Pre Post-Mortems On the Progressive Failure At Political Bargaining

Why did the progressives fail in the health bill negotiations? Chris Bowers has a theory (finally he acknowledges that progressives were "largely ineffective" in the health care debate.) Jon Walker has a better one. I have my own series on Madman Political Bargaining. MaryB has the best explanation:

I actually think the problem is that the Progressives never thought of themselves as being in a true negotiation with the Democrats as a whole and never acknowledged that the only TRUE negotiations were taking place among themselves - that the Republicans didn't matter.

[MORE . . .]

To use a non litigation example, it was like a party with capital joining an investor group and thinking that the true negotiations were with the target company when the target was going to get acquired one way or the other. What they should have been concerned with was negotiating their own positions within the buyer group. But for some very odd reason they were too afraid they would get kicked out of the group if they raised too many issues. They never realized that their contribution was essential to getting the deal done. That if they threatened to blow up the deal they could strike fear into the hearts of the other investors who needed to go back and report that this deal was DONE. Where the target could bluster all it wanted but every analysis showed the deal would get done one way or the other - easy or ugly, it was going to happen.

And now, after the deal is complete, our heroes congratulate themselves that a successful deal was done even though they will make less out of it than they could have if they had negotiated more strongly with their own side.

In an alliance or a coalition - and really, the Democratic Party is not really a political party, it is a coalition of diverse interests, bargaining must take place within the coalition. When the coalition has no chance of reaching outside of the coalition, as MaryB rightly describes was the case in the health care negotiations, then all the bargaining is inside the coalition.

Public insurance reform frameworks advocates has no kindred spirits in their coalition. The Blue Dogs were largely opposed. The Obama Administration was indifferent. And Village bloggers and Dems took their cues from the Obama Administration.

The question was how to bargain with the people who wanted a bill passed (the White House) to maximize your bargaining position. Unfortunately, that required being willing to do something progressives simply were not willing to do - create the real possibility that no bill would be passed because of their opposition. Without that commitment, the progressives were sure to be the first rolled. And they were. Bart Stupak took the "Madman" tack. As Jon Walker describes:

As much as I hate everything Bart Stupak (D-MI) is trying to do as it relates to abortion and health care reform–on policy, personal, and moral grounds–there is one, very small silver lining to his actions. He has made perfectly clear the difference between politely asking for something and fighting for something in Congress.

Bart Stupak put together a small coalition and decided to fight for his abortion restriction language. Fighting requires one to make use of every tool and hardball tactic at your disposal. Stupak’s gang became an immovable object, which gave Democrats only three choices: go around his group, accept being stopped cold by his group, or move heaven and earth to find a way to meet their demands.

In the House, the Democratic leadership seems to have been unable to find a way to get the votes they need without Stupak, so going around him is not an option. Equally, they refuse to let this health care bill be stopped by him, so they are working furiously to find a way to give in to his demands. Possibilities to appease Stupak include a third bill, a sidebar bill, and a special waiver of the Byrd rule.

The unremarked part of this is Stupak presents a much more difficult procedural problem for passage of the bill than did the progressive demand for reconciliation. And what also goes unremarked is that even if Scott Brown had not won in Massachusetts, Bart Stupak would be getting his way.

Progressives for a public insurance reform were in fact handed a second bite at the negotiating apple when Scott Brown lost. And yet again, they fumbled it away. As Jon Walker rightly describes:

With Democrats deciding they will use reconciliation, and with leadership whipping votes in the House to finally pass health care reform, progressives should be at the height of their negotiating power. If they formed a block, similar in size to Stupak’s, and refused to vote for health care reform without a public option–as many of them promised to do–the Democratic leadership would have no choice but to work tirelessly to meet their demands, just as they are working to appease Stupak’s gang. It does not matter if Obama thinks the public option might be a few votes shy of 51 in the Senate. If he actually thought it was the only way to pass reform, for the first time ever he might actually try to whip the votes for it. It is amazing how minds change if Obama actually whips for something. Instead, Woolsey preemptively throws away all negotiating power by saying she would vote for Senate bill regardless. This talk about “The day after the health care legislation is passed, I will introduce a bill calling for the public option,” sounds like stupid, childish nonsense that no one should take seriously, and for good reason. If you are unwilling to play hardball to get what you want at a moment of maximum leverage, there is no way this standalone bill is going overcome a filibuster in the Senate, or even reach the House floor.

