We had a deal. A few Senators just lied to us.

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 16:53

I've seen a few post-mortems of the public option campaign kicking around the Internets.  Invariably, as more are written, some will blame the people leading the campaign for not adopting different tactics which, the authors of the post-mortems will claim, could have led to victory.

Before this line of writing becomes too widespread, we all need to remember that the only reason we didn't win the public option campaign was because a few Senators lied to us.  Unless someone can think of ways to have prevented them from lying, then these post-mortems will be useless.

Back on May 21st, there were only 28 Senators in support of a triggerless public option.  Through your tireless participation in a whip count effort, by October 8th we raised that number to 51 when Jon Tester came out in support.  By October 30th, when Evan Bayh said he wouldn't filibuster, we were up to 56 Democrats for cloture on health care reform with a public option.

From that point, the only four Senators we still needed all lied to us in one form or another.  Both Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln signed a document stating that they supported a public option, only to reverse their positions.  Blanche Lincoln's website still comically claimed she supported a public option even as she was declaring her opposition to one on the Senate floor.

Still, Landrieu, Lincoln and Ben Nelson were all part of the group of ten Senators who forged a deal on the public option that included a Medicare buy-in.  Further, immediately after that deal was reached, Harry Reid contacted Joe Lieberman to see if he liked the deal.  Lieberman told Harry Reid that he was liking what he was seeing, and just wanted to wait for the CBO report.  Further, Lieberman had supported an even stronger Medicare buy-in (for Americans aged 50-64) as recently as September 2009.

Six days later, Lieberman and Nelson went on national television to engage in some more mendacity.  Lieberman said he would filibuster the deal, even though he had told Reid he liked it, and even though he had recently advocated for it.  Ben Nelson badmouthed the deal even though he helped forge it.

And then, when the lying was all done, Rahm Emanuel ordered the Democratic Senate caucus to do as Lieberman said.  And the Democratic Senate caucus not only is ready to comply, but to do so without punishing Lieberman (or any of the other liars, for that matter).

To put it bluntly, we had won the campaign, but were lied to by a small number of Senators.  In particular, we were lied to by Joe Lieberman.  If you have a post-mortem that could have prevented the lying, I'd love to hear it.  For, were it not for the lying, the public option campaign would have been won.

Update: Just stop yelling at each other in the comments. Just stop it. It doesn't help anything. I'll keep that in mind myself.

Update 2: Instead of yelling at each other, watch Franken shut Lieberman down. It will make you feel a little better:

Chris Bowers :: We had a deal. A few Senators just lied to us.

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Don't Kid Yourself or Your Readers (3.08 / 13)
obama/rahm are behind LIE-berman.  This is the bill they meant to pass all along.

Why do you distracting from the lying liars that enabled this entire charade, rahm doing the dirty work and obama sitting back and pretending that he could not provide leadership and then putting pressure on those that don't want to eat their sh!t sandwich.

Yeah, right, its 13-D chess and just an example of doing the "executive job" - NOT!

I think this is utterly ludicrous (0.00 / 0)
But it is not a personal attack on anyone except politicians, and there's no sign that it was meant to provoke anyone, thus not trolling.

[ Parent ]
I'll be honest... (4.00 / 2)
There is a small part of that is considering donating to the GOP candidate in Arkansas if Lincoln isn't beaten in a primary.    What's the point of Lincoln if she won't vote for cloture and give the bill a chance... I'd rather have the republican... at least I know the GOP will try and fuck me.

May as well donate to something that can do some good (4.00 / 3)
... like anyone outside the two-party system, unless for whatever reason you're married to the self-fulfilled prophecy of duopoly.

[ Parent ]
That's hilarious... (0.00 / 0)
"May as well donate to something that can do some good" immediately followed up by a call to support 3rd party candidates.  Thanks for the laugh.

[ Parent ]
Read yitbos' post again please (4.00 / 1)
and tell me how donating to the GOP candidate helps progressive interests any more than donating to, say, the Libertarian Party candidate.

[ Parent ]
Given the outcomes from all the support in 2009 (0.00 / 0)
Let's turn this around and ask what we got in return for our money and efforts in 2008?

[ Parent ]
It doesn't... (0.00 / 0)
And really its more tounge in cheek.... My ONLY motivation is for revenge.  Plain and simple.    

[ Parent ]
Punishes (4.00 / 1)
It punishes people who are not trust worthy and who managed to harm both the country and the interests of the vast majority of Democrats.  As Howard Beal said, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more."

Once the Dogs and the conservadems know that they are paying the price and that we can no longer be played for suckers, the results will get better in a hurry.  We are their bosses (or should be), not Barack Obama or some insurance lobbyists.

Popular election of Senators does not mean popular election by insurance companies and only insurance companies.

