Can Obama "Fail" Like FDR and LBJ? Please?

After "insulting" seniors below, now I take a shot at the younger generation - in this case Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein, who come to pre-excuse a potential political failure by the Obama Administration on health care. Yglesias cites Klein:

I donít know how many times a president has to fail to solve this problem before we admit that itís not a matter of presidential messaging, or toughness, or will, or strategy. FDR, Truman, Nixon, Carter and Clinton all took runs at this prize. All of them failed.

This is ridiculous. 2008 is not 1994. Or 1976. And so on. And to say FDR "failed" or LBJ "failed" on health care reform is beyond ridiculous. Hell, if Obama can achieve "the failure" LBJ did, how exciting would that be?

Here's a question though, why are Yglesias and Klein intent on excusing a potential Obama failure on health care reform? What do they know that we do not? We know Klein is an Obama Administration apologist and pet (I'm sorry if that offends, but that is simply what the evidence demonstrates.) Is the inside word that health care reform is gonna fail? And if so, do Rahmbo and Axelrod really think that whispering this nonsense into the ear of young Klein is gonna ameliorate the resulting political debacle? Really?

Speaking for me only

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    This is also funny (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:02:30 PM EST
    from Ezra's post:

    But either way, even the best of the bills on the table would simply be a partial fix for our coverage problem, not a root-and-branch reform of our wildly inefficient, fiscally destructive health-care system. Obama made those compromises because, on the one hand, the public is afraid of change, and on the other hand, the Congress is stocked with folks who will scare them further and do their best to block needed reforms, and on the third hand -- government is many-handed beast -- industry has a lot of money and a lot of clout.[emphasis supplied]

    1.  "Change We Can Believe In."
    2.  Best speaker of all time!!@!!!  Makes people believe in hope change etc!!!
    3.  "No more special interests!"  "I take no money from lobbyists!"

    People act like Obama ran on an entirely different platform than he actually did.  Or that he didn't win an election.

    Ezra Klein said ... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:06:46 PM EST
    Obama's words ...

    enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.

    But not, it seems, over health care reform.


    Good grief! (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:32:24 PM EST
    Was he talking about a politician or an orgasm??

    Too funny (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:40:50 PM EST
    Well, Klein's quite young ... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:48:51 PM EST
    maybe he experienced the former before the latter.



    I just (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:36:17 PM EST
    threw up a little in my mouth

    heh (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:40:54 PM EST

    Over the top (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Coral on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:39:42 PM EST
    Did he really say that? Sounds like hagiography to me.

    What the? (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:42:08 PM EST
    what is that?

    "what is....is" n/t (none / 0) (#47)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:55:39 PM EST
    No, (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:03:19 PM EST
    His desire to be part of the crowd is a personality flaw that won't go away or be solved.  

    "He has the capacity to do great things" (none / 0) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:15:10 PM EST
    During my corporate years, the most important thing I told my senior staff was this: "You are in this position because you have some outstanding qualities. However, you are not a "10" in everything. You must examine yourself, isolate those traits that you suck at, and hire people who are a "10" in those traits."

    To quote one of the great executives of all time, Al Capone: During a news conference, one of the reporters said to Mr. Capone, "hey Al, we know you're very successful, but it's sort of obvious that you're....er....uh....kinda not, well, really not too smart."

    Big All just laughed, and said, "look around me, see these guys?: Harvard, Princeton, Yale; I don't gotta be smart, I got money, and I can buy all the brains I need.....Next?"

    Obama should realize that about himself, look who he's surrounded himself with, and maybe make some "attitudinal adjustments."


    My representative is Jim McDermott (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:06:03 PM EST
    one of the most faithful, dedicated health care reform/single payer advocates in the Congress. I contacted his office because the tenor of the debate, and Obama, have really begun to worry me. I had one question -- how confident is he (McDermott) that we will be able to pass really meaningful reform?

    His answer was that he is very confident. There's a big battle going on, but he believes that the votes are there for genuine reform, with a public option, that will move the issue significantly forward.  

    I hope he is right. For now, I'm going to assume he has a better perspective on this than the (conflict chasing & inciting) media.

    I don't know about that (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by moderateman on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:20:38 PM EST
    What's he going to tell you?  That there isn't going to be a meaningful reform passed?  That anything that would pass would be essentially meaningless and cosmetic?  He's a politician and they get elected by telling people what they want to hear.

