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Is That All There Is?

Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

Today, in the United State of America, the Democratic Party controls the House, the Senate and the Presidency. In the scheme of things, after 12 year of GOP control of the Congress and 8 years of GOP control of the Presidency, you would expect significant changes. Especially after the landslide result of the 2008 election. But it just has not happened.

Let's be clear -- Democratic governance is better than GOP governance. But let's face it, how could it be worse? The question is this - is this as good as it gets? Is this all that the Democratic Party can deliver in terms of progressive governance? If so, then David Broder has won. The choices we have as Americans are between a Center Right government and a Far Right government. This despite the fact that the American electorate is supportive of progressive ideas. Why is this? I'll think about that on the flip.

Charles Blow places some of the blame on President Obama:

President Obama wanted to change Washington. It changed ... for the worse. And its now holding his agenda hostage. The question is: How much is he willing to change himself in order to save it?

On Feb. 9, 2009, at the first prime-time press conference of his presidency, Obama said: I am the eternal optimist. I think that over time people respond to to civility and rational argument.

Since then, the right has tried to block him at nearly every turn, and the far right has formed a movement fueled by irrational anger.

[. . .] Yet, there he was again this week, a year to the day after the prime-time press conference, saying almost exactly the same thing: I am just an eternal optimist. ... And all I can do is just to keep on making the argument about whats right for the country and assume that over time, people, regardless of party, regardless of their particular political positions, are going to gravitate towards the truth. So stubbornly sweet. So simply nave.

If Obama is still clinging to this quaint concept after the year hes had, its easy to understand why hes in trouble.

I, of all people (who has spent years railing against the PPUS), take Blow's point. But I have to ask, when and what has Obama been offering in the way of "civil and rational argument" anyway? In terms of his argument to the American People, what has he argued for? Nothing coherent in most cases, or even intelligible. If you can figure out what Obama has projected as his principles, you have one on me. This approach ended up having its virtues during the 2008 campaign, as it allowed many people to project their views on to Obama. His personal charisma is incredible.

But as President? It has simply failed. Everyone in the Democratic Caucus had the chance to argue they were with Obama while holding diametrically opposing views. There was no coherent Democratic message because there is no coherent message from the Democratic President.

And as Village Blogger Ezra Klein has become shocked to discover, Republican interests do not lie in successful governing when they are in the minority, rather it comes in improving their chances for winning the next election.

The structural problems of the Senate are often pointed to as the obstacle to the progressive Democratic agenda. Of course this is true, but not new. And yet it is not the full story. At least a part of the progressive Democratic agenda could be passed through reconciliation. And the Democrats spent much of 2009 with 60 votes in the Senate. And still, despite these historic majorities, very little that one could think of as progressive has been done. And even that was of the layup variety (renewing S-Chip, Lily Ledbetter Act.) Some claim the stimulus was progressive. If so, it was thin gruel - too small and too lardened with tax cuts. If that is the supreme expression of Democratic progressivism, then the point is made - when it comes to governing, we are forced to choose between Center Right and Right programs.

If this is the best we can do at this time. If this is all there is in the progressivism of the Democratic Party, then we are surely sunk. For the path of the Nation is not good. And as in 1932, tranformational progressivism is badly needed. But unlike in 1932, no where is it being offered.

Take health insurance and health care for instance. A NYTimes editorial today says:

When Republican Congressional leaders come to the White Houses health care summit meeting on Feb. 25, dont expect them to bring any big ideas with them. Instead, they will press President Obama to scrap his ambitious health care reforms and focus on modest proposals.

That may make political sense. Americans have certainly been spooked by all of the Republican hype about government takeovers.

But the small ideas the Republicans are championing would barely make a dent in the most critical problems threatening the health care system: the huge number of Americans without insurance and the ever-escalating costs of health care.

The assumption of the editorial is that the de facto Democratic plan, the Senate health bill, has the big ideas necessary to tackle the problem. This conceit is almost as harmful as the the GOP proposals. The Senate health bill is a failure. It does not address the fundamental problems of health care reform. It does not even implement the proper framework for addressing the problem.

It relies on the delusions that a regulatory framework that depends upon state based regulatory bodies, "competition" in tiny state based exchanges, and a funding mechanism that taxes health benefits is the path to the big ideas solutions. This is absurd

The NYTimes, like the Village Dems, has decided to believe that the solutions lie in what is deemed "politically possible" in the Village (irony abounds in that they do not even consider the fact that their "politically possible" solution can not pass the House.)

Of course actual big ideas were available for passage by this Democratic government. It involved pushing the one proven reform in the health care area - public insurance. Let's say that instead of the Rube Goldberg contraption that is the Senate health bill, Democrats had instead insisted on shoring up and expanding the one part of the system that was working at controlling costs. Indeed, let's make the bill simple, with no new programs.

Suppose the Democratic plan for health care had been instead to expand Medicaid (to its credit, the Senate bill did this) and to nationalize it (no more need for Cornhusker Kickbacks.) And suppose it was done to the House proposed level of 150% of FPL. And let's also suppose that Medicare coverage was expanded to those 55 and older. Finally let's suppose that we placated the Republicans with a sliding scale voucher system for those who fell below a certain level of income, to be applied either to purchase private insurance or to buy public insurance.

Now who would argue that this plan would not do more to reach the progressive goal of universal health insurance coverage? No one.

But how to pay for it? The obvious progressive answer would be with taxes on the rich. Who opposes taxes on the rich? Not most Americans.

I can hear the Villagers screaming now - "but what about cost control?" But the cost control is right there - it is the expansion of public insurance. No one disputes that public insurance is the most effective form of cost control. No one.

But what about the mandate? I do not object to it. Put it to a vote and see if it will pass. Oh, you need 60 votes for that? Well, that's on you then. The plan I outline above required only 50 votes.

I'm not against mandates and putting on paper the idea of banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions(the reality of such a ban seems remote to me.) But what I am against is cutting out the heart of a progressive approach to health care reform for that. Put it in a separate bill.

But the Democratic Party in power today would not do that. Perhaps could not do that. That would require governing a tick or 2 further to the progressive side than is allowed in the Village.

The Villagers have been running around screaming that "the Senate health bill is the most progressive since 1965." It always struck me as ironic that they make this claim, when the Senate bill creates nothing that resembles what was created in 1965.

Because the 1965 bill the Villagers are referencing -- that bill created public insurance programs - Medicare and Medicaid. If the 1965 bill were progressive, and they were, the Senate health bill rejects that form of progressivism. Where the 1965 bill rejected a market solution to the issue of health care, the Senate health bill embraces it and reject a public insurance solution.

In some ways that is the epitaph of the health care debate of 2009 - that Village Democrats could make the claim that the Senate bill was the most progressive since 1965 (BTW, this is a flat out lie - the Clinton Tax bill of 1993 was clearly much more progressive, and it is not even close.)

If the Senate health bill is all a progressive can aspire to with a historic Dem majority in the Congress and a Dem in the White House, the only question to ask is - is that all there is?

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    Weird cusp we are on (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:29:14 AM EST
    The status quo will not stand though.  In the upcoming economic days and months and years it cannot.  That fact will be costly to everyone involved in too many ways to fathom right now.

    Then we should get ready for (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:29:57 AM EST
    the Republican austerity plan.

    Parent
    That plan won't improve anything though (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:41:29 AM EST
    at this point.  It can only weaken our economy further as well.  It is the next stupid step though following this path of stupid steps being taken that we are on.  We have foresaken investing in human beings for too long and somehow we have socially and politically traveled so far away from that very basic, holds the human universe together, truth.  There is no means any longer to be taxed on your middle class insurance, there is no means for anyone new to join the middle class other than the rich if they somehow become very unfortunate.  Poverty is growing at an alarming rate.

    Parent
    Fixing that is clearly off the table (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:55:38 AM EST
    When democratic government fails to respond ... (none / 0) (#140)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:14:29 PM EST
    ... in the face of crisis, it may result in the rise of a different form of government.  

    And if that happens ... I don't even want to think about it.

    Parent

    Sounds like yes (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:29:23 AM EST
    It turns out that changing the identity of the President is much easier than changing our substantive policies. Especially when that President turns out not to be up to (or interested) in the task of corralling the change we need. And the thing about the Democratic party is that that are lots of constituent groups with built up laundry lists, most of which the President has barely lifted a finger for (EFCA, ENDA, etc).

    That the village bloggers have been reduced to telling to story of the impotent President tells you much of what you need to know: your question has been mostly answered in the affirmative for months.

    Obama's Brand Of Optimism (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:56:13 PM EST
    Is his alone as we feel this very differently.We are suffering. Does he get it?

    This hoax of optimism is like faux patriotism that the Right uses whenever they run out of ideas which is often.

    Frankly at this point I feel Obama is unable to lead and clearly lacks the will to fight energetically for any position he faces opposition on by from the Republicans.

     Obama's lukewarm comments about the public option are troubling aside the Obama comments regarding those swell, smart, hard workin,successful Wall Streeters who are really, er nice guys.

    Mixed messages, no action. Obama's Chicago Boss Daley bunch are running America and their preoccupation is getting Obama re-elected. Photo Ops,vague speeches, and lotsa whining about the GOP. Katherine Sibelius our Health guru has been absent.

    In what world did anyone think that the Republicans would not be the viciously obstructive,malicious,noise machine they are when any Democrat either runs for or becomes President?

    If this comes as a surprise and Obama really thinks he's going to enact anything with teeth by playing these games....well......duh.

    Democratic presidents have enacted major progressive legislation when they do what Bush did. Use signing statements, recess appointments,
    and reconcilliation among other things. And that's not mentioning a majority in both houses.

    Obama's own party is running roughshod over him demanding and receiving pork and bribes for their votes.  This cringe making group of Democrats
    have turned everyone off the Democrats.

