There is no happy ending to this one

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 18:38


Quite a few progressive bloggers are arguing that the individual mandate will prove to be unpopular, and hold long-term, negative political consequences for Democrats. Current polling on the individual mandate is all over place, some showing strong support, some showing strong opposition (PDF, page 17), and some showing a split nation.  This wide variation is due not only to wording, but also because people don't really understand the policy of the mandates yet, as Kaiser polling revealed in October.  Still, even though the situation is in flux, I think those who argue that the individual mandate will ultimately have a negative political affect are largely correct.

The only place where I disagree, or would at least like to expand upon, those arguments, is to assert that every outcome to the health care fight will have severely negative political consequences for the Democratic Party.  There is no happy political ending at this point; it is a matter of picking your poison.

In the extended entry, I provide a quick summary of possible outcomes.

Chris Bowers :: There is no happy ending to this one
Here are some possible scenarios, some more possible than others:

  • The bill passes, as is.  The health care bill is very unpopular, at least relative to almost every other law Congress has passed over the last 16 years.  This will have the short-term consequence of public blowback, and the long-term consequence of the individual mandate. Oh yeah, and advocates of stronger health care reform grow more dejected.

  • The bill passes, without the individual mandate.  In this extreme long-shot scenario, the bill is still unpopular.  Public blowback anyway.  Advocates of stronger health care reform still grow more dejected.  Health care costs probably rise even faster, resulting in different, though still negative, long-term political consequences.

  • The bill is defeated by Republicans and conservative Democrats.  If this happens, then ineffective Democrats were stopped from passing an unpopular bill by heroic conservatives.  Democrats still have an unpopular bill hung around their neck anyway, but now people turn even harder to the teabaggers in the short term due to their heroic effort to defeat the bill.  Advocates of stronger health care reform still grow more dejected.  Democratic rank and file, which still largely likes the bill (despite some movement in the other direction) also grows even more dejected.

  • The bill is defeated by Republicans and progressive Democrats.  Everything from #3, plus a much more difficult political environment for progressive candidates who are facing Democratic primaries against White House backed candidates.
If you oppose the bill at least partially because you believe it will result in negative political consequences for Democrats, well, you are probably correct in that assessment.  However, don't delude yourself into thinking that defeating it somehow makes for a better political outcome.  It won't, because there is no good political outcome at this point

This is about picking your poison, not about finding a happy ending.  I have been arguing that #4 would be a dangerous route, because we can still make Progressive / progressive gains in Congress even in the current, negative political environment for Democrats.  If our primary candidates start arguing against the health care bill, their chances in those primaries drop rapidly.

This is not an abstract worry.  Consider, for example, the emerging shape of Regina Thomas's challenge against White House backed Blue Dog, John Barrow:

Thomas lamented Barrow's recent votes against an Obama-backed health care bill and for a ban on using federal funds for most abortions.

"Barrow ran last year on a commitment to improve health care," she said. "He's saying one thing and doing something else."

She also observed Barrow has said he is pro-choice on abortions.

"Why won't he level with the people?" she asked. "The people in the 12th District deserve better."

Barrow spokeswoman Jane Brodsky rejected Thomas' contentions.

"(He) didn't vote against President Obama's health care plan," Brodsky said. "He voted against (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi's. ...

Barrow is on the defensive in this campaign because of his vote against health care.  Notice how he does not want to say that he is against President Obama's health care plan, because he knows that would be political death in this district (where two-thirds of the primary votes are African-American).  Barrow won in 2008 because he won the 2008 campaign almost entirely because of an ad Obama cut for him, but he looks to be in trouble now.  If the positions were reversed, and Thomas was arguing against Obmaa's health care plan, the voters in the district would turn against her, and the campaign would be over whether or not the White House cuts another ad for Barrow.

And it isn't just this campaign.  We will lose every single primary with a progressive Dem against a Blue Dog type Dem if the White House candidates are arguing in favor of President Obama's health care plan, and our candidates are arguing against it.  And the health bill probably passes anyway, so we end up with nothing.

Other issues may be different than health care, where it is the White House, not progressive activists, who have broken with the majority of the Democratic rank and file.  Also, I admit, we might lose all of these primaries anyway.  However, I, for one, would at least like to have a shot in those primaries.


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Chris, you are way more level-headed than most it seems like... (4.00 / 2)
That includes Howard Dean, at this point.  Sure, I'd love for somebody to say "You know what, screw this.. let's push something good through reconciliation", but that just isn't happening.  I think any defeat of this bill is ultimately more negative to progressives than passage of it.

As you said, there are no happy endings now... Dems have really screwed the pooch on this one, the activist base is demoralized, and unless the economy gets significantly better and Dems figure out a good way to promote their health care bill, we're probably in for quite the drubbing in 2010.  Out of the options available, this is probably the best for progressives... and at the very least, maybe sets the stage for further fights on HC down the road... unfortunately, the road is just much longer than progressives originally thought, given the landslide election of Dems in the last couple elections.

Kevin Drum's recent post on this seems to agree with this assessment as well.  I think non-passage is far more toxic than passage.

That being said, and I know this will sound very "Rahmian", passing it with liberals kicking and screaming is probably better at this point anyway, given that when progressives were "happy", the Lieberman and his conservative buddies took that to mean that they hadn't extracted enough concessions yet.  Once it passes, liberals backs will be against the wall and they'll be forced to defend it, causing those negative numbers to probably bounce back a bit.

Independents will be the hardest to win back, but nothing else we can do at this point.


You are both high as a kite (4.00 / 18)
And I mean that in the best possible way. We meet two related goals:

(a) prevent unsound policy
(b) increase political progressive leverage

If progressives kill the bill -- as currently formulated -- not only do they prevent an insurance company giveaway, they present themselves as a new force to be reckoned with. And if Rahm wants to destroy the Democratic house majority by primarying the progressives into oblivion, let him. How's the progressive bashing working out so far for them? As far as I can tell, creating lots of new enemies on the left is a serious problem, because they won't be gaining any new friends on the right anytime soon. There isn't a "center" anymore, except in the boardroom at the Washington Post building.

Progressives have nothing to lose. Obama made the mess, let him deal with it. We may lose some seats, but progressives aren't going to win electoral battles until we have a machine turning out Alan Grayson clones (not necessarily in personality or even on the issues, but in the ability to reduce the progressive argument on complicated issues to simple, easily understood, stark, moral language).

It would be best if progressives had an effective messaging/PR arm, but you go to war with the media you have...


[ Parent ]
Hmmm.... (4.00 / 5)

   The drumming out of progressives from the House caucus would be more of an issue if the progressives had a history of asserting themselves and getting things done. But they don't; they've basically been furniture.

   So if the House progressives DO assert themselves for a change, this might actually ENHANCE their prospects in a primary. Who knows. I see where Chris is coming from, but I'm not quite convinced he's correct.

   But that said, I think the best way to kill this bill is through the Senate -- there are fewer pressure points we need to apply, and an individual senator has far less to lose. Especially someone like Bernie Sanders, who's not even a Democrat.

   I say we get Sanders to filibuster...  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Yes, he could begin reading his bill, starting about page 70 (4.00 / 2)


[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 2)
What's the point?  Apparently having Democrats in Congress doesn't really matter.  With very few exceptions, the progressives are also siding with President Lieberman.  

Whatever happened to the letter signed by House progressives that said they wouldn't vote for a bill w/o a public option?  Have they caved too?