    I want good reform or nothing.  Maybe 10 more years of rising health care costs will force people to finally act.


    I don't know if McDermott is correct (none / 0) (#38)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:56:07 PM EST
    in his assessment (in terms of the ultimate passage of reform), but I am convinced from his record that he is sincere in his committment to legitimate and effective reform. I do tend to trust his assessment of current proposals more than I would trust that of many others -- including many other Democrats and most members of the media.

    Only time will tell if he is right.


    I don't doubt his sincerity (none / 0) (#42)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:22:20 PM EST
    I just wonder if his assessment is based solely on what he expects to happen in the House without considering what will happen in the Senate.

    McDermott is high credibility (none / 0) (#7)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:33:36 PM EST
    A physician, Rep. McDermott is especially interested in health care issues. While in the state legislature, he developed the Washington Basic Health Plan, the first state program in the country to provide low-cost health insurance to the unemployed and working poor.  In the Congress, he is especially active in health care reform issues.  He founded and chairs the Congressional Task Force on International HIV/AIDS, and introduced the AIDS Housing Opportunities Act, for special housing assistance for people with AIDS.  Rep. McDermott, the co-author of Single Payer health care legislation, is leading the fight in the House of Representatives to guarantee all Americans comprehensive health care coverage.

    From his bio.

    The greater Seattle area has some really terrific representation in several of our Democratic congressional Representatives and a Senator.


    I don't know, BTD..... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:14:58 PM EST
    Unlike you, I'm not very good at interpreting polls. Do you have any information as to whether Obama's speaking out on the health care issue helps, or hurts?

    Every time I see him at one of these forums, my heart sinks. He's just not very good at dispensing with all the "noise" and bringing the key issues out in a clear, focused, and believable way.

    He sounds slippery, like that guy from SNL years ago, "o.k, o.k, lemme put it another way....." He's trying too hard to be cute; and that smiley condescending smirk on his face doesn't help either.

    It's like he doesn't really want to be here; he's rather be outside playing baseball, but his mother made him come inside and do his homework.

    his attitude and approach (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:24:12 PM EST
    to this whole thing is a mystery to me.  for a while I thought perhaps he knew he was going to get something reasonable passed so he was not taking the blow back seriously for that reason.

    but its looking more and more like he is not taking any of it seriously.  period.

    its maddening.  IMO.


    If being a successful President is Obama's goal (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:31:33 PM EST
    he must insist that a robust public option be in the bill and threaten to veto anything that lacks such an option.  Without it the bill can neither rein in insurance costs nor improve service from insurers.  Without reining in these costs the federal deficit/national debt cannot be brought under control.  If all we get is some ineffective public option and mandatory isnurance requirements, costs and the deficit will increase due to government payment of ever increasing premiums for the less fortunate.

    A lackluster bill that merely punts the issue down the field will leave voters deservedly angry at Democrats,  and further constrain Obama's ability to put the federal government's financial affairs in order.  Reform of the health insurance industry with a competttive public option is, with the exeception of Defense cuts which are insanely never on the table, the lowest hanging fruit to geting the government on sounder financial footing.  

    I have to believe Obama understands this and appreciates what is at stake for him politically.  Pols being pols, he has to go all out for an effective bill even if it offends some insurance industry/pharma donors.  

    Remember, Obama only has (none / 0) (#8)
    by dk on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:35:39 PM EST
    one more election ahead of him, in 3 years.  What happens after that is not his concern if we take the pols being pols addage as the standard.

    Not that I want Health Care to fail (none / 0) (#10)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:53:19 PM EST
    it should not, but if he failed, and somewhere a long the line he was successful at creating millions and millions of jobs, and despite the health care mess people's quality of life generally improved across the board, I think he'd be viewed as a successful president.

    Problem is the health care crisis is now even more entrenched within and impeding a job creation/quality of life effort.    So maybe my observation is counter-productive.


    He's just being an apologist ... (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:46:54 PM EST
    there's no other way of reading lines like this:

    A perfect performance by Obama may, in other words, not even be enough to pass an imperfect bill, much less a perfect bill.

    Ah, well, that's sorted now.  No reason to expect much from the President because it's all impossible anyway.