    Now Obama's  ploy will probably be to whine about the Democrats.   He's supposed to lead them by showing strength and earning their respect and yes they have to fear what he will do if they don't hang together.

    This HC bill has been a fiasco. It has never been clarified and properly explained to us. You know, it's been explained by leaks,confusion,and of course backroom deals with the now resigned Bill Tauzin who bet on the wrong strategy in his private deal with Obama.

     Obama gave the store to Tauzin,[chief lobbyist for BigPhARMA] as a trade off that would supposedly protect Obama from adverse advertising from the Drug Monopoly.

    So Obama says Ok, I'll accept your offer of $80 billion over 10 years providing BigPharma runs no advertising critical of me or HC reform.

    Of course you realize that at that point importation was dead, along with closing the donut hole.

    For the Drug Monopoly this was a very sweet deal
    considering they made $77Billion last year. Tauzin thought HCR was a shoein. But then the insanity in the House & Senate, and the display of stupidity and crass corruption by Dems in the Senate, it all started unwinding.

    We got wind of the BigPhARMA deal, so all the posturing in the senate about drug importation was really like a show trial as we watched this debacle unwind and collapse before us with broken promises, lies, deal making and more.

    Obama never uttered a word about Stupak and Nelson in both bills that threatened women's hard won freedoms of equal protection and choice.
    Obama has claimed to be pro choice. Where was he on this?  Nowhere.

    And yesterday we found that Bill Tauzin has resigned from his $2million a year lobbyist job
    from BigPhARMA.  The final irony is that he gave away too much, and misjudged Obama's ability to get a quick HCR bill through.

    After all of this I have  real doubts about the sincerity and ability of the WHouse to get much accomplished.

    The White House's kind of optimism is eerie in our current crisis facing millions of Americans who need deeds not patriotic jingoist slogans.

    Parent

    ReElection of Obama??? (3.66 / 3) (#139)
    by Stepping Razor on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:04:34 PM EST
    "...Obama's Chicago Boss Daley bunch are running America and their preoccupation is getting Obama re-elected."

    If the Democratic Obama Cult Of Personality and the Black Vote would come out of their hypnotic state of mind we could and should PRIMARY OBAMA and nominate a true Progressive who would serve the Base and the many Americans eager to elect a man of the people.

    Just remember that LBJ declined to run because he knew or thought he would lose the primary. Got that?? A sitting President really can lose the Primary and there is nowhere written that after a Democratic President is dumped that a Democratic candidate can't be elected to replace the one who will not serve those who elected him.

    Primary Obama and let a Real Democrat take over.
    Primary the traitor.

    Parent

    A little over the top, methinks (none / 0) (#152)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:28:01 PM EST
    And, btw, just who do you think would be this "man of the people?" 'Just curious.

    Parent
    Dunno about "man of the people".,, (none / 0) (#199)
    by Romberry on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 01:32:09 AM EST
    ...but Howard Dean has a pretty good track record of actually meaning what he says, having some principles and having enough spine to stand up for them.

    Parent
    A dkos diarist writes (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:33:13 AM EST
    "There are a lot of good policies that have been put in place and a number of important pieces of legislation that have been passed and signed into law. There's been very little in the way of support from the progressive media echo chamber when it comes to those policies largely because there's this false premise that moving the discussion to the left means only criticizing from the left.

    Constructive criticism from the left (not hair-on-fire BS) is needed, but equally loud praise from progressives for shifts to the left (however small those shifts are) is needed, too. The broader public doesn't hear about why progressives don't like something; they just hear that people across the political spectrum hate a policy (even though the reasons are different) and assume that they shouldn't support it."

    What are those policies we are supposed to tout? I'll keep reading and see.

    I kept reading (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:34:36 AM EST
    Nothing was pointed out so I am at a loss as to what I should be cheering for.

    Parent
    Please: who wrote (none / 0) (#193)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:39:50 PM EST
    The lyric in this post?  Google-impaired at present.

    Parent
    One commentator (none / 0) (#46)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:01:48 AM EST
    Made the analogy that you don't berate a child for doing a 95% good job. Seriously that's OFAs Last line of defense?

    Presidenting is hard work not childsplay.  

    Parent

    Democrats don't control (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:56:59 AM EST
    the White House. That's the  problem.

    They do actually (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:05:31 AM EST
    See, you are having a hard time accepting that this is all there is to the Democrats.

    Better than the GOP of course. But not much in the way of progressive programs.

    Center right over Far Right.

    Parent

    I'm watching the agencies (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:06:49 AM EST
    Let's see of the EPA gets serious about carbon emissions. The Clean Air Act gives it the authority to do stuff.

    Parent
    Don't hold your breath (none / 0) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:13:19 AM EST
    Regulatory capture.

    Full disclosure, I am actually involved in an EPA enforcement action right now. Not a Clean Air issue but the focus of the EPA distresses me.

    I can't say anything else about it.

    Parent

    Gotcha (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:15:14 AM EST
    I'm taking Admin law now, so I'm obviously not too enthusiastic about the speed at which anything could be done. But I would have hoped that, compared to the Bush EPA, there's be the political desire.

    Hope, hope, hope. . .

    Parent

    Cognitive regulatory capture (none / 0) (#172)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:32:30 PM EST
    (In Willem Buiter's phrase).

    I think that "cognitive" is important to add, since it implies that our regulators are literally unable to think of alternatives not in line with their corporate owners desires.

    Parent

    If Obama represents Dem Party principles, he has (none / 0) (#194)
    by jawbone on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:43:40 PM EST
    well and truly destoryed the Democrat's brand image.

    Yes, the fecklessness of Congress members has assisted this, but I don't think any DC Dem thinks he or she dare criticize Obama (may be changing as the extent of the damage to the party becomes ever more clear). I feared this: Clinton would have been held to account for her promises and actions; Obama, not so much.  The MCM would have been all over Clinton for any unmet promises, for weaseling, etc., much less for actual reversals.  How has it reacted to Obama's actions? Only recently have MCMers voiced any concerns or clearly noted what has and has not been done.

    Dems, while being highly disparate, can respond to actual leadership.  Even members of Congress don't know what Obama's actual stands on health CARE are.  It seems he takes a corporate friendly approach, but few Dems could tell constituents what Obama really wanted and would work for.

    Alas.

     

    Parent

    Better than using Medicaid would be only Medicare (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by jawbone on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:57:19 PM EST
    Medicare for All...with a robust private option.

    Advantage is everyone knows what Medicare is and basically how it works. Even Tea Partyers want to keep their Medicare! Another huge plus factor is there is no hint of Medicare being welfare (which is why the Repubs want to make it means tested, so they can then decry it as another government waste). The Repubs would have a field day attacking extending Medicaid.  LBJ's goal, of course was to get the two combined in universal care.

    So simple, yet Obama not only took it off the table, he made it a forbidden topic at his health insurance reform meetings.  He wouldn't let his own personal physician's partner speak! His official blogger of the town meetings edited out a question on single payer which made it into one of those meetings. Obama himself belittled people who asked for it. Everything on the table...NOT!  

    And so many left blogs have taken it off the table as well, alas.

    Dasn't let the people know the facts about single payer! Oh, no, couldn't bamboozle them as effectively then.

    We definitely have a Center Right to Right president, who ran as a Democrat, possibly bcz he couldn't have gotten elected as a Repub.  We have factions of Corporate Dems, conservative Dems, Blue Dog Dems, and progressive, liberal Dems. There are even Democrats from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party!

    We also have many Blue Bunny Dems, Dems who run away from any confrontation with Repubs and the media.

    There are even Democrats from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party!

     

    Parent

    WH has some guy channeling Ronald Reagan....so (none / 0) (#198)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 12:21:58 AM EST
    maybe Dems do not control the WH!

    Parent
    Obama's strategy (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by WS on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:22:10 AM EST
    has always been to stay above the ruckus and let others do the rumble of politics.  I don't think he attacks directly but he did reap benefits when others do it.  That's what happened in both the primary and general election campaigns.  He does talk a good game like we've seen in the summit lately and that has value too regardless of how others here view that.  

    The problem, of course, is the Senate filibuster.  Sen. Majority Leader Reid won't do anything to restrain the filibuster, and we find ourselves in this predicament. If we do get a new Majority Leader next year, I hope Schumer or Durbin will do filibuster reform as the first order of business.  

    I doubt you'll see Obama publicly call for filibuster reform, but a new Majority Leader or perhaps a reformed Sen. Reid would help to institute major reforms.

    I read on Time in an interview with Obama that he said he wants to be part of Washington but not be "consumed" by it and I think taking a hands off approach in legislative matters is his way of doing that.  I do wish he would play hardball politics more but absent that, stronger leadership in the Senate and reform of the filibuster will help Democratic fortunes greatly.      

    Consumed By Washington? (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:33:45 PM EST
    Leadership and enacting legislation is hard.

    Presidents do not get consumed by DC unless they know of no other way to function.

    Obama is telling us that he will be destroyed,used up, devoured, and squandered as the word "consumed" means.

    So he's admitting that he's not strong enough to be consumed by the passion to change as he promised. And cannot be consumed by the will to fight and rule the forces in DC.  Obama is obviously therefore admitting DC is able to destroy him, and yes to consume him.

      Why in hell did he take this job? Surely he told us so often on the stump that he could do this as no one else. Change we can believe in and not allow DC's old ways to trump positive change.

    So Obama's fear of being consumed by DC trumps his being consumed by the energy and passion to make changes?  He's giving up.  This is a very weak statement from Obama.

    Parent

    Here's the full interview before (none / 0) (#119)
    by WS on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:41:48 PM EST
    words get twisted out of context:

    President's Interview with Time

    What do you mean, "Don't get too comfortable"?

