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Aug. 17 2009 - 12:58 am | 236 views | 13 recommendations | 83 comments

Obama’s Pre-emptive Health Care Surrender

Racing to regain control of the health-care debate, two top administration officials signaled Sunday that the White House may be willing to jettison a controversial government-run insurance plan favored by liberals.

via Key Feature Of Obama Health Plan May Be Out – washingtonpost.com.

President Obama stands in the Oval Office prior to a meeting with Members of Congress on July 13 (Pete Souza/White House)

President Obama stands in the Oval Office prior to a meeting with Members of Congress on July 13 (Pete Souza/White House)

I was about to write a post today sort of apologizing in advance for the tone of my forthcoming article on the health care business. I was worried all weekend that I had been too negative and too harsh with regard to the Democrats. It had struck me that in the month and a half or so that I spent on health care I spoke with a great many staffers and members of congress who seemed genuinely committed to fixing health care — people like Bernie Sanders, Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown, Lynn Woolsey, and numerous others in and around the House and Senate. I was suddenly feeling very guilty for ignoring (to a degree) their efforts and focusing instead in my piece on the treachery of the Democratic leadership — Pelosi, Reid, the White House — for bargaining away real health care reform before this process even started.

Then I came home this afternoon, turned on my computer and read this latest smoke signal emanating from the White House, indicating that the “public option” is now being walked a few more steps forward along the plank. And I stopped feeling guilty about hammering the leadership. The latest news:

As President Obama finishes a western swing intended to bolster support for his signature policy initiative, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius opened the door to a compromise on a public option, saying it is “not the essential element” of comprehensive reform. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Obama “will be satisfied” if the private insurance market has “choice and competition.”

Now, obviously (and this is will be explored in more detail in the forthcoming piece, which will be out this week), the public option was not a cure-all. In fact, the Democrats had in reality already managed to kill the public option by watering it down to the point of near-meaninglessness. But the notion that our president not only does not have any use anymore for a public option, but in fact “will be satisfied” if there is merely “choice and competition” in the market is, well, disgusting.

I’ll say this for George Bush: you’d never have caught him frantically negotiating against himself to take the meat out of a signature legislative initiative just because his approval ratings had a bad summer. Can you imagine Bush and Karl Rove allowing themselves to be paraded through Washington on a leash by some dimwit Republican Senator of a state with six people in it the way the Obama White House this summer is allowing Max Baucus (favorite son of the mighty state of Montana) to frog-march them to a one-term presidency?

To quote Method Man’s Calvin “Cheese” Wagstaff character from The Wire, “This is some shameless shit right here.”


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  1. collapse expand

    Jesus Christ, the Democrats are such motherfucking cliches of themselves.

    Just once I’d like to see them act like they’re in the majority.

    The Wire quotation did make me smile through the tears though . . . “you got to…this is America, man”

  2. collapse expand

    First, always much respect for a Wire quote.

    Part of me hopes Obama drops the public option to wake up the lefty Kool Aid drinkers who, somehow, despite 8 straight years of failure of the Democratic party, were convinced by some neat You Tube videos and clever PR that one young guy was going to change the system. BS. The Dems laid down and died for 8 years because they always have been and still are Republican light, to caught up in trying to be career politicians to grow a spine and risk their relationships with the special interests that keep us fighting their wars and dying for their profits.

    Maybe if the millions of us who worked so hard for the Dems once again when they didn’t deserve it get thrown under the bus with healthcare, we can start seriously talking about supporting a third party to force the Dems to start living up to their rhetoric.

    • collapse expand

      I feel your pain- A pox on both their houses. At 60, I have licked envelops, canvased neighborhoods, donated tons of money, marched and crusaded- all for Democrats who, for the most part (I am partial to Clinton), disappointed. Money is at the root of it all- Marketing and advertising gets us the best President and representatives $$$ can buy and then they spend half their time fund raising more money so they can run again (not to mention the influence garnered by corporate donations)
      I know many of the big guys have talked about a third party but apparently the organization and money involved is immense. If someone or some group had the will it could happen- How great would it be to have a third party candidate beat the other two using small change by going completely viral! We can dream. . .