Jane Hamsher does and say a lot of things that I strongly disagree with. But her analysis of Lynne Woolsey's failures as leader of the House Progressive Caucus seem irrefutable. Jon Chait is not being straight when he writes:

Yes, that is what it is time for! One day, when progressives study this moment in history, they will evaluate all of us by this single standard: What did they do to stop Lynn Woolsey?

Chait is playing the fool here. If Woolsey was leading a cause Chait was passionate about, he would be demanding Woolsey's ouster just as any sane person would. Woolsey is no leader. She is no bargainer. She is a fine reliable vote for progressive positions while also of course being a reliably bad bargainer with other forces in the Democratic coalition. No movement wants to be led by a bumbling stooge.

Those who have divergent priorities would of course love to have Woolsey and people of her caliber leading their bargaining opponents. Much easier to roll them then.

Which brings me to my last point - the unrecognized divergence between progressive activists and Democratic/Obama activists. I have written about Village Dems and Village bloggers enough so that the general point has been made before. But it goes a little deeper. 2010 is an election year and a lot of progressive activists, online and offline, are changing hats now. It is a difficult trick.

I think it requires honesty. Recognizing failures. Thinking through how to do better. Blind denial is simply not effective. Of course, livings can be made, but there are easier ways to make a better living. These folks are sincere. And they should consider how they can improve at trying to successfully advocate for the things they care about.

Because one thing is clear, what was done this past year did not work.

Speaking for me only

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    Chait is not playing the fool (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:14:00 AM EST
    He's an idiot and a true Villager. He's been fairly successful walking away from his mis-typed accusation that opponents of the Iraq war were somehow less patriotic than the blood-lusty. When push comes to shove we know that Chait lacks the wit to do anything more than parrot the 'wisdom' of those he regards as intellectual betters, folks like Andrew Sullivan. Yes, he's that bad.

    Bob Herbert, on the other hand, discovers after just two years that Obama's real problem isn't that voters don't understand this administration, it's that voters do. Voters in areas with 50% plus real unemployment understand that an enormous amount of political energy and capital is being expended on hcr at a time when the economy is short something like 11 million jobs.

    Visiting RealClearPolitics is like entering a war-zone, dead and dying Dems litter the field. Richard Cohen is begging the WH to ram through any bill. Others are urging Dems to stand up to the president or voters will elect someone who will.

    Kucinich has been one of the few really relentless critics of the entire exercise. He's made 'progressives' appear particularly spineless and is being tranformed into the Ralph Nader of 2010. Like this mess can really be laid at the door of the little guy.

    Expect more of the same as the Obama gang looks to blame anyone but the man at the top. He's got a job for two more years. Americans elected Bush to a second term, so maybe voters will just have to get used to eternal unemployment.

    They can take some solace from their role as bit players in Obama's history-making pageant.

    I bet many aren't even grateful. What's up with that? Like Obama is president or something?


    In retrospect it seems that even attempting (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:12:52 PM EST
    HCR was a big mistep- Obama should have done jobs, passed on HCR, DADT, and Immigration Reform, as well as Gitmo and Criminal Trials- basically anything controversial- in the hopes that turning the economy around would have won him 62-65 Senators in 2010. I get the calculation- I mean trying HCR after popularity fades makes it less likely to pass- but lets face it- with the way the Senate is constructed Obama would never get enough votes to pass truly progressive legislation unless he had held off on doing anything progressive for a long time. Let's say Obama had done jobs and financial regulation then listened to Rahm instead of his ideals and other advisors on torture, Gitmo etc- he'd be more popular- the American people like torture, they like secret prisons, etc (its sad but unlike Health Care where we should be able to win the public- torture, et al have public backing- civil liberties just aren't popular in America- hell, I was pessimistic about the reaction to closing Gitmo and even I didn't think congressmen would be such Nimbyish cowards on the issue- for godsakes you had people on here who genuinely love civil liberties arguing against trying KSM in NY because it would be too hard- as if passing it on to another area isn't simply shifting that burden).

