Politico: Obama Fighting For Snowe's Triggers


[President] Obama told Democratic leadership at the White House Thursday evening that his preference is for the trigger championed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) – a plan that would allow a public plan to kick in if private insurers don’t expand coverage fast enough, a top administration official told POLITICO. It’s also sign Obama is interested in maintaining a sense of bipartisanship around the health reform plan.

At that meeting, Obama did not sign on to a plan being floated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a different variation of the public option in the Senate bill – a plan that would create a national public plan but allow states to “opt-out.” Reid now believes he can get 60 votes to bring a bill with that plan to the floor by breaking an expected GOP filibuster – and then secure the 51 votes needed to pass it.

(Emphasis supplied.) What now, 11 Dimensional Chess players?

Speaking for me only

< Thursday Night Open Thread | Switz. Receives Formal Extradition Papers From U.S. >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Wait (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:26:50 AM EST
    a compromise that significant to get ONE Republican vote?  Craziness!

    You can rest assured that if inorder (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:07:19 AM EST
    to get Snowe's vote on the final bill, SnoweCare will be even worse than BaucusCare.

    If successful, the Republicans have played the Dems to their utmost advantage. In exchange for ONE Republican vote, they will ensure that the final legislation will be so bad that once implemented it will not work for regular people and be hated by all.    


    Pelosi has strongly contradicted ... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:28:53 AM EST
    the Politico story to the extent it refers to the House. The WH has also rather more weakly denied their part saying:
    On this specific policy option, the official says, "the White House did not state a position either way."

    What power does the Senate have over the House? (none / 0) (#7)
    by blogtopus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:33:18 AM EST
    Last I checked, the Speaker of the House was closer to the top than Senate Majority Leader... what power does Reid have over Pelosi, that his bill can trump hers?

    Reid has (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:15:19 AM EST
    a more recalcitrant membership on this subject.

    Next question?


    His bill doesn't trump hers (none / 0) (#27)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:24:43 AM EST
    ... and one of the ways Pelosi has been most admirable in this business is the way she's fighting to have the House pass a bill that goes far beyond what the Senate will consider.

    So, we're planning on having the House and the Senate pass different bills initially. Then the two bills go to conference. The bill that emerges from conference is not subject to filibuster in the Senate. Pelosi is working the House now to have a strong position going in to conference.


    Please check this TPM link: (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by steviez314 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:30:06 AM EST

    which indicates that the Politico story is wrong.

    The leaks to Politico seem designed to just stir up trouble and push opinion.  What a surprise.

    Obama is indifferent to the public option (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:45:40 AM EST
    I think I have said that for a while.

    Yes but the Politico story you discuss (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Faust on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:12:27 AM EST
    in your OP suggests interest in a specific type of option.

    "Interested in triggers"


    "Continues to indifferent"

    are two different things.

    At this point I WANT him to be irrelevant. I have no faith that if he becomes involved it will be in a way that I like.


    Politico did not make it up (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:27:03 AM EST
    Someone in the WH said it to Allen.

    That indifference probably means story is bogus (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by magster on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:44:16 AM EST
    There will be a flood of rumors today floated by anonymous sources hostile to the public option to counter the news/momentum of yesterday.  I'm skeptical that Obama indicated any sort of preference contradicting the direction the senate leadership is taking, for better or worse.

    Disagree (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:26:31 AM EST
    in that it is going to be easier to pass "HCR" without a public option and Obama will do anything to pass "HCR."

    Pelosi is leading the charge; (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:46:17 AM EST
    Reid smells the coffee and has tepidly climbed aboard.

    If Obama now grabbed the baton from Nancy and showed some true leadership, a robust P.O might be unstoppable.



    Don't you wonder why Obama (none / 0) (#57)
    by hairspray on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:59:17 PM EST
    is allowing this story to spin around and create so much confusion?  Maybe it is politics 101 or Machiavellian politics to create chaos and then step in with the final decision. By that time everyone is so worked up it is all anticlimactic.

    What is most significant is the (5.00 / 10) (#12)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:49:14 AM EST
    repeated emphasis that "the president took no position either way."  We are nine months into the Obama presidency, he campaigned for something like 17 months, he has advisers out the a$$, and he still cannot or will not take a position either way?

    This is not just a vacuum of leadership, it is a black hole of leadership, and everything that mattered to Democrats is being sucked into it and what's left are Republican, conservative ideas and policies that, with a Democratic president and control of both houses of Congress, we should not have to settle for, or be saddled with.  

    There will never be good policy that results from "I'm for whatever wins," which is increasingly what is looks like to me is the only position he is willing to take.  I'm starting to hear "now, watch this drive!" everytime I hear another non-committal, dismissive, takes-no-position comment.

