Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

Jon Walker on FDL:

Looking back at Obama's campaign health care plan, it is shocking how many promises he broke without a fight. Obama promised:

   * A new national health exchange open to all Americans
    * A new public plan available to all Americans to compete with private insurance
    * An employer mandate to provide health insurance
    * A minimum medical loss ratio for insurance companies
    * To allow people to import cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe
    * To repeal the ban that prevents the government from directly negotiating with drug companies

Note none of these promise are part of the Senate Finance Committee bill. Obama has made no effort to fight for the inclusion of some of these (public option, employer mandate, minimum medical loss ratio) and months ago even made secret deals vowing to actively work to kill drug re-importation and direct drug price negotiation.

During the election Obama actively campaigned against two policies. One was the individual mandate favored by Hillary Clinton (and the health insurance industry) and the other was a tax on employer-provided health insurance which was also supported by John McCain. These two issues are now part of the Baucus bill. Since taking office, Obama has spent dramatically more time and political capital fighting hard to include these two provisions that he opposed than he has spent trying to include top progressive/labor union priorities that he supported, like the public option.

As David Waldman notes, this administration loves to slap its allies, but withers in the face of Senators-- the ones actually shaping the healthcare bill. This would certainly qualify as a bait and switch if the Baucus/Snowe "healthcare reform" becomes law.

Not unrelated, there are very few people whom are actually pleased with what the Obama administration has done to date, as the latest Harris poll points out. The percentage of those ranking Obama as "Excellent" has dropped from 18 percent to 10 percent (here on MyDD that may equate to a drop below 50%). The Obama negatives have risen across the board, with Independents at 60-40 negative over positive now.

These numbers are more bleak for Congress. The negative ranking of 84% is only surpassed in one month (Oct '08) of their four years of tracking. There was a bit of a rise this summer in the "right track" numbers, peaking in August at 46% saying "right direction" but that is now just 39% again.

Simply put, the Democrats are not fulfilling the agenda they promised. Its important to point out this failure too, as otherwise, you'll have revisionists make up stuff like this:

"Can I speak freely about the liberal whiners?" asks a well-connected Democratic strategist. "These are the same people who have never participated in, much less won, a campaign, who have no idea what it takes to maintain a majority and keep a speaker of our party, who want Obama to kowtow to the loony Left, and then they're going to be the ones who say, 'What happened?' in November 2010, when we lose the House and possibly the Senate and maybe a lot of governorships."

Tags: 2010, Democrats, obama (all tags)



Re: Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

Hmm... I must have missed where the FINAL Health Care bill was released... OH WAIT.      

A little premature... kind of like those naive souls who swore Mark Warner was a progressive...    jumping the gun.

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: or those naive ones
Why should that get you banned?
You didn't say anything really ourageous, like "Kucinich probably was too far out there to win."
by spirowasright 2009-10-18 10:19AM | 0 recs
is Obama fighting

to improve the content of the health care bill? Has he insisted that the bill keep any of the campaign promises highlighted in this post?

I've seen no report anywhere this year about the White House twisting arms in Congress to improve the bill. On the contrary, last week Obama suggested he was open to Snowe's "trigger" idea in place of a public option.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: is Obama fighting

OOh.  Jerome cites a "well connected democratic strategist" and you one-up him with "two anonymous white house sources"

Fantastic work, gents.

by lojasmo 2009-10-18 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: is Obama fighting

DemoinesDem is a woman.

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: is Obama fighting

Change "gents" to "folks"

by lojasmo 2009-10-19 03:00AM | 0 recs
Re: is Obama fighting

Are you at every negotiated meeting of this Bill?   Did you move to DC from IOWA to take part or have a bug somewhere?    

To some extent the administration has fought for this bill and in some areas they have not and have disappointed people, myself included.     Again though, until the final bill comes out you have NO IDEA what is or isn't being fought for.      I have no issues with criticism of the President... I have issues with people jumping the gun to crucify someone for something that hasn't yet happened, especially when some of those people criticized Obama Supporters for doing the same thing with Obama.  It's hypocritical.  

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 12:45PM | 0 recs
How exactly do you twist arms?......

What you and Jerome and some other liberals demand in such stridency is what Hillary tried 16 years ago.  We learned from that experience that there's no twisting arms in the modern Congress.  Lyndon Johnson could not do today what he was able to do so long ago, the Senate is a different place.

Obama laid out in the campaign what he WANTED to do.  He got elected and found out over time it's not doable, that there are not 60 Senators who will allow it.  So he has to take as much as he can get.

Neither you nor Jerome is privy to what Obama tells Senators and House members behind closed doors, and what they tell him.  So the assertion that Obama didn't demand this or that specific proposal is nonsense.  We have a separation of powers, not a parliamentary system like Canada and much of Europe, and the chief executive doesn't get to just govern by executive fiat.

When I supported Obama during the campaign, I knew well enough that whatever specific provisions he claimed to want in a health care reform bill weren't worth a damn because no President can simply demand or impose anything, especially in this day and age.  I understand people getting upset over "broken promises," but a mature political activist is one who realizes what is and isn't doable, and simply expecting a complicated legislative proposal made in a campaign to be enacted intact as actual legislation is never realistic.  I took to the bank that Obama would push for a big health care reform, not any particular components of it.  I took to the bank that Obama would push for withdrawal from Iraq, not expecting a promise fulfilled to do it in a specific number of months.  And so on.

Finally, please don't fall for Jerome's nonsense without recognizing what bothers him is simply that Obama won the Democratic nomination.  He wanted Dodd or Edwards or some such thing, then had Hillary as his fallback, and was pissed even his 2nd choice couldn't win.  Everything Jerome posts here about Obama is through the lens of neverending personal bitterness disguised as a performance or policy complaint.  Jerome is just strangely emotionally and politically immature and can't get over an old grudge.  He showed this recently before this thread in his diary complaining about Afghanistan, in which Jerome was extraordinarily dishonest both about what Obama "promised" and about what he's doing.

by DCCyclone 2009-10-18 02:28PM | 0 recs
he was on the phone

with senators last October, urging them to vote for the bailout.

The White House played hardball with House members who didn't want to vote for the war supplemental in June.

Don't tell me there is no possible leverage he could have used to squeeze a few extra votes out of the Democratic Senate caucus. I see no evidence he even tried.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: he was on the phone

I am not saying you are wrong because. When it comes to the Finance Bill or the HELP Bill Obama has not tried to force anything. What I do not understand is what I am percieving as a belief that once this whole mess goes to a conference committee that the House isn't going to have any say in what happens.

Also, I am not saying I know what is in Obama's heart or mind, but I think that until we see what comes out of conference, and until we see how the administration behaves at that point, it is a little early to assume that the administration has given up on this promise.

My hope is that the administration is allowing the legislative process to take its course to as great an extent as possible. I also think it is important to remember that the House is as dead set in favor of a Public Option as the Senate seems to be against it.

Again, in the starkest of terms, you are not wrong the Administration has not used its leverage yet to force the public option or other things into the Senate Finance or HELP bills. But it is possible that there are reasons for that beyond them choosing to give up on the Public Option.

by JDF 2009-10-19 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: How exactly do you twist arms?......

Wake up and get over the primary. It's been 16 months already, or some number. Quit masking Obama's failures with personal attacks.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: How exactly do you twist arms?......

Thank you for pointing out another broken promise.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/ promises/promise/517/health-care-reform- public-sessions-C-SPAN/

To achieve health care reform, "I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.