[ Parent ]
So you're saying that a spite donation (0.00 / 0)
to the LP does absolutely nothing along those lines?  

And I can't help but chuckle at the innocence in thinking that a vote for the other party, whose interests as shown by action are in pretty close to the same ballpark as "your" party, are any sort of punishment.  They get paid either way.

[ Parent ]
... (0.00 / 0)
I need to see a viable third party.  Unfortunately there isn't one.   If the Progressives leave the Dems, I think the country is screwed unless the Wingnuts leave the GOP as well.   My ideal would be for the Wingnuts to form a new party, for the Conservadems to join the GOP and the rest of us bring the Dems to the left.

Seriously, I don't think I could donate to the Republican.   If it was simply a two year term I could, but not for a 6 year term.  I just want Lincoln punished.

[ Parent ]
My idea for a third party (0.00 / 0)
Is to negotiate a split of Democratic resources and ballot access in exchange for the Blue Dogs and centrists getting their own party, pretty much agreeing to pay them to leave.

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

[ Parent ]
Why pay them to go away? (0.00 / 0)
Just throw the bums out.  If they want to throw a hissy fit and pull a Lieberman, they can do it without any bribes from the left.

[ Parent ]
The problem... (0.00 / 0)
If we split and the GOP becomes dominant, we risk the GOP ruling the country.    

Whereas if the GOP splits, then we can do what Lost in America says and kick them to the curb.

[ Parent ]
In the short term, yes (0.00 / 0)
But some people here want to run against Obama and primary him from the left in 2012, even though it may do the same thing.

Blow up the current Democratic coalition and force the left to look for a new partner in a center-left coalition in an ideological reconfiguration.

These Blue Dogs and centrists practically act as a separate party anyways.  Why not make it formal so the left knows exactly what it is bargaining away when it tries to persuade the center that a center-left governing majority is better than a center-right one.

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

[ Parent ]
Do you think the split will be proportional? (0.00 / 0)
I mean, the conservadem half of the party is pretty much Wall Street's.  Is there enough money in the other half left to actually DO anything?

[ Parent ]
No; but, (4.00 / 5)
from this--along with the entirety of the health care "reform" fiasco--we progressives must take a powerful lesson in realpolitik:  Never trust anyone.  

That's how the Blue Dogs play it.  We have to become more hardball about how we play the political game.  When someone goes back on us, we have to have the capacity to make it hurt, and hurt badly.

I don't know exactly how we do that; but, I think we ought to start strategizing on that quickly.  Maybe the 435 primaries concept is a start.

Now THIS I agree with! (4.00 / 3)

[ Parent ]
WTF (0.00 / 0)
Why was this troll rated?  

[ Parent ]
Sorry. Just un-troll-rated it. (0.00 / 0)
Just a mistake. Probably meant to troll rate one of your earlier comments.

[ Parent ]
never trust anyone and then what? (4.00 / 3)
More and better Democrats?   We tried it, it doesn't work.  What we need to do is speak softly and hit them with a really big stick.  Until we can hurt them politically, we are like the pesky fly Obama swatted and killed.  

[ Parent ]
I agree-we need to be able to hurt them politically (4.00 / 2)
I go back to my experience as a trial lawyer.  One of the fundamental rules of cross-exam is that you never ask a question on cross-examination for which you don't have a prior statement to impeach the witness with.  This results in the witness paying a heavy price for lying on the stand:  the prior inconsistent statement is introduced before the jury, exposing the witness in open court as a liar.  Thus, when cross-examining, it is sometimes useful to hold up the document containing the prior statement--or to remind the witness that they made it before you ask the money question (e.g., "You remember testifying in a prior hearing on December 1, 2009?" and then picking up the transcript).

The political climate is analogous:  we have to have, as you say, a really big stick with which to hit them.  LBJ reputedly kept thick files of documented misconduct, etc on Members of Congress, and used them to extract political concessions.

[ Parent ]
"More better Democrats" (4.00 / 3)
should be our new slogan.

[ Parent ]
How about more, better (4.00 / 2)
...parties?  How about rewarding parties that don't play harder ball and dirtier pool against minor and indie candidates than against the R party?

[ Parent ]
Or, how about, "Never trust anyone... (0.00 / 0)
...unless you can hurt them quite badly if they abuse your trust."

[ Parent ]
HOW do we hurt them politically though? (0.00 / 0)
Private Detectives?    :-D

[ Parent ]
You zip your wallets. (0.00 / 0)
You sit on your duff and vote third party or Republican.  Dropping them on their asses and removing them from office is the only way.  Club for Growth probably has a manual.