    But-if BO did health CARE, not insurance profit (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:47:54 PM EST
    protection, he and the Dems would be awash in the huzzahs of a grateful polity.

    But Obama never, ever intended to health CARE reform; he always meant to do BHIP-PPP (Big Health Insurance Parasites Profit Protection Plan).


    Really (none / 0) (#65)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:10:54 PM EST
    we think this but what evidence is there for this- not polling data which is highly fungible, but actual history.

    The Evidence is (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by kidneystones on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 06:45:14 PM EST
    that big pharma, Billy Tauzin, and big healthcare and Wall St early money bought them the chance to draft the hope and change legislation that was supposed to end rapine profit-taking at the expense of the middle-class and the poor.

    Having a Wellpoint VP draft the Baucus bill.... (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:38:08 PM EST
    the Baucus bill (none / 0) (#103)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:34:22 PM EST
    was a strong bill, I realize if you're just going to demonize it instead actually reading it you wouldn't know that but considering the possible I think the Baucus bill was decent- the excise tax funding portion is the only piece of it that's not better than both the House and Senate bills.

    So you agree with the factual issue? (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by lambert on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:50:42 AM EST
    That the insurance companies drafted the bill and controlled the process?


    I have to assume you do, since you have no on point response, and therefore attempt to shift the argument.


    For All the Legitimate Criticism (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by The Maven on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:56:41 AM EST
    aimed here at progressives, both inside and outside Congress, it's necessary as well to note that the Democratic leadership -- in the House, the Senate and the White House -- worked tirelessly in the early stages of HCR to marginalize progressives and deride many of their principal goals as unattainable pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

    Once faced with that reality, most progressives became demoralized about the whole process.  The fault then was in passively accepting this situation and not trying to fight back aggressively.  But far too many were banking on the logic of their ideas ultimately winning out, while obviously remaining clueless to the political truth that in a fight for hearts and minds (or, more bluntly, votes) between rationality and emotion, the latter will pretty much always slaughter the former.

    There's more than enough blame for this whole fiasco to go around that everyone can have seconds, and there will still be leftovers.  I'd predicted a year ago -- and stand by this today -- that this entire process will be held up as a model for generations as the archetypical example of how not to advance a legislative program.  I was extremely cynical beforehand; now I'm about ready to throw in the towel.

    Very true (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:30:41 AM EST
    But far too many were banking on the logic of their ideas ultimately winning out, while obviously remaining clueless to the political truth that in a fight for hearts and minds (or, more bluntly, votes) between rationality and emotion, the latter will pretty much always slaughter the former.

    Also it has to be kept in mind that, regardless of how right we think the policies are, progressives are in the minority - even of the Dem party, much less the Dems + Republicans. sure, if you stand firm with good bargaining like Stupck, you can make some progress, but in the end it is going to take persuasion of more of the populace, which Progs have been bad at in recent years. We have documented the reasons why well at this blog - primarily treating people like idiots because they happen to live in certain parts of the country, or are otherwise not cool enough. Or, god forbid, are older, and/or women.

    something sorely lacking in the public outreach.


    for example (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:35:24 AM EST
    Eleanor Roosevelt went to Appalachia and persuaded people she was on her side. She didn't preach at them to trust her.

    Right wing group running an ad (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:53:22 AM EST
    in wavering Democrats' districts against the health insurance legislation. link It hits all the bases.

