Health Care Reform: It's On Obama

You'll read stories like this and blog posts like this bemoaning this or that Blue Dog House rep or weak kneed Democratic Senator, but this is all beside the point.

President Barack Obama has it in his hands to say what health care reform will look like. Who are these Democrats in Congress who will stand up against him? There are not enough of them to stop the legislation he wants regarding health care reform.

It's fun to decry the irrational fetish for bipartisanszhip and to name folks Wankers of the Day, but make no mistake - health care reform is on President Obama. He gets the blame or credit.

Speakng for me only

< Friday Morning Open Thread | No Bail for Ms. Hepatitis C >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Especially since (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CST on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:15:42 AM EST
    they are pushing it through without needing 60 votes.  He can get 50 solid democrats to support whatever he wants.

    No they aren't. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:27:58 AM EST
    The White House keeps insisting on avoiding reconcilliation because they want to be bipartisan.  But I am not sure that they do have even 50 in the Senate at the moment.  Regardless, the White House should have set forth basic principles of what this bill should have looked like a long time ago before any Democrats went on the record.  That way Obama would have avoided having to publicly shoot down a Dem Member of either chamber - and the only ones he would have had to fight would have no way of blaming him for being disagreeable.

    Now he is behind the eight ball trying not to "hurt people's feelings" while at the same time trying not to anger 70-76% of the population.  I think they underestimated public sentiment BIG TIME here.  I think they thought they could get away with passing some piece of legislation that felt "reformy" in spirit, but didn't ruffle industry's interests much at all.  I don't know that their hearts were ever really in or up to the task of real healthcare reform, but interestingly they are now in a position where if they don't do it right, they could really be in trouble.


    I think this is wrong (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:31:15 AM EST
    They always knew what they were up against with healthcare, it's just that their strategy for implementing a plan hasn't been perfect.

    But national healthcare is in many ways a white elephant for Democrats, so I don't blame them for not knowing exactly how to get there. Frankly, they seem closer than I would have predicted.


    They did not have a strategy. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:47:50 AM EST
    They demured.  The CV was that Clinton lost his battle because he sent a proposal to the Hill and so they decided not to send any proposals.  It was like they thought they had to be "all in" or "all out" and they chose "all out".

    And I don't think it is wrong to think that the White House underestimated the public at all.  In fact, I am quite sure that they did because before that succession of polls came out with overwhelming support for the public option, the White House was doing everything they could to tamp down that and of course completely eliminate single payer from the debate.  Within days they were forced to send Obama out to say he favored a public option so that he didn't look like he was totally out of touch with the public.  Frankly, I think they're blowing in the wind and I don't think that they really understood how important and how much impact this bill was going to have on them - they've got too many people from the Clinton Administration around advising them as if it is 1994.  

    Times have changed dramatically since then.  Public awareness of this problem had intensified exponentially and business interest in seeing dramatic reform has emerged where there was none 15 years ago.  They keep talking about keeping it "cheap", when they should be talking about the importance and value of the investment.  That alone shows how out of touch they are.  Imagine what could have been even for GM if we had passed sigle payer right at the start of the legislative session.  Would we have had to give them so much money to stay afloat?  Likely not.  I don't think that they really see the value - economic, social and practical - in changing this downward spiral.  I just don't think that they really see that and therefore sure that makes it hard for them to figure out how to get it done - but that's not an excuse.


    You are generous (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:35:09 AM EST
    You always have been more generous than I am :)  That's probably a good thing.  Since access to good healthcare plays such an important role in equality and fights discrimination and social inequality I don't understand how it can be a white elephant for democrats.

    Poor word choice on my part (none / 0) (#17)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:40:09 AM EST
    I should have written "white whale."

    Now you have to explain a white whale to (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:44:01 AM EST
    me because I don't know what it is :)

    heh (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:46:32 AM EST
    Think Moby Dick

    By Bowers count (none / 0) (#10)
    by magster on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:31:17 AM EST
    there are 40 votes in the Senate on the record in favor of some form of public option.

