What Dan Pfeiffer Didn't Say

Reacting to the reports that the White House is pressuring Harry Reid to give up on the public option, White House aide Dan Pfeiffer said:

The report is false. The White House continues to work with the Senate on the merging of the two bills[.] We are making good progress toward enacting comprehensive health reform.

What report is false? That the White House is pressuring Reid? Ok, let's accept that. Here's a question for an intrepid reporter to ask - what exactly IS the White House saying to Reid? Pfeiffer does not say. To pass the hot potato back to Reid, the White House - ALL of it - will have to be Jarrettesque (I'm looking at you "top Administration officials" Rahmbo and Messina.)

Speaking for me only

< Sheriff Releases Balloon Boy Search Warrant Affidavit | Bernie Kerik's Trial Delayed Indefinitely >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Well ... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by robrecht on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 07:48:11 PM EST
    I suppose it's possible that Obama has strong convictions but is not expressing them because he does not want to polarize opposition further ...

    ... nah!

    Or it could be that Obama (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by athyrio on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:32:00 PM EST
    cares about only himself....I vote for that one..

    I'm going to say this in this thread too (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by cawaltz on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:36:25 PM EST
    If Obama is all fired to have a GOP member on board, why not try to pressure a vulnerable one? Coburn is up for re election. His race is a toss up. Over 57% of Ohioans support a public option. Make it uncomfortable for him and make him choose between winning his seat by representing his constituency or towing the GOP line. Likewise Burr has a limited treasure trove and he is barely a leans GOP race. 65% of NC small business wants a public option. Throw some adversity at them and see if you can turn them like Reid.

    Coburn (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Steve M on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:56:53 PM EST
    is from Oklahoma, I'm not sure who you meant.

    Fine (none / 0) (#11)
    by cawaltz on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:49:43 PM EST
    my point still stands flip a Republican so there is no more cover excuse for the WH. Whether it be Burr, or whoever flip someone. There is no onus that bipartisan has to equal Snowe. Concentrate on a toss up Republican race. If people can't get past the party thing they may wind up losing on the issue. The progressives need to pick where there priorities lie.

    I'd research more but I'm a bit busy with 4 kids with the flu.


    That threw me too! (none / 0) (#28)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 06:48:28 AM EST
    Coburn?  Ohio?  

    Voinovich (R-Retiring) and Sherrod Brown (D) represent Ohio in the Senate.   We don't have any vulnerable GOP Senators.


    Coburn's not up 'til 2012 (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by NealB on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:51:45 PM EST
    The way it's headed, 2012's going to be a safe year for Republicans.

    i'm with cawaltz, (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:47:11 PM EST
    use the LBJ legislative method:

    "if you grab a man by his b*lls, his heart and mind will follow."

    any politician's essence of self-interest lies in being re-elected, above and beyond any loyalties or debts they may have. remove the office, and everything else turns to dust. that would be their gonads. grab them, and twist.

    i guarantee, their "hearts and minds will follow".

    LBJ -Master Of The Senate (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:07:58 PM EST
    As Master Of The Senate LBJ had the political experience, sophistication, and political power within the congress to press hard for what he wanted.  And therefore won his battles.

    As a political tactitian there are few to equal LBJ"s skills at negotiation & implementation. He knew where his power would work to extract votes, and was able to enact important progressive legislation.

    Obama has been a junior Senator who spent most of two years running for office of President. He has little legislative experience and lacks the years of alliances within congress that lead to superior bargaining power and tactical success.

    His A Team other than Rham are D.C. light who I fear do not have the clout necessary to make anything happen that doesn't reek of compromise in a middling bill.

    Obama's silence, waffling, dodging and doublespeak on a strong public option in a healthcare bill make me anything but confident about his ability to create passage of a breakthrough on public option bill and a landmark for progressive reform.

    He has also been wan regarding job creation programs, and I believe these two issues are of primary importance in his promise for change.
    We're waiting.


    Waiting forObama to flip someone (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by cawaltz on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:55:41 PM EST
    would be a waste of time. He's on record saying he isn't committed to the public option and wishes a "bipartisan" solution. This fight is up to progressives. They have polling. They can raise cash. The facts are in favor of the position that our health care system is not as efficient as many of our world counterparts. There is no reason they can't mount a targeted campaign against someone from the other side of the aisle with skin in the game. Preferably one of the weaker links. At the very least you dilute Snowe's importance as the sole Republican to get on board.

    lack of experience (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by noholib on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:42:45 PM EST
    You're right ... it just goes to show that good looks and charisma don't necessarily make up for lack of experience and learning the ropes in a complicated institution !

