The Madman Theory Of Political Bargaining: Part 2

Via Yglesias, Mark Schmitt demonstrates why Democrats are terrible political negotiators:

Some have suggested using reconciliation to install the rough skeleton of reform, and then fixing it later, but the act of using reconciliation in the first place is such a nuclear option that it is likely to poison the waters not just with the four semi-reasonable Republicans but also with the Democrats who are left out of the deal, and will be needed on subsequent legislation.

(Emphasis supplied.) I can only shake my head. Poison the waters? Are you effing kidding me? You mean Chuck Grassley might not vote for health care reform? Sheesh. I am also struck by Yglesias finding noteworthy this screwball idea:

But what if Congress did it in reverse? Use the 60-vote Senate to pass whatever they can pass now -- we liberals will grumble but live with it -- and then use reconciliation next year to fix it. With the exchange structure and subsidies established, it wouldn't be hard to add an employer mandate, which would save money. With the rudiments of even a weak public plan in place, it wouldn't be complicated to expand it and modify its eligibility rules, in ways that might save or cost money but in either event, involve budget changes to an existing program rather than creating something new. Aggregating small changes over the next few years (on the model of the steady expansion of Medicaid engineered by Henry Waxman and others over the 1980s and 1990s) could non-controversially build the kind of robust and equitable system we dream of.

(Emphasis supplied.) How does Schmitt envision a "weak public plan" being included in a 60 vote bill at all unless you can demonstrate your willingness to do it through reconciliation? Hell, Kent Conrad has declared it impossible under any circumstance.

To get "half a loaf," you have to be willing to signal you are prepared to scorch the rhetorical Earth. Honestly, negotiating with Democrats is like taking candy from a baby.

What a perfect example of why Democrats stink at political bargaining.

Speaking for me only

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    Who was it who demanded (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:02:37 AM EST
    that Harry Reid play high stakes poker with him?

    The incidence of wimpitude (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by The Last Whimzy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:16:01 AM EST
    In the dem party politician population so far exceeds the incidence of wimpitude in every other control group population that one is compelled to look for other variables.

    starting to like Maddow a lot (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:42:37 AM EST
    That was an excellent share from Maddow (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:08:25 AM EST
    I'm very unplugged during all this house renovation outside of my blogging breaks so thanks so much for putting that up!

    And if Taibbi is correct about how (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:12:06 AM EST
    public option got pulled, and that the intent was to actually not pass anything that would have any meaningful affect on the insurance industry....well you ba$tard$.  You're all a bunch of sell outs and your corruption has reached heights I never imagined.  Our children are suffering.  You are supposed to be representing them.  You all disgust me!

    We've heard about the (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by dk on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:16:32 AM EST
    deals that Obama made with big insurance and big pharma.  We know that those industries are chipping in ad money to get the bill passed.  The evidence is right in front of our noses that those industries support the bill, which means by definition that the bill will be bad policy since the only meaningful healthcare reform is one that will cause pain to for-profit insurance.

    I guess what I don't get is all the denial among many among the left who should know better.


    she has been kicking a$$ and taking (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:13:51 AM EST
    names.  she was awsum on Press the Meat last sunday.

    that is one segment several more on the list to the right.  I suggest watching them all.  she kicked Dick Armys butt.


    I will (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:18:13 AM EST
    Thanks for the suggestions

    sorry (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:20:36 AM EST
    DAMN (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:22:03 AM EST
    I will get this right

    here is the link


    Called out on wimpiness (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by waldenpond on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:55:51 AM EST
    on AC360 last night.  Not the Dems but Obama specifically.  Gergen with two others on a panel questioned Obama's 'spine' 'backbone' and Gergen doubts his 'leadership.'  Another comment that stood out was that Obama had just shown he can be 'pushed around.'  It was odd to see them go after Obama, especially Gergen.

    Politico joins the chorus (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:59:10 AM EST
    as to whether Obama has got "guts."  Them's fighting words in Chicago politics.  So we will see.

    I can answer that (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by cal1942 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:49:32 PM EST

    No, he hasn't got guts, not even a trace.  

    And that was obvious in the primaries and confirmed when he nominated Geitner to a loud chorus of cheers from Wall Street.

    He's always sought approval from the elites, always.

    Contrast that to a tiny snipet from FDR in reaction to fierce corporate opposition in the 1936 election campaign:

    " ... and I welcome their hatred."


    Adaptability (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:16:21 PM EST
    Hope springs eternal. Other presidents have had to abandon their initial ideals. Hopefully this experience will make Obama realize that "you can't please everyone, you've got to please yourself" (Rick Nelson)

    I remember GWB came to the WH as the uniter that was going to bring integrity back to the office! I think that lasted about 3 months.

    President of the US shouldn't be an OJT position but a trait of leadership is the ability to adapt to the situation.


    Except that GWB (5.00 / 5) (#100)
    by cal1942 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:08:12 PM EST
    had no intention of being a uniter, that is unless everyone was willing to move as far to the right as possible.