    This just should not stand.  Period.  And it's time someone had a come-to-Jesus meeting with Obama to set him straight.  Is there anyone who could do that?  I'm nost sure there is.


    Michelle could knock him up side the head. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:53:03 AM EST
    Don't think so (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:13:52 AM EST
    because he's doing it this way deliberately and on principle.  I don't think there can be any question anymore but that he's committed to the idea that the only way this is going to happen is if Congress works it out for itself and comes to some kind of consensus.  Everything he's been doing is nearly by the book "facilitating," not leading.

    I think that's frankly nuts, but I'm certain now that it's his firmly held belief about the only way to build lasting and widely accepted change.

    He appears to live on a planet different but no less strange than George W. Bush's.


    Facilitating is not, in and of (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:30:26 AM EST
    itself, a bad thing, but this is an issue on which Obama's skills simply are not up to the task; maybe the most important skill is being able to identify which issues most lend themselves to the process and which are almost certainly doomed to devolve into little more than dithering.  

    I also think that it helps to have a firm and identifiable goal in sight.  I always thought the goal should be to expand access to and affordability of health care, but if that was ever Obama's goal, it was replaced in short order by concentrating efforts on preserving the stranglehold of the private insurance companies, protecting the cash pipeline from the industry to politicians' coffers, and making sure Wall Street was happy.  Secret meetings and industry concessions that were hedged on as quickly as they were announced, cozy PR campaigns partnering with industry lobbyists, and industry groups undermining reform efforts through their own back-door partnering with PR firms: none of this had anything to do with actual health care, or the people who need it, and have to pay for it.

    There is a real opportunity for leadership here, but by kowtowing to the likes of Olympia Snowe, Obama is telling the country that Republicans have better ideas about how to fix the system than Democrats do.  This may end up being less a seizing of opportunity by Republicans as it is just giving them the reins.  If he thinks they will politely hand them back on the next issue, he has badly miscalculated.


    Is it lack of skills (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:09:38 PM EST
    or waffling while responding to polling?  Seems to me there was no indication of WH support for a public option until the polls showed the public wants it and the President's approval is dropping as he waits things out.  Also seems to me the President wants to be able to take credit for passing HC legislation, but be able to blame Congress for any unpopular provisions.

    It's who he is. IIRC, Obama (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:10:21 PM EST
    mentioned the 'good ideas of Republicans' during his post-partisan campaign.  The fact that the Republicans he's dealing with have proven him wrong...time and again...doesn't faze him.  Only one Republican has a healthcare idea and hers isn't even a good one.  A trigger, my a$$.  The trigger was pulled long ago.  That's how we got into this damnable mess.

    Strange. I thought that (none / 0) (#61)
    by mentaldebris on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 02:57:44 PM EST
    the purpose for elections was to elect leaders. Instead this country voted in a facilitator. Facilitator of the United States. Facilitator in Chief. Facilitator of the Free World.

    Just doesn't have the same ring. Or apparently, effectiveness.


    I hope so! :-) (none / 0) (#6)
    by blogtopus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:31:23 AM EST
    Certainly got a rise out of me. Thanks for the link.

    Yes either Obama stated no preference (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:41:12 AM EST
    on what HCR would contain or he prefers a trigger.

    Neither story puts Obama in a particularly good light IMO.  


    Can Obama be this reckless? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by blogtopus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:30:38 AM EST
    I really wonder what kind of a bubble the folks in DC live in... how can he ignore all the stories from people... ignore the main point of all of them: Affordable and Readily Available Health Care.

    Jeebus Crispy. If he messes this up, 2012 will be the end of his political world. The Mayans will have been right.

    Maybe he doesn't feel their pain! (none / 0) (#58)
    by hairspray on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:03:01 PM EST
    NY Times reports differently (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:41:43 AM EST

    Mr. Obama asked questions, but did not express a preference at the meeting, a White House official said.

    So he does not care (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:44:52 AM EST
    if there is a public option is the 11 Dimensional chess view?

    I think chess is the wrong game. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by steviez314 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:46:44 AM EST
    I've decided this is all just like an NBA basketball game--only the last 2 minutes count.  It's a waste of time to watch the first 46.

    Zactly! (none / 0) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:13:56 PM EST
    I've been thinking exactly the same thing.

    No way. That's only true (none / 0) (#60)
    by oldpro on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 01:20:29 PM EST
    if the final score is all that matters to you.  In a game, all that happens matters...both to the final score and to the game itself, whatever the game.  If that weren't true, you couldn't sell tickets to it!

    You might just as well read the score in the paper the next day as watch the game if that is all the value it has to you.  And how much of value and drama, not to mention entertainment, would be missed.