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

    fer christ’s sakes! I just knew something like this would happen. I hoped that it wouldn’t. I hoped that Obama, et al would put their proverbial foot down. But you had to question his so called audacity in reforming health care when he came out NOT with sweeping reforms, like say single payer but this flimsy, public option BS. The fact that covering abortions was completely off the table made me angry, but I could deal with that. But now, no public option?! Something that affects not just women but everyone? Ugh…I don’t really know how many compromises I can witness before I give up on these guys. The time may have already come.

    I used to share your perverted admiration for Bush and his ability to pass legislation without impunity. But it is smple to see why he and his party never made a stink about what the CBO had to say or how well something ranked in the polls. Money, big business was on his side and the sad part is that he really had no one else to answer too. It’s easy to have a backbone when it’s made of solid gold. My admiration stops right there.

    anyway, i’ve never commented on this site before so i would like to say great blog/articles and I can’t wait for those 7000 words.

  4. collapse expand

    …one more thing…with the Internet and the now incredible ability to remember and track what every politicians says or has said, I wonder if the Democrats realize just how screwed they’ll be if they keep dropping the ball.

    When the main excuse we were given for why they couldn’t do anything about the wars, tax cuts, wiretapping, torture, deregulation, environment, etc., was that they needed more power, they’re gonna be annihilated by both the right and progressives if they fail now.

    Why would anyone on the left believe them, and why would anyone on the right not launch massive ad campaigns against them highlighting all of these broken promises….if they don’t do it now, then it leads to that classic lawyer line…you’re either lying now or you were lying before.

    Either way, there’s no reason to support you again.

  5. collapse expand

    I just don’t get it. What IS the point of this? He’s not going to get the votes of Republicans, AND he’s going to alienate major portions of his base of support. It’s just so plain stupid.

  6. collapse expand

    Seriously, Obama – get your shit together. You beat McCain, and you beat Palin. You’re going to surrender to yokels like these?

  7. collapse expand

    Matt, I for one think the so-called leadership of the Democratic Party is even more deserving of derision than Goldman Sachs. Goldman has never made any bones about being interested in any thing other than making money – that’s what they do and they are damn good at it. Learning how they make it and who they hurt in the process has been rather juicy.

    With the Dems however, we have a bunch of people who claim to be representing ordinary working Americans, who claim to have our interest uppermost in their minds unlike the evil Republicans. They are lying and have been lying for decades. We still expect them to be the party of FDR or at least LBJ, but they can’t even measure up to the liberal record of RMN.

    • collapse expand

      That is spot on. The Dems have become as corrupt as the GOP. Obama et al should or could have run as republicans. It is not like the dems don’t understand. They just want to pretend they have to cave in to the GOP so they get the money from K Street too. Kabuki, dog and pony show, hypocrisy, whatevah! I will never donate squat to a Dem Party again. I always knew Odrama was an empty suit. When the Dems cheated Hilary out of the nomination, I knew our goose was cooked. Some fools were taken in, but if you had a brain you knew what happened was so corrupt as to be beyond the pale. The fix was in for Obama the same way the fix was in for this health care sham. The fix was in so we could have this sham. They can’t be content to plummet the treasury, they have to steal all the future treasury too. RIP, USA

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

    I’m used to being in the minority (in several ways) but was I the only person that though the public option/semi-universal care was D.O.A.?

    Seriously, check out Kent Conrad’s plans for the local co-ops. Progressives should be wetting themselves with joy, as his plan provides the bennies of the public option without the overweening elements of a massive national health system.

    It provides local control, which will keep the red staters happy, and will still provide the competitiveness that the industry hacks sought.

    Sounds like a win-win-win….

    • collapse expand

      Here’s Conrad’s impetus for his idea:
      “Votes. The problem is this. If you’re in a 60 vote environment in the Senate — and I believe we are, because I believe reconciliation simply won’t work — if you begin tallying up the votes, I believe that virtually all Republicans are against the public option and some democrats are. So how do you get to 60?”