    His objective was to lower tax rates on the highest incomes, weaken and/or subvert regulatory bodies, prevent as much as possible the normal function of various executive agencies and privatize government services.

    He went after his objectives from day one.


    I swear my youngest grandchild had (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:19:52 AM EST
    better negotiating skills when he was 5 years old then the Dem politicians and people like Schmitt.

    Might as take out national TV and bill board ads and announce to the Republicans and the world "We surrender. Just tell us what you want and you can have it."

    Color me throughly disgusted.  

    The Republicans have already (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:52:33 AM EST
    figured out that Obama seems pathologically unable to meet resistance with resistance, taking full advantage of his commitment to bipartisanship.  It astonishes me that someone whose intelligence and political acumen have been touted for so long as nothing short of blindingly brilliant has not figured out that as long as you keep giving, the other side will keep taking.  And, with this particular crowd, even when you give them everything they want, they are inclined to say, "nevermind" and just walk away, leaving a big bowl of congealing, gray mush on the table that we now have to decide whether to throw out, or consider serving up to the American people and declaring, "hey, it's better than nothing!"

    It's just so weak it's worse than pathetic; I'm not even sure what the word for that is.


    Who says? (none / 0) (#115)
    by Romberry on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:42:20 AM EST
    It astonishes me that someone whose intelligence and political acumen have been touted for so long as nothing short of blindingly brilliant has not figured out that as long as you keep giving, the other side will keep taking.

    Who says Obama hasn't figured it out? Better yet, who says he didn't know that going in? And even better, given that he gave away the store by beginning the debate on each important big money issue from what should have been the fallback compromise position? No one who has ever bought or sold a house or a car can possibly think that the seller/realtor or buyer's initial offers are expected to be their final positions. If I have a clunker that I want 5 grand for, I ask 6. Someone might even pay it. But 5 grand if what I really want, I won't start at four and a half.

    If a strong public option was the bottom line, that means the starting point should have been single payer. You let the Republicans yell and scream and dissipate their energy in pushing back against single payer. You make THEM offer a strong public option as an alternative so they can save face and tell their constituents that they saved them from a complete government takeover of health care.

    I know that the politicians that now work in and advise and make up the Obama administration and its advisers are not stupid. They weren't born yesterday. They know that they aren't going to get 5 grand for that old car when they started out at $4,500. It was the intent all along.

    See the 11:30 mark. Matt Taibbi was right.


    A five year-old's ... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:58:59 AM EST
    negotiating skills:

    I want it! I want it! I want it!

    Hmmm ... yeah, that would be better.


    And guess what? (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:06:35 PM EST
    With many parents, the chorus of gimme-gimme-gimme often works really, really well ;-).

    Especially when other ... (none / 0) (#88)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:10:36 PM EST
    people are watching.



    Ahh (none / 0) (#89)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:15:07 PM EST
    the voice of experience. . .

    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:12:19 PM EST
    My children are canine and labrador.  Of course, they do their own version of gimme.

    Actually he was a better negotiator (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    than that most of the time. He combined some reasons why you should give him what he wanted with a great deal of charm. Stuck to his guns and came back at you with alternative reasons why you should change your mind.

    But as stated in your final conclusion, repeating the same demands over and over again has worked extremely well for the Republicans for decades.


    Unfortunately, Robot, (none / 0) (#111)
    by prittfumes on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 02:29:19 PM EST
    that's one of those wonderful-marvelous things they grow out of.

    It seems to me (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:27:40 AM EST
    that we are actually in a pretty good place when it comes to the public option (the House putting its foot down).  And Obama has been so useless when it comes to the public option that maybe he should just stay quiet this week - let the Congressional supporters speak out (at least somebody else can be blamed for socialism - you know, your hometown, democratically elected reps...eyeroll).  It could be a decent week.  In other news, today Ezra carries on his weird argument that the President can't exert influence on Congress.

    Great tactic by Ezra :) (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:30:50 AM EST
    It seems to me Ezra is announcing that Obama is weak and powerless. How this helps is beyond me.

    Obama Has NEVER had The Capital To Assist (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by tokin librul on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:35:51 AM EST
    those who his proposals would help...

    The substance of the complaint of inexperience against Obama was always that he was a Senatorial rookie, without significant power in that body, and without the wherewithal to bully and cajole obstinate Members.

    Biden as VP, was/is not LBJ.

    Obama's support is flagging because he is perceived to be advocating for programs that are portrayed (by the Right/SCUM) as being hand-outs to the despised, `undeserving' minorities--poor blacks, browns, immigrants, etc.--which the White middle-class has ALWAYS opposed.

    His support was wide (more or less) but shallow...the `hopey/changey' constituency has grown skeptical, because he seems to have abandoned them. He won by a relatively narrow margin against the most lack-luster opposition imagineable, in a race it's obvious to me the Pukes threw (they didn't even TRY to steal it).

