Booman writes:

In any case, I find it absurd that anyone would seriously believe (or ask others to believe) that Obama has wanted to weaken the public option all along. In fact, I think that is just stupid.

I agree. I do not think the President has lifted a finger, pro or con, regarding the public option. He has been the Bystander President regarding the SUBSTANCE of "health care reform." Some attribute this to the political impotency of the Presidency itself. In my opinion, that is an absurd and stupid view. Others think the President and his team are focused on "success" (apparently defined as passage of a bill, any bill. I fall into that camp.) Others rightly question why that definition of success should be accepted by progressives and activists.

In any event, absurdities abound.

Speaking for me only

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    Amid the verbal diarrhea, the Fri News Dump (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Ellie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:17:56 PM EST
    ... comes early. (Was Thursday a Snowe Day?)

    The public health insurance option died on Thursday, December 10, 2009, after a months-long struggle with Senate parliamentary procedure. The time of death was recorded as 11:12 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

    Its death had been rumored numerous times over the past year, but the public option repeatedly and defiantly battled back. The Senate's insistence on 60 votes, combined with President Obama's decision not to intervene on its behalf, eventually proved overwhelming.

    The public option leaves behind a Medicare buy-in for people aged 55-64, an expansion of Medicaid, a quasi-public option for those under 300 percent of the poverty line and a collection of national private plans managed by the Office of Personnel Management.

    The one remaining chance for the public option rested with the House somehow forcing its will on the Senate.

    But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled the final plug in a press briefing with reporters Thursday.

    She had often said in the past that a health care bill without a public option simply wouldn't have the votes to pass the House. She was asked about that claim Thursday, in relation to the Senate compromise, and pointedly told reporters that any bill could pass as long as it met certain broad goals.

    "Well, what I said was a two-part statement: The president has said, we believe, the House believes, that the public option is the best way to hold the insurance companies honest, keep them honest and also to increase competition. If you have a better way, put it on the table. When we see something from the Senate, we'll be able to make a judgment about that. But our standards are that we have affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, closing the doughnut hole, sustaining the solvency of Medicare, responsibility to our children and not one dime added to the deficit. And accountability of the insurance companies," Pelosi said. [...]
    Pelosi Backs Off Public Option by Ryan Grim, Dec 10, 2009 HuffiPo

    I read HuffiPron for the articles.

    Traitors All (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by norris morris on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:50:08 PM EST
    Obama has waited on the sidelines as Pelosi,Reid, and the rest of the spineless Democrats sold out the public option. This has been a bait and switch operation that has produced the abomination of a bill that delivers millions to Big Insurance.

    This bill was written by lobbyists and voted for by Democrats who pretend to be progressives.

    Pelosi and Reid have not been able to hold it together and the result is a mess of a bill derailed by a handful of small State conservative Senators.
     The other insult still in the House bill is the Stupak which is more smoke and mirrors as the Hyde bill clearly prohibits abortions that are federally funded. Why Stupak?
    It goes much further to roll back women's right
    to equal protection, Roe v Wade, and contains other prohibitive punishments heaped on the backs of working women.
    That this mysogynist insult was even permitted in the final House bill is Pelosi's failure to influence and lead as any decent progressive would.
    And this lack of leadership through Obama's ceding the fight to these two while he did nothing, tells us lots about him that is more than  disappointing.


    Yeah, I think it's pretty absurd for Booman (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by david mizner on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:29:05 PM EST
    or anyone else to try to guess what a pol wants.

    There's only what he does, what he fights for. Obama didn't fight for it. Does that mean he didn't want it? Who knows? Who cares?

    Put another way, I want a Maine lobster roll for lunch, but I'm not willing to go to Maine to get it.

    Could there be anything more ironic (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:29:52 PM EST
    than Booman declaring that others are absurd?  I mean, he has definitely hit the motherlode of irony and been most generous in sharing it with some of his fellow bloggers.

    "Absurdities" would be a great name for a new group blog, wouldn't it?