    Don't get too comfortable in the sense that there's a culture in this town, which is an insider culture. That's what I think people outside of Washington legitimately can't stand. A sense that they're not being heard. I think we've done actually a pretty good job of working in this town without being completely consumed by it. But from the outside, if you're just watching TV and all you're hearing about is the reports, people may get the false impression that somehow [the insiders] are the folks we're spending more time listening to.



    Parent
    One shudders to think what Obama would do... (none / 0) (#153)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:38:42 PM EST
    ... if he were really consumed then!

    I mean, $44 trillion to backstop the banksters, instead of a mere 22?

    Parent

    The leadership in the Senate is the (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:48:34 PM EST
    same bunch who urged Obama to run and supported his candidacy. If you think, or ever thought, his views vary much from his right of center collegues in the Senate you weren't being very observant.

    As a Senator, Obama inherited Daschle's legislative staff AND presidential campaign staff and supporters. His ideas, and powerful supporters and corporate funders, on health care reform and other issues are Daschle's, he is as dismissive of Northeastern, West Coast and upper Midwestern progressives, and their constituents, as any conservative Mid and Mountain state conservative Senator.

    His problem isn't that the Senate won't give him what he wants.

    His problem is that what Obama and a handful of conservative, less representative Senators (mostly from small population states) want can't get passed in the much more representative Congress.

    Parent

    I don't believe that is true. (5.00 / 6) (#133)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:28:06 PM EST
    The whole "hands off" theory falls apart when you look at how Rahm pressured Progressives to vote on the defense bill, threatening to withhold campaign cash if they didn't do what the WH wanted.

    I don't believe for one moment that Obama is "hands off" except when it comes to Progressive legislation.  It certainly is, though, a myth that he and his cronies wish people to believe.

    I think Obama is more than willing to twist arms in Congress -- but only Progressive arms.

    Parent

    I lurk here mostly (5.00 / 6) (#47)
    by Coldblue on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:03:16 AM EST
    but I wanted to express my admiration to BTD for this post.

    Spot on.

    I'm sorry that you are now experiencing (5.00 / 5) (#54)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:16:30 AM EST
    the crashing, sinking, knot-in-your-stomach realization that, in all likelihood, we are screwed; if you look at Obama's pre-presidential track record/history, though, one pretty much has to come to the conclusion that what we've seen over the last year is not a matter of him needing to get his feet under him - it's who he is, who he's always been.

    The only hope, as near as I can tell, is for Congress to get its act together and do what needs to be done, even if that means pretty much ignoring Obama - and more importantly, refusing to knuckle under to the demands of Max Baucus.

    I'm not sure there's enough time for Congress to undo the damage this last year has inflicted; Democrats have been functioning for so long as the party that deserves to be kicked in the teeth, that my fear is they will completely give in and give up.

    If this were just an exercise in process and politics, it would be an interesting case study, but the failures from the top on down are having a real and negative impact on millions of lives; at this stage, I don't know that the Democrats have what it takes to reverse the process before the GOP takes over and keeps that downward spiral going.

    Anne you are so right (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by samsguy18 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:35:09 PM EST
    If the MSM had actually done their job!! Obama was a known quantity here in Illinois. He talks the talk......I happened to come across a Tom Roeser column written in 2004 around the senate primary where he described Obama essentially as a nice guy ....No substance!!!

    Parent
    Chicago Politics (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:41:23 PM EST
    Yes, we all should have accessed The Chicago Sun Times as Obama's backround and poitical history are all there from his beginning to his deals with Rezko [now in jail] and the subsidized tenenments that were robbed of any improvement through the Rezko/Obama deals along with Obama's sweetheart real estate deal in buying his own Chicago home. His reputation was not that of a strong legislator in the State Senate.

    But that no longer matters as the media failed seriously in doing their job, and so did we. We bought the whole 9 yards.

    So what's next?

    Parent

    Offense over defense (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:21:59 AM EST
    Democrats have been playing a defensive game for over 40 years now. You'd think they'd learn. Republicans continue to pound on the offensive whether their in power or not.

    Just look at the HCR debate. Democrats had the will of the people to either include a P.O. or lower the age of Medicare. Yet the Republicans were able to spook the Democrats completely. (Adding to the misery of the party is Obama's attempt to homogenize the two parties into one)!

    I don't see any hope for change until we get a leader that really believes in the party and it's principles. One who is willing to take the cause to the American people and be willing to battle  the Republicans.

    i vigorously protest (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:02:35 AM EST
    your calumnous insult of rube goldberg! sir, you are a cad!

    Let's say that instead of the Rube Goldberg contraption that is the Senate health bill....

    mr. goldberg's creations, regardless of how complex and byzantine in nature, actually accomplished the goals for which they were designed, whether it be feeding the dog, or starting a pot of coffee. the senate health insurance reform bill, to which you unfairly compare them, does not.

    were the late, great mr. goldberg in charge of this project, instead of the current collection of opportunistic gasbags, masquerading as the honorable, elected representatives of the people, the job would be done sir! it might look complex, and appear to be going in opposite directions, but the end result would be healthcare for all.

    as a lifelong fan of mr. goldberg's work, i take personal umbrage at your sleazy, underhanded attempt to smear his good name, you owe him a public apology!

    The problem is that The Three Stooges (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:47:27 PM EST
    have been allowed to interfere with Mr. Goldberg's designs, and Abbott and Costello have been designated as the official spokespersons for the plan.

    I believe the term "bamboozle" would best describe the operation; "disaster of epic proportions" would best describe the result.

    Parent

    Plus, it would be fun to watch (none / 0) (#75)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:04:48 PM EST
    as opposed to this agony of watching Dems at "work" -- for no result in the end.

    Great comment, cpinva.

    Parent

    Excellent (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Lora on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:06:26 AM EST
    Great post.  I agree mightily with nearly all of it.

    A couple questions:

    1)  Why do you really think the Dems have shied away from reconciliation?

    2)BTD wrote:

    There was no coherent Democratic message because there is no coherent message from the Democratic President.

    Given that there has been no coherent message from our president, shouldn't a coherent message emerge nevertheless from the Democratic Party?

    If they are anything other than Center Right? (Hah.)

    The Senate Bill proponents want (5.00 / 5) (#66)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:12:03 AM EST
    everyone to forget about the Reforms of 1973 -- which philosophically their pet bill most resembles. That was the reform that created HMOs and the other alphabets and put insurers in the driver's seat in terms of cost containment. Like today's Senate bill, the 1973 reforms tackled the problem of the rising cost of care with measures designed to change patient behavior and limit patient benefits and access.

    They did an excellent job of limiting benefits and access as our ever growing number of uninsured and medical bankruptcies attest.

    And, there was this other benefit too; the once mostly non-profit health insurance industry has since profitabel beyond anyone's imaginint.

    This Senate bill, like the one Nixon signed in '73, is based in ideology and backed by power interests that are more concerned with socializing profits than care.

    Why, sorry for the typos (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:14:07 AM EST
    The once mostly non-profit health insurance industry, of course, has since become profitable beyond anyone's imagining.

    Unless Obama can do something (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by lilburro on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:14:51 AM EST
    on unemployment, he is E-F-F-E-D.  Not that everyone doesn't already know this.  Except perhaps Mr. Obama who hasn't set himself up very well in terms of getting an effective jobs bill through Congress.

    At last! a word on JOBS (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:15:59 PM EST
    which I may have missed in this otherwise good post and these good comments.

    Yes, we are sunk.  The $85 billion jobs bill, which was too low from the get-go per a lot of wise heads, was whittled down to $15 billion by Reid -- who now, I read this morn, is in a "protective crouch" owing to the Dem disaster in Mass., so he doesn't even want to go forward with that measly amount.

    I think that I will lose some of my children, unemployed and underemployed for so long now, as one may head to the homeland of his spouse, so that they can get good jobs.  Another, without that option, has yet another health setback and will be underwater, drowned by medical bills, for even more years.

    Yet more reasons daily to Never. Forgive. Democrats. for this mess, these fools, foisted upon us owing to their irrational fears of a strong Dem and strong woman (not necessarily in that order).  Never.

    Parent

    Oh goodie (1.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:52:47 PM EST
    Primary base4d counterfactual history. Hey, I'll play too- if the Dem's had just nominated Jerry Brown in 1992 he would have fixed everything and we'd ride to work on biofuel hovercars!

    Parent
    Jerry Brown actually shares a lot of Obama's (5.00 / 6) (#107)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:09:33 PM EST
    faults.

    Hillary would have least been a Democrat. And, one who long ago gave up the notion that she was ever going to be beloved.

    I would have happily settled for those two attributes over what we got -- someone who is more anxious to win Republican approval and votes than to represent Democratic constituencies.

    Parent

    All she'd have to do (3.66 / 3) (#126)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:57:38 PM EST
    is come here to know that she's beloved. Unconditionally.

    I'd like to see that Brown-Obama analogy drawn out in sharper detail, though.

    Parent

    That characterization (none / 0) (#131)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:22:28 PM EST
    of Brown is extremely unfair and borderline dishonest. Brown has very publicly hammered on the undue and corrupting influence of special influences - including naming names and specific instances - on American politics more in any given week than any of the Clintons have in their entire careers.

    Obama is player, as are Bill and Hillary.

    Parent

    Well, I'm waiting for Obama to (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:10:56 PM EST
    unveil the new "clean coal" powered car.

    Parent
    Oh nonsense. (none / 0) (#156)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:44:47 PM EST
    You're the one stuck in the primaries.  Tell me which other Dem still was standing at the end and could have been the nominee, if the party had held a real convention instead of that sham.  

    If another Dem still had been standing by then, that's who I would have cited.  