      In other words, the whole country is being held hostage by the minority.

      North Dakota Population: 650K

      (There are 3X as many people in Queens, NY alone.)

      We’ve seen how California has been paralyzed by minority rule…the same thing is coming to America, with similar disastrous results…

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


        Presumably the 40-50 senators opposed to universal care represent a significant portion of the populace. (Crazy, I know, but….)

        I actually like Conrad’s plan. It totally takes the wind out of right-winger’s sails by offering local control (no “big gubmint” plan), throws a bone to business by being competitive, and can essentially be used to bludgeon the insurance companies. (“What, you don’t like the local co-ops? Well, you know, we can turn everything into one big co-op called universal care….OK, you’re fine with that? Good…”)

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

      Mike- not so much, I’m afraid. The history of co-op health insurance plans is a poor one. Each time a non-profit system has been created, it has eventually turned into a private company once enough membership is achieved that money can be made by becoming a profit making enterprise (see Blue Cross-Blue Shield.) Additionally, co-ops rarely can build a large enough patient base to create real bargaining power with the health care providers. Remember that the ability to negotiate prices comes with the strength of the covered base in a program. The largest, successful co-op program running right now is in Seattle. After some 40 years of operation, they have managed to accumulate 500,000 members. They manage to make money because they raise their premium rates pretty much along the same lines as the for profit insurance companies and, in some years, even more. One never wants to say never, but the deck is very badly stacked against a co-op succeeding. Maybe we will find a way this time around, but, by any historical standard, the odds of success are dramatically remote.

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

    You know some kind of universal health care has been a staple in most civilized countries for so long that it seems that if the U.S. doesn’t have it by now it never will.

    I get the sense that most don’t really expect anything to ever happen. It seems more like some kind of ritual. As an outsider, I can’t help thinking that there has to be more to this thing than politics and money.

    I just can’t get my mind around the amount of hate that people must have for each other not to want their neighbour to have medical coverage.

    • collapse expand

      “I can’t help thinking that there has to be more to this thing than politics and money.”

      Ah, yes, but those two things are more than enough to kill any real reform. The scars of 1993 are still fresh and there’s a definite sense that an acceptable half-measure (local co-ops) is a winnable war.

      re: most “civilized” countries having universal health care

      Most “civilized” countries tax their citizens at a much higher rate than in the US and those nations — despite their excellent schools, stellar health care, and superb standards of living — are held up as quasi-socialist hellholes by the American right.

      re: haters not wanting their neighbor to have medical coverage

      I don’t see that as the case at all, especially since the argument for wider coverage has finally been pushed as a pocketbook issue. Problem is that the noise about socialism, “death panels”, “Obamacare,” and government takeover has squelched the signals about the benefits of real reform.

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

    Mandates are next, just you wait, because you can’t keep the price of insurance affordable if healthy people wait to get sick before they sign up. And THAT means that people will be forced to pay money to private companies that will immediately turn around and pay nine-figure bonuses to their executives for all the new business they brought in.

    It was the same thing with the bank bailout. Ordinary taxpayers forced to pay into the bonus pools of Goldman Sachs.

    Obamanomics: Like Reaganomics, only sleazier.

  11. collapse expand

    A dog’s got to hunt, a fish has got to swim, democrats have to wet themselves at the first sign of opposition.

    A story to throw in I just found out over the weekend: Friends of my parents — real fire-breathing, Rush Limbaugh, “fuck the poor” conservatives — just lost their health insurance. The husband’s commercial real estate company collapsed, and with the company gone, he cannot even get COBRA. As a prostate cancer survivor, he has zero chance of getting health insurance. So what are they doing? Applying for that bastion of freeloading, parasitic government largess known as Medicare.

    I hope they get it because, despite their mad dog political views, they are dedicated friends to my folks and I would hate to see them bankrupted. But I hope they learn something from the experience.

    • collapse expand

      Any chance of these people getting some media coverage at a town hall? Perhaps they can a spot on Larry O’Donnell’s Hard Ball or whatever it’s called. In this recession there must be hundreds of stories just lie theirs. Die Hard Rethugs applying for mediscarey.