And if you don't think a President can demand or "arm-twist" Congress you're sadly mistaken, and overtly naive.

by TxDem08 2009-10-19 09:50AM | 0 recs
so, because Hillary's not progressive

it's ok for Obama to abandon a half-dozen key campaign promises on health care with no fight.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

Hillary is far more progressive than Obama. Obama is a pretender.

by Joshuagen 2009-10-18 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

Well on Afghanistan, she is certainly quite the hawk.

I would not term HRC as a progressive. I think more than she is better in tune with working class realities. And I think she was more partisan, or put another way, she's cognizant that there are limited benefits to engaging the GOP.

Having said this, I still expect Obama to move the ball forward on a whole host of issues but rather than front-term loaded they are likely to be back-end loaded and diluted. But again, I am not looking for a transformative Presidency from Obama. That's just not possible given political realities. The urgency of campaign finance reform is clear. Without it, we are just going to get government beholden to corporate interests.

On another note, I'm in shock over the shift in Sudan policy. I cannot believe that he is embracing Omar al Bashir.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

Going to get gov't beholden to corporate interests?

by TxDem08 2009-10-19 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

No, that's not what I said. I said that without campaign finance reform, government is beholden to corporate interests.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-19 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes

Any bases for these assertions?

by orestes 2009-10-18 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Your than

No bases, I see.  Why do you bother with such meritless comments?  They do not foster any discussion, because you are merely stating your personal prejudice.  Your comment is completely non-responsive to the prior comment.  

by orestes 2009-10-18 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Your than
Just to let you know- this is one of the people who comes into my diaries to clog them up with b.s. So, my advice is the same that you gave me- ignore him.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Your than

None at all. Just useless trite bs that is still stuck in the primary of '08 and doesn't realize that Clinton is even in the admin.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: and she happens to be

But Clinton is only involved in foreign policy. It's not like she is involved in setting the domestic legislative agenda.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

No... but calling them abandoned when the final bill is being negotiated is pure ignorance.    THE FINANCE BILL IS NOT THE FINAL BILL.

Now, when the final bill has been negotiated, what was left out is of course fair game.   My issue isn't with holding someone accountable, its blasting something that hasn't happened yet, especially when it comes from people whose track record on what type of people certain people are is terrible  (See Warner, Edwards, etc.)

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 12:39PM | 0 recs
most of those promises

are not in any of the bills--certainly not in the Senate HELP bill, which is probably the best we can hope for.

Obama hasn't even tried to get Congress to include major campaign promises on health care in the health care reform bill.

Instead, his White House gambled on being able to take credit for sweeping reform that wouldn't make the insurance and pharmaceutical industries angry.

Peter Orszag was camped out in Baucus's office for much of the summer. This is not some big secret--the White House openly admits this. Orszag was not sent there to insist on Obama's campaign promises getting into the bill.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: most of those promises

Don't waste your time... this user is just the latest troll version.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: most of those promises
You have quite a few people who do this sort of posting here at your site. Their main function seems to be to clog up diaries with talking point, contradictory statements and demonization of the messenger.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: most of those promises

I know, believe me I know. But I am working on the solution and we will be rid of them within a few months.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 04:50PM | 0 recs
Oh, goodie,

then MyDD will just be a perpetual Jerome-rankles-bruh3-Kent circle jerk. Oh well, you'll probably still get page hits from people who can't help coming to watch a train wreck.

by sricki 2009-10-18 10:50PM | 0 recs
Seems to me...

as though you have already done a spectacular job these past few months of shedding yourself of most of Mydd's viewers/commenters...I've no doubt at all that with a few more months you will have rid the site of those pesky informed commenters and removed all but the dregs (that is your goal, right?).

Banning Jess81, DTOzone, and Nrafter all within a week is shameful...and quite indicative of the type of 'solution' you are working towards.

Not much of a solution, IMO.

'Tis a shame.

by Kysen 2009-10-18 11:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems to me...

Probably more coming. If folks can't post here w/o throwing tantrums like a child and making personal attacks, they don't belong here.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-19 10:07AM | 0 recs
More coming?

Perhaps 'bruh3' would be a reasonable place to begin. You will note his calling Shaun Appleby (who, if I recall correctly, was an FP diarist here on MYDD during the primaries) a "dick" down thread. That alone might go a long ways towards bringing some of your more reasonable users back. That is, if you want reasonable commenters back in the first place, not sure I'm convinced that you do. I don't expect to see it happen, but it would be a welcome to sign to many if it did.

If folks can't post here w/o throwing tantrums like a child and making personal attacks, they don't belong here.

Interesting. Has the blogosphere ever had a self-banning before?

I jest.

K...maybe not.

by Kysen 2009-10-19 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: More coming?

Yeah, your argument might have more validity if I had not said that in response to Shaun describing me as on drugs because Shaun could not debate the questions I raised with out attempting to provoke me.

I am curious do some of you really think people can not see how transparent you are? Do you really think he can not read the see the context in which I made the comment- namely with someone acting like a jerk towards me for not good reason other than he did not want to address disagreement.

The reason why he needs to ban some of you is that you do not debate people like me on the merits. You do what you are doing now- attack, attack, attack. Heaven forbid if someone responds back to your behavior.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: so, because Hillary's not progressive

Wow. You do know if you wait until the Final bill is marked-up and put on the floor it really is too late to make the kind of changes we all want.

At that point it's just venting and saying what if...versus holding them accountable BEFORE they cave into special interests.

by TxDem08 2009-10-19 09:55AM | 0 recs
still waiting....

that's been my motto these past few months. but the truth is we cannot judge YET. We have got to wait until the FINAL bill is passed and actually see what's in it (HCR). Because Pelosi is SO SURE there will be a PO - you may eat your words Jerome before the year is up. Still waiting.....is what I'm thinking because why hasn't DADT been repealed? I realize these promises take time - but there is NO EXCUSE with the majority dems he has in congress. If DADT and REAL HCR is not passed by the end of the year - then yeah, we all have a right to be made, but let's give him til the end of the year....

by nikkid 2009-10-18 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: still waiting....

We don't have to wait.  We can simply light ourselves on fire and fling ourselves off cliffs, screaming "OBAMA BETRAYED US!"

by lojasmo 2009-10-18 11:47AM | 0 recs
but even if the final bill

looks like Senate HELP or HR 3200, those don't include many of Obama's key campaign promises on health care reform.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 01:36PM | 0 recs
2012 primary opponent

Who would you guys support in 2012 to primary Obama?  

I think a lot of your complaints are well-founded, but do we really want Pawlenty President in 2012?  I think some of you prefer a return to the Republican trifecta--you're not "governing" anymore.

by esconded 2009-10-18 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: 2012 primary opponent

I seriously doubt there would be a primary candidate against Obama.  Hell, the Democratic party is opposed to a primary opponent against Specter!  The cabal would never allow a primary opponent.  We'll have to see if there is a good third party candidate.

by orestes 2009-10-18 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Has MyDD joined OpenLeft

Long ago, friend.

by lojasmo 2009-10-18 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Has MyDD joined OpenLeft

Your presence is duly noted.

by orestes 2009-10-18 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: 2012 primary opponent
Hey Orestes-
Grow up and leave the suicidal craziness to the right, OK?
by spirowasright 2009-10-18 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: 2012 primary opponent

Oh I'm sure SOMEONE will ignore the conservative actions of Mark Warner and shout his name from the mountaintop.

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 12:48PM | 0 recs
Howard Dean would be a fantastic choice

to take on Obama.  If the American people want to go back to the Republicans then they should enjoy every bit of pain that will be inflicted on them by Republicans.  

by Kent 2009-10-18 07:58PM | 0 recs

Now why didn't I think of that?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

Obama is chair of the Senate Finance Committee?