[ Parent ]
"removing them from office is the only way" OK. But... (4.00 / 1)
yitbos has a point: Private investigators may hlp in removing lawmakers which sold out. Nothing drives the popularity numbers during a primary down like a fine, juicy, scandal!

[ Parent ]
"removing them from office is the only way" OK. But... (0.00 / 0)
yitbos has a point: Private investigators may hlp in removing lawmakers which sold out. Nothing drives the popularity numbers during a primary down like a fine, juicy, scandal!

[ Parent ]
Yes, they lied (4.00 / 10)

 And our leadership sat there and let them lie.

 Our president, our fierce advocate for a public option, gave the biggest liar of them all a big, gloppy wet kiss the day after his biggest lie of all.

 The liars look bad.

 But the enablers look worse.

 Until our leadership is willing to call out the liars, and take measures against them, we're in for several more rough battles ahead.


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

Oh, I agree with all that (4.00 / 3)
I should update the post a bit just to make it clear I agree with all this.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but (4.00 / 1)
the political game is outside the realm of truth and lies.  Really, serious political players don't give a second thought--ever--to whether they are lying or not.  They are amoral.  They're not out to get us; for the most part, they're out to preserve that about which they care most--incumbency.

I'll give you an example.  Mark Udall ran for, and won, the seat in the Second Congressional District of Colorado.  For many years he toiled away in a most uncontroversial fashion.  Then along came the AUMF.  Udall voted against it, which was just fine with his constituents in the 2nd.

But, Udall decided to run for Senate.  He was advised (I have it on good authority from someone who was directly told this by the source) by his main political strategists that he "had" to start supporting the effort in Iraq, if he wanted to become a Senator.  Poof, there went his opposition to the Iraq War.  This seemingly amoral (to put it charitably) shift was reinforced when he won his Senate seat.  Voila, we have a formerly moderate-liberal Congressman newly minted as a moderate-Conservadem Senator.

[ Parent ]
Good roundup! But what do we learn from the desaster? (0.00 / 0)
Where is our "you see, Timmy" moment?

Or your South Park "I've learned something..." (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Well, what I've learned (4.00 / 5)
Is that Joe Lieberman is an even bigger lying asshole than I had previously thought. And that is really saying something.

[ Parent ]
You also learned who obama (4.00 / 2)
and the white house backs up - and it isn't us.  It's LIE-berman!

[ Parent ]
I already knew that (n/t) (4.00 / 4)

[ Parent ]
Yeah me too... (4.00 / 1)
I'll be honest.... the Medicare thing really took me by surprise.  I could almost get the PO opposition... the Medicare, especially after all his past support, really showed me who he is.   I actually think I hate him as much as Bush now.  At least I knew Bush was going to fuck me every turn.  I figured Joe would only do it 1 out 3 times.    

[ Parent ]
In today's news--- (4.00 / 3)
Scorpions sting.

Lucy pulls the football away as Charlie tries to kick


The earth revolves around the sun

All jokes aside- yes, they are bad faith actors. This part is not a surprise. Nor is your falling for it a surprise. Conservatives abuse. Progressives enable. The real question at this point- is what are you going to do about bad faith behavior?

Your post about holding progressives accountable for enabling bad faith behavior remains the most important thing you have written in a while on the subject.  

I thoguht it was all about negotiation (0.00 / 0)
What I wrote about holding Senators accountable had nothing to do with that.

[ Parent ]
Actually it does (4.00 / 4)
Whether you realize it or not, that's a part of the behavioral process that goes into someone's calculus over negotiation. "I am going to be held accountable for this, then what should I decide to do here in this negotiation?"

How do you think you achieve the negotiation style that I describe? Certainly not through the power of magical thinking that pervades the left. You do it through accountability, and by accountability- I mean threatening those who can then hold others accountable for bad faith behavior rather than expecting  bad faith actors to behave in good faith.

This is an advanced form of negotiation tactics using proxies.  

[ Parent ]
This I agree with... (4.00 / 2)
Certainly progressives and Dems in general had more things on the table they could do to try and actually pass something good.  Even if you accept that reconciliation is impossible, why Lieberman was simply never threatened with his chair is completely ridiculous and irresponsible of the 51-56 Dems who had said they were willing to vote for a triggerless PO.

[ Parent ]
Not just Lieberman (4.00 / 1)
Lieberman's score on "critical votes" ranked him tied for 29th in the Senate this year according to Progressive Punch.  He is statistically a middle of the road Democrat who is voting better than in the past.  But when Joe goes off the reservation he pulls a whopper.   Joe has a minor chairmanship and a major ego.  He has no scruples.  None.

Baucus already played footsie with the Republicans, he votes worse by a lot but his crappy way is more predictable.  There is no way in God's green earth that Max Baucus should chair a major committee.  There is no way that Kent Conrad should either. Baucus's Senate bill should have been deep sixed with malice aforethought.  Instead, it was instantly  worshiped by the WaPo and the Versailles boys and girls.