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

    It’s amazing that a huge fight has been drummed up over a policy that won’t mean that much of a real-life change for insurance users. Without a public plan, the whole health insurance debate is much ado about nothing.

    Change as little as possible while still being able to call it change? Yes We Can.

  13. collapse expand

    Matt – Don’t you dare feel guilty about hammering these worthless sellouts! They are undeserving of 30 seconds of your consideration and sympathies. Do you think they feel guilt every time they throw the nation under the bus driven by the money-men and the whackos? They certainly don’t – so fuck ‘em!

    The politicians you name, and all progressive voters, need to remove themselves from the Democratic Party and declare their independence. Just look how the Party kissed Leiberman’s ass when he did it! The Dems will never give progressive ideas a fair shot until not doing so risks losing votes. Progressives who continue supporting this long dead party are enablers, and a big part of the problem.

    Anyone who is surprised by any of this bullshit has simply not been paying attention for a long time. Stand up, people! It’s time for the sheep to eat the shepherds and move on to greener pastures!

  14. collapse expand

    I still believe Obama is trying to do the right thing, but the problem is that he is trying just as hard to appease the health care industry and produce a “victory” to help him stay viable for 2012. He says he doesn’t care about being a one-term president. If only he *acted* that way.

    I’ll never understand why Obama intentionally surrounded himself with people who do business as usual in Washington when he seemed so genuinely committed to changing business as usual. But those early decisions (Rahm, Geitner, etc.) set the stage, and, I think the next 3 and 1/2 years will be more of this same divide between rhetoric and action — straddling all positions until the 11th hour, selling out to the same special interests he ran against but casting the results as “historic” and “unprecedented”… in short, speaking loudly and carrying a small stick.

  15. collapse expand

    I think I’m most fascinated by the masterfully orchestrated Astroturf campaign that made the Democrats go limp as soggy ShamWows. Or at least provided them with a convenient excuse to go limp.

    It’s a work of criminal genius. Most amazing of all was how the orchestrators (with a number of complicit enablers) convinced so many useful idiots to insanely chant, as batocchio of Digby’s Hullabaloo put it, “Deny me healthcare or give me death!”

  16. collapse expand

    Let’s just add it to the list of betrayals, shall we:

    1. Don’t ask…
    2. CIA rendition.
    3. Closed door deal with big pharma.
    4. Mortgage inaction…
    5. “Bonuses” for Wall Street scum.
    6. Delay of Iraq exit and expansion of wars.
    7. Geithner and Summers.
    8. Immunity for the telcos for spying inside USA.
    9. Bank life support at taxpayer expense.

    This guys is a weenie. At least with Bush he didn’t pretend to be your friend when he fucked you over..

  17. collapse expand

    This is yet another symptom of the GTD presidency. Obama is farming out the details, something he’s shown a fondness for, and that can only work if he maintains control. The problem is, he trusts the process, and what comes back to him from that process is crappy and weak and compromised. That’s thanks to, as Taibbi put it, trusting compromised people like a Wyoming Senator with 600k constituents (not quite six, but on our population scale, close) to be a major negotiator in health care reform. He needs to throw the hammer down: http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/judgments/2009/08/03/getting-things-done-president

  18. collapse expand

    I really hoped Obama would use the momentum he had early in the year to force Pelosi and Reid to put in place the needed changes in healthcare and since this was his number one priority he had a good game plan in mind. WRONG. Obama and his staff have shown no game plan and allowing Pelosi and Reid to manage the process was doomed from the start; and the White House should have known this! Obama and the White House staff have a lot of work to do in the coming months if they are going to take back control of the process and get any meaningful healthcare reform passed. Should they fail, Senator Jim “Deminted” may be correct that this will break Obama and be his Waterloo.

  19. collapse expand

    They will not change. Leave this psychic wasteland, the experiment has failed. Dems, Repubs, 3rd parties, makes no difference, all is futile. We have many times the resources available to take care of all of us, but too bad. Not going to happen like that!