    The Pukes can ONLY regain their Congressional majority--or diminish the Dims'--by making certain that nothing meaningful gets enacted into law., on any issue.


    You are right about the House (none / 0) (#13)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:42:37 AM EST
    As I posted yesterday they are in control here. They can either force a bipartisan bill that includes a public option in the Senate (unlikely due to no GOP support), or they can just say we are not passing any bill without a public option and take us back to square one for another go at this next year.

    At this point I'd like to see them not pass a final bill without a public option because I don't see any GOP'er voting with us at this point.

    Of course IF (a big IF) we could get all the Dem defectors on board and just one GOP'er that would give us the 60 we need to get a 'regular' bill to a vote and pass it. That's not likely to happen but that is what we are looking at to make it happen.


    Are you assuming Kennedy is not voting? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:49:50 AM EST
    Otherwise, I do not understand your math.

    I'm considering that (none / 0) (#23)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:55:59 AM EST
    Johnson did not vote when he was sick because he could not physically make it to the Senate.

    I am also considering the Kennedy was not well enough to make it to his own sisters funeral so I rather doubt that he is well enough to make it to DC in his present condition. Hopefully that changes but it doesn't look good.


    Sure (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:02:57 AM EST
    Was just trying to understand your assumptions.

    The fact is if Kennedy can't make it to DC anymore, he should resign.


    agree 100% (1.00 / 1) (#65)
    by bocajeff on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:43:39 AM EST
    waste of representation and nothing other than pure ego...

    Kennedy (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:40:21 AM EST
    If Kennedy's vote was essential for a quality health care bill to pass, he'd be there if they had to wheel him in on a stretcher. He's worked years for this.

    I do agree that if he can't make it to DC, he needs to step down.


    It's just not gonna happen (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:28:59 AM EST
    says the most untouchable Dem Senator, the richest man in Congress, who can pay out of his own pocket for multimillion-dollar campaigns.  So we can imagine how the hungry Dems see it.

    Health care reforms will be minor, Kohl predicts
    By Associated Press

    Eau Claire -- Controversial health care reforms, including a public option to compete with private insurance, and other major policy changes affecting the health care industry likely won't happen this year, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said Monday.  "It won't be earth-shattering; there are too many politics involved," Kohl said.

    Aside from the public option, Kohl said, he doubts other reforms he supports, including government-negotiated prices for medication and living will conferences, will be in the legislation that's eventually passed. Congress will pass some smaller reforms this year, he said, but nothing sweeping. . . .

    However, Obama and the SCUM (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by tokin librul on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:33:37 AM EST
    Will rave about the 'far-reaching' effects, and the 'brave' solutions, the 'difficult compromises,' and the VICTORAY for the Murkin Pippls...

    And NOTHING will change, except that the Health Insurance parasites will get incredibly richer...


    Cuts to the Medicare (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:34:49 AM EST
    budget without government-negotiated prices for medication or any real reform will go down like a lead balloon.

    As it should (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:43:42 AM EST
    Every country on the globe gets better drug prices than this country.  It's disgusting

    According to one article (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:51:48 AM EST
    I read, Europeans pay roughly 35% to 55% less for their prescription drugs. That's not exactly pocket change.

    One reason that we pay so much (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:27:41 AM EST
    for pharmaceuticals in this country is that pretty much every other large market is regulated in terms of pricing.  So the drug companies "make up" their "losses" by charging extra in the US.

    I used to live in another country and I paid $12 for a prescription there that cost nearly $200 here.  That's a big difference in cost.


    We are told that they have to make up their (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:31:51 AM EST
    losses on our backs.  Because the alternative is ummmm less profit :)

    Yeah or fewer ridiculously expensive (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:40:36 AM EST
    direct-to-consumer marketing budgets, etc.

    I hear ya (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:44:12 AM EST
    I've lost track of all the pills I'm supposed to talk to my doctor about getting.  Hell, I can't even get in to see my doctor :)  He's some lower percentile of his graduating class physician who agreed to take what Tricare pays and lives well off in this region of Tricare infestation.

    I've lost track of all the medical (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:52:57 AM EST
    problems I "might" have - lol.

    Weren't you tauting (none / 0) (#68)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:46:30 AM EST

    I am happy to say that I think my crap individual market insurance (Through BCBS) is better than Tricare.  Washington State is probably one of the better states to live in for insurance (but that isn't saying much).


    I wanted to write a diary about Tricare (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:02:49 PM EST
    it is a sort of single payer.  But when I sat down to do it there was no flow.  We don't pay premiums, and we don't pay copays unless it is for dental or special therapies.  It is a mixed bag though.  When our whole country is in the middle of surviving scarce healthcare...mine isn't likely to be any sort of excellence.  It's just the same crap that I'm paying less than many others for.  Nothing has occurred to the healthcare industry of this country in the past twenty years that doesn't discourage excellence in the whole field.  Many times I have crap, it just isn't as crappy as other crap.

    like i say... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by coigue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:07:37 AM EST
    Americans are the biggest suckers....and we yell like crazy at Town Hall Mtgs to keep it that way.

