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Mar. 1 2010 - 4:13 pm | 274 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

Did the President cave? Are we starting over?

We have been talking about health care for more than a year. Blood, sweat, and tears have been spilled, elections have been won and lost, and summits have been held. And yet, amid the fevered calls from the left to nuke the GOP and pass the thing through reconciliation, we learn today that the president will unveil a brand, new plan on Wednesday.

President Obama will soon propose a health care bill that will be “much smaller” than the House bill but “big enough” to put the country on a “path” toward health care reform, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday.

“In a matter of days, we will have a proposal,” Pelosi said, pointing to Obama’s forthcoming bill.

“It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill because that’s where we can gain consensus. But it will be big enough to put us on a path of affordable, quality health care for all Americans that holds insurance companies accountable.”

A senior administration official told Fox Obama’s proposal will be introduced Wednesday.

Recall that the single loudest message presented by the Republicans to the president before, during, and after the health care summit last week was to start over. And it now appears that he is doing just that.

The unveiling of a new proposal reflects the reality that reconciliation would mean the electoral destruction of the Democratic Party in November. A Republican source in the Senate observed in a telephone interview with me that passing the least popular domestic policy initiative in recent memory in that manner is highly unlikely given that, at the end of the day, politicians really do like their jobs more than any particular piece of legislation. So if they can’t do it through reconciliation, and they have to pass something, it seems only logical that the president has decided to start over.

The problem with starting over now is that (1) both the House and Senate would have to take up, debate, and vote on the new bill. That will certainly take a while, though it is hard to believe that the White House doesn’t already have some assurances of quick passage from Reid and Pelosi (then again, these were the folks who couldn’t even pass their own legislation, never mind somebody else’s) and (2) the bill will undoubtedly contain many of the same objectionable provisions that were in the first two bills. It could easily become The Bill that Ate the Obama Presidency.

It appears that the president has capitulated to the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose the current plans and want him to try another approach. If, as the Democrats keep telling us, the American people support certain components of the existing bills, which is no doubt true, then the president has an opportunity to propose the popular parts and leave out the unpopular ones. If he had done this last summer, he could have avoided a lot of the political damage he inflicted on himself and his Party.

He is an inexperienced president. Maybe he is learning.


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  1. collapse expand

    He better hurry, because he only has less than three years left until he is replaced

  2. collapse expand

    Yeah the American people from both parties want a public option, that bit of polling is buried by the leaders of both parties.

    So what will come? It doesn’t matter the republicans will vote against it. They will vote against removing the anti-trust exemption and dropping for pre-existing conditions and some price regulation.

    Sometimes I think another year of two should pass as people lose their insurance and prices soar. Maybe then the people will understand how stupid both the companies and the government has been.

  3. collapse expand

    “He is an inexperienced president. Maybe he is learning.”

    Most presidents are pretty experienced at being president when they start their first term…. wait, what the hell are you trying to say here?

  4. collapse expand

    Mr. Dupray, it’s becoming painfully apparent, that your posts on True/Slant aren’t very popular. I would suggest, from my viewpoint that the problem doesn’t lie in the content, so much as the way it is presented. If you cannot, or will not explain what the problem is in realistic terms, you cannot possibly hope to fix it. Also, from my perspective, if we (I – liberal/progressive, you – conservative/??) cannot accurately present our case(s), we cannot have any kind of dialogue that will help us all move forward. Which brings up another important point – conservatism, by its very nature, may project itself into the dialogue as meaning that there is really nothing wrong at all, and that the status quo should remain. Thus we have to agree on the meanings of our perspectives terms and words. If you can understand me, then perhaps I can understand you and your perspective.

