The Progressive Block

Two good pieces on the Progressive Block. Ryan Grim at HuffPo:

A majority of the 81 Congressional Progressive Caucus members of the House have vowed to oppose any health care bill that does not include a "robust public option." That threat has kept it alive. With 256 seats in the House and 218 needed to pass a bill, Democrats simply can't move health care reform on their own without progressive caucus support.

Indeed. But if they cave on the public option, they may as well disband. Chris Bowers writes:

Organizing isn't enough either: Further, just being right and just getting organized isn't enough, either. You have to be willing to make a power play, such as blocking Democratic legislation. This was not feasible when Bush was still President, but Progressives have been willing to seize the moment once it became available[.]

If they do not seize THIS moment, if they do not hold the line on the public option, they might as well just fold up and go home. As Chris writes:

Over the weekend, Nate Silver has used a poker analogy described the strategy: "going on tilt." I don't think that is the right poker analogy. In addition to the huge importance of a public option, this is nothing short of a campaign for permanent Progressive relevance in D.C. for as long as Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress. As such, this is like going all in order to earn a seat at the final table.

Just so. I think the Progressive Block has to remember that their political interests and political power are not completely consistent with President Obama's, despite what Nate Silver, Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias might think. If they blow this one, they will not get a second chance.

Speaking for me only

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    When is the last time the progressive (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by magster on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:07:55 PM EST
     movement had so much riding on a legislative initiative?  The 60's? No wonder the progressive block kinda stinks at this game -- this is all new ground.

    I'm terribly anxious about how this is going to play out.

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:45:35 PM EST
    This is probably as important as a Presidential election, politically speaking. Substantively, too.

    The Clinton (none / 0) (#57)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 01:42:59 AM EST
    impeachment vote.  All the Dems stood firm on that, but the House Progressives were particularly impassioned and impressive, IMHO.

    Ezra Klein, stupid, or too clever by half (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:10:08 PM EST
    From his chat today:

    Ithaca, N.Y.: Thank you for your excellent work in your blog.

    If health insurance reform passes WITHOUT a public option, what impact do you see this having on the democrats in the mid-term elections?

    Ezra Klein: The public option part of it? Almost none. Maybe there will be some dispirited liberals, but I have trouble seeing it. Now, if health-care reform doesn't pass, Democrats are in real trouble.

    Is he really suggesting that he doesn't see why this would be unpopular, or is he just banking on the fact that it won't take effect yet? Maybe he believes in the magic, cheaper and better insurance fairy.

    Frankly (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:13:32 PM EST
    I can't see how passing the current legislation helps in the mid-terms.

    Good policy is good politics (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:15:52 PM EST
    We apparently disagree on whether on not the House versions are good policy.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:19:04 PM EST
    I'm not really talking about the house version. I'm talking about getting it through the senate where it seems most of the trouble is.

    Ezra has never been good (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:35:28 PM EST
    at politics and I am coming to think he is not very good at policy either.

    What's left? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 06:39:07 PM EST
    Gossip. (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:23:16 PM EST
    I'm at a loss tonight (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 08:17:23 PM EST
    We are losing more than a few soldiers in Afghanistan weekly.  About to send my spouse in two weeks.  He will be far safer than almost all of the other soldiers over there but what the heck is all this fighting to protect our way of life about anymore?  We have more weapons than the rest of the planet put together in order to protect the world's largest second world country.  We aren't first world anymore.  Wouldn't it just be better to move in with someone who had a more peaceful frame of mind and was still a first world country?  A place where the citizens had quality of life?  

    MT, I get a word-a-day e mail, which (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 11:04:34 PM EST
    includes a "thought for today day."  Here is yesterday's thought:

    There will be no Homeland Security until we realize that the entire planet is our homeland. Every sentient being in the world must feel secure. -John Perkins, economist and author (b.1945)

    I am so sorry (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Cream City on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 11:35:08 PM EST
    and I remain so glad that I hadn't yet met my Vietnam vet when he was in service, as this must be so hard.  You raise age-old questions that wives and mothers have asked for eons, and it's so sad that you have to do so -- as it means that humanity has made so little progress. . . .