    This is one more inappropriate sports analogy.


    Hey, you're talking to (none / 0) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 05:00:20 PM EST
    a four-year season ticket holder for the Boston Celtics back in the glory days.  Saw two world-championships, including the awesome Cowens-Jabbar series and the triple overtime semi-final with Phoenix.

    Don't need no steenkin' lectures about ballgames!

    Howsomever, I get no pleasure from watching the machinations of politics on issues of grave (and very personal) importance these days, so in this case, the last two minutes and the final score are all that matters.


    Accuracy (none / 0) (#14)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:01:11 AM EST
    I am not an 11th dimensional chess player. I do think both sides of the story need to be reported, since the Politico seems to have gotten at least 2 points wrong.

    You actually have plenty of material with which to critisize Obama with the NYT Times report.


    Politco reported what someone said (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:25:26 AM EST
    that someone was from the White House.

    He's continuing to be a bystander (none / 0) (#16)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:04:25 AM EST
    is the point.  Since there's been at least a mild head of steam built up for the opt-out idea in the Senate, it would appear to be a Good Thing, at this point, that he is Bystanding, rather than pushing for the idiotic trigger idea.

    When I saw this post, I read around a bunch of this AM's news articles about that meeting yesterday, and a number of them said the preference "around the White House" was for the trigger, and a number of them cited "administration sources" or words to that effect for the report that that's what Obama supports.  Sounds to me like maybe there's a politics-oriented faction in the White House (looking at you, Rahmbo) that's trying to push the Snowe Trigger.


    An opinion on Rahm that I agree with (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:18:05 AM EST
    The idea that Rahm has been pushing for a trigger since January against the wishes of Obama has always been ludicrous, but many people like to cling to that. On a day-in, day-out basis I write about Rahm's actions a lot because he's the one tasked with execution of the White House's agenda, but there was never any question that what he was doing wasn't in line with what Obama wanted. FDL

    I don't agree (none / 0) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:29:06 AM EST
    It certainly is true that it's OK with Obama for Rahm to be doing what he's doing or he'd be gone by now.  But you really do have to believe in 11 dimensional chess to believe Obama repeatedly sends Rahm out there to express Obama's views and then repeatedly almost immediately reels that back in.

    Well if this is true (none / 0) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:33:20 AM EST
    It certainly is true that it's OK with Obama for Rahm to be doing what he's doing or he'd be gone by now.

    That sounds a whole lot like the point that was made.


    The point that was made (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:08:11 PM EST
    I think, was that Rahm always reflects the policy Obama really wants.  That's what I don't buy.

    Disagree (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:24:13 AM EST
    At the least, the President should say he "prefers" a public option.

    Of course he should (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:12:18 PM EST
    And he's been saying it and been saying it and been saying it over and over and over and over again.  He also always says he won't insist on it.

    It seems more than clear by now that he's not going to pressure Congress to do one thing over the other.  If they build up a head of steam on their own to pass some kind of PO, that's what we'll get.  If not, not.


    IIRC Rahmbo works for Obama (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:08:56 AM EST
    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:21:49 AM EST
    You think that means he doesn't do his own maneuvering to get his boss to do what he thinks is best?  Please.

    Rahm now has a well established habit of going off the reservation on this and other issues, both publicly and anonymously.  Obama seems not to have a problem with that, so maybe he's "community organizing" his own staff, as well.  Maybe Obama thinks having Rahm and others keeping the waters muddy and everybody off-balance about what "The White House" thinks is a Good Thing.

    What does seem quite clear by now is that Rahm does not speak definitively for the White House.


    I hope you're right. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by sallywally on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:44:10 AM EST
    Rahm has always been a neoliberal, hasn't he? Or whatever you call the corporate arm of the Dem party.

    Also, I've thought ever since Allen was on some of the talk shows that he is a suckup for the center-right or Republicans in general. And he has always seemed so excited about it! IMO....So I guess I don't trust him much.


    I guess we will see (none / 0) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:30:34 AM EST
    when the Senate finally presents it combined bill.

    I dont think the Senate (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:05:49 PM EST
    combined bill will tell you squat about what Obama would prefer in the bill or whether Rahm is speaking for Obama accurately or not.  The only thing that bill will tell you is what Obama can "live with," and so far, that seems to encompass a pretty wide range of things.

    If Obama changes course and suddenly decides to push hard for some aspect of it that he really wants, it will be unmistakable and widely reported.  But I don't expect him to do that.


    Keep in mind Obama's extrememly limited (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by nycstray on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:22:30 AM EST
    management experience . . . .