[ Parent ]
keep our powder dry (4.00 / 7)
I agree with you. Chris' recommendation boiled down to its essence is basically that progressives should keep their powder dry. Rahm/Obama/the establishment roll over progressives every time because progressives never make a stand. (Where have I heard that before?) But now Chris is telling progressives to roll over yet again, rewarding the tactic of fucking progressives, so we can maintain the number of progressives. But if they never make a stand anyway, what difference does it make. The powder is always kept dry. It's never used. I say we use our powder now. Fire back and send the message once and for all that progressives fight back and can no longer be taken for granted. I just feel in my gut that if Rahmbama gets away with this, it will only lead to more shit sandwiches for all of us to be force fed. We've got to change the rules and now is as good a time as any. Fucking progressives has to become painful, and delivering Obama an epic fail on healthcare would send a powerful message. Progressives can only win in the long run by standing up for our values clearly and unapologetically. Maybe the best thing long term is to speak truth to power and call out Obama on his massive corporate sellout.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Hell, let's ignite that powder! (4.00 / 4)
Every time something like this happens, in the end, the message from blog leaders is always the same: let's fold on this now and "live" to fight another day, even though we haven't really been fighting in the first place.  We can't win this one.

I despise talking about politics as though it's a game, but if it is, it's closest to chess.  The right plays it to win.  We play it not to lose.  The difference?  While we're desperately trying to preserve out most powerful pieces (or what we perceive to be the most powerful) fearing that if we lose them, the opposition will put us in checkmate, the opposition is putting us in checkmate.  They don't care how many pieces they lose in order to win the game.  And they will take their time playing it, too.  We're running with the knowledge that the clock is ticking and time is running out.

It's time to start sacrificing some pieces and start playing to win.  I don't care if we lose the queen (Obama) or the bishops (conservative senators) or the rooks (conservative reps).  They're expendable, and clinging to them on the outside chance that they might one day be of some use to us is a fantasy that is broken time after time after time.


[ Parent ]
My poison is to care about the American people (4.00 / 14)
and what policy is best for them rather than worry about the party that mostly is right wing at this point in its leadership.  

Exactly! (4.00 / 7)
I'm not a child to be frightened by the Republican boogeyman. Just as a drunk has to hit bottom before recovery can begin, this demented country probably needs to suffer further destruction by right-wing lunatics before enough people wake up to make real progress possible. Anyway most of our "progressive" Democrats are merely passive enablers of the crypto-Republicans in the party. Look at the alacrity with which stooges like Brown and Rockefeller have fallen in line behind Liebercare. A pox on the lot of them, they won't be missed.

[ Parent ]
There is a fifth possible scenario (4.00 / 18)
Namely, progressives threaten to kill the bill if it's not made more progressive. Obama & leading Dems, fearing the political consequences of that, cave to progressives and make the bill more progressive, getting enough progressive support to pass the bill. It still ends up being an unpopular and inperfect bill, but not as much as it would have been in its present form, with the added benefit of keeping the party together and the support of the base. This, I think, is the least worst option for Dems--and the public.

And to those who ask just how exactly do Obama & leading Dems get a more progressive bill passed, as I've writted several times already, what they have to do is threaten ConservaDems with an end run via reconciliation or killing the filibuster, which they either follow through with, or, more likely, it forces the hand of ConservaDems, who fear being marginalized and humiliated, and cave and vote for the more progressive bill. Why do we always assume that only progressives cave, and not ConservaDems? This can work both ways--provided that progressives don't fold this time and are actually willing to kill the bill if it's not made more progressive.

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


Yes! (4.00 / 9)
The White House has once again demonstrated how desperate it is to pass ANY bill.  Do you really think, Chris, that if the Progressive Block in the House actually stuck to its guns this time, the White House would accept the defeat of the bill rather than make some concessions to the progressives?  I don't think so.  I think they're desperate enough to pass ANY bill that they would make at least some concessions to progressives to get it to pass.

[ Parent ]
The problem with liberals/progressives threatening to kill the bill (4.00 / 1)
is that there's still too much good (or is there?) left in the bill for that threat to be credible.  And Obama knows that, so he'll laugh in the face of any such threat.

[ Parent ]
No, there isn't -- not with the mandate (4.00 / 10)
Call it the Blue Cross tax.

[ Parent ]
He'll laugh, (4.00 / 3)
because he knows that they will fold, AS ALWAYS.

I remember Chris Bowers noting that exact fact here some months ago when he outlined the Progressive Block strategy.

Until they grow some guts (as I must concede the Blue Dogs have), no one will ever take the Progressive Block seriously.

Also, why would your logic not apply equally to Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and Blanche Lincoln?  Couldn't Obama have laughed at them, because there was too much good still in the bill?

No, because the WH takes conservatives seriously.


[ Parent ]
Will he still laugh if they don't cave? (4.00 / 6)
Obviously, this assumes that they won't cave. But if he tries to call their bluff and they don't cave, then you really think he'll still be laughing? No, he'll be crapping his pants, begging and cajoling ConservaDems to back down to please those DFH's just so SOMETHING can be passed. He clearly prefers a weak bill, but at this point I think he'll take ANY bill so long as it passes, and he's going to go after the weakest link in the chain. If progressives stand firm, then that will become ConservaDems by default.

Of course, the threat of reconciliation could work both ways, and Obama could threaten progressives with it if they don't cave. But I'm not sure that he has the balls.

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


[ Parent ]
Right... (4.00 / 2)
And Lieberman et al will suddenly see the light and decide to let progressives win.  Fantasy land sounds like a wonderful place.

Yes, would be great if they'd just force a more progressive bill through reconciliation, but I think it's pretty clear at this point that it's not going to happen.  Doing so would push this into next year, where even passage through reconciliation gets less, not more, likely than passing something now.


[ Parent ]
You miss my point (4.00 / 6)
If progressives don't budge, the Obama & Co. HAVE to find some other means of passing HCR, and these are the only realistic ways of doing that, that wouldn't call for watering it down even more to get enough GOP votes to get to 60. It wouldn't be up to progressives to force ConservaDems to play ball, it would be up to their best buddies Obama & Reid. Do you really think these ConservaDems would prefer being bypassed via reconciliation and such? And Obama & Co. will HAVE to do that to pass a bill. So I think that they'll cave. And even if they don't, reconciliation, etc., can still make it happen.

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

[ Parent ]
Obama is behind this sham all the way. (4.00 / 1)
This was their intention all along.

[ Parent ]
If this is true (0.00 / 0)
then he needs to flushed into the open and out from behind the curtain.  

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


[ Parent ]
"it's pretty clear at this point that it's not going to happen"? D'oh. (4.00 / 1)
Lshrac, I'm really disppointed. You're a good progressive, but why this horrible defeatist stance? Aren't you aware this can become a self fulfilling prophecy? I good progressives like you believe we never have a chance, of course we won't have a chance!

Come on, we need to break up this vicious circle of depression and defeat, and give ourselfs a chance by trying to make things happen! It may not be a big chance, but there is a realistical way to victory, through reconcialtion, so let's fight for this! Come on, join us. United we stand, divided we fall!

Or do you want to believe assholes like Lieberman and Rahm, saying progressives don't have a chance, more than us?


[ Parent ]
I'm all for still trying to get the best bill... (0.00 / 0)
But I just don't think that the problem Senators will suddenly change their minds.  Not only that, leadership seems thoroughly uninterested in using reconciliation, and given the certain delay into an election year and the ever declining opinion of HCR in general, it's not clear to me that we'd even get to 50 votes with reconciliation.

I don't like what it's come to, and perhaps people like Ian are right that this bill is worse than the status-quo.  I'm not sure.  What seems most likely to me, though, is that things will get worse in terms of progressivism if this is defeated now.


[ Parent ]
Yes, that may happen, maybe Burris and Sanders can't stand the pressure. (4.00 / 2)
But this will become inevitable ONLY if we surrender now! If we refuse to simply give up, we still have a small chance. Don't forget, the damn WH gang doesn't have the 60 votes yet! Let's try and prevent them from ever reaching that goal. Let's go all in on the reconcilation card! That's the last chance now. Lt's not throw it away because of depression and defeatism!

