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Aug. 19 2009 - 7:55 am | 19 views | 2 recommendations | 47 comments

White House protects Blue Dogs and bullies Progressives

According to the New York Times, the only way for Democrats to achieve meaningful healthcare reform is to placate the Blue Dogs, a group of 52 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives, and the roughly dozen conservative Democrats in the Senate too cowardly to actually call themselves “Blue Dogs.” The Times states that the Democrats “must still reconcile the views of moderate and conservative Democrats worried about the cost and scope of the legislation with those of more liberal lawmakers determined to win a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers” as though repeating an axiom — some universal truth upon which we can all agree — like the law of gravity or drunk-dialing being a terrible mistake.

This essentially means that a minority faction of the Democrats is taking the entire party hostage. Worse still, this means the Blue Dogs are blurring the distinction between Democrats and Republicans, a supposedly important distinction that has helped keep the political process balanced in this country for over two hundred years.

The Times printed this Blue Dog ransom demand (“Compromise, or the healthcare bill gets it”) because many Americans have accepted the often repeated mantra that Obama can’t exert political pressure on the Blue Dogs to adopt more progressive reform because he needs their votes. This claim fails to acknowledge that Obama is already exerting political pressure on progressive Democrats, who actually represent what the majority of Americans want — a serious pubic option.

This White House-supported, forced subservience isn’t unique to the healthcare debate. In June, the White House threatened freshmen representatives who refused to vote for a war supplemental bill. Lynn Woolsey of California, a leader of the antiwar Democrats, said the White House threatened to withdraw support from freshmen who opposed the bill, saying “you’ll never hear from us again.” Woolsey also stated  that House leadership was targeting the freshmen. “It’s really hard for the freshmen,” she said. “Nancy’s pretty powerful.” Once again, Progressives were forced to acquiesce to moderate Democrats’ demands, and it is likely that the White House is exerting the same kind of political pressure on Progressives during the healthcare bill debate.

Additionally, while Progressives are told to toe the line and vote with their more conservative brethren, Blue Dogs are offered protection by the White House, which includes pit bull Rahm Emanuel, who called an attempt by liberal groups to advertise the Blue Dogs’ woeful track records on healthcare “fucking stupid.” I think that watering down healthcare legislation that 72 percent of the populace wants and making back room deals with the pharmaceutical industry is also “stupid,” or worse “devious,” but that belief is one of many reasons I’m not the White House Chief of Staff.

While Emanuel has probably always hated progressive Democrats, Obama claimed to have sympathized with them in the past. Back in 2005, Obama wrote a diary entry over at Daily Kos where he wrote “In order to beat [the Republican Party,] it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in ‘appeasing’ the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.” Yet, instead of keeping the yapping mongrel Blue Dogs on a short leash, Obama has made them his favored pets.

The most obvious explanation for why President Obama shields the Blue Dogs and bullies Progressives is that conservative Democrats (like Republicans) represent the interests of Big Business. In the case of healthcare reform, Blue Dogs represent Big Pharma and Big Insurance, two gigantic industries that represent millions in campaign donations. By representing Big Money, Blue Dogs have secured the loyalty of the White House, and by working in concert, the White House and Blue Dogs then create the illusion of fair compromise even as a majority of Americans scream that they still want a strong public option. The mainstream media then repeats the lie — that Progressives are extreme, need to be controlled, need to compromise, and toe the party line.

The result will be a watered down public option, or some kind of half-assed attempt at insurance cooperatives that are too small, under-regulated, and not at all the kind of “Change” Americans are looking for.


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  1. collapse expand

    Allison, I think Progressive and people like Ralph Nader would rather stick to their principles and achieve nothing. Obama doesn’t agree, which is why we might actually have some halfway good legislation passed instead of moaning that the Republicans don’t play fair while Karl Rove runs rings around us.

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      I’m glad the people who fought for civil rights and women’s suffrage didn’t agree with you, Michael. Those political battles also seemed hopeless, and those fighting for equality and justice were told to think pragmatically and wait until equality could feasibly be won with bipartisan support from southern Democrats.