When people break a deal, the negotiation starts over.  Otherwise Lieberman, Ben Nelson and the others have no incentive to actually keep to the deal.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Since deal A is off the table, ask , no demand more.  You can often get it if you do it somewhat quietly.

Any negotiator who has to have a house, an employee, a bill will overpay.  Sometimes it is OK.  Pay a few thousand more for a house but not what is happening.  This one is no longer OK.  

[ Parent ]
That "minor chairmanship" (4.00 / 1)
means he gets paid to punch hippies and Arabs.  He could ask for nothing more.

[ Parent ]
That not negotiation (4.00 / 1)
Its called organizing.

[ Parent ]
In the short term... (4.00 / 7)

 ...let's see what we can do about getting Bernie Sanders to join a filibuster.

 Sanders is a good pressure point. He's not (nominally) a Democrat, his seat is safe as milk, and Obama needs his vote every bit as much as he needs Lieberman's. This also protects the House progressives from having to cast an "anti-Obama" vote, as Chris described in his recent post.

 We need to start leveraging progressive power SOMEWHERE. I think that part of the resistance to do so, up to now, was the general feeling that Obama deep down was an ally of ours, even if he tried to hide it sometimes. We still trusted him and didn't want to mess him up.

 But I think the events of the last week have finally blown that perception out of the water. We now have "permission" to treat Obama as hostile. If the lack of a bill makes Obama look bad, well, it's no longer our problem. Howard Dean's op-ed was the watershed -- progressives working against Obama is now "accepted".

 So we now have something to build on.


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

[ Parent ]
I agree with this (4.00 / 5)
I would say two pressure points- Burris (making a legacy for your people argument) and Sanders together in the Senate. I would also continue to exert pressure on Reid. He's toast, but maybe he thinks he can still  win next year.

In the House, threaten a few of the spineless "progressives" with a primary if not this time, then in 2012 if they do not act right. Make them realize there is a consequence for their not holding the blue dogs accountable.

This is what I would do, but I dont have any power (and I imagine most centrists are happy that people like me are no where near real power).  

[ Parent ]
I seriously disagree with the premise (4.00 / 4)
of this post. It was clear from the beginning that LIEberman was not acting in good faith. A deal that depended on him keeping his word was a flawed deal. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Shame on anyone who fell for Joe's umpteenth pulling back of the football Lucy-style. Reconciliation needed to stay on the table. That was the mistake. Using LIEberman's well known dishonesty as an excuse for any of this mess is completely missing the point IMHO.


Well stated (4.00 / 2)
No one should have to devine anyone's intention here - believe what you want.

The FACT is that obama/rahm and dem leaders have capitulated to all of the obstructionist and repeatedly and consistently given progressives/liberals and those seeking meaningful change a big FU!

This is really on obama/rahm and dem leadership regardless of why they do it.

[ Parent ]
Liars don't count (0.00 / 0)
You can't claim to have really "won the campaign" if you are counting people who have lied.  We can say we were "faked out", but not that we had won.

[ Parent ]
so far (4.00 / 1)
The Senate health care debate so far:

OBAMA AND EMANUEL: Let us break down what we really mean by anything we say regarding health care in America: $$$$$$$$$$$

LIEBERMAN, LANDRIEU, LINCOLN ET AL: Let us break down what we really mean by anything we say regarding health care in America: $$$$$$$$$$

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP: Let us break down what we really mean by anything we say regarding health care in America: $$$$$$$$$$$$

REPUBLICANS: Let us break down what we really mean by anything we say regarding health care in America: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

They all join the...

INSURANCE INDUSTRY: Let us break down what we really mean by anything we say regarding health care in America: $$$$$$$$$$

OT: The word "f*ck" is starting to lose its impact (4.00 / 3)
Maybe we should start calling each other d**chebags (oh, wait, we already do); or "scurvy snakebites" if you have a thing for Shakespeare.  "F*ck," though, and all its iterations, really don't pack much of a punch anymore.

Yup, those insults are lame. (4.00 / 3)
I'd rather TR someone for a more creative insult. Like, say:
"To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?"
But all we have here are some vulgarians...

[ Parent ]
Maybe its different in Germany... (4.00 / 1)
But sometimes a vulgarity laced tirade really helps you to feel better.   DOesn't make it RIGHT, but it can help get a lot of anger out.  Better an anonymous person than your family ;-)  

Seriously though... I actually just really like the work Douche bags.  

[ Parent ]
Damn (0.00 / 0)
Should be WORD Douche bags.    

