President Snowe's Endgame: BaucusCare + Trigger

Say what you want about President Olympia Snowe and her Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, they played a shrewd card today when Snowe voted yes for BaucusCare in the Senate Finance Committee. What is Snowe's thinking here? Here's my view.

Snowe saw that BaucusCare was fast becoming irrelevant and would have been completely irrelevant without her vote. She did not want to offer her trigger amendment now because she is saving that "concession" for the endgame. And she wants the final bargaining to begin with BaucusCare. She did what she had to do today to make BaucusCare the blueprint.

Senators Rockefeller and Wyden (or Schumer) misplayed their hands today by announcing they will vote Yes for BaucusCare. If two of them had voted No (Wyden does not really care about the public option and Schumer is in the leadership so I think I give them a bit of a pass on the political bargaining question), then BaucusCare would have been seen as a nonstarter from the Progressive side. This is important not only in the Senate but in the House, where the Progressive Block needs all the help it can get.

Snowe's shrewd play need not be a big deal in the endgame, but it could very likely be one. It all depends on how progressives in the Senate play it. So far, not good.

Speaking for me only

< The Votes Are . . .? | Progressives Getting Played >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Well played by the bad guys... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by magster on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:08:59 PM EST
    ...the progressive caucus needs to make a move quickly.

    The CPC should renew its objections (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:17:44 PM EST
    My fantasy is that Pelosi announces (none / 0) (#9)
    by magster on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:30:46 PM EST
    the progressives have whipped up over 217 votes for Medicare + 5% and that debate on that bill will begin on Monday. That would steal the headlines from President Snowe.

    Senate to vote first. (none / 0) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 06:32:22 PM EST
    Senate to vote by October 26th and House will vote by Thanksgiving. Per Harry Reid, Snowe will be included in conference to merge Senate bills and he is prepared to go to substantial lengths to keep Ms. Snowe's support. link

    Snowe and the GOP played (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:48:08 PM EST
    Dems like a Stradivarius; and Rockefeller tapped into his inner jello.  Sigh.

    I'm betting that when all is said and done, not even Snowe will vote for the final bill, reform will have been gutted to a fare-thee-well and the only ones who benefit will be the very industries that have done nothing but profit.

    Now who's the master of 11 dimensional chess, hmmm?

    GOP does this on everything, one of 'em ... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Ellie on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 03:03:43 PM EST
    ... spends weeks d!cking around the Dems to provide "bipartisan" cover (Warner, Grassley, Hagel, Snow have all "heroically" feigned independence from the lizard brain) only to return instinctually to their tribe at the last minute. It's practically a late-summer ritual.  

    Told ya Rockefeller (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 04:09:13 PM EST
    would cave in the end.  He always does.

    Sometimes, it really (none / 0) (#19)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 05:26:58 PM EST
    sucks to be right, doesn't it?

    I can't remember such a long stretch - really going back to 2006 - when I so wanted to be wrong.

    Maybe the Dems need to adopt the George Costanza Just-Do-The-Opposite-Of-Your-First-Instinct strategy; I mean, why not?  Nothing else works.


    I now hate. it. all. every. last. piece. of. it. (none / 0) (#29)
    by BrassTacks on Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 02:33:11 AM EST
    This is resulting in nothing but increased payments for regular people, up to 20% of their income for a family making a combined income of $102,000.  That's just insane that they would have to pay $20,000 for health care.  I thought this was going to REDUCE health care costs, not make them 4 times as expensive.  

    On top of ALL that agony, there is no public option AND there are still large fines for anyone who wants out of this craziness!  I. HATE. IT. ALL.  

    What ever happened to democrats passing bills that actually HELP people, reduce costs to families, and provide services to people who need it?  This crappola bill has neither!  It actually hurts families and those without insurance!  


    What hurts me the most is that I remember (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by suzieg on Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 03:38:32 AM EST
    when democrats fought to save any cuts to medicare when republicans repeatedly tried to do so, only to have them accept now to cut over 1/2 trillion out of it!