THAT BASTARD!!!11!eleventy!

by lojasmo 2009-10-18 11:44AM | 0 recs
Obama is emotionally shallow.

I'm part of the "loony left" whatever "left" means.

I tried to explain years ago that Obama was a conservative, free market, pro war candidate. I tried to explain that, he in fact,  said he was.

He said he was "pro Israel, period". He said he loved the free market, he said he would send more troops to Afghanistan... and ...I'm sorry, he took what clearly appears to be a bribe for future undefined favors from Tony Rezko in the purchase of his home in Hyde Park Chicago. I live in Chicago...and until very recently, real estate was one of the more popular forms of bribery throughout the nation for politicians. It looks clean. You buy a house for 300K that's worth 1 million from someone who seeks a favor, someday. That's not the Rezko scenario exactly.

Obama will always side with whoever he perceives  to be strong...and that will always be the military over civilians.

I spoke to Don Rose (David Axelrod's alleged "mentor") who agreed with me that Obama is essientially "cold blooded".

Obama as a person lack a strong emotional  component. He appears to very shallow emotionally. He doesn't feel much of anything at a deep level.

I'm not shocked, he's worse than I thought he was when I thought he was worse than I thought he was. This could go on.


by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 12:26PM | 0 recs
Thanks Doctor!

I find internet psychologizing very persuasive.

by JJE 2009-10-18 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is emotionally shallow.

1) Using the screen name Stu Piddy, doesn't help your argument.  

2) Diatribing and pimping your own blog makes you a whore.  

3)  Because you've established yourself as a whore, you've pretty much discredited your argument.

by 30000Fine 2009-10-18 12:50PM | 0 recs

I'm not trying to convert anyone or win an argument. Simply expressing myself.

I understand you feel I'm discredited in your eyes.

It doesn't interest me.

by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 12:57PM | 0 recs

I'm qualified.

The Key to understanding Obama's psychology is to understand his relationship with Lolo. That's his indonesian father who told him to stay away from the weak and side with the strong, otherwise you become one of the weak, Lolo said.

Obama has had a number of fathers. He saw his grandfather as a weak man.

Power is a major theme throughout his life. But he doesn't really know how to use power, only to associate himself with power.

That's one reason why not much is being done, one way or the other. He's simply going with the flow.

And the flow is to the right.

And he's kept the entire Bush Pentagon.

by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 12:52PM | 0 recs
Hello, you're probably the most well known

troll in the blog World. Congratulations on finding your way to MyDD or is it way back to MyDD??

Here's what you previously wrote about Obama and why you got banned by MSOC.

http://www.myleftwing.com/showComment.do ?commentId=324877

Here's you at OpenLeft, calling Obama a fascist.

http://www.openleft.com/showComment.do?c ommentId=169640

And your comments are interestingly revealing.

http://www.openleft.com/user/Stu%20Piddy /comments

Hopefully the admins would keep your stay short here.

by louisprandtl 2009-10-18 01:25PM | 0 recs

I have no control over that.

by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 04:21PM | 0 recs
So you've an uncontrollable urge to troll

blogs? That's the best explanation for trolling I've ever seen..

by louisprandtl 2009-10-18 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

The health care debacle...and so far it is a debacle...highlights the biggest reservation I always had about Obama:  his assertion (belief?) that he "could change how Washington operates."

I never bought it, still don't.   I'm actually open to bi-partisanship when it yields something but Obama's fruitless quest for bi-partisanship is emblematic of his quest to pursue the label at the expense of tangible results.

One of my political rules is:  don't give any concessions to people who aren't going to come on board in exchange for the concession.

"Changing how Washington operates" is pie in the sky; reforming health care is both great and tangible...if you dare enough to reach for it and achieve it.  I'm afraid that Obama is pissing the whale of a content away in exchange for a minnow of a stylistic victory.

by InigoMontoya 2009-10-18 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

Good post. Isn't the whole learning experience of Fox News by Axlerod/Gibbs/Dunn on display the same sort of debacle. These people are just now learning about the rightwing noise machine...

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama chooses which campaign promises to break

I think Obama wanted to say we tried--but actually his demonizing of Fox News is well-timed.

I've actually altered my workday slightly so I can avoid watching any of the Bill O'reilly show when I reach the gym (it airs at 5pm Pacific).

Getting back to Obama's promises, he did promise a lot.  He's not an LBJ-type, so he's stuck with Harry Reid, Kent Conrad and Max Baucus.  That's the problem.  And Obama is very cautious on everything.  Is no health care bill a better result than Baucuscare?  Maybe.  In the end what will doom Obama is a long jobless recovery, which appears likely.

by esconded 2009-10-18 02:27PM | 0 recs

And let's note that we have accomplished little on on so many other fronts.

Obama is right that we face unsustainable trends that require attention but then he proceeds at a such a leisurely pace it is disconcerting.

Perhaps it is my perception but I'd like to see a more forceful, hands on Obama.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 03:51PM | 0 recs

I must have missed the front page diary on this:

WASHINGTON -- President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using "deceptive and dishonest ads" to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws.

In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own "profits and bonuses" and willing to "bend the truth or break it" to stop his drive to remake the nation's health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.

"It's smoke and mirrors," Mr. Obama said. "It's bogus. And it's all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, `Take one of these, and call us in a decade.' Well, not this time."

Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said, the industry is busy "figuring out how to avoid covering people."

"And they're earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our antitrust laws," he said, "a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing."

Peter Baker - Obama Threatens Insurers' Anti-Trust Exemption NYT 17 Oct 09

This is a concerted effort with Reid and Pelosi over recent days and strikes me as a significant move in the whole health care debate, never mind an indication of Obama's underlying values on the issue.  That he is letting Congress flail around before exerting leverage behind a final draft was clearly the strategy telegraphed in Matt Bai's lengthy NYT piece last June and if the public opinion polling since August is any indication it was sound.  We always knew there was going to be a massive food fight over this.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 05:02PM | 0 recs
he's just now threatening this?

Revoking the anti-trust exemption should have been part of this bill all along.

Do you deny that Obama has been trying to get health care reform passed that won't anger major industries? Are you telling me that Obama has gone to the mat to get his campaign promises in the health care bill?

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-18 05:54PM | 0 recs
At This Point...

I'm not so sure of anything as others seem to be about everything.  And this may just be a threat, a ploy, though it is one echoed by the Senate and House majority leaders which seems pretty persuasive.  And sure, it should have been part of the bill all along, though I note it has been largely absent from campaign and administration policy up until now.  But isn't now a really good time to pull this particular tactic out?  After all the excessive rhetoric of the last few months and the AHIP report release?

I'm not trying to deny anything regarding Obama's motives or strategies in enlisting the health care industry to be supportive of whatever solution ultimately becomes law, at the end of the day they are going to be stakeholders in it one way or another, but it seems to me that these latest comments represent a pretty harsh position, at least for the moment.

Whether Obama is going to the mat to achieve his campaign promises remains to be seen but I'm pretty confident that health care reform of one kind or another is going to pass.  Whether that is considered an achievement or a betrayal by progressives will largely depend on the outcomes I'm guessing.

Having said that health care reform is the 'holy grail' of domestic US politics on social issues.  That we are even having this debate, and it is a hot one, is a testimony to Obama's delivery on campaign promises.  His administration has taken considerable risks with this initiative and is consuming a fair degree of political capital on it.  That's got to be a good start.

That it is not originating from the executive branch but is running the tortured course of legislative debate strikes me as an essential strategy to achieving a significant outcome.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: At This Point...