    And if you don't think that gender was part of the sham pulled on the public, than you really are stuck back in the year that you cite -- the Year of the Woman, remember that?

    Parent

    We need a progressive Machiavelli. Ideas to start? (1.00 / 1) (#180)
    by klassicheart on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:59:49 PM EST
    I agree completely.  NEVER FORGET WHO YOUR ENEMIES ARE....Amazing how some commenters lament the fact that there are no strong Democratic leaders...when the Democratic party (and specifically the Democratic leadership that now can not function effectively) and the intellectual elite and the villagers bypassed all semblance of fairness or democracy in anointing Obama as the nominee.  We do have a strong leader who represents the true values of the Democratic party...but the stupids won (cheated) with their empty suit.  First of all, never forget that the elites and academics were for Obama...They were conned...and easily so.  That should tell us something. Never forget that the leadership cheated us.  Never forget that the media is purposely creating narratives.  See DailyHowler.com (why isn't that site on the blogroll?) The media can be controlled if the President wanted to....Didn't the FCC get all hot and bothered about Janet Jackson?  Hmmm, what about incitement to violence from Fox.  We know there are things the Democrats could do to be more effective.  Instead, they give Ben Nelson $500,000. for his PAC.  This is deliberate.

    I would prefer that BTD add to his focus some Machiavelli....What strategy do we need to employ? What would Machiavelli do if he were a progressive now and was faced with these facts?   Are there some progressives who are willing to topple the leadership?  Or gum up the works?  If Ben Nelson can be a spoiler, so can certain progressives.  Plus, can the majority leader only be changed if he loses his election?

    Also keep in mind, lots of smart people voted for Obama (no credit to them) because they actually believed the rhetoric. Or they believed the right wing narrative that Hillary was too damaged or divisive to win (even though she won the Democratic primary in terms of actual voters).  So they got the Democrat they wanted...someone not divisive.  How stupid is that?  We had evidence Hillary was a fighter.  We had no evidence about Obama.  People are easily brainwashed...that should be apparent.  So we need to improve our skills.  But we should never cease to remind people who the intellectually dishonest were.  

    Parent

    Yes, let's see DailyHowler on the TL blogroll! (none / 0) (#183)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:25:26 PM EST
    If she's so strong (none / 0) (#123)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:53:15 PM EST
    why is she so quiet?

    Answer: because the system is rotten to the core and the promulgated illusory excuse about the importance of "unity" at all costs is a lie, put forth by posturing liars more concerned with their positions and places in history than in stepping up and bucking the system.

    Parent

    Doing Her Job (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:57:21 PM EST
    She works to do her job and contribute anything positve.

    She works for the president but also for America.As a Democrat she is showing Unity, not necessarily approval.

    Parent

    Sure (none / 0) (#127)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:59:45 PM EST
    the Republicans show unity too. So do the teabaggers.

    Parent
    there is more myth than reality to Obama thus far (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by kempis on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:36:48 PM EST
    In terms of his argument to the American People, what has he argued for? Nothing coherent in most cases, or even intelligible. If you can figure out what Obama has projected as his principles, you have one on me. This approach ended up having its virtues during the 2008 campaign, as it allowed many people to project their views on to Obama

    Absolutely.

    Since the primaries, many of us here have wondered what he stands for, what he'll fight for. Like many, I had the sinking feeling that the answer was "winning the election."

    Granted, that's every politician's goal, but the great ones really do have core principles and policy positions that they will fight for. So far, Obama is headed toward mediocrity--or worse.

    I so wish he'd snap out of it.

    Mediocrity? (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:12:00 PM EST
    If only.

    Worse appears to be destiny.

    He won't snap out of it.  What you see is what you get.

    The window for accomplishing real results has passed.

    It's over.

    Parent

    Truer words never spoken (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by jeffhas on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:24:34 PM EST
    He had a first year with the wind at his back, a filibuster proof majority in both houses... and what does he do...?

    Waste a year.... an ENTIRE year.

    Now after Mass/Scott Brown, he'll not be able to pass any decent Dem. legislation.  Every BIG initiative for his HISTORIC, TRANSFORMATIONAL presidency is gone - poof - like a puff of smoke.

    Even if he could get all the legislation he wants over the next three years, only 75% of his term would be productive.  75%... in a rose colored, dream filled world where the Repubs are won over with Rainbows and Unicorns.

    This has been a fail of monstrous proportions.  A truly historic time in the Democratic Party's legacy - squandered... you'd think someone would be held accountable.

    Parent

    Accountability (5.00 / 2) (#181)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:09:42 PM EST
    The people will hold the Democratic Party accountable.  One of my fears, my points of opposition to Obama during the primaries, is that I thought, with all things considered, that he'd end up damaging the Democratic party.

    Although the people will hold Democrats responsible the ultimate victims will be the people themselves. The people always pay the price.

    Democratic politicians, turned out of office, will not want and Obama himself; millions will come his way when he returns to private life.

    Parent

    Hey, it's only the end of the 1st (none / 0) (#182)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:12:39 PM EST
    quarter and he's down 50 pts, with BTD putting in a late bet at 70 under. The President is  doing just fine.

    Parent
    I was hoping for better from him (5.00 / 8) (#87)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:56:13 PM EST
    although there was nothing solid in his record on which to base that hope. Given the insanity of the Republicans, any Democrat seemed like a better bet.

    Now, I'm not so sure. If we are going to continue with the conservative policies that have landed us in the bad straits we are currently in -- based in a fantasy ideology that the reigning administration at worst embraces or at best refuses to challenge -- I'd rather see the inevitable further collapse of our economy, liberty, social cohesion, etc., blamed on the people who are the original creators of those policies and ideology.

    The worst scenario is to pursue conservative policies, endure the inevitable disaster wrought by those policies, and yet have the failure of those policies blamed on progressives simply because a fake progressive is now in charge.

    In other words, thanks to Obama, nothing is being done to correct the consequences of 30+ years of conservative rule -- except to destroy the idea of progressivism as an alternative.

    Because of that, I now think it would have been better if McCain had won. It may have been a catastrophe -- but no one would have any confusion about who and what was responsible.

    All Obama has accomplished so far is to enable failed conservative ideas to enjoy more time to create more destruction.

    Obama is nothing more than a placeholder (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:31:22 PM EST
    for the GOP.  He has actually already begun the work of a conservative era that is invigorating itself, and will officially begin with GOP electoral victories in 2010 and 2012.

    The Congressional Democratic caucus is doing little to stop that process; I see no hope for them.  They were incapable of leveraging their minority status when that was their situation, and they have been unable to use a significant majority to get important work accomplished.

    How on earth do you rally the voters to keep voting Democratic?  Being marginally better than Republicans isn't enough.

    Parent

    Obama may be worse than a placeholder... (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:00:48 PM EST
    I find myself agreeing with the comment by esmense:
    The worst scenario is to pursue conservative policies, endure the inevitable disaster wrought by those policies, and yet have the failure of those policies blamed on progressives simply because a fake progressive is now in charge...

    I'm concerned that if Obama wins again in 2012, he will have 4 more years to act as a GOP surrogate and more thoroughly destroy the Democratic brand in the process.

    I figure if we lose this one, the GOP will bear the brunt of the blame for the hell we're in; which is going to get a lot worse before voters are sufficiently enraged to unequivocally nominate, and elect, a President of the people. I'm saving myself for 2016.

    Parent

    McCain & Palin (none / 0) (#134)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:47:36 PM EST
    McCain might have been the chioce as Obama had really no experience.

    The Problem?

    Sarah Palin  was a heartbeat from president.

    A terrible choice as the "anti-Hillary".

    Many Republicans I know would not swallow this.

    Parent

    And where ... (5.00 / 3) (#110)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:01:14 PM EST
    ... are the citizens?

    Too many Dems are following the OFA line and not only propping up the incomprehensible messages coming from Obama but doing everything they can to obstruct grassroots citizen action.

    The message is not to be citizens but to be followers.  This is very dangerous.

    I'm not saying the netroots are the be-all and end-all of political activism, but the netroots are damned good at getting out the message.

    The largest Democratic site, Daily Kos, is infested with Dem Party apologists and obstruct any call to unify and put pressure, as citizens, on both our Congressional reps and on the President.

    Obama has not met with the left and has no intention of doing so ... and our one mechanism to point that out has been dangerously compromised.

    Obama'a Lack Of Message (5.00 / 3) (#145)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:21:22 PM EST
    OFA is asking us for support to confirm the President's mixed messages and vague incantations.

    These are really a bunch of emails asking us to show support [for what?] for Obama's garbled HCR by sending petitions and coming up with cash.

    This has to fail as no one knows what the HCR really contains in its entirety, and what we do know has lotsa bad stuff in it.  Mandates to pay into private insurance with no guarantees [that we know of] to cap premiums. No drug bill to lower costs of drugs and release patents for generics in a timely anner, or even importation
    from Canada and elsewhere. Vouchers? Open all insurance across state lines? Disastrous. Excise taxes.

    But we're being asked to support without  having full info of a tainted bill skewed toward corporations, and don't know of any safeguards. Only piecemeal info mostly leaked has been forthcoming. And one of the real problems is that  Obama & the rest of the Democrats have been tone deaf to this  attack on women's rights in both bills.  Obam allowed the GOP to frame and control the debate.

     As a woman I am supposed to support the Presidents bill when he's trying to reduce my ability to access my rights to equal protection, privacy, and reproductive freedom?

    That's nuts.  This viciously hypocritical attack on women's rights is supposed to be condoned? As   the House voted and supported Stupak as it had the endorseent of The Catholic Council Of Bishops.

    Yes, remember church and state, and tax free exemption for keeping to that?  OFA is a water carrier that is breaking our backs.

