Obama says public option doesn't have votes, but thanks progressives for their efforts

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 20:07


President Obama met with House Progressive leaders today on health reform.  Apparently, he thanked them for their advocacy, saying it made the bill better.  Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey talked to Greg Sargent about the meeting:

Obama thanked the assembled, mostly liberals, for their ongoing insistence from the left over the months that the bill be improved, Woolsey says. "He thanked us," she recalled. "He said the bill wouldn't have been nearly as good as it is if we hadn't advocated."

Hearing President Obama thank House Progressives honestly made me feel good.  Most of the time, it feels like progressives are a punching bag.  Often, President Obama uses us as a foil, saying thing like "some on the left believe X crazy thing, and some on the right believe Y crazy thing.  I believe sensible Z thing in between those two."  His chief of staff tells us efforts to pressure conservative Democrats are "f*cking stupid.".  And then administration supporters online yell at you when you fight back.

So yeah, it feels good to hear President Obama acknowledge our efforts in a positive, rather than a derogatory way.  And it is appreciated.

Obama went further in his message to Progressives, saying that his Presidency and 31 million Americans are riding on health reform.  It seems to have been a compelling message for wavering Progressives, like the other Progressive Caucus Co-Chair, Raul Grijalva (emphasis in original):

Speaking to reporters in the Speaker's lobby off the House floor, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said the President reminded them that "If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side...it would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue."

I asked if the message was convincing to those in attendance.

"It's pretty compelling," Grijalva said.

That's a significant change from his tone earlier in the week, when Grijalva said he was inclined to vote against the bill from the left.

At the same time, President Obama said that there were not enough votes for the public option.  Greg Sargent:

In a private meeting at the White House this afternoon, Obama told a roomful of House Dems he doesn't think the votes are there to pass the public option, and urged them to take the long view and to support the Senate bill as merely the beginning of reform, Dem Rep Lynn Woolsey tells me.

Obama sorta, kinda promised to work on the public option in the future, according to former Progressive Caucus co-chair Barbara Lee:

But, she said, Obama said the current healthcare legislation is a "foundation," adding he "would work with us on the next effort."(...)

Lee did say, however, that the president was "noncommittal" about pushing for a public option in the future.

It is at least good to know that our fights are appreciated, but it is also clear to me that we have to wage them ourselves.  If there is ever going to be a public option, whether in this bill or in the future, we are going to have to round up the votes on our own.

The PCCC's response to the meeting, sent over email:

"Obama is telling America, 'No, we can't.' But as Senate moderates like Tim Johnson, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and 32 other senators joined the call for the public option in the past two weeks, the truth became increasingly clear: 'Yes, we can.'  If President Obama doesn't think the votes exist in the Senate, he needs to name which senators would oppose it. If he's too weak to stomach that, than he needs to get out of the way and let those who know how to fight lead the charge." -- Adam Green, co-founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee

If you want a public option, and you are not willing to give in, then sign up with the PCCC.  They are leading this fight.

Chris Bowers :: Obama says public option doesn't have votes, but thanks progressives for their efforts

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Man, I don't know who's more of (4.00 / 22)
an embarrassing pushover, you, Chris, or Raul Grijalva.

"Feels good" to be appreciated? A "compelling" message?

Yeesh.

As for there not being votes for PO, how could there be without leadership from Obama? I guess Sebelius's claim that the WH would fight for the PO if there was a vote was just more bullshit.  


Alright, sorry, Chris (4.00 / 8)
That was too harsh. What I should've said is that Obama is trying to get people to swallow a shit-sandwich. Feelings and messages are beside the point.  

[ Parent ]
Seems like he's just sucking up (4.00 / 2)
to people whose votes he still needs. If I thought the "appreciation" was sincere, I might share Chris's warm fuzzy feeling about it. The guy chose as his second in command a dude who thinks that what Obama is claiming to appreciate is "fucking retarded." Until Rahm is sent packing, the "appreciation" has about as much credibility as his feigned support for a public option.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
I think you are being too harsh (4.00 / 15)
When millions of Americans are being forced to pay for a costly system, I think they will be very happy to know that progressives were appreciated by the president.  I know I am going to be happy as my premiums continue to spiral out of control to know that progressives were appreciated.  

[ Parent ]
Election (4.00 / 11)
Isn't this what we elected Obama to do:  thank us for our work?  I, for one, was hoping not that he would do what he campaigned on, but that he would do nothing and say he appreciates me.  That's what really matters.

[ Parent ]
Right, insuring 31 million people is doing nothing. (4.00 / 1)
Look, I know everyone on this entry seems to hate private insurance.  But, most people with private insurance don't hate their own.  You're really out of touch and in ignorance of public surveys if you think so.

[ Parent ]
Spare us the guilt trip. (4.00 / 15)
As a taxpayer, I'm tired of paying $500 for ashtrays for the President's jet.   I'm also tired of paying for corporate welfare.   Give me an equitable return on my investment, and I'm happy to pay; but this is nothing more than another corporate welfare program that happens to help a few people.  If all he was going to do was expand Medicaid, we didn't need to waste all of this time ($$$) or create this giveaway ($$$) to the insurance companies.  

Nobody hates private insurance.  It has absolutely nothing to do with private or public or hating and loving.  It is about health care and money, pure and simple.   Health care isn't a privilege, it is a right for absolutely everyone.  The stimulus this country needed was real health care reform.   We pay more for health care than any other country, and as a system, it still sucks!   It is time to fix it, not to buy campaign contributions and votes with my cash and my grandchildren's futures.  This is extortion, pure and simple.  Your money or their lives.  Well, I don't negotiate with terrorists.


[ Parent ]
Let them die then! (4.00 / 1)
And what a ridiculous "terrorist" analogy.  The whole "if I don't get exactly what I want, I'm gonna wet the bed" argument.  Welcome to actually getting HCR policy done and not just blogging about it.  There is a reason it hasn't happened in nearly a century of talking about it.  That's OK.  Obama is going to get this passed.  You'll just have to like it, or not.

[ Parent ]
It still hasn't happened (4.00 / 5)
this is a mandate not universal health care. It so expensive that it will be killed eventually after Obama is gone, in order to cut the budget, like tenncare was.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Can I borrow your crystal ball? (4.00 / 1)
Because you're just making stuff up.

[ Parent ]
tenncare was killed because Bredesen (4.00 / 2)
couldn't pay for pharmaceuticals, which he refused to import from Canada.  He promised to save it, and then killed it.  He is an hmo ceo so he was easier to detect as a liar than Obummer.  

My blog  

[ Parent ]
hasn't happened? (0.00 / 0)
medicare.
medicaid.
medicaid expansion.
state level initiatives.
the veterans' system.
etc.

you haven't seen the creation of a universal etntitlement because of the political system of the united states and how fragmented the institutions are, despite widespread public support and probably even more after it existed (if you compare to other countries or attitudes towards social security or other universal programs), but that doesn't mean nothing has happened.  it just means it's so slow it's like watching paint dry and is hard to do.

personally, i would like to see more effort on fixing some of the institutional barriers (i.e. the senate's composition, its rules, money in elections, supreme court's lifeterms, recognition that portions of the media serve as arms of political forces not 'media', etc.) so that popular will could more directly influence politics, but that would be too practical i guess.

if you're going to say something is difficult, but you prefer something else, then you have to say how you would get to that 'something else' by changing what makes it difficult.  just saying it's difficult is not enough.


[ Parent ]
"Right, insuring 31 million people is doing nothing" (4.00 / 1)
I guess I should have been clearer:  I like this bill but I don't see where President Obama did a whole lot to make it happen, as opposed to Pelosi and Reid.  If anything Obama hurt the reform effort, with those pointless health care summits and those backroom deals with corporations and his lunatic quest to get Olympia Snowe on board.  

[ Parent ]
People who like their insurance (4.00 / 2)
probably like it because they assume it will be there for them if they get seriously ill. But most of the bankruptcies are from people getting sick and half of those are from people who had insurance. Many of these people who like their insurance are in for a brutal wake up call if they ever really need it.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
An up or down whether the public option has the votes or not (4.00 / 19)
No more excuses. No more cowardice. From anyone. Including progressives.  

things are wayyyyy too fragile for that (0.00 / 1)
chris always posts very brutal math on this...and he's been on the abortion side of this for a long time...