      What is this “halfway good legislation?” Is it the watering down of the public option, or the $80 billion back room deal with Big Pharma? Maybe you’re talking about the new phenomenon of insurance co-ops, a system we’re told that will function exactly like a public option without being a public option (which raises the question: why not have a public option, then? But it’s best not to ask those questions, or one gets a headache).

      We’ve been down this road with triangulation before. Here’s what happens: Conservatives continue to undermine liberal agendas, and by selling out the Progressives, Democrats alienate their base hence losing that support, as well. They marginalize themselves, and all in the same of pragmatism, which is great for big business and the private healthcare system, which never wanted a public option in the first place.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        Think again, Allison. The reason we have civil rights laws is because of leaders like Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, who were far from being “progressive” but managed to get things done.

        I respect idealists like you because someone needs to remind us of what our goals should be. Yet I also respect pragmatists because falling on your sword in defense of a principle makes for great drama but lousy public policy.

        Now is the best chance America has for some kind of health care reform. I’d like the public option, too, but not at the price of torpedoing reform. If you’re willing to give up some reform because you can’t have all reform, that is extremism. You’ll end up with nothing.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Have to disagree with you, Michael. While Johnson himself was a pragmatic man, his civil rights acts were far from pragmatic. In fact, upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (thanks in great deal to the unrelenting demands from Martin Luther King, Jr.), Johnson turned to his aide and said “We have lost the South for a generation.” Sacrificing a huge swathe of voters for an idealistic act like equal rights was a far cry from pragmatism.

          You can’t allow pragmatism to lead to mission creep. Losing sight of the goal entirely (affordable coverage for all Americans) means that the final reform plan is a boon to the private insurance companies (guaranteed business under mandates,) and/or unhelpful to millions of Americans, who will continue to go uninsured and under-insured.

          I do appreciate that politics entails dealing with conflicting personalities and ideologies, but “pragmatism” these days doesn’t mean equal degrees of compromise from Democrats and Republicans to meet somewhere in the middle. These days, “pragmatism” seems to mean the American people endlessly sacrifice their incomes and health to fatten business executives’ wallets.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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            Why is Obama being any less idealistic than LBJ? He is investing most of his political capital on a health care plan whose passage or defeat will overshadow his entire term in office.

            Like it or not, between the Blue Dogs and the Republicans, there is a huge chunk of Congress that opposes the public plan. Obama can ignore that and be defeated as Clinton was. Or he can can get some of his plan through, and blast a breach in the Great Wall of Healthcare that reformers can exploit later.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    The White House is not “protecting” the blue dogs he’s providing them cover. Allison I think your take on this is just so wrong! I’m amazed at how after watching Obama run for president for two years so many people remain totally clueless as to how the man operates. Do you want the House back in control of the repugs? If the president was to take the tact you endorse that is certainly to be the outcome. Did you miss the news last night that the White House is preparing to go the reconciliation route? Do you not see how the president’s comments last week regarding co-ops was about setting a trap for the repugs? You mark my words the bill the president signs will have a robust public option in it.

    • collapse expand

      You seem to know a lot about what precisely Barack Obama is thinking, Brian. :) The whole brilliant scheme to ensnare Republicans in his Web of Charm is an old excuse for Obama’s shameful behavior. Blue Dog Democrats are Republicans in everything but name, and they’ve been undermining healthcare reform since day one. It’s because of them that the legislation is being watered down and the debate has shifted from universal healthcare (never a serious option,) to the public option, to “co-operatives” with the possibility of mandates. Meanwhile, Obama has engaged in private meetings with healthcare industry executives and the pharmaceutical industry, ensuring that private business gets exactly what they want out of the reform. This explains why Harry and Louise are on the side of reform this time around.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Is Barack Obama a US citizen?
    Please view this clip and decide for yourselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe2bpV1QlkE
    Cybercorrespondent
    http://cybercorrespondent.blogspot.com

  4. collapse expand

    I think something you also got at without saying outright: The whole situation of the doppleganger democrats (i mean they look like Dems, but they’re not) driving a wedge in the political debate to ultimately serve the republican agenda is a continuation of something that i think has been happening steadily in this country for quite some time.