    How many state that (none / 0) (#15)
    by dk on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:38:47 AM EST
    they would vote against any plan in which adult employed people are not allowed to buy into the public option?

    Here's the link (none / 0) (#24)
    by magster on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:46:34 AM EST

    I don't believe Bowers has tracked the question from your point of view (ie voting against a cr*p bill) but only from a "what do you support?" angle.


    If Democrats can separate cloture votes (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:26:58 AM EST
    from substantive votes, they can probably pass the entire Democratic agenda this Congress.

    IF. . .


    Hmm (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:34:52 PM EST
    Are we sure we actually know the Democratic agenda?

    Obama, the leader of the party, doesn't seem to want to articulate an unmistakeable, specific agenda.


    Why hasn't Obama articulated a clear, (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:40:45 PM EST
    consistent, coherent policy on ANYTHING?  Simple, he's gaslighting:

    One psychological definition of gaslighting is "frequently and systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim - having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception."

    The term is used in a political sense to describe the deception of electors by political parties.

    There is a detailed Dem agenda (5.00 / 4) (#67)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:09:47 PM EST
    and it's called the party platform.  The problem is that the party (read: Donna Brazille's committee) picked a "leader" who does not agree with its platform.  Now, that is not unheard of, but never to the level of this "leader" -- and never so blatantly.

    After all, this party "leader" had the party convention lead off with (a) an invocation, in the first place (mixing religion and politics), given by a minister who (b) used the invocation, at the very opening of the convention, to denounce and oppose one of the planks in the platform (surprise, women's reproductive rights).

    If Dems ever wake up to what this means, it could lead to . . . what, "clingocrats"? like the Dixiecrats who left the party for the GOP.


    Also, the platform was made into pablum (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Pacific John on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 07:31:33 PM EST
    ... by the Obama majority. The HRC people on the committee, some of whom are friends, were stiff-armed. The one thing our people wanted was clear language that the public insurance leg of Hillary's plan - something that should be uncontroversial - be in the platform, but were steamrolled. Anyone who has read the platform knows that it's soft, flowery, and anything but a clear vision of what most Democrats believe. Somewhere in the process, at least one member of the platform committee became so disgusted, she endorsed McCain.

    The Obama majority also steamrolled proposals to protect caucus state voters with the same protections as voters in primary states where elections are run according to laws and fake or stolen votes are punishable by law.

    If you are uneasy about what Obama does in public, you'd lose your lunch at what he and his lawyers do in private. Seriously. Too bad the press coddles BHO like they did GWB.

    This does not help the country or the party.


    Thank you (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 04:32:57 AM EST
    for unsettling me more -- aware as I am of many platform planks that Obama and his ilk oppose, but I was keeping my comment brief.  

    I have heard from delegates to the convention how disgusted they were with the proceedings there, as disgusted as I was watching (on CSpan online) the meetings and machinations of Brazille's committee even before the appalling May 31 meeting last year.  But your report of the undermining of the all-important platform committee adds to dismay.

    And I closely followed the illegalities of the caucuses, starting with Iowa nearby me -- where I knew personally of illegal participants boasting about heading there, so I collected local media coverage and comments then and through every caucus state as the appalling campaign went on. It was Chicago politics on a national scale, and I can't see how the party -- or the country -- can recover from it anytime soon.

    It's not my mother's Dem Party anymore.  So it doesn't have me anymore, either -- after decades and decades of volunteering, donating, etc.  If you still have the ability to stick it out, bless you.  But I'm happily an Independent now . . . and it's surprisingly, amazingly liberating.


    Please educate us/me. Thanks. (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:17:19 PM EST
    Very simple (none / 0) (#44)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:28:27 PM EST
    When you vote for cloture, you vote to have a vote.

    But is it realistic to expect those opposed (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:33:59 PM EST
    to a bill to vote for a vote on it?  

    It has been done before (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:39:15 PM EST
    though I don't understand why.  There couldn't possibly be deals involved or party leaders yanking you into the cloakroom for a little face time :)

    It depends on why they're "opposed" (none / 0) (#52)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:40:43 PM EST
    If it's just because they think it's electorally dangerous to be for a particular bill, they might still be convinced to vote for cloture. If they're really opposed to it, they probably won't.