Obama has to deal with pro-lifers, fiscal blue dogs, and far left liberals...its an ultra-delicate balancing act and I don't want to see Obama's presidency come crashing down because we wanted to see a failing vote count on a Public Option

im getting a little sick of progressives saying "no excuses no cowardice" on EVERY ISSUE

the solution to two decades of political cowardice to corporates is not to be unreasonable maniacs that annoy not only 80% of non-liberal america...but a significant chunk of liberals...


[ Parent ]
If Obama is too fragile (4.00 / 17)
for politics maybe he's in the wrong line of work?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
not obama, house dems (0.00 / 0)
and why can't you replace all house dems? because they are in mccain districts and every year is not 2008

[ Parent ]
They are all cowards including the president. (4.00 / 13)


[ Parent ]
The game Obama plays is not cowardice.. (4.00 / 3)
To have just recently said he's for the PO if the Reid can get it passed and for Reid to have said he's for the PO if Obama is, then both do a 180 when we've clearly got the votes and support it needs - is pure obstructionsism at its worst.

As jpmassar pointed out yesterday, since the "PO massively reduces the deficit according to the CBO", it should be easily be included and passed under the reconciliation fix, even under the harsh standards of Senator Byrd.


Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.


[ Parent ]
House Dems can be replaced. (4.00 / 8)
Senate Dems too.

Massachusetts demonstrated that quite clearly.

And a bunch of House Dems signed a letter promising not to vote for health care reform if it did not include a "robust" public option.

I seem to remember they raised some money with that promise.

Then there's that whole Patriot Act thing.  And Ben Bernanke.  And torture.  And the escalation and expansion of the War in Afghanistan.  And yes, pretty much every other issue, but many of us don't consider that being picky.  These issues are just important to us, and it's not like we've seen much of an upside.

Dems can easily be replaced.  Unfortunately, it doesn't really seem like it will be much of a loss.

We vote this fall.


[ Parent ]
We're witnessing something incredible .. (0.00 / 0)
First we have to give Pelosi and the majority of Dems in the House and a handful of Senate Dems great credit. They did their jobs well and did their damnedest not to roll over for the Right, the Blue Dogs, the Moderates or for Obama.

As for the others they've been trying to meekly stand with or behind Obama, but unfortunately since he's essentially been AWOL they too are lost.  Anyone can see they're not quite comfortable with where Obama wants to take them.  But they know where we Progressives stand on HCR with most of America. And they're coming out of the shadows to stand with us on.

Keep it up Progressives!  Chris et al- you guys are amazing!  

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.


[ Parent ]
If Obama's presidency comes crashing down (4.00 / 10)
it won't be because of the house dems, or the dirty fucking hippies, either.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
the house dems aren't the problem (0.00 / 0)
if the house had been free to pass whatever bill it liked, it woudl be a damn sight better than this thing.  the house is in fact the ONLY place in government where there's a significant block of progressives making some headway.

[ Parent ]
I don't buy the fear mongering (4.00 / 10)
Bad faith actors win through fear, manipulation and keeping vote in the dark.



[ Parent ]
far left liberals? (4.00 / 10)
There might be two in the House, so you may not be wrong to pluralize it, but I fail to see how they add much of a head ache to Obama's day.

Or were you thinking of the public option, or an expansion of medicare as a "far left" thing?


[ Parent ]
more than dennis & massa have been against HCR (0.00 / 0)
they just relented under the pressure from their democratic friends

[ Parent ]
With friends like these, who needs enemies? (3.33 / 6)
Isn't the pattern clear yet?   So Americans "threw the bums out" so Obama could continue their policies.  

[ Parent ]
"far left" (4.00 / 2)
So trying to hold out for a slightly less sucky bill equals "far left"? Give me a break.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
Why doesn't your "fragility" argument apply (4.00 / 3)
to the Blue Dogs and conservo-Dems? When they threatened to vote "no", it was considered political hardball.


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


[ Parent ]
This is why I asked this question yesterday: (4.00 / 1)
If the House votes on a reconciliation bill with a public option and comes up short, can they then vote on a version without a public option and send that to the Senate? Or do they only have one bite at this apple?

No replies. I am still interested in an answer. It would be very relevant to the question of whether the process is really "wayyyyy too fragile for that."

Also, it is entirely logical, given the popularity of a public option vs mandates without one, that the vote would be easier with a public option. How do we know if it won't get a vote because it makes the bill harder to pass or if it's just because Obama is pressuring the leadership to drop it?

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
OBAMA IS A SPINELESS WIMP! (0.00 / 0)
He made his deal with the pharmaceutical companies, and he wants the P.O. to go away.  

[ Parent ]
Doesn't Pres. Obama always thank everyone for contributing? (4.00 / 8)
I don't take his "thank you, you made the bill better" as his acknowledgment of the significance or power of progressive legislators.  I take it as Obama's restatement of his commitment to goo-goo processes.  Which mostly makes me roll my eyes.

As to the rest of the "agenda, on the progressive side"...well, the progressive agenda seems officially dead as of now.  It's been on life-support for months, but now we're just reliving the center-right dynamic we got in the 1990s.  How do we get a real jobs bill?  Financial reform?  Trade reform?  EFCA?  The "fix it later" part of "pass it now and fix it later" really looks like a fig leaf to me.  Given the impending corporate dominance of politics, and the structural bias of the Forbidden City favoring elite interests over those of all of us, I don't see any route to winning anything like a progressive agenda, short of major civil unrest making entrenched interests panic and start throwing valuables overboard.

All of this makes me curious about how Barry's Boys rode their overwhelming defeat in 1964 to a complete takeover of the Republican Party, while McGovern's supporters rode their overwhelming defeat in 1972 to the Carter nomination 4 years later and the eventual rise of the DLC, led into battle by former McGovernite Bill Clinton.  


They clearly and firmly articulated their principles and didn't back down, equivocate or shy away (4.00 / 4)
But that's too much to ask from Democrats, even the liberal ones.

[ Parent ]
I'm sure that was necessary, but I doubt it was sufficient (4.00 / 1)
I suppose I should finally get around to reading Nixonland, since it's about that period of American politics and I've heard pretty uniformly good things about it.

I imagine that one factor was the continuing Congressional Dem majority, because having the majority always empowers incumbent politicians and makes it harder for an insurgent group to take over a party.  I'd guess it also had something to do with the kind of institutional support the New Right had.  Maybe it was also related to the fact that the Vietnam War led to infighting (to say the least) among the Dems, and didn't seem to tear the GOP apart, despite a fair amount of GOP opposition to the War itself.


[ Parent ]
Well, the anti-government theme that united conservatives (4.00 / 3)
was driven and reinforced by extreme government-based dishonesty around Vietnam and Watergate, as well as racism-based opposition to social safety net programs.  Jimmy Carter's relatively unproductive presidency didn't help things either.

The Wall Street collapse and abusive health insurance industry practices should have paved the way for a new era of activist government, but we lacked our FDR analog that could've harnessed that energy and used it to push Congress to make sweeping change.  Instead, we got Barack Obama.


[ Parent ]
freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose (4.00 / 1)
the dynamics for when you're the party (or let's say superfaction) with massive amounts of power is very diffrent from the dynamic for the one that's been thoroughly repudiated.  the main thing, i think, is that the activists stop hoping for the people in power to do something for them, stop depending on the electoral realm, and realise the power of shaping public narratives, of taking risks, of focusing on issues, and of not identifying with a party but seeing it as a vehicle for larger aims.

ultimately, it's the social movements and the collaboration between social movements and the party that led to the resurgence of the republican party, i think.  and that can happen for democrats too - but unless we speed it up from the 30 years it took republicans to go from powerless to batshit entirely crazy and able to act on it (1964 to 1994), then we're going to be screwed on issues from climate change to health care to creating an economy for the united states that works and that's not built on military spending.

you don't have to support a third party to oppose the centre-right democratic agenda - in fact, i think if you move away from the party as a whole, and instead support those outside it and inside it that are connected to you on values, you end up better off.  and you look for other places to make a difference as well.

recommend - piven and cloward - poor people's movements, lisa duggan - twilight of equality as two places to start.  there are many others.


[ Parent ]
Wasn't this the same guy who told New Democrats that he was a New Democrat (4.00 / 8)
If for some reason he were at CPAC he'd probably tell the audience that he, too, was a teabagging conservative.