Shaun, I think you're right that health care reform of some kind will pass. But from a progressive perspective, health care reform that doesn't include a public option among a few other components is not in our view health care reform.

From a progressive perspective, a public option is already a compromise because if it were up to us it would be a single-payer system with a supplementary private insurance market.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 06:38PM | 0 recs
I Agree...

That health care reform without a public option is a fail and a lost opportunity.  I already have a couple of bets out on the subject and I'm pretty confident we will get one, though it may be veiled and nascent.  My preference would be for a strong effort to enshrine the 'public option' as a centrepiece of the legislation but I also respect the Obama administration for achieving what is possible.

What would disappoint me would be a complete lack of lobbying strongly for that option by the administration behind the scenes, and the jury on that is still out.  For the administration to make that kind of advocacy public at this point strikes me as problematic.  We'll see.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: I Agree...
And around and around and around we go until you exhaust dissent with this sort of argument. The great lie: "President Obama is doing what is only possible." He's a victim. He has no power in this situation. He did not choose to meet with and make deals with big pharma. He did not choose to side with baucus. He did not choose bipartisanship. It choose him. He had no choice in teh matter. That's the implicit point of what people like you are saying: "President Obama is too weak to do anything but what you are seeing. " Not what he chooses to do. This is true despite contra evidence to your position. I am not saying all evidence is contra to your position. I am saying there is a lot of it, that at this point to write what you just wrote is the same as faith based support.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 07:35PM | 0 recs
How Prolix...

And yet inculpatory:

Their main function seems to be to clog up diaries with talking point[s], contradictory statements and demonization of the messenger.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: How Prolix...
You can not respond to weaknesses in your argument. For the record, unless you are one of the people to whom I am referring like QTG, forgiv and nfa, the comment is a non sequitur response. It is non sequtur regardless, but in context, it has nothing to do with you at all. It is also ironic that you claim that you do not lump people together in your criticism, but you take a post that has nothing to do with you as such. Please don't respond back with the lazy "You too write non sequitur." Or better yet, how you feel I am beneath talking to. Because your going through this diary to post a comment that has nothing to do with you is telling. Can you actually respond to how your argument does or does not present the image of President Obama being weak? I do not buy that argument. I do not think he is weak at all. I don't think he thinks he is weak either. Yet here you are, one of his strong supporters implicitedly arguing such a position. I will leave it to you to address why you are doing this.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:12PM | 0 recs

I respect your enthusiasm, attention to detail and willingness to engage but you've lost me here.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Honestly...
You cut and paste a quote that has nothing to do with you.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 09:08PM | 0 recs
Ah, Yes...

But the point is it has something to do with you.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 10:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

No, the point is you are identifying with people like QTG who come into my diaries saying contradictory  things like the government has no place in giving loans to businesses, and then saying they do when it suits them. This person wrote a total of 30 plus comments, argued with the likes of Steve M including pretending that s/he did not get Steve's analogy, etc. Your sticking your nose in that as if it is my fault that they acting like that is telling of how you think. It's not about the arguments. It is about who you think is in your club.

LIke I said, that comment you choose to cut and paste was not about you. That you are continuing to make excuses for cutting and pasting it in a non sequitur response to my criticism of your position is telling. I do not expect you to like me. But I do expect that you will not rationalize bad behavior from posters who are not here to debate issues, but instead to attack anyone and everyone who remotely say anything about the Democratic Party.

In this case, the diary that QTG was crapping on was about wage deflation. I said a couple of lines about how the Democrats must address the issue going forward. They used this as an excuse as others said in the diary to crap all over my diary with what were basically stalker-esque behavior for online since they kept changing their arguments and attacking anything said throughout the diary. Indeed, there are several posters who do this with other diarists include Des Dem, J Orton, amongst others. You can rationalize that as supporting Pres Obama I suppose, but at the end of the day the behavior is meant to harras rather than discuss issues. If you think, for example, Nfa is simply here like you to discuss the issue then that again is telling. Have you seen this poster harass others here? I have.

The fact is - I should not have to explain that to you because it has nothing to do with you. You are rationalizing a poor decision on your poor to not respond to my criticism by pretending that comments about the behavior of others has something to do with you.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 03:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

dude, "...demonize the messenger..."  It's what you did when you attacked Shaun with your talking points, after crying about being a messenger that always gets attacked by others with talking points.

by KLRinLA 2009-10-19 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

Do you think anyone is buying what you are selling? People can read what I did or did not say and the context in which I said it.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

Honestly, I don't think anyone gives a crap what you write, but for the record, yes, you are the pot, so meet the kettle.  And I am not selling anything, I am just pointing out how daft and annoying you are, but then again I guess it is redundant to point that out.

What is truly annoying is that you are this poster with a high opinion of yourself, yet you are the least articulate poster here. When one can finally figure out what the hell you just typed, it consists of the following:

1) DC bubble think is bad

  1. Obama sux
  2. Everyone is out to get me

But please keep typing, it's amazing to watch.

Typically you jsut babble about dc bubble tbut you aren't really good at conveying your p
You follow Shaun around, a commenter with more respect and goodwill than you could ever dream of, and attack his posts with vagueries, speculation, and opinions that you weild as fact.  Not only are you unconvincing, taht is, when when you're not incompreshensible (when one can even comprehend you rpoint), but you use repition

by KLRinLA 2009-10-19 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

For the record, always preview your comment before posting, or you may post some things you thought were deleted

by KLRinLA 2009-10-19 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Ah, Yes...

Yeap, apparently,  you do think people can not read my diaries and comments for themselves. Some of you seem to think you are on CNN.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 12:35PM | 0 recs

Sometimes it feels more like Fox.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-19 07:57PM | 0 recs
That begs the definition of

"progressive", which - if I may - is one of my favorite points in all things political.

While I am not the very most viscerally supportive person in regards to single-payer, in the end with various concerns and caveats I do support it.  But from where I sit is seems that there is no single-step to single-payer that would ever actually succeed given the position of all the associated moving parts on the US political and economic chess boards.  So, while I watch this entire health-care debate/debacle with not a limited amount of trepidation I have the general feeling that whatever comes out the other end of it will have moved the marker down the field towards an eventual single-payer (or functional equivalent) solution.

That's what "progressive" means to me (regardless what it means to anyone else): achieving progress on issues of sociopolitical import.  I would suggest that many people who identify as "progressive" (and, for that matter, "Conservative") in the end effectively hold positions that make for really great press but don't actually move any markers down any field in any useful direction.  Someone just recently (can't find it atm, you know where to look if you like) made a good point about how much the Religious Right has really achieved of their most passionate agenda items, and despite the smoke and noise of the past two decades it ain't a whole lot.

So, as far as this topic goes I see a guy who earlier this year stirred Great Doubt among the media royalty about whether "now was the time to tackle healthcare", and today it is not only a fully engaged battle but something of some description seems to be taking shape amid the scaffolding.  Assuming this leads to anything at all to argue over as it slips down the ways to the water, that will be a more "progress"ive accomplishment than anyone else has achieved in many years.



by chrisblask 2009-10-18 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: That begs the definition of

What you are talking about is 'incrementalism' and it is anathema to progressives, such as they are.  Ironically the same folks who impugned Obama's progressive credentials during the campaign are the same ones now, largely, citing his betrayal.  The thing is that Obama built a 'broad church' for his electoral campaign with a blend of uplifting oratory, progressive ideals and pragmatic behaviours, both in campaign rhetoric and tactics.