[ Parent ]
If they were about change... (0.00 / 0)
all of them, Obama, Lieberman and the lot, they would not have voted down buying prescription drugs overseas...but the WH was instrumental in killing...the line of crap that we got fed about not letting big corporate interests keep running Washington was just that...a line of crap...at this point the only honest brokers in this deal are the Sanders, Feingold, and Deans who have nothing to lose...look at their statements over the past several days...

I for one will reconsider 2010 and definitely 2012...I cannot support a president whom talks out of both sides of his mouth...from unfunded mandates, to sellouts to Pharma, Wall street and their bailout...and I knocked on doors every weekend and donated and everything...

BTW...I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories, but Obama= good guy and Lieberman= bad guy and Rahm is pulling the strings...and if you don't see it...then keep drinking the Kool-Aid.  

There is no way to prevent people from lying (4.00 / 1)
but they wouldn't be screwing with us if they feared us - and they don't. You're right that there is nothing in terms of tactics for this campaign that could have changed that.  It's a longer term project - and we have a ways to go.  

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.

True - but (4.00 / 1)
If they are enabled by leadership and then progressive/liberals continually overlook it, we are part of the problem too.

I have seen enough of how obama, his team, and dem leadership operates and will not support them anymore.

Now is our best chance to start a third party - repugs are in shambles, they have been splintered by essentially a 3rd party, and we have enough time to make a strong statement before 2012.

Disagree if you want, vote for the folks that continue to sell us out (hey, hows that bernanke thing workin' out for ya and do you LOVE the endless wars?  "You can take that to the bank..."

[ Parent ]
We don't bluff, we blink (4.00 / 1)
All of what Chris said is true, but neglects to mention that our side lacked the one or two (or more) Senators willing to be as strident as Lieberman. Rahm can't order total capitulation to Lieberman if that act won't get him 60 votes.

Would withholding consent from the left be as morally reprehensible as Lieberman's doing so? Perhaps. However, at least we'd have an equal footing standoff, with the majority of the caucus (and the American people) on our side.

Sure, we were lied to. But the real bottom line is that, literally and metaphorically, they had Lieberman and we had Jello Jay...

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

rahm CAN order "total capitulation" (4.00 / 1)
if that is what they actually expected in the bill all along.  Appears to me and many to be the case.

But anyone can disagree about that if they like - but the facts are clear - those standing up for real reform are being shouted down by dem leadership and team obama.

And LIE-berman, snow, and anyone else is being give a platform to derail the process.

[ Parent ]
You can't capitulate to both sides... (4.00 / 1)
...at the same time. And if both sides stay firm, then Rahm's "orders" are useless.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
Makes you wonder what kind of poison is attached to Rahm's orders (0.00 / 0)
and whether there's any antidote or counterattack that the left (not the Progressive Democrats, just a rogue wing of one wing of the one party) can use against it.

[ Parent ]
Progressive Power (0.00 / 0)
Going forward, it all comes down to figuring out how best to utilize and expand what power progressives have.  We all long for the kind of power the centrist can generate at a whim, but it is a mistake to assume we can use the same techniques.

I supported the Progressive Block because there were a few conditions met that made it workable; technically we only needed one.  1) There were 51 vote options available via reconciliation or the nuclear option and 2) the president and 60 members of congress were committed to getting something instead of nothing.

#1 got taken off the table and #2 apparently is not true.  That hurt.  That left the Block unuseful.  In general, I think the Block concept will remain unuseful.  (It might work for the climate bill, since the EPA already has power to curb carbon emissions, that gives us greater freedom to walk away, ourselves.)

If we can't withhold votes on the bills we want passed to gain power, we need other techniques.  Here are some ideas, probably none of them new:

1) Primary conservative Democrats.

2) Work to deny committee chairs to Democrats who vote against progressive legislation.  I'm not sure how this could be done, but it should be looked into.  I'm sure it all starts with working with and against the leadership.

3) Block other votes on other items to prevent conservadem pork projects.  Don't let them bring home the bacon.  Again, I'm not sure how this would work in practice.

That's all I can think of right now, but there's got to be other ideas.

How about working to empower the House? (4.00 / 1)
I'm not sure what we can do on that front; but, so long as we have a de facto unicameral legislative branch, with the power being in the far less democratic of the House, we will continue to get worked over like tackling dummies.

[ Parent ]
To do #3 (0.00 / 0)
You need some Senators willing be as stubborn and assholish as Coburn and try to shut down the entire government, not letting anything pass, whether good or bad.

I've suggested in the past that a good way to start is to try and take the entire country hostage by refusing to vote for raising the debt ceiling.

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

[ Parent ]
And the catfood commission listened! Sigh... nt (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
How about this? (4.00 / 1)
Courtesy of David Waldman at dKos--strip the mandate, and hold onto it for leverage to improve/fix the legislation later:


This is smart politics, the way the bruisers play it.