    And the answer is.. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 01:56:53 PM EST
    Here's a question though, why are Yglesias and Klein intent on excusing a potential Obama failure on health care reform?

    Because they believe it is going to fail.

    This has been the most mis-managed thing in the world. First, the people who elected him, the youngsters aren't all that interested in health care. His base in their middle years aren't happy because it is not really health care reform but an attempt to add uninsured to insurance... it is not national HC and it is not single player.. and he has frightened and angered the people who have enough time and money to fight against it because they recognize that he wants to take money from Medicare to pay for it.

    In addition, he was not use to an unfriendly press and what he thought was wisdom and expertise was really just a press corp that let him do as he pleased... When that changed he had, and has, no idea of what to do. (Hint: Don't have your Speaker of the House call citizens un-Ameican for protesting. If they are making an as* of themselves it will show. You just hide it.)

    And remember. I am for a SP NHC system.

    in my estimation SP (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:07:41 PM EST
    is the only plan that will curb not "control" costs.  I am mostly an idiot though.  Perhaps I should attend a few of the town halls....you cannot control capitalism when Peter is there for the taking.

    Well said... (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:39:30 PM EST
    The question is "Who is to be Paul?"



    OMG (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by sj on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:33:26 PM EST
    I mostly agree with jimakaPPJ on something.  Surely the world will end :)

    Don't worry, it was actually written by my evil (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:44:46 PM EST



    lol (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:15:58 PM EST
    because it is not really health care reform but an attempt to add uninsured to insurance.

    Code for undocumented workers and the uninsured poor getting health care coverage.

    Not so far from ppj's idea of funding national health care with a regressive national sales tax of 10%.


    You leave out part (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:38:10 PM EST
    and that part is that un-prepared food, used vehicles of a certain value/age, utility bills and other bills that hit the lower income among us be exempted.

    BTW - At the health care clinic I use they have just started requiring a picture ID acceptable to the state, before services are given.


    The youngsters not interested in health care? (none / 0) (#41)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:03:50 PM EST
    That has certainly NOT been the case with the young people, all Obama supporters, that I know - my son and his friends, other younger family members and friends, our youthful employees and past employees who worked with us as students and are now embarked on careers where contract employment is common while employer provided health care benefits are not, etc.

    I think young people are quite often much more aware of this problem than there elders -- who started careers when such employer-provided benefits were bestowed much more commonly and generously, or, who are old enough now to start enjoying tax payer provided benefits.


    Well that's my read and I am (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:34:19 PM EST
    sticking to it. To most of the youngsters health care is an intellect type exercise and not a real driver.  Most 25 year olds aren't convinced they will die some day.

    Considering how much more expensive (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:07:15 PM EST
    health care is now than it was in my own youth -- when, in 1976, my uninsured husband and I, on one entry-level income, easily paid $600 cash for pre-natal care and hospital delivery of our son (in affluent Sonoma County, CA, no less) -- such denial may be understandable. Most of the 25 year olds I know aren't convinced they will die some day either -- they also are not convinced they will soon or ever be able to afford to start a family.

    I remember my first "real" job (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Bemused on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:58:21 PM EST
     in the early 80s. I was ambivalent about whether to sign up for the health insurance and it cost a whopping $15 a month for a single. And, in the 3 years I worked before heading back to school I made not a single visit to a doctor, so it really wasn't irrational to question whether it was money well spent.

       Let's face it, young healthy males don't consume much health care so the ones concerned about it are more interested in the politics of it rather than as a  crucial element of their personal existence. It's a totally diiferent type of concern than for people for whom health concerns are more immediate.



    This is going to fail (none / 0) (#12)
    by bocajeff on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:01:34 PM EST
    Because you can't bring down costs and increase services without much more revenue than  is being proposed. Not to mention the fact that, once enacted, these things take on a life of its own and tend to cost more money than at first thought.

    That isn't to say it's not a laudable goal. Merely, that it's political B.S. and people smell it.

    It's voodoo economics.

    All economics is voodoo (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by esmense on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 04:29:32 PM EST
    Or, at least, most of the economic arguments made in a political context are. They're more likely to be constructed to serve limited political interests than to further problem solving.