    I am thoroughly disgusted


    I've never been part of such a group (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:20:31 AM EST
    of head up arse before.  I know I will experience many things before the dirt nap, but sheesh.

    According to a NYT column today, (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:26:24 PM EST
    many members of congress and health care experts, puzzlement exists in that the president has not named anyone to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The president of Mayo clinic is quoted as saying that the vacancy stands out like a sore thumb; Senator Rockefeller says it is a big problem that he can't explain. Even Orrin Hatch (which may weaken the argument) said the delay is of great concern. Some candidates have been reluctant to sell their financial holdings in health care, and others were concerned that health policy is directed by the WH. Medicare is to help finance the new legislation, by squeezing $400 billion in "savings" over the next 10 years by changing how providers operate. Medicaid, as well, is involved as a vehicle for expanding those covered by about 20 percent.  The article does suggest Mr. Obama is waiting until the health bill is completed so they can tap into the staff resources of the Senate Finance Committee.  Maybe another 11 dimensional treat for us.

    Basic game theory (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:35:41 AM EST
    Any approach you choose, other than the absolutely least confrontational, is going to leave some annoyed people at the margins.  But if your overriding goal is to make the marginal people happy, you get a little less and you just create a new set of marginal people with their own set of demands.

    Health care is one of the most important issues on the Democratic agenda.  If we have to let it go in order to avoid poisoning the well, the question is: to what end?  If we all hug it out then suddenly in the eighth year the Republicans will happily join with us to pass everything?

    You are refusing (none / 0) (#20)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:51:24 AM EST
    to recognize that what Schmitt is saying is true. If you consider that the other pieces of reform that are needed have to be passed in a regular bill and would require some GOP votes then you must take what he is saying as true.

    When you consider that your argument about "marginal people' goes out the window.


    The thing is (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:01:02 AM EST
    there are always marginal people.  You simply have to assume that you're not going to alienate them for all time, because otherwise you're completely beholden to them.

    Reverse the roles for a moment.  When Republicans were in power, they employed every bad-faith tactic imaginable, they threatened the nuclear option, they called Democrats traitors and all that, and yet there were still Democrats willing to cross party lines to vote with them on legislation.  Most legislators, particularly those closer to the political center, operate on a theory of "no permanent friends, no permanent enemies," because they have no choice.

    It's true that we will probably need a few Republican votes to pass elements of health care reform next year.  But no matter what we say or do, there are going to be some Republicans who are looking to burnish their bipartisan credentials in an election year.  They will be forced to care more about getting reelected than about whether the Democrats used reconciliation or Obama said some mean things about them.

    I understand where you are coming from, but the thought process that says anyone we alienate automatically becomes a sworn enemy for all time leads to nothing but paralysis.


    I think the biggest problem is that (4.80 / 5) (#57)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:34:22 AM EST
    the Democrats are not willing to admit that so many of the people on the GOP side will be their sworn enemies no matter what they try to offer them.  The bottom line on healthcare is that the GOP is afraid that any and all solutions to the problem will end their electoral chances for years to come.  I think they are wrong because a bad plan will hurt the Dems more than no plan at all, but still understanding where the Republicans are coming from is a real gap in this process I believe.

    The Democrats keep trying to appease the Republicans thinking that they would be cooperative - and the reality is that few to none are going to be no matter what the Dems offer them in terms of concessions.


    That's a fair argument (none / 0) (#40)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:14:48 AM EST
    It's a bit of a gamble based on electoral assumptions but a fair argument nonetheless.

    If you count the republicans that are going to try to get reelected you have 12, most of them pretty hardcore GOP'ers.


    I've now re-read (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:39:27 AM EST
    this post three times, and I still don't have a clue what it means. I don't mean to insult Professor Irwin Corey, but has he been bought out of retirement to negotiate for the Democrats?
    And we expect the American public to be following this?

    Someone, maybe Axlerod, should just tell Obama, "I don't mean to be disrespectful Sir, but you're quite obviously over your head with this issue. Just appoint one person; Dean, Weiner, even Pelosi, as your spokesperson, then go on vacation and don't come back until there's a bill for you to sign.

    "WE don't need experience, we've got vision."

    Please excuse me while I go vomit.

    thank god spines still exist (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:46:33 AM EST
    But most of the comments are by crazies ... (none / 0) (#86)
    by cymro on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:07:42 PM EST
    ... who seem to be trying to dominate every opinion channel with their negative shouting points.

    If this isn't worth fighting for I don't know (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:55:34 AM EST
    what is.  It really sucks living in a country right now where the only people capable of standing their ground are the paranoid!

    they are standing their ground (none / 0) (#36)
    by coigue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:11:27 AM EST
    for their right to submit to being ripped off and having their lives destroyed by health care.

    All I can do is shake my head.