    Parent

    Sounds like you need a (none / 0) (#146)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:27:15 PM EST
    consultation with your pastor.

    Parent
    Irony, right? (none / 0) (#154)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:40:58 PM EST
    If not, what?

    Parent
    A woman shouldn't even think (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:21:44 PM EST
    of an abortion without talking to some men first---right?
    I'm one of those people who actually learned the lessons of the primaries.

    Parent
    Ah, check (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:35:35 PM EST
    Jeebus, I forgot that little gem. OMFG.

    Parent
    Optimism? Is that what he calls it? (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by dkmich on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 05:10:29 AM EST
    Honest judge.  I know I'm paid to protect the people, but I have a real good reason for not doing that.   You see, I am optimistic that the sky will open, pigs will fly, and the crooks and liars will realize that good is its own reward.  

    great post BTD (4.50 / 6) (#41)
    by pluege on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:22:53 AM EST
    obama is correct about civility, perseverance, and rational argument - people respond to that. But ONLY if one has something fundamentally honest to offer, which obama has not come close to with is corportist agenda and bush+ approach to civil rights - the man is fundamentally a lying pol.

    obama's problem and why he is failing and will continue to is that he is fundamentally dishonest. People respond to honest and principled argument, not more dishonest smoke and mirrors wrapped in fancy language, which is obama to his core.

    The American people know that obama and the vichy democrats are ripping them off with the crap senate bill. No amount of obama fancy language can polish that turd.

    As a wise man once (none / 0) (#111)
    by mg7505 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:02:01 PM EST
    said, Pols are Pols, and they do what they do.

    Parent
    Pluege's Post (none / 0) (#116)
    by norris morris on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:36:01 PM EST
    is great even though it's a counter post. You two have said it all.

    Parent
    Food for thought (1.00 / 1) (#149)
    by Stepping Razor on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:45:47 PM EST
    Obama is set for life.

    Lifetime pension with "FREE MEDICAL CARE".
    (how  is the future of your Medicare looking??)

    A Foundation extolling the virtues of his Neo Con policies that will most likely give him extremely lucrative income.

    He will make the history books.

    He will be a valuable interface with the Black community for his beloved corporate masters.

    Obama is set. Why do you think he cares not one wit about re-election and has said so. Come on people. Listen to the man. He has said he doesn't care about re-election. Just like he Never said one thing in favor of Single Payer, getting us out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Way too many people write in words that he has never said.

    Listen to what he has said and ignore the political ventriloquists.

    I would also ignore those who use the word HOPE whether they be candidates or those who push him as candidates.

    This the 2nd Bastard Democrat who has seduced us with "HOPE". How many more? We have a primary to weed these people out. Let us use that tool productively.

    Ah yes (none / 0) (#157)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:45:59 PM EST
    "The 2nd Bastard Democrat..."  And, who might that be? So that I might better understand, who qualifies as a good or acceptable recent Democratic leader and officeholder to you?

    Parent
    My recollection of Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:13:38 PM EST
    Was that he was fighting a rearguard in the front of the Reagan Rangers. Obama ought to be the vaguard of an invasion into enemy territory. But he flinched.

    Eventually some scandal or other will rip him down now. The press in their comical way are signaling a new scrutiny by critquing the Michelles war on Obesity. Did you see the silly season yeasterday on CNN?

    Parent

    There doesn't need to be a new (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:20:27 PM EST
    scandal---or any scandal at all, for that matter.
    The press sunk Dean for getting a little excited after a primary. Who knows what they'll throw at Obama, if the fancy hits them.

    Parent
    The problem is (none / 0) (#6)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:36:22 AM EST
    the Progressive promises made in 1965 (and 1935 - SS) regarding big govt. costs have proven to be completely false.

    In 1965, the government promised that Medicare part A would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost was more than $66 billion.  Look at the costs today, 20 years later $453 billion.  Any new promises that big govt. will restrain, let alone reduce costs is not believable.  It is the little boy that cried wolf.

    Problem for whom? (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:43:18 AM EST
    Cost expansion was a result of COVERAGE expansion.

    Of course if you oppose government insurance programs period, than of course you dislike it.

    Here is a hint, if you went to single payer, government costs would go up. But it would be cheaper than our current system.

    Parent

    When you have asthmatics (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:48:31 AM EST
    that finally breathe because they can get the meds they need they function better, become more productive in society.....and can pay more taxes into the system.  If a mother like me didn't have to worry night and day and fight with insurance companies over my son's denials I would probably be working part time right now too and able to be full time in a few years.  I would be a new member of the tax base.  But nope, this all makes too much sense.  A healthy population is a working one and a productive one.

    Parent
    I've seen (none / 0) (#10)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:47:23 AM EST
    and experienced single payer in the UK.  Costs go up and quality of care goes down.  

    Make Medicare For All and watch the US go bankrupt.

    Parent

    Most people agree (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:50:24 AM EST
    that the UK doesn't spend enough. But of course, the UK is not "single payer," formally speaking: it's fully socialized medicine. You know, like the VA.

    Canada uses single payer.

    Parent

    It's both single payer and socialized (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:58:39 AM EST
    in the sense that the government pays.

    But you're right - Canada is the real model.

    But even Germany or France provide a type of single payer model that might be more politically palatable.

    The government writes the policy and sets the rates and private companies provide the insurance.

    Parent

    It's analytically useful (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:01:19 AM EST
    to distinguish the two.

    God only knows what the Senate bill would create.

    Parent

    A bleeding pool (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:02:57 AM EST
    It would create basically (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:03:22 AM EST
    nothing imo.

    It would expand Medicaid. Absolutely a good, and reason enough to support it.

    The rest of it is a big nothing.

     

    Parent

    Isn't Canada province by (none / 0) (#195)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:45:34 PM EST
    province though?

    Parent
    Almost totally off topic (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:03:22 AM EST
    The French Connection was on TV the other night. Great movie.

    Parent
    The 70s style of cinema (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:06:16 AM EST
    An important movie.

    Parent
    I think my favorite sequence (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:09:51 AM EST
    is the foot chase culminating at the 42nd St shuttle.

    Parent
    BTW, if you're living paycheck to paycheck, (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:51:17 AM EST
    the NHS is a far better solution than America's private system.

    Parent
    If you are a Baroness of Freemarkets (none / 0) (#148)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:32:12 PM EST
    And  a prophetess of monetarism...

    The nhs is where you go.

    http://stanford.wellsphere.com/healthcare-industry-policy-article/margaret-thatcher-suffers-a-fall-a nd-has-been-released-her-care-was-provided-by-the-nhs/718928

    Americans are so propagandized it's hard to fathom what went wrong.

    Parent

    Too many years of heavy (none / 0) (#150)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:57:44 PM EST
    consumerism and luxury dulled the minds.

    Parent
    Sorry, but I don't believe you (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:52:51 AM EST
    My son has titanium rib surgery with children from Canada.  Canada pays for their kids to get the same cutting edge treatments that my son may get in America if I'm lucky and my insurance company tells me that he can.  The parents of Canadian special needs children are much happier, not stressed out literally nuts crazy on a daily basis, and a hell of a lot more emotionally unscarred than the American counterpart.  I simply do not believe you.

    Parent
    Have your old man (none / 0) (#50)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:06:31 AM EST
    Join the British army. Or one of the British military consultation firms. Then you'll see what the nhs will do for you.

    Parent
    I doubt they will make us fight (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:16:22 PM EST
    for every single thing our son needs every day.  Only people who haven't faced the for profit American system with actual large health problems that now need to be paid for say things like you do.  And my husband has considered taking a NATO job so that our family could be sane again.  And that option is not OFF THE TABLE for us, particularly since every other decent hope for us has been taken off of Obama's table.

    Parent
    I'm with you. Not against you. (none / 0) (#136)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:01:35 PM EST
    Don't interpret my statement as an insult. Healthcare would not be the worry it is now if something like the nhs or the French system were adopted.

    Parent
    And let's not forget what the World Health (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    Organization has to say about this either.  The United States is 27th and the United Kingdom is 18th.  Looks like the UK is kicking our butts even with a system that needs work.

    Parent
    Oops sorry...the U.S. is 37th (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:29:59 PM EST
    I bet we have slipped even farther lately due to this economic crisis that isn't even accounted for here.  Other countries had better systems to protect their people in place before Wall Street blew up the world.  We had nothing at the ready, have nothing at the ready.

    Parent
    Pssssst (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by cawaltz on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:32:05 PM EST
    We wish we were 27, we're actually 37.

    I hear we did well on responsiveness. However, our system is regressive and WHO prefers a more progressive policy.

    Parent

    I did wish that :) (none / 0) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:33:56 PM EST
    Cost go up (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:53:38 AM EST
    BECAUSE of single payer? Nonsense.

    Parent
    Look at in isolation, of course they do (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:55:09 AM EST
    But as compared to our existing Rube Goldberg nightmare, not nearly as much.

    Parent
    Of course they DON'T (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:56:37 AM EST
    The word you ignore is "BECAUSE."

    Parent
    Opps, you're basically right (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:58:22 AM EST
    But you could probably make that a true statement in a very narrow sense. Government healthcare expenditures likely go up as a result of single payer. Overall costs surely don't.

    Parent
    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:59:47 AM EST
    The more people you cover, the more you will spend.

    Hell, I can eliminate insurance costs tomorrow - making health insurance illegal.

    this is silly stuff.

    Parent

    It's even wierder than than that (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:08:23 AM EST
    The us spends about 3 times as much as EU states and gets an inferior return on that mispent GDP.

    Parent
    In this country costs continue to go up (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by esmense on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:37:39 AM EST
    in the private insurance market, while benefit coverage continues to go down and the number of people who can't qualify for or afford coverage continues to march up. Plus, the private insurance market is much less cost efficient than Medicare. And that is despite the fact that Medicare covers the most elderly and expensive patients (and private insurers do not).