[ Parent ]
What about Obama? (4.00 / 3)

Why isn't Obama mentioned in your post?  Why isn't his total lack of leadership responsible for some of this?  Expiring minds want to know!

My Point Exactly (0.00 / 0)
And it yields a STFU from folks that have their head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening.

[ Parent ]
Obama sends out his advisors to do his bidding... (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Except that's not what you said. (0.00 / 0)
You instead suggested some huge master plan to produce this specific bill.   THAT and you attacking Chris got you that response.    

[ Parent ]
I Do Want To Thank Chris (4.00 / 1)
Asking people to stop shouting at each other is important and, when a request includes a statement by the poster him/herself will also try to be more considerate - that is a good thing.

The disagreement here is not the problem - this is going to split progressive/liberal support and it isn't just about HCR, but that is the most blatant example of an issue that directly touches almost every one of us (directly or indirectly).

The split is going to happen - it has already happened, so the question should be, can we accept this and keep open minds where this will lead us?

... (0.00 / 0)
My apologies for yelling earlier.   Your post was extremely rude to Chris in my opinion and that first set me off and it escalated.  While I still disagree with much of what you said... while I think lying Conservadems and poor leadership in the WH and Senate are to blame and not that Obama is in bed with Lieberman which is ridiculous....  I shouldn't have attacked you in the way I did.  So My apologies for the way in which I responded.

[ Parent ]
yeah yeah - more BS (4.00 / 1)
Its not rude to point out that a post blaming all of this on a "few senators" overlooks (and obfuscates) where the real responsibility lies - with the folks that enabled the "few" in the first place.

If a condescending and judgmental with a faux apology makes you feel better, knock yourself out - its a legit point that many have agreed with in this thread an others.

This certainly IS NOT just about a few senators and other threads here and elsewhere make this plain.

It a point that belongs in this dialog too, whether it was omitted by oversight or intention and note that I did not question the post's intentions, just pointed out some facts.

[ Parent ]
Ok, now you are acting like a jerk. (0.00 / 0)
That was a sincere apology.  I don't do faux apologies.    There is no need for it as I don't know you and couldn't care less about what you think of me.  I'm sincere in if I think your an asshole, I'll call you an asshole.  As you noticed I had no problem in doing it earlier... of course above it was cleaned up a bit from what I wanted to originally write.  Also,  If I feel I've done someone wrong, then I'll own up to it.

My apology was that I shouldn't have insulted you.   I think what you wrote was completely wrong and your attack on Chris really irritated me but it didn't warrant a personal attack.     You basically called Chris a liar and someone hiding the truth on your first post which really pissed me off and was very rude to Chris.   You claiming this was some big elaborate plan between Obama and Lieberman bugged me as well but not the part I thought rude.

I regret losing my temper earlier and personally attacking you by calling you stupid.    However if you want to spit on that apology then fine, although it's kind of a jerk move.

[ Parent ]
The jerk is the one (0.00 / 0)
calling an honest, legit point an attack on chris - even little children know better than to apologize with another attack and most parents won't accept it.

Sorry if the thread left off who is really responsible for the fact there never was a "deal" and the envelope keeps getting pushed farther to the right.

Only an arrogant knob proclaims a non-apology as an excuse to continue attacking - repeatedly now!

[ Parent ]
And the sad thing is (4.00 / 2)
The splitting of progressive/liberals will undermine every other issue that was on the dem platform in 2009.

Don't believe me?  Just look at how many people share in every other thread at this and other blogs?

Like it or not, this is a flagship issue and people will either get behind the administration or they will decide that they have been sold out.

Me and many believe the latter, which means positive change demands new vehicles for expression and action.  I am not giving a dime nor doing anything to support the party obama represents - period.

I. Am. Done. With. It.

So will be looking to have this dialog about what to do next with anyone that can be respectful of others opinions about it - whether they agree or not.

An excellent choice, sir/madam. (0.00 / 0)
So the overarching goal, at least as I see it, is to get

* left-wing
* legislative candidates
* on ballots
* and elected to (preferably Federal) office
* no later than 2012
* independently of the D party
* and its purse strings.

This translates to, and not necessarily in order:

* building a platform
* finding suitable candidates
* getting ballot access
* building and running campaigns
* cultivating a sense of urgency
* finding competent non-duopoly staff, strategists and messengers whose souls are not entirely for sale
and last but not least
* raising funds to support a platform that could be inimical to large donors

Sounds like a tall order as it is.  Am I missing anything?

[ Parent ]
I think the most visceral thing we can do....... (0.00 / 0)
....is twofold.

Do whatever it takes to have Lieberman stripped of his chairmanships immediately.