I'm on board.  I would so much rather have a 'progressive' personality playing 11th dimensional chess in the White House behind the scenes than Darth Vadar yanking on the levers of power.  But, you know, progressivism and incrementalism just are not a happy fit among most practitioners.  Historically we are much better suited to storming the barricades and reducing the Bastille to rubble overnight than the laborious, Byzantine machinations of reserved power.

And I like it that way too.  It's evolution versus revolution and there is a time and a place for both.  Having seen the fulminations and excessive, self-defeating rhetoric coming out of the Right lately convinces me that Obama has calibrated his positions quite nicely.  But who among us doesn't yearn to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and hurl cobblestones at the King's Constabulary?

As Patton said, "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.  He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 07:42PM | 0 recs
Re: That begs the definition of

The collapsed economy provided a perfect storm for real progressive change.  Politicians would have the support of a huge majority of Americans if it implemented changes to punish the economic wrongdoers (including the insurance industries).  The failure to do so was not because sweeping change doesn't work.  It was because very few in the government believe in it.  Your notion of incrementalism and the belief that this is the only way to bring about change are, in my view, completely unsupported.   Can you provide some bases for accepting this as a truth?  I personally believe that if we are going to have a strong progressive movement we need to challenge the assumptions under which so many of us suffer.

by orestes 2009-10-19 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: That begs the definition of

I have tried in vain to get this poster to explain why the actions Obama took were necessary as the only possible actions that Obama could take. I also attempted to get him to explain why the presentation of Obama as forced to deal with Senator Snowe is not a claim that President Obama is weak. I point out below that compared to the policies implemented by other Democratic presidents like FDR and LBJ- Obama is not particularly ambitious. So, far I have gotten I must be on drugs and claims of not understanding what I mean. I hope you fair better. I doubt you will.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 08:27AM | 0 recs
I am not at all sure this is true:

Politicians would have the support of a huge majority of Americans if it implemented changes to punish the economic wrongdoers (including the insurance industries).

I hesitate to put words in your or anyone else's mouth, but I would suggest that a huge majority of Democrats and/or liberals would support "changes to punish the economic wrongdoers", but that this would be because people in these demographics would agree who those 'economic wrongdoers' were.  

I know many people to right of center who would argue intelligently that much of the cause of the economic collapse was due to Barney Frank and the move to increase home ownership at virtually any cost, thereby creating a false market for real estate and driving up values to inevitably collapse.  For my own complex centrist view, I think this explanation is also overly simplistic and is only one of many factors that led to the economic clusterhump of 2008-2009, and that assigning sole 'blame' is at best a fool's errand.  

Therefore, radically changing the economic system to more closely model the types of policies advocated by the average liberal/"progressive" view - much less the more aggressively anti-capitalist views demonstrated by the average G8 protester - are not initiatives that I personally would intrinsically support and I imagine that my views on this are not wildly divergent from most centrists.

So, while I can understand how those firmly of and from the political left could imagine this period to be a slam-dunk opportunity to implement whatever solution represents the opposite of the nation under GWB, I suggest that reality would prove otherwise if whichever current president in office today tried to push through such an agenda.  IOW, I'd bet you a ham dinner that such an agenda would fail overwhelmingly and would result in a pendulum-swing of equal or greater velocity in the opposite direction.

by chrisblask 2009-10-19 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: I am not at all sure this is true:

60 percent of the public supports the Public Option. I really wish people would stop confusing DC thinking with what is true of the general public. The idea that we are discussing something that is on the far left just because DC believes it to be is false.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I am not at all sure this is true:

I think you are talking about the privileged classes.  You have to remember that they make up a very small percentage of all Americans (granted theirs are the only voices generally heard).  The median income in the US for a family of four is $70,000.  That means that half of all families earn less than that amount.  I don't know if you are taking into account the broad spectrum of socio-economic status in the US, but I infer from your comments that you are really only familiar with the privileged classes (no offense intended).  

Furthermore, I do not believe most Americans would endorse such a plan because they are radicals who are opposed to capitalism.  I agree with you there  That's not my point at all.  I thnk most people would look at the issue from a perspective of equity- why do the rich get bailed out, but I don't even declare bankruptcy as an option?  How come the government rushes to protect the interests of the wealthy, but the working people are constantly told they have to take wage and benefits cuts and produce more per hour?  Just as most Americans pay their own way and get no help from the government, they would like the wealthy to play by the same rules.

by orestes 2009-10-19 11:42AM | 0 recs
No offense taken.

FWIW, I am fairly familiar with the wealthy classes, more familiar with the rest of us.  Averaging it all out, I find it hard to cast either as heroes or villains as a group - there are common flaws among both and greater variation between individuals than there are shared similarities.

A huge swath of support for the GOP comes from very blue-collar demographics, so to the point that there is/was an opportunity for the Dems to run the table on socioeconomic change to 'punish the wrongdoers' loses wind if it requires those blue-collar Republicans to support initiatives that run counter to the ideology they traditionally support (rightly or wrongly).

For folks like me (my liberal friends think I'm conservative, my conservative friends think I'm liberal), I don't think there is consensus as to the real root of the current economic dilemma (though, for the record, a conservative banker friend agreed with you today when I related this exchange) or exactly what the best solution is.

So, while I could be wrong, I am not convinced that if the administration and congress had jammed through a purely-liberal set of economic remedies (whatever that could be said to look like) that it would have been broadly supported.

by chrisblask 2009-10-19 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: No offense taken.

I think we continue to talk at cross purposes.  For me, the kinds of changes we could have pushed through maybe labeled liberal, but I would call them populist in that I think we should have a system that is as equitable as possible.  I would not advocate punitive measures, but merely measures that would bring greater stability to the industry, while protecting consumer rights- such as, reimplementation of the usury laws, greater demand that banks provide good services to customers (low fees, better interest (hell, any interest) on savings), improve debt/liquidity ratios, and simply to legally require that they maintain certain business practices to insure their insolvency.  Banks and insurers should not be free market players unless they inform their shareholders and customers of the risks and are willing to fail.  We have a system in which the banks/insurers always win and the public carries the loss.  This is not liberal, but basic fairness.  As an aside, in the UK bank fees are only permitted to cover the cost of the service provided (overdraft, ATM fees, etc.).  Fees are not a permitted revenue source as they are in the US.  I doubt any working class people, regardless of party affiliation, would reject a notion such as this.

by orestes 2009-10-19 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: No offense taken.

Which is why the public option is so illustrative. Why exactly is this policy idea labeled as the fall left despite the fact that he is supported by the great bulk of the American people? In the case of the banks, the idea of  we must allow "too big to fail" assumes that any other alternative view is not capitalism and is a far left idea. That the only choice for capitalism is laissez faire capitalism or plutocratic capitalism. The debate is limited to those things that justifies the status quo rather than is actual reflection of what can be done.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: No offense taken.

I agree.  The first critical decision is choosing the battlefield.  We continue to allow the battlefield to be defined by others- the beltway, media- and through intellectual laziness.  We on the left have to define the issue, the relevant terrain.  The health care debate should be framed as:  as in the rest of the developed world, every American should have health care.  People should not be calculating profits off of the health of the American people.

by orestes 2009-10-20 11:10AM | 0 recs
A wise man once said:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell

I don't feel very wise, because I'm not entirely sure what would have happened if the present was based on a different past nor can I forecast exactly what will follow from the conditions of today.  But I have sat in a lot of rooms (real and virtual) with a lot of people who had strong convictions about both, and while the views expressed on the former topic forever remain unprovable the views expressed on the latter have most often turned out to be incorrect.  

In the end it seems that Mr. Russell may have had at least something of a point.

by chrisblask 2009-10-18 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: At This Point...