    Now then: breathe, look around. What you see is a collective dream. We can shift oceans with our hearts. I can free myself, so that’s where I start.

  20. collapse expand

    When did the White House ever claim the the public option was a must? I think it was last month (or maybe June) when a Prez said something like that but I can’t remember exactly. But the President has not changed his postion. The still support the public option, I just don’t remember anyone from the administration saying it was a deal breaker if it wasn’t in the legislation that ends up on Obama’s desk. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    And as others have pointed out today, NO SINGLE bill exists. I believe we currently have three in the House and two in Senate. I have also read quite a bit of pushback coming from more liberal House Dem’s today. I am in the wait and see mode before I light my hair on fire and declare the end of life as we know it because Obama surrendered to the wingnuts and teabaggers.

    Besides, reading tea leaves has never been the strong suit of the establishment media.

  21. collapse expand

    The real change, which never depended on Obama, is that our top-down, one-size fits all, eight-guys-run-everything system can no longer work for a nation of 320 million people, much less the world. That is the change we were thirsting for – because this system is tragically dysfunctional. We were fooling ourselves if we thought anyone, even our charming, competent President, could somehow magically fix these broken social institutions. We need new institutions, focused around solving problem and not around accruing giant budgetary fiefdoms.

    Americans need to look each other in the eye and ask each other how they can care for each others’ health, and forget the bureaucrats at the top of the system. It is too late for them, not too late for us. To achieve this will take new dialogue, new minds, new voices, new approaches, and a helluva lot of hard work, but it will be better than banging our heads against this monumentally broken system of governance.

  22. collapse expand

    Shocker. I mean really surprising! Who’d a thought the democrats would cower like little girls in the face of a fox news smear campaign? when has that ever happened? Time to put on the big boy pants and remove the plastic sheets! Come on ladies! Why is it that when the democrats are in office it suddenly takes 60 votes in the senate to pass a bill? Fucking cowards, Im voting for socialists and libtards from now on.

  23. collapse expand

    With so many un+under insured, the private sector has demonstrated it can’t do the job alone. We need a public option.

    The administration is caving while corporate-republican continue spreading untruths and fear. The republicans offer no solution so are free to sit back and attack.The teabag-town hall efforts, while an embarrassment to the country, appear to have been effective.

    “We’ve never had the votes for a public option,” says Senator Conrad. How can that be true? At one point there we over 70% of Americans who favored some kind of public option. How could we let Freedom Works out MoveOn-MoveOn?

    Well, there is this thing about telling the truth.

    I don’t understand why the president has to negotiate from a position of weakness. The numbers are on our side. This is not the time to compromise.

  24. collapse expand

    The GOP has its god, gays, guns and anti-abortion suckers, and Democrats have their universal health care and peace suckers.

    What’s fascinating isn’t that liberals lost on this again — easily predictable when liberals embraced Edward’s plan — or that they lost so easily, but how much more money health insurance companies make every time they beat us back. Check out Why Health Insurers are Winning

  25. collapse expand

    I’m not sure that I’d like to play poker against Obama. I sense that he, Axelrod and Emanual are not dumb enough to have been caught in this Whirlpool’s spin cycle. Is it crazy to look at the public option as “bait?” I happen to think that the Co-Op idea could provide great leverage to squeeze the schmaltz out of the system. I’d suggest that we not paint this as a loss…just yet.

  26. collapse expand

    Obama advised Americans over and over during his campaign to be courageous. So uh, when is the Democratic Party going to lead by example and stop being polite and accommodating to people who paint Hitler moustaches on their portraits? Good fucking Christ, enough of this pandering to intellectual midgets and sociopaths already. GROW A SPINE, DEMS and deliver what you promised to the people who voted in overwhelming numbers for you. Ignore the assholes and get a fucking move on and do the job you said you would. Stop being equivocating WIMPS.