    Kennedy assasination vs. Election 2000 (none / 0) (#14)
    by NealB on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:55:43 PM EST
    A bullet vs. the Supreme Court.

    What a shame.


    Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:11:44 PM EST
    Glad you aksed. (none / 0) (#19)
    by NealB on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:34:54 PM EST
    37 years later, what's the difference?

    Good point...but I've been waiting (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:15:05 AM EST
    for someone to mention 'the other Kennedy'... the one who used to head up the Senate Healthcare committee and was supposed to save us all from failure on this subject by passing the torch to Obama.

    Some torch.

    Is it even lit?


    No (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by NealB on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:26:31 AM EST

    Well, that explains it then. n.t (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 01:48:59 AM EST
    That was quick. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:33:34 AM EST
    It didn't take too much time for all the wailing and lamentations to subside about the demise of the Lion of the Senate. The Kennedy Healthcare BIll. The tribute to the martyr. All forgotten.

    Why we get swept up into these emotional hurricanes is not clear to me. But it keeps happening. And politicians count on it. It continually distracts us from reality. But we go for it every time.

    Kennedy, balloon-boy, Iran, North Korea. We've got something to keep you busy while we cook the books.


    I assume that's the editorial "we." (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:26:10 PM EST
    "We Americans" are not known for having long attention spans and people seem to have been socialized in recent years to be distracted by the loud and angry, from music to politics...and by some desperately wierd need to be validated by others...constantly.  Hence, texting and twitter and Facebook...and not only among the young.


    It's way past the day when the carny barker fooled only the rubes and Huey Long was the politician whom sensible people worried could talk his way to the top.

    A Face in the Crowd could have been made about Reagan...or Obama.


    You do realize (none / 0) (#33)
    by Spamlet on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 11:50:06 AM EST
    that the phrase "junior senator" does not necessarily connote entry-level experience?

    John Kerry was the junior senator from Massachusetts for many years, and with Ted Kennedy's death he's now the senior senator from Massachusetts.

    I'm no great fan of Barack Obama, but I wish people would give this "junior senator" thing a rest. Guess who was competing for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 as the junior senator from New York.


    The distinction of junior when it comes (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:22:22 PM EST
    to Obama is more the literal use of the word. In John Kerry's case, junior designated only that he had fewer years than Kennedy in the Senate.

    Obama, on the other hand, had barely found his Senate office when he announced he was running for President.


    The running joke is that Obama (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:31:39 PM EST
    stopped off at the senate to get directions to the White House.



    Of course (none / 0) (#37)
    by Spamlet on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 02:30:43 PM EST
    But people who refer to Obama as "a junior senator" instead of calling him "the junior senator from Illinois" appear to be ignorant of the fact that the status of junior senator (from any state) is simply a function of how many years the state's other senator has been in office. If you're the junior senator from Illinois, you don't automatically get promoted to senior senator after a certain period of service. There can be only one senior senator from any one state. My comment was addressed to people who may not understand this.

    Okay, so what word do you think would (none / 0) (#39)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:18:44 PM EST
    be best to describe a Senator who is barely into their first term since "junior" is already in use and describes only who from each state has been there for a shorter period of time?

    What Anne said (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Spamlet on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:21:32 PM EST
    "First-term senator" could also alternate with "neophyte senator" and possibly be used in conjunction with another adjective that could encapsulate the first-term/neophyte senator's having spent two-thirds of his first half-term running for president.

    LOL (none / 0) (#42)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 10:14:34 PM EST
    Perfect :)

    I don't think I've been guilty of referring to Obama as "junior," but I have understood what image people are trying to convey when they use it as a descriptive.

    I like neophyte so much better, though!!


    First term. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Anne on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:57:25 PM EST
    It would still make him the junior senator, but this way, you'd know just how junior.

    Sometimes I think that the administration (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:17:26 PM EST
    is waiting for the day when their anonymous leaks that Obama isn't for the public option, is pushing for a trigger, is happy to be Olympia Snowe's b!tch, land in the media and the blogosphere with a "ho-hum, nothing to see here" barely discernible ripple, so they can drop all pretense that they have the slightest interest in real reform of the system.

    They want the least-disruptive-to-the-industry-status-quo reform, which means that only by getting out a microscope will anyone be able to see or realize much difference.

    They are kidding themselves that this is not going to have repercussions, and it isn't going to wait for the magical, post-2012 election season; it's going to hit them in the back of the head in 2010, and no amount of sound and lights and soaring rhetoric is going to hypnotize the masses in 2012 in a repeat of 2008.

