Analyze This: Obama On HCR

Yesterday, Steve Benen wrote:

At this point, there really shouldn't be any lingering doubts surrounding President Obama's support for a public option -- he's endorsed, promoted, and defended the idea repeatedly for months. [. . .] Indeed, wavering lawmakers are now well aware of some key truths: [. . .] the White House wants a public option [. . . It's now up to Obama to "weigh in" and tell these dithering members, who are unmoved by these obvious and important details, exactly what to do?

Obvious is it? President Obama begs to differ:

The bill you least like would provide 29 million Americans with health care. The bill you least like would bar denial of health insurance for pre-existing conditions. The bill you least like would set up an exchange where people can use some leverage and bargain for better rates [...]

I want to say to you, Democrats: let’s make sure that we keep our eyes on the prize [...]

Democrats, y’all thinking for yourselves. I like that in you, but we have to make sure we finish the job. We are this close, and we have to be unified.

Analyze that.

Speaking for me only

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    For what it is worth (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:44:02 AM EST
    "The bill you least like" referenced in Obama's speech is definitely BaucusCare.

    Sounds more like he is laying the foundation for his strong supporters to believe that the crappy BaucusCare is good and they need to support it.

    I thought it did not need explanation (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:44:55 AM EST
    In case people do not know, Baucus Care has no public option.

    Regular readers here probably (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:55:58 AM EST
    did not need the additional explanation. What can I say? I tend to be very detailed orientated.

    BTW, I think we need to change the name to SnoweCare. The selling point could be "If you need health care,  SnoweCare will leave you out in the cold."


    Does BaucusCare (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:54:38 AM EST
    prevent private insurers from raising the premiums of customers who have medical claims relative to healthier customers with few claims?

    I knwo you cannot be dropped but have been asking in many of these blogs what is to prevent health insurers from acting like my home insurance company?

    Or, is there anything that prevents (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 01:57:11 PM EST
    denial of procedures or treatments?

    I continue to be astounded by how (5.00 / 7) (#12)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:25:53 AM EST
    little real information is being given to the American people about what is in these reform bills, and what a disservice it does to them to garner their support in this dishonest way.  

    This is not a head fake from Obama.  It's not a back-door move in a multi-dimensional chess game.  If this is Obama telling us that the worst of the bills is still better than nothing, he's not the salesman he thinks he is, and he's still not making a case for what he considers the best of any of the bills.  Or expressing a preference for what the final legislation should look like.  Why no mention of legislation that would be better?

    Instead, he's patting the Dems on the head for "thinking for yourselves," and admonishing them to finish the job.  The more I read that, the more offensive I find it.

    As for Steve Benen...I like Steve, I think he's a genuinely good guy who works hard, but I think there is an ocean of doubt about what Obama wants.  Sure, you can find a lot of instances of Obama saying that he supports a public option, but you can also find too may instances where he's hedged on that support by saying he's still looking at and considering other ideas, too many anonymous leaks about the president's indifference to the public option, too many cozy, secret meetings with industry representatives whose interests do not parallel the interests of the people.

    You can see how Obama's going to play this, can't you?  Any bill that passes will be a victory, and since victory is all Obama seems to care about, the details of the legislation, whether it will lower costs or expand care, whether people have to wait years for help, are all just going to take a back seat to him claiming to be the first president to enact comprehensive health care reform.


    I guess (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:29:15 AM EST
    we will see.  wont we?

    Ian Welsh (none / 0) (#20)
    by dk on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:10:35 AM EST
    IMO, does a good job here summarizing why all of the possible outcomes for a health care bill will end up being both bad policy and bad politics.

    The rest really is Kabuki.


    I like Benen generally (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:45:21 PM EST
    but I agree with you he is really choosing to see Obama's statement in the most favorable light. I agree his statement is just trying to convince everyone to be happy with their least favorite possible outcome.

    watching Harry and others (4.25 / 4) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:36:17 AM EST
    in the last few days I am starting to think this is all head fake BS.  that there will be a public option in the final senate bill and they always planned to have one and this is all window dressing to make it seem harder that it is and make them seem like they saved the day at the last minute.

    I withdrew from following this closely because it was effecting my mental health and have left it to people like BTD who understand the machinations.  just a feeling.

    Mental Health (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by katiebird on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:42:49 AM EST
    My mental health is definitely slipping:  last night I dreamt that I visited a friend at work and Ezra Klein was there talking to him about health care reform!!!

    yikes (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:57:37 AM EST
    In my adult life (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:17:20 AM EST
    I have never, ever seen the Democrats pull off a coordinated headfake like that without some anonymous aide giving away the game to the media at some point.  From your lips to God's ear and all that, but I don't think the smart money is on such a scenario.

    my rational mind (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:18:37 AM EST
    agrees with you.  like I said. just a feeling.
    and I am not saying the whole party is in on it.  just the leadership.
    Harry for sure.

    This is the same Harry Reid who has (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:35:57 AM EST
    allowed the odious Joe Lieberman to keep his chairmanship of a Senate committee, right?