Primary Senator Lincoln into the ground.

Whatever it takes, we demand this, and we react to being ignored.  If it means we halt all fundraising on behalf of all Senate Democrats, we do it.

Make them feel the pain if we aren't listened to.

Make them feel real fear if we can take Senator Lincoln out in the primary.

I'll call my two Senators all day for the former, and commit $1000 to help pay for troops on the ground for the latter.

Who's with me?

Strip joe?!?!?!? (0.00 / 0)
Don't make me laugh - he supported and caimpagned for mccain - if that didn't do it, nothing will.

[ Parent ]
Sadly... (0.00 / 0)
You have a point.     But Going after Lincoln can be done.

[ Parent ]
OK, then... (0.00 / 0)
....give me an alternative to Lincoln that's valid and I'm in.  We have to make it crystal clear to these Corprocrats that they pay a price for their attitude.

And as for Lieberman....many of our Senators wet their pants when we send a couple hundred faxes for or against an issue.  If we did that with multiple thousands a day, EVERY day, until they get the point, they'd either brick up their office entrances or realize, once and for all, that they'd better do what's right or pay the price.  Add to that the threat of drying up at least one channel of their fundraising capabilities, and I think a few heads would turn.

[ Parent ]
Axelrod is lying now, too? (4.00 / 1)
He thinks the bill prevents your insurance company from imposing an annual cap on benefits, according to the clip on Hardball. Was that recorded earlier? Maybe part of the argument with Ed Schultz on Morning Joe over the Patients Bill of Rights?

... (0.00 / 0)
I doubt its a lie... its too easy to expose.   I'm guessing he genuinely doesn't know.

That is one think that better get put in COmmittee.

[ Parent ]
Well, Thinkprogress says Franken simply enforced orders from Reid... (4.00 / 1)
...to meticulously limit speaking time to ten minutes. But the point is, look at Franken's face when he shuts the Liarman off! Yeah, there's a guy who's really having fun at work!!

Funny seeing McCain sputter about senatorial protocol (4.00 / 2)
when Coburn had so recently demanded Sanders amendment be read in full in a transparent attempt to hold things up. Maybe if the GOP wasn't engaging in such tactics, people could get a few extra minutes.  

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 suspect Reid's order is a reaction to this, yes. (0.00 / 0)
So, republicans don't have much of a standing to protest this. Hmm, did McCain protest Coburn wasting the time of the Senate? Prolly not.

[ Parent ]
Harms the comity of the Senate (4.00 / 2)
No it doesn't, John.  It's still the laughingstock of the civilized world.

[ Parent ]
"comity"? Isn't that spelled "comedy"??? (4.00 / 3)
Now, that makes sense!

[ Parent ]
If it were not for the lying (0.00 / 0)
Joe Lieberman would have been an honest prick instead of a dissembling one and we still wouldn't have a public option.

At this point, perhaps the left's best hope is to sling a lot of mud towards Lieberman's way and encourage him to be even more dickish so that Democrats like Harkin and Feingold who have expressed opposition to using reconciliation for health care reform might change their minds out of spite.

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

No matter what Feingold and Harkin think and want... (0.00 / 0)
...the Obama gang doesn't have 60 votes. So, what other way towards a passing of the bill is there, except reconciliation?

[ Parent ]
You sure about that? (0.00 / 0)
Burris and Sanders aren't confirmed no on Cloture.    Snowe would cancel out Nelson.

[ Parent ]
Snowe is even less confirmed than Sanders. (0.00 / 0)
Imho that "news" was only a misinterpretation of a meaningless quote by her. However, regardless, with Burris and Sanders vs. Snowe, we have two possible Nay votes vs. one Aye, so it's more probable the 60 votes aren't there.

[ Parent ]
Committee (0.00 / 0)
Theres a big part of me that wants to take this to committee instead and see how we can improve it.    Annual caps, etc.  I think killing it now would be a bigger mistake than rolling the dice.   Of course who knows if that will be the case.

[ Parent ]
That's the problem (0.00 / 0)
I think there are more than 50 votes for passing this normally, but quite possibly not 50 votes for passing anything through reconciliation.

If reconciliation just isn't going to happen, it's quite possible that the best possible bill that can be passed is limited by how far left you can move Joe Lieberman and that you maximize that leftward movement by coddling rather than coercing him and working to get this done as fast as possible so that he has less time to come up with new concessions that he can demand.

Is anyone going to back the idea of primarying Feingold for his opposition to reconciliation?

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

[ Parent ]
If there are 58 votes for Liebercare, there sure are 50 votes... (4.00 / 1)
...for something better from reconciliation. Don't forget, almost everybody involved wants to pass something "healthcare" before the end of the term. Sry, but I don't think your argument holds water.