I agree that health insurance legislation will pass one way or another. Whether or not it will be a significant outcome that provides actual health care or just a mandate for everyone to purchase junk insurance, is what remains in doubt.

The promises that were made on the campaign trail if they are were included could have resulted in decent health care legislation. Without those elements we are left with a $900 billion give away to insurance and pharma.  

by MOBlue 2009-10-18 08:22PM | 0 recs
Well See

Meet you back here after Christmas and then we can get the knives out, OK?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:32PM | 0 recs
Obama is faking it.

I think Obama's protestations are a ruse. He needs to make it look like he's opposing the insurance industry for public perception, when in fact he's promoting their cause.

Same with Afghanistan.

It's very perverse and the level to which thing have sunk.

by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is faking it.

Ya' think?  Well, if you say so...

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is faking it.
The option on the table are all bad for the President's leadership here. Your argument is no better. That he is too weak to get anything done.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:15PM | 0 recs

Would be your argument.  Not mine.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: That...
No, that's your argument. Mines is that he has the power to get things done. Your response along this thread to Charles Lemos is not he does not. He can only do "the possible." Implicit to this argument is that he is powerless outside of those things that we are seeing him do. Again, your argument is not a good one for the President because of its implications.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:33PM | 0 recs

So if my argument is that he can only do the 'possible' yours is that he should do the 'impossible?'  Or do we have a difference of opinion over what is possible?  Help me out here, Bruh, otherwise that makes almost no sense whatsoever.

I still think Obama is 'da' man,' I don't see where circumscribing his aspirations or achievements within the realm of the 'possible' is an attribution of weakness.  Alexander never conquered China but he is still 'the Great.'

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Huh?
You define possible and impossible based on what? How do you determine this? Context here: Obama's influence on Congress. Obama's decision to make a deal with big pharma. Obama's deceision to limit his stimulus to an amount not sufficient to address likely job growth issues. Your definition relies on Obama as a weak president because for example with the PO it means that "possible" is defined as the trigger. Based on what? That he has no choice but to work with Senator Snowe? Not that he wants it,but that he is too weak to accomplish his goal in any other way. That the only thing possible is working with her. That it is impossible to not work with her. I can certainly go on, but these are the implications under the facts of your statements about possible versus impossible.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:58PM | 0 recs
I'm Not 'Defining' Anything...

If you hadn't noticed.  I was actually asking you.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 11:38PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not 'Defining' Anything...

 Can you respond to the specifics about the need for Senator Snowe favored by the White House without playing games or being coy? The need for the big pharma deal? The decision to go for a stimulus that economically no one thought at the time was enough? The decision to accept too big to fail as a reasonable standard for the banks? I am not going to play this game where you pretend not to have any idea at all what I mean, or how these your arguments are implicated in the presentation of factual actions on the part of the White House. You can find the definition in the facts. Why is working without Senator Snowe impossible inf your mind? Or the deal with big pharma required? My sense is at this point is that you do not wan to address the weaknesses in your arguments so you are playing games.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 03:35AM | 0 recs
Re: That...
By the way- I find it amusing that you say that is my argument. If I thought President were powerless, why would I or anyone else be advocating pressuring him? The implication of our argument is not that he is powerless. But, that he has influence, but chooses not to use it. Please don't response, if you so choose to respond, with absolutes like "he's not all powerful" etc since that's not the point. The point is a question of influence. Des Dem above discusses other context in which he chooses to use that power to affect out comes like with war funding but for some reason not here. The idea that here he can not whip , for example, on the health care reform bill is absurd. We know he is not doing this by the way because Sen. Harkin has said as much and multiple reports, including by the WH on people, suggests he is not. I do not see how one can say he is limited to the possible unless one thinks he is weak. I think to be honest you trying to excuse President Obama, and, until now you did not realize the implications of your argument.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:39PM | 0 recs
What Makes You Think...

Obama is not exercising influence?  Politics, as von Bismark noted is the 'art of the possible,' and art it is.

Firstly, the end-game is imminent but not upon us quite yet.  Secondly, 'we all know he is not doing this' is your assessment, not mine.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:54PM | 0 recs
Re: What Makes You Think...
I gave you above a practical example- the possible as you are defining it relies on weakness. That he has no choice but to make the moves he is making. He has to work with Sen. Snowe. He must negotiate deals with big pharma. He must support mandates without a public option. He is not making these choices. They are being made for him because these choices are what are possible. If he does anything other than the things he is doing- then that's him attempting the impossible.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: What Makes You Think...
Follow up: Your definition of possible and impossible relies on the President being weaker than he actually is. That he must , for example, obtain "bipartisanship" through Senator Snowe assumes there are not 60 Dem Senators, and, that he is unable to convince them. That he is too weak to convince them.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is faking it.


I love it when nutters start explaining the conspiracy, it's magical, one can literally explain all facts and logic out the door.

Obama calls the insurance industry/companies  liars, cheaters, and thieves, but it's only for cover - genius!

by KLRinLA 2009-10-19 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Gosh

It's a welcomed development. So was the "grab a mop" speech he gave in SF.

But we are fast approaching the one year mark and the major achievement to date is the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. There are plenty of other achievements - stem cell research reversal, the Mexico City ruling reversal, the commitment to close Guantanamo, renewing SCHIP  - but look at what hasn't been touched as yet: EFCA, climate, energy, transportation. These are big issues and the problem is that we have whittled away 2009.

Read the NYT story on Rep Earl Blumenauer, an early Obama supporter.

"It has been a hard landing for a lot of the people that I represent," Mr. Blumenauer, referring to his largely liberal constituency, said as he assessed the first months of the Obama administration.

As health care legislation moves to the floor with other major issues close behind, the question for Mr. Blumenauer and those who share his ideology will be whether they relent on some of their core beliefs to support less satisfying compromises, despite being in what, on the surface, is a commanding political position.

"It is still something that I am struggling with," he said.

Mr. Blumenauer is just one example of what might be called the Frustrated Left, a substantial caucus of Congressional Democrats who dreamed that Mr. Obama would usher in a new era of liberal problem-solving only to see Congress and the new administration collide with the old problems of partisanship, internal disagreement and the challenge of mustering 60 votes to get just about anything done in the Senate.

While Congressional leaders try to appease moderate and conservative Democrats who can provide the crucial votes for passage, more liberal Democrats from safer districts sometimes simmer, feeling that they are being taken for granted while it is assumed they will get on board when the time comes.

I want Obama to be FDR not Grover Cleveland.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 06:20PM | 0 recs
Don't We All?

And it may yet turn out that way, who can say?  I had read the Blumenauer piece and share his concerns, to a degree.  And I assume he has a constituency to placate as well.  On the other hand the Obama administration has taken some pretty ambitious agendas on board with apparent diligence.  That we would be despairing ten months into an administration that started out with such an extensive 'to do' list doesn't concern me only insofar that the list of things which have been done and done wrong is also relatively short.

I agree with your assessment that there is not a great deal to show for our majorities to date yet the gridlock among Democratic legislators has been revealed in all its uncomplimentary complexity and it is not a pretty sight.  Perhaps there is something we should be doing about that.  I have been among the most enthusiastic Obama supporters around here for a long time, admittedly, but I wonder if it is too soon for hand-wringing, however well intentioned.  I wonder sometimes at what point the increasingly strident criticism from the Left, and I'm not talking about you here, ceases to be constructive to our long-term objectives.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't We All?

Indeed, it is not a pretty sight.

There are political realities that we seem to be hitting. One of these is that we are part of a "Big Tent" party that has deep ties to corporate interests. Weaning the Party off the corporate teat is proving to be a herculean task.

