing] the current deficit on the Bush administration, and...call[ing] out individual Republican Senators for being obstructionist" is not exactly "pounding," unless you call making obviously true statements "pounding." That shows how falsely equivalated our modern discourse is.

I'd say vigorously reversing the right-wing frame, rather than operating within it and acquiescing to it, would be a "pounding."


[ Parent ]
Thank you Mike (4.00 / 5)
"he made clear not only that he was for a public option, but gave a full-throated multi-paragraph defense of it. He did what public option advocates needed him to do, which was to make clear that he supported it."
At least someone on this site actually listened to the speech. God, what a bunch of friggin whiners! Here we've been working for months to get the PO on the limelight of the reform debate and we actually got to center stage. And what does everybody do? "Wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth," like they say in Jamaica. Worthless!

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

not good enough (4.00 / 1)
defending the public option is not enough. if it is such a good policy option, then why not threaten to veto the bill unless it is included?  the administration caved from the start by announcing that medicare for all would not be proposed.

watching maddow and olberman makes it clear that his speech is appeasing people who should know better.  i find it unfortunate.

i will be in touch with my congresswoman, who is a signatory to the letter pledging to not vote for any bill that does not include a robust public option, to hold to that promise.

I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November


[ Parent ]
"watching maddow and olberman" (0.00 / 0)
That's your problem there. Even though I tend to agree with their politics, they are a circus act for the MSM. Threatening a veto at this point over a policy point like the public option that actually has a very good chance of being passed would be stupid strategy. There is just too much on the table at this point to threaten people into submission.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
Pelosi said she'd offer no sanctions... (4.00 / 3)
If we were a real political party, we'd make him endure congressional censure and hold him up as an example if the GOP for all to see...

God, we are so weak!

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 ]
...or create pressure w/i the GOP (4.00 / 1)
to make him apologize, helping them look sane - that was just too, too, too perfect.  

Their laughter in response to what needs to be worked out needs to be in ads ASAP.


[ Parent ]
She doesn't need to call for it (4.00 / 2)
someone else can - anyhow, when your opponent is busy killing themselves, best to let them continue.

Of course, he can't offer a genuine apology - at least not one where he admits that the president was telling the truth - and this will keep this useful non-story front and center for a while.

God I hope we're trying our best to register Latin American voters and get them to the polls.  If we do, the GOP will be in for a shock in 2010.  


[ Parent ]
I have been reading (4.00 / 2)
Alinsky.  The first goal of the activist is to provoke a reaction from the powers that be.

I think we have consistently been wrong in handling the tea baggers, and I think sanctions immediately would make that the major story of the speech.

And you can always wait a month.


[ Parent ]
That is protest. (0.00 / 0)
It is significantly different from power.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Censure (4.00 / 3)
Someone has to offer a censure resolution. It was the same bind Republicans put us in around the MoveOn censure vote- a no-win scenario.


Me on Facebook
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[ Parent ]
The GOPers like McCain who support it (0.00 / 0)
will be seen as moderate, legitimating their obfuscation of any and all government involvement in so-called "private enterprise."  See, Tweety will say, there are good Republicans, they're not really behind the deathers, truthers, etc., etc.

We'll be able to get all the traction we need by pointing out what crass, lying bigots Republicans are without giving them an opportunity to weasel out by having some of them support censuring him.

It's far better to paint with a thick brush in this case.  


[ Parent ]
barney frank had a good line on maddow (4.00 / 3)
the outburst was a sign that the opposition recognized that obama had reclaimed the debate.  they have nothing else to say.

also, heckling of the powers that be is a fine tradition in the british parliament--why not here?

p.s.  he's apologized for screaming out -- not that he was wrong on the facts.

I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November


[ Parent ]
They can't help themselves (0.00 / 0)
Not even Carol Costello can defend them now - dumbasses.  

[ Parent ]
Pelosi's reaction (4.00 / 3)
cracked me up.  "Who let Representative Douchebag in here?"

[ Parent ]
That was brilliant (0.00 / 0)
and it will be what will be talked about.

It reminded me of Oliver North's lawyer interrupting Inouye (sp?) during his close.

The guy is a complete a-hole, but I thought that his shout was pretty effective.


[ Parent ]
I'm waiting for someone to defend him (0.00 / 0)
saying Obama called Republicans "liars" first.  