    So, I, as a liberal progressive, will attempt to define what exactly this term means to me, what ties me to it and why. I am liberal in the sense that I attempt to keep an open mind about all of the things and people that surround me. To understand better why something I believed last week may no merit this week, and either abandon it, or embrace it as something for further review. Progressive, to me, means exactly what at first blush it projects: progress towards an end, which could also entail that your slant is conservative/progressive, meaning you want progress on conservative issues. Either way, we now potentially share a common goal, progress. I tie myself to the term in one sense, because for me, the conservative stance over the balance of my lifetime has been one of misdirection and manipulation. This is not to say that the liberal position is not peppered with the same problem(s), but again, from my vantage point, liberal ideals in this democratic republic of ours seem to help the many, with the few that are/have being/been hurt by that covered by the conservative ideal. I also believe that our country cannot survive in the world today without both sides of the coin coming into play in the continual coin toss of debate within the halls of government. I see government as the tool of the people to maintain a certain level of societal equilibrium. I see liberal government as a way to maintain a constant hand up to those whose opportunities may be squelched or denied via the constant churn of the capitalistic machine, which when left to run wide open, ultimately blows itself up. NASCAR uses restrictor plates to limit speeds on certain tracks on its circuit for a reason; I see conservative idealism as the necessary restrictor plate to liberal taxation/spending/fiscal engine preservation at the civic level, but I also see liberal idealism, as the plate to runaway capitalism, running rough-shod over the masses, much as Toyota has a problem with accelerator pedals, Wall Street has the same problem, thus, again from my standpoint, sound financial regulation needs a deep look at this point in our history. Health care has the same problem; it has become the gas guzzler in the race, setting itself up as the one that won’t cross the finish line. Can it govern itself well enough on its own to cross the finish line? If not can a liberal ideal based in government reform help throttle it down in such a way that the 80/20 rule of consumption won’t kill it for us all, making it such that only the most well funded and sponsored can compete? How about something like affirmative action, something that from my standpoint, has to be done from a liberal governmental perspective when normal avenues are not enough to bring parity and opportunity to those that have been intentionally blocked in our past. It requires a simple over-bending of the metal of society to bring it back to straight, once the goal has been accomplished and the bias has been overcome, that metal can be released, to see if we have straightened it sufficiently. Some may pay for the sins of the past from the majority group, but sometimes the person whose last name starts with an “a” is not going to be chosen first. Much as conservative idealism reflects the Reagan ideal of rugged individualism, I feel that a white male that feels he’s been discriminated against needs to suck it up. I believe that when the rich and powerful get that way, they have a natural tendency to become more conservative, for simple human reasons – they want to stay that way. Taken to the extreme, those that arrive at rich and powerful seem to have a tendency to believe that they got that way by their own wits and hard work, with no help from anyone, again a natural human tendency. They have a tendency as well to project that personal triumph down on the rest of us as if we are deadbeats because we can’t do it ourselves. Some of us don’t want that type of wealth, we just want to live a modest life – no need for more than one house, or a tax break in a bracket we’ll never see. Thus my tie to the stake of liberal idealism based in sound government for the greater good; it is simply the way I see it out here on the ground.

    What happens when conservative idealism kicks in that is not based in a realistic approach to what is going on out here on the ground? Is it intentional to such an extent that the rich conservative that flexes pecuniary muscle within the halls of government to influence it to the benefit of the few that it manifests itself in the form of a fourth estate slant that influences the masses in a detrimental way? The answer to that for me is an obvious yes. How about the very real phenomena of the “corporate individual” that has the mite to crush the true individual? Again, a resounding yes. A conservative court has just handed us that one, which, from my stance, looks like it could be a good thing for us as a whole for one simple reason; for most of us that don’t have time to sort through the bullshit of an election process that has become so cynical it defies reason, it’s a way to pick a new winner. Just look whose coffers have become astonishingly full, and vote the candidate down. Is this cynical, in and of itself? You bet. The man that got the ball rolling on vacating campaign finance law, wants that list of donors to be anonymous as well. He may see it as a good idea, I however do not. This brings up one of many problems we have out here on the ground. That of the masses as a “stupid lot” that wouldn’t know what was good for us if it came wrapped in roses. That misconception should be looked at more closely, particularly when it comes to a fourth estate outlet that uses the ignorant and misinformed as a tool of projection to the greater numbers of us. It’s not that we’re dumb, stupid, or ignorant, it is simply that we are working harder day by day just to survive. I dig deep into the news of the world for a simple reason. The attempt to mislead has at its core a fundamental disdain for the whim and whimsy of the masses, thus a worldview that is increasingly out of sync with the players on the ground. I have one advantage in this viewpoint that you do not have, as far as I know, Mr. Dupray. I have one-hundred-and-fifty thousand miles of ass time in my Ford pickup in the good ole USA. I have had ample opportunity to converse with the folks that eat breakfast at the Waffle House, or grab coffee and diesel at the Loves on the interstates of this country. The back roads give even better perspective, however ironic it is, of what’s really happening out here; rich conservative ideologues are poisoning the minds of the hardworking masses by assuaging their fears, fanning their flames of hatred, for many that are finding fewer ways to turn and survive. That, sir is dangerous; by division and exclusion via the conservative method, we have stoked the fires of democracy with dynamite, ready to blow the whole thing to bits, confirming the predictions of some of those that came before about the dangers of democracy. Kris Kristofferson said it best: “Lord help me to shoulder the burden of freedom…” That’s simply not possible when one doesn’t understand where it comes from, what it is, or why it is. Conservative idealism has its merits, so let us try to return to them in an open and honest way, such that, a man that hates taxes has the information he needs to decide what he’s willing to give up if his taxes were to suddenly go away. I find it ironic that a working man in this country would listen to a rich one on the radio that has never had a job in his life, other than sitting in a glass box, breathing his own gas. No solutions, only complaints. We grow weary.