Is it too soon hand-wringing? I don't think it is. Obviously I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bath water sort of thing but to just acquiesce to compromise after compromise just isn't in our nature especially after having spent forty years in a political wilderness. There is an urgency of now in part the unemployment picture remains grim and the political environment come November 2010 might get quite ugly. I'm not worried about 2012 unless the economy were to fall off a cliff. I think Obama will win re-election but I do worry a political environment where policy is arrived by compromise because that's what politically achievable.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-18 07:21PM | 0 recs
Well, That's a Good Point

We are probably all a bit disconcerted by the response in the Congress, the media and from the Right to the prospect of generational change in the way the nation is governed, which is essentially what Obama promised.  It is indeed a Heraclean task, as you have noted and it seems increasingly clear that a large chunk of the electorate is waking up to the challenges, if not quite up to speed on the issues.

We can have a mutually respectful difference of opinion on the appropriate timing of the hand-wringing without missing the essential point which is, clearly, as you note, the 'fierce urgency of now.'  This is our best shot for a decade or so if not a generation.  Frankly I see the 2010 Congressional elections as the deciding factor in our favour.  In spite of the ridiculous bloviating of the Right and Blue Dog intransigence Obama is charting a course right through the vast middle ground of the electorate and if we haven't learned that lesson by now we are missing the point entirely.

At the same time we must educate the electorate to the perfidies of Congressional motives, inequities of lobbyist influence and the fractured hulk of the coalition of the Right which is self-destructing nicely before our eyes.  So far, so good.  If a sensible health care reform bill, given current public opinion polling on the issue, came to a final vote which Democratic representative or senator up for re-election in 2010 would dare to vote against it?  I wonder.

I'm not so sure that we are witnessing policy by compromise, or even 'triangulation,' so much as an intelligent effort to wring the best of all possible outcomes out of the treacherous terrain which is contemporary American politics.  And with the added proviso that it is a 'teaching moment' which hopefully only improves our prospects in issues yet to be engaged.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't We All?
"I wonder sometimes at what point the increasingly strident criticism from the Left, and I'm not talking about you here, ceases to be constructive to our long-term objectives." This too is a false frame. The problem is not that the left is strident. The problem is that they are attempting to gain power in DC, and that is contra to the right wing and plutocratic interests that are a part of politics there. Glenn Greenwald discusses that on the Public Option. The real problem, and why you are seeing such a fight, is that the powers that be in DC do not want progressives to have a seat the table. I note you do not call the Blue Dogs strident. Do you consider them reasonable? if not, why? President Obama has not taken on an ambitious agenda. Even his own team admits to this. They choose, for example, with the stimulus to limit the amount of the stimulus or in others they choose to limit their own ambition. As I said above, I think yours is one of the more dangerous arguments: the PResident as victim or weak. I am not sure you want to implicitly be making this argument. This may give you a short term tactical advantage in debates, bus substantively the idea that we have a President who is too weak to pass his own agenda considering the numbers is one that eventually harms him in the public's eye.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't We All?

Obama has not taken on an ambitious agenda.  On that point alone I'm guessing you have exhausted your credibility.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't We All?
This assumes I had credibility with you in the first place which given your tactic above with non sequitur cut and pastes indicates the truth is you are not listening regardless of what I write. Next time perhaps, you should not engage in such tactics, to make this sort of claim by you now more believable. And as for the comment, this may be something hard for you to do, but try to place into context what people are saying to you. When he says he is doing something big, but then I read he limits what he is doing- this again is the difference between rhetoric, and action. When he says he is regulating Wall Street,but it comes out that he is attempting far less than what is recommended to produce good outcomes- that is not ambitious. Ambitious is addressing the problems we face. Comparing his agenda to FDRs or LBJs, there is no comparison. They had grander and bigger agendas. Your argument provides no such historical context. It is big because we are told it is big, but what about in comparison? Credibility is my providing arguments that can be substantiated. Not whether you approve of them.
by bruh3 2009-10-18 08:46PM | 0 recs
Just a Thought...

If you are taking drugs, I think you should stop.  If you aren't, perhaps you should see a doctor soon and get some.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-18 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Just a Thought...

a) I hope that Jerome Armstrong cracks down on posters who do what you are doing. You can not respond to the specific arguments so you become a dick. It is really all you got.

b) Above, after many responses to your pretense that you have no idea what I am talking about,  I finally realized that Charles gave me a 2 on the first post. In other words, he gets my point even as you pretend not to get it.  Therefore, I am not going to play along with the pretense that you do not get my points. Your point is to demonize. You can not respond to the arguments so that's all you got. Well, that and the herd following you around propping you up.

c) When you are ready to respond to the specific criticisms of your arguments without acting like a prick, let me know. At this point, I am going to simply critique your arguments, and ignore the games you are playing.  

It is clear you have nothing historically to back up your claim that Obama's agenda is ambitious. If you did, you would have stated it.  So name call as much as you like, the fact is you got nothing of substance to say.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Just a Thought...

If you don't agree that Obama's agenda is ambitious what is the point of discussing this with you further?  Health care reform, Israel/Palestine settlement, nuclear disarmament and etc?  If we can't take that as a given we're going nowhere, even his critics admit as much.  You are also putting words into my mouth, and his, both here and upthread, raising issues and specifics I never mentioned and then challenging me to argue them.

This isn't dialogue it's argument by attrition and the 'creeping barrage' of verbiage seems to be your preferred tactic.  I think sometimes you feel you have won an argument because you are in possession of the field when in fact your interlocutors have given up in frustration and, at least in my case, disgust.  I've had enough of this, it's just pointless.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-19 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Just a Thought...

I know his domestic policies. I do not follow foreign policy. Therefore, I will not speak on that subject. On the economic front, he's not doing anything particularly grand.

The economic problem's he faces are huge, but his solutions to them are not. They are mostly tweaks. Compared to what an FDR or a LBJ passed legislatively, there is just no comparison.

I did not put words in your mouth. I pointed out the implications of your argument. Those implications follow regardless whether they are your personal position or not from the position that you are taking.

And, you continue to pretend this is about something I did to you. I have not called you a drug addict or cut and paste non sequiturs. You have. You can not act like a jerk, and then acted surprised when someone responds in kind.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 01:35PM | 0 recs

I don't think we are going to get anywhere but let's try.  Somewhere up-thread you responded to my question about what was 'possible' as follows:

Based on what?  That he has no choice but to work with Senator Snowe?  Not that he wants it, but that he is too weak to accomplish his goal in any other way.  That the only thing possible is working with her.  That it is impossible to not work with her.  I can certainly go on, but these are the implications under the facts of your statements about possible versus impossible.

No, that was not what I was talking about at all.  I think the Snowe relationship is just window dressing.  Yet you piled the rhetoric up on that point and concluded with 'these are the implications under the facts of your statements.'  How am I supposed to argue back from that to anything resembling what I was suggesting which was premised on the fact that the electorate, as you noted elsewhere, is apparently coming around to favour reform and specifically a public option.  That was my point from the beginning, 'if the public opinion polling since August is any indication it was sound.'

I think a lot of the partisan scrapping over this issue is irrelevant and inflamatory and that the Obama administration has done a credible job of staying above the fray.  At this point criticism of Obama's position still seems premature to me and some of the ideological hand-wringing over it is preempting the outcome.