[ Parent ]
Hey Joe (4.00 / 1)
Where you goin' with the remnants of your doomed political career in your hand?

[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 7)
Obama went well beyond my admittedly meagre expectations.

We've made it through an August dominated by lies and misrepresentations relatively unscathed in the polls, and now we've taken control of the debate for the time being with this speech.  

Furthermore, the president gave a number of lines that will sound good 24 hrs a day on TV.  This will prove especially useful as Sherrod Brown demonstrated by piggybacking on the speech with a vigorous defense of the public option, speaking of it as a fait accompli.  

The GOP hurt itself with its conduct, laughing at the idea of reform, calling the president a liar, and the SNL-like rebuttal saying we need to start over, more ad fodder there.  What credibility they did have should be gone, particularly if these moments are incorporated into an effective ad with a big buy.  

But of course the GOP can't leave well enough alone.  What people in the MSM were willing to discuss "deathers" and the like as a serious position can no longer do so (well, except for the people on FOX).  

Obama gave us what we need, it's now up to us to enforce our mark.  


interesting read wobbly (4.00 / 1)
hope you're right.  giving me more to chew on tonight.

[ Parent ]
"Obama gave us what we need, it's now up to us to enforce our mark." (4.00 / 1)
Yep!

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
All that it takes R some pretty words to glaze over the same sell-out on the public option ... (0.00 / 0)
... and people get all happy about it even though not a damn thing has changed.

Z


[ Parent ]
are you posting from a cell phone? (4.00 / 5)
Can you type out complete words?  This isn't a text message conversation, and the texting-speak isn't adding any weight to the strength of your points.

[ Parent ]
I thought it was excellent (4.00 / 1)
I also can see why he is holding his cards on the public option. But, I did find this rather interesting:

So let me set the record straight. My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly - by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest; by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage; and by jacking up rates
.

Why so specific on Alabama? This seems to contain a veiled threat against the insurance monopolies. Can these regional monopolies be broken?


Reid's been talking about removing their antitrust exemption... (4.00 / 8)
...yes, insurers have an antitrust exemption... why they have it is anyone's guess.

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 ]
So... (0.00 / 0)
there must be some obvious reason, that I can't see, for this not to be one of the proposals being debated? I'm sure the monopolies have antitrust exemptions ostensibly to achieve widely dispersed risk for the insurance companies. In other words, a byproduct of long past, non profit, circumstances?  

[ Parent ]
Because the HMOs are scared... (0.00 / 0)
That's all. Ever since Pat McCarran, another famous Nevada Senator, had this law passed, insurance companies have made sure that any attempt to undo it was destroyed. They're afraid of the feds enforcing antitrust laws on them.

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
I believe this is actually the case (4.00 / 1)
the antitrust exemption dates to the '40s

[ Parent ]
That's actually a good idea... (0.00 / 0)
And if my Senator follows through, he'll be getting an extra special gift from me. ;-)

Yes, Virginia, there are progressives in Nevada.

[ Parent ]
Danger: (4.00 / 3)
the wingnut talking point on this has been "removing barriers" by which they mean deregulation.

They want to let insurance companies "compete across the country," so they can concentrate in the states with the least stringent regulation, then merge and consolidate until they are "too big to fail." It worked so well for the banks, after all.

I don't know if this is what Obama is hinting at or not, his language is very vague. The wingnuts call their idea "choice" and "competition" also.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Good to be cautious (4.00 / 1)
but I also heard Obama clearly say the companies would be regulated. And, if they were found to be monopolies, they could be broken up, no?

Anyway, just teasing this out. I really think single payer is the only rational solution.


[ Parent ]
Bingo! (0.00 / 0)
Eliminating state regulations!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
I too (4.00 / 5)
Am saddened that he hedged on the PO, but agree that giving it a prominent place in the speech and offering an extensive rationale for it was significant.

I am no 11-dimensional chess sort, but there is the possibility that his hedging on the PO was itself posturing to make himself seem reasonable, while he can ultimately reject non-PO alternatives as not being adequate to solving the competition problem he has highlighted.  After all, they don't, in fact solve it.


And allow congress to pass it. (0.00 / 0)
He says you must pass a bill, (now is the season of action) progressives say it will have a PO, so it means we are passing a PO.