[ Parent ]
"not clear to me that we'd even get to 50 votes with reconciliation" (4.00 / 2)
This depends on what we stomp for. If we want a public option without caveats, you're right, won't happen. But we can at least get the Medicare extension, and the 85% rule back (Sadly, the lying CBO killed 90%). We can't be too mitpicking, but we have a chance make the bill ore progressive again. Every improvement of Liebercare is a step ahead in the right direction. Comeon, let's show that progressives can make an impact!

[ Parent ]
I see some limited opportunities for this (4.00 / 1)
Perhaps a conference committee compromise that funds the plan by repealing some of the Bush tax cuts (House version) instead of taxing "Cadillac" plans and pissing off the unions who have traded wage increases for these plans (Senate version).  If the House stands firm on something like that, would the Senate filibuster it?  In that case, I think the onus would be back on them and I believe in such a case Obama would push on the Senate.

But I don't imagine that we're somehow going to revive the Public Option at this point this way.

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


[ Parent ]
What about a scorched earth threat? (4.00 / 4)
Perhaps progressives would be able to present a stronger threat if they could credibly vow to block a raising of the debt ceiling and let all hell break loose if a stronger bill isn't passed.

I would support backing that stance if progressives would agree to not back down and instead accept any collateral damage that may result.

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


[ Parent ]
Hey, it's worked for the conservatives... (4.00 / 2)
.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
Recced for the Zinn quote, too... (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
You forgot, in Option #4, (4.00 / 10)
to mention the benefit that "Advocates of stronger health care reform grow less dejected." The complete demoralization of the progressive movement that will result from #s 1 through 3.

I'm not saying #4 is best--your post has me thinking--but, the harm on a whole host of issues from the complete demoralization of progressives is an important factor.  


I like this comment (4.00 / 3)
I want to try and think about how we let people know that conservatives have destroyed Health Reform, and let the middle muddled move left to blame them as well.

This would require killing the bill, and have the progressives in the country scream up and down about the betrayal of the conservatives to the American Dream.

Health Care is now central to the American Dream and we demand it.

--

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


[ Parent ]
To be fair about Barrow (0.00 / 0)
Barrow voted against a bill that still had a PO in it.  And apparently the PO is a big deal to a couple of people.

The Senate bill is a rather different animal.


Consequences, shmonsequences ... (4.00 / 14)
(thought I'd work a little Daffy Duck in there) this bill needs to be killed. You might be 100% correct in your political calculations (your expertise in this area far exceeds mine) but if we don't make a stand on this issue what on Earth makes you think that progressives will be ever be taken seriously on anything else? With all due respect to your political expertise Chris, what good will it do to elect more progressives when a small handful of reactionaries, with the full connivance of the White House can and will kill any progressive legislation? EFCA? Climate change legislation? Wall St. reform? They're just using these issues the same way a dog-racing track uses the mechanical rabbit. They'll never let us catch it. I agree there are political risks. But backing down in the hopes that we'll be able to do better next time is delusional.

stupid debate (4.00 / 3)
The genius of the insurance industry lobby was to fundamentally change the terms of the debate.  

There is no way that the insurance cartel could win in an honest debate over the merits of real reform, and the political risks of supporting the lobby in that debate would have been significant, especially for Democrats.

Like bot fly larvae, the lobbists crawled under the skin of the debate, and corrupted it from within.  Now, anyone who supports the current law is enabling the industry.

It is not suprising that the strategists for insurance would devise a master plan like this.  What is confusing is how the White House, and the President would completely give up the fight, and allow it to happen.  It is like Obama is a passive observer here, instead of a mover.  I didnt vote for this shit.  


[ Parent ]
Recced (4.00 / 3)
for the bot fly reference. Bot flies . . . like something out of a science fiction movie and yet they're real.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
trading for something else (2.67 / 3)
given that the health insurance subsidy bill is not likely to get much better, and that passing it and not passing it are both problematic as you say, would it make more sense to try to bargain now for a give somewhere else?

like getting the damn Senate to pass EFCA? or a bigger jobs bill? and/or pushing the Fed to do more to stimulate job growth? the idea being to do something more completely positive, a subject-changer.

though, it's hard to see at this point how anyone could believe in trading a present action for a future promise from Reid and the White House....

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


The real question is... (0.00 / 0)
Kill the bill and what comes in its place?

The answer is nothing... for a very, long time.  In fact, only republicans will be willing to touch the issue again, and will make this thing look like single payer compared to their reforms.

So, what then?

No politician will dare touch this with a ten foot pole again.  No real reforms will come for a long, long, long, time if ever.

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!


OK; but, (4.00 / 5)
given (a) the tremendous fear at the WH and in Congress about the backlash that will result from passing nothing, which (b) causes the WH and Congress to intensely desire to pass ANY bill--really ANY bill at all, and call it health care reform; then (c) cannot a unified Progressive Block in the House still extract some decent compromises?  I mean, if Lieberman alone was able to kill the public option and Medicare buy-in, can't the Progressive Block use its own threat of a nuclear option to obtain the end of antitrust exemption, coupled with a prohibition on insurance companies profiting from the premiums of people subjected to the mandate?  

They really want to pass ANY bill.  I say make them work for it.


[ Parent ]
your point being what? (4.00 / 4)
I don't want this group of Democrats within 10 feet of the next attempt at health care reform.  I would rather wait until 10 years from now than place voters in a worse position than they are now with this bill.  

[ Parent ]
No point... (0.00 / 0)
I'm not shilling for the bill.  I'm just trying to make it clear to everyone that if this thing dies, you're not going to get something "better" later.

People have this delusion that if the bill dies, that they'll get a better bill via reconciliation or something like that.  It won't happen.... ever...

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 ]
Obama seems to disagree with you (4.00 / 5)
He's going around saying the country will be "bankrupted" if the bill doesn't pass (of course, he doesn't explain how a bill that does nothing to control costs will prevent that). He's pretty much right about that even though he draws the wrong conclusions. The current system is not sustainable for much longer, and by definition, when something can't go on as it is, it WILL change.

[ Parent ]
But nothing he does changes (4.00 / 4)
that trajectory. So, while identifies correctly that this cost is unsustainable, he is not really prepared to lead for a solution.  

[ Parent ]
"Bankrupted" in this sense (4.00 / 2)
reminds me of Bush's "mushroom cloud," a deceptive scare tactic to attempt to sell a highly dubious policy decision.  


[ Parent ]
you engaged in hyperbole (4.00 / 3)
what you cans ay is that it unlikely in the  next 10 years. Given the democrats in DC- that may be a good thing. Baucus, Reid, Snowe, Lieberman all will be gone at that point. They come from left of center states or moderate states. That tells me that we are dealing with a time issue, not if it will happen issue. Sometimes timing matters more than quick solutions. I am trying think beyond the heat o the moment to the long arc of what the goal is- the goal is to prevent this c ountry from going bankrupt. perhaps we need to be closer to the edge with a different set of democrats.

[ Parent ]
Shock doctrine... (0.00 / 0)
you forget the casualties of just letting the health care system completely collapse...  they will be massive...

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 ]
Shock doctrine works both ways. (4.00 / 1)


Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
You are doing more damage (4.00 / 3)
under faux liberalism than what I am suggesting under waiting until people are real in DC about reform.  There are just too many holes that allow bad faith actors to continue to be bad faith actors, but with tweaked in a way for people to suffer longer because the system is "reformed."

[ Parent ]
Peopel in DC will never be real about reform... (0.00 / 0)
They HAVE health insurance, remember?  Arlen Specter was absolutely SHOCKED this year that people can't leave their jobs or start new businesses because of health insurance issues.  He absolutely had not clue, just like everyone else there.

Seriously, none of that is going to change one bit!

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 may be right (4.00 / 2)
I just think we see the future differently and  this bill. I see this bill as now a worse outcome than the status quo. It set up a bad precedent regarding plutocratic behavior. Whatever minor things it does, it makes the entire system.  I am looking at the really big picture here. I see the future on that level. To me, this present politics is unsustainable.  