    They're opposed to it because it's a bad (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:51:45 PM EST
    idea and the majority of Americans want the health care they have but are only abstractly worried about the overall system.   The reason they like their current plan is becasue it works and becuase it provided great care compared to the rest of the world.

    The problem they need to be solving is the access to affordable care for all americans.   This is a problem and should be solved but it does not require throwing away our whole system in order to placate a minority that think it will actually work.

    The analogy is going into surgery when all that's required is a pill.

    The 20million or so who actually lack coverage (those in the 47 million who are illegal and/or choose not to be covered shouldn't be our concern) should ahve a way to get something.  

    This should be publicly funded private insurance or co-ops.    

    The government is already to involved in healthcare and simply cannot afford to get more invovled.   Those who suggest long term savings are dreaming and seriously ill informed.

    BTD is right about one thing.   This is huge for Obama and it will determine the legacy of his first if not only term.


    Doesn't the relative health of all depend (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:54:31 PM EST
    to some extent on the health of the uninsured, whether legally in the U.S. or not?

    Sure but how do you make (none / 0) (#60)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:37:19 PM EST
    someone have health insurance?

    That is the unanswered question and making all of us give us private insurance because a minority choose to not have it or are illegal aliens makes no sense if you think that your current plan is good, affordable and you like your set of doctors.

    Most Americans agree (myself included) that something should be done.   What that something is shows the partisan leanings.

    Gov't shoudl encourage competition, access to insurance but it should stay out of teh insurance game becaus it's already proving that it's terrible at it.

    Why doens't anyone ever mention Medicaid when they talk single payer?


    The biggest problems with the current (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by my opinion on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 04:04:52 PM EST
    system in our country to access health care, are the following:
    1)We pay at least twice as much as other countries for similar or worse health care.
    2)The current system is immoral since profits are made on the pain and suffering of our citizens.

    By the way who is making you give up your private insurance? You can have many forms of health care for all and still allow people to get what ever additional insurance they want.


    The link is to an article about (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 04:35:26 PM EST
    the problems w/Medicare, not Medicaid. In my limited, recent experience, Medicare does subsidize preventative care.  

    How about they fix Medicare and Medicaid first? (none / 0) (#79)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 02:16:46 AM EST
    I'd love to see those too working better and cheaper as an example of how Obama's plan might work.  But with Medicare and Medicaid eating up so much budget, and so many doctors refusing to even take them, it doesn't bode well for Obama's plan.  Make those two shinning examples of how his health care plan might work and he might get a lot more support on the Hill.  As it stands now, he'll never get his plan through the Senate.  

    Medicaid is administered at the state level, (none / 0) (#68)
    by allimom99 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:23:56 PM EST
    so it really works like 50 separate single-payer systems. Actually insurance regulation is left to the states, which is an issue I haven't heard anyone address in the discussion. different states have different coverage requirements. How to square this with a single public option may be a challenge.

    the enabling legislation will have to address the disparities among the states. Under Medicare, it is simpler, as all the reproductive services aren't an issue for that cohort, as they would be for the general population.


    On unanswered question is: (none / 0) (#95)
    by sj on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 04:53:27 PM EST
    What if you don't like your current plan?  I've had a few jobs and some of the plans sound good -- until you use them.  Especially if you have a family.

    Whatever (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by andgarden on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:54:37 PM EST
    Why do I get the feeling (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:21:58 AM EST
    that an email discussion is involved here :)?  Other than that, I don't want to appear more naive than I am.  If Obama wanted a public option, there would be one!  If he wanted a good one, we would have a good one!

    And what I think this stall is about (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:29:49 AM EST
    is Obama considering that he must save the insurance industry in order to save healthcare.  Sort of like how he had to save Wall Street in order to save the economy. And now unemployment is how many percent and everyone is how poor?  And Goldman Sachs is posting larger corporate profits in 2009 than they did in 2008?  Well, at least Goldman Sachs didn't lay anyone off.  Just the entire rest of the world.  And Wall Street will milk the rest of the actual wealth out of everything as Wall Street takes a big flush because guess what everyone?  The masses will not invest in something that is little better than rigged gambling.  But what do I know?