    The line between right and left is not ebbing and flowing; but rather, being pushed ever to the right (which ultimately favors only American Citizens that sit on Executive Boards and fund this whole charade).

    • collapse expand

      Yes, the parameters of legitimate debate are ever drifting to the right. This is a form of “mission creep.” When some say to “be pragmatic,” what they’re actually saying is “frame reform within the accepted parameters of debate,” which unfortunately favors business and industry over the individual rights and liberties of the American citizens.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        “When some say to ‘be pragmatic,’ what they’re actually saying is ‘frame reform within the accepted parameters of debate’…”

        And as Kevin Baker has noted, “we are at one of those rare moments in history when the radical becomes pragmatic, when deliberation and compromise foster disaster. The question is not what can be done but what must be done.”

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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    And btw Allison tyranny from the left is no more attractive than tyranny from the right! Democracy is about building a consensus, there is no magic wand! And no bill has been watered down, WE DON’T HAVE A BILL YET.

  6. collapse expand

    This whole debate seems so naive to me. It should be obvious by now that the executive branch is merely a public relations firm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate oligarchy. Any type of substantive reform would cut into the profits of the insurance and pharma companies. Being rational actors, they would not support the Obama plan if they feared that it would cut into their profits. Given the massive public outrage at the current system it seems prudent for them to finance a massive PR campaign, which is what the “debate” over health care amounts to.

  7. collapse expand

    I don’t think Obama is shielding anyone. He doesn’t have the votes in the Senate. I hear the plan only has around 40 votes. The guy you need to be pressuring is my senator – Harry Reid. Harry needs to get his ass off the slot machine and start knocking heads – ya know old school Vegas style.

  8. collapse expand

    Allison – while I agree with much of what you say, I think we need to be a bit careful when saying that the failure of a public option means that we would only get half-assed health & positive impact on the system. There is also much left to be decided.

    On the insurance side, the agreement whereby privates will stop denying insurance to those with pre-existing conditions is really very big. Also, the agreement to charge these people at a comparative rate with others their age is a substantial thing. What we still need to see is how far Congress will go to regulate the health insurance industry further. We still don’t know.

    In the current bills we have mandated insurance for individuals and corporations. If that sticks, this is also a pretty big step forward.

    On the Pharma side – while I agree that there might have been more to gain in a deal with the pharmaceutical companies, 80 billion isn’t bad.

    There is much more but a comment isn’t the place to explore fully.

    Also keep in mind- when LBJ got Medicare and Medicaid through, there were many who were not covered as part of the compromise that made the legislation happen. Over time, much of those who were omitted were eventually included. Thus, any reasonable “base” of reform has substantial merit.

    But, I too would hope to see an option that would keep the insurers honest (and co-ops are not going to do it.)

    • collapse expand

      What we still need to see is how far Congress will go to regulate the health insurance industry further. We still don’t know.

      The big issue is cost control. Without proper regulation, all mandates guarantee are that the American citizenry will be forced to buy insurance, which could potentially be a huge boon for private insurance companies, since the government will essentially be delivering to them a captive market. That’s why a healthy public option is so important. Without a meaningful public option (and not some watered down legislation, or small cooperatives that don’t provide coverage to millions of Americans,) the reform can’t be effective.

      I really think without constant, loud pressure from Progressives, this reform will be vastly watered down, and it will be a huge missed opportunity for the American people. That’s why enthusiastic debate at every step of the reform process is important (even while Congress debates over 4 different versions of the bill,) and not just when the votes have been tallied and it’s too late to influence our representatives.

      Also keep in mind- when LBJ got Medicare and Medicaid through, there were many who were not covered as part of the compromise that made the legislation happen. Over time, much of those who were omitted were eventually included.