    The American reality of what constitutes (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:17:09 AM EST
    healthcare has become so restriction and denial based that everybody is scared to death they will lose their measely crumb in this tussle!  We are fighting to keep our crumbs while fatcats sit on heaps of cake.

    Are you confusing healthcare (none / 0) (#63)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:41:45 AM EST
    with health insurance? And isn't it true, just because one is paranoid, does not mean one is not a target? We're not paying higher prices for medications than others because of the paranoids. we're not going to be paying higher insurance premiums without controls mandated by law because of the paranoids. We're not being sold a load of pig slop falsely named "a public option" with no restrictions on price gouging because of the paranoids. My, paranoids make such a useful cover for so many things. . .

    Many on Medicare are very paranoid right now (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:07:25 PM EST
    and maybe they should be.  But they are scared if America gets healthcare we are going to start ignoring them and wishing them away.  The people showing up at the townhalls with weapons are paranoid.  Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias see wars involving nukes if anyone even stands for something tangible for real people.  It seems to me the only people standing for anything in the debate stand for being paranoid.

    Medicare paranoia (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:29:48 PM EST
    heck, I'm more than overly concerned about what Obama is doing about/to medicare. S-u-r-e he'll find the money for his giveaway to the insurance industry through "efficiencies", so called. What effect will that have on qualified medical personnel's (Doctors) willingness to treat patients? And just how does his agreement with big Pharma help with efficiencies, let alone long term viability if medicare is limited in negotiating for the best drug prices? And why hasn't he filled the director of medicare slot? Could it be because they would be yelling bloody hell about limiting medicare's viability in what he's doing? Many questions, few answers make jack a lil' paranoid.
       But like I say, being paranoid doesn't mean you are not a target. . .

    That is why I indicate that perhaps (none / 0) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:34:52 PM EST
    Medicare recipients have a right to some of their paranoia.  But they aren't fighting the good fight for proper healthcare reform.....that would benefit them as well.  They just want to shut it down, which continues us on this road of scarce expensive healthcare.  Somehow I'm thinking they are still in danger even with shutting down national healthcare reform.  He seemingly doesn't have respect for them with or without healthcare reform.

    I guess here we part roads (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:13:18 PM EST
    If what we're getting is only "pretend" health insurance (not even health care for devil's sake) reform involving a "pretend" public option (like coops or a fire walled, shrivelled, castrated, ineffectual, non-expansive, miserly barely incremental public option that really isn't public or much of an option), and we are mandated by law to pay through the nose at the start to the insurance companies who can raise prices at will as we go along, and even that drivel won't be implemented for at least 3-4 years to even start implementation leaving us at the mercy of uncontrolled price hikes in the meanwhile (how's that for a run on sentence?). . .then I want it to fail too.
       Results of failure as discussed elsewhere here would be what? Less blue dogs (most vulnerable), republicans own blame for obstructionism, and due to ongoing 10% unemployment, continued foreclosures, and premium price for insurance continuing to increase at same levels they would any way under current lack of controls, a good shot at real healthcare reform down the road. That doesn't sound too bad.
       I agree with you we should fight, but for what's real not incremental pretend.

    I'm for fighting for real healthcare (none / 0) (#112)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 03:41:01 PM EST
    and nothing but that.  I'm not for ending the fight to protect my crumb.

    Am I wrong (none / 0) (#114)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 07:00:00 PM EST
    in assuming that you support the passage of the current proposals which rely on getting something incremental toward real public options, in the hope it will be changed in the future? Because if you are then how is it not crumbs, highly expensive, and ineffective, for years and years to come? Seems to me that's settling for crumbs now in the fantasy hopes for bread in the future, while fighting against a strengthened enemy. Heck we'll be forced to economically support them in any future fight against them. How does making your enemy stronger, and you weaker in anyway fighting them?
       Naw. Pull the plug now on this craptacular, primary those who oppose real reform, let blue dogs have swimming lessons in a strong undertow, and fight from an improved position for what we want.

    MT Think you are painting with (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 04:43:41 PM EST
    too broad of brush. Some of the people on Medicare or about to receive Medicare (me for instance) want a better deal for everyone. We are willing to fight for that. Most of us have paid into the system since inception (40+ years) and pay premiums for our coverage even now. We are not getting free health insurance.

    If this turns out to be nothing more than a multimillion to a trillion dollar giveaway to the insurance industry because it doesn't do anything to control the rise in insurance premiums, I'm one of those people who would probably be in favor of passing no bill at at.  To risk Medicare so that others will be forced to purchase insurance industry coverage that they can not afford does not IMO benefit anyone other than the parasites that are already sucking us dry.


    Maybe we need to take away (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by standingup on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:29:04 AM EST
    the benefit of employer provided health insurance for members of Congress.  Let them experience first hand what the rest of the nation is struggling with when it comes to obtaining and paying for health insurance.  I have had it with these bastards and their unwillingness to do the work they were elected to do on our behalf.  

    At Microsoft (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:31:20 AM EST
    we called that "eating your own dogfood".   Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work all that well, when you have people who aren't impacted much by it.