I'll tentatively appreciate his appreciation, but the sad point I'm making is that the President has become so untrustworthy that even his gratitude looks suspicious.  If President Obama was trying to be a "different kind of politician", he has failed miserably.  And the mindless Obama sheep ought to really wake up and see that for themselves right about now.


Gratitude? (4.00 / 6)
He says whatever he needs to say to get whatever he wants.  President Obama made a complete liar out of candidate Obama.  We voted for FDR, and we got Clinton Reagan Bush the worst of bunch.  

[ Parent ]
AMEN! (0.00 / 0)
Now we have to Primary him for his re-election.

[ Parent ]
Sounds like a con job, sorry (4.00 / 24)
Thanking progressives for making the bill better? Really? The health care bill stinks and the progressive ideas that would have made it better (cough, cough, the public option) were nuked to conform to a private deals Obama apparently made with hospitals, the same sort of deal he made with Big Pharma. To me, as a citizen, it sounds like beating a stranger, taking their money, then thanking them for being so generous.

Obama is a moderate Republican on the policy level. It's that plain and simple. To date, he has not cared one bit about progressive solutions and has done all he could to prevent any policies but the Bush policies, which is what a moderate or conservative Republican president would have done. He's all hat and no cattle.

I could be wrong. But I think you've been had.


only on the internet would one think HCR is a complete sell out (1.33 / 6)

Giving 31 million people who can't afford health insurance...health insurance...while ending all sorts of horrible insurance practices...

THIS IS THE MOST OBSCENELY LIBERAL THING THAT WILL HAVE EVER PASSED CONGRESS

The bottom line of this bill is a liberal's wet dream...its my wet dream

In 2004 I would never imagine such a left wing proposal would even get a floor vote

This will make the country take A HUGE GIGANTIC STEP leftward, and will finally put us on a track to become much more like France and England than Argentina

You guys sound like ultra-right wing conservatives who said they opposed the 1981 reagan budget because it was too liberal


[ Parent ]
Agree, partly (4.00 / 2)
Yes, some health care reform is better than no health care reform. My point is that Obama was and is far from taking any truly progressive idea and using it to better the legislation. Instead he made side deals that reflected his policy views (basically buy off Big Pharma, hospitals, and insurance companies by catering to their needs) and constrained what Congress could then do.

In a perfect world, health care reform would have been fairly simple: either expand Medicare (a public program) or expand the health care Congress gets (a private program). Build out existing programs and fund it with a return tax rates on the top 1% of income earners to 1950s-1960s rates (60-90% above a certain amount).

Instead we get a new Rube Goldberg program which strongly suggests this is not about progressive ideals but, instead, about the usual Republican ideals and geared to the needs of the usual Republican audiences (e.g. giant corporations, insurers, pharmaceuticals, and the wealthiest of the wealthy).

Finally I'd disagree this is the most obscenely liberal thing that will ever have passed Congress. I was a kid but the Civil Rights bill, the EPA bill, the Social Security bill in the 1930s, and many other bills probably have that honor.


[ Parent ]
I'll say "Duh!" to myself over this (4.00 / 2)
I was a kid but the Civil Rights bill, the EPA bill, the Social Security bill in the 1930s,

WRT my comment below.


[ Parent ]
31 million is like 3/5 of a person. (4.00 / 3)
If Obama had been doing civil rights, they'd still be at the back of the bus because "he wouldn't have had the votes".   Obama is all bull shit.    

[ Parent ]
That is deeply offensive (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Forcing people to buy junk insurance from the same companies that treat them like shit? (4.00 / 17)
Oh yeah, fucking FDR would weep over the leap in social progress here. It makes Johnson's great society look like it was made of LEGO.

It's so lefty, I'm surprised that Baucus isn't wearing a Che T-shirt.

Get fucking real.


[ Parent ]
Honestly, that's ridiculous (4.00 / 12)
Here are some things off the top of my head that are more liberal that have passed Congress:

1) The 13, 14, and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution.
2) The 16th Amendment
3) The 19th Amendment
4) The ERA, which passed Congress but wasn't ratified by enough states
5) The Wagner Act (as originally passed, not after Taft-Hartley gutted it)
6) The Social Security Act of 1965

The Senate bill guarantees the right of the (largely for-profit) Insurance Industry to have customers, by fining us if we don't buy their product.  That's not particularly liberal, in my book.

I can't believe that the Senate bill is your "wet dream" compared to, say Medicare for All.  Why would forcing people to buy still pretty crappy insurance be such a wonderful fantasy to you?


[ Parent ]
disagree (0.00 / 0)
I guess I should have stated "that will ever pass and a president will sign" but it sounded awkward to type, so that gets rid of 4 & 5

I think both the circumstances and composition of the immediate post-civil war government exclude it from the purposes of this discussion

while womens suffrage certainly originated from strong 19th century liberals...the final movement and ultimate acceptance was bipartisan...in fact...given the very bipartisan nature of amendments, these aren't really liberal policies putting america to the left...but society moving leftwards and the states/congress going with them

I think some elements of the great society are below Obama's HC proposal, some like SS and Medicare are close to a tie

But really HCR is so powerful...because not only does it have the huge power of things like medicare and social security...it also doesn't simply target a voting block like the older white voters...it helps the working poor, and in a way MUCH more costly than federal welfare programs


[ Parent ]
Okay, so when you ALL CAPS your hyperbole (4.00 / 13)
I should just infer a series of exceptions and caveats, because you couldn't be bothered to type what you mean.

Got it.

And how does "that will ever pass and the President will sign" "get rid of" passage of the Wagner Act?  It passed and was signed into law.

it helps the working poor, and in a way MUCH more costly than federal welfare programs

It's not clear how much it will help the working poor.  The insurance that folks will be buying is not going to be particularly good.  And since it will still be legal to jack the price up due to factors like age (though not as much as now, without any limits) it won't be that affordable for many, many people.  

As for cost...I'm supposed to judge how liberal a policy is by its cost?  By that measure, the Bush tax cuts were even more liberal, since they cost an incredible amount and happened to help working people a little.  Cost is actually one of the bill's weaknesses:  it costs a lot, and Congress will be under incredible pressure to either cut costs or raise revenue to make ends meet.  If they raise revenue, it seems that it's likely to me that they'll revive the excise tax, which is designed to raise tax money and degrade the quality of health insurance offered.  Or, they can cut costs by loosening regulations on insurance companies, or they can play off one constituency against another (say, by lifting limits on rate increases for certain groups of customers).

I can accept someone who says that, unfortunately, passing this is better than not.  I can't accept someone cheerleading for a bill that legally establishes that the Insurance Industry has a legal right to a government-enforced customer base, with at best a modest set of regulations to insure that those customers will get access to good health care for their money.


[ Parent ]
You are so wrong (4.00 / 21)
This bill doesn't "give" 31 million people insurance. It gives maybe 10 million Medicaid (some of whom are eligible now and didn't know it). The rest have to pay some (10 million) or all (10 million) of their premiums. The Cadillac tax is the only funding mechanism that grows fast enough to cover the cost of these subsidies, so within two decades the middle class will in be struggling to buy not only their own insurance but also insurance for the poor, while the wealthy escape scot-free. And the insurance is crap, as low as 60% AV with deductibles and co-pays up to the HSA amount (~$11,000 today). How is this ending insurance industry worst practices? There is still 3:1 age rating and no limit on denial of claims. The state-based exchanges will be easy for the industry to manipulate, and will make it almost impossible to add a national public option later. This bill is to the right of Romneycare which has better subsidies and no Cadillac tax; it's not progressive at all.

[ Parent ]
Well I agree that this legislation is obscene (4.00 / 8)
but it's most certainly not liberal, unless by "liberal" you mean liberal in its ceding of power over our lives to the insurance industry.

[ Parent ]
YOU must work for the DNC (0.00 / 0)
or DCCC or DLC.

[ Parent ]
Obama as Moderate Republican? or Neoliberal Republican? (4.00 / 3)
I think his econ polices are pretty Neolib. And that has affected his approach to health insurance "reform."

He never, I think, actually wanted universal health CARE; he just wanted to protect the viability and profitability of the Big Insurers.

As he wanted to protect the same for the Big Banksters.