It also seems to me that the 'outrage' over broken campaign promises, while predictable, is arguably an example of counter-productive ideological purity at a time when progressives actually have a genuine opportunity to exert pressure on their elected representatives rather than throw rotten tomatoes at the executive branch.  It's not like the Obama administration hasn't created openings for Congress to make their case for this or that aspect of the legislation.  That's the point.  This is a legislative project and it was quite predictable that there was going to be a lot of blood in the water from the beginning.  If some of us spent as much time lobbying our representatives as we did criticising Obama we may be closer to a desirable outcome.  He's not up for election in 2010 but plenty of them are.

It seems to me that by accident or design the administration has exhausted the Right and positioned them as disablers, put the Democratic congressional legislators on notice that it is their funeral if reform fails and safely guided public opinion toward support of reform and, in fact, a public option of some kind.  I'm arguing that's a reasonable track record in the fractious environment of US politics on this issue.  I'm assuming you disagree.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-19 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Frankly

Your claim to being "attacked" by my subsequent assertions does not justify your very first non sequitur response or claims that I must be on drugs because I point out that Obama's policy goals are not particularly ambitious when compared to the problems he is being asked to address.

Indeed, I attempt to illustrate why this is case by comparing Obama to FDR and LBJ and their policy challenges.

I pointed out factually that your argument have certain implications. That's not an attack. You may disagree with the facts, but the first response should have been this , your more recent post, as to why you disagree. It would have saved you a lot of trouble.

As for your claims, your arguments strike me as  the most positive spin on what these things mean. They can be viewed as possibly correct, but the problem is the overall number of facts  together do  not seem to agree with that spin. By analogy, it is like those who argue one or another leak is false out of the White House. My problem with the claim is that there are so many leaks saying similar things from multiple news sources. It would require that they are all lying about the unnamed sources. Similarly here, for me to buy your spin on the facts requires that I ignore any number of facts here.

Assuming your argument about Snowe being window dressing is true, why was the deal with big pharma necessary? You claim that the Snowe situation is window dressing, but why is that window dressing necessary regarding a public option-less bill once you are pass the SFC?

Explain the comments this weekend by Obama's team regarding the public option being optional even at this late date in the process after we have gotten the bill out of SFC:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/10/19 /0127/3992

Why might they not get the robust public option if this is a influential president negotiating now with his own party given both his appeal and that of the public option along with the electoral weakness of the other players like Reid. In Reid's state, the public option enjoys a high level of support.

Again, this is about implications of argument when one examines the facts. Not what you say directly. Thus, when you argue that Obama is trying to do the possible, I look at the facts and ask why they do not match up with that.

My point with this last example is how the possible here requires us to pressume that President Obama has less power than Reid. Part of the issue here is you trust President Obama. I don't trust any politician. I am skeptical. I look at what they say and do with skepticism.

Do you buy this argument from the White House, for example, that they have not the determinant at this point of what will go to the Senate floor? I don't. If the various whip counts are right and the robust public option is brought to the Senate floor, the numbers are there to pass it.

This is also a matter of policy outcome. Doing something here is not the same thing as doing what is sufficient to the health care problem. Indeed, without cost containment, and with mandates, it can end up worse. Why is this president claiming not to have enough power to ensure cost containment in a bill he claims to be his key legislation?

To buy their argument, and to accept your idea that the White House is focused on what is possible, implies that they are less influential here, for example, that Harry Reid or Baucus.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 08:39PM | 0 recs

Where did I claim to being "attacked?"   You should be careful how you use those quotes, don't you think?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-19 09:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Frankly

Follow up:

Your belief over what is happening with the public option regarding outrage as you call it is also false.

a) It is not ideological. It's populist as orestes points out above. There are indeed several scales here. One of them is left versus right. Others are pragmatic versus non-pragmatic. Plutocratic versus non-plutocratic. Etc. To properly gauge what is happening you have to view it from the right scale.

b) The progressive pressure has worked. You may not like it. But it is working. The 60 voting block in the House along with public action ensure that the White House and others must consider this in their calculus when negotiating the issue. This is negotiation 101.

c) I am not interested in either pressure President Obama or the legislature. Both should and need to be pressured. It does not matter if he's up for a vote next year. It matters that he feels he must move to the center, toward the public option, because the public says he must. This again can be verified by comparing what the White House is willing to give up with what they have been forced through the process of push back to include. I am really not sure why you think we should not pressure President Obama. He is a particularly powerful player in the mix. As such, given his power with say that of Reid, one of the targets must be PResident Obama since Obama can influence Reid.

by bruh3 2009-10-19 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Frankly

Bruh, I cited the 'populist' nature of public opinion in my original comment and drew your attention to it yet again above.  

And as for, 'The progressive pressure has worked. You may not like it. But it is working,' I think you will find that the thing you are suggesting I may not like is the point I was trying to make.  If you are not going to do my the courtesy of even reading my comments then I don't see the point in engaging in this discussion.

I feel like I am dying the death of a thousand WTFs.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-19 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Frankly

You win. See you later.  

by bruh3 2009-10-19 10:01PM | 0 recs
Why the SFC?

Who cares about the SFC bill? The Q is - are those measures in the House and HELP Bills?

The SFC was just stalling for time. Now that it's out of there there is better chance the promises will be kept.

by vecky 2009-10-18 01:35PM | 0 recs
For what it's worth

Further equivocation!!

by tarheel74 2009-10-18 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama did want a bill before the summer recess

President Baucus, who knew!!

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-18 04:46PM | 0 recs
all the man's presidents

Presidents Baucus, Snowe, Conrad, the czars.

Obama is still playing a peripheral role in the health care process.  But now he needs to be more active, else the best reform we get is Baucuscare+.

by esconded 2009-10-18 05:18PM | 0 recs
Neal B

I agree.

The politics of this era is one that is built on the idea that the voting public are objects to be manipulated.

The whole idea with health care and the Afghan increase is to make it appear one way, whereas, the plan, already decided is the exact opposite.

Obama makes it look like he's reluctant to send troops. McChrystal complains about the delay, "the president is being pressured" by the military...it's a play...intended to confuse you.

The same with health care and Obama's pretentious attempts to make it appear that he's fighting the insurance industry....(his greatest fountain of funding)...while already having decided to pass a health care bill that takes care of the health of the insurance industry, not the public.

This is very perverse stuff. It's rampant, it's all over. It's part of the reason why the "left" is so RIGHT. The left is increasingly being funded by the right...that's one reason the earth below your feet moves and suddenly you find yourself in a different position without realizing it.

Now where else in the world would people protest free government health care.

It's a testament to manipulation and a testament to the decadent psychological "sophistication"  that's being employed.

by stu Piddy 2009-10-18 06:10PM | 0 recs

The Senate Finance Committee bill was a failed attempt at bi-partisanship.  You seem to be claiming that this is the final bill.

I would like to hear from all the people on this thread who are whining that we aren't getting what we want.  I want to know how hard you personally have worked/are working to help pass a healthcare reform bill with a robust public option.  Letters, faxes, emails, letters to the editor, houseparties?

President Obama told us during his campaign that together WE could achieve our goals.  He never said "I" will do this or that, it was always "we".  If we aren't getting what we want, then we aren't working hard enough.

by GFORD 2009-10-18 08:08PM | 0 recs
Oy, Jerome

Why would you cite Harris? It's an online poll. And it's pretty drastically out of step with every other poll in the field.

Surely you know that. You undercut Jon Walker's valid points by doing stuff like this.

by Jonmac 2009-10-19 03:53PM | 0 recs
We must be getting close

 to a Health Insurance Reform Bill which will be, for lack of a better word, HISTORIC. Panic has set in among the nay-sayers. There was a similar panic last October, for those who can remember - the result in the face of that panic? HISTORIC!

by QTG 2009-10-20 04:52AM | 0 recs


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