    So what if multi-millionaires have to self-insure?


    Easy (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:46:12 AM EST
    mandate that they pay 15% of their gross income with no loopholes before they can get wholly inadequate coverage (not Cadillac care) and no cost controls for percentage rise in the future and watch what happens.

    Oh yeah (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:47:49 AM EST
    you're going to get them to pass that! ;-)

    No (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:03:44 PM EST
    but it sure points up the difference,yes?

    And (none / 0) (#83)
    by hookfan on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:05:53 PM EST
    if they see that as such a bad deal, then why do we support them in doing that to us?

    Who is we? (none / 0) (#109)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 02:11:00 PM EST

    "Progressives" (none / 0) (#116)
    by hookfan on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 07:39:30 AM EST
    Quotes intended. . .

    Probably true (none / 0) (#76)
    by standingup on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:57:01 AM EST
    I really think we have gone (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:39:54 AM EST
    down the rabbit hole on this one, and I'm not so sure we're going to come back anytime soon.  Might as well figure out who's playing the role of the Mad Hatter, who's the Cheshire cat, and, since nothing's making sense anymore, just gather 'round the table and top off our tea cups.  Treacle, anyone?

    Alice In Wonderland: A Mad Tea Party

    Reading this chapter, I cannot help but see the parallels.

    And, just in time, the movie is coming out in March of 2010...with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

    Now, remember (5.00 / 5) (#81)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:03:37 PM EST
    Obama mocked pols who claim to be leaders but just sit around doing "tea parties."

    Here is another funny analogy (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:08:48 PM EST
    from DKos diarist Overnite, the "Healthcare Bowl."

    Who is really surprised? (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:36:57 PM EST
    And I guess "why?" is a better question.

    Look at this table and this table -they show how much money was given by the insurance industry (all types, not just health) to Congresscritters.

    So far in the 2009-2010 election cycle, guess who's taken a total of $2,861,028 in donations? (I'll give you a hint - it isn't the Republicans, who have only taken $2,041,078).  And guess who took more money in 2008? (hint:  same answer).

    Here's the top 20 members of Congress who have taken money from the insurance industry for 2010.

    Now, for the 2010 election cycle, let's look at donations from Big Pharma - guess who got the most (same answer as above). And look at the Top 20 receivers this year. Here's the Top 20 for 2008.

    Tell me again why everyone is surprised that we are getting jacked around on a comprehensive health care bill?

    Follow the power (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by CST on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:02:55 PM EST
    that's why the money changes parties - they spend money on who is in power.  I bet if you look at the numbers from 2000-2006 you will see most of it went to republicans - since they were the ones worth influencing.

    Yes (none / 0) (#104)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:29:22 PM EST
    But who will be the ones crafting and voting on a health care bill now?

    right (none / 0) (#105)
    by CST on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:49:53 PM EST
    that's why they got the money.

    I am not disagreeing with you.  Just pointing it out.  Also - considering a number of the people on your list have insisted on a public option, I'd say that might indicate that they aren't completely bought.

    We can't prevent insurance people from donating money to campaigns (as the law stands).  That doesn't mean they get what they pay for.  Although it doesn't mean they don't either.


    I understand (none / 0) (#108)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 02:04:44 PM EST
    And I'm not naive enough to think they can't get elected without money from all industries, but it seems to me that (some of ) the Dems that people are railing about -  those who are making deals with the insurance lobby and Big Pharma, and those who may not be completely on-board with a public option - maybe the reason it's harder to get this message out is because they don't want the money to dry up.

    If the Dems (as a party) really wanted it - they'd get it, but I think they know what they see now is a mess, and they don't want to be tagged with it.  But it's better politics to say it's all the Republicans fault, then to admit they're in bed even closer with the insurance / pharma industries.


    The question Schmitt asks (none / 0) (#9)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:35:03 AM EST
    about "using reconciliation to install the rough skeleton of reform, and then fixing it later, but the act of using reconciliation in the first place is such a nuclear option that it is likely to poison the waters" is a valid one.

    Sure BTD you mention Grassley as if were the only kind of vote that would be needed down the line. But that isn't the case. To get everything else that would be needed to make the skeleton reform an actual working , functional, competitive product you are going to need republican votes because those other things that are needed can't be passed in a subsequent reconciliation.

    So the opposite side of the argument is landlocked. The question is how do you do reconciliation and then fill in what needs to be filled in for the skeleton of reform that was passed in reconciliation work. Without that answer reconciliation is not a viable tactic.

    I would love to negotiate against you (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:48:36 AM EST
    I really doubt that (none / 0) (#27)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:03:12 AM EST
    I'm exactly the hard baller that you wish Dems were. I don't lose.

    Just because I see things others are doing as they are does not mean that I would do them that way.

    So why scream about how weak they are when that is already a given? Why yell at Obama when I knew 2 years ago that this is what he would give us? At this point, being a business guy, I have to look at the alternatives to making things the best they can be with the pile of sh*t we have to work with.