[ Parent ]
you may be right (0.00 / 0)
I just think we see the future differently and  this bill. I see this bill as now a worse outcome than the status quo. It set up a bad precedent regarding plutocratic behavior. Whatever minor things it does, it makes the entire system.  I am looking at the really big picture here. I see the future on that level. To me, this present politics is unsustainable.  

[ Parent ]
If this is true (0.00 / 0)
Peopel in DC will never be real about reform

Then we need a revolution, not reform.

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


[ Parent ]
We won't get anything better later if the bill passes. (4.00 / 1)
Passing a piece of you-know-what bill in hopes we can make it better down the road is a fantasy waiting to be dashed by reality.  NAFTA is still a mess, with no attempts made to fix it.  How many years has it been since that monstrosity passed?  What about that abominable USA PATRIOT Act?  Or the MCA?  Or anything else the left gave up on in hopes we would get something better or fix something bad down the road?

Wake up, dude.  Passing this trash means we're stuck with it as-is forever.  Help us apply pressure to kill the bloody thing.


[ Parent ]
What will ten years do? (4.00 / 3)
Ten years of Palin/Beck, then Beck/Bachmann. Then we will elect nothing but progressives. I say we start primarying conservative dems right now, we need to use this debacle to build the progressive wing of the party.

That is the road out, that is the truth (and truth is always the best place to start) that is what has made people angry, that is where their disappoint lies.

ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

The need for Health Reform is REAL. It is NOT going to be solved by this half-assed crap, and we are responsible to the American people to work for them. Or at least that's how I see our place. We care, we have studied and discussed. Like saving someones life, now we're responsible.


--

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


[ Parent ]
I am patient now that I am not (4.00 / 2)
trying to make the Democrats better and my business interests are going be decoupled from the U.S economy. Here's the reality: this is not going to change until one of the parties is replaced by something non plutocratic.  

[ Parent ]
Politicians will address an issue when they think (4.00 / 2)
there are political upsides to doing so, and when there are political costs for failing to do so. There is no historical law that governs when Congress will take up health care.

This round, Democrats took on the issue because it helped them campaign for the presidency (there were upsides).  Next round, it might happen because they are scared not to (costs - the more powerful incentive).  Even if something passes now, it can be weakened or made worse in the future because the other side is mobilized and we are not.  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
I think this is way overstated (4.00 / 3)
There's a bt of hyperbole going around at the moment about the horrible effect this will have on Dem electoral prospects, mostly because of the mandate thing. For some reason those expectations weren't floating around when it looked like we were gonna get a medicare buy-in, even though that wouldn't have addressed the mandate issue for anyone but 55-64 year olds. Everyone's just pissed off right now. Understandably. But it's not a political apocalypse.

Here's what will happen. The bill will pass. There will be a temporary glow of success around Obama and Congress. The vast majority of people will realize it doesn't really affect them, and they'll forget about it. A minority of people will realize it helps them quite a bit by allowing them to get coverage they didn't have access to before. A few people may get upset about the mandate, but that won't kick in until 2014 anyway. The Republicans will run against Democratic communofascism, which they will do regardless of the outcome on health reform. And come November 2010, the elections will be decided almost entirely on the basis of how the economy is doing 10 months from now.


The mandate political effect is way overstated... (0.00 / 0)
If gallup is right, 85% of people claim to have health insurance... and I bet that most of the rest WANT health insurance, but have no access to it now...

It's only tiny group that would be negatively affected...

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 ]
It is not about who has coverage (4.00 / 5)
It is about Americans feeling forced to do something without seeing how they will benefit from it. Many of you seem to lack the basic political understanding of why this is a problem.  

[ Parent ]
I buy my own health insurance, (4.00 / 2)
$450/month for a $15,000 deductible. I abhor the insurance companies.

But if the 'preexisting condition' thing is true (and I have my doubts), I'll happily pay my $750/year fine instead of my monthly rate, and just get my mandated insurance when the time comes. But, again, I'd be shocked if the insurance companies don't already know exactly how they're gonna fuck someone in my position.

And I liked your comment about the long view, above. That's tough to do when feeling so passionate, but v. worthwhile.


[ Parent ]
Continually repeating and repeating the mandate complaint (4.00 / 1)
instead of finding out what relief the bill provides for those who cannot afford to pay - because I heard Baucus say that there are some who won't have to pay!

[ Parent ]
Baucus? You want to believe Baucus? There is no cost control! Period. (4.00 / 2)
And there is no competition. So, all those subsidies will simply be converted into higher profits for the insurance companies. Why do you think th stock exchange prices for th insurers went up after Lieberman pushed the progressive ammendments out? Because Liebercar will allow the insurers to rais thir profits, without any reulation preventing that! And so, premiums will still be too high for most of the 30 millions, that is the problem.

After all, come on, Colbert (or Bush) would say, there already is "universal healthcare"! EVERYBODY can sign up for insurance(preexisting conditions are a problem, ok). But that's nonsense, of course, because premiums are too expensive, and people don't have that money. And since the bill won't result in lower premiums, all the subsidies won't help. The gap is still too large.


[ Parent ]
Let's see if we can put together another scenario (4.00 / 3)
1. Obama promised that his HCR would provide more affordable health care for everyone and that this bill will lower costs for everyone.

People who currently have health care notice that they continue to pay higher and higher premiums for less coverage. Ooops

The exchange does not provide what people consider affordable options.

2. Obama promised that if you like the coverage that you have now, you can keep it.

Union workers (normally Dem voters) who have given up wages to receive good coverage now lose it because of the excise tax in the bill.

Seniors who like their Medicare Advantage plans will lose those plans. Ooops

3. Obama promised to eliminate the annual limits on coverage. That has been taken out of the bill.

People who lose everything due to the annual limits might not be motivated to vote for Democrats.

4. People who are mandated to purchase a product that they believe they cannot afford (whether true or not) might vote Republican so that the bill is repealed.



[ Parent ]
The happy ending (4.00 / 1)
If it passes we may get a bill that expands coverage, eliminates some of the most serious insurance abuses, and may even modestly contain costs.

If this had been passed during the Bush years, or during the later years of the Clinton administration, I think the response would have been elation.

The despair seems to come from the realization that Lieberman, Snowe, and Nelson really do rule the world today, and the sense of lost opportunity.

But I thought that we were supposedly entering into a new progressive era, as the numbers for millenials, minorities, and atheists swelled.

Is that not true anymore?  I lost the storyline.


[ Parent ]
I think you got it... (4.00 / 1)
Had Obama not told reid to cave to Lieberman, the anger would be much less palpable.

This is a lot less about being mad about the public option than it is the fact that Obama is letting our greatest enemy write the bill.

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 ]
Except (4.00 / 1)
why do you believe any of that will happen? It seems to me we are being asked to write the insurance companies a blank check on the promise they will behave better in the future.

Kind of like we did already with Wall Street, and that worked out so well.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
As opposed to now (0.00 / 0)
when we write the insurance companies a blank check with no promise at all?

The bill is much less than the American people deserved, but it is hard to make the case that it will make things worse.  

For example, I saw Olbermann protesting the mandate, saying that people shouldn't be forced to purchase a product without any input or control on the price.  I agree that's a horrible thing, but it isn't a change for the worse.  Keith, a single man with no dependents and a million-dollar salary, can go ahead and defy the mandate in protest.  The insurance companies own me either way.  It just shows me that he's as out of touch with the reality you and I live with as the rest of his class.  



[ Parent ]
if we didn't have a crazy and anti-democratic system (4.00 / 1)
where the 60th most liberal senator gets to decided national policy, the progressive era would be here.

[ Parent ]
I think you are dead right (0.00 / 0)
on the last part.  

The election will be decided on the economy, which means the most important thing is to get this debate over so the perception does not develop that Obama and the Dems are not focusing enough on creating more jobs.