    I am at the point where I think (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:31:52 AM EST
    I might be relieved if they do not pass anything.  I am getting nervous that the private insurers have far too much power; and such power that this Congress could actually deliver a bill that would make the situation worse than it already is for everyone except the private insurers of course.

    What they delivered to Wall Street (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:39:02 AM EST
    made things worse and will enable further erosion of our wealth.  I don't care what some economist write about the free fall being over.....we won't be getting better and as everyone's resource stashes dry up things will get worse.  Is that a free fall you can show on charts?  Not until we come up with human suffering charts.  I think they will do the same thing with this.  The lives and health of our population will not improve and the insurance industry will milk whatever remaining public health they can out of us all because that's what pays.....healthy people.

    It isn't just about human suffering which (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:54:55 AM EST
    is the MOST frustrating part of this debacle to me.  The reality is that healthcare is bankrupting this country already and if your ONLY consideration in life is how to make the most money possible - bankrupting your customers is NOT the way to do that.  If we want to be "rich" again, they have to deal with this problem.  If they want to stabilize the economy they must stablize the healthcare issue for all Americans.  It is ridiculous to think that we could be a more productive and richer nation by allowing our general population to fall into poverty as a result of a heart attack or a cancer that could have been avoided with basic cheap preventative healthcare on demand.  The human suffering model is bad and so is the economic model.  The whole thing is a mess, a waste and will drive us further and further into the depths if someone doesn't step up and turn it around.

    We don't need to argue (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:18:01 PM EST
    human suffering verses wealth when so many other industrialized nations have already done that for us and now have successfully employed the solutions.  To ignore the human suffering that the lack of solutions has brought about and will to continue to bring about is in my opinion negligent.

    I agree with you, but the point (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:23:54 PM EST
    I am trying to make is that this is one of the rare times in life where preventing human suffering really does add up to better profits overall and I find it frustrating that those who have no sympathy or empathy can't even see the economic value.

    If you can bring down monthly health insurance payments from $1,000 to like $250 or even $500 - that's incredible stimulus for the economy.  If you have someone who is working rather than at home on government assistance because they had a heart attack that could of been prevented that's real savings - and a contribution to the economy rather than a drag on it.


    absolutely (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:25:36 PM EST
    President Obama told G 8 (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:01:02 PM EST
    dealing with Congress is way harder than dealing with the G 8. The Hill

    Big surprise. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:24:36 PM EST
    Negotiating with eight people as opposed to 535 is generally easier.

    Eight people who can never take (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:33:04 PM EST
    your place verses 535 who hope to :)

    be a leader, for heaven's sake (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Dadler on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:41:48 AM EST
    Don't be a mediator, or a liason, or a consultant...BE...A...FRIGGIN'...LEADER!!

    Hello?  Are these on?


    Obama's the kind of president who (5.00 / 11) (#36)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:18:34 PM EST
    makes me think I need a new dictionary, because words and phrases I always thought I knew the meaning of - leadership, transparency, accountability, change, fighting for principle, drawing a line - apparently mean something else now.

    See, I think leadership is about defining a position, developing a policy, setting goals and then selling the whole package, bringing people to your side, working to make it happen, knowing what your relative power is among those who will ultimately craft the legislation, and keeping up the pressure and holding true to the position for as long as possible without negotiating away the important parts that defined the goals to begin with.

    That is not Barack Obama.  Not just because he concedes before anyone raises an objection, and not just because he says one thing and then something else, and never draws any lines.  I just don't see a commitment to the real work that presidents can and should undertake to get things done.

    Reforming the way this country delivers and pays for health care is not a task that anyone should take on who does not thoroughly and completely know and understand it, and does not have a clear vision of what it should look like and how it will be accomplished, and who is then not willing to draw lines and go to the mat over the essential elements, and twist arms and commit to, heart and soul.