    One of the most frustrating things about this whole issue is, as stated in the ad, liberals and their ideas are taking the brunt for legislation that can be described at best as center right legislation.


    this is the obama/dem foolery (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by pluege on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:45:22 PM EST
    why waste placating republicans when no matter what you do you get plastered as extreme left. Might as well do something useful and enact extreme left legislation - and in so doing, let the howling be real and factual.

    Couldn't agree more (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Farmboy on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:13:02 AM EST
    From the very beginning of the current health care reform push it's been the party centrists who've worked to stop it. The most insidious thing has been the way they mock the legislative process as well as the progressive goals.

    This allow the centrists to win either way. If the bill fails they can say, "See how screwed up Dems are?" (criticize pols) "Only someone with blinders on would think this bill was any good." (criticize the goals) And if the bill passes they can say, "45k people would still be alive if Dems would've passed this last year! (criticise pols) "This bill is a failure, because it doesn't go far enough!" (criticize goals)


    obama gamed them (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by pluege on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:48:20 PM EST
    by not revealing his true plutocratic position, obama let progressives deceive themselves into thinking he was with them - just like he did in the primaries and the general election. Give the opportunity, fool progressive will happily believe in the fantasies in the heads rather than their lying eyes. For many of them, obama is STILL the one.

    Obama The One? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:57:55 PM EST
    Maybe, but Hillary is still "the one" for many here..  

    If only Obama had not cheated.... things would be soooooo different.. lol


    If only Obama ... (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 04:05:51 PM EST
    ... would keep a campaign promise, lead, show some basic competency, etc.

    If Only? (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 04:20:59 PM EST
    If only a politician would tell the truth...  Idealism is kind of cute.

    Oh right there was once a pol who was completely honest, principled, and who held true non negotiable progressive values. Must be why she lost...  

    Great fantasy world. Some have religion and some have a dream...


    Do you get a discount ... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 05:09:02 PM EST
    ... when you buy your straw in such large quantities?

    Can't move on (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 06:42:58 PM EST
    He just can't get over the primaries.  Sad.

    What A Load (2.00 / 1) (#85)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:14:06 PM EST
    But you were never good at paying attention anyway, particularly as TL censor..  

    The only thing I have not gotten over is cultists like you who fled the other cultists at dkos, in order to seek refuge at TL.


    He's kept some (none / 0) (#83)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:00:30 PM EST
    no President is going to be 100%.

    Ah, yes .... (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:11:16 PM EST
    ... the old "no one is perfect" argument.  Usually followed by the "He's better than Bush!" argument.

    More like the (none / 0) (#101)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:31:01 PM EST
    if you hold a president to an impossible standard- no President not even FDR or Lincoln was all that great- heck FDR codified racism in the creation of Social Security that seems at least as bad as Stupak (and on civil liberties don't get me started- internment makes Gitmo look like a day spa for ax murderers), Lincoln suspend habeas corpus.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#111)
    by Yman on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 06:15:53 AM EST
    I guess it's the old "no President is perfect" argument, which - I'm pretty sure - everyone would agree with, ...

    ... but thanks for proving my point.


    You don't quit, do you? (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Spamlet on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:42:05 PM EST
    "The One" (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by jondee on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 05:31:45 PM EST
    who "still believes that"; who ever believed that?

    The Bush - dereg - fundy - Likud North clown show was an utter horror; that's all 99.9% of the people needed to know.

    How about a moratorium on the "The One, hows that working out for you?" sour grapes - horsesh*t?


    Obama let the progressives deceive themselves? (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:02:14 PM EST
    How did he LET them do that?  Unfortunately, they CHOSE to deceive themselves.  When people tell you who they are, believe them.  Too many of us don't do that, we project onto our pols what we HOPE they will be, not what they really are.  Obama never claimed to be a progressive when we ran for office, yet so many on the left thought that he was.  Why do we deceive ourselves like this?  