      Interestingly, Marcia Angell proposes a multi-phase approach to single-payer healthcare that I think should have been seriously debated. Angell proposed expanding Medicare coverage from age sixty-five to fifty-five years or older, and then take it down to forty-five years or older over a series of years, and gradually move toward single-payer. That way, we could avoid the great jolt to the current system Obama is always talking about.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        So out of curiosity, Allison, if hypothetically the choice really does boil down to:

        a) Obama drops the public option but can get a partial reform package (like co-ops) through Congress, or

        b) Obama stands by the public plan, but it faces almost certain defeat in Congress,

        Which would you favor?

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Your hypothetical is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy for failure, don’t you think, Michael? First, if co-ops bared any similarity to the public option, there wouldn’t be a need for them, and we could have just had the public option. So that makes me fear that co-ops will be too small to control costs, and will leave the private health industry in place to continue introducing more co-pays, more deductibles, more fraud in the billing system, and more waste in administrative bureaucracies.

          Second, the only reason we can predetermine a serious public option will face “almost certain defeat in Congress” is because of these self-fulfilling prophecies where the White House exerts pressure only on Progressives, and not on the Blue Dog Democrats. It’s sort of like saying, “This will fail because we will make it fail.” Be careful you don’t confuse pragmatism with cynicism or nihilism.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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            You’re evading the question, Allison. If the choice is between no public option or no major changes in the U.S. health care system, which would you choose? The scenario is not unlikely.

            What I’m really wondering is what Progressives truly want. It seems to me that the debate is is more about ideology than saving lives or money. That’s true for conservatives, and I think it’s true for the left, as well.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          Coincidentally, as soon as you sent me this hypothetical question, someone sent me this video clip of Anthony Weiner on Joe Scarborough fielding a similar question.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Agree with point 1 inasmuch as a public option should certainly tend to regulate costs. What we don’t know is whether or not the regulations yet to be worked through would regulate costs on the private side with or without public option. As it stands, and without the appropriate regulations, you are 100% correct that mandated insurance would prove a serous boon to the privates. It’s all in the regs. The government knows – and the privates know- that this would be the effect of mandated coverage. Question is, will gov’t impose premium calculations based on the expansion of the insurance pool?

        Point 2 – I’m a big fan of Marcia’s proposal. It’s come up before and I always thought it was very, very sensible. Of course, as I’m 58, I would naturally gravitate towards the proposal.Of course, you know what the political problem will be– any move towards a single-payer system is not something the country appears to be ready for at this point. They will be someday as, ultimately, we will not be able to support a system that is not single-payer or, at the least, a universal safety net system with private option. (See Australia)

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          any move towards a single-payer system is not something the country appears to be ready for at this point.

          A few months ago, a NYT/CBS poll showed that 72% of those Americans polled wanted a government-run healthcare option. The only thing that has changed in those months is the mishandling of the public option by the Congress and White House, and the disinformation disseminated in the mainstream media, namely by showing fringe radicals screaming about Obama being Hitler without serious attempts to educate the citizenry about Obama’s actual proposals, or what single-payer healthcare means.

          Marcia herself said that she sees enormous support for government-run healthcare when citizens understand what government-run healthcare means. In her findings, Marcia claims two-thirds of the public would favor a Canadian style or a Medicare for all style single payer system, and she says the same is true of physicians. About 60 percent of physicians favor Medicare for all, or a single payer system. So for whom are Congress representatives compromising? Surveys and polls show it’s not for the American people. They’re compromising for private industry’s interests.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  9. collapse expand

    Also .. you gotta call out that Blue Dog as a George Rodrigue painting … I think the guy’s still alive – even.

  10. collapse expand

    I’m not trying to be bipartisan, no one hates the GOP more than I do, really, I’ve said from the very beginning this will be a Democratic bill and will pass the Senate through reconciliation. My point being is that you have to make the effort. It’s far better to have the repugs walk away from the table than never having offered them a spot in the first place.