    It's not that it can't be done - it's more that it requires  a level of commitment and leadership that I just don't think is there.  Combine that with what I think is very ineffective leadership in Congress, and you have exactly what you see: a fractured Democratic caucus, some of whose members are drawing lines in the sand over abortion in any public plan, an emphasis on protecting the insurance industry which has led to the focus being on making sure we all have insurance policies, even if no one knows what they will cost, what they will cover, and if there will be a public plan that does not become a dumping ground for the poor and the sick.

    Yeah - he'll own health care, just like he also owns Gitmo and warrantless wiretapping and state secrets and the refusal to keep his word on DADT, and the Pentacostals and anti-choice and pro-torture and war criminal-types he's put in positions where they can affect policy, and just like he owns his refusal to hold anyone accountable for the travesties of the last eight years - but the crappy part is that while he may own it, we all have to live with the consequences of that ownership, and that does not fill me with transcendent joy and happiness or make me at all optimistic about the future.

    You are sooooo not an "Obamabot." (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:20:42 PM EST

    Yeh, Obama will own health care (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:02:24 PM EST
    as it comes out in this country the way that automakers own our cars.

    No, no, Anne (5.00 / 0) (#73)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 08:45:41 PM EST
    Yeah - he'll own health care, just like he also owns Gitmo and warrantless wiretapping and state secrets and the refusal to keep his word on DADT, and the Pentacostals and anti-choice and pro-torture and war criminal-types he's put in positions where they can affect policy, and just like he owns his refusal to hold anyone accountable for the travesties of the last eight years - but the crappy part is that while he may own it, we all have to live with the consequences of that ownership, and that does not fill me with transcendent joy and happiness or make me at all optimistic about the future.

    Those are all the things he "inherited" and will continue to neglect because his feet are fireproof.


    Ain't gonna happen (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by SOS on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:34:29 PM EST
    People are already starting to take the matter into their own hands because it's obvious Obama is bought and paid for.


    Great! (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:40:42 PM EST
    What an interesting idea - have doctors be able to see and care for patients instead of dealing with insurance companies!  What a novel idea that the doctor would spend more than 30 seconds with a patient after that patient probably waited a half hour to an hour past their appointment time (after taking time off work).

    I would support a clinic like this if it were near me.


    I'm grateful (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:04:59 PM EST
    for such ventures that end up throwing down the bull$hit cards on the insurance industry's created dilemmas and scary stories.  Doctors can actually make a fair living without having to stack up patients like jets over Newark too :)  I loved also the physician who said that unlimited access isn't going to be abused because he doesn't know anyone who gets their pleasures from seeing doctors.  Me either, but I suppose because of the war on drugs I do know people who try to get doctors to write things on pads that lead to pleasures :)

    There is one (none / 0) (#54)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:53:51 PM EST
    that is if you live near a WalMart.

    I don't think this is the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:08:42 PM EST
    The clinic in the article offers unlimited services for monthly premiums. Customers pay $99 to join, then a flat monthly rate of $39 to $119, depending on age and level of service. Patients can quit without notice and no one is rejected for pre-existing conditions.

    Doctors in the Seattle area have been (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 09:05:18 PM EST
    trying numerous things. One group of physicians has run radio and internet ads requesting their patients who are covered by Premera Blue Cross to encourage their employers to change insurance companies to one that is more physician friendly.  

    Other doctors around here have switched to cash only ($50 per visit) and refuse to take any insurance. They are boasting a huge increase in their profits. That's actually cheaper for the patients than the $99 membership plus monthly fee for unlimited.

    I work with someone whose husband is a PA. He started at a private hospital where they got paid a portion of what was billed for the people they saw, and they had to cross-sell services using only their affiliated doctors for referrals and getting unnecessary tests done. Now he works for a substantial salary at Group Health Cooperative. His opinion is that the stress level is completely eliminated for the doctors, they work steady hours, and life all around is better. I'm positive there are plenty of doctors in private practice who would prefer to believe that isn't possible, though.