    The legislative program was quite successful (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:32:52 PM EST
    The program was to bail out the insurance companies with taxpayer money, and cement them into the system for decades to come. Career "progressives" like Bowers helped get this done.

    yes and I'm sure from his point of view (none / 0) (#102)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:32:25 PM EST
    you fought passionately to make sure poor people couldn't get medicaid.

    You mean as opposed to ... (none / 0) (#118)
    by lambert on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:48:17 AM EST
    passionately fighting to bail out the insurance companies? There was exactly ONE policy on offer shown to save lives and $350 billion dollars a year on health care, and career "progressives" like Bowers systematically suppressed it. Their dishonesty and hypocrisy on saving lives would be breathtaking if we weren't all so used to it. As for Medicaid, it's a welfare program. Thanks very much for the chance to lose my house and my assets before getting care. Advocating for Medicare, not Medicaid expansion would have been the better policy option.

    FWIW - (none / 0) (#10)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:40:51 AM EST
    The progressives, I think, were blind sided by the Obama Administration right out of the gate.  They were unceremoniously sidelined in the debate at a point where Obama still enjoyed extremely high approval numbers.  Challenging Obama publicly would have been seen as pretty nutty in the first four-six months of his tenure.  So they sat on their hands.

    I don't think it is a good excuse for staying out of the debate the way they did, but I do think it is an explanation for their inaction that should be considered when analysing what went wrong.


    Ha (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:42:37 PM EST
    Those of us who knew this from the beginning and spoke out were marginalized with amazing rapidity over at the Orange.

    It was an instructive experience and I, for one, don't intend on repeating it.

    If, as Obama has said, immigration reform is next on the agenda (before the 2010 elections), Progressives have to really hit the ground running when it comes to holding the narrative.

    This is a power struggle within the party and it trickles down to regular posters at the blogs who get drunk at the notion that they can shut people up that they never liked to begin with and be called a patriot and an activist at the same time!


    I doubt (none / 0) (#26)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:48:20 PM EST
    much else will get done before the elections.  Come Memorial Day, all the critters are in campaign mode and no huge sweeping bill (or controversial bill) will be put to a vote before Election Day.

    And Memorial Day is only 11 weeks away.


    There's a lot of reasons ... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:52:18 PM EST
    ... why Obama would like to get this done sooner rather than later.

    The immense number of latino/a voters is certainly part of that reason.

    He was supposedly meeting with Schumer and Graham yesterday on the issue but there was a "travel glitch" and the meeting was cancelled.

    We'll see what happens.


    The problem is going to (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:58:24 PM EST
    be Unions being opposed to this- there's a lot of people who are going to spin easing restriction on Hispanic Immigration as yet another sell-out to corporate interests and a betrayal of the Working-Class Base (left unstated is the "white" part of that formulation).

    If Obama blows off the unions - again, (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by dkmich on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 06:16:43 AM EST
    he can kiss off what little working/middle class support he has.  The bots at orange don't count.  They'd support him if he proposed full unemployment and beating your spouse daily.   In all the health care furor, nobody has noticed that Dodd is reaching across the aisle to kill the "consumer protection agency bill" just like they killed the public option.  

    Bottom line is the old Democratic Party is dead, and the old Republican Party is just plain nuts.  All that remains are the corporatists, and they now own the "new" Democratic Party.   The answer does not lie in voters bouncing between the two shells like a ping pong ball.  Heads they win, and tails we lose.  


    Well ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:18:30 PM EST
    ... this is from 2007 but seems the AFL-CIO sees the benefits of amnesty for the workers already here:


    Their statement was against guest worker programs.  It stands to reason that unions benfit from legalizing those undocumented workers who can then join the union.

    But again, there's such a struggle to even move the immigration issue an inch away from the nativist view and Frank Luntz talking points that have dominated our discourse for years.


    Will Obama support the Schumer/Graham mandated ID (none / 0) (#122)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:44:37 AM EST
    for every worker in the nation?

    That should be interesting....

    Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

    The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

    The uphill effort to pass a bill is being led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who plan to meet with President Barack Obama as soon as this week to update him on their work. An administration official said the White House had no position on the biometric card.

    "It's the nub of solving the immigration dilemma politically speaking," Mr. Schumer said in an interview. The card, he said, would directly answer concerns that after legislation is signed, another wave of illegal immigrants would arrive. "If you say they can't get a job when they come here, you'll stop it."

    There's a poll there, but I don't know if it's still open. IE won't let me back to results, but it's about 56% NO, 44% YES.


    And I forgot I'd posted this here yesterday...Oops (none / 0) (#123)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:48:11 AM EST
    How the regular folks (none / 0) (#27)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:52:01 PM EST
    were dealing was sort of a different animal from the pressures your typical Dem House member would have felt in considering going against Obama in the first six months.  Again, not an excuse, but still an important factor in understanding how a lot of stuff got derailed.  

    Sure. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:53:32 PM EST
    But if the "regular folks" (i.e., activists) were not pressuring the progressive Dems in office, that is a factor as well.

    I now realize that OFA was a lot more active in this than I could have known before.


    I can't call a lot of the Obama fan base (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:23:15 PM EST
    activists.  A lot of those folks aren't really interested in personally affecting and shaping policy as much as I'd say they are interested in having someone take care of them better than Bush did.  I was nauseated by the number of comments along the lines of, "I trust him.  He's smarter than I am."  That's the thinking that brought about the 47th dimensional chess delusions.

    There was nothing you or I could do to combat that tidal wave of sentiment for the newly minted President.


    It was pretty clear from posting (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:29:42 PM EST
    patterns that there was a coordinated effort to control the narrative and beat back criticism.  Not surprising either given the fact that the Obama camp was adept at using internet media as a tool for shaping public opinion about the candidate.  I wondered a bit about the rules governing propaganda there for a while - because as a candidate that stuff is fine - but pushing ideology with government monies and not disclosing that government is participating could be seen as acting outside of that law.  Anyhow, it is an interesting meltdown taking place over there today.  

    Yeah, I saw that. (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:33:07 PM EST
    But all those kinds of fights benefit the OFA/DLC crowd.  The merits of their arguments suck, so they have become a noise machine in their own right, and a very effective one at that.

    Your description is spot-on, imo.

    It's all about controlling the narrative.


    What's interesting about this fight (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:58:49 PM EST
    today is how many people seem to be experiencing cold feet about this bill.  I wonder if their narrative control has gone off of the rails.  One of their tactics is bullying folks and I am not seeing them get the recs they used to for that tactic.

    I am thinking that Stupak might have created some sort of clarity around this bill that was lacking before - the stakes are pretty high from a policy standpoint and I think people are just now coming to that realization in a way that they weren't just a few weeks ago.  It is like people were willing to go along with "okay" until they saw something that really upset them and then all of the "okay" stuff has started to look less than "okay".

    Funny too because the Obama bloggers were out in force yesterday trying to convince progressives that they had achieved a big win with this bill - which I sort of thought was a way of talking progressives and liberals out of being fiercely protective of Choice - like "SEE, you're going to save 30 million people so it is okay if women's right to access legal abortions is severely limited!" - might have had the opposite effect, though.


    I didn't really follow ... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:33:05 PM EST
    ... the fight other than to skim.

    I will say that the OFA/DLC crowd has won some important battles.  I've only seen one credible poster who has consistently stated s/he is against passing the bill without a p.o. if they're going to have a mandate, etc., in the face of being called "bill killer," which was a very effective smear tactic.

    Even markos, in a post today, linked to Chris Bowers and noted that the bill "should" pass but if it weren't for the progressives, it would have been worse.  A weak talking point, imo.

    What I see is that they'll push to have the bill pass and then go right into electoral mode for the 2010 elections using the Plouffe tactic of showing Dems how they should run on HCR and their wonderful work.