    The undeniable economic reality is this -- our current, unhealthy health care system hobbles business formation, limits labor mobility and job creation, compromises competitiveness, contributes to our too-high rates of indebtedness and bankruptcy. And it costs lives.

    Obviously some do fear that reforming that system will prove too costly. But they may be failing to sufficiently apprehend, and fear, how costly failing to reform the system has been, is, and, in the future, is likely to disasterously continue to be.


    Isn't Ezra the person (none / 0) (#13)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:04:02 PM EST
    who said at the Netroots 2008 conf. that the gov't should use healthcare reform as a "sneaky way" to implement single payer.

    I hace wondered (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:33:49 PM EST
    if the democrats are misguided enough to think they can use this (failure) against the republicans in 2010.

    Not sure how you do that when (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:38:32 PM EST
    this is a failure of Democrats to inform, educate, or even really want to do this for the American people.

    yes (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:40:51 PM EST
    I think if anyone suffers because of failure in 2010 it will be democrats.

    That should work, right (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:40:10 PM EST
    We have a Democratic President and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress but the Republicans prevented you from getting health insurance.

    Well stranger things have happened.


    I've survived strange things happening (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:41:59 PM EST
    I have no desire to go there again :)

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:43:45 PM EST
    I share your desire not to make a return visit.

    Yes (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:36:54 PM EST
    So they are giving up huh? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:36:28 PM EST
    Feeling us all out to see how we'll take it?  Nobody needs to go to Afghanistan now either because that is really really hard too you know to win at?  If Rhambo thinks his job is hard perhaps we need to send him for a bit of real war because it seems to me all I get from him is bark, whimper, bark, whimper.  Doesn't he have a long haul switch?  If they give up now what a bunch of cry babies!

    Yes but it is not like 1994 you see (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:56:40 PM EST
    they are giving up in the legislative branch, not the executive branch.  That's what's important.<snark>

    Co-Ops coming? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Rashomon66 on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:36:32 PM EST
    It seems we might actually get a Health care Co-Op rather than a full fledged government run system. That is a failure of sorts. Although it is pretty tough going up against the current system. Lot of Blue Dogs won't budge.

    If this is how they flank (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:39:27 PM EST
    Okay.....I can go for that

    As I've tried to suggest (none / 0) (#36)
    by brodie on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:46:04 PM EST
    in some of my posts on LBJ and Medicare, it was a team Dem effort that got that (and other) major legislation passed in 64-5, and not just Lyndon reminding reluctant congresscritters that He knew where the bodies were buried and that He was the Big Bad Daddy Figure who was gonna come down hard on 'em if they didn't go along.  Many of them had heard the veiled threats before, and were unmoved.

    Otoh, you do need a serious presidential commitment, a real and not half-hearted one (see Carter, Jimmy), and some smarts to see the process through.  FDR had to be committed to social security, even with over 70% of Congress being in his party.  Give risk-averse Congress the opening to do nothing or very little, and that's what will happen.

    And Lyndon Johnson went for Medicare and Medicaid because he was daunted by the challenge of comprehensive health-care reform.

    LBJ went for a simple Medicare only bill originally, actually.  He may have been daunted by going for something much bigger, or he may have been more concerned just about getting something passed -- barebones Medicare -- because there was a presidential election coming up in Nov 64 and he wanted to run on that very achievable accomplishment and didn't want to go whole hog on UHC because he knew that would be dicey and time-consuming, at best.  

    Turns out the smarter person on Medicare, who wisely said No to Lyndon and decided to wait until after the election, was the House chair who made the key delay decision, allowing a much more robust bill to come out of comm'ee just a few months later.

    Team effort, and at least one smart and dedicated player in a key position to make the difference, while the more prominent pol worked the phones and used whatever trickery he could manage to get what he needed.

    if only he could do the right thing (none / 0) (#40)
    by nycvoter on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 02:56:56 PM EST
    even though I'm not an Obama fan, I would love to hold out hope, that he had a pretty good idea of what would work (not politically, but reduce costs and be more effective care) and decided on a plan and would stand up say what was non-negotiable (public option, maybe) and push his democratic party to push it through and then let the political chips fall where they may.  

    You're being grossly ageist (none / 0) (#43)
    by jerry on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 03:30:11 PM EST
    And I condemn you for that, just as I condemned a person who called Ezra a "juicebox blogger."