    I can say honestly, Mr. Dupray, that I don’t like taxes, big government, or the far left any better than I like the far right and runaway capitalism, you probably feel the same, in inverse. I do see one thing I have in common with the right, however, a starting point. It goes something like this “Guns don’t kill people, people do” as compared to “government being the problem, not the people….” If we get the right people, and trust them while we keep an eye on them, ourselves, and each other, we can yank ourselves away from the brink by the collar. I can call a conservative an idiot, because, from the way you express your ideals, that appears to be the case. Then when the real idiot comes along and calls POTUS a “stupid nigger” the circle completes itself. That idiot may not be one at all, merely frustrated about his station in life, and the guy on the radio just validated his worst fears, without someone helping him understand what wags the world and why. I think it kind of crazy that a smart guy writing about climate change would try to float a fast one past a simple welder that uses Co2 with a wire machine, or a kid that might have accidently cooked his pet lizard in a glass box and wondered why, not to mention the thousands of fire fighters out there that have a fundamental understanding of the way trapped gases actually work. We’re not stupid, Mr. Dupray, just very busy.
    In conclusion to this wandering through the weeds explanation of where I stand, I can say with a certain amount of certainty that I have a better understanding of conservative ideals than you Mr. Dupray. I’m saying that without a sneer, but you are the one writing on True/Slant, not I. You could do a better job of projecting your ideals, if only you would back away from absurd notions, and define why you are conservative in an honest way, and be ready to offer up solutions to things like climate change in a positive way. I’m a guy without a job or career right now. I see climate change as a way to, at the very least, get us all back to work doing what we do: finding solutions to complex problems through honest open dialogue, hard work, and inclusion. By fanning the flames of ignorance in matters likes these, at a time like this, you do nothing more than hobble progress for our country as whole, in a way that will be bypassed with time. We, the people out here on the ground have demonstrated time and again that we can eventually walk around obstructions, if not sprint, in a way that makes us uniquely American. It’s that freedom thing; if the talking heads don’t give us the answers we need, when we need them, we’ll go find them. That’s happening right now. When the many discover how badly they have been misled by the conservative bubble machine, they’ll trash it, and the conservative movement will die a quick, generational death. I can express myself this way at a truckstop, the least you could do is try it on True/Slant. I am only trying to figure out where you stand, and what you stand for, Mr. Dupray, because it isn’t looking like you really know. I have chosen this route for a simple reason: I’m looking for someone that can accurately and honestly depict the reasons for conservative thought, not through the use of lies and misdirection, but fundamentals. We have to have that clarity right now. Let me help.

    Kelly A. Nickell
    Lakeland FL, Lubbock TX, San Jose CA

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    About Me

    I am a lawyer afflicted with a consuming desire to analyze and debate politics.

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