Ironically, I think this means there is more room for Progressives to oppose this bill than they think for precisely that reason.


[ Parent ]
It's just very bad policy. (4.00 / 10)
Proponents are claiming incremental change - pass something now and fix later.  Incremental change will only work if each  individual incremental change is popular and some what acceptable.  

How is forcing a family of 4 making $54,000 to pay $750 per month in premiums that will continue to outstrip the cost of living and a have a subsidy that will constantly be on the chopping block or if survives not keep up with rising premium costs going to be popular?  

How is this incremental change going to be popular enough to convince people that more needs to be done?

When people realize that this horrible policy doesn't make them any better off forget about passing any other 'reform' and actually the opposite would be more likely - its eventual repeal.  

This is bad policy on many levels and if the current legislative process can't make it better then maybe we should wait another 10 - 20 years - actually it will probably be much sooner because the reality of crisis will truly be felt by more than 40+ million Americans.


RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.


Except that if you don't pass something now... (0.00 / 0)
....nothing will ever pass again.  You think any politician will stick their neck out again to help people?  Think again!  Look what happened this time!

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 ]
Get real (4.00 / 9)
The current system won't last another decade before imploding. Why do you think the insurers are so hot for their mandates and subsidies? The worst thing this piece of crap bill may do is postpone the day of reckoning by shoring up their bottom lines for a while longer.

[ Parent ]
That's what they said 15 years ago... (0.00 / 0)
...and now we have single payer.... oh, wait, we don't...

The system was on the verge of collapse during the Clinton era... it will continue to collapse for a generation, and nothing will change, just more people without access to health care...  Everyone hates their health care situation, until someone tries to actually change or improve it.

People were going bankrupt due to health care 100 years ago, and we still don't have any change...

It won't happen... period.  Killing the bill means merely killing the bill and making the issue poison for another generation of politicians.

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 ]
For the third time, nonsense (4.00 / 2)
That just means we are now 15 years further along toward the inevitable crisis- and the runaway costs are biting both employer and all levels of government much harder now than then. Even Obama gets that. You just don't seem to be paying attention. What can't be sustained won't be sustained.

[ Parent ]
That's what they said 15 years ago... (0.00 / 0)
...and now we have single payer.... oh, wait, we don't...

The system was on the verge of collapse during the Clinton era... it will continue to collapse for a generation, and nothing will change, just more people without access to health care...  Everyone hates their health care situation, until someone tries to actually change or improve it.

People were going bankrupt due to health care 100 years ago, and we still don't have any change...

It won't happen... period.  Killing the bill means merely killing the bill and making the issue poison for another generation of politicians.

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 ]
yes- what happened this time (4.00 / 2)
was that many of the same core people that caused the problem the first time were left in charge. Wait 10 to 15 years- and most of them will be out of politics.  

[ Parent ]
to be replaced by (4.00 / 2)
whom, exactly, do you see in your crystal ball?

The problem, we were all sure, was the Clintons.  We got rid of them, replaced them with the shiny new crew 10 or 15 years later, and were left with the same shit (and many of the same characters).  How did that happen, I wonder?

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


[ Parent ]
The problem was that you thought it was (4.00 / 4)
the CLintons rather than a party wide issue. Now you know better and will plan accordingly, or not.  

[ Parent ]
The economic situation will require a much better solution in (4.00 / 5)
the near future.  Incremental change only works if each incremental change makes a positive impact on peoples situation - this bill, IMO, will not.  If this thing flops can you imagine a Democrat trying to sell additional incremental change?  It won't happen b/c they have will NO credibility on the issue.


RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

[ Parent ]
OK, lord mike, (4.00 / 6)
but what about a credible threat to kill the beast?

The WH is friggin' desperate to pass anything, so long as it is called "health care reform."  It could be a bill mandating the distribution of shit sandwiches to all Medicaid and Medicare recipients at Thanksgiving, and as long as it was called "health care reform," the WH would sign onto it.  So, why not make them panic a little bit?  Maybe we could get something out of it.

I'm a criminal defense lawyer.  I frequently go to trial on cases where I damn well ought to lose--and I often do.  But, I always go into trial having convinced myself that I am going to win.  This has the advantage of indicating to jurors that there must be some reason I think this; my confidence in the case is sometimes infectious, and I sometimes win when I damn well ought to lose.  If I have learned one thing, it is this:  if I don't convince myself ahead of time that I'm going to win, I am guaranteed to lose.  The problem with us progressives--and our allies in Congress--is that we head into the process convinced, based on years of experience, that we are going to lose.  The opposition--the Blue Dogs and Repubs--have the opposite mindset, and that is why they always win.  We must change our mindset.  To lose this battle without continuing to fight would set back the progressive cause another 20 years.


[ Parent ]
Liebermn has power because he doesnt care hat happens, so as he gets his cut, and he is in the pocket of the Royalists. (4.00 / 2)
But mostly it is happening because of the LIE, that sixty votes are needed. Democracy has been redifined, for the sole purpose of saying NO. No you can't have that. We have the power, and you, in all your millions, in your democracy, in your votes, in the promises your leaders made have no power at all. Like a trick, like a sudden storm, like game show and the buzzer went off. Oops sorry the tome limit for democracy has run out, the youcantrunyourowncountry'archy is back in power. Shut up and go home.

We aren't disappointed, we are jilted, and jilted at the alter. Dressed in white, flowers in hand we watch the groom go off to the bar with his buddies because the wedding took too long, or there were too many guests or he suddenly noticed the mole on your wrist.

There will be no wedding, no presents, no honeymoon and no being cared for in good times and bad.

Unless they dump the lie of 60 votes, we are to be hopelessly callously deceived and abandoned.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Time to crash the groom's party (4.00 / 2)
with some (metaphorical) C-4!

We've got to step up, strip off the Pollyanna crap and start fighting in earnest.  Hardball politics, as it were


[ Parent ]
I dont like references to c4 or anything else quite so hideous. (0.00 / 0)
make your points please without references to slaughter.

--

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


[ Parent ]
The status quo is unsustainable (0.00 / 0)
the financial reality of paying for the status quo will force the political class to deal with the issue. It cannot be swept under the rug as it was in the mid 90's.

Even the conservative Gov. of my state (MN), who is currently engaged in trying to out-conservative Parah Salin, realizes that the cost of health care must be contained or the states will be bankrupted. And not 10 or 20 years from now. The projections are that within 5 years all the budget of MN will be consumed by k-12 funding and health care costs. Everything else will have to go.


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


[ Parent ]
We have to ask ourselves: will this bill move us forward or backward? (4.00 / 2)
I posted this over on the other (now inactive) thread, and I'm talking here about the policy ramifications:

I was thinking about the Medicare prescription drug legislation of 2003 and how most Democrats voted against it, but the few that voted for it were denounced by the left as centrist sell-outs.

That legislation provided government subsidies for prescription drugs for Medicare recipients for the first time, so ostensibly it was a step forward, right?  But the left opposed it because it was a step backwards ideologically (the benefit was only available through private plans, so it transferred power from the government to the private industry) and financially (it undermined Medicare's finances).  In so opposing it, they would have denied prescription drug coverage, however subpar, for millions of seniors.

Now we have to look directly at the fact that, at least at face value, this bill, even with no PO and Medicare buy-in, still would subsidize health insurance for millions of people who won't, don't, and/or can't get it right now, as well as enact some badly needed reforms.  At the same time, by locking in a captive market it's a huge piece of corporate welfare.

So, on balance, does this move us forward or backward?  I'm very conflicted on the answer to that question right now.  I loathe so much about the bill, but at the end of the day I can't deny the possibility that this bill could make life easier for so many people.  We just have to try and figure out if those near-term gains would result in bigger setbacks further down the road.


Medicare D (0.00 / 0)
The drug benefit was corporate welfare for pharma, one of the most profitable industries in the country.  