    Within the context of our entire system Medicare is a huge success. If it covered everyone -- not just the most ill people at the end of life -- and was funded intelligently it obviously would be able to do so in a much more comprehensive and cost efficient way than our current system.

    I'd happily pay many many times over in Medicare taxes to pay for coverage -- doing so would be a drop in the bucket compared to what I must pay in the individual insurance market. Plus, I'd know that if illness interfered with my ability to earn, I'd still have access to decent health care.

    Parent

    That's because in this country (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:25:40 AM EST
    Health Insurance is an investors market. Most of the larger providers of insurance are traded on Wall Street and the investors demand a return.

    It's bad enough that investors did what they did to housing, but they did the same thing to healthcare. I didn't see anything in the House or Senate bill that would reverse that insanity.

    Parent

    If the US (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:31:53 PM EST
    goes bankrupt it will be because we continue to blow massive sums attempting to be the world's policemen and fail to spend adequately on non-military public goods.

    Insofar as bankrupt is concerned there's a significant amout of room to grow revenue.  Our federal tax rates are still low, much lower than during our greatest growth period.

    Parent

    No, they don't (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:09:23 PM EST
    Costs, 2007
    United States per capita spending $7290
    United Kingdom: $2992

    Life expectancy, 2005-2019
    United Kingdom: 79.4 yrs overall (#22)
    United States: 78.2 (#38)

    So, not only does the UK pay less than have what we do, they live a year longer as well.

    It does pay to do your homework when working on health care issues!

    Parent

    Do you have empirical data that supports that? (none / 0) (#76)
    by cawaltz on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:08:48 PM EST
    because the WHO rates them as 18 using this criteria:

    Five factors went into WHO's calculation:

    • Health level, as defined by a measure of life expectancy, which shows how healthy a country's population is. This factor gets a 25 percent weight.

    • Responsiveness, which includes factors such as speed of health services, privacy protections, choice of doctors and quality of amenities. This factor gets a 12.5 percent weight.

    • Financial fairness, which measures how progressive or regressive the financing of a country's health care system is -- that is, whether or not the financial burdens are borne by those who are economically better off. This factor receives a 25 percent weight.

    • Health distribution, which measures how equally a nation's health care resources are allocated among the population. This factor receives a 25 percent weight.

    • Responsiveness distribution, which measures how equally a nation's health care responsiveness (which we defined above) is spread through society. This factor gets a 12.5 percent weight.

    Aditionally, their infant mortality is lower(5 per 1000 vs our 6.4) and their life expectancy longer(78.7 vs 78).

    Parent
    Again (none / 0) (#43)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:34:26 AM EST
    another promise of costs going down due to big govt. involvement.  The majority of Americans are not going to buy that promise a third time around.  Sorry to be the stick in the mud, but Progressives are not the majority in the country.  The idea of taking a big chance on having either another new massive entitlement program or doubling (maybe more) of Medicare costs just isn't going to fly.

    Parent
    This is not an argument, it's just know-nothingism (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:37:39 AM EST
    and sloganeering.

    Parent
    Why does the Baroness of Freemarkets... (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:15:12 PM EST
    ... Use the NHS?

    Parent
    Deeply bogus (5.00 / 2) (#159)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:10:05 PM EST
    See above, and check your facts.

    Parent
    The only thing I could find (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:44:38 PM EST
    Was that about half the consultants at private hospitals paid for aditional private insurance . Such has always been their right. If you can pay you have always been able to get what you want. This study was conducted by BUPA which my dad had but never actually used. Most of these consultants use BUPA as a supliment. If they got in a crash they go to the nhs. They get in a fall, the nhs and nhs ambulance.

    Parent
    A "robusr private option" is OK... (none / 0) (#186)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:24:38 PM EST
    as long as it's not used by insurance company weasels to game and destroy the public system.

    Parent
    let me guess, (none / 0) (#188)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:41:24 PM EST
    but Progressives are not the majority in the country.

    suicidal idiots are? is that really what you're suggesting? the country is overrun by people who want jobs with no future, limited access to healthcare and the poorhouse on retirement?

    in essence, you're telling me that the majority of my fellow citizens should be committed, because they are clearly insane.

    do you have some empirical evidence to support this, or just rush limbaugh's word for it?

    Parent

    Piss off I've never had a single (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:04:17 AM EST
    Compliant in my 18 year interaction with the nhs. My 73 year old dad he's benn well looked after too. No compliants so far in any of my extended family networks. The nhs is one part of socialism that works like a charm.

    Parent
    Good for you (none / 0) (#51)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:07:03 AM EST
    but can you explain why the NHS has moved their providers (Drs, nurses and staff) onto private insurance and paying the premiums for them?  Orwell's Animal Farm in practice.

    Parent
    My dad had BUPA insurance his entire (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:15:05 AM EST
    Working life. Bupa is a major private insurer in the UK.  He had a deduction from his check for it, but never used it. We never used it as his kids. Your allusion to Orwell is utterly misplaced. There are plenty of private doctors and insurers in the Uk and ways have been. The government doesn't move you off the nhs. Anyone who earns enough has always had the option to buy private insurance. There's no
    coersion, just sensible a sensible baseline. You are a twonk.  

    Parent
    First (none / 0) (#55)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:16:55 AM EST
    care to have civil conversation or more name calling?

    I am fully aware of BUPA.  

    You did not address the question/issue why the NHS has moved the providers to private insurance.

    Parent

    Bub, your Animal Farm reference... (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Dadler on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:33:11 AM EST
    ...is as uncivil and irrational as you get.  Think about what you are suggesting with it.  Calling you a twonk in reply to your rhetorical turn is being nice, IMO.

    Parent
    The (none / 0) (#62)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:39:40 AM EST
    Animal Farm reference is completely correct.  In the NHS, some are more equal than others, specifically the Drs, nurses and staff since they have been elevated out of the very system they work for.

    Not to difficult a concept to grasp.

    Parent

    This comment is (5.00 / 4) (#77)
    by cawaltz on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:11:48 PM EST
    irony at its finest. In OUR system some people are more equal then others. Just ask anyone without insurance what they have to pay for a procedure as opposed to someone with insurance.

    Parent
    That's what he doesn't get (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:11:13 PM EST
    I don't think the question particularly important. Well paid people in the uk have always had the private option. They get in a car accident? They get a serious infection? They go to emergency room paid for by the nhs. They have bunions removed they go to bupa.

    Parent
    Just ask someone who has a chronic (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Jjc2008 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:58:17 PM EST
    illness how "equal" they are.   And I am talking about diseases that are not/were not life style influenced, by things like smoking, obesity.

    People with autoimmune diseases.....where entire lives are not only punished by the disease but by the costs of meds, and tests that keep it from getting worse.  I am so sick of that right wing mentality of someone poor people deserve to be poor, sick people deserve to be sick.

    Parent

    Well, I think right wing people (none / 0) (#106)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:03:19 PM EST
    deserve to be ignorant.

    Parent
    The Baroness of Freemarkets (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:17:11 PM EST
    Maggie Thatcher the Empress of Randian monetarism herself used the NhS for her life saving operations... Animal farm indeed.

    http://nhsblogdoc.blogspot.com/2009/06/margaret-thatcher-let-them-eat-cake.html

    Parent

    "elevated out of the very system ..." (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:16:04 PM EST
    "... they work for"

    What on earth can this mean?

    Parent

    Ok, I'll address it. (none / 0) (#165)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:18:53 PM EST
    You're making up shiyt.
    You make a claim tat providers are getting private insurance, with no qualification, which means everyone.
    You are wrong.
    Provide the facts to support your "claim" or quit repeating it.

    Parent
    Can you explain why all the other (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by my opinion on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:26:40 AM EST
    industrialized countries of the world spend much less than us on health care, cover everyone and have equal or better care? Can you explain why you like to see innocent citizens of our country experience unnecessary pain, suffering and death?

    Parent
    This is a good question.... (none / 0) (#74)
    by EL seattle on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:01:43 PM EST
    ... that often gets sidetracked to a discussion/debate/aguement about any one of the several individual components that contribute to the overall problem.

    Last year, Kevin Drum offered a quick rundown of the various components to the problem.  ( LINK ) So far as I can tell, his details are accurate.

    Parent

    His details are accurate (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:23:11 PM EST
    but, incomplete. I've worked in both the device design and manufacturing industry and health insurance. The money is made through the stock ownership more than fat paychecks.

    Medical care in this country has become an investors paradise. People acquire great fortunes betting on the health insurance industry to deny medical care.  

    Parent

    He's far of base (none / 0) (#178)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:51:33 PM EST
    Made up something out of thin air. Even with socialism in the NHS there is a private option.

    Parent
    Link, please (none / 0) (#160)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:11:21 PM EST
    There's really no point in engaging with unevidenced right wing talking points.

    Where's your evidence that what you say is taking place, is taking place?

    Parent

    Oh I remember the story (none / 0) (#163)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:16:25 PM EST
    from a few months ago. The amount of money is quite small, and there's no program which gives all the drs and nurses private health care.


    Parent
    Bupa funded a survey (5.00 / 0) (#177)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:49:44 PM EST
    And they found that half the consultants at private hospitals had a private option as part of their salary and pay in.  Oh the horrors of socialism. Well paid people paying for stuff they want. The horror. The private system that has always existed in the uk is well documented and has not been ducked with by the nhs. Oh dear multiple millionaires getting extra stuff, call the cops!    

    Parent
    In other words, his claim is (none / 0) (#179)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:59:13 PM EST
    flat out wrong, because he said the NHS is moving  the providers into private care. Not true---they are paying their own money.