    Who won't use the Senate rules to the majority's advantage, right?

    I'm sorry, but Harry Reid is not in on some kind of master plan to fake out the rank-and-file; he is not playing Robin to Obama's Batman.

    But, then again, maybe he's only been pretending to be ineffective and spineless for lo, these many years...yeah, that's the ticket.


    do you think (none / 0) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:41:26 AM EST
    Harry wishes to remain majority leader?

    This is the same Harry Reid that (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:41:41 AM EST
    said "Triggers are a pretty doggone good idea." The same Harry Reid that said that he, along with other senators and White House officials, are "leaning toward talking about a public option."

    Well, if the dems really miss the target on (none / 0) (#41)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 03:38:42 PM EST
    HCR, it will be the Harry Reid who used to be the Senate Majority Leader, and is now lucky to still be a Senator in the Republican majority Senate come 2010.

    The purpose of all these head fakes... (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Romberry on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:31:12 AM EST
    ...would be what, exactly? It hasn't been good politics. It's divided the base. It's made Obama seem weak/wimpy/tone deaf. It hasn't brought Republicans on board. Where is the advantage? I don't see it. It makes no sense.

    I believe that if we get a public option that is worth being called a public option, it will be because of the hue and cry raised by the left that refused to sit down and shut up no matter what Rahm told the veal pen to have its followers do.

    If there is a robust public option, Obama will take credit and I'm fine with that. But the real credit will go to the untold number of Americans that weren't willing to settle for crap, and to Howard Dean, and to Firedoglake/Jane Hamsher, and to the actual progressives in the House and the Senate. Without the pressure, Obama would have willingly sold us out. He may do so yet.


    the prupose is simple (2.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:35:36 AM EST
    to make the country fret and worry about the public option not being included.  to make the country think this is hard for the democrats and that they are saving us from the evil (powerless) republicans.

    when it passes a woot will go up from the country and the base.

    Obama has shown a pretty good grasp of how to manipulate the voting public.  


    Well, if that's an actual strategy, (5.00 / 8) (#18)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:46:27 AM EST
    the backlash that occurs when the people find out the truth about the public is going to be near-nuclear.  And it won't be Republicans who get the blame.

    I don't imagine people who are already worried about how they can afford care will take kindly to having been bamboozled - manipulated - in this way.

    I get that you want to be optimistic, but I think you are reaching well beyond what makes any sense at all; if Democrats were that good at strategy, we would not have seen almost three years of a majority go for almost nothing.


    if the congress (2.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:47:59 AM EST
    passes real health care reform no one is going to give a rats a$$ but you.

    What? That doesn't even make sense. (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:39:08 AM EST
    We all want Congress to pass real health care reform, but from the get-go, the ideas that would have taken us there were ignored, the goal shifted to being about making sure everyone had insurance, and that goal has moved us farther away from getting real reform, not closer.

    If you're not paying attention to the details, I don't even know how or where you get the idea that the legislation, in all its current forms, constitues real reform - can you explain that?

    Am sorry I can't buy into the Harry-Reid-as-Master-of-Strategery, as I've seen little since 2006 that suggests he's got those skills, or that what he's strategizing is truly Democratic in nature.

    I'm sure the Dems can pass "something," but what remains to be seen is whether it will have been worth it.  A victory for Obama, sure, but I'm thinking it would be better to obtain a victory for the people.


    The goal of making sure everyone had insurance (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    was thrown out the window early on. None of the bills provide Universal coverage. BaucusCare, which seems to be the WH flavor of the month, only insures an additional 29 million people. That leaves millions more still uninsured.

    The HeadFake (none / 0) (#28)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:18:32 PM EST
    A little confession: My stomach (not my head) has been feeling "head-fake" for some long time now.  As to the whys...perhaps, a few of the reasons Capt Howdy has noted.  Mostly, tho, it has both a compelling "drama" and, from a keep-the-opposition-off-balance aspect, it undermines a coordinated opposition from the insurers and friends by causing them to delay their OVERT artillery ads and whatnot to quite late in the game.  While I agree that the concept allowed lots of deniability, it also allowed for the broader "community" response (i.e., the growing support for a public option.) The health care issue has always been central for me. Yet, standing back a bit, one can certainly imagine the theatre to which Capt Howdy alludes. And, if that is so, the campaign for passage would have been masterful.

    What would be truly masterful is (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:46:10 PM EST
    if the Democrats could not just manage passage of legislation, but that the legislation itself would truly reform the system, would unshackle people from employer-based insurance, provide a public component that everyone was eligible for, and institute much-needed regulation of the insurance industry.

    Your stomach may be saying "head fake," but mine is saying "Where's the Pepto?" as I think about celebrating a masterful passage of terrible legislation.


    Good point (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 01:04:31 PM EST
    I agree pretty much with everything that you have said. One possible exception: The fact that legislation is not great/everything we want/etc. does not render it "terrible."  I will not be an apologist for anything that may be produced. Yet, it is important to see what ultimately emerges from the House/Senate Conference Committee.