    They don't see it. (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:38:16 PM EST
    They don't think there is any political problem in allocating tax money to give subsidies to people to buy private insurance.  Republicans will run us into the ground if that's the scam - there's nothing they do better than eliminating federal subsidies.

    Have you read "Who Needs a Public Option?"  Yglesias wrote it.  I think they're crazy.


    I'm fine allowing him to explain (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 03:24:14 PM EST
    all to the jobless mob by himself.

    They're not the only ones (none / 0) (#62)
    by DWCG on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 04:03:53 PM EST
    Where is the outcry from the liberal blogosphere about this?

    No one is demanding or working to preclude tax dollars from going to the private insurance industry.

    And the worst part of it all is the reality that if there are going to be subsidies they HAVE TO be able to go to private insurers, because...wait for it...the public option is not financially cheaper for the overwhelming majority of workers who current or will in the future receive employer-based health insurance.

    Stated simply, employer-based plans require the employer to pay 65-72.5% of the premium, meaning employees pick up the remaining 27.5-35% of the premium.  If an employee goes on the exchange, there will be no 65-72.5% match.  People will be required to pay 100% of the premium, regardless of whether it is the public option or not.

    DEEP FLAW in the bill that no one is talking about.


    I don't know if he's stupid or too clever (5.00 / 8) (#15)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:43:56 PM EST
    by half, but he is plucking on my last nerve, for sure; in my mind's eye, I see him gazing lovingly at the Official Village Membership Card he just received to signify that his conversion is complete.

    I don't think Ezra truly appreciates how much desire there is among the voters for the Democrats they elected to stand up and fight for them, and that the anger that will come if they do not will be exacted come November, 2010.  Will it be in the form of voting for Republicans?  No, I don't think so - I think it will be in the form of massive and widespread absence from the voting booth.

    What really ticks me off is his reference to "some dispirited liberals," because it feels like he is channeling Obama, who has shown through his actions and his words that he does not hold liberals in much regard - well, unless the liberal's last name is "Kennedy" and then his regard goes off the charts.  

    What Ezra's saying is that Obama doesn't need the liberals to get reform done; what Ezra is missing is that liberals do not regard what is on the table as reform.

    And if Ezra were not so in love with being a card-carrying member of the Village, with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining, he'd be asking more questions, stop taking dictation, and parse and pick apart these proposals and expose them for what they are - and what they are not.


    Still funny (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lilburro on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:46:57 PM EST
    this is the guy who intimated that what Obama is doing is more bold than LBJ.

    Dispirited voters are more likely (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:02:02 PM EST
    to stay home during mid term elections. Something Ezra and crew might want to consider.

    Why does Ezra get the rage? (none / 0) (#18)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:55:12 PM EST
    I've seen no prominent blogger do in-depth analysis of the proposals (their position on the proposals don't matter -- none of them have done the work).  It's unfortunate, but Ezra is a symptom, not the problem.  

    While being a card-carrying member of the Village (whatever that is) causes Ezra to not do the analysis, what's the cause for literally every other blogger in existence?  And newspaper and magazine for that matter?  To be honest I'm not convinced that most congress people have done the analysis.


    Well, don;t you think that when this: (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 03:56:30 PM EST
    Ezra Klein writes an opinionated blog on economic policy, collapsing banks, cap and trade, health care reform and pretty much anything else you can attach a chart to. His blog points to the hottest policy ideas on the Web and provides his own up-to-the-minute take. Before coming to The Post, he was an associate editor at the American Prospect.

    is how the paper you write for describes what you do, that we should expect more analysis/questioning/confrontation on policy than he is delivering?


    So if your issue that they should change his bio? (none / 0) (#31)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 05:08:37 PM EST
    Sure his bio is overblown.  OK.  I'll agree with you on that, but I don't think it's that big of a deal.

    If your issue isn't with his bio, but rather the lack of analysis in his posting.  Well again, that's a problem for every blogger I know of.  The only that comes close is Nate Silver, and not so much because of what he writes, but the data he pulls together.  

    I guess the fundamental issue I see in many of the posts is that people aren't taking issue with ideas or ideologies.  But it seems more like, and correct me if I'm wrong, with people they simply don't like, for one reason or another.  