    Parent
    If Baroness Thatcher uses the NHS (none / 0) (#164)
    by Salo on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:16:50 PM EST
    For a broken arm... This guy is obviously an ideolog.

    Parent
    The problem is that "conservative" (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by my opinion on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:19:23 AM EST
    policies are destroying our middle class and the our nation.

    Parent
    Not quite thought out IMO (none / 0) (#144)
    by Stepping Razor on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:18:18 PM EST
    "In 1965, the government promised that Medicare part A would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost was more than $66 billion."

    You need to factor in inflation. If you do that the cost is in line. Check it out.

    Use the rise in the price of Silver or Gold. They seem to be true bench marks of inflation. Run it out.

    Parent

    Brown Made Effective Use (none / 0) (#9)
    by bob h on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:46:35 AM EST
    of terrorism demagoguery in his win in Massachusetts.  So you would have to give Al Qaeda some credit for the state we are in, too.  They must be delighted.

    I doubt al Qaida (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:56:00 AM EST
    had anything to do with the MA-Sen race.

    In fact, Obama has more than held held his own political wise of national security.

    I'm one of the few people who post on "progressive" blogs that has given the President an A on foreign policy.

    Course I am not much of a progressive on foreign policy so that is not surprising.

    Parent

    Not much talk in the left blogs (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:56:57 AM EST
    about his Afghanistan surge anymore.

    Parent
    It's the right policy (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:00:30 AM EST
    But it is amazing how quiet it has gotten about it.

    Parent
    I have yet to see a definition of (none / 0) (#35)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:08:31 AM EST
    success for the Afghanistan policy.
    I've seen people argue that it's necessary, but that's not enough.
    Afghanistan is a money-sucking disaster.
    Do you think the surge will lead to better relations between India and Pakistan? That's about the only plausible good outcome I can imagine.
    Pakistan is probably the most likely country to explode into nuclear war. I don't see anything the US can do to lessen  those chances.

    Parent
    I;ve written on it in the past (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:13:52 AM EST
    It's a lot of words.

    Parent
    I read most of those when they were new. (none / 0) (#42)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:30:01 AM EST
    For instance, in your post on Obama's Afghanistan speech, you list many of the reasons that military engagement is necessary.
    As I understand your argument, removing the support for safe havens on the border with Pakistan is paramount.
    Hence, you write,  reasonably,
    " Indeed, the Afghanistan situation can never be successfully addressed without the adequate implementation of a Pakistan strategy that can work.
    "

    And there is the rub.  What Pakistan policy will work? That's an unknown unknown, in  my opinion.  It's the nuclear question.

    Your goal of eliminating support for the Taliban and Al Qaeda is one we can all agree on. I don't see how a policy of dropping bombs on civilians, enraging ever more of the populace as time goes by, is helping towards that end.
    I"m always told the military is constantly evolving and learning, trying out new strategies, working with the locals. If I'd been a little older in the 1960's, I probably would have heard the same spiel about Vietnam.
    Yet, despite this incredible learning curve, the salient aspect of US involvement is massive killing of civilians by bombing.

    Parent

    "Massive killing of civilians (none / 0) (#70)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:25:24 AM EST
    by bombing."

    Right.

    You undermine your case by grotesque overstatement.

    Parent

    Compared to Iraq, it's peanuts, but (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:32:39 AM EST
    the higher the level of US involvement, the higher than toll will rise.
    And sorry, I think when the US is routinely killing several dozen civilians in bombing attacks on weddings, funerals and the like, pardon me if I think some might consider that a massive toll.


    Parent
    BOTH Pakistan (none / 0) (#118)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:41:46 PM EST
    and our marvelous "trading partner" India NEED to be made to give up their nukes.

    That situation is every bit - if not more - as much     of a problem for everyone as this media drumbeat mantra about "a nuclear Iran".

    Thier little fundamentalist nutcase vs fundamentalist nutcase melodrama got old ten years ago.

    Parent

    You're right though---I should have (none / 0) (#86)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:54:34 PM EST
    said "indiscriminate bombing", to be more accurate.

    Parent
    Except that (none / 0) (#130)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:14:56 PM EST
    it's not "indiscriminate" by any definition of the term, either.  It may be unwise, it may be inhumane, but it ain't indiscriminate and it isn't creating massive casualties.

    Look, there's a totally legitimate debate to be had about whether these predator strikes are a good idea or not, and I'm honestly not sure which side of that I'd come down on.  But I'll say it again.  Gross exaggerrations undermine the "anti" position by discrediting the person who utters them.

    Parent

    Your position is identical to the (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:56:10 PM EST
    Israeli position on bombing Palestinians, IMO.
    It's one end of the spectrum, but not one I agree with.

    Parent
    BTW, I don't mean to suggest (none / 0) (#143)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:18:02 PM EST
    that you're making a bad faith argument.
    In fact, the case for Israel's need to make bombing strikes which they know will kill civilians seems much stronger to me than the case for the same decisions in Afghanistan.

    Parent
    Actually, I have not stated a position (none / 0) (#189)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:44:56 PM EST
    on this, only argued for some reasonable degree of reality in describing it.

    You cannot, simply cannot, say in good faith that the strikes are "indiscriminate" if you understand what the word means.

    I'm personally very, very troubled by the whole issue of "collateral damage," most particularly from unmanned vehicle strikes.

    But it is simply factually false agit-prop to call it "indiscriminate."

    You're smarter than that.  Argue on the merits, not on frank falsehoods.

    Parent

    Well, the targeting does not (none / 0) (#200)
    by observed on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 03:14:10 AM EST
    ACTUALLY disriminate between terrorists and civilians, which seems to fit the word exactly.


    Parent
    Depends on your definition (none / 0) (#112)
    by Lora on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:12:29 PM EST
    ...of "massive."

    Parent
    Yeah (none / 0) (#101)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:55:25 PM EST
    I'll try to summarize your argument- basically, doing nothing in Afghanistan is an unacceptable risk, while the surge strategy of Cointersurgency is risky it has shown some successes in other areas- possibly even in Iraq. Its a smart argument especially given what has happened in Afghanistan in the past when we've done nothing.

    Parent
    What BTD says is very (none / 0) (#105)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 02:02:20 PM EST
    reasonable, but if I accept what you say, then success is defined by lack of a terrorist attack on the US, more or less. Certainly that's been an integral part of the Republican definition of success in Iraq. Accepting this premise, it means we may be bogged down in Afghanistan for a LONG time, at huge cost.
    The downside of the Obama plan is large and measurable, while the upside is defined only by a negative, in this view. In particular, the experience of the last years shows that we can expect the war in Afghanistan to lead to ever greater numbers of volunteers for terrorism training.
    "Doing nothing" can't be the only alternative, btw.


    Parent
    Hey, if Obama would just invite (none / 0) (#61)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:37:43 AM EST
    both sides to the table to air views and iron out a compromise, he could earn a Nobel Prize!

    Parent
    That's a small spark of intelligence (none / 0) (#23)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:58:08 AM EST
    on their part.

    Parent
    See this article in Foreign Policy (none / 0) (#168)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:22:02 PM EST
    LOl, great article. (none / 0) (#170)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:27:39 PM EST
    The writing reads like a lot of over the top blog posts and comments---I love it!
    The only slight quibble I have is their repetition of the oft made claim that Obama is one of the most intelligent people ever to be President. Not. By. 30. Presidents. Or. So.

    Parent
    See under two headings (none / 0) (#171)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:28:21 PM EST
    1. Obama's election gutted whatever opposition might have existed; and/or

    2. www.despair.com


    Parent
    How about PowerOfNarrative on TL's blogroll? (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:01:07 PM EST
    How about PowerOfNarrative on TL's blogroll? (none / 0) (#185)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:01:19 PM EST
    Sadly, I think the Mirandizing of the undiebomber (none / 0) (#49)
    by steviez314 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:04:26 AM EST
    and the whole issue of civilian trials vs military commissions for KSM and 9/11ers had a major effect in Mass.

    Even though the public gives Obama high marks on FP and terrorism, that specific issue polls far worse than any other.  And notice how many Democrats are undercutting him on it too.

    Parent

    Another set of issues (none / 0) (#84)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:52:25 PM EST
    on which the Dem admin is utterly silent and allowing the Republican noise machine to control to its advantage.

    Parent
    Brown did not win MA on anything (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:57:58 AM EST
    other than the current situation of the healthcare debate and the fact that MA has something in place that is likely to work a hell of a lot better than the POS the feds are trying to shove down our throats.

    Parent
    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:56:30 PM EST
    the Mass Plan is pretty similar in execution to elements of the plan offered by Baucus.

    Parent
    MA plan has a public option (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:59:40 PM EST
    Interestingly enough.

    Parent
    As did the Baucus Plan (none / 0) (#138)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:02:19 PM EST
    it allowed and funded state based public options.

    Parent
    Incorrect (none / 0) (#151)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:16:49 PM EST
    Is George Lakoff (none / 0) (#45)
    by JamesTX on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 09:45:48 AM EST
    still looking so psychobabblish?

    Was all this a waste of political capital (none / 0) (#56)
    by Saul on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:19:26 AM EST
    Maybe, I am no expert but it seems that Obama does not know how to rule his party or be chief of his party.   Who's the boss.  Biggest majority in congress since LBJ and nothing.  Ironically IMO what hurt him most is him trying to change how Washington works which I agree needs changing but right now   he needs the old type of how Washington works more than ever if you want to get things passed.  You almost have to be ruthless with the power the election gave you by passing what were good major bills  and not be worried how you are coming across in the polls.

    Come November I feel Obama could loose Congress and most of his credibility.  