    Seriously, I do not understand how any sentient being could conclude that Obama has (1) been a leader on the issue of health care reform, (2) openly and aggressively fought, or used the bully pulpit to fight for anything other than cost and electronic medical records, or (3) heeded the pleas of those who actually know something about health care.

    He's been a bystander, for sure, which has the advantage of allowing him to lay blame for failures at the feet of others who are actually in the trenches; I know as sure as I'm sitting here that Obama will take none of the blame should this reform effort lay a big, fat, ol' stinking rotten egg.  No, it will be our fault for not wanting it badly enough to make him do it.

    I am anguished by the prospect of at least three, and possibly seven, more years of this absurdity, which will no doubt continue to be accompanied by the silly musings of Booman and his fellow travelers.

    He may have been a bystander as details were (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by david mizner on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 02:00:03 PM EST
    worked out, but his deal with Big Pharma and his demand on the overall price tag (contradictory actions, btw) have shaped the package. That is, he's pushed it in a more conservative direction.

    Very true. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 02:42:54 PM EST
    The back room deals and the cost constraints should have been everyone's red flag that the reform effort was not going to express a progressive vision.  Rahm was on the record early being in favor of triggers, Obama courted Olympia Snowe for her support - which included triggers - the leaking was tepid as regarded the public option.  No single-payer voices at the table, no transparency; the fix was in early, I'm afraid.

    Those who say they never saw it coming are kidding themselves.


    The Fix Was In All The Time (none / 0) (#34)
    by norris morris on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:32:54 AM EST
    Of course. The drug deal was set by Rham and Rham's doctor brother who spent time in WH from the beginning. A complete giveaway to BigPharma that guaranteed they could give $80 billion over 10 years. Imagine that. As the drug monopoly has already raised prices and continues to do so, can you imagine this will  ultimately be worth  more than $20 billion?   Profits for Pharma last year were 77 Billion.   So, instead of bargaining for price containment through our government, Obama sold out from day one.

    So it's no surprise that when Obama absented himself from the HC debate and allowed it all to happen through Pelosi and Reid, that we see the piece of garbage that has been essentially written by conservative Democrats and a few Repubs who hated the PO.

    This behavior also allowed the Republicans to frame and control the debate without any rapid response from the WH.  Death panels, etc.

    Obama's fixation on considering Snowe and or Collins bi-partisanship is a joke.

    So in the end we are seeing a bill written by lobbyists that delivers [mandates] 30 million to buy private insurance and delivering this gold mine without the public's ability to buy at competitive prices. So no option, no bill of any reform at all.

    The piece d'resistance was the Stupak Amendment as the House Democrats had the stones to pass on this, and faux progressive Pelosi did nothing to stop this abominable attack on women's rights and equal protection.  Stupak went one better than the existing Hyde law.  What a comedy.

    We can all hear Obama taking credit for this bill until it becomes evident that we've been snookered. Then he'll blame the Republicans and anyone else for it's obvious failures. This all doesn't happen till 2013.

    I am beginning to believe that we are all stupid, and I include myself for believing the overhyped oratorical promises that we now see were strictly blue sky.


    Obama/Reagan (none / 0) (#32)
    by norris morris on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:58:38 PM EST
    What we're seeing is Obama morphing into Reagan.

    His admiration for Reagan on the campaign trail was clear. His delusions about bi-partisanship fit nicely with this.

    So as we see Bush's war extended instead of ended, we watch the irony of Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Afghanistan was right after 9/11.  Now? To fight and find 100 Taliban leaders is what we're spending men and treasure on?

    His lack of leadership on Healthcare by giving the lead to Pelosi and Reid who  could not keep the rank and file is another example of bi-partisanship? It was Obama's job to explain and sell the public option, but he took political cover instead.

    He sold us on change we can believe in.
    This has not happened.