    Ezra Klein seems like a perfect example.  It's reasonable to say that you disagree with him.  That's fine.  But then people go on to attack him personally because he didn't do his due diligence.  But then literally in a post or two praise someone who you simply agree with who certainly demonstrated no more diligence.  They simply arrived at the conclusion that you arrive at.  Again, disagreement or agreement is fine.  But trying to rationalize that position based on some metadata seems like stretching to me.


    Good exchanges -- the answer... (none / 0) (#14)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:43:24 PM EST
    Can a good exchange do what the public option is intended to do?  Free markets work well when there's lots of information about the market, and less well when it's complex or information is hidden.

    I wonder if we had a clear, well regulated exchange, if we'd even need the public option (if push came to shove).  The public option is meant to keep insurers above board.  But if you have a transparent marketplace, this should happen anyways.  

    Of course like the info in any market, it can be tricky.  But I do think its doable.  Especially if you have groups like Consumer Reports reporting on the Exchange (their work in the auto industry fundamentally changed the market for automobiles).  

    While I'd also like to see the public option.  The lack of discussion around the exchanges seems like we're missing a good part of the forest.  

    I'd love to see Obama do a primetime special with some folks like Krugman and Cutler as the people doing the questioning.  Just great questions and real answers that go to the why just as much as the what.  But yes, wishful thinking.


    Can they do it? Yes. (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by andgarden on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:51:16 PM EST
    Will they? Not as far as I can tell.

    Congress is unwilling to regulate sufficiently for that to work.


    Isn't that the big problem... (none / 0) (#19)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:56:42 PM EST
    The public option is a failure without a good transparent exchange too.  It becomes just as opaque.  It seems like everyone is missing the issue that will make this a failure.

    The other key (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:00:48 PM EST
    is that a public option be available not only to individual purchasers of insurance, but employers purchasing on behalf of their employees.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#23)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:06:48 PM EST
    The public option should be available to all just like every private option.  With that said it should have to play by the same rules.  If you're offered in a state, you have to satisfy all of the states requirements, they should also have to do all of the same paperwork as private insurers in regards to certification, taxation, etc... (this is probably spelled out in the proposal already).  

    The public option should be more cost efficient due to private insurance waste and greed.  Not because they get to skip some steps being part of the federal gov't.


    Define "good exchange," if you would. (5.00 / 6) (#24)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 02:30:01 PM EST
    With respect to HR 3200, before you would be allowed access to an exchange, you would first have to make it through the gateway, and there are not going to be nearly enough people allowed through that gateway to create a pool large enough to make a competitive difference that will serve to drive costs - and I mean costs to the individual - down.

    Now, the Senate HELP Committee has as part of its bill the Community Health Insurance Option, that sounds like a national option, but a closer look reveals that what it will really be are private insurance-contracted companies regionalized to accommodate the various differences in state mandates and regulations.

    I leave you to ponder this:

    There are no good examples yet of successful exchanges. California has 15 years' experience with an exchange, and it has been a failure. A July 2009 Issue Brief by the California HealthCare Foundation details its problems and demise. It was initially intended to "provide an easy to navigate single point of entry where people could go to choose among several health plans, reduce the cost of coverage (using three primary mechanisms: reduce administrative costs by achieving economies of scale, command lower prices, and foster market competition), and enhance portability of coverage." None of those objectives were achieved.

    Instead, the California Exchange achieved few administrative efficiencies, lacked pricing power, and was burdened by adverse selection of sicker enrollees. Private insurers gamed the system and loaded up the Exchange with people with more expensive illnesses. Despite large start-up funding, the experiment was unsustainable, and was shut down in 2006.

    Your turn.


    The Cali Exchange... (none / 0) (#25)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 03:01:37 PM EST
    I'm very familiar with this, but I hadn't seen that particular report (thanks).  It was largely considered a failure and part of my apprehension with exchanges is due to it.  

    Which is why I find all of the discussion around the public option to be somewhat amazing.  If you can't determine which insurance is best for you, how can you decide if the public option makes sense?  One of the reasons why UPS vs FedEx vs USPS works so well is because of the relative transparency (and low switching costs) of the carriers.

    At the end we need a robust (mandatory?) exchange.  I've heard little concrete on exactly how the exchange will be set up, requirements, locale eligibility, etc...

    If you don't get that working well all of the talk of the public option will amount to nothing as the intended goal of the public option to control private insurance won't work as there will be no marketplace to drive this.

    If I were private insurance companies I'd even consider supporting the public option, and make sure the exchanges get buried.  No one would be none the wiser as no one is paying attention to anything but the public option and death panels.


    Frankly (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by sj on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 05:36:15 PM EST
    I don't think UPS and FEDEX should ever be compared to the USPS. Certainly not favorably.  They have a market niche.  Do you really think that if there was no USPS that they would be delivering first class mail at any price close to 44 cents per piece? I have the greatest respect for, and appreciation of, the Post Office.  

    As for the service provided by some of the people behind the counter?  All three of them have good 'uns and bad 'uns.  


    Of course you should compare them... (none / 0) (#35)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 06:35:46 PM EST
    They all operate in related industry.  But the point wasn't to say that one does a better job than the other.  It was to point out that the "public option" hasn't eliminated the private options nor made it such that new private options don't appear.  They are able to compete effectively against each other because of the transparency of the endeavors.  

    The fact of the matter that in almost any industry where there are private and public options, it's NOT the case that the public option wipes out the private option.  But it does offer a great alternative.  You can see this not only in parcel services, but things such as education, transportation, water, large scale select cargo services, etc...


    I see (none / 0) (#61)
    by sj on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 10:32:49 AM EST
    Okay, I'll buy that.

    Well (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:12:07 PM EST
    I hope that they are truly tired of having bus tracks on their back and I hope they stand their ground even if it means NO legislation getting passed. Passing teh current legislation IMO is worse than no legislation.

    A bill with no public option and mandate to buy (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:59:12 PM EST
    insurance from private insurers will drive many progressives to sit out the election or go third party.  Who could blame them?  We have the White Hosue, a filibuster proof Senate and substantial House majority and we can't get an acceptable HCR bill signed into law?

    On the other hand, a good bill will excite progressives and promtp them to help stem the likely losses of a mid-term election and, in time, the success of the program will lead to further Democratic victories.

    My post is not meant to imply a progressive threat, not that I could in any way imaginable do that, this is just how I see the electoral politics of this playing out.

    Somerby is saying (5.00 / 6) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 03:27:03 PM EST
    that the media and the Liberals are locked in a perpetual suicidal coma.

    Take the "birthers," or the "death panels" for instance. The media will report, "angry crowds met Rep. So `n So, at the Town Hall meeting......" when, if they took their jobs seriously and reported the truth would say something like, "The Republicans were out in full force today spreading totally made up lies about the Democrats' positions." "The tactic seems to be working as the Democrats, inexplicably, treat these idiotic charges as "worthy of debate," instead of calling "sh*t for what it is, sh*t."

    The other point Somerby makes is, why, after all these years, with "health care" such a flagship issue for them, and finally all the stars aligned: the Presidency, Congress, 60 senators, yadda, yadda, yadda, does the public not know WTF they're talking about?

    At this point I'm not sure we could pass health care if we held every Congressional seat and all 100 in the Senate.

    A quibble (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by s5 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 09:41:23 PM EST
    It's "bloc" not "block". Though in the context of a bloc blocking bad legislation, it could work either way. :)

    Read the history of the phrase in this context (none / 0) (#55)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:40:57 AM EST
    The K is intentional.

    It is a coined phrase (none / 0) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 09:11:48 AM EST
    Your spelling corrections are always appreciated but not correct in this instance.

    It is one thing to know that you are (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:01:35 PM EST
    right on an issue.  It is another to take a firm stand, to risk, to have courage when people are spitting in your face.  Maybe it is only me, but I also feel that the progressive caucus fears where taking a stand could lead them all in the end.  Will they all be called bleeding hearts at some point when a welfare recipient drives up in a Cadillac?  The arguments and framings of the past are over now if only we will let them be so.  There are voices out there being listened to every day that are not for sale (too few for my taste but they are there).  Just because someone has a newspaper column will not grant them access to rewriting history anymore though.  If the progressives take the stand, get the public option, I vow to document the progress and health that it will bring to our whole nation.  I will never let the history of this moment of actually DOING WHAT IS RIGHT ever be rewritten into a frame that empowers any sort of "pinched or cruel agenda" (digby's words) ever again.  Write up the contract, I'll sign it.

    Is taking a firm stand such a good thing? (none / 0) (#4)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:51:48 PM EST
    If all of your constituents say that it's a bad thing then maybe you should reconsider.  I'm all for doing what is right, but we should be weary of those that don't listen to what others are telling them.

    One of the most disappointing things that has emerged as a meme in politics and the press is demonization of polls.  Sure there are problems with them, but actually working to understand what the population believes is important.  Sure talking to the waitress in Kalamazoo is important too, but realistically you can find any one person to prove any particular point.

    I think what you're getting at is right on.  Unfortunately, the way it is often interpreted by the media and politicians is that it is better to fight for something that is wrong than to actually be flexible, always looking at the evidence, and frankly always questioning your assumptions.  

    I'd love a day when politicians are respected for being actual thinkers rather than simply immovable objects with blinders -- which is what America really does seem to celebrate.


    I did not mean to exclude a firm stand (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:00:24 PM EST
    from doing what is right.  Is a firm stand needed in every situation?  No...even though FOX News is working very hard to spread the addiction of such fighting.  Is a firm stand needed in order to remedy healthcare in this country?  Absolutely, and nothing is more important at the moment than regaining the health of our nation.

    "All your constituents?" (none / 0) (#56)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 01:41:19 AM EST
    Please.  Give me a break.

    And how about, as in this case everywhere, the vast majority of your constituents have been lied to by right-wing crapola about "death panels" and the like?

    It's a representative democracy.  I expect my representatives to vote according to their understanding of the issues, not according to poll numbers.

    We have a real big poll every few years.  It's called an election.


    Passion is no substitute for strategy (none / 0) (#6)
    by RonK Seattle on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 01:08:01 PM EST
    That's why health care reform is an exotic hothouse plant that blooms only once a generation.

    And that's why this generation's effort has already established a strategic deficit that may prove insurmountable.

    Reform faces a mountain of obstacles and opposition, and for some reason this mountain wasn't on the expedition's maps and charts.

    You really think that in this economy (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 03:19:24 PM EST
    and given our health care problems that health care reform is a wild hothouse flower that blooms only once in a generation?  I think that when the economic environment is less brutal that could be a true statement.  In this climate though and in our economic jobless recovery reality, health care reform is the weed that will not go away.

    Health care reform is going away right now (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by RonK Seattle on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 04:43:22 PM EST
    ... right before our unbelieving eyes.

    And this when the party of government controls the White House, when we enjoy strong House and Senate majorities, when health care was a central issue in the presidential primaries and general election, and when a very popular POTUS promised to have it done within a year.


    Mt, I agree (Not happily) with RonK (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 05:48:30 PM EST
    True reform is disappearing as we speak, but some sort of hopeychangey dialogue will continue, and probably some form of 'reform' will pass that further taxes the already-taxed lives of workers and folks in the middle class and lower.

    the one aspect that few have written about that concerns (hell, TERRIFIES) me is the "Let them eat cake" attitude of the "progressives." I expected the resistance from the Republicans, from Billy Tauzin, and from talk radio. I expected exaggerations from them, and even the outright lies they gave and continue to give.

    I must be getting old, and I already know I am marginalized by the Democratic Party, based on where I live. Not bitterness, reality. I did think, however that there were more old-fashioned liberals around.

    I am not a fan of progressives. I'm a liberal. I served in the military, just like George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Truman, and others... I know where I stand, and I know what I stand for. I know who I stand for. I guess popular liberalism, caring about the little guy, just isn't what it used to be.

    The regular folks have already been sold out by this administration. Where's TARP? Where's the relief for homeowners? Where's relief for health care?

    I give less than a damn if any bank exists, so long as the FDIC will give me back the nine dollars or so I have left in the bank. The extra 25 bucks a week I was granted while on unemployment, while nice, did NOT add up to enough to pay full on any bills. While it helped at the grocery store, it was, to me, insulting.

    "Gee, you're unemployed. here's 100 monthly more."

     Gee 100 bucks! Lucky for me I had paid 12 months of insurace in 9, because, if I'd had to go on COBRA, that 100 bucks would not have covered my insurance. It didn't cover my lot rent in a trailor park.

    this collection of progressives don't know what it means to be hungry, sick, or unemployed, living on faith, and hoping something changes.

    Whole food shoppers. A social class. A'movement' well, when I eat beans and peppers, I have a movement also, and I don't see a lot of difference in the cognitive abilities of either.

    I'd better shut up, I'm getting angry. Heath care reform had it's brief shining moment some 4-5 months ago. A real administration would have twisted arms until they broke to get it through.

    just my two angry cents.


    Great post (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:09:54 PM EST
    and I agree 100%. The condescending "whole foods" obamanation that keeps telling me I'm lucky to get some scraps from under the table does nothing to make me want to vote for Dems but then you have to realize that you're now dealing with the "new democratic party" and that one really does not care about the middle class it seems.

    heck, Ga6th, (none / 0) (#44)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:40:21 PM EST
    being in Georgia or Alabama or Mississipi means we don't count to the Whole Foods crowd, doesn't it?

    I wish this were snark.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#45)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:49:04 PM EST
    me too and the irony is that down here the people really need the party but the GOP has done such a good job of pitting blacks against whites and convincing the middle class that giving it all to hte "plantation owner" is the way to go that I think things are going to have to get even worse before people come out of their fog.

    Whole Foods is what we have (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 08:11:25 PM EST
    when the gator first hits the door :)

    What does that mean? (none / 0) (#38)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 06:48:26 PM EST
    "A real administration would have twisted arms until they broke to get it through."

    If I'm a Republican congress person who doesn't want this bill to go through, what are you going to do to me?  Really?  In fact the best thing you can do is take me on -- either in public or private.  I'll win points with my party on it.

    You can't stop a filibuster.  There's not a darn thing you can do.  You can break as many arms as you like, but at the end of the day breaking arms won't change minds.  It's a nice thought, but not grounded in reality.  If all it was was that "we need to be tougher" that would have already happened.  Rahm would have played that card.  People here don't seem to get that being scrappy/tough/persistent won't get you past an opponent who only wants you to lose. Unfortunately congress has become more a game of winning/losing than helping.


    there were sufficient votes (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:00:05 PM EST
    In the house and the senate. Even before Franken got there. you twist arms in your own party, just like Delay and Senate leaders did. there are enough weak sisters among the Republicans-- you seem to forget the Northeasterners-- that a filibuster would not have been likely. 59 votes plus one ends a filibuster.

    what you don't realize is that the democrats haven't played tough with their own membership. the Republicans and independents in the senate weren't organized enough to filibuster, because some issues were suitable to them.

    Of course, I wasn't and I am not worried about a filibuster. I am speaking of Democratic senators, or 'senators who caucus with the democrats' plus one. Don't expect me to believe that the Republican leadership controls all of their senators in matters such as this, because they couldn't.


    When will you get (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 01:45:56 AM EST
    that the Republicans are irrelevant to this?  You seem to be channeling Mr. Post-Partisan hopey-changey.

    The issue is the Blue Dog Dems, and Obam himself, not the Republicans.  The Repubs are committed obsructionists to any Dem. initiative that would endear them to the voters.  That's a given.


    OK (none / 0) (#59)
    by BigElephant on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 02:13:34 AM EST
    So you're basically saying it is hopeless.  That's fine.  Just come out and say it.  If you can't get any Republicans and lets be frank the Blue Dogs are just as near Republican as Democrat, you really don't have the majority you believe you have.

    Give me a break (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by DWCG on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 05:29:44 PM EST
    Oh please.

    Give me a break.

    The reality is this bill is about exactly what the bought-and-paid-for Obama Administration and Democratic leadership want.

    They want to keep sucking the teet of Big Business to fuel their campaigns to stay in power by getting fools like us convinced they're actually doing something, when in reality 9 out of 10 things they do on the Hill are primarily to funnel our tax dollars to their financiers.

    You're whining about the filibuster?!  Give me a fricking break.  LBJ passed the bloody Civil Rights Act in the middle of a heated national environment (churches and cities were literally on fire) with got damn racists in the Senate chambers and with less friendly votes today than we have Democrats in the Senate.

    LET THE BASTARDS FILIBUSTER (a good bill, which we DON'T have right now).  Let them throw a hissy-fit on national TV all week if they want to.  How in the world is that seen as bad for Democrats?


    If we get bad reform though (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:13:08 PM EST
    the issue is not going away.  Being incompetent while people are attempting to endure what they must endure right now isn't going to be easily tolerated.

    Our window was a few months ago, unless (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:38:31 PM EST
    somebody, ANYBODY will lead. Tell the 'gang of 6' that it's going to be very difficult for ANY legislation that they want passed to get on the agenda...and then tell them, or at least tel the Democrats, that it might make it through the house, but unless they support REAL health care reform, it probably ain't gonna make it out of the reconciliation... sorry, but reconciliation can be a mofo... too bad you didn't play ball when we needed a DEMOCRATIC vote.

    I wonder about Harry Reid... He is personally tough, but what in the heck is going on with this?

    If I had to venture a guess, it would be abandonment of the issue by the administration. Reid isn't going to kill his own power for a bill that is, at best, tepidly supported by the president.

    So what do we have? More Center-Right policies. Aid to the rich, and cake for people like me.

    Just remember, Washington, rich does not equal smart, and poor doesn't mean stupid.

    I pulled the lever for you, Mr. President. do what you said you'd do, as MilitaryTracy says. That's a contract. you want to renegotiate? So do I.

    But we can't right now, can we? Do what you said AFTER the primaries. It wasn't enough, but it was better than McCain.


    If the left screws us on this (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 07:58:15 PM EST
    with as bad as the money situation is for so many....it is going to be so demoralizing for the citizens of this nation.  I was talking to my daughter today and suddenly I just wanted to figure out how to move her and the two little ones to Europe.  At least what you put into your society in Europe you are rewarded for.  You don't work two jobs, 60+hrs a week, and then go home and find yourself unable to sleep because you don't know how you are going to make it.  America isn't first rate at anything anymore other than being able to kill mass quantities of people efficiently and force projection.  Other than that we have nothing much to be proud of.  We lead in nothing adding to human dignity in general anymore, but I'm told that this is the best we can do and the most we can expect.  What a crock!

    Can't disagree. but this is my house. (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 08:31:01 PM EST
    I'd rather try to fix it up than move to a new neighborhood. Heck, I won't leave Alabama because I can do good here. I could have moved to South America. I'd still be married, and see my son daily.

    this is home, this is family. I just can't desert home and family.

    I guess it's a southern thing. I can be left behind, but I can't leave it behind. If I moved to South America, I'd still be here, at least my soul would.


    I'm a vagabond :) (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 08:40:39 PM EST
    I don't have fantasies of being a cocktail waitress in a militia bar in Wyoming though.  Been there....the bars aren't that great and the militia bar is so pathetic nobody even knows where that one is :)

    Of course the issue's not going away (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by RonK Seattle on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:25:10 AM EST
    It'll still be out there, waiting for the next wave of reformist optimism ... ten or twenty years from now.

    do-nothing congress (none / 0) (#32)
    by diogenes on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 05:09:47 PM EST
    Ho-ho.  If the Health care bill fails because of the progressives voting against it due to the absence of a "public option" that swing voters aren't all that in favor of, won't the Democrats in Congress catch all the blame for the continuation of the status quo?  Maybe if the Republicans win congress then they can do a grand compromise with Obama and actually pass a bill?

    This congress can't get out of its own way... (none / 0) (#37)
    by BigElephant on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 06:43:29 PM EST
    I must admit I'm in some agreement with you.  I've never seen a congress less on message than this congress.  I'm ready to boot my two senators for their handling of the stimulus package.  It has been a great opportunity to really make some great progress, but political expediency has got in the way of making good.