    • collapse expand

      Republicans have been offered more than they deserve. Voters overwhelmingly voted in Democrats because they were disappointed with the Republicans’ performances. In fact, despite the Democrats’ woeful mishandling of healthcare reform thus far, 62% of citizens polled in the most recent NBC/WSJ survey (PDF) said they are still disappointed with the Republicans’ performance in Congress. So the fact that Democrats continue to sacrifice the public option for the sake of a minority, which has already been marginalized by the American people, isn’t reconciliatory. It’s foolish.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Americans did not vote to abolish the private health care system. For the life of me I don’t understand why you keep coming back to that, it’s not going to happen in the near future. If Obama had campaigned on ending the private system and moving us into a single payer McCain would now be living in the White House.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          This is where rhetoric becomes very important. Asking Americans if they want to “abolish the private health care system,” may sound scary, but a majority of Americans agree that the current healthcare system is broken, and they want costs controlled. The only way to accomplish that is to regulate the private healthcare industry, and that requires at least a public option that is seriously competitive with the private healthcare industry. Unfortunately, Congress has caved to the pharmaceutical industry and may cave to the private health insurance industry by leaving the private health care structure in place and watering down the public option.

          If they weaken the public option, Congress with put forth a watered down healthcare reform plan that won’t help the majority of uninsured and under-insured Americans, citizens won’t see substantial, real change in their respective lives, and Obama will jeopardize his second term.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            “Congress with put forth a watered down healthcare reform plan that won’t help the majority of uninsured and under-insured Americans, citizens won’t see substantial, real change in their respective lives, and Obama will jeopardize his second term.”

            Wow with your ability to tell the future you must be making a fortune in the stock market. Since you’ve already decided on what the outcome is going to be why are you bothering to even stay in the fight? Pessimism never get anything accomplished.

            Well I got shit to do, as always, a pleasure Allison.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
  11. collapse expand

    By the way, the public option is not some bill that gets passed and we’re done. I’m still totally clear on how it will be funded or whether Obama can fund it adequately, but it is certain to require constant appopriations and regulations on an annual basis

    52 Blue Dog Democrats + 12 Senators + Congressional Republicans = a bloc that can wreck public health care. Whether Progressives like Max Baucus doesn’t matter as long as the people of Montana do. Unless you’re planning to junk the Constitution, those underpopulated conservative states will continue to have a disproportionate vote in the Senate.

    This is what I mean by pragmatism. Not embracing Republican ideals, but recognizing that Republicans can and will wreck your plans. Maybe if Obama were LBJ, but as Rick Ungar pointed out, even LBJ couldn’t get all of his Great Society plans enacted.

    • collapse expand

      I agree with Glenn Greenwald’s assertion that the White House can exert enormous influence on its party, particularly moderate Democrats. Unfortunately, all we’ve seen thus far is the opposite: the White House exerting pressure on Progressive Democrats to cave to the moderate Democrats, who (while they do comprise a large enough block to “wreck public health care” if they vote in concert with Republicans) are still the minority. But they’re not being treated that way. The Blue Dogs are being treated as though they’re in the majority and the rest of the progressive Democrats should simply cave to their every demand. That’s a strange way to approach democracy, particularly when one considers the Democrats only got their majority because Americans were disappointed with Republicans’ performances, and voted the Democrats into power.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  12. collapse expand

    Thank you all. I had a very interesting break today, reading this post and comments. Now that I’m home, there’s so much to respond to that I don’t have the time. I’ll just comment on the first thing that caught my eye and leave it at that –

    “I respect idealists like you because someone needs to remind us of what our goals should be.”

    TRANSLATION from the original Pragmatish – “Please sit down and shut your mouth. All you do is remind me that my party doesn’t have the balls to fight for real change. My victories are hollow enough without your constant harrassment.”

    Speaking as a progressive idealist, I’m not here to be anyone’s fucking conscience! I hear this all the time and it’s little more than condescending horseshit as far as I’m concerned. It’s also part of the reason I no longer vote for Democrats.
    Tell me something – if we idealists and our goals are so worthy of respect, why are we and our goals always the first to be cast aside whenever there’s a fight?!?