--

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


[ Parent ]
I posted this in the other thread (0.00 / 0)
but what do people think about a large scale pilot of the po as a fallback position.  Bu large scae, I mean at least states with over 50 million in polulation would have to agree to participate, and the po could be structured to get as close to Hacker's principles as possible.

A large pilot would of course become a blue state public option (California and the Northest would be well over 100 million), have the advantage of letting the states experiment, thus turning the one size fits all argument completely around.  And it would offer a way for redstate Dems to support the overall bill (since they can argue that it won't be implemented there).

I really, really, really don't like the idea of a trigger.


Their idea of a public option (0.00 / 0)
is for a trigger to a pilot beginning not earlier than 2013, and not later than 2012, but only for those Americans who aren't already covered by private insurance, Medicare, the VA, or visits to the emergency room. And of course, such a government program would have to be contracted out to private insurance...who will receive an advance beginning immediately, and automatically adjusted for inflation plus 10% each subsequent year.

What do you think....any takers?


[ Parent ]
Nope (0.00 / 0)
I would argue for pilot that is a real public option.  And I would make it available earlier.

That is the compromise: a real po but only in states that want it.  The trigger discussion seems a loser to me.


[ Parent ]
The public option IS the compromise (4.00 / 1)
We've already compromised big time. Now it is time for them to compromise.

[ Parent ]
Pilot hell, Kill the BILL (4.00 / 1)
This is the win, push push push.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Right, No Pilot (0.00 / 0)
it's only a defensive tactic against reform. Besides, a pilot in only a few states will not have the mass membership that will really drive down prices.

[ Parent ]
Why wait for states to opt in? (0.00 / 0)
The problem I have with it, is that all the people in Redder states who won't opt in will still have to buy insurance from private insurers.

I do agree Cali and NY are certainly large enough to have viable state-wide POs, so what you're suggesting seems better than a trigger at least.


[ Parent ]
The goal (0.00 / 0)
is to get red state dems where the PO is unpopular to vote for the overall bill.

I would rather have a strong pilot thats gets closer to the main idea of the PO than a weak po or a trigger.


[ Parent ]
ok, fair enough (4.00 / 1)
Yeah, so, Pilot > Trigger.  

What about making the PO have a state by state opt-out provision then?  States that don't want it, can get out of it, but then we avoid having to fight to get Cali or NY to opt-in by legislative act.


[ Parent ]
NO (0.00 / 0)


--

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


[ Parent ]
While we're compromising... (4.00 / 3)
Let's have a large scale pilot of Medicare-for-All in the Democratic states and remove the exemption from anti-trust laws for health insurance companies so they can be broken up in places like Alabama. And any Republican Congressmember who doesn't like government insurance could have their insurance revoked and their access to Medicare cut off.  That sounds like a good compromise to me.  

[ Parent ]
Some people are not understanding. (0.00 / 0)
 Obama didnt just pass the Bill tohight but came a s close as  a person who doesn't vote there to demand it. This Bill is passing.

Every stiffen up a little, this is what winning looks like. This the time to push this bill. A Robust Public Option is about to be passed.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Jackpot for Insurance companies (4.00 / 3)
Not sure what speech you watched, Mike, but it wasn't the same one I heard. Every step of the way was about compromise with Republicans that shouted out he was a liar. Why does Mr. Obama continue to insist on respecting them? He had the audacity to compare single payer with ending employer provided insurance.

They're all full of shit. 28% of Americans can't make up their mind now what they want on health care and who can blame them? What is this health care plan going to do? Nobody knows. How much will it cost? All we know for sure is that if you don't have health care, or if you lose it, you'll be forced to buy it or pay a few thousand dollars penalty because you refused to pay a private health insurance company that you don't trust.

Grade: F. Terrible speech. I have no idea where this president really stands on health care reform except that he seems to care more  about not offending Republicans than he does to support those of us who voted to elect him.


Good 2 C some1 isn't mainlining the kool-aid (4.00 / 1)
Z

[ Parent ]
Well a C- is more like it (4.00 / 2)
but, I agree that it was a disappointing effort. Is it just me or isn't there a major WTF contradiction in ruling out single-payer and then declaring openness to the best ideas of both sides? Does he think the Republicans actually have any ideas, let alone good ones? Also, the part about "building on what works" was a major non-sequitur. Isn't it for-profit health insurance linked to employment the thingie that isn't working and the single-payer/socialized approaches (Medicare, VA) that are? Why not build on them?