He if not from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and if he could have been elected in Chicago as a Repub he most likely would have run as one. But that was not the way to political success, so he ran as a Dem. But no way is he progessive or lib.

Neoliberal Republican.


[ Parent ]
If HCR passes w/ no PO (4.00 / 3)
Then we need to target the politicians most responsible for it's failure, and replace them, or at least, make their lives miserable.

But, if there's no public option in this bill, then DROP IT. It wasn't that great an idea to begin with, and if we don't have to compromise on a stupid bailout bill, there's no need to pursue it beyond that.

The public option was a good idea for this bill, but if it's not included, screw it. Go for Medicare for All.


If the public option is gone, the individual mandate is still there (0.00 / 0)
So no, we can't just "screw it".

[ Parent ]
Why would you want a mandate without the public option? (4.00 / 2)
That's no reason to support the bill.

[ Parent ]
Wait, I think I misinterpreted the meaning of "screw it" (0.00 / 0)
I thought you meant we should just pass the bill without a public option and "fix it later".

[ Parent ]
I guess I mean to say (0.00 / 0)
that a "Medicare for All" Buy-in would be better to push for than the public option that is in the House bill.

So, if/when the Public Option is defeated in this bill, stop pushing it, and go for something better. (This does not preclude punitive measures on the worst of the democrats who have acted in bad faith.)


[ Parent ]
Oh yeah, sure (0.00 / 0)
But if a public option with negotiated rates is defeated, I don't see how a Medicare buy-in will pass, unless members of Congress are really that colossally ignorant.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, in the short term... (0.00 / 0)
I agree with you.

Long term, there are better goals to push for than the public option.


[ Parent ]
So basically he blackmailed progressives: (3.60 / 10)
"If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side ... would be difficult if not impossible"

No one wonder Grijalva found it "compelling." It was a shakedown.


Yes Blackmail for Progressives but he had two meetings today... (4.00 / 4)

the other meeting was with the BlueDogs and his tool of preference was Bribery, some pork spread around the table. Afterall everyone touts BO's pragmatic style, i'd call it ends-justifies-the-means  style. The two Demo caucus leaders come out of their respective meetings singing the same tune. "We will have the votes to pass HCR."

This will turn out to be the most notorious shellgame ever perpetrated by an administration on it's citizenry. After the House passes the current "Healthcare Reform Bill" the votes for any Reconciliation Bill will have disappeared or, better yet the reconciliation will be tabled "for awhile" so that our leadership can focus on the many pressing issues on the agenda (jobs,stimulus,banking reform, pick something ...) and there will not be a reconciliation---this Senate bill will be a fait d'accompi. And on to future adventures.Very compelling indeed.


[ Parent ]
If Bush wins, it will be your fault because you voted for Nader. (4.00 / 3)
We've been here before, and they aren't going to sell it again.  People are very bi-partisan.  They don't give a damn which party they throw out of office.  

[ Parent ]
Standard Operating Procedure (4.00 / 3)
emotional blackmail, fear-mongering and/or personal attacks--see draxinum's comments

[ Parent ]
Shakesdowns are in with this administration:His mandates are basically (4.00 / 1)
Corporate SHAKEDOWNS with Government Muscle.

For Obama's Big Health Insurance Parasites' BAILOUT.

Did we elect a stealth candidate as president?  


[ Parent ]
pres obama (0.00 / 0)
has the stomach to fight to get himself elected but not the stomach to fight for those that elected him in the first place, its not the size of the fighter that counts but the size of the fight in the fighter, something that pres yes we can forgot about along the way to the wh and the power he obviously isn't competent enough to use for the good of the country that he supposedly cares so much about, unless of course that means actually keeping his campaign promises, just another politician sticking it to the voters as usual.  

Reactions here are so typical (2.00 / 4)
I would venture to guess that many of the same people who criticize Chris for being "conned" also have complained in the past for Obama not acting appreciative of the contributions of the Left.

More to the point, I don't know what Obama is expected to do right now, except summon every possible argument and rhetorical device to get the damn Senate bill passed, with whatever slight modifications are realistic.  


Blowing off progressives is blowing off progressives (4.00 / 18)
even if you say, "Hey, thanks so much for your input."

I generally don't put much stock in the "Obama is an organizer!" line, but him saying, "Thank you for your great contributions to the effort" to a group that he's blowing off is a moment I recognize as a former organizer.  


[ Parent ]
a particularly bad organiser :) (4.00 / 3)
you're supposed to have a power analysis, not organise the group of some of the most privileged and powerful people in the world (congress) to have greater collective feeling.

[ Parent ]
The President should try to round up votes for the public option in both houses of Congress (4.00 / 1)
This should be a lot easier than it sounds given that the votes are theoretically already there.  There were 220 (now 217) votes for it in the House (and 208-210 for the Medicare+5 one!) and 52-56 votes for it in the Senate.

But no, "the votes aren't there".  Even when, um, they are.


[ Parent ]
There's no real evidence that they were ever there in the Senate, was there? n/t (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Only their words (4.00 / 4)
which they should be held accountable to, preferably by someone who is a good communicator, has a devoted, easily-mobilized following and has a high-profile, visible platform that is guaranteed to get national attention.

Gee, it's too bad I can't think of anyone who fits that description...


[ Parent ]
THis is as perfect an example of as any of what I mean by process (4.00 / 1)
based on fear.

Serious question: How do you know that one way or other, other than the fact you are told to fear that outcome?

What's better, to try to actually have a vote to find out, or to assume you don't have the vote and thus guarantee that you won't win?

Finally, are you so sure what people say in private is what they will do in the light of day of actual vote that they know is heavily favored by the public at large rather than just liberals?

My questions here illustrate all that is lost in saying there is no evidence. That's because we won't permit there to be any evidence until we are absolutely certain of something we can not possibly know until we actually hold the damn vote.


[ Parent ]
When did I say I don't want a vote? (4.00 / 1)
I'm saying that the "oh, we have a majority in favor of this great bill but we need 60 votes and mean Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Nelson won't let us have it!" was quite likely a bunch of bullshit all along.  

I want to see a vote in the Senate on a good PO, and if it fails I'm not prepared to give any thanks or credit to the Dems who vote for it.  Voting for something that's going to lose is the easiest vote those folks cast.


[ Parent ]
You didn't respond to any of my questions (0.00 / 0)
This is quite frustrating. Please respond to what I specifically asked you. The point of having light on the vote is to know who people are rather than what they are saying in letters and behind the scene. So, that you don't have to guess anymore. And, yes, to vote for something that is to fail while others don't vote for it would be eye opening, yes or no?  

[ Parent ]
I did respond to your questions (0.00 / 0)
Your question:
How do you know that one way or other, other than the fact you are told to fear that outcome?

My answer:

I'm saying that the "oh, we have a majority in favor of this great bill but we need 60 votes and mean Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Nelson won't let us have it!" was quite likely a bunch of bullshit all along.

That was a sort of indirect answer, but I think it's clear that I'm saying that I don't know, but have suspicions.

Your second question:

What's better, to try to actually have a vote to find out, or to assume you don't have the vote and thus guarantee that you won't win?

My answer:

I want to see a vote in the Senate on a good PO, and if it fails I'm not prepared to give any thanks or credit to the Dems who vote for it.  Voting for something that's going to lose is the easiest vote those folks cast.

Your last question is answered by my other answers:  I'm explicitly stating that I suspect that their alleged support was bullshit all along, and am calling for exactly that vote in the light of day to see who's on our side.

So, first you infer based on god knows what that I don't want a vote, and ask me why I don't want one.  I explicitly say that I want one, and never said I didn't, and you say I didn't answer your question.  And you say that you're the one who's frustrated!


[ Parent ]
If you want an up or down vote, then what's your point here? (0.00 / 0)
No speculation is necessary as the speculation is used as a means of avoiding the vote. You also don't need qualifiers like good public option and other seeming conditionals that I am sensing from this latest post that you don't mean as conditional. The context of the conversation is the need to place conditionals on whether we have a public option vote. Whether there are enough votes? Whether the public option is good? Etc. Those are conditionals.  

[ Parent ]
The context (0.00 / 0)
liberal maverick said this:

There were 220 (now 217) votes for it in the House (and 208-210 for the Medicare+5 one!) and 52-56 votes for it in the Senate.

But no, "the votes aren't there".  Even when, um, they are.