Drugs in the US are inflated hundreds or thousands of times above value, and like the diamond cartel, pharma insures that it will have no competition by buying governments.  

There is a public relations cost to these obscene profits, apparent whenever someone who needs meds goes to a pharmacy, and is expected to pay hundreds of dollars for drugs that cost pennies to make.  

So pharma established some strategies to overcome this.. first the Montell bullshit, "if you can't afford your meds, we care, so give us a call and we may give you charity."  And then, massive government subsidies.

Of course there is a logical way to deal with this.  Allow competition and importation, and end perpetual patent loopholes.   But our government is made up of fucking parasite whores who sell us instead of themselves.  


[ Parent ]
Right, and isn't this very much the same? (0.00 / 0)
Back in 2003 with prescription drugs, liberals had to choose between giving corporations welfare and denying seniors subsidies for drugs.  They chose to deny seniors.

Now in 2009 liberals have to choose between giving corporations welfare and denying the uninsured subsidies for insurance.  And they're choosing to... give corporations welfare?

What I'm asking is, 1) Is this health care reform bill basically at the same level as Medicare Part D? and 2) If so, why are so many of the same people who opposed Part D supporting this bill, aside from the obvious fact that the President pushing it has a different letter after his name?


[ Parent ]
who cares (4.00 / 1)
They are defeatist or they don't care about the issue.  

My point was if you allow the special interests to define the debate, they win.  

Real health care reform is not a debate that the insurance industry can win.  They are not trying to, they are just gaming the process so an honest debate never takes place.  And the Obama administration is facilitating their tactics.


[ Parent ]
kill this dog (4.00 / 4)
If this bill passes, everything that goes wrong in healthcare for the next five years, ie a lot, will be blamed on the bill. It will be hated and repealed before its benefits even kick in. And the cause of progressive reform, true progressive reform, will be set back for a generation.

On the other hand, let this farce of a bill fail, and all the problems that are certain to continue worsening will be blamed on the failure to enact reform. As the insurance companies continue their abuses and rate hikes, the demand for REAL REFORM will be overwhelming and we will get a bill worth passing - perhaps in about 5 years.

Either way, many people will needlessly die in the next five years, with or without this bill passing. And either way, Democrats are taking a bath in 2010, thanks to Rahm.

Not an attractive choice, but for me, I'll take Door Number 2.


Thanks to Barack (4.00 / 2)
Not Rahm.  

[ Parent ]
Democratic support is dropping (4.00 / 6)
I'm not sure the electoral consequences for progressives would be as terrible as Chris predicts, because Democratic support for this bill is sinking as people are beginning to understand what happened a few days ago. Howard Dean has been all over tv opposing the bill, and Keith Olbermann has a special comment tonight on how this isn't real reform.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Defeaitism (4.00 / 6)
Of course, the most effective way to ensure defeat is to decide before the battle is over that you have lost and throw in the tovel.

As several have pointed out, there is at least one scenario that you excluded; the possibility that some progressive senator/s decide to play the kind of hardball Lieberman has been playing. Isnt that after all what youve been demanding of "the progressive block" all summer and fall? That they summon up the balls to block health care "reform" without real reform? If you scold them for lack of huevos, what to say about your own defeatism?

How can you ever hope for progressivism to be a big and effective movement, with a populist voice that connects with the public, if its political leaders back down from every fight and gives in to the status quo? I cant think of any single item of policy better suited for a principled stand than this one. Maybe im ignorant. But at least im not trapped in conventional thinking. Political realities can shift, but if you dont want to start making ripples, there will never be any wawes.


Bernie Sanders just said that he's not for the bill (4.00 / 4)
...and has been in negotiations with the white house... a very positive development.

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 ]
Is it possible you're all over-thinking this? (4.00 / 7)
Gaming out what will happen if we do a vs. b is academic.  Whatever happened to standing up for what you believe in and letting the chips fall where they may?

I'd respect Democratic reps who would just take a stand for what is right...instead of gaming it out and compromising it all away for the sake of hypotheticals that none of you can guarantee will actually work out.

I have to laugh at imagining Ghandi or King or Jesus for that matter, seeing the so-called political reality of their respective situations and compromising their beliefs.  They lost often but won in the end (well Jesus not so much because that one's an ongoing process Christians ought to be working on).

Really!  I don't want healthcare reform this f'd up.  Compromising away most of what progressives stand for on this healthcare reform bill is simply untenable.  I'm doing the perfectly rational thing: finding other arenas in my community to make a difference (certainly not as a part of the Democratic Party or OFA).

By the way, gaming it out in terms of the "people are going to die if we don't do this" is bullshit.  There are opportunity costs every time major legislation is passed in government.  It's a bad argument.  Please make it stop.


I'm not positive what the political consequences will be if this is defeated (4.00 / 1)
chris may be right, chris may not be right

one question I ask is will all dems be blamed if the conservadems are the ones that defeat it while the progressives vote yes?

how do you do that though? have pelosi drop the po and insert liberal provisions like medicare for 55+. if pelosi does that then either the conservadems blink or they do kill it.

will we still get the blame if lieberman and nelson kill it?


This post all distills to Dems saying (4.00 / 1)
BUT WE HAD TO DRAFT A CRAPPY HEALTHCARE BILL.

And some want to give them a "free pass" on this.

I am not buying it and most progressives won't either.  There is not happy ending because obama is a liar and has sold his base out on virtually EVERYTHING.

And it is so disappointing to see self-proclaimed "experts" pretend that a bill that largely kicks in in 2014 is actually going to EVER kick in at all.

obama and the dems sold out real reform now - enabling the blue dogs and LIE-berman all the way (and snow & repug grandstanding too).  

obama and dems undermined the entire process and they will undermine anything good that doesn't kick in until 2014 too.


Regardless of what I thought or didn't think about Chris being right (4.00 / 1)
it does appear that the trendline is moving toward killing the bill.  If that does happen we are all going to have to deal with the fact.  So get ready.  It won't be pretty.

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

Passing Will Be Even Less Pretty (4.00 / 2)
And I have yet to see anyone present a compelling reason that ANYONE should have faith that the "good things" would actually kick in down the road, delayed until 2014.

Lest be clear and straight - obama's white house LIED about pressuring ried to accept LIE-bermans hijacking.

During the campaing obama made many statements that he had no intetion on keeping "You can take that to the bank..."

And anyone wants to believe that we will actually see provisions delayed to 2014?

Please get real and open your eyes - we have been sold out and capitulating to the lying liars is not going to make things better.

It can only make them worse - MUCH WORSE!


[ Parent ]
it's up to the House now, isn't it? (0.00 / 0)
if the Senate does pass something, it goes to conference first, and then back to the House. Pelosi will not want to bring anything up for a vote that she thinks will not pass. so if she can count a credible set of votes against the conference report, of a large enough margin ... well, then what? i don't think the whole process would just stop. reconciliation beats total failure. if they aren't going to make their timeline in any case, and that's the only way to end up with a bill that will pass both Houses in some form.

but if the people involved think the House will pass anything they're given, then it will end up being the Senate bill with one or two cosmetic changes to give people an excuse (maybe).

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


[ Parent ]
Please understand: This POS healthcare insurance bill is OBAMA's bill (4.00 / 4)
Feingold said what everyone knows: Lieberman is an instrument of the White House.

This is the legislation that Obama and Rahm wanted all along.

So if the left kills this bill, they are declaring war on the Obama White House.

Everyone got that?


What's your point? .. (4.00 / 3)
So if the left kills this bill, they are declaring war on the Obama White House.

they declared war on Progressives first


[ Parent ]
Imagine Rahm going... (0.00 / 0)
...."We will fuck them!  We will fuck them harder than they've ever being fucked before!"

It starts with the left being scapegoated for killing healthcare reform.

Like Chris says, there are no good options.

But just understand, if the left kills this bill, this is the path we are going down.

Nobody have any illusions.