[ Parent ]
It's just you (0.00 / 0)
and there was no non-sequitor, if you read everything in context.

[ Parent ]
in what context would it be that (0.00 / 0)
for-profit health insurance linked to employment is working? Please enlighten us instead of making assertions presented as self-evident truths.

[ Parent ]
no, (4.00 / 3)
Not a "WTF" - he does explain his rationale for rejecting SP:


I have to say that there are arguments to be made for both approaches. But either one would represent a radical shift that would disrupt the health care most people currently have. Since health care represents one-sixth of our economy, I believe it makes more sense to build on what works and fix what doesn't, rather than try to build an entirely new system from scratch. And that is precisely what those of you in Congress have tried to do over the past several months.

I love single payer, but I don't adhere to the view that it is the "only" solution.  The Swiss, Germans and Japanese all found non-single payer solutions that are at least better than the US status quo.  Obama may be wrong about this, but it's not a crazy or incomprehensible view.


[ Parent ]
I don't think single-payer is the "only" answer either, but (0.00 / 0)
it's a real good one and certainly deserving of as much consideration as anything likely to emerge from the GOP. I think you're really overstating the case on the Swiss, German and Japanese systems. My understanding is that in these countries the insurers are non-profit and heavily regulated and health insurance is not linked to employment, at least not to the extent that it is here. Obama was merely re-stating the "we need a uniquely American solution" argument. We already have one of those and it's a world of suck, otherwise why are we having this discussion?

Sorry, but it's still a WTF.


[ Parent ]
Right on, Mike (4.00 / 4)
Many people here simply would not have been satisfied unless Obama uttered the precise words, "I will veto a bill without a public option."  

But I thought the speech was everything that could reasonably have been expected.


I also really liked this: (3.20 / 5)

So don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut - especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have fought against Medicare in the past, and just this year supported a budget that would have essentially turned Medicare into a privatized voucher program. That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.

There was little more odious than watching Republicans try to set themselves up as the protectors of medicare.  They deserved a public elbow for their efforts.


Why keep Bernake though (0.00 / 0)
who supports those same ideas?  

He did a nice job tonight, but lets not get carried away.  


[ Parent ]
Just praising the speech (0.00 / 0)
Or, rather, specific portions of it.  Nothing more.

[ Parent ]
highlight of the night for me (4.00 / 3)
Barney Frank on Maddow.

"post partisan depression", "these people are loons!"

heheh


I loved that (4.00 / 1)
I'm also proud he did not hyperventilate about Wilson yelling "liar" - he praised free speech, noted the Brits do far worse in Parliament and it's not a big deal.  Good stuff.  Liberals don't do mockrage very well, so don't even try.  Some wingnut shouted at the President, big fucking deal.  I know the right would have a full bore freak out, but that doesn't mean Democrats should.

[ Parent ]
We can use this to equate GOP legislators (4.00 / 1)
with the fringe lunatics that show up at Obama's speeches with guns, talking about death squads and use it to discredit them.  

[ Parent ]
I agree Mike (4.00 / 2)
it was a very strong speech. Can't remember the last time I heard a Democratic Leader give as strong a speech. He's never been as strong on the public option as I would like but he has not backed down even an inch on it either. And he didn't tonight.

In the meantime he called them out on their bullshit in multiple ways and in the strongest possible fashion.

It was very good to hear.

'Bout damn time.

Peace,

Andrew


Basically, I don't C Y anyone would B encouraged by this speech .... (0.00 / 0)
... when he's already broke his word on so much he's said in the past; when he's given these eloquent, substance-less speeches in the past and they were not representative of what he effectuated later on ... when it really mattered.  Especially, when there is so much evidence that he's already sold out on a major part of health care reform to pharmas for what will very likely be large campaign contributions.

There was nothing to that speech but words ... obama's specialty ... and none of those words said anything but what he has always said:  he is "in favor" of the public option, but willing to listen opponents ideas ... hence rahm's centrist/corporate sell-out trigger job.  now rahm's job ... and he has had a long time to work on it ... is to make sure that a bill with a public option never hits obama's desk.  That way obama's pretty words will still ring in people's heads and they can tell themselves that he "meant it" even though in the end they don't have it ... and the dlc dem's duo deceit, obama (obama is dlc in everything but name) and rahm, have done a hell of a lot to make sure that we won't get it.