    What? Obama has to take (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by mg7505 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 04:56:24 PM EST
    responsibility? You mean we might actually have to criticize him? I thought he was post-criticism! We're only supposed to criticize Hillary!

    Exactly, (none / 0) (#88)
    by JThomas on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 11:34:01 AM EST
    You are right. Obama never gets criticized on this blog. They treat him like a God on here.
    I have never seen a discouraging word about the President or first lady on here. What's the deal?

    Meaningful heath care reform? (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:43:40 PM EST
    Not. gonna. happen. IMO. Of course, I'll be glad to be proven wrong.

    Of course you (none / 0) (#87)
    by JThomas on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 11:31:43 AM EST
    will, I will await the accolades to the President when it gets done...long wait,I am sure.

    Do you (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 07:04:45 PM EST
    really think Obama's going to do when he's shown no inclination so far? Or are you being facetious?

    Obama isn't going to do anything. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by lentinel on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:48:36 PM EST
    As we all know, in 2003 Obama said that he was for single payer and that the only thing standing in the way of getting it was that we needed Democratic control of the House and Senate.

    OK. Done.
    Now what?
    Obama is talking to the Pope.

    The drug companies and the insurance industry own everything and everybody in Washington.

    Obama talked to the Pope and promised to (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 09:10:59 PM EST
    try to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S.  link

    On second thought, (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 09:27:27 PM EST
    why is Obama meeting with the Pope, and promising him that he will set policy the Catholic church will be happy with?

    And why did Michelle Obama wear a veil? (none / 0) (#78)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 09:53:50 PM EST
    Strange.  Actually it looks like a mantilla in the photo.

    Maybe it's deliberately harking back to Jackie O (none / 0) (#81)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 04:28:18 AM EST
    Anybody else think of that when they saw the MO photo?

    Because (none / 0) (#85)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 11:10:23 AM EST
    In the mid-1800's Queen Isabel II of Spain encouraged women of her court to wear a black lace mantilla. After her death, the custom subsided except during Holy Week (the week leading to Easter) bullfights and weddings (a black mantilla would be worn by the bride's mother and possibly some other women). Also a black mantilla is traditionally worn when a woman, has an audience with the Pope.



    Per Wiki: (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 12:26:07 PM EST
    Irish presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, Soviet Union First Lady Raisa Gorbachev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all met popes without wearing mantillas.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#92)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 01:06:22 PM EST
    Not sure of what your point is, unless you think Michelle just happened to wear a mantilla by chance without any knowledge of its history.

    IOW you asked why, and this seemed, imo, the most obvious reason Michelle wore it even though the tradition is archaic.


    Seems more "liberated" not to wear it. (none / 0) (#93)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 01:12:17 PM EST
    Her choice though.

    Oh (none / 0) (#94)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 01:15:05 PM EST
    Now I see where you are going with this. Fine.

    My take is that she was riffing on fashion. More PoMo than reactionary, imo, as you would have it.


    That's an okay goal (none / 0) (#76)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 09:25:45 PM EST
    to try to reduce the need for abortions. Of course, that means he will need to force the insurance companies to start covering the costs of birth control the way they do ED medications, and that's just a reasonable start.

    I saw an item on either CNN or (none / 0) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:17:51 AM EST
    MSNBC this morning that said something along the lines of, "Senate Dems backing off passing healthcare reform by August".

    I think the White House seems pretty ineffective in their handling of this debate.  Of course, apparently they were all so afraid of Clinton's failure that they have taken an almost completely hands off approach to managing the legislative process that they shouldn't be surprised at the train wreck that it has become.  

    The messaging has been all over the place and the principles and objectives behind the initiative have become obscured to the point where the disorganization is obvious.  Worst is the fact that most of the games are being played by Democrats making the Republicans' job of obstruction far easier.

    For people who touted "process" as their strong suit, they sure don't appear to be doing a very good job of managing this one at all.

    After August (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:49:47 AM EST
    That could be a good thing.  

    Washington is off in August.  Maybe some of the jittery Senators/Reps will get an idea of where they're constituents are at during the recess.

    Rushing to get something passed at this time would seem to favor the people they've heard from the most, the health insurance industry.