    Obama already gave the farm away to PHARMA in the first round of the fight. After that I don't know how any thinking person could expect more from him in subsequent rounds.


    I will continue to hold persons accountable! (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:07:00 AM EST
    You sound like you are looking for an easy way out that in the end accomplishes nothing and is exactly how we ended up here.  It's time to fight.  It's time for accountability.  I'm playing on that team.  I may win or may lose but I can't do either if I don't play.

    Where did I say (none / 0) (#64)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:42:35 AM EST
    I would not hold anyone accountable? Of course I will. With my wallet and with correspondence to them. With my vote - which btw I already held Obama accountable because I did not vote for him or anyone else in the presidential election because I knew he would take us to exactly where were are today on health care. I still have strong suspicions that he is playing us on the entire health care thing.

    I think he's playing us too (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:56:05 AM EST
    I have many indications that he is.  He is what we have to play with though so I'm going to have to address that.  What I'm hearing from you is that you would like a cookie for perceiving that this is not a President you would be proud to vote for, and then you didn't.  Fine, consider it done....I'm sending thoughts of warm cookies your way.  Now I have work.  I have painting, and flooring, and extreme dissatisfaction to express.

    Hold up (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:05:33 AM EST
    You have just contradicted yourself. Are you describing what is or what you think should be?

    Before, now I assume just as a result of your Talex reflex to disagree with me, you were saying Schmitt was describing the proper strategy. Now you are saying he is not, but that is how Dems are.

    I am pretty sure I was saying that's how Dems are too. I guess it is a Talex thing.


    Well lets see here (none / 0) (#56)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:34:22 AM EST
    I could answer your question but there is another matter your brought up in your post and that is this talex thing. I thought that silliness was reserved for people who use it when they don't want to or can't answer questions.

    First of all let me remind you that there are people here every day that disagree with you so are they talex too?

    Secondly just yesterday YOU called for some decorum from yourself, me and others. And now less that 24 hours later you pull this? A man of your word I see.

    If you think I'm someone named talex then I say prove it or drop it because you look like kind of foolish in doing so.

    I really think you could have posted what you did without unfounded and unprovable accusations. Please refrain from that in the future. For now I will abide by my agreement with you yesterday even though you have violated your end of the deal. But I'm forgiving and will give it one more chance to work.


    Do you disagree or not? (none / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:39:41 AM EST
    Your comments cannotbe reconciled.

    Talex-like does not refer to people who disagree with me. It refers to people who disagree with me for the sake of disagreeing with me.

    Your various comments seem species of Talex-like disagreement.


    I simply will not (none / 0) (#71)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:52:41 AM EST
    respond to a post that continues to include what you just did.

    But more importantly is the fact that you did not keep your word on decorum after YOU suggested it. Obviously you really didn't mean it. Well at least you are now on the record suggesting that you want this to be the place Jeralyn wants it to be but are just not up to the task.


    Look (none / 0) (#79)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:59:36 AM EST
    These are my posts.

    It is obvious to me that your primary interest is disagreement with me, as opposed to good faith disagreement.

    This is not going to work out.

    Do not comment in my threads anymore. Confine yourself to Jeralyn's threads and Open Threads.

    You are now no longer allowed in mine.

    Sorry about that but that is how it will be.


    Well (none / 0) (#98)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    I'll just send Jeralyn a copy of this thread and let her decide. My posts in this thread have substance and explained my position quite clearly and they are arguments that other intelligent people are making all over the internet. And what I and they say is true.

    But yet you want to ban me because of some opionion of yours that you are making up? You publicly called  me a liar the other day and I didn't lie about nothing so I think that shows that your intent has been to ban me just like you have banned or chased off probably hundreds of good posters who happened to not always agree with you.

    There were many good and informed posters here who you insulted and intimidated and mocked during the bailout conversations who are no longer here. Some of them were attorneys who were attracted to this site because of what Jeralyn writes about. They were also interested in politics and came here to in the end be insulted, intimidated, mocked, and banned by you for no other reason that they didn't always agree with you. Just like others here don't always agree with you but yet some you let get away with it and others you arbitrarily push out one way or another.

    Well it's time that she knows what it is you are doing.

    I'll also send her a copy of you asking for decorum yesterday and then point out to her your outburst today even after I said I will continue to play nice, after which you continued your outburst with no apologies and then banned me after I refused to get into baiting attempt. Your behavior strikes me as very disturbed.


    I do.

    Another example of why you must go.


    Sebelius speaks again (none / 0) (#17)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:48:12 AM EST
    here proving my point above - everyone in the WH should just shut up, because they are mucking the public option up:

    "Here's the bottom-line: absolutely nothing has changed. We continue to support the public option that will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice, and keep private insurers honest. If people have other ideas about how to accomplish these goals, we'll look at those too, but the public option is a very good way to do this."

    How is that not basically telegraphing to the Senate "keep f*cking around"?  It certainly supports the aimless watering down the Senate is doing, rather than the efforts of the House.