[ Parent ]
re: options (4.00 / 1)
there are no good options.

here's what we do:

we get pelosi to drop the public option and insert medicare for 55+ in the bill

then it's up to the conservadems: either they blink or they defeat the bill

if they blink, we're fine

if they defeat the bill, will we be blamed?


[ Parent ]
re: blame (0.00 / 0)
if they defeat the bill, will we be blamed?

I mean blamed by the voters for hcr being defeated

I don't give a fuck about rahm


[ Parent ]
Rahm was always going to fuck us. (4.00 / 1)
It's what he's been doing since day one. This changes nothing.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
This is really solid stuff (0.00 / 0)
I hate #3. I want to disagree with you on #4. Not sure I can, though. Yes, that is a risky tactic, but selling out is even riskier in many a district.

I would add a thought, though. If "progressives" go along with this shite, it's a sellout. If they don't, it's a problem anyway. I think each race in each district will have it's own dynamics and those who vote for this crap and piss off a genuinely liberal base will lose anyway, in some cases. GA-12 isn't a good example in any case, being in effing Georgia. That's not where our base is, but bless Thomas anyway for trying.

I wouldn't be so quick to generalize the entire election on the basis of one or two examples of whatever.

But it does rather seem the right-wing faction has done a terrific job of boxing in liberals/progressives to the point where there's little or no chance of making hay on this, the biggest single issue of this election cycle. Congratulations to all the right-wing Dems! Terrific job!

One thing is clear though: Progressive leadership has been criminally naive and has shown a shocking lack of judgement. This feels like Dunkirk to me.  

"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


It's a majority African-American district (0.00 / 0)
GA-12 isn't a good example in any case, being in effing Georgia. That's not where our base is, but bless Thomas anyway for trying.

Which is a completely different thing.  It is where our base is.


[ Parent ]
Point taken. (4.00 / 2)
I'm not so sure what "our base" is anymore, quite frankly. Given the cleavages being so expertly exploited by the leadership (WH, et al), it remains to be seen what is actually left of the "progressive base."

She lost last time because Obama campaigned on her opponent's behalf. Will the same thing hold this time? It may be a while before we find out. Clearly, as one of the establishment's anointed ones, that means lots of corporate money and other help Thomas won't be getting.

I guess my question here would be this: With a demoralized "progressive" base, how does a progressive expect to win anything as a challenger? Since the term has been rendered moot, why on earth would anyone go out of their way to help people who simply will not return the favor under any circumstances?

But perhaps this race is worth keeping a serious eye on in any case.  

"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 ]
Our base (0.00 / 0)
It depends on what "we" you are talking about.

If you mean the base of a center-left coalition capable of winning a majority, the bases of that could be described as non-whites (not all of whom are liberal), white liberals, and some white non-liberals.  It's hard to build a majority center-left coalition if you lose badly among one those groups.

As long as non-whites are slavishly devoted to the Democratic Party, control of the party is a struggle between white liberals and white non-liberals.  In that fight, white liberals are outnumbered.

I see at least two strategies.

One is to look for wedge issues that divide the white non-liberals who nevertheless prefer to be Democrats.

The other is to drive a wedge between non-whites and the Democratic establishment and turn ethnic and racial minorities into swing voters who are willing to abandon Democrats.

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


[ Parent ]
Two points: (4.00 / 5)
1. I presume it wasn't intentional, but you might want to rephrase your description of the voting preferences of non-whites. 'Slavishly' is a little tone deaf.

2. White liberals outnumber white non-liberals within the Democratic Party, the only problem is that the non-liberals hold the balance of power amongst the elite. The remedy is neither of the ones you suggest - it's to try to maximise the number of liberals in the elite and not to help the non-liberals by any word or deed.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
No happy ending indeed. (0.00 / 0)
But which is the right thing to do? There's the anguish.

Montani semper liberi

The right thing to do is kill it, methinks. (4.00 / 1)
Whether that's the best political move is of great concern though.

Part of me is looking to play offensive-defense, in that we should do everything possible to avoid being tainted by supporting this crap. There will be hell to pay later, in terms of the Progressive Brand Changey Thingie (TM).

Part of the problem here, to my mind, is that the wonks are still driving what is essentially a purely political problem now. It's easy for wonks to sell out, since their jobs and livelihoods don't depend on the outcome. They'll still receive their paychecks, after all and some of them will be rewarded with access to the White House and other avenues of advancement.

Personally, it might be possible to do the right thing (kill the *&^#er) and save our political bacon. How many prog votes would it really take to kill this thing while still allowing the tougher districts to slide by on voting to save Obama's bacon? It doesn't look like that many to me. Maybe a dozen or less. Even the act of creating a lot of doubt in the minds of the Administration has it's own rewards. Why not exact some pain from these douches?

If this bill passes with a lot of progressive votes, the word "progressive" will become meaningless in any real sense. We can forget any notion of being populists, since we'll all  just be a bunch of corporate hacks. It's kind of hard to recruit new people to the cause when all you do is cave to corporate interests, yes?

So to sum up, I think the solution is political, not wonkish. I just don't know what that is at the moment.

"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 ]
Maybe I oversimplify (4.00 / 3)
but it seems to me the progressive block said "we won't vote for a bill without a public option," and now they are being asked to vote for a bill without a public option.

And why is it a terrible thing if they just say, "sorry, but we are keeping our word?" I think voters will find that refreshing as hell. I know I would.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
It's not terrible at all. (0.00 / 0)
I totally agree, except for using the word, "sorry." And "but."

If we're looking at some sort of beat-down either way, then I'd prefer to get beat-down for being right than being a sell-out. But that's just me. Or is it?

"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 ]
If the bill IS killed (0.00 / 0)
there are no more realistic scenarios for improving Health Care through the usual Congressional channels.  Obama, Reid, and Pelosi will have become irrelevant to this fight.  While some might cheer, they aren't thinking it through.  The next steps become so much harder.

But we have to play the hand we're dealt.

In that event we should not be focused on 2012 or even at this point on the 2010 elections.  We won't have that luxury.  Some things will have to happen to improve the atmospherics.  New tactics, electoral and non-electoral will need to be considered.

The netroots have for a long time pooh-poohed street actions, but with confidence in the Democratic government shot, these will need to begin to happen and will happen whether we want them to or not.  We cannot keep ceding the field to the tea-bag crowd.  These free-healthcare sessions like the one in Kansas City last week will need to happen in every large city, including Washington.  And they should take on a more political tone.  Why are the tea-baggers suddenly the only ones who can get out in the streets?  The issue of health care will not go away with the death of this bill.

Republicans will want to strut and preen about their prowess, and our task will then be what it should have been all along, to take them down a peg.  Their deeds must not go unpunished while we fight it out with Obama.  No circular firing squads.  A few bold red-state progressives may arise to lead quixotic efforts to punish truculent Republicans.  Those should be encouraged.  We should not just play defense.

Are we ready for that?  I'm not sure.  I see an awful lot of comments about waiting another ten years.

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


Why? ... (4.00 / 2)
While some might cheer, they aren't thinking it through.  The next steps become so much harder.

If you think it's going to be another 16 years for another bite at the apple .. you are kidding yourself .. it will happen a lot sooner .. because events will dictate something be done


[ Parent ]
No, that's not what I think at all. (4.00 / 3)
I agree with you that the bite will come a lot sooner.  Plenty of danger and plenty of opportunity.  But I see a lot other people talking about all these folks "being gone in 10-15 years" or who to support in 2012.  That's not it at all.  We need to talk about being ready the day after the bill dies.  What then?  If the bill dies, then this situation has jumped out of the strictly electoral arena.

I don't think we'll have the luxury of thinking about primarying Obama in 2012 or any such extension of current thinking. That's way too far in the future.  I'm talking about people picketing Wall St. with pitchforks, new coalitions that we can't imagine today.  I'm not exactly looking forward to any of this, but it's what we need to start thinking about.  Our whole modus operandi will need a rethinking.  And it may be about time.