    In my MBA program (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:23:28 PM EST
    one of the seminars that has stuck with me was one on 'managing your boss'.  I suspect Rahm is very good at that. It works for Rahm and Obama and whoever else influences them. Not so much for good policy.

    I stopped reading (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by eric on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:01:22 AM EST
    at "Politico".  The story has no credibility from that source.

    Rarely (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by waldenpond on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:12:14 AM EST
    I rarely read it either.  The commenters shifted during the election and Politico knows it's audience.  It has gotten a conservative slant.

    Wishful thinking on your part (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:23:03 AM EST
    Mike Allen is a joke, but he does not make up sources.

    Much of the time (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:06:59 AM EST
    they get this stuff right, so it's impossible to tell.  Other news outlets have also reported more or less the same story, citing "administration" sources.

    What Politico says is interesting, but certainly not definitive.


    Here's a funny link (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by eric on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:39:51 AM EST
    to some of Politico's errors, it this case, all in one week.  LINK

    Also, Politico is basically a Republican operation.



    d-day writes (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:00:02 AM EST
    at the FDL News Desk, in part:

    Here's my basic feeling on this. There has been demonstrated value in going apesh!t on every unsubstantiated rumor with regard to health care. It has made Democratic politicians, from the House to the White House, "work the yo-yo" and immediately deny their comments. But this intense focus on one comment or another does to a certain extent serve powerful interests.

    Whether consciously or unconsciously, the media and politicians figured out during the 2008 campaign that leaking anonymous tips or highlighting "X said Y" didn't just rouse traditional media. It kept its consumers in the blogosphere busy as well. And that model has survived to this health care debate. A White House source leaks something to Politico or some other outlet, and everybody chases the soccer ball. This government by trial balloon is very seductive, it's easy to get people talking about them and it fills up the day. But it's a sad example of the cautiousness of this White House, as well as the link-chasing and traffic-chasing that has started to define at least a corner of new media.

    They can work the yo-yo all they want, but sooner or later, someone in government will have to make a decision on all this. And when they do, they cannot hide behind an anonymous source. House and Senate leaders and the President should know by now that they will be judged by their actions, and people will respond accordingly. In the meantime, those activists who have prospered by backing their representatives into a corner based on anonymous leaks and tips should probably keep doing it. That's a vital part of activism in this digital era, and without it a real crappy health care bill would probably be on its way to the President for signage. There's a balance, however. And everybody chasing the soccer ball often leaves the goal mouth uncovered.

    Makes sense to me.

    But we won't really know what to think (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:05:35 AM EST
    until Ezra speaks, right?

    Have no idea what d-day is saying (none / 0) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:22:09 AM EST

    Did the President tell Dem. leadership (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:24:10 AM EST
    at the WH he would veto an HCR bill containing public option w/opt out?

    Carper's idea of an opt out public option (none / 0) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:47:03 AM EST
    "I think at the end of the day there will be a national plan probably put together not by the federal government but by a non-profit board with some seed money from the federal government that states would initially participate in because of lack of affordability. The question is should there be an opportunity for states to opt out later on and if so, within a year, within two years, within three years?"

    How would this plan work? "Among the things that's important," Carper said, "is, one, that this not be a government run, government funded enterprise, two, that there be a level playing field so that this non-profit entity that would be stood up would have to play by same rules basically as for-profit insurance companies--the idea that secretary of Health and Human Services [will be] running or directing the operation of this--no way. link

    I think (hope) that Carper (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by magster on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:51:58 AM EST
    was injecting his preference for what the opt-out would have to garner momentum for it, and not stating what the opt-out would actually entail.

    Snowe would except a public option? (none / 0) (#37)
    by Radix on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:01:26 AM EST
    Who knew?

    Feh. It's just more Frienemies Kabuki (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ellie on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:22:05 AM EST
    Oh no, a "fight" among off the record Anonymice just in time for weekend Bobbleheads.

    Many thanks to the selfless gang at the Bobblespeak Translations stay on top of the action so I don't have to. (I forget where I first found the link but it's a keeper.)

    Frienemies: older meaning, a backstabbing BFF but the newer cynical version is a mutually agreed-upon, self-serving fracas to maximize the spotlight for both parties.

    Doesn't it seem by now that those anon. admin (none / 0) (#47)
    by steviez314 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:37:24 AM EST
    officials who keep leaking the "trigger" only help the full public option gain more steam?

    Maybe its how you say "make me do it" in 11th dimensional lingo.

    Br'er Rabbit? (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 12:34:31 PM EST
    Hah. (none / 0) (#63)
    by lentinel on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 05:05:28 PM EST
    So we read that "Obama is fighting for Snowe's triggers."

    I can't think of the joke, but this certainly is one hell of a punch-line.