[ Parent ]
There are votes for Democratic health care but against reconciliation (0.00 / 0)
Just as some Democrats vote for cloture for bills they vote against.

Earlier this year, an amendment passed barring use of budget reconciliation on cap-and-trade.

Here are the Democrats voting for that amendment, not including Specter, who was a Republican at the time.

Max Baucus (Mont.)
Evan Bayh (Ind.)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Michael Bennet (Colo.)
Jeff Bingaman (N.M.)
Robert Byrd (W.Va.)
Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.)
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
Dick Durbin (Ill.)
Russ Feingold (Wis.)
Kay Hagan (N.C.)
Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)
Herb Kohl (Wis.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Carl Levin (Mich.)
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.)
Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
Jon Tester (Mont.)
Mark Warner (Va.)
and Jim Webb (Va.).

If a similar amendment was attached to a health care bill, I bet it would pass.

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

[ Parent ]
Nobody would have bet Liebercare would pass (0.00 / 0)
And still, almost 60 votes for that crap. So, again, it doesn't matter what those Senators like, they simply have no other choice.

[ Parent ]
Being lied to by politicians is no excuse for dropping the ball. (0.00 / 0)
Leaders in the progressive movement should know by now that the words of politicians are not to be trusted.

In what sense did anyone drop the ball (0.00 / 0)
No one confused words with deeds. What is the alternative to keeping a tally of people's public stances?

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 ]
It's like this. (0.00 / 0)
The left wanted single payer, but we were told by the people who have a vested interest in making sure it never passes that it was never going to pass, so we settled for a public option.  We started asking for half a loaf.  Naturally, the opposition knew we'd settle for a quarter loaf, cut the half loaf in half, and told us we were never going to get half a loaf.  So we settled for a quarter loaf.  Naturally, the opposition knew we'd settle for an eighth of a loaf, and so on, so now we don't even have the crumbs we were willing to settle for.  It doesn't help that self-proclaimed progressive leaders start off supporting the compromise and then urging us as even that was whittled down to nothing that nothing we wanted was going to pass, so we might as well give up and drop it so we don't get conservatives run against our progressive wafflers in the Congress (which has been happening and will continue to happen no matter what we do).

All I'm seeing from so-called leaders is capitulation after capitulation, and when anybody tries to speak up and call b***s***, all we get is snark and bannings.  I saw that in spades over at DK and it seems this place is no different.  And the one guy I've seen who's offered anything in the way of ideas for what we on the left can do, I'm learning his posts got pulled from the front page because the site owner thought it was a personal swipe at him (when it quite obviously wasn't).  I'm not sure what to think of the netroots anymore.  No one seems to be taking charge and there sure as hell isn't any real challenge to the Dems for stabbing us in the back at every turn.

[ Parent ]
"when it quite obviously wasn't" Imho it was. (0.00 / 0)
And almost nobody else of us mere mortals are ever frontpaged, so why Jeff, with his not really worked out idea? Using that chance to make side blows at the blog owner certainly wasn't the best tactic. Then, nobody keeps him from writing a new diary, but he doesn't. Is he only interested if he gets the frontpage? D'oh. Maybe he should check out some other blogs.

[ Parent ]
missing something (0.00 / 0)
How would the outcome be different if Lieberman had not "lied"? Were you thinking we could have gotten Snowe or Collins to flip?

Was it the lying? (0.00 / 0)
Maybe I'm misunderstanding Chris's point, but it strikes me that the actual dishonesty was all-but-irrelevant to the outcome. Had Lieberman been open about his opposition to both the public option (which he was), and the Medicare buy-in (which he certainly was not) from the beginning, we'd have been left in the same place: not enough votes for cloture. Maybe it would have spared the Democrats the humiliation of putting that stuff in the bill only to have to yank it back out, but I get the distinct impression that that is not the problem Chris is getting at here.

I know it's been said before, but the basic problem was that for the Democratic Senators towards the Republican end of the spectrum, the White House and the leadership had no effective leverage. Greenwald has a point as to Blanche Lincoln, but I think his proposed strategy (threatening to cut her off) would just as likely have led her to defect to the GOP as to force her to fall in line on the public option. None of the others were susceptible to pressure of this sort--Nelson is quite capable of getting re-elected on his own, Landrieu is not in much danger, given her recent re-election, and Lieberman is clearly not going to win re-election as a Democrat in any event, if that's what he even wants at this point. Given that complex of interests, it seems to me that Obama had no sticks and few carrots to offer the obstructionists.

Did they lie or get a better offer? (0.00 / 0)
In Chicago they say an honest politician stays bought.

Assume you're correct.  If they hadn't lied you would still be short four votes, but you wouldn't have mistakenly believed you had enough.


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