    Wait till most people realize that (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MO Blue on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:36:17 AM EST
    implementation does not even begin until 2013.

    A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll asks:

    If Congress and the president did pass a health care reform bill, when would you expect that people without insurance would begin to get financial help in buying coverage?

    13% answered this year, 36% answered next year, and only 25% correctly answer three years from now. These are numbers that should completely terrify Congressional Democrats. Basically, half the country expects health care reform to be underway and there to be a noticeable drop in the number of uninsured by the time of the 2010 midterm elections. In reality, most of the reforms (and the decrease in the number of uninsured) will not start until several months after the 2012 election. FDL

    It's obvious (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:26:45 AM EST
    to me that Obama and his coterie don't want us to know what he wants (if anything) and doesn't want us to know what is going on.

    In these efforts, he is a great success.

    Public financing (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:49:37 AM EST
    And we wonder why we're losing the battle!

    "Ln the first six months of this year alone, drug and biotech companies and their trade associations spent more than $110 million -- that's about $609,000 a day -- to influence lawmakers, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. The drug industry's legion of registered lobbyists numbers 1,228, or 2.3 for every member of Congress. And its campaign contributions to current members of Waxman's committee have totaled $2.6 million over the past three years".

    We're never going to see government of the people as long as politicans are bought and paid for by corporate America.

    Image over principle (4.50 / 4) (#27)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:48:07 AM EST
    Obama insists om portraying himself as the wise, all seeing mentor, that understands the concerns of all! This image is more important to him than that of a leader who seizes the opportunity to step to the front and take charge.

    It's a sad state of affairs that he would be more concerned about the support of Snowe than the millions of Democrat's that put him in the WH in the first place.

    The day is coming soon when he's going to have to make the choice. He can't hide from the issue forever. He did this same dance with the FISA bill. This time, I don't think he'll be able to soft sell his desertion of party principles so easy.

    Disgusting political doublespeak (none / 0) (#2)
    by magster on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 07:54:01 PM EST
    Do they really think anyone supporting the public option is going to not see through that?

    Cat & Mouse (none / 0) (#6)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:50:46 PM EST

    The White House is emphasizing the notion that Obama is compromising and continues to look for a politically safe solution.

    To be outspoken and boldy pro public option would be desirable at this point to unify Democrats.

    Obama has left me feeling that he is playing for time and doing some dithering and bargaining.

    Public Option?  We really don't know how, what, or how much of what he's for.


    outspoken please?! (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by noholib on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:55:34 PM EST
    Yes, to be outspoken and boldly pro public option would sound like a fighting Dem ... somehow I wouldn't hold my breath with this particular White House occupant.

    I hate politics (none / 0) (#16)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:35:33 PM EST

    I hate bad politics, (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by oldpro on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:12:08 AM EST
    badly done.

    I hate seeing the opportunity (5.00 / 6) (#29)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 06:52:52 AM EST
    of a lifetime completely wasted.  

    What more does Obama want before he'll support a public option - a constitutional amendment naming him president for life?


    Question to Ruffian (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:09:26 PM EST
    Well, what did you expect politics to be?

    It's Ambinder (none / 0) (#20)
    by Coldblue on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:02:01 AM EST
    trying to redeem himself from crappy reporting.

    The Pfeiffer statement might as well have been written by Gibbs.

    Obamadmin working against... (none / 0) (#30)
    by pluege on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:31:33 AM EST
    the American people:

    • killed cram-down
    • working to defeat the public option
    • making sure no meaningful financial regulation is enacted
    • left in place all of bush's civil rights violations and presidential power grabs
    • will surely hollow-out global warming legislation


    and don't forget the big enchilada on the Obama agenda: social security evisceration

    I read this in the wee hours (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:03:50 PM EST
    I don't know what to say except that I'm grateful that you have the emotional detachment to such things to be positively tenacious about gathering and exposing all the various "facts" out there in Obamaland.  Thanks, because I'm tired of being stupid.  I'm getting too old to be stupid.

    A question, (none / 0) (#43)
    by ghost2 on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 12:23:05 AM EST
    Dear BTD,

    While I like your honesty in dealing with politics of health care issue, are you ever going to write a post and revisit your famous claim during primary: Bamely that there isn't a dime of difference between Hillary and Obama in policy, but Obama will get things done, since he is the press darling?

    How is that working out? Is he  pushing for good economic and healthcare policies?