    Stupak still provides a pretty big (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:29:36 PM EST
    hurdle.  They may have found a way to overcome the who goes first problem using the "Self Executing Rule" where the House would accept and amend the Senate bill all in one go - thus allowing the House members to escape voting in the affirmative on the Senate bill without the fixes.

    The question is whether or not the OFA/DLC crowd will be able to overcome the Choice advocates if Stupak ends up being as awful as it looks like it might be.  I am not so sure that they will successfully overrun the Choice folks as they have others whom they have smeared as "bill killers".

    One of those folks told a poster who was expressing great concerns about Stupak that that poster didn't care about dying Americans.  I responded saying that maybe that the DLC/OFA guy might not care about teen-aged mothers or their babies who might die or enter the cycle of poverty as a result of Stupak's dealings.  I don't think that they can casually throw women and families under the bus and appear credible when claiming that they are "saving lives".  Could be a really tough fight that won't go their way so easily.  We shall see.

    I always knew that this battle would come down to choice; and that's exactly why I think that the Obama Adminsitration was totally idiotic when they left single-payer off the table.  They should have created a basic, cheap primary and catastrophic care plan for all Americans and allowed people to supplement with private insurance.  The private insurers don't like either of those coverages anyway - and both would be better managed in a national risk pool.  But never mind.  Obama is really super smart! /s


    Given that the OFA and the DLC (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:59:56 PM EST
    were basically the two factions that fought it out in the primaries it shouldn't be suprising that an alliance would dominate the conversation.

    Have you forsaken DK? (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:15:33 PM EST
    lol (none / 0) (#32)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:19:44 PM EST
    I still post there, but in a far different manner than I used to.

    Way different strategy, iow.


    The only posters whose names I (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:58:14 PM EST
    recognize, besides CCCM and Kos, mcjoan, meteorblades, and darksyde.  Amazing change of personnel.

    before McCain got that primary challenge- I mean Bush almost got it through with a bi-partisan bill- we should simply pass the Kennedy-McCain thing and be done with it (the political calculus might be different here as many GOP types actually realize how damaging alienating hispanics would be to the parties long-term future).

    WSJ on what Schumer and Huckleberry are up to re: (none / 0) (#59)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:43:40 PM EST
    immigration. Using the issue to begin a national ID system.

    ID cards for all workers...mandated (well, required to be employed)....

    Check the WSJ article, take the poll.

    When I voted at 11:45-ish, the NO's were 100% In about an hour, NO's were tied with YES's. Interesting -- who called for a freep?


    I voted no. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Nightprowlkitty on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:00:08 PM EST
    There's a lot of problems with the ID system.

    Here's a good post about Obama's actions thus far on immigration, and as far as the present proposals for ID:


    But this should come as no surprise coming from an administration that has voiced support for expanding the 287G system that gives local honchos like Arizona's Joe Arpaio carte blanche to terrorize whole communities. Or that looks to expand the failed e-verify system. Or worse yet, embraces Chuck Schumer's Orwellian national biometric identification system.

    IMO (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:02:33 AM EST
    progressives must've screwed it up from the start.  Because had they any power to begin with, they should've been able to convince Obama to campaign for the public option.  That never happened.

    Unfortunately, Obama also decided.... (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:22:42 AM EST
    ...that Republicans mattered more than progressives, a decision that will go down as one of the most foolish, naive, and inexcusably wasetful (in this economic climate) in Presidential history.

    And he's still at it (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Coral on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:44:47 AM EST
    I can't bear the centrist rhetoric he's using to try to sell health insurance reform.

    And the attack on entitlements and social security through his commission on the deficit?

    Pretty soon, he's going to look around and see he has no base left, and no other friends either, because, truth be told, the GOP sees him as an illegitimate president and will not bargain with him on ANY grounds, no matter how far to the right he's willing to go.


    I think he's doing a good sales job (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by observed on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:05:56 AM EST
    ---which is not at ALL to say that I like his message.
    It's just impossible to sell anything left of center because Democrats have been running away from leftish labels for so long.