    On the other hand listening to constituents seems to finish dead last with many of these people.

    And Obama. We've pretty much seen his concept of "leadership" and it appears that only some sort of epiphany ... don't hold your breath.


    I am going to continue to set up (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:02:53 PM EST
    high expectations for Obama regardless of my level of faith in him.  I kind of don't care about what he calls "reality" and I what I call "timidity".  He needs to get over it and start aiming high because that's the only way to get something half decent done in DC.

    Count me in! (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:29:13 PM EST
    I'm so over the soft bigotry of low expectations just because Obama has grade school behind him :)

    Mostly agree (none / 0) (#6)
    by magster on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:29:47 AM EST
    but the progressives in the House and the Senate do need to stand up and be counted (like they appear to have been earlier this week).  Obama, so far, has been unwilling or unable to fight the Blue Dogs, so someone else has to.

    Obama does not have to fight (5.00 / 8) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:30:47 AM EST
    the blue dogs.  Obama does not need anyone to stand up.  Obama needs Obama to stand up.

    I did not mean progressives should fight .... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by magster on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:37:35 AM EST
    the Blue Dogs for Obama's sake, I meant fighting the Blue Dogs for our sake because Obama is unwilling or unable to do it himself.

    Rahm "the enforcer" showed earlier this week that he's on the wrong side of this debate.  I don't see Obama twisting arms too hard until whatever version makes it to the floor comes up for a vote.


    I think Obama is unwilling to fight the blue dogs (5.00 / 8) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:42:01 AM EST
    because he agrees with them on many aspects.  Because he agrees with them, the blue dogs have political clout.  

    Bingo. (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by dk on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    Has Obama ever stated that he will veto any public option that does not allow healthy employed adults the right to buy in?  

    Stand up? (none / 0) (#71)
    by lentinel on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:53:36 PM EST
    Obama would rather lie down.

    To me (none / 0) (#12)
    by AlkalineDave on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:32:12 AM EST
    it seems less and less as biparitanship and more deferring to Congress.  He needs to stand up to Congress (all sides) way more.  They took a workable piece of legislation ( Cap and Trade) and made it into a pet party give away monstrosity that accomplishes very little.  Sorry, but he's gonna have to piss of some congressmen in the future if he wants to have substantive policy passed.

    Obama's take today (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:45:40 AM EST
    "It's going to be hard."

    Ok, he said more than that, but he still thinks they'll get it donw by August recess, which is in, like, three weeks or so.  Riiggghhhtt.

    this is obviously his legacy (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:48:39 AM EST
    Nicely done BTD. If I am correct in this being his legacy, anything more than 50 votes is immaterial.  I still do not understand the long term fiscal implications but from what I read (mostly liberal) they are all positive.  If that is indeed the case, how could he give a rats arse about blue dogs?  Every american covered and a more fiscally sensible program will secure him at worst a ranking in the middle of the pack and more likely in the upper 25%.  So what am I missing?

    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 01:07:47 PM EST
    how about that Obama's idea of the Presidency is at odds with our most successful Presidents, those that achieved positive, effective reform.

    I don't believe there is any puzzle regarding his relationship to blue dogs.  It's Obama's idea that there is only process, policy is simply to be manipulated to serve his concept of process.

    And I'm not so sure that he doesn't personally share at least some of his belief system with blue dogs.


    The healthcare debate (none / 0) (#27)
    by lilburro on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:49:02 AM EST
    has simply lost focus.  During the primary the debate was rigorous - Hillary in particular took the idea of a mandate and rammed it into the public consciousness.  By the end of the election the idea of a healthcare mandate was acceptable.  Maybe not to everyone, but certainly politically viable.

    But Obama has taken the tack of discussing cost and budget and whatever with this reform.  IMO, he should go back to what was discussed in the campaign.  Talk about mandates, talk about why this will work.  Talk about what we're familiar with.  I'm sick of all this running around in circles when it SEEMED like the Democratic Party was fairly united in support of mandated health insurance with a public option included.  