    Is there a mind (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:58:22 AM EST
    connected to that mouth of hers?  Are we to believe her three days of the week but not the other four?  Is this some brilliant new Obama strategy I'm missing?

    I think it is the strategy of (5.00 / 7) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:10:24 AM EST
    "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance,  baffle them with B.S."

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:25:49 AM EST
    This is their strategy, to be on both sides of the issue.  Confuse people until they don't know where the president stands.  This isn't too suprising a strategy coming from a president who stood his ground on nothing, is it ;-)?

    They're doing the same thing with DOMA -- Link

    Mixed signals -- the order of the day.


    Really is the worst message (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:10:10 AM EST
    We support it...meaning we won't veto it, not we won't veto a bill without it.

    Jed's reading at the link (5.00 / 5) (#45)
    by lilburro on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:19:11 AM EST
    is just sad (a reflection of Obama, but I guess Obama supporters too):

    If this is a signal that the White House will not facilitate any deals to eliminate the public option, then this is good news.

    Again, why the $%^!@ would the Obama Administration declare war on its own ideas?  It's good news that the Obama administration is not going to commit seppuku?  

    Can expectations be lower?


    Do they really believe in HCR? (none / 0) (#29)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:06:36 AM EST
    For six years we had to listen to the Democratic leadership wringing their hands and crying that they were powerless to stop Bush because they were the minority. When they won control of the House the excuse shifted to the veto power of the WH.

    Now we have it all and they're still wringing their hands.

    The only explanation for all of this is that the leadership really doesn't believe in the need of health care reform. It just isn't worth the hassle to them. They'd rather not rock the boat. They're insulated in their own little world and there's a lobbyist position waiting in the wings.

    If Reid and the other leaders are so afraid of leading, they should step aside.

    Even if Reid would (5.00 / 6) (#35)
    by dk on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:11:04 AM EST
    step aside, Obama won't.  Obama is the one that made the backroom deals with big insurance and big pharma not to sign anything that would cause those industries pain.

    I guess it's easy to believe in something (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by coigue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:13:16 AM EST
    when you have no power to do anything about it.

    Dems need to do a major soul searching about how to be IN power.

    because they obviously don't know how to do it right.


    From the perspective of what matters to them (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:17:59 AM EST
    they are doing it right. When they are in power they get more money from the lobbyists and corporations. If they can just nibble at the edges of policy "change" enough to maintain their power, they will be perfectly happy.

    Very (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:52:51 PM EST
    true and it's one of the reasons I didnt think that winning the last election was so important. For two years all they did was cave into Bush and they were rewarded for that behavior. If you think about why wouldn't they continue to behave like they have in the past?

    You are giving them (none / 0) (#52)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:29:40 AM EST
    far more credit than they deserve, I think.

    Contrary to your beliefs, I don't think theirs are incompetence but good intentions.  They are doing all of this "bungling" on purpose.  They will pass nothing unless it's in some way a windfall to the insurance industry.  


    A consultant (none / 0) (#53)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:30:28 AM EST
    I gather Tom Delay is hard up for gigs! (As evident from yesterday's post) Maybe the Dem's could hire him as a consultant on how to play hardball.

    Personally (none / 0) (#58)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:37:31 AM EST
    I think we need to call all of their mothers, as Penny did to Sheldon on Big Bang Theory last night -- that is the true nuclear option.  Apparently saved lives too ;-).

    How about this? (none / 0) (#75)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 11:57:00 AM EST
    They do the reconciliation bit and serve tea and crumpets?

    Would make Schmitt and Yglesias happy?

    Maybe the Dems don't want to go the scorched (none / 0) (#106)
    by vicndabx on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 01:52:49 PM EST
    earth route because they already have a sense of the limitations inherent in simply expanding Fee for service (aka FFS, i.e. traditional Medicare) Medicare for all?  They have ample experience:
    Previous work by CBO has shown that plans' bids for operating Medicare Advantage plans vary less from county to county than per capita FFS spending does

    Care Management in Medicare Advantage
    Medicare's FFS program provides a generally unmanaged approach to the delivery of medicine because providers are paid for the number of services they deliver and not for the quality of the outcomes they bring about.[14]  Health plans may be more able to manage care through their knowledge of members' health conditions, contact
    with providers, and centralized administrative arrangements. Medicare Advantage plans also have strong incentive to manage care to reduce costs, as any savings that they can generate accrue directly to them.

    Don't be surprised is this is the type of public option folks are talking about. IMO, not necessarily a bad thing - getting people covered should be the primary goal.

    Well that is very confusing (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 02:03:02 PM EST
    since one of President Obama's Medicare budget saves is eliminating Medicare Advantage.

    Well, it's speculation on my part. Could be (none / 0) (#110)
    by vicndabx on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 02:17:56 PM EST
    that's one of the trial balloons they've floated.  Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to actually read thru the bills.  Wish I did however.