    Ding! (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:34:24 PM EST
    He's been a bystander, for sure, which has the advantage of allowing him to lay blame for failures at the feet of others who are actually in the trenches; I know as sure as I'm sitting here that Obama will take none of the blame should this reform effort lay a big, fat, ol' stinking rotten egg.  No, it will be our fault for not wanting it badly enough to make him do it.

    Give the little lady a prize!


    Ours To Fight For? (none / 0) (#33)
    by norris morris on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:06:05 AM EST
    We will have to take some of the blame that unquestionably Obama will avoid, but fighting for the public option and a decent HC bill was overlooked by progressive think tanks and organizations who failed to mobilize the intense pressure that was needed. Democrats being spineless would have caved to this pressure out of fear. We did not practice activist progressive politics.

    We expected Obama and administration to come through as promised, so you see where this blind faith got us. Blind faith is not a good thing.

    We've been snookered, and political action would have made a huge difference..


    But the "any bill" postion ... (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:30:25 PM EST
    is dumb politics.  Obama, and others, seem to think this is like other legislation.  That the public will ignore the details and buy the message.

    But Health Care isn't like a crime bill.  It's not something that you can get away with via message alone.

    The flaws in this legislation will not just be noticed by a handful of wonks. The flaws will be apparent to almost every citizen. And the Democrats will be blamed for what it doesn't do, rather than heralded for what it does.

    Really? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:53:29 AM EST
    I'm surprised to see you fall into the "any bill" camp. I thought you would oppose a bill with mandates and no public option. I guess I was wrong on that account.

    I think (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:55:37 AM EST
    he means that is what he thinks the president is doing.  Not that is what he is doing.

    Okay. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:00:32 PM EST
    That makes sense. It's what I think too.

    Declaring victory and leaving... (none / 0) (#2)
    by coigue on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:53:48 AM EST
    is not leadership.

    Cutting and running? (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:55:32 AM EST
    The only difference is the spin (none / 0) (#5)
    by coigue on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:56:50 AM EST
    If medicare gets extended, however, that would at least be something.

    Actually it can be (none / 0) (#7)
    by brodie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:08:04 PM EST

    Vietnam, f'rinstance.

    Maybe ,... maybe on HCR.  If half or a third of a loaf is absotively the only thing we can get out of the current Congress, and if Obama and the Dems make a forceful case to the public that they will go back to beef it up after the midterm election, and would have gotten more, as happened historically with Medicare and CR, if only the Repubs hadn't been completely obstructionist.

    So far, Obama has played too nice too long with the post-partisanship fool's game.  He and the Dems may need to go out there and kick some Rethugs in the shorts ... maybe something akin to the sharp elbows he and his people threw at Hillary in the campaign ..


    Who would (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:17:21 PM EST
    believe them at this point? Again they would be saying well, you gave us majorities and we couldnt get it done but we will next time? who would be foolish enough to buy that? Well, I guess some would but...

    Probably because Obama (none / 0) (#15)
    by brodie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:24:22 PM EST
    for most of his presidency to this point has spent his time playing the post-partisan conciliator, he's failed to sufficiently make the public aware of how it's nearly impossible for one party in Congress, acting alone and with 100% loyalty needed, to get anything major done.  Instead, he spent those spring and summer months bizarrely praising and elevating unworthy obstructionists like Snowe and Grassley.  

    His mistake, and the resulting footdragging has been costly to meaningful HCR.

    He could own up to his own faults in execution, well-intended as they were, and then begin to educate the public about how historically (cite Medicare and CR from the 60s) it's taken two to tango, and that with a few more reform-minded Dems elected, we could finally achieve, etc etc.


    The (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:49:27 PM EST
    fact of the matter is that he has wasted any political capital that he had. SO he can beg for more like you're saying but I just dont see to many people buying it. The concillatory role is one that Obama has had for quite a while. I mean he voted "present" a lot when he didnt have to. Right now he's done. The country is turning against him. THe next quesiton? Can he turn it around? That remains to be seen.

    Well (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:11:09 PM EST
    you can throw a vase or you can drop a vase.  It's gonna break either way.