It's fair to call the House's passage of their bill a vote on the PO, so there's a hard count there.  But AFAIK there was never anything like a hard count in the Senate.  The nose-counting on the Dear Majority Leader letter isn't really a hard count, in my book.  But I asked because maybe there was some kind of commitment-mechanism out there that I'm not aware of.  I didn't know what liberalmaverick was referring to, so I asked.

I said "good public option" to indicate that the term can be used pretty broadly, and I'm not interested in the Senate fig-leafing it by constructing some tiny, irrelevant program, calling it "the Public Option" and telling us we got what we wanted and now need to shut up.


[ Parent ]
response (4.00 / 3)
a) My view is that all of this guessing is unnecessary, and plays, frankly into the leaderships hand. It has taken me a while to understand their strategy, but it is confusion. Eliminate that with a vote, and I think they will fold. Their hand depends on never having a floor vote. Once there is one, they are screwed. Either they vote yes, or incur Democratic base anger. This is why I think all this process talks favors them. It obscures the true battle.

b) A tiny public option that's really controlled by the government rather than the private sector is better than no public option. The overton window here is the inclusion of the idea. That's why the industry fought it so hard with billions of dollars. They understand as do I what this is about. What world view will win out. Once the world view is in place, we can expand it. Without, you are tweak at the edges and get pats on the head. It is , at base, about power. That power derives from breaking the back here. That's why they could not even let a small program into existence. They have seen the polling.


[ Parent ]
Responses (4.00 / 1)
On a):  I agree completely.  I want a vote, period.  Win or lose, we find out who voted which way.  

On b):  That's a complicated issue, in that the bill that could pass will create a system with lots and lots of problems.  If they create a PO that's set to fail, that may discredit the notion of any public option.  But I do see your point about establishing the principle.  Frankly, I haven't sat down and worked out in really fine detail what the minimum "good enough" PO would be for me.  I hope I get a chance to judge what passes based on that criterion.


[ Parent ]
I think it would be impossible to create a plan that could actually fail (4.00 / 1)
due to the the health insurance private sector being what it is. Most of the assumptions of failure are based on CBO assumptions about the private sector. those assumptions underestimated the problem in the past, and I believe as per the recent spat of premium increases, they are underestimating it now.  

[ Parent ]
Actually they aren't afraid of losing anything but donations. (0.00 / 0)
I think it is pretty safe to say that the White House and leadership of both houses of Congress are in bed with the health industry.   They just make up all the lies to convince us there is nothing they can do about controlling health insurance increases.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
Not fine detail, but a minimum "good enough" PO for me (0.00 / 0)
would be an actual government-run health insurance program available in every insurance exchange in every state (state opt-out is acceptable), so that anyone who doesn't have insurance and has to have insurance because of the new mandate, but can't access any other public health insurance programs, can access this public option.

This upholds the principle that anyone should be able to choose a public health insurance program to satisfy a government mandate, and it provides a minimum, actual government-run public plan (not co-opt and not triggered) that can really be built upon and improved in the future.


[ Parent ]
It's pretty obvious Obama has sold out to the insurance industry. (4.00 / 3)
He's never backed the PO since the day he was elected.  Where I hang out a guy like him would be called a lying bastard.  Of course I'd never say that about him.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
And every other industry. (0.00 / 0)
He's finished, as far as I'm concerned!

[ Parent ]
Senators and Congressmen have done everything (4.00 / 5)
but take out a full page ad telling people that Obama did not want the public option.   He undermined it every step of the way.   If they can pass a boondoggle with 51 votes, they can pass real health care reform with 51 votes.  

[ Parent ]
Yes -- pass NAFTA (4.00 / 5)
at whatever cost! That's the ticket.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Gee, Impressive Negotiation Skills (4.00 / 11)
So for ONE Republican Senator, Obama will give up everything, but for his base, nada.

How impressive.

How many times does his own Chief of Staff, big corporations, and Republicans have to screw this guy before he figures this out?

And don't even pretend to lecture me about saving 30 million, anybody can see this is all about saving the very same health care insurance industry that fucked us.


One term Obama (4.00 / 4)
Alan Greyson would be a better president. I'd be behind him if he challenged Babar in 2012

Extraordinary progressive star in the making

Weiner/Grayson 2012 (4.00 / 2)
Too soon? How about 2016? Is it just me or are the politicians running out of scams. It gets easier to connect the dots. Obama is good, though. Damn. He made me believe again. But, my grandmas words keep ringing in my head, "The proof is in the pudding."  Simply put, actions speak louder than words. I don't want to believe that Obama is just another schiester taking us all for a ride. Is he really a republican that knew he would never win enough republican votes because they weren't ready to accept a black man; so he decided to run on the democrat ticket because he knew that progressives were the only ones ready to elect a black man president. He sure makes conservative moves. Am I crazy, or am I correct? The pundits seem to think that Obama is liberal. He talks like one but I don't see it in his decisions. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I am ready to support any true progressive candidates that run for office to help us make the necessary changes for the future of our country. I'm sad because I truly thought that Obama was the man to really take us into the 21st century. It's hard to accept that he was faking all that. Damn, if that's the case, he should be an actor. Oscar material. Or did he change after he was elected? I don't see any good coming from Rahm. He seemed to be a curse to the Clinton admin. and now he's working his black magic on Obama. Is he a corporate pimp or a republican mole? Or both? I don't know. I hope I'm wrong, but my gut is telling me otherwise.  

[ Parent ]
now that this is done (4.00 / 4)
can we start saying 'full medicare eligibility expansion' or 'medicare for all' or 'full medicare' or something like that instead of 'public option'?  or does that not make sense?  i'm more interested in the substance than the rhetoric, but i think sometimes the obsession with the term 'public option' is detracting from actually winning one.

Are you talking about a change in policy to go along with the change in name? (0.00 / 0)
Cuz the last thing we need to do is rename a weak, negotiated-rates public option "Medicare for All".  That is not going to help us get actual Medicare for All in the future.

[ Parent ]
no i am talking abotu what is being asked for (4.00 / 2)
as you note, 'public option' is an ideological plank - it covers everything from crap minimal government intervention that is gutted by restrictions to something like medicare or the VA programme.  I mean more towards the latter.  I think spending political capital to get the first kind - the too-weak kind (is not worth it).

So i'm talking about changing the language, but also competing languages among progressives to establish that we want not just A public option simply for the principle but a GOOD public option that provides QUALITY healthcare instead of being something that is used as a mere backstop or more cynically to demonstrate that public healthcare doesn't work (when all evidences pretty much everywhere demonstrates that it does, as does most economic theorization that i've read etc etc etc.).

I'm perfectly happy to accept obama's formulation that universal health care might look different in the united states than in other OECD countries, but those differences have implications and so does what variety of public option is pursued.  The people making decisions, I think, know that - maybe I'm giving them too much credit here - and will exploit that so I would like us to put forward a breadth of progressive planks on what the 'public option' really means in moving towards a consensus and getting it implemented.


[ Parent ]
"might look different" (4.00 / 3)

President Obama's formulation isn't that it "might look different" but that it has to look different. This, from his speech on 3 March:

On one end of the spectrum, there are some who have suggested scrapping our system of private insurance and replacing it with government-run health care. Though many other countries have such a system, in America it would be neither practical nor realistic.

Ignoring the fact that very few people are suggesting "government-run health care" (such as Britain's NHS or our own VA), a phrase that's uncomfortably close to the right-wing talking point of "a government 'takeover' of health care," there's nothing impractical or unrealistic about a government-run health insurance program. He's been ruling out one sensible alternative, merely by waving his arms and spouting nonsense. I don't accept that formulation.



[ Parent ]
yes but he's talking in 2010 (0.00 / 0)
i think the best way to look at things right now is to get the most that you can while putting in place the groundwork for something better.  Either that, or allow the republicans to precipitate a crisis that will change social politics altogether like 1929 - (but that comes with a lot more real pain than you're seeing now and i'm not sure it would be morally conscionable).

given that, what i want at minimum is something that won't impede the development of single payer health care like other OECD countries have.  What I would like right now, given that these particular people are in office and are about to pass something, is a program that might lead to it (e.g. gradual expansion of medicare).

of course, what we are all getting is, as you point out, not meeting even the minimum standard i set out above, which makes me angry.  there is no argument about pragmatism or ideology that can justify that - it's either stupidity or unconscionable stupidity or i am misreading the political situation.