    To me, what' really ironic is that we essentially have President Joe Lieberman, and the Progressives are just lapping it up.
    By the way, hasn't Lieberman introduced a bill to end DADT? Maybe he's getting too progressive for Obama.


    For all the criticism of 11-D Chess (none / 0) (#48)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:04:32 PM EST
    I think its proponents might be right on DADT with the exception of the Justice Dept. concurrance on Gay Marriage, the administration has been playing DADT perfectly in terms of political impact- think about it- announce early you're going to re-think it, have your Secretary of Defense and the Bulk of Military High Command as well as perhaps the most well known living General (Powell- was going to say respected but changed wording) come out in favor of repeal (reversing his previous statement), then have the bill for its repeal be introduced by the rights most beloved Dem- the only way this could be better politically is if the Admin had gotten someone like Coburn to introduce the repeal because DADT is "against Freedom and Weakens Defense"

    No, the legacy parties (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:34:59 PM EST
    decided that corporate funders were their true constituents, and both did this: Democrats and Republicans.

    What makes matters seem glaring now is that some people, including most of what used to be the base, and many genuine progressives, expected Democrats to be different. Turns out they are, if anything, as bad, and if they get into entitlement reform, will be worse.


    How much of the progressives' unwillingness (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by esmense on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:07:02 PM EST
     to "create the real possibility that no bill would be passed because of their opposition" is related to the fact that the Black Caucus, an important and large part of the progressive coalition, might be especially wary of being seen as either opposing, or, unduly influencing, the first African American president on such an important issue?

    Frankly, I think the fact that Obama is, on the one hand, the first African American president, but, on the other hand, ideologically rather far to the right of most African Americans in congress, puts those members between a rock and a hard place. If Tom Daschle were president and putting

    I'm not suggesting at all that this is a total explanation for the why progressives have had so little influence. But, I think it is a factor that has most likely worked against their own unity, as well as their effectiveness in preventing the incredibly rightward direction of the legislation.

    It's a good question. (none / 0) (#25)
    by oldpro on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:47:32 PM EST
    That could be part of it (none / 0) (#58)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:42:11 PM EST
    but I think the CBC is basically ignored by Dem Presidents at times- I mean with a Dem President and a strong CBC- how do say "Welfare Reform" or the various crime bills of the 90s ever happen?

    But their objections to centrist and conservative (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by esmense on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:11:53 PM EST
    policy usually get more exposure in the media. Most of the time, when I hear someone making a strong progressive argument in the media, it is a member of the Black Caucus. This time, they seem to have been mostly, and strangely, absent from the debate.

    The "liberal" voices most invited to participate in this debate are the young white boy bloggers and pundits who aren't, by my standards, really progressives at all (they just play one on tv).  


    I feared that a center rightist Obama would put (none / 0) (#63)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:52:39 PM EST
    all Dems, except the Corporatists and Blue Dogs, between a rock and a hard place. That Dems would find it almost impossible to stand up to the real Obama issues and programs.

    It's turned out much worse than I imagined it would.


    First rule of negotiating (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:27:47 PM EST
    The first rule you learn about relationships (if you are paying attention) is that the one who is willing to walk away is the one who wields the power. On the Seinfeld show the crew referred to this position as "having hand."

    It's also the first rule of any negotiating. Yes, you run the risk of losing, big time, but when you're up against something wholly unreasonable, walking away is one way to save yourself from further damage.

    how is threatening to walk away even a factor?

    This is not hard, in principle. Granted, it's very hard to do in actual practice, but you cannot convince me that a bunch of congressmen are any less wily, tough, and risk-taking than the salesmen and lawyers and other negotiators who do this kind of thing every day.

    Obama wanted to pass a bill, any bill, that could be reasonably branded "health care reform," even if it quite manifestly was no such thing. He didn't care much about what was actually in it. Knowing this, the progressive bloc COULD have said, "You want your 'Health Care Bill'? Your 'Legacy'? