What Does Snowe Bring To The Table?

Steve Benen writes:

Republicans aren't looking for concessions; they're looking to kill the legislation. . . . It's hard not to be impressed with these negotiations. Dems say, "How about a public option that would offer consumers a choice, and lower prices through competition?" Republicans reply, "No." Dems say, "OK, how about a system of non-profit co-ops"? Republicans reply, "No." Dems say, "How about a trigger, which would bring added competition to the system if private insurers fail to meet certain benchmarks?" Republicans reply, "No."

Anyone with a brain knew this. But here's the question, why do we need Olympia Snowe's vote? Steve writes "It's one thing to entertain the idea of a trigger to bring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) into the fold[.]" Wait up, why do we need her in the fold? What do we get substantively for having Snowe in the fold? Can someone explain to me why Dems are even talking to her? There will be 60 Dem votes in the Senate soon enough (when MA replaces Ted Kennedy.) So why do we care about Olympia Snowe? What does she bring to the table? And at what cost?

It would be somewhat funny (in a tragic way) if Snowe goes for a public option but extracts the price of stripping out all the subsidies Ezra Klein loves so much. That would be damned ironic. All of Ezra Klein's deal breakers could become the bargaining chip for the public option. I wonder how he would feel about that? But that might be what is at stake if the fetishization of Olympia Snowe continues.

Speaking for me only

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    IMO, a good enough public option (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:04:28 AM EST
    could potentially make most of the subsidies unnecessary.

    My view is that (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:08:08 AM EST
    structurally, the public option component is much more important than the levels of the subsidies.

    As Ezra is f0ond of saying (though I doubt we'll hear it from him now that his deal breakers are the ones in play), this is an incremental process.

    Hey, we can raise the subsidy levels later.


    I agree 100% (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:12:20 AM EST
    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:15:06 AM EST
    They are also much easier to lower. (Imagine the prospect of a Republican House demanding that they be eliminated to cover the deficit). No similar argument can be made about a public option.

    Snowe is the one who cut the stimulus (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:18:23 AM EST
    If she has to swallow the PO, which she will I hope, she'll take out something else.

    It is obvious to me it will be the levels of the subsidies.

    Olympia Snowe is the biggest threat to Ezra's cherished subsidy levels.

    We'll see if he twists himself into a pretzel on that one.


    Snowe's approval didn't help the WH frame the (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by kempis on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:38:25 PM EST
    stimulus bill as bipartisan. The loud, rightwing propagandists had everyone convinced that the stimulus bill was all-Obama, all spending, and all Republicans opposed it. That's now conventional wisdom because Limbaugh and Beck and GOP leadership are defining conventional wisdom these days.

    It will not matter if Olympia Snowe is on board or not; ANY health care reform will be vociferously protested as another socialistic over-reach by the radical Obama administration. The GOP doesn't give a damn about Olympia Snowe. Neither will their rabid base.

    Don't the Democrats know this? I think the answer has to be yes; otherwise we're really screwed because then they'd be not only weak and corrupt but also stupid.

    So I have to agree with Jane Hamsher and others: bipartisanship is a pretext for passing weak changes designed to benefit the public a little and insurers and pharmaceutical companies a lot. The Democrats are mainly interested in filling their campaign coffers and not having to run against industry-bankrolled challengers. So I'm betting that any public option we get will be watered down to something meaningless for the people who need it.



    And Presumably They Fear (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by The Maven on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 03:16:14 PM EST
    that those industry-bankrolled challengers will be even more flush with money to spend against them as the result of the Citizens United case to be argued at the Supreme Court this week.  (Off-topic, but I'd love to see a right-winger try to defend this reargument as anything but an extreme example of judicial activism.)  If corporate spending in election campaigns is unleashed, the race for major sources of cash will be even more frantic than anything we've seen to date, and these craven Dems appear to want to be first in line with their hands out, palms upraised.

    I agree with you (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:24:43 AM EST
    Snowe is really a free agent in all of this. As far as I can tell she's untouchable in Maine.

    Is Nelson untouchable in (none / 0) (#33)
    by oldpro on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:45:45 PM EST

    No (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:48:04 PM EST
    Nebraska is too red for him to ever really be safe. He was a popular governor, but he still lost his first Senate race to Chuck Hagel.

    IMHO (none / 0) (#28)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:35:13 PM EST
    You had a good subject going in this diary until you junked it up with the mention of Ezra. He doesn't have any influence in any of this.

    I've been saying that (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:14:33 PM EST
    for months. Where Obama and the congress screwed up is trying to pass everything at once. They needed to put the infrastructure (public option) in place first and avoid the money part of it in order to eliminate the deficit argument. Dealing only with the public option would have made for better message control.

    Once the infrastructure was in place you could fund it incrementally.

    The Democrats in general are lousy tacticians. Obama is the worst policy communicator in modern times.


    You said (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:23:05 PM EST
    the Public Option could wait.

    that was your mistake.


    I never said that on any (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    blog I post on. For me if there is no substantial public option then I want the House Progressives to blow the entire process up.

    My mistake (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:36:54 PM EST
    I confused you with someone else.

    I second that (5.00 / 6) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:43:09 PM EST
    For me if there is no substantial public option then I want the House Progressives to blow the entire process up.

    I third it... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by kempis on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:44:46 PM EST
    And I think that we will find out, in the end, who the real progressives are. I hope we aren't too terribly disappointed.

    And I fourth it (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Zorba on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:40:38 PM EST
    No public option, no "health care" bill.  I'm absolutely on board with that.  I'm terribly pessimistic though, that what we'll get is "the insurance companies can't deny you based on previously-existing conditions, and can't kick you out if you get sick, but everyone will be mandated to buy insurance, and, BTW, no public option and very little help if you can't afford it, but the IRS will punish you by taking it out of your taxes if you don't buy it."  Screw that.

    Except they may be able to kick you out (none / 0) (#74)
    by sallywally on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:37:48 PM EST
    as soon as you file a claim. See the thread at the top of tonight's blog.

    Exactly - Medicare Buy-In is the ONLY robust P.O. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by DWCG on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:04:45 PM EST
    If the public option, which Democrats continue to falsely claim is "like Medicare," actually was Medicare the need for subsidies would be minimal if at all.

    Allowing people to buy into Medicare with a 7% payroll tax split between employer-employee for the enrollees is $70 a month for a person who just makes $12/hr.

    Medicare/Medicaid's costs would actually go down (might as well combine them), because as of today it is only populated with people who are the most expensive to insurer: the elderly, disabled and poor.  Adding healthy, younger and more affluent people to the program, which is exactly what would happen at lightening speed, makes the program more solvent.

    You'd kill two birds with one stone.

    Say it with me progressives: Allowing Anyone to Buy Into Medicare is the ONLY robust public option.


    Medicare (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:42:07 PM EST
    needs some pretty intense reform itself before it becomes a 'robust' public option.


    Medicaid is even worse in that regard.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:51:57 PM EST
    I'm not sure why they didn't start this process by addressing the so called "inefficiencies" in Medicare. It wouldn't have been a bad idea to also have conducted a poll and asked people in Medicaid, Medicare, and SCHIP liked and disliked about their government run health care. It might have allowed them to tamp down or anticipate some of the arguments.

    Not reform...money! (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by DWCG on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 10:08:01 PM EST
    Most of the defections are recent.  Congress keeps cutting rates and revising rules.  It's hard to believe it's not intentional given the many special interests involved.

    The Medicare oversight board simply needs to be empowered, and Congress' role reduced.


    That'll make the public option (none / 0) (#16)
    by WS on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:47:15 AM EST
    even more popular and result in increased calls for an expanded public option in this or later legislation.  Woo Hoo!  I like!

    Subsidies are essential (none / 0) (#21)
    by Coral on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:02:00 PM EST
    You can't slap people making 200-300 percent of poverty line with mandates and no subsidies. They simply don't have the income to pay monthly insurance rates of $200-$1500, depending on policy, how many in family, etc. Lots of young people losing parents' coverage are making just barely enough to pay rent, food & transportation.

    Even a public option is going to be above the subsidized rates that you can now qualify for in MA. Unless the public option includes a sliding scale calibrated to income, which I have not seen in any discussions.


    I do wonder (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    what public option rates for individuals would be? If you think of the mandate as a kind of tax, then the public option should absolutely be offered on a sliding scale.

    The rates (none / 0) (#27)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:30:23 PM EST
    will be and should be the same for each person according to their age classification (if that is how it is setup). The differences in the premium people actually pay will be determined by separate subsidies.

    My opinion (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:11:11 AM EST
    Demcrats are afraid of being rebranded as creators of the heinous free loading welfare state.  I already know Obama fears this desperately.  When Clinton did welfare reform they got to drop that branding. If they do this alone, they risk the possibility that they have to address those kinds of Republican accusations in the future.  And they would rather spend their time fearing that instead of coming up with answers and the obvious arguments to such accusations that the suffering people of this country will know are true.

    How does getting Snowe change that? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    If one Republican goes with them (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:16:22 AM EST
    then they didn't do it alone?  They didn't cram this down anyone's throat and lead us down the road to working stiffs supporting welfare queens?  It was "agreed" that this is what the country needed.

    Um (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:18:55 AM EST
    who are they fooling with that? Only themselves.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:27:55 AM EST
    If there is any truth to what I suspect.

    obviously... (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:48:31 AM EST
    ...there is a reason this is being done.  and the reason, to be sure, whatever it is, is illogical, counterproductive, not in the interests of the American people, all of it, BUT...I have a feeling this is still Obama's PPU schtick desperately trying to cling to life in his quite flawed mindset.  Why ELSE would they be trying so hard to get her "on board", whatever that means?  I can see no other reason than the WH actually believes that it matters if one republican sort of, kind of, but not really, supports something marginally resembling a decent-to-bad plan.

    In short, I think it is stupidity.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is the complete misreading of what is necessary or even desirable.  A terrible, almost amateurish misreading.


    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:53:04 AM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:01:44 PM EST
    it worked for Bush why wouldn't it work for Obama. It's a great way to avoid taking responsiblity for a disaster by saying that Republicans voted for it too!!!

    Perhaps Snowe (none / 0) (#23)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:22:09 PM EST
    represents insurance against that one Democrat who doesn't vote with us (if it is only one). The more Republicans on our side the better for insurance.

    It's really simple. The more votes we have the easier the process is. But yet you keep wrongly insisting almost daily that the Republicans are not players in this process. They very much are.


    A suiciding Democrat? (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:54:18 PM EST
    I know we've had them but wasn't aware we had only one that Snowe will save us from

    They may be players (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:26:03 PM EST
    but they are players for the opposition team. Handing the ball to the opposition team is just plain stupid strategy.

    The Democrats should be more worried about public opinion then worrying about placating a minority party that is minority for a reason.


    I'm didn't suggest (none / 0) (#67)
    by SGITR on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:14:50 PM EST
    handing the ball to any Republican. I'm suggesting that we work for votes where we can get them. We can't even rely on getting all the Democratic in the Senate so a few moderate Republicans who would vote our way would be nice. I guess you didn't get that part.

    To work to convince a few Republicans costs nothing. They either end up voting with us or they don't. If they don't we are no worse off had we not tried. If we don't try we may be leaving votes on the table. That would be stupid. You should already know that.


    Have you been paying attention? n/t (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Spamlet on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:16:07 PM EST
    asdf (none / 0) (#85)
    by SGITR on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 11:58:12 AM EST
    I say ram the public option through (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Saul on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:15:54 AM EST
    even if you have to take the nuclear option.

    Once its passed they will hate you now but thank you later.

    It a moral obligation to get health care for everyone.

    If I was Obama I would play hard ball with the the blue dogs.  Johnson would also let you know what the consequences would be if you did not vote on a bill he wanted.  If the blue dogs are worried they will not get re elected if they vote with Obama then Obama can also make sure they don't get re elected if they vote against his bill.

    The main legacy that Obama has to ensure is the passing of health care.  If that is all he did through his 4 or 8 years then that is enough.

    Reading the tea leaves (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:28:09 AM EST
    Michael Dukakis should be in the Senate before Halloween.

    One less excuse for the Dems (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:59:34 AM EST
    Which tea leaves? (none / 0) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:45:40 PM EST
    And why Michael particularly?

    I used to know the guy personally pretty well way back when and I am a HUGE admirer personally and politically, so the possibility of this has me really, really, really psyched.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

    What have you heard/read that makes you say that? (from your mouth to God's ears!)


    Well, him because he's the most (none / 0) (#35)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:46:54 PM EST
    obvious appointee. But the tea leaves revolve around intense lobbying of the MA leg. by members of Congress and unions. There was an article last week.

    There was an article ... (none / 0) (#83)
    by weltec2 on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 05:25:07 AM EST
    Oh well... I'm still hoping.

    What will be the humiliation cost for subsidies? (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by esmense on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:44:53 PM EST
    Seeing the humiliating, dehumanizing hoops an acquaintance, in her mid-50s, who last winter lost 80 pounds and her employment because of a sudden onset thyroid condition, must jump through on a monthly basis merely to get coverage of a $23 prescription cost, I'm extremely suspicious of how the "subsidies" will work and what people will be required to give up in order to qualify for them. The worst possible world; no limits on what insurance companies can charge, mandatory insurance coverage required for consumers, grudgingly offered, income based subsidies that must be obtained through a maze of endless red tape, intentionally punitive monitoring and sanctions, constant, intrusive government oversight of one's personal circumstances.

    This would be a nightmare.

    In no way is it an acceptable substitute for what is needed; affordable health coverage that the vast majority of Americans can easily and freely pay for themselves.

    Exactly: (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by prittfumes on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:29:25 PM EST
    Seeing the humiliating, dehumanizing hoops an acquaintance, in her mid-50s, who last winter lost 80 pounds and her employment because of a sudden onset thyroid condition, must jump through on a monthly basis merely to get coverage of a $23 prescription cost, I'm extremely suspicious of how the "subsidies" will work and what people will be required to give up in order to qualify for them. ...
    I know people who are considered "not poor enough" for Medicaid. Where do these people fit into any subsidy plan? $25 a month to them might as well be $2500.

    As a side note IMO those who keep touting "Medicare for all" need to learn more about the Medicare program. They may be surprised to learn Medicare is not exactly the epitome of perfection some seem to think it is.


    My sister, who is on disability (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by sallywally on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:45:49 PM EST
    and Medicare (Advantage), has better coverage than I do on Ohio Public Employees Retirement System coverage under Aetna.

    I have to pay a bit more of my bills than when I was working (and bringing in more money) but then my Rx costs are lower now.

    I don't know how that will work out when I go on Humana Medicare Advantage, but the larger percentage of my sister's prescriptions have a $0 copay.


    Even worse (none / 0) (#60)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:48:51 PM EST
    is when you see a person who is on disability and find out they are considered "too rich" to qualify for Medicaid. For cripes sake, most people who are disabled and surviving on disability aren't living lifestyles of the rich and famous. Additionally, since they are disabled to begin with it makes absolutely no sense NOT to ensure they are receiving adequate medical care. I have a neighbor on disability for migraines that has forgone an MRI for years because she simply can not afford to pay for it. Her budget leaves her enough room for the nuerologist and the meds(barely) but she depleted her 401k waiting for them to actually give her a rating for disability(she actually had to live off her savings for over a year to be considered disabled.)

    It should be a given that if you are receiving disability that the government will cover you in some sort of government plan so that you do not have to pay thousands out of pocket for tests and/or medication, equipment, etc. etc. in order to manage your disability.


    Worthless effort (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:46:18 PM EST
    Snowe's support means zip. Democrat's are going to own this bill whether 1 Republican or even 10 vote for it! Maybe 20 years down the road when it's an accepted part of American life, Republican's will claim victory for fine tuning it. (snark)

    No (none / 0) (#41)
    by DWCG on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:08:38 PM EST
    Republicans are going to be running campaign ads touting that it was the Democrats that forced millions of Americans to buy junk insurance.

    By the time the ink on the bill dries, the Party will be dead.


    Labor Day speech (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:54:54 PM EST
    FWIW, Obama's giving a barn-burner of a speech at the AFL-CIO.  I'm not able to listen closely, but he's dropping his g's all over the place, so he seems to be in full-fledged campaign mode.  It almost sounds like he's deliberately saying all the stuff the rightwingers were so terrified he was going to say to their kids in school tomorrow.

    Obama is selling mode (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:45:54 PM EST
    The AFL-CIO stated that they would not support any plan without a public option. Obama is using this appearance and his personality to promote the union getting behind his insurance plan no matter what it contains.

    "We have never been this close," Obama said. "We have never had this broad an agreement on what needs to be done." He accused vested interests of trying to thwart his attempts to bring health care to all Americans. Some union-circulated posters held up by audience members proclaimed, "Health Care Can't Wait."

    Tend to agree with you today (none / 0) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 07:38:31 AM EST
    Really? (none / 0) (#42)
    by WS on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:09:08 PM EST
    We need more barn burner speeches Mr. President sort of like this from the great Sen. Kennedy.  

    Does it matter though? (none / 0) (#43)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:12:46 PM EST
    is he drawing any lines in the sand that he would actually stand behind?

    Nope, didn't hear any (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:21:18 PM EST
    but as I say, I wasn't able to listen carefully.

    I just thought it was interesting, is all.  He was totally into it, having a wonderful time, throwing out a lot of red meat Dem. lines.  He hasn't really done this a whole lot since the inauguration.  Heck, he didn't do it much during the campaign.

    Makes me wonder a bit what's up.  He's no terrible at faking this kind of enthusiasm when he isn't feeling it.  So why is he feeling it?  I have at least some faint hope maybe it's because the Republicans and their allies have finally gotten his back up.  Also there was a lot of hard whacking at insurance companies in the speech.

    And purely on the human side, a wonderful retelling of the "Fired up, ready to go" story.

    I guess bottom line is he unexpectedly seemed to be in a roaring good mood, and I wonder why since he's been trying to walk a tightrope and getting pasted from all sides for weeks.


    He's (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 01:42:36 PM EST
    in a good mood because he loves to do speeches in front of large crowds. I've said it time and again that he missed his calling. He should've been an evangelical preacher. I guess you can hope it means something but we've seen time and again that the speeches really dont mean anything policy wise and most of teh time are little more than an ego trip for Obama.

    Yup (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:21:36 PM EST
    He's just enjoying prepping the AFL-CIO for their bus-undering on the PO.

    Maybe they think Snowe can bring (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:28:26 PM EST
    some more Republicans votes along in the floor vote? Like Collins maybe?

    Still not worth it in my view, but then I'm a divider, not a uniter.

    I have no problem with (none / 0) (#51)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:32:17 PM EST
    uniting per se'(if it is strategically necessary or brings a substantial benefit). Doing so for the sake of saying I'm being so? Not so much.

    Atrios (5.00 / 5) (#61)
    by ruffian on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:00:53 PM EST
    Say what you will, the man is good with putting it in the nutshell:

    Thet seem to have lost track of the fact - a fact Republicans understand and have been quite open about for decades - that passing a popular health care bill will make voters love Democrats and passing an unpopular one, or perhaps none at all, will make voters hate them. The Republicans were always going to oppose whatever the Democrats came up with, I just didn't know the Dems would let them do that while also letting them work to make sure anything they came up with is really unpopular.

    Bold is mine. the precise problem we are going to live with for a long time if Snowe rules the world.

    what does snowe bring to the table? (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by cpinva on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:47:33 PM EST
    how about the opportunity for the obama administration to do what it's wanted to do all along, with regards to health care delivery: nothing?

    i have concluded, based on a thorough analysis of all the evidence, that it was never the intent of pres. obama to do anything tangible about health care delivery in the US, ever. if it were, it would have been done by now, with a strong public option.

    by throwing it to the "group o' six", and eviscerating anything worthwhile out of a potential program, ostensibly to gain a "bi-partisan" bill, he ensured that exactly nothing would happen; the progressive dems won't vote for it, and no republican would vote for anything, short of a total transfer of cash from the treasury to the insurance and pharma companies.

    this effectively kills it, while allowing obama to say he tried.

    prove me wrong.

    Whatever else he is (none / 0) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:49:57 PM EST
    he is not such a fool as that.

    Raising expectations you have no intention of delivering on is about the stupidest, most self-destructive thing any pol can do.


    and your point would be? (none / 0) (#82)
    by cpinva on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 12:19:29 AM EST
    Raising expectations you have no intention of delivering on is about the stupidest, most self-destructive thing any pol can do.

    let's see:

    1. still in iraq & afghanistan, with no immediate plans for full departure? check

    2. gitmo still open? check

    3. renditions still operating? check

    4. no concrete plans to investigate/prosecute those responsible for authorizing/endorsing violations of geneva conventions, various human rights treaties, US law on torture? check

    do you notice a pattern developing here?

    BTW (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by s5 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:50:33 PM EST
    I'm happy with the Baucus bill just because it's so bad. It doesn't even meet any of Obama's vague principles, therefore it's DOA. And now it's no longer standing in the way of progress. Congress is effectively done, the worst version of the bill is the easiest to defeat, and House progressives are ready to rumble.

    I don't know, this autumn is shaping up to be good.

    Stupid on the face of it (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by pluege on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:40:11 PM EST
    why would any republican agree to be the only republican voting for a Democratic health care reform bill? It just makes no sense at all that anyone would think that possible or valuable. And yet, the whole Democratic brain trust is there, scamming the people and progressives while pursuing tricks that no one with half a brain would ever consider for a second.

    Snowe is sui generis (none / 0) (#80)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:52:27 PM EST
    The normal political rules don't apply to her, never have done, and certainly don't now.

    Baucus, Grassley, Nelson, Snowe... (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by pluege on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:55:10 PM EST
    who's next? doesn't matter of course, Obama's inability to let go of his failed strategy of courting republicans is nothing short of tragic.

    She represents post partisan unity (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:10:01 AM EST
    and thus fulfillment of one of candidate Obama"s campaign promises?

    Not anymore (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:12:55 AM EST
    She would represent the Official Declaration of Obama as Wimp In Chief.

    President Snowe is a bad image for Obama now.

    I think there are more political incentives for Obama to make sure Snowe is NOT on board now.


    Particularly after (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:21:29 PM EST
    having had President Collins during the stimulus negotiations.

    How Much Power does Ezra Klein Have? (none / 0) (#50)
    by kaleidescope on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 02:29:48 PM EST
    And why are you so obsessed about him?  Who gives a flying fukc about Ezra Klein?

    Subsidies are easy. New programs are hard. (none / 0) (#65)
    by s5 on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 05:48:03 PM EST
    When was the last time you heard the country locked in a debate about increasing subsidies? It just never happens. We can add and tweak subsidies at any time, in any year, in any budget bill. But the creation of a new public health insurance program is difficult, and if we can't pass it now, we've failed.

    Why are Democrats Afraid to Tell the Truth, Part I (none / 0) (#68)
    by misterconcept on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:29:10 PM EST
    Why are Democrats Afraid to Tell the Truth, Part II?

    The recent debates surrounding health care reform have served well to unearth a glut of ugly truths buried in modern American culture.  If President Obama has any hope of preserving the integrity of his Administration or, for that matter, the Democratic process, he will not only need to acknowledge these realities but he must implement a crash course in their origins and purposes.  

    First and foremost, the Republican Party is a relatively small group of white men that, for all intents and purposes, owns the United States of America.  The latest census has revealed that one percent of the American population is in possession of twenty-three percent of its entire wealth.  With the exception of a few scattered idealists, these individuals are Republicans.  In order for this group to expand its power and increase its wealth, it is in need of a constant supply of capital.  The largest pool of resources is the United States government.  Every American employed or otherwise, is required, by law, to contribute to this pool.  In order to gain access to these funds, this consortium of power brokers has populated the legislature with highly paid operatives who protect the interests of the consortium and direct tax revenues to these private interests.  To produce the illusion that these legislators represent, "the will of the people," rather than the agendas of these private interests, the Republicans employ any and every devious tactic necessary to guarantee the votes required to control the cash flow.  The most effective means of achieving this goal necessitates the exploitation of the ignorance, racism, and unfounded fears within the Republican's core constituents.  In essence, these legislators pretend to protect and serve a population to whom they have no connection or loyalty.  In fact, most of the people who go to war and die to protect "American interests abroad," are harvested from this population.  As far as the party is concerned, they are expendable.  This is not a new concept, in fact, this grand experiment known as the United States of America, was founded on this premise.  The authors of The Declaration of Independence were not a group of passionate civil libertarians but a close-knit consortium of entrepreneurs with an accurate accounting of the vast revenues siphoned off by the Crown.  These individuals were eager to put those funds to work on their own behalf.  They provided the commoners with a sound bite to serve as a battle cry, "taxation without representation," and sent them out to do the dirty work.  A great example of this is that of John Hancock who amassed his wealth by smuggling rum from the West Indies and selling it without paying taxes to the King.  His vision included not only the profits from the legal sale of alcohol but also the benefits from access to the taxes imposed upon it.  The fact is, alcohol tax doubled immediately after the British were cut out of the transaction along with taxes on gunpowder and any goods imported from Europe.  

    It is also vital to note that whoever controls the flow of information will be directly responsible for the formulation of public opinion.  Despite the barrage of Republican attacks on the so-called, `liberal media,' most syndicated outlets including CBS and ABC, are owned by Republican interests or controlled by Republican shareholders.  Furthermore, many of the largest advertisers are also conservatively driven.   One must only reflect on the number of pharmaceutical advertisements embedded in nightly news broadcasts.  The most notorious illustration of this phenomenon is the Fox News Network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch and subsidized by Republican interest groups, as well as the RNC.  This outlet is owned by the same corporation responsible for producing supermarket tabloids, the same ones that reported that Michael Jackson was in fact a space alien.  Fox News has successfully exploited the racism and ignorance mentioned above with the sanction of party leaders.  They encourage and applaud comments by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  These two individuals are identical in their sociopathic narcissism.  Both are paid phenomenal amounts of money and, at the same time, are completely powerless in their personal lives.  Both are powerless over their food intake and their drug and alcohol consumption.  Both likely pay for sex and, judging by their identical psychological profiles, both would qualify for a substantial discount resulting from light duty.  They empower themselves by manipulating the malleable minds of the superstitious and ignorant readers of the National Enquirer.  Furthermore, the power to repulse is still power.  Beck and Limbaugh have one item on their combined agenda, to incite and provoke the murder of the President of the United States.  They are surely in their element.

    President Obama made a few colossal errors while embarking upon his program for change.  First and foremost, he put far too much faith in the intelligence of the American people.  He underestimated the degree of racism and ignorance prevalent in our society.  Ignorance and prejudice will trump intelligence every time.  Second, Obama underestimated the absolute ruthlessness and desperation of the Republican propaganda machine.  He attributed far too much decency to a culture that has none.  Third, Obama underestimated the magnitude of power that private interests have on the entire legislative process.  We are no longer a one man, one vote democracy rather; we are a one dollar, one vote oligarchy.  Last and perhaps most important, the President was not prepared to confront the number of Democrats in the pockets of these same power brokers.  When President Obama addresses the people of the United States he should begin with the following statement:  "When I began my quest to serve the people of this nation as a reformer, I underestimated the absolute stranglehold my opposition has on the Democratic process."

    Thanks for the brief summary (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Spamlet on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:17:58 PM EST
    Heh! (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:51:36 PM EST
    I scrolled past all that verbiage, only to come on your comment.  I snickered pretty good!

    And now that I've actually read (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Spamlet on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:31:13 PM EST
    this cut-and-paste job from DKos, what a load of steaming apologist h0rsesh!t.

    President Obama made a few colossal errors while embarking upon his program for change. First and foremost, he put far too much faith in the intelligence of the American people. He underestimated the degree of racism and ignorance prevalent in our society.

    "First and foremost." Yeah, right.


    If the problem is "Republicans" (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by cawaltz on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:59:49 PM EST
    then a) why does Obama continue to court them(such as Olympia Snowe)?

    At this point it is pretty apparent that the GOP is not the only party that has corporate overlords.

    The whole post has holes anyone with even a modicum of objectivity could drive a mack truck through.  


    Well if he couldn't figure all that out (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by sallywally on Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 08:58:33 PM EST
    beforehand, he had no business running for President.

    If he (which I don't think he will) were to use such excuses, it would be an admission that he (1) is full of self-pity, (2) didn't have the judgment for the job, and (3) was not the best Democratic candidate.