    And how could the Administration not realize that supporting co-ops and triggers late in the game would weaken the public option.

    But if that's Booman thinks...then he should change his sentence to:

    In any case, I find it absurd that anyone would seriously believe (or ask others to believe) that Obama has wanted to weaken the public option all along. In fact, I think he is just stupid.

    His silence has been important to getting anything (none / 0) (#9)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:13:59 PM EST
    THe moment he opens his mouth he constricts where the bill can go.  And gives people who want to attack it a stronger target.  

    That's a theory (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:16:38 PM EST
    It is actually a hypothesis (none / 0) (#24)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:40:00 PM EST
    But I believe it will be shown to be a strong theory when they pass healthcare with increased medicare eligibility with a trigger mechanism (after months and hunreds of millions of dollars spent against this effort).  Of course my theory will have some evidence for or against it, vs. the theory that if he would just would stand up for "something" we could get that strong public option passed will be just another bloggers opinion based opinions passed off as fact.    

    Do you really want to have a discussion (none / 0) (#25)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:42:28 PM EST
    about "evidence" in political strategy? As BTD said the other day somewhere, these things are almost impossible to falsify.

    That would not prove causation (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:47:39 PM EST
    Suppose I argued that when the health bill is passed it lacks x, y and z. But not a, b, and c.

    Could I then argue that this "proves" that if Obama had fought he could  have gotten a, b and c? Of course not.

    As andgarden say, politics is not falsifiable.


    Must. . .resist. . . (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    What's your definition of Leadership? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:49:07 PM EST

    When attacked, you defend. (none / 0) (#10)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:16:35 PM EST
    Silence comes with a consequence that is worse:

    [s]o far as health-care reform goes, the public option is fairly simple, and undeniably prominent [only 30% of Americans think they can explain it.] Imagine how many could explain the exchanges, or the mandate, or the benefit package ...

    Is that political practice (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 07:41:37 PM EST
    interesting as it is, applicable only for this bill?  Only for some bills?  Is it what we ought to expect -- and, apparently, approve of -- in the case of, say, a civil rights bill?

    Case by Case (none / 0) (#35)
    by Politalkix on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 01:21:23 AM EST
    In civil rights bill where the moral argument is universally acknowledged (eg: equal rights of women, minorities), the President should lead from the front.

    In "civil rights" bills involving cases where the moral argument is ambiguous (eg: rights of GITMO detainees, abortion issues), the President should let the judicial or legislative branch do its work independently (absolutely without interference).

    On bills relating to war and peace and our relations with the rest of the world, the President should lead from the front.

    On bills relating to issues like education reform (very important to me), health care reform, immigration reform, the President should provide broad guiding principles but let the legislative branch work out the details. Various parts of the country have different views of what is good or bad as far as reforms are concerned, a one-size-fits-all approach from the President will be counterproductive, it will not even lead to the "common good". The President should however remain   vigourously engaged behind the scenes, make sure that reform efforts move forward and create a conducive atmosphere for legislative deliberation.

    On bills relating to economic policy and trade issues with other countries, the President should lead from the front.



    So he should have led from the front (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 03:45:57 PM EST
    on health care, too.  We agree.

    Booman? Is that you? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:43:33 PM EST
    Seriously, that has to be the singularly most absurd thing I have read from someone-not-named-Booman.

    Funny how all Obama did was open his mouth for months and months and months to get this job, and now, you think keeping his mouth shut is a sign of his leadership skills?



    When things Booman cares about (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:08:51 PM EST
    wither and die on the vine due to lack of active Presidential promotion maybe he'll see that interpretation is not so "stupid".

    The Americablog post on the definition of (none / 0) (#23)
    by magster on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:15:36 PM EST
    "success" was very well stated and what has been the greatest failure of Obama/Emmanuel.

    Measured by Rahm, Obama will have gotten health care reform, a 2nd TARP, a stimulus package and climate change past the HOR. Sounds great until you look at the substance definition of "success".