  27. collapse expand

    Health care in not really about health care. It’s about the money. How much will it cost and who’s going to pay. The so-called rich aren’t really going to give up anything especially their money. Even if taxes are raised on them the Dems will also create loopholes to go with the increase. In the end it will be the nearly ruined middle class that will pay for any reform. Otherwise deficits will go into outer space and the U S will truly be financially broken. Otherwise there won’t be real reform. And that’s what Obama is preparing to put into place. It will be cosmetic. And Obama will claim victory.

  28. collapse expand

    I wish Tommy Douglas were still around.


    “Canada’s ‘father of Medicare’ stayed true to his socialist beliefs — often at the cost of his own political fortune — and earned himself the respect of millions of Canadians in the process.”

    “Amid widespread skepticism, Premier Douglas mobilized aggressively, passing more than 100 bills during his first term. He introduced paved roads, sewage systems and power to most farmers and managed to reduce the provincial debt by $20 million. Over the next 18 years he weathered Communist fear campaigns and a province-wide doctor’s strike. Elected to five terms, he introduced Saskatchewan residents to car insurance, labour reforms and his long-standing dream of universal Medicare.”

    Damn socialists.

  29. collapse expand

    Obama (so far) is a failure on gay rights.
    Obama may now be a failure on health care.
    The Stimulus was too little and it worked within existing programs and basically just provided funding for things we already had. Visionary? No. Change? Not really, Shrub added longer extensions to workers comp without anyone even bothering to report it. Obama’s single accomplishment is Sonia Sotomayer, and the Supreme Court balance is still unchanged.

    So what is the point of Obama anyway? Take away all the hype and he may as well be G.W. Bush. What was all that fighting for anyways?

  30. collapse expand

    Obama (so far) is a failure on gay rights.
    Obama may now be a failure on health care.
    The Stimulus was too little and it worked within existing programs and basically just provided funding for things we already had. Visionary? No. Change? Not really, Shrub added longer extensions to workers comp without anyone even bothering to report it. Obama’s single accomplishment is Sonia Sotomayer, and the Supreme Court balance is still unchanged.

    So what is the point of Obama anyway? Take away all the hype and he may as well be G.W. Bush. What was all that fighting for anyways?

    • collapse expand

      I agree with almost everything you say (your one mistake is Judge Sotomayor, she is part of this camouflaged insurance industry bailout – check her legal rulings record), but as Drew Pearson once said, by “..their appointments ye shall know them.”

      He was referring to the presidential appointments. Trivia question: Who was the last president who appointed an actual progressive economist? Answer: John F. Kennedy

      Trivia question: Who was the last president to appoint a Secretary of Labor who was actually connected to American labor? Answer: John F. Kennedy

      Trivia question: Who was the last president who wrangled the insurance industry to the ground; forcing them to sign a Consent Decree (stating they would stop establishing artificially high prices)? Answer: John F. Kennedy

      Who are the Obama Administration’s appointments? The most anti-worker, anti-union people in existence: Diana Farrell, Laura Tyson, Roger Altman, Richard Holbrooke, Robert Hormats, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Gov. Gary Locke, Henry Kissinger. (And can anyone say Hillary Clinton, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and overthrowing governments as usual in South America?)

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

    I’ve heard many saying they wish that Obama was more like Bush, that Bush never compromised or listened to public opinion. Listen to what you are saying – I never want a president anything like Bush. While your pundit’s cojones may require it, remember where all that pride and arrogance got us.

    • collapse expand

      I disagree with this.

      Bush was awful in many respects, in fact almost all respects. But when you elect someone to represent you, you want them to exercise all their power once elected.

      Bush/Rove/Cheney frequently went too far with their use of executive power. But they also treated the power of the White House as an opportunity, whereas Obama seems terrified of the power he has.

      This isn’t a matter of wishing Obama was more like Bush. This is just a comment on the nature of our system. It’s a con game. When Republicans are in power, the executive has almost unlimited authority. But when Democrats are in power, suddenly their hands are always tied by the checks and balances system.

      It’s the difference between a government that openly advocates for big business and a government that ostensibly represents working people. The system just functions differently according to whose turn it is at the tiller.