    The progressives will don their costumes (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:50:50 PM EST
    and play a few more acts of kabuki before The Insurance Industry
    Profit Protection and Enhancement Act becomes law. The major change I expect to BaucusCare will be to strengthen the penalties for mandated coverage to satisfy the demands of the insurance industry.

    AP recently decided to report any changes (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:55:01 PM EST
    won't kick in for until 2013.  Perhaps they will write an easy-to-understand analysis of what this means for the man/woman/family on the street.  Then TV news and analysts will jump on board, followed by NYT, LAT, Chicago Tribune, et al.

    Rockefeller (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by pontificator on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 03:13:26 PM EST
    is a very nice man and a good progressive on some issues.  However, he is probably the least "shrewd" Senator on the D side.  Pat Roberts regularly are his lunch on the Intel committee through eight long years under Bush.

    Ah, but (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 04:16:02 PM EST
    Some unions aren't happy

    WASHINGTON -- A top labor lobbyist says about 30 unions will run a full-page ad in newspapers Wednesday announcing their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul bill.

    The ad says that unless the bill brought to the Senate floor makes substantial progress to address the concerns of working men and women, unions will oppose it.

    The legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Chuck Loveless, says unions are unhappy that the legislation lacks a publicly run insurance plan and would tax insurers that provide expensive coverage.

    Sponsors included the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America. The ad will run in The Washington Post, USA Today and Capitol Hill newspapers.

    Good. No one should be happy (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 04:38:20 PM EST
    with this bill. Time to put on the pressure to use more from the HELP bill instead.

    Snowe and The Democrats Snow Job (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by norris morris on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 10:49:10 PM EST
    I am totally disgusted with the games the Democrats are playing and the confused mess Obama allowed Healthcare Reform become.

    From the getgo Obama  made concessions, and the GOP blasted off with all of their troops in Congress. Obama was..duh..surprised?

    Obama, Democrats in both houses, have made a muddle of understanding and explaning HCare clearly and succintly. Allowing the Repuplicans to distort and misinform without the rapid response we saw in the Primaries shoed a lack of leadership.

    Obama waits in the wings for political cover as the horrible Baucus bill that emerges is a gift to Insurance cartel.  Obama kisses Snowe's ass in a cringe making speech to Mme. Snowe. So a devout repupublican from a small state is given the power? To do what? Play chess until this ghastly bill gets alteres, slaughtered, or compromisedwith even more double talk.

    I cannot respect Obama for his role in this debacle. If we do not get a fair bill [?] there will be hell to pay, and I  among others will not rest until we expose the Democrats and the president who worked against a decent public option that would level the playing field and deliver healthcare at a cost we can all live with.

    The public is being rolled again. This time by someone I voted for and believed in, despite his extreme inexperience and rock star personna. President Snowe is important as a symbol of bi-partisanship? Really.

    Actually, I feel sick. And I can't afford to see a doctor.

    Tom Harkin (none / 0) (#1)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:02:48 PM EST
    is really under the radar but he says two interesting things in the Hill article I linked to from the thread below:

    In the Senate alone, Harkin said the public option has at least 52 solid backers. "So why would we then sort of contemplate not having a public option? I think the burden is on those who are opposed to a public option to say why they should [not] have it when the majority of people and the majority of Democrats are in favor of that," he said.

    If this is true the Senate Dems are going to have to get organized.

    Harkin also said this question [the public option in the Senate Bill] would be settled very soon and that the White House would side with public option supporters. "I think in the next few days you'll see that happen," he said.

    I appreciate his optimism.  I don't think he has the latter statement on authority from anyone in the Admin though.

    to add one more comment (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:08:56 PM EST
    it's going to be hard to argue for budget reconciliation now since everyone is falling all over themselves to praise Snowe for her vote.  If she bails it is the Dems who become obstructionists.



    The burden (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:10:52 PM EST
    according to The Hill is:

    Healthcare reform now lies in the hands of Democratic leaders in Congress, senior White House aides and Obama himself.

    Play ball, ladies and gentlemen.  Let's see what you're made of.


    "Side with"? (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:12:36 PM EST
    Will any Dems vote against cloture? (none / 0) (#6)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:16:27 PM EST
    if a public option (w/o triggers) is in the bill? In other words, do we need Snowe for anything at this point, other than providing a fig leaf of bipartisanship?