    God helps us if a Palin wins in 2012.  Is she does then Bush 2 and Cheney will look like saints.

    obama's pretty happy with himself (5.00 / 6) (#59)
    by pluege on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 10:36:54 AM EST
    • pushing a corporatist agenda
    • maintaining and expanding the bush crimes
    • resurrecting republicans
    • making sure nothing progressive gets done
    • keeping wall street plundering Americans wealth

    these are obama successes. I get no sense from him that he is the least bit displeased with his accomplishments.

    Parent
    Not if the DemoRepubliCons are primaried (none / 0) (#147)
    by Stepping Razor on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:28:41 PM EST
    "I feel Obama could loose Congress.."

    We need to think about primarying the DINOs and offenders against the People. Then elect the winners of the primary in the general election.

    We need to stop thinking that the choice is re-electing the SOS Democrat or a RepukeliCON. NO, this is not right. The fight should be in the Primary. Then we can work to elect the Democrat with a clear conscience.

    It is just like the Obama(nation) in the White House. Primary him and give the People a choice, a Real Democrat or a RepubliCon. They know the difference. It is when we just keep running a DINO over and over and expecting a different result that we get into problems.

    Isn't one of the definitions of insanity trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?? Hmmm.

    Parent

    I like the Full Court Press concept a lot (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:38:06 PM EST
    I think the lyrics (none / 0) (#65)
    by robotalk on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:08:16 AM EST
    sort of reflect my attitude about this stuff.  It's clear the current mode of governance is unsustainable.  It's only the villagers who don't know it.  Instead, they think they are smarter and more insider baseball than the rest of us.  But they have failed.

    They will have to come to me and folks like me when they finally wake up.  And we won't simply be bailing them out when they do.

    I hope the president remains resilient (none / 0) (#78)
    by Jlvngstn on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:15:05 PM EST

    We elect who governs and they elect how.  When how they govern is not consistent with what we want than how does who get reelected?

    In a system where attrition is more likely to be caused by death, adultery or criminal behavior than losing reelection, how they govern is really up to you know who.................

    Strategic lying by Congressional (none / 0) (#85)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 12:53:51 PM EST
    leaders is what's needed.
    What I mean is that instead of Baucus being the main and obvious point man for the implementation of Obama's wishes, it would be better for Reid, Pelosi and other plausible Dem leaders to suggest actual Democratic policies, while on background their aides "liberally" leak the scoop that Obama is behind their plans.

    Some kind of deviousness is necessary, anyway.


    Charles Blow, in his NYT op-ed, (none / 0) (#88)
    by KeysDan on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:04:22 PM EST
    suggests that President Obama has a silver tongue and a tin ear. The same might be said about some progressives as they attempt to defend the House and Senate health bills.  Professor Krugman, in his NYT op-ed of the day prior--hold the presses--notes that the Republicans are hypocritical, they do not now nor have they ever liked Medicare!   Indeed, hypocrisy reins in their new found defense of Medicare. Gingrich, for example, who caused the "train wreck" in 1995 owing to his demands of President Clinton to cut Medicare, is now deeply concerned by the Senate/House bills slashing of $500 billion from Medicare to enable the new legislation.  Moreover, Dr. Krugman notes that Paul Ryan's shadow budget reveals the Republicans true intentions with Medicare cuts at about $650 billion.  Dr. Krugman argues, it seems, that a Republican cut of $650 billion is "dismantlement" whereas, a Democratic cut of about $400 billion (not $500 billion) is "savings". And, good cost control to boot.   I say, let's keep dancing, my friends.

    Political posturing is going to be (none / 0) (#98)
    by cawaltz on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:44:20 PM EST
    the death of this country. Just once I wish both sides of the aisle would have an honest debate where they didn't twist the facts for political purpose or shout names at the other side.

    It is unhelpful to shout communism when there is none just as it is unhelpful to pronounce that the other side is bereft of ideas simply because you do not agree with their ideas.

    Sigh.

    Parent

    The only posturing that matters is (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by observed on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:48:04 PM EST
    the prone posture towards the almighty corporate dollar.
    As soon as Obama enacts the campaign finance reform I read about on his website, he'll be able to govern with the people's interests in mind.
    Until then, his hands are tied---too busy grabbing for the dollar bills.

    Parent
    BTD covered all the salient political points (none / 0) (#97)
    by Ellie on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 01:39:26 PM EST
    ... on Obama's HC/I 'reform' beautifully.

    IMO, what the President and his team miss is people's unwillingness to give up feeling well (and feeling good) for a party or a personality.

    It's one thing to ask followers to knock on doors for votes, collecting hopey chump-change for a campaign.

    Regardless of what one feels about the legendary Obama "charisma", I doubt even his strongest supporters would lose everything to maintain the illusion that he's the proverbial fairest in the land.

    If you spend your days digesting progressive blogs (none / 0) (#120)
    by Honyocker on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:42:48 PM EST
    and surround yourself with people who simply re-enforce what you already believe, then you might actually believe that "the American electorate is supportive of progressive ideas."  

    But this simply is not true.

    The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is roughly as large and influential as the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.  In other words, people who support progressive ideas are a tiny fraction of the electorate.  The simple fact is, and we are seeing this play out at the moment, the overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of whether they affiliate with a  specific part or not are a) rationally ignorant about politics and issues and b) much more conservative than "progressive."  

    Anyone who believes different should step outside their respective political echo chamber for a bit.

    Sure (5.00 / 3) (#122)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 03:52:23 PM EST
    And if you are an idiot, there will be no convincing you by showing consistent poll results.

    So I won;t bother to do so for you.

    Parent

    Then (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:13:11 PM EST
    why were the public option and medicare expansion so popular among the public?  Both were progressive ideals.

    Parent
    Not to mention single payer (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:40:49 PM EST
    Despite the legacy parties suppressing it, the press suppressing it, the party line access bloggers suppressing it, and the President trashing it, Medicare for All still polls very well.

    Parent
    Project your own reality (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 05:02:15 PM EST
    onto everyone else much?

    Parent
    Honestly (none / 0) (#128)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:10:55 PM EST
    I honestly thought that by now I would have to begrudgingly concede that Obama has done things that made him much better choice than a Republican, even though I thought when he won the primary that divided government would be better for our nation than having the inexperienced wishy-washy AND Chicago politician in the lead.  

    At this point I likely won't ever accept Obama's govt strategy..  

    I honestly consider GW Bush's my-way-or the high way brand of leadership refreshing in comparison to Obama's right-leaning wimpiness.  And I HATED GW Bush.

    I believe that Obama has destroyed the Democratic brand more than Bush destroyed the Republican brand.  And given that Democrats relatively rarely win the presidency, this is a bad, bad, thing indeed.  But for me, if both choices are right-leaning, I'd prefer the strong to the wimpy leader anyday.  I won't be voting for Obama next time.  I may very well vote for the Republican.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#155)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 07:41:51 PM EST
    Political science and management studies reflect peoples' affinity for perceived strength. Lots of people also like tough talk and action. I've always thought that the intellectual and cool candidate faces trouble when the electorate is steamed up -- it really could be this President's Achilles Heel (tho, I would guess that the strength component will highlighted in Afghanistan and the like.) The real interesting aspect of this, however, is why--when we all get angry at one of ours--we get really angry and even opt for one obviously more offensive than the one from whom we expected (too) much. (Note: I don't want to disparage feelings; I only want to point out the interesting emotional consequences of feeling hurt by one of our own party.) Perhaps, there is a middle or common ground?

    Parent
    Simple answers to simple questions (none / 0) (#169)
    by lambert on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 08:22:56 PM EST
    Is That All There Is?

    Yes.

    Well, to quote Senator Porky Pig (D-Loony Tunes).. (none / 0) (#192)
    by StephenAG on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:37:08 PM EST
    "Buh deee, buh dee, bud deee, buh... buh... Dat's all folks!"

    We're doomed.

    Parent

    So according to the NYT editorial (none / 0) (#191)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 11:04:37 PM EST
    The Republicans are essentially going to the WH to tell the president the score - we successfully spooked the populace about all the government takeovers, so you have to accept our small plans.  And whether he believes them or not at this point is immaterial - he and congress already shrunk their own plans - whether they take the Dem plan or Rep plans at this point is really immaterial.

    Actually, I read this post hours ago and it really got me thinking and upset me. I feel like I go to bat for good policies, and take some real heat for it in my workplace, more than the president does! As others have said, he is going to walk away in 3 or 5 years set for life, and where will I be?  

    Feeling thoroughly demoralized at the moment.


    CA not alone in Blue Cross raising premiums A LOT- (none / 0) (#197)
    by jawbone on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 12:19:22 AM EST
    A commenter at Susie Madrak's Subruban Guerilla wrote that the new rates would go up 39% as of April 1, 2010.

    A commenter at a site I found looking for more info wrote that of Independence Blue of Philly raising his rates almost 50%.

    Hard rain's agonna fall...even if Sibelius writes every company a "sternly worded letter."

    Regarding NHS and private insurance (none / 0) (#202)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 08:44:10 AM EST
    It was requested that some evidence of the NHS paying private insurance premiums for Drs. and staff.

    From the Times:


    THE National Health Service has spent £1.5m paying for hundreds of its staff to have private health treatment so they can leapfrog their own waiting lists.

    More than 3,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, have gone private at the taxpayers' expense in the past three years because the queues at the clinics and hospitals where they work are too long.

    Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show that NHS administrative staff, paramedics and ambulance drivers have also been given free private healthcare. This has covered physiotherapy, osteopathy, psychiatric care and counselling -- all widely available on the NHS.

    "It simply isn't fair to have one service for staff and another for everyone else," said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, who obtained the figures.

    Remainder at:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article6879553.ece

    No. (none / 0) (#203)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 03:29:02 PM EST
    It's more than there really is.

    One of your best posts ever, BTD. (none / 0) (#204)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 03:30:14 PM EST
    If not the best.