[ Parent ]
Dear god (4.00 / 1)
I hadn't even seen that or known he said that.  And I am shocked.

In 2003 he was for Medicare for All, saying the only problem is the lack of Democratic control of the House, Senate and White House.

Then in 2007 he said he was against it because the employer-based private health insurance system was too strong, but implicit in that was that when people got used to the idea of government health insurance it would be possible.

Now he's saying that "in America" it would be "neither practical nor realistic"... ever, apparently.

Well, for the second time this week, I say this: FUCK YOU, President Obama.

(And for the record, a NHS-style government-run health delivery system is at least worthy of consideration and study.  Why rule it out?)


[ Parent ]
i understand why obama rules it out (0.00 / 0)
he doesn't want to lose his job and is reluctant to continue the polarisation in politics, for better or for worse.  from the health care telecarnival, it was clear he sees himself as an arbiter between the two parties rather than as the head of the democrat party - on at least one occasion and i would guess more than one.

what i don't understand is why the rest of us,, from the cpc to bloggers to most but not all others have ruled out as part of the debate and to a lesser  i think that was a grand failure from the outset.

there was a little more thought in making sure that it gets included so that we have it by 2030, i think, but it was never stated explicitly and it wasn't followed through upon, perhaps out of reasonable concerns, but i think it was poor strategy.

i suppose that's part of engaging a legislative process from within as much as many progressive bloggers and others have over the coures of the debate and overidentification (in practice) with the democratic party's or the president's interests.


[ Parent ]
Medicare buy in..... (0.00 / 0)
No free loaders allowed in this country!

[ Parent ]
no because it would have a chance of passing. (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
And some of Obama's rich friends would go broke. (4.00 / 5)
[ Parent ]
So, Obamacare is a "foundation"? (4.00 / 11)
Funny, because passing this insurance industry written plan under the guise of health care reform seems the surest way to take it off the agenda - for a long time.

Every politician running this fall simply addresses any "further" reform by saying "Well, we'll just have to see how this new plan works out."

And the "plan" doesn't kick in for years.


Exactly! (4.00 / 3)
The timelines are inconsistent.

It has been said that if this bill fails, the issue will not be revisited for 10-30 years.  I don't understand how the pressure to change a broken system evaporates if nothing is done.  Yet, those who push the concept of "fix it later" somehow wish to believe that, despite the Obama "victory" on HCR, the congress will be ready to get to work fixing the bill they just passed.

Doesn't add up.


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


[ Parent ]
my gut feeling is that's how it has actually worked actually (0.00 / 0)
i'm not sure if that's right because my gut feeling was formed in a different era (1994 to 2008 say).  but i don't think that in the congressional and political bureaucracy there would be real willingness to expend political capital on a massive legislative overhaul (even if it results in working ont he edges of the current system) if prior large efforts failed.  and i'm concious that the democrats have a widespread reputation of always failing - which is actually a problem, given that i wish they had a reputation for caving in to republicans too frequently and doing the WRONG thing not f"£king up the right thing.

i think these kinds of issues are going to increase on the political agenda with this long term economic situation they've managed to create and leave unaddressed, so like i said i could be wrong.  but i can't imagine the 2012 or 2016 presidential candidates being willing to expend so much political capital on the issue without some prospect of success.  and additionally, passing this bill makes it relatively easier to move forward.  for example, once this bill is passed, you have already had a year of debate about the public option (whatever that means) and the next debate can be primarily about the extent that government shoudl provide its own healthcare whether through medicare or through a new programme or something else.  not now, but in the future.  and in the meantime, there's a minimal amount that's been done, as opposed to letting the present system continue with abuses totally unmitigated except from the insurance companies' awareness that there is political pressure against them (which they seem to not care about, ever).

also, i think this is exactly the wrong moment to drop the fight for the public option.  i want a good public option, but it would be great to see a threat to sink the bill at the last minute without the inclusion of the principle of a public option - e.g. the government will set up a public option by 2018 or something.  a punt would be better than something bad or no inclusion at all.

just some thoughts.


[ Parent ]
Good analyses from a political perspective (0.00 / 0)
but even corporations - and the right wing Governor of my own state that is looking to be President, Tim Pawlenty - can see that the cost of the status quo - for profit insurance - is not sustainable in the the next 10-12 years. There are socio-economic pressures that are pushing this "reform" effort that are not only political.

Its a risk, but passing no bill will likely leave that particular kettle simmering - it will have to be dealt with. No option to leave it sit. I fear that passing a half-measure will be like turning down the heat. It won't solve the issue, but it will make it easier to ignore.


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


[ Parent ]
hmm (0.00 / 0)
i think the kettle will still boiling.  the arguments for half measures will be gone and the problem still won't be solved - certainly not morally and i don't think economically or politically either.  i think it will just mount.

[ Parent ]
maybe "I hope" is a better phrase here than "I think" (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
LOL you silly progressives let the adults talk now (4.00 / 4)
This is freaking sooooo funny.

If he has the votes to give the insurance industry their love kiss then why wait until Easter break...

Pass the crap now... why wait. 31 million people are still waiting and waiting...

Oh wait they are looking for another excuse to delay it again....


We're Still Negotiating (4.00 / 5)
And here's how it works:

You fuck me - I will fuck you

Don't believe me?

Watch this November.


[ Parent ]
Alot of people don't care that "kill the bill" (0.00 / 1)
means 31 million people won't have coverage.  All they care about is that they don't have the public option.

[ Parent ]
31 million people won't have coverage for years even with the bill. (4.00 / 8)
Take Medicare for All into the fall elections.

We can always pass this piece of garbage in two years and have lost nothing.


[ Parent ]
Yes, we'll have lost the majority (4.00 / 1)
because an ineffective Dem Congress & White House couldn't pass HCR with 60 Senate votes.  Then they'll be no reform.  And sorry, everyone doesn't want to be on Medicare.  

[ Parent ]
We'll lose the majority (4.00 / 3)
because people don't like being forced by their government to pay for private insurance they don't want.  Also, because Democrats can't sell their way out of a cardboard box.

Everyone doesn't want to be slaves to the insurance corporatocracy, but hey, what do we DFHs matter?  Funny though, I think Medicare for All polls better than the Senate health insurance "reform" bill.


[ Parent ]
what everyone wants right now is irrelevant (0.00 / 0)
what everyone wants after being informed of what the options are is relevant.  that is the purpose of political debates.  

i doubt 99.9999% of the population, including me, would be able to evaluate whether their insurance is better now or would be better if they were on a medicare or VA type plan - let's have a broad and deep conversation (they kind whoever succeeds or challenges obama can initiate - maybe obama himself ;) so that people can really make up their minds.

And in the process gut fox news's credibility.


[ Parent ]
You already have.... (4.00 / 3)
Once they get a clue what Obama and the Democrats did to the working people in this country, Reagan Democrats will rise again - in droves.    

[ Parent ]
Sure, and those Reagan Dems are clamoring for... (4.00 / 1)
Kucinich?!? LOL (per your sig)

[ Parent ]
They are clamouring for a break! (0.00 / 0)
They want a champion for justice, not a bunch of DLC corporatists selling them up the river just so they can increase their profits.  

[ Parent ]
They also care about (4.00 / 6)
They have to buy insurance they don't want

There will be no regulation to prevent insurance company abuse

There is no control on premium prices.

The limitation on pre-existing conditions is weak and expensive

Doesn't start for four years.

31 million people have to come up with the money to buy insurance.

that's for starters.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
So many people don't understand (2.00 / 2)
that Obama was never "do or die" on the public option. Health Care Reform was always much bigger than that one aspect of it for him.  Many single payer advocates made that issue their holy grail, but to be believe Obama campaigned on the "must have" nature of that issue is false.   For him, the PO was always negotiable.  I'm confused why so many fellow progressives are surprised by that.

Because its not real reform (4.00 / 4)
unless it either achieves single payer outright, or clearly and irrevocably puts us on the path.

[ Parent ]
I don't care what President Obama thinks (4.00 / 10)
it's not negotiable for me, and for millions of others who, in polling, say they do not support the bill unless there's a PO in it.  Those people are gonna be the ones who rebel against the health care bill and sink Democratic majorities in November 2010.

