Trickster? Or Sincere???

by JC

Open thread on the fate of health care reform (or what is currently passing for reform) for those who are glued to CSPAN today to see democracy at work. [/snark]


  1. Lizard

    glenn greenwald has nailed the duplicitous dems, again, at salon:

    Democrats perpetrate the same scam over and over on their own supporters, and this illustrates perfectly how it’s played:

    Politics Daily, October 4, 2009:

    Jay Rockefeller on the Public Option: “I Will Not Relent”

    Jay Rockefeller has waited a long time for this moment. . . . He’s [] a longtime advocate of health care for children and the poor — and, as Congress moves toward its moment of truth on health care, perhaps the most earnest, dogged Senate champion of a nationwide public health insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies.

    “I will not relent on that. That’s the only way to go,” Rockefeller told me in an interview. “There’s got to be a safe harbor.”

    President Obama often says a public option is needed to drive down costs and keep insurance companies honest. To Rockefeller, it’s both more basic and more vital: The federal government is the only institution people can count on in times of need.

    The Huffington Post, yesterday:

    Rockefeller Not Inclined To Support Reconciliation For The Public Plan

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) threw a wrench into Democratic efforts to get a public option passed through reconciliation, saying that he thought the maneuver was overly partisan and that he was inclined to oppose it. . .

    “I don’t think the timing of it is very good,” the West Virginia Democrat said on Monday. “I’m probably not going to vote for that” . . . In making his sentiment known, Rockefeller becomes perhaps the most unexpected skeptic of the public-option-via-reconciliation route. The Senator was a huge booster of a government run insurance option during the legislation drafting process this past year.

    In other words, Rockefeller was willing to be a righteous champion for the public option as long as it had no chance of passing (sadly, we just can’t do it, because although it has 50 votes in favor, it doesn’t have 60). But now that Democrats are strongly considering the reconciliation process — which will allow passage with only 50 rather than 60 votes and thus enable them to enact a public option — Rockefeller is suddenly “inclined to oppose it” because he doesn’t “think the timing of it is very good” and it’s “too partisan.” What strange excuses for someone to make with regard to a provision that he claimed, a mere five months ago (when he knew it couldn’t pass), was such a moral and policy imperative that he “would not relent” in ensuring its enactment.

    The Obama White House did the same thing. As I wrote back in August, the evidence was clear that while the President was publicly claiming that he supported the public option, the White House, in private, was doing everything possible to ensure its exclusion from the final bill (in order not to alienate the health insurance industry by providing competition for it). Yesterday, Obama — while having his aides signal that they would use reconciliation if necessary — finally unveiled his first-ever health care plan as President, and guess what it did not include? The public option, which he spent all year insisting that he favored oh-so-much but sadly could not get enacted: Gosh, I really want the public option, but we just don’t have 60 votes for it; what can I do?. As I documented in my contribution to the NYT forum yesterday, now that there’s a 50-vote mechanism to pass it, his own proposed bill suddenly excludes it.

    This is what the Democratic Party does; it’s who they are. They’re willing to feign support for anything their voters want just as long as there’s no chance that they can pass it. They won control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections by pretending they wanted to compel an end to the Iraq War and Bush surveillance and interrogation abuses because they knew they would not actually do so; and indeed, once they were given the majority, the Democratic-controlled Congress continued to fund the war without conditions, to legalize Bush’s eavesdropping program, and to do nothing to stop Bush’s habeas and interrogation abuses (“Gosh, what can we do? We just don’t have 60 votes).

    The primary tactic in this game is Villain Rotation. They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it. One minute, it’s Jay Rockefeller as the Prime Villain leading the way in protecting Bush surveillance programs and demanding telecom immunity; the next minute, it’s Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer joining hands and “breaking with their party” to ensure Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General; then it’s Big Bad Joe Lieberman single-handedly blocking Medicare expansion; then it’s Blanche Lincoln and Jim Webb joining with Lindsey Graham to support the de-funding of civilian trials for Terrorists; and now that they can’t blame Lieberman or Ben Nelson any longer on health care (since they don’t need 60 votes), Jay Rockefeller voluntarily returns to the Villain Role, stepping up to put an end to the pretend-movement among Senate Democrats to enact the public option via reconciliation.

    more at link

  2. petetalbot

    Robert Reich skewers the Democrats’ lame excuses for not passing health care reform here.

  3. JC

    Some generic republican just referenced Schweitzer’s lambasting of Medicaid as a reason to not support any advances there. Too bad somebody didn’t follow that up with Brian’s comments looking to the Canadian Medicare system as a good model for reform of the American health care system.

  4. I called all three of our elected Washington delegates today. Regardless of the futility, I am watching and they will know it. This is not a vote that will be forgotten or downplayed in the next election. On a basic level, the GAO has costed any myriad of versions of reform. They know what is most efficient and lest costly. Less than that, and people aren’t doing the job they were elected to do.

    Get it done and move on. I hear it all the time – maybe Max should come do my job for a day.

  5. Big Swede

    Health care.

    It’s dead Jim.

  6. Obama yesterday did his professorial thing, lecturing recalcitrant Republicans and knocking down some of their more lame talking points. But let’s not be fooled here. Obama is now an insurance salesman, and appears to be trying to put lipstick on a pig. He’s also a Republican. Or a Democrat. One or the other. I’m not sure. And it doesn’t seem to matter. Buy one, get one free.

    Single payer, public option – long gone. Cost controls – nonexistent. Now, having sold us out, Obama will likely go even further and “compromise” by yielding on two Republican “solutions” – tort reform, which would prohibit the courts from stern discipline for bad actors, and “portability”, allowing insurers to gravitate towards the state with the weakest regulations.

    So I ask, could Republicans do us any worse? Not likely – more likely is this: Republicans could not pass a bill like the one we are going to get, as it is too extreme. But Democrats can get away with it. It’s called “triang….” – oh, never mind. Whatever it is, it works.

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