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


[ Parent ]
Yes, and this is where populism has it's advantages (4.00 / 3)
If the bill dies, then this situation has jumped out of the strictly electoral arena.

Yep. That's why there are possibilities here that don't exist with "going along to get along."

It's risky. It's a friggin' minefield. But there are times when it's necessary to move the "debate" outside the confines of tightly controlled arenas.

The moment we cave on something we all know to be wrong is the moment we cease to have any credibility whatsoever. We might as well join the DLC.

"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 ]
Not true (4.00 / 1)
obama, white house, reid, pelosi are scamming America anyhow with a bill that doesn't kick in until 2014.

In the mean time - they will have plenty of opportunity to sell us out some more - negating anything in the bill that anyone here calls "good."

We need to KILL THE BILL and make EVERYONE in 2010 and 2012, including the lying liar obama, run on their position on healthcare.

The public OVERWHELMINGLY supports a public option - working to elect a pols that will support one could result in a real HCR and a bill that is effective before 2014.

And again - now one that proclaims to know it all here ever answers why anyone that thinks the lying liars that dishonestly created this sh!t sandwiche should be trusted to actually allow anything to happen in 2014.


[ Parent ]
Here's the happy ending (4.00 / 2)
We use this mess as the lever for making the case that money in politics is the problem - that corporations buy off members of congress (and presidential candidates) and then use government to block popular programs, gut existing protections, and shift most Americans money to the richest corporations and people.  

The solution, then, is clean elections.  We push this at the state level, building up a cadre of candidates in certain states who move up the ranks outside of the big money system, working towards national clean elections. We tell people that spending a little of their tax dollars to fund elections it worth it because they will save money in the long run. (Most people are far smarter than Senators - I believe this would appeal to them.)

OK, still not really happy, and perhaps a little utopian. But maybe worth thinking about.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


Agree with the mindset, though this problem is pretty specific (4.00 / 1)
Unfortunately, we can't just change the subject. Only those who control the media can do that effectively at this time.

So yes, you're right about clean elections ... and we can easily expand that discussion to include corruption in general (which is really where this needs to go, IMO).  Indeed, if anyone needs one overarching issue to pick on, it's corruption. That's precisely what's killing this country. It's also THE issue that's fueled progressive movements for the last 100 years, so we know it works... up to a point.

But this current problem is something that has to be dealt with head-on, or alternatively, shuffled off on a wave of pathetic excuses that no one with skin in the game will every buy. Since the people with skin in the game includes roughly oh, 80% of this country's population, I'd venture to guess there's a lot of credibility on the line.

Put simply, if progressives punt on this, the alleged "movement" is DOA. People have better things to do with their time and money than dump it into coffers belonging to people who'll sell them out every damn time. Bye bye recruitment and fund raising.

Are the corporations that benefit from the Great Progressive Sellout going to make up for our lack of volunteers and fund raising in thanks for said sellout?

Somehow, I think not.

"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 ]
Here's my idea for the video post-mortem of killing the bill (0.00 / 0)
Inspired by Rahm Emanuel's famous steak stabbing incident:

Suddenly Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remeber it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table.

''Dead!'' he screamed.

The group immediately joined in the cathartic release: ''Nat Landow! Dead! Cliff Jackson! Dead! Bill Schaefer! Dead!''

After the bill is killed, we get Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and maybe the Grayson guy in the same room. In front of them is a steak, and they each have a steak knife.

Sanders:   "Baucus! Dead!" (stabs the steak)

Kucinich:   "Landrieu! Dead!" (stabs the steak)

Grayson:   "Rahm Emanuel! Dead!" (Grayson and Kucinich stab the steak)

Sanders:   "Let's not forget rat-fink Lieberman! DEAD!!" (Sanders and Kucinich and Grayson stand up for emphasis and then stab the steak)

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa
TheRealNews.Com


Are you sure it's that cut and dry? (4.00 / 3)
And it isn't just this campaign.  We will lose every single primary with a progressive Dem against a Blue Dog type Dem if the White House candidates are arguing in favor of President Obama's health care plan, and our candidates are arguing against it.  And the health bill probably passes anyway, so we end up with nothing.

I don't know about that. Do you really think the public is so completely uninformed about what's been going on for the last 4 months that they mindlessly vote against progressives because progressives went against the President? If it's that bad, then progressives are doomed anyway. Obama will simply make more commercials for Blue Dogs and it's over for progressives anyway. There are a lot of heavy politicl hitters out there coming out against this bill and criticizing the President. It's all over the news. Seriously, is the public completely incapable of understanding why a progressive would vote against the bill? I think you're painting an incredibly bleak picture in order to essentially argue that progressives should simply remain inert and throw their values out the window.


Thanks for Standing Up (0.00 / 0)
The public overwhelming supports public option.  We cannot let pundits and bloggers left or right "catapult the propaganda" that this is an unpopular.

We could have the majority of Americans on our side if we could get them out to vote.

This is just another example of how "yes we can" was a sham.  Enough of the scare tactics - stand up for what you believe and hold EVERYONE accountable.

If need be, we are closer to a viable third party today than ever before which is why the pundits and "know it alls" proclaim doom.


[ Parent ]
That's awfully defeatist, Chris! A self fulfilling prophecy. (4.00 / 1)
I really have to ask, WHAT THE EFF ARE YOU DOING THERE? There is a chance, a small but real one, that progressive rebels like Burris and Sanders make a stand and force Reid and WH to go through rcdoncilation. And we all know this would rsult in a mor progressive bill. Actually, it's incrasingly becoming the only way to pass any reform, becaus the 60 votes simply arn't there. But you totally ingnore this alternative!

So, really, what's your point? Do you want progressives defeated? Have you alrady given up? Can't you at least concede there's a small chance that not everything is lost yet???


On second reading, sry for sounding so pissed here. (0.00 / 0)
But I'm really shocked that you don't mention the small chance that is left for a better bill. Do you want us others to simply give up, too?  

[ Parent ]
Where is David Sirota when we really need him? (0.00 / 0)
David, Paul, Daniel, anybody, we need a frontpage blogger delievering a second opinion now! The situation is dire, but not all is lost yet. The last shot hasn't been fired in this battle. Folks, really, pls provide a more encouraging view that Chris, and rally the troops. There still is a small, but real chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let's not make a temporary depression lead us into negligently throwing that away, pls!

Napoleon: "He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat." (4.00 / 1)
Imho that correctly rounds up your attitude, Chris. All that worrying about progressives being conquered by centrists actually prevents a possible victory, however limited it may be. That's not helpful now, but the sure road to ruin.

This is not true (0.00 / 0)
Read what Chris has wrote over the past few days - he's considered this from many angles - the one you are pointing to is only one of them.  

If you disagree with the weight of his analysis, than lay out why - but don't dispute a small piece (without much analysis of your own) and then suggest that Chris' position is a product of a bad attitude.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
To me, this looks as if he has changed his stance recently. (0.00 / 0)
Really, how else shall I interprt him not even mentioning the small chance left to improve the bill? Chris is too smart to simply forget to include this. And that's why I am so pissed.

I would be happy if this was only a mistake, but so far I see nothing to support that view.

And, with real respect, David, I really explained that there is still a chancethat Burris and maybe Sanders can prevent the Obama gang for reching 60 votes, and forcing them to push Reid to use reconcilation. And how that would be helpful for progressives. Pls check the QHs, and QH comments, too. Chris even read my comments, he uprated one of them. I (and others, too)layed out the argument. Chris chose not to include it. That's how this looks to me.


[ Parent ]
Chris, there is a practical reality you leave out... (4.00 / 1)
I will personally be forced to buy insurance at a cost that is too high for a policy that does me almost no good.  

At this time, while the political fallout is interesting in a general sense, it is small potatoes compared to the legalized theft that the bill will permit.


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