    I'll be contrary again: (none / 0) (#8)
    by steviez314 on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:18:54 PM EST
    At this point most of the public (not the activists) will disengage from the health care debate.  They will have heard that every committee in the House and Senate has passed a bill, and that there was a Republican vote.

    All the details-- public options, triggers, etc. -- are now just "whatevers" to most non-pajama clad people.  Health care reform is now a fait accompli.

    I think this makes it easier to get those 60 votes for cloture, even with a public option in the bill.  Otherwise, its taking something away from the American people they "already have".

    Tend to agree (none / 0) (#10)
    by FreakyBeaky on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:44:49 PM EST
    I think it's clear that a bill will pass.  Now if PO supporters can just hold firm and force it through in conference we may have something here.

    Chin up, folks.  It ain't over yet.


    The sausage process (none / 0) (#20)
    by christinep on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 05:31:26 PM EST
    I agree that it has a way to go yet.  By managing to get a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee (and with Senator Snowe's) vote, one type of pressure is off.  If for some reason, the bill had gotten boloxed up or otherwise stymied in that committee with all the attendant legislative maneuvers, the delivery timetable would become a fantasy and the ability to get anything through would be questionable.  I know "it ain't pretty," and now we face another type of pressure (the how much can be changed in the Senate at this stage to keep the 60 while planning your conference committee strategy for addition/alteration at that crucial juncture.  
    A second for the "chin up" comment.  I want positive change in the healthcare system.  For me, a significant and substantial incremental approach akin to a federalist OR strong trigger may well be enough IF to want everything is to get nothing.  Each of us will decide what type of legislative sausage we will buy.  (Remember that there are different types of sausage that appeal to different people.)  
    Personal disclosure: I have believed in universal healthcare as a right since growing up in the 60s. My dad instilled that belief in me when it was not a popular view at all (to put it mildly.) For later reasons closely associated with certain illness in the family, the issue became very personal and a strong cause for my sister and myself. In fact, we were fortunate to speak with Hillary Clinton in 1994 at a subsequent luncheon about the generations-long fight for healthcare. It is not possible for me to express in writing how strong is my desire for good & meaningful healthcare reform because the cause has been a lifelong experience. Yes, the subject can be a very emotional one...for so many of us on this site.  Yet, today I am a bit more optimistic.  It is inching forward. It may not be everything I would like to see eventually, but the change moves inexorably forward.  The process suggests some beneficial additions will take place at each stage. Lets keep pushing.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 06:03:20 PM EST
    short term but when they go to the polls next year and their healthcare has done nothing but go up (which it will) then who's going to take the heat? Not the people that voted against this garbage but the people that voted FOR it. The same in 2012. Obama has boxed himself in a very bad corner with his desperation to pass something....anything. Being a political beggar really doesnt win you any fans.

    Begging for Votes (none / 0) (#28)
    by norris morris on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 10:53:56 PM EST
    Yes, Obama's behavior is simply watching a bad chess game.

    He feels that unless he passes a HC bill, even a ghastly one that harms us, it will validate him. Since this all kicks in around 2013 Obama feels it'll get him at least time, and certainly re-elected. So we are watching a man still in campaign mode, and it's disgusting.


    Wyden and Cantwell (none / 0) (#22)
    by shoephone on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 06:16:00 PM EST
    Continually saying "F*ck You" to their constituents here in the Great, Gullible, Northwest.

    What did I miss? (none / 0) (#26)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 08:03:30 PM EST
    I'm not a fan of Cantwell, but haven't heard any news that had her name attached.

    Wake up (none / 0) (#24)
    by koshembos on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 06:50:08 PM EST
    The nice story plus the unneeded insult to Emmanuel are complete nonsense. For those who think that HCR is fait accompli they are for a rude awaking. If you mean any HCR you may be right, but if we look for a reform that unsure everyone and lowers health care cost, you better buy a bag of pills from Rush.

    Why is it that difficult to deal with reality as it is?

    Um (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 07:35:32 PM EST
    Your comment is strange to me, unless you are related to Rahmbo.