    It was clear (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:19:16 PM EST
    from the start of the administration when Obama had that silly entitlement conference that the health care insurance debate was going to degenerate into what we've seen.

    But Obama was against Hillary's plan (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:19:46 PM EST
    and Sen. Kerry (D-Mass) sd. it was DOA.

    I was reading this (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by lilburro on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:25:46 PM EST
    from Prospect earlier, about "the public option":

    In the presidential primaries, all three top Democratic candidates -- Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards -- featured in their health care plans something that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, a public option. The public option is a government health insurance program akin to Medicare, which would be open to anyone. Credit should go to Edwards, who not only was the first of the three to propose it, but who said that if so many people chose the public option that over time it evolved into a single-payer system, that would be fine with him. That kind of talk used to come only from candidates with no chance of winning.

    Although the public option wasn't the topic of a great deal of discussion during the campaign, for many progressives it amounts to a beautiful jewel hidden amidst a pile of compromise and disappointment. Ask average progressives what they think ought to be done about health care, and many will reply, "Well, a single-payer system would obviously be the best thing. But since that's politically impossible..." At the end of 2008, some things seem a little more possible than they used to.

    "Wasn't the topic of a great deal of discussion during the campaign."

    Why would you choose to emphasize something you didn't even talk about - when for over a year - and more like two years - half of the debate WAS about healthcare?

    Why push that to the fore?


    To be honest (none / 0) (#29)
    by CST on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:51:38 AM EST
    With regard to healthcare I am still in the "benefit of the doubt" category.  As in, I will withhold too much bashing till I see what's what.  So far all we have heard is rumors, some good, some bad.  I am willing to wait and see.  Still feeling optimistic about the end result.  I could frankly care less if it happens in August or October so long as it happens relatively soon and is a good packeage.  Then again, that's easy for me to say since I have healthcare.

    Why would (none / 0) (#86)
    by JThomas on Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 11:26:54 AM EST
    you bother to wait until the process is done to start ripping on the President? Clearly,the rest of the folks on here love to get their licks in early and often.

    BTD sets up Obama on a tee to let the HRC supporters knock him around. What nu?
    Clearly, HRC was the expert in healthcare based on this thread and knew exactly how to get healthcare reform passed,right?

    Silly me, will wait until the dust has settled before I start hammering the democrat in the white house,unlike these other ''democrats'' on here...oh yea, guess they are now independents looking for a Palin bailout now. Talkleft? right.


    House delays bill (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 12:15:22 PM EST
    Guess Obama's timeline is shot.


    House Democrats will not unveil their full healthcare reform package on Friday nor begin committee work on the bill next week as planned, the latest sign that President Obama's signature domestic initiative is in trouble.

    The delay caps off a rocky week for Democrats and puts Obama's goal of having both chambers pass a bill by the August recess increasingly at risk.


    Senate Democrats are no closer to floor action than their House counterparts.

    Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Democrats decided against continuing its highly partisan three-week-long markup Friday and will pick up again Monday with numerous highly contentious matters still on the docket, including a proposal to speed the availability of generic versions of complex biological drugs

    Daschle keynotes NACDS August (none / 0) (#63)
    by oldpro on Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 04:34:03 PM EST
    conference.  Maybe we'll get a hint then, for surely Daschle knows what Obama is now 'thinking' about healthcare.  Is the Dole-Daschle team still in the game or are they now only alsorans and wannabes?  Behind the scenes often pays as well (or better) than out in the limelight.

    Time to step up Mr. President (none / 0) (#90)
    by chinaz on Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 12:07:31 PM EST
    Max Baucus will torpedo your signature issue if you do not step up and lead the way Mr. President. How can a  Democratic senate committee chair submit a bill without a strong public insurance option? It does not make sense that your point man is not even on the same page with you and the health care reform plan. And then there are all the other Democrats more concerned with preserving a predatory insurance market than helping their constituents. Traitors one and all. If you all don't do this correctly the country and your supporters will know you have not been able to overcome the corruption which permeates and overwhelms the peoples interests in Washington DC. Don't do this well and Democrats will probably have a very short majority run.