As for surprises, here's how President Obama has surprised me:

1. He was against an individual mandate during the primary run, and picked a huge fight with Hillary Clinton over it.  Now he embraces it without so much as a peep of clarification.

2. He was against taxing high-end insurance plans during the general election, and picked a huge fight with John McCain over it.  Now he embraces it without so much as a peep of clarification.

3. He was for the public option during his presidential run and all through the last year, and spoke longingly for it, but he didn't actually do anything for it.  He did push hard for other stuff he actually cared about, though.

4. He was all for getting people around a big table and letting everyone have their say so people can say who were the bad guys.  He didn't do this until a year into the process, when he actually had to, and the supposed bad guys didn't look bad.  In fact, he's putting the bad guys' ideas into his plan.

5. He was for transparency and having everything out in the open, but he cut a closed-room deal with the hospital lobby to kill the public option and a closed-room deal with the pharmaceutical lobby to kill drug importation and rate negotiation.  Which leads me to

6. He was for drug importation, but now he's against it, and we only know why cuz his hand was caught in Billy Tauzin's panties.

and

7. He was for drug price negotiation, but now he's against it, and we only know why cuz his hand was caught in Billy Tauzin's panties.

So, yeah, he's been full of surprises alright!  I'm still waiting for a good one.

I know President Obama has done some good on other issues (though he's been sorely disappointing on those as well) but on health care he's really been a disaster.  I don't know how you guys bring yourselves to keep defending him.  It must be like selling a 20-year old Ford Pinto whose engine is on fire.


[ Parent ]
Obviously, you're projecting (2.00 / 2)
onto Obama the agenda you wanted him to push, not the one he was pushing.  He told you he wasn't going to do single payer and that a public option was important but not "must have." But, I guess you'll just have to be disappointed and sit home this and next November (or idiotically vote Nader).

[ Parent ]
If people vote for Nader (4.00 / 1)
it will be Obama's fault

[ Parent ]
It will be the fault of dumb people throwing their votes away (2.00 / 2)
like they did in 2000 voting for a GOP poser (Nader).

[ Parent ]
The biggest throwaway of a vote would be to vote for the guy I dislike and who screwed me and my goals for a better country over (0.00 / 0)
that being President Barack Obama.

Think about it: If I really don't like what he's done and I think he screwed me over, why should I vote for him?

You keep talking about "idiots" and "dumb people" (and I love how you call Nader a "GOP poser", ignoring the actual GOP poser in this discussion).  Only an idiot or a dumb person would cower in fear and vote for a guy they abhor because they're scared of the GOP boogeyman/woman that might come get them if they don't.

Besides which, the President is pretty helpless thanks to ridiculous Senate rules, right?  So even if a Republican becomes President, our liberal Senators can still filibuster anything they try to pass.  Works for me.


[ Parent ]
The bottom line is the bottom line. (4.00 / 6)
Even though liberalmaverick makes a solid case that Obama is a rank opportunist, the fact that he is reversing his campaign statements is secondary to the fact that the legislation sucks.

I would be 100% against the individual mandate if Hillary was President...even though she was for it in the Primaries and wouldn't be contradicting herself.

The point is that Obama's sin of selling crap legislation is worse than his sin of being a flip-flopper, even though both are true.

BTW, some people will stay home next November and some people will vote for Nader in 2012.  Your personal opinion over whether they are idiots to do so is trumped by reality.  Too bad that it all could have been avoided if Obama was willing to fight for good HCR.


[ Parent ]
Bad policy makes bad politics (4.00 / 1)
as Ian Welsh has said again and again.

[ Parent ]
Omfg you missed my entire freakin point (0.00 / 0)
My whole point was that what Obama says =/= what he actually does.  You said you were confused why we liberals were surprised by him, and I answered you: we're surprised because we as human beings tend to be surprised when people don't do what they say they'll do, and when they do what they said they wouldn't do.

Or in other words, yeah Obama tells me a lot of things, but many of them are not true.  So all that stuff that comes out of Obama's mouth doesn't really matter cuz it's usually the substantive equivalent to what farmers refer to as "manure".

I listed seven instances where he grossly contradicted himself.  The worst one is #5 where he agreed to kill the PO in a closed-room deal with the for-profit hospitals.  Read about it here and then see if you agree with me that this is simply unforgivable on President Obama's part.

Now, even if you set that aside and pretend that it never happened (though it did), there's still #3, where Obama campaigned on a public option and still openly and frequently said he wanted one.  Now, it's true he never said that it was a must-have, but even so, the amount of effort he actually spent on trying to get the public option passed is very small compared to the amount of positive rhetoric he gave favoring it.  So yes, I still have a right to be disappointed, thank you.


[ Parent ]
Why don't you back this up with some facts (4.00 / 3)
He campaigned continuously for a "Public Plan" as he called it.  Just because you want to kiss his ass doesn't mean what you say is true.  

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
I said that, if you read more clearly. (0.00 / 0)
But he did not say it was "must have" or that we can't have HCR w/o it.  It was important, but negotiable.  

[ Parent ]
Everything is (4.00 / 10)
"negotiable" with Obama, except what his donors want.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The Obamapologists come up with a myriad of ways (4.00 / 1)
To cover up his lies and triangulating.  

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
we're not surprised, we're angry (0.00 / 0)
there seemed to be two ends to health care reform for those who believed in needed to be done:
one was broadly fiscally focused and centered around containing costs in the long run;
the other was expansion and improvement of coverage.

This bill does some of both, but it does very little to change the system of health care provision to enhance the coverage.  

Health care needs to be a universal entitlement, both for business reasons (take costs of off wal-mart and others' books, more productive workers), fiscal consequences of health care spending reasons (contain overall costs, spend consts more effectively, negotiate pharma prices, etc.), and progressive ideological reasons (provide good quality and accountable health care).  But the interests that represent the first two are not really understanding this and so we get a deal that's still too weighted towards the crap system we have now with some really raelly important improvements.

But that doesn't mean we're not angry that the current system has to change so slowly and there's no guarantee it will change further or that this change will not actually block the development of free and fair health care for all.  It depends how it plays out - I'm nervous, slightly skeptical about its promise, seriously skeptical about its ability to deliver, cynical about the waiting period until 2013, disappointed at the scope, impressed at the minor things it does (like mandated percentage of premiums that have to be spent on care) etc.

The reason Obama is the target is two fold - in American politics, the President stands in as a symbol for most of what's going on, whatever you're talking about; and Obama has done nothing to counter that (which is why he is making the extortionary but accurate argument that his presidency may rest on succeeding - which is probably the reason why it will succeed).


[ Parent ]
People understand (4.00 / 6)
very well. Obama never supported the PO until Edwards did. He dropped it as soon as he could.

HCR is "much bigger" for him because his primary goal is bailing out the insurance companies. Maybe you haven't caught on yet, but most people have and they will respond accordingly in November.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Sure, welcome Speaker Boehner (1.33 / 3)
and then you'll get the HCR you want LOL.  Idiocy.

[ Parent ]
most of us non democratic progressives (4.00 / 2)
know that there is no reason to prefer one or the other but for the sake of tribalism.  As Bruh  pointed out, we didn't vote for a thank you note.  

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Right, because the polices are the same. (2.00 / 2)
No difference between covering 3 million (GOP plan) vs. 31 million (Obama) people.  Yep, sure, you're right.  They're the same.  You're so wise.

[ Parent ]
We would have gotten the same bill from McCain (4.00 / 1)
he proposed excise taxes, and mandates.  Obama admits  this is Romney's plan!

My blog  

[ Parent ]
McCain's plan would not have covered 31 million people (4.00 / 1)
Please stop lying.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the HR Abuse (0.00 / 0)
When I get ratings ability, I will pay you back.

[ Parent ]
And now HR abuse from "David Kowalski" (1.33 / 3)
Thanks and sorry you're so intolerant.

[ Parent ]
Intolerant? (4.00 / 1)
You are the one who is hiding behind a handle.

You are the one who starts on March 4 and instantly starts multiple flame wars.

Go home troll and neverf come back.  You and your kinmd have left wreckages where blogs used to be because you keep trying to shout out every "opponent."

Speak the truth  my ***


[ Parent ]
If Obama loses (4.00 / 4)
the House, and/or his second term, it's on him, not us.

Taking responsibility for your actions -- it's not just for the little people.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Obama will personally be fine and very wealthy, (2.00 / 2)
the rest of us won't.  Your "principled stand" doesn't hurt him, it hurts the rest of US.

-A little person


[ Parent ]
Better a (4.00 / 4)
principled stand than an unprincipled one. You should try it sometime.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Tell that to people dying without coverage. (1.33 / 3)
I'm sure that principle will buy us "unprincipled little people" the eye surgery we need to see clearly. Must be nice to live in la la land.

[ Parent ]
Spare us the melodrama (4.00 / 6)
You are seriously trying to shame liberals -- who support more universal coverage, greater protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and lower medical and pharmaceutical costs -- about "people dying without coverage"?

Get the fuck over yourself.

My conscience is not going to be held hostage to the insurance industry.  There is a right way (or dozens of right ways) and a wrong way to do HCR.  Obama chose the wrong way, both as policy and as politics.  Tough shit for him.


[ Parent ]
No, tough shit for people who won't be able to get badly needed (2.00 / 2)
kidney surgeries because of Pre-X, but don't worry.  I'm sure they'll take your advice and "get the fuck over themselves."  To think, this is coming from someone who claims to be "liberal."

[ Parent ]
How badly needed? (4.00 / 4)
Because if they need that kidney surgery in the next few years, Obama's plan won't help them at all.

And even then, if the carrier doesn't want to pay the claim, what is there in Obama's plan that forces them to pay?  Preexisting conditions aren't the only item in their bag of tricks.  They can deny you for an entire policy of reasons.


[ Parent ]
I'd really like to know (0.00 / 0)
did you support the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill?

[ Parent ]
They will continue to die (4.00 / 3)
without coverage. That's what you don't get.

Your logic here is, "if only we give the bullies our lunch money, they will be nice to us." Doesn't work that way in the real world.  

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
I think he probably will be fine (4.00 / 4)
I am sure he has a job lined up, but atleast he won't be taking  my vote form a more deserving candidate.  

My blog  

[ Parent ]
We might get the HCR we want (4.00 / 1)
If Obama wasn't a sellout to the insurance and drug companies.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
You seem to care a lot about politics and Democrats winning elections (0.00 / 0)
So let's shove aside the little matter of a PO-less mandate being government-backed slavery to the insurance companies, and just focus on how it'll shake down come Election Day.

The current Senate bill with no PO has approval ratings of somewhere in the high 30s or low 40s.

The PO has approval ratings of somewhere in the high 50s to high 60s (or more).

Polling shows support going up significantly for the Senate bill if a PO is included.

It is generally presumed that passing popular policy helps reelect those who passed it.

Therefore, given all these facts, which is better for the Democrats' political future, PO or no PO?


[ Parent ]
Then why did he say it had to be in the bill (4.00 / 2)
Obama said the PO HAD to be in the bill over the summer. He campaigned on it.  I expect him to deliver what he said he would.  That's OK. I know better now. Hope he doesn't need people like me for money, GOTV, or votes.

[ Parent ]
You are correct (4.00 / 2)
Obama was never "do or die" for this thing called a "Public Option". The "do or die" part was reserved for saving the for profit insurance companies that actually employ the "Death Panels" to deny claims so that their shareholders profit and their executives can get bonuses.


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


[ Parent ]
And saving his own pathetic elitist ass with a worthless bill (0.00 / 0)
[ Parent ]
And he was adamant about no mandates! (0.00 / 0)
Does he mean what he says or not?   You can't have it both ways.  

[ Parent ]
Kill The Bill (4.00 / 5)
Obladi, oblada, ......

I am totally in favor of health care reform.
I am diametrically opposed to health insurance reform.


Thanks for the thorough reporting (0.00 / 0)
I appreciate the good background reporting of this post.

I'm pissed off that we are not getting more, but I do not feel like "Obama sold us out" on HCR. I want the senate bill to pass the house, with fixes in reconciliation. I honestly think that will be better than what could have come out of conference committee.

OTOH, I DO feel sold out on bank regulation, but that is another story.

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)


No, he really did sell us out (4.00 / 10)
at least on the public option and drug importation/rate negotiation.  Please read this if you haven't already.  It's a must-read for everyone here.

[ Parent ]
It IS a Must-Read (4.00 / 2)
Obama negotiated away the public option before the whole debate really even started. It's worse than the backroom PHARMA deals he made. What a scam artist.

[ Parent ]
Obama sells us out politely!!! (4.00 / 5)
Chris, you are being too gentle on BO.  What I get from this post is that he is so caught up in being nice to everybody that he will not fight for something that he really knows is the right thing.

He is the wrong person to be President.  Harry Truman famously said that if you want a friend in DC, get a dog.  BO has his dog and should be content with that.  To be a good President requires being tough and knowing when to fight.  This President is now willing or not able to fight for anything.

If he does not get tough between now and November 2012, he is likely to be a one term President.


Actually, he has fought for some things: Michael Hudson said Obama (4.00 / 2)
whipped like mad to get Bernanke confirmed -- and he promised reluctant Dem senators that he would be working hard to get a strong Consumer Protection Agency in place.

But, the didn't work for the Consumer Protection Agency.(Heard on Guns and Butter this morning on WBAI in NYC.)

Obama's done more than Bush ever could have to protect and coddle Wall Street and Banksters. Now, he's doing it for the BHIPpers (Big Health Industry Players), assuring them a strong revenue stream...until more and more people simply can't afford even the subsidized costs of the health insurers' demands.


[ Parent ]
What's the point of giving money to progressives (4.00 / 5)
if they give in all the time.  Thanks for nothin!  

My blog  

I learned to zip up my wallet in 2006. (0.00 / 0)
Drive thru ATMs for a bunch of liars.  

[ Parent ]
Well if I'm going to get a BJ I prefer lips touch my skin (4.00 / 7)
I pat on the head isn't going to do it for me.

Here is the truth:

1. The Senate version does some good things but overall is BAD policy as it doesn't control the insurance industries need to screw us all over. A PO would do more to control costs.

2. The House version is better than the Senate overall but the corporate tools in the Senate have to answer to their masters and won't pass it.

3. Obama talked out of the both sides of his mouth during the campaign and now the fanboys and girls are making excuses for him. I understand that just like I did when the GOP did it for W for 8 years. I get it.

4. The "public" supports a PO but hates the Senate bill

5. The Dems and BO are ignoring the actual people who helped get them in power just as W and the GOP did for 8 years. I get it.


Is it that he doesn't fear progressives enough? (4.00 / 4)
Really.  He bends over backwards to compromise and cave to right/conservatives.  But what about progressive policies or principles: 'thanks but no thanks'.  


RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

Well, he doesn't fear "progressives" in Congress (4.00 / 5)
because in the end, they'll cave - it's what they do.  And up until recently, progressive voters (for the most part) bought into the "where else are you gonna go?"/lesser of two evils argument.

But I think he caters to Rs and other conservatives because that's where his heart is.  


[ Parent ]
He will FEAR us in 2012! (0.00 / 0)
But it will be too late then.

[ Parent ]
Crhis! He's thanking progressives for BEING punchingbags. (4.00 / 2)
And he's not going to call in the morning.

We're not going to be able to CORRECT this mishmash bill for decades, (4.00 / 2)
probably.

"If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side...it would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue."

Oh, woe is us!


C'mon Bowers (4.00 / 4)
He pats us on the head, says, "God Doggie" and now it's time to roll over for a belly scratching?

For goodness sakes, I am so tired of settling for lip service.  We need a better bill and we NEED a vote on one or all of these: the PO, Medicare buy in, or on total single payer.  Let's have the damn up or down vote, keep the accolades to yourself Mr. President.  

I mean please Chris, your ability to be placated by scant lip service is embarrassing for us.  I'm calling today to reiterate to all my reps that we need an up or down vote on the public options before we can discuss passing the senate bill.


Chris, you are like an abused housewife! (4.00 / 3)
Every time he shows up with one of these bullshit mea culpa apologies you buy it hook, line, and sinker.  I used to think you were just a hopeless Obamapologist, but now I think Paul Rosenberg has been calling the wrong guy clueless.  Jeeez!

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


after thinking about this for a few days (0.00 / 0)
i think that obama hasn't thanked progressives.  he has verbally stated thanks, but if he wanted to thank progressives, he would give us something.  so i want to know what his administration gave us or will give us.  or i'm out, on this issue.

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