    • collapse expand

      Mark, at what point does fighting for what you believe in become a scorched-earth battle that will likely result in complete failure?

      That’s the Democratic dilemma.

      Allison’s earlier point about LBJ and the quote about losing the south for decades was exactly on target. Do Obama and his handlers want to risk losing a significant portion of the nation and tilting the country even further to the right?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        “Mark, at what point does fighting for what you believe in become a scorched-earth battle that will likely result in complete failure?”

        I’ll let you know when I see the Democrats actually fight for something.

        “Allison’s earlier point about LBJ and the quote about losing the south for decades was exactly on target. Do Obama and his handlers want to risk losing a significant portion of the nation and tilting the country even further to the right?”

        Absolutely! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m a little perplexed by your linking this question to Allison’s LBJ point. Are you implying that LBJ shouldn’t have risked losing the south by signing the Civil Rights Act? I’m glad he signed it – the south be damned!

        If the triangulating, pragmatic, Dems of the last 20 years were in charge in the past, we’d have no Civile Rights Act, no Medicare, and no labor laws, because every one of these bold initiatives was met with screams of “socialism”! Today’s Dems would have run and hid, begging to not be let back out until all the monsters were gone!

        Tell me – what has this great pragmatism of the Dems gotten us in the last 20 years? NAFTA, GATT, weakened unions, stagnant income for all but the top, 8 years of Bush with no accountability, wars in the middle east, patriot act, drug war, financial crisis, etc. Maybe I’d feel differently if their M O had produced results – it hasn’t.

        And Allison’s original point remains – the blue dogs are holding the party hostage, and the party is all too happy and willing to pay the ransom. Just look at how they rewarded Lieberman for his betrayals – they are gutless!

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  13. collapse expand

    The question one should ask about this… at what point during the 2008 election did one actually believe any democrat had any interest in changing health care? If so why? The majority of the public supported a single payer system? And what did the leading democratic candidates support? A public option!

    When it comes to haggling you don’t start off with a compromise. That’s not how the game works. You start off demanding single payer and your compromise is a public option. If you start of the debate saying you want a public option, then the insurance companies have already won.

    The ideology that you can elect a non-progressive person and turn him into a progressive is silly. That only happens when there is a threat to their power. In the 1930s there was a depression and people were pissed, so Roosevelt had to make adjustments to retain power. These adjustments were not radical at the time considering the current popularity of Authoritarian Stalinism, Democratic Socialism, and Anarchism – these were the leftist movements at the time, and Roosevelt opposed, them in favor of more pragmatic mild benefits. In the 1960s, there was a social revolution based around civil rights, an pacifism, drugs, and birth control. These things could have led to horrible hippie consequences. So LBJ made a compromise and gave black people some rights. That may have cost him the south, but it put out some of the flames of the revolution.

    There is nothing comparable to those situations right now – Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t Vietnam, there is no draft, people are disconnected from it. So why would Obama do anything but obey his business leaders? He wouldn’t. So his actions on health care were entirely predictable, just like his actions on everything else. Nader predicted it. Chomsky predicted it. It wasn’t complicated. If people really wanted “change” they should have voted against the reelection of the business party – instead of voting for its left wing.

  14. collapse expand

    You first have to define this vague “other” I don’t want progressive politicians talking to. The only party I flat-out refuse to believe can be part of the healthcare solution is the private healthcare, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries. For-profit industries aren’t going to vote to antiquate themselves.

    Pragmatism sometimes lead to mission creep. Losing sight of the goal entirely (affordable coverage for all Americans) means that the final reform plan is a boon to the private insurance companies (guaranteed business under mandates,) and/or unhelpful to millions of Americans, who will continue to go uninsured and under-insured.