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

        When I elect someone to represent me, I don’t want them to use any power that they don’t have to. I believe Obama’s first priority is not healthcare (or selling out as many of your commenters would have it), but bringing the nation back from near civil war to a place where it is governable. Bush’s arrogance in ignoring one half of the population brought us to the brink. If Obama listens to the half that doesn’t agree with him, he is vilified by his own half, but unless he breaks the vicious cycle, this whole country will be as screwed as California

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

        “But they also treated the power of the White House as an opportunity, whereas Obama seems terrified of the power he has.”

        I’d be interested to know which of his actions informed this perception. He seems frustrated he can’t find the right light switch, not terrified of the dark.

        But speaking to your larger point, I’ve been noodling it for a while, as I’ve read it from you more than once. While the lack of consistent messaging from the WH is frustrating and the righteously indignant part of me very much wants Rahm to march into the Senate with a blunt object and knee cap the blue dogs, the pragmatic part of me isn’t convinced it would make a difference. The tactic didn’t work for GWB on immigration or social security reform. Two initiatives that seem comparable to health care in terms of scope and complexity.

        At any rate, this health care debate has been nothing short of crazy making. I’m looking forward to your piece.

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

        Matt said,

        “It’s the difference between a government that openly advocates for big business and a government that ostensibly represents working people”

        The Democrats may be associated with ‘working people’ but their legislative action is about the same as their Republican counterparts.

        Maybe the entertainment industrial media complex gets more of its dirty work done in Democratic lead sessions, (DMCA anyone?) but that’s about it.

        Given you probably want to keep writing for RS, I imagine you wouldn’t want to write about the entertainment industry the way you write about GS. But the same kind of abuse is going on.

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

    Truly, it is some shameless shit.

    I thought Obama was pulling a massive bait-and-switch ever since his FISA choice during the primaries, but to have a democratic prez in office who can make BUSH look good by comparison?


  33. collapse expand

    President Obama has said over and over that change comes from the bottom, not the top. If we all would just put our energies out there where they can be seen — SIT on the capitol steps, WEAR an outrageous attention getting sign, WALK en masse to a senator’s and congress(wo)man’s house or office — maybe our yellowbellied representatives will find the guts to DO what they were elected to do! Just typing on our computers to each other is not the way to make change happen. We’ve got to SHOW them what we believe with CONVICTION and the same courage we expect from them. Both Pres Clinton and Gov Dean have told us repeatedly, Obama cannot do it all himself. If we get some watered down mush of a bill, it’ll be as much our fault as it is the administration’s, because we sat on our butts watching the lack of change, rather than being the change …

  34. collapse expand

    The thing I find so maddening about this whole thing is that I have not seen one single pundit, commentator, what have you that hasn’t said the same thing…forget the republicans. They dont want you to succeed on any level whether they agree or not. People voted for democrats for a reason not republicans. Why on earth doesn’t the white house get it???

  35. collapse expand

    Robert Reich is calling for a march on Washington on Grandparents Day, one day after a reportedly planned anti-reform demonstration.

  36. collapse expand

    Mr. Matt,

    You’re still thinking at the lower levels, dood!

    This entire thing, from appointing Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, to the charade of the “public option” and so forth, is simply a backdoor bailout of the insurance industry.

    That’s why the prez met with the UnitedHealth honcho soooo many times, etc., and why everything has been sooo orchestrated at these Town Hall meets. Remember, the banks and insurance clowns brought us the neverending economic meltdown and the insurance industry went in for colossal securitization just like those banksters did.

    ‘Nuff said…..

  37. collapse expand

    you know…I am starting to think we are all missing something here. This guy in the white house is not a light weight by any means. The best way to overcome an opponent is to have them underestimate you. I think Sen. Grassley’s comments over the weekend were telling of that underestimation, along with Sen. Kyl’s today. Now you have the left up in arms, arguably more united (and vocal) then at anytime during this debate fearing the loss of a public option. Now word is coming out of the white house that they are now essentially prepared to “go it alone” if they have to, a 180 from where they were. The “we tried to reason with them but all they can say is NO” worked for the stimulus. I’m guessing this enough of a 180 to grab headlines (and momentum)

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