    "masterful" (2.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 01:20:47 PM EST
    as unlikely as it now seems I think that we will hear that word when it all over.  and not just from the usual apologists.

    I am completely open to the idea that they are exactly as inept as the seem.  as I said IF this happens it will be about self preservation for them not doing the right thing.

    I completely agree about keeping the opposition chasing their tales.  I should have mentioned that.


    Casablanca (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 03:43:56 PM EST
    is a masterful film, maybe one of the best ever made, but it happened entirely by accident out of the utter chaos of the filming.

    oy (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 03:54:51 PM EST
    A woot will go up from the country? (none / 0) (#25)
    by nycstray on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:58:39 AM EST

    Did you watch the Gators/Arkansas (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:04:58 PM EST
    game Sat.?  Was the Gators team "wooting" just after the game ended?  

    That's simple? (none / 0) (#48)
    by Romberry on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:14:15 AM EST
    The purpose is simple. to make the country fret and worry about the public option not being included.

    What is simple about that? Why go to all that trouble? Why put so many people through so much? Why help cement the meme that Democrats stand for much of nothing?

    Sorry, that isn't simple. Your logic is a vagrant. It has no visible means of support.


    Um (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:45:07 AM EST
    you think the whole Democratic Party plays 11th dimensional chess -- too?

    I think you'll be disappointed, Capt.


    Your belief is fine IMO (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:19:35 PM EST
    I'm optimistic some sort of national public option, hopefully robust, will be in the bill.  However, the belief that a public option will be in the bill would be totally unfounded if not for the dedication of the Firedoglake types and advocacy groups who are keeping this issue alive and educating the public.  The public option isn't gaining support because Obama has been talking it up lately, obviously.

    While moveon.org supports (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:37:07 PM EST
    boycott of Fox News.

    dog...bites (none / 0) (#32)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:43:40 PM EST
    well, you know.

    I think the best thing the WH is doing in the healthcare debate right now is targeting FOX News actually.  It's a timely reminder that there's opposition, but there's also total derangement.


    Wishful thinking (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by ricosuave on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:40:57 PM EST
    I had the same "feeling" during the leadup to Bill Clinton's impeachment.  I was sure that there had to be more to the story, and that nobody in Washington (on either side of the aisle) was crazy enough to let us move into such a ridiculous waste of time and money.  

    I was horribly wrong.  The dems didn't have some secret plan up their collective sleeve to turn it around on the republicans.  And the republicans didn't have some grand brinksmanship-like plan to use the impeachment threat to gain some huge political advantage.  Everyone was really doing the stuff that they appeared to be doing (and to the people they appeared to be doing it to).

    Mr. Occam (Ockham?) strikes again.


    not that wishful (none / 0) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:47:46 PM EST
    like I said.  whatever good they do it will be out of self preservation.

    my "feeling" (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:48:32 PM EST
    is that are coming to understand their a$$es are on the line.

    On that we can agree (none / 0) (#49)
    by Romberry on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:18:12 AM EST
    But that means all the head fake stuff you just posted is so much nonsense. (And that is exactly what it is.)

    that would be called (none / 0) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 09:42:14 AM EST
    an opinion.  

    That seems to not be in his prepared remarks, (none / 0) (#5)
    by steviez314 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    but a response to some shout-outs about the p.o. and the Baucus Bill.

    So I'm not going to let it get me riled up, not with the Yankees up 3-1 even though Girardi never heard of bunting with 1st and 2nd no outs (3 times in last 2 games).

    This was the $30000 per couple fundraiser (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:55:21 AM EST


    $30,400 each donor (none / 0) (#43)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 03:45:35 PM EST

    Interesting article in today's LAT: (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:51:08 AM EST
    White House relies on core healthcare team

    Team includes Jim Messina, who was formerly a legislative aide to Baucus.  Mr. Messina apparently isn't into preventative medicine:  eats steak and fries frequently!

    Read it in the Sentinel over the weekend (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by ruffian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:42:04 PM EST
    Did not give me a warm fuzzy for the public option, with lines like this:

    Now, Obama's crew will be at the table with lawmakers behind closed doors, crafting compromises to meet attacks from a determined Republican minority and well-financed industry groups.

    Or how about this: (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:48:57 PM EST
    But the White House survived the early pummeling, and the emphasis on the inside game has paid off more recently.

    "The key factor in all major legislation, particularly healthcare, is momentum," Pfeiffer said. "Healthcare is a boulder: You're either pushing uphill or downhill. We've reached the top, we're headed downhill now, and we want it to stay that way."

    That statement is true in one respect (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    We've reached the top (the best of a bad lot) with H.R.3200 and we're headed downhill now with the Insurance Profit Protection and Enhancement Act (i.e BaucusCare).

    Also, health insurance will be a boulder around everyone's neck if bad legislation is passed.


    Yeah, that was a pretty p*ss poor way (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycstray on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 01:10:04 PM EST
    to phrase it, even though it's prob true (I interpret it the same as you).