    Healthcare should not be for-profit, so you’re right, I don’t think we should negotiate with the industry that makes money from the pain and suffering of sick people. That’s where I draw the line in the sand. Now, when it comes to moving toward a single-payer system, I do think there are small technicalities on which politicians can compromise. But the ultimate ideologies of “healthcare should be for-profit” and “healthcare should be non-profit” are irreconcilable, and when Progressives start to negotiate and “triangulate” away from that non-profit territory, they enter dangerous territory where the American people will lose.

    “Pragmatism” these days doesn’t mean equal degrees of compromise from Democrats and Republicans to meet somewhere in the middle. These days, “pragmatism” seems to mean the American people endlessly sacrifice their incomes and health to fatten business executives’ wallets.

  15. collapse expand

    The privates are not going away in the near future, as the saying goes it’s better to having them pissing out of the tent and not into it!

  16. collapse expand

    I’m not evading. You just presented a self-defeating false choice wrapped up in a red herring. Everything (including hypotheticals) all depends on what the final bill looks like. If there’s some kind of meaningful public option, of course I would support the bill, but if there’s a watered down compromise of small, under-regulated co-ops and mandates, I agree with Anthony Weiner that it would be better to vote it down than waste an opportunity on a vote that won’t deliver meaningful reform anyway.

    Remember: even if Democrats succeed in voting through reform, but millions of Americans don’t receive coverage, that will still be considered a failure. The Republicans will be able to point to the millions of Americans that will remain uninsured and say, “See? They couldn’t even get healthcare reform right!” So it’s not a matter of just voting anything through. It has to be the right kind of reform, and Democrats are doing everything in their power to sabotage the public option, the one element of reform that would actually indicate some kind of liberal victory.

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    The privates are not going away in the near future

    Only because the Blue Dogs and White House are protecting them.

  18. collapse expand

    “Only because the Blue Dogs and White House are protecting them.”

    And on what poll do you base that? Stop demonizing your allies.

  19. collapse expand

    Brian, I’m not demonizing them. It’s part of the public record. The Blue Dogs receive more health industry backing than other Democrats. From the Washington Post:

    typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money — about 25 percent — from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support.

    I admire your attempt at being bipartisan, but you can’t then willfully ignore certain facts, namely that the Blue Dogs are in the pockets of the private healthcare industry.

  20. collapse expand

    It’s not prescience, it’s common sense. By the White House conducting back room deals with the pharmaceutical industry and Blue Dog Democrats accepting millions in campaign contributions from the private healthcare industry, the Democrats are ensuring that the private industry will get a large slice of the reform pie, and Americans will get left out in the cold.

    The only people engaging in silly behavior are those placing all of their trust with Obama (or He Who Knows The Way) even as he compromises with the very industries responsible for the terrible state of the American healthcare system . When the man messes up, it’s our duty as citizens to call him on it. Otherwise, we’re just as bad as the brainwashed Bush supporters, who followed him unquestioningly for eight years.

    I do hope your every sunny prediction comes true. However, “hope” doesn’t involve facts. If we look at the facts (meaning what Congress and the White House are doing,) there is great cause for concern.

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    About Me

    I co-host Citizen Radio, the alternative political radio show. I am a contributing reporter to Huffington Post, Alternet.org, and The Nation.

    My essay "Youth Surviving Subprime" appears in The Nation's new book, Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover beside esssays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein, who I'm told are all important people.

    G. Gordon Liddy once told me my writing makes him want to vomit, which is the greatest compliment I've ever been paid ever.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 453
    Contributor Since: May 2009
    Location:New York, New York

    What I'm Up To

    • In The Nation’s New Book

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      Check out my article “Youth Surviving Subprime” in The Nation’s new book beside essays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein.

       
    • Citizen Radio

      I co-host the biweekly political-comedy show, Citizen Radio. It’s like CNN, but with more swearing. Citizen Radio covers the stories that the mainstream, corporate media ignores. Past guests include: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill, Ralph Nader, Tariq Ali,  Janeane Garofalo, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and more…

      Go to wearecitizenradio.com and click on the iTunes logo to subscribe to our podcast for FREE. Also, join us on Facebook

       
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