Z  


" ... rahm's centrist/corporate sell-out trigger tricks." (0.00 / 0)
Z  

[ Parent ]
Eh, not so much (4.00 / 1)
I just watched the video of the speech, as I was out this evening.

My response: tepid.

He's not fighting for this, not fighting for the ideals that I thought he was advocating when he ran for office. Just holding up some imaginary ideal of bipartisan cooperation and compromise with an imaginary opposition that is "reasonable".

I want a fighter. And this is a huge disappointment.


Let me summarize the complaints (4.00 / 6)
Obama is bad because he didn't have a Bush-style "those who are not with us are against us" moment with regards to the public option.

This was a speech where Obama clearly labeled some opponents as liars and made what appeared to me to be a solid argument for why a logical person would support a public option.  To all reasonable spectators, this looked like Obama giving a speech in support of the public option.  

What the left should be doing is proclaiming victory that Obama is backing a public option and asking recalcitrant Democrats (as well as more moderate Republicans...worth a shot, I suppose) about why they are resisting a popular president on a popular issue position.  If the Blue Dogs vote against a solid public option bill, then the point of attack in any primaries potentially could be why they don't agree with Obama.

Obama is not the messiah and won't get health care reform passed single-handedly.  But this speech is a solid tool that the left can use to advance that goal.  Instead of wishing that Obama would take ownership of the left, why doesn't the left try to take ownership of Obama and co-opt his message rather than trying to tear it down by declaring it a rhetorical facade without substance?

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


This speech was all about tenderizing the trigger .... (0.00 / 0)
... to make it more palatable to the public when they have it shoved down their throats even though 3/4s of the country wants a public option.  It seems 2 B working ...

Z


The fight is not over yet, but if this board is representative of progressives ... (0.00 / 0)
... then it is a bad sign that so many progressives have been placated by obama's words, once again, becoz those words have meant little or nothing on the most important decisions of his presidency which have all gone heavily in favor of big business and other powerful interests.  And you can be sure that rahm is working behind the scenes to make sure that a bill does not arrive at obama's desk with a public option on it.  

The progressives are going to have to push much, much harder on progressive members of congress to hold the line ... at least to have their best shot of influencing the bill.  Progressives in congress need to know that words are not enough.

Z



[ Parent ]
it doesn't matter (0.00 / 0)
To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end - and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.

The key thing here is the definition of "affordable". What the people writing this legislation, including Obama, think is affordable, and what I think is affordable looking at my monthly budget, are two different things. They will do whatever they do and they will call it "affordable".

And I agree with other commenters, that it was truly despicable of him to equate single-payer with Republican nihilism. Not surprising, but still despicable.

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


And yet... (4.00 / 1)
How many people have begged that single payer be allowed at the table to at least represent the true left?  Yet, when Obama points out what the left and right sides of the debate wants, we complain.

I know I tend to see the good sides of things and ignore the bad, but I really don't get this complaint.  Instead of using the public option as representation of what the left wants he used what the left actually wants, and we call it despicable.

One would think there would be some joy in positioning the public option as a centrist policy choice, but no.


[ Parent ]
because it's a false equivalence (0.00 / 0)
"Some people want unrestricted crucifixions. Some say there should be no crucifixions at all. I choose a middle path..."

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

[ Parent ]
I think the complaint is backwards (0.00 / 0)
I have no problem with what he said about single payer.  I do have a problem with what he said about the Republican plan.

There are those on the left who believe that the only way to fix the system is through a single-payer system like Canada's, where we would severely restrict the private insurance market and have the government provide coverage for everyone. On the right, there are those who argue that we should end the employer-based system and leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.

I have to say that there are arguments to be made for both approaches. But either one would represent a radical shift that would disrupt the health care most people currently have.

There are no arguments to be made in support of the Republican plan.  If you called the respect he gave the Republican plan despicable, I'd agree.  But what you actually said is a bit different.


[ Parent ]
Well (0.00 / 0)
There are arguments to be made and Republicans make them.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
There was no equation (0.00 / 0)
Is single-payer not a left position?  Is the individual plan, those papers the Repubs were waving in the back, not a right position?  

So right is the same as left?

That doesn't work for me when I'm driving around town.

USA: 1950 to 2010


[ Parent ]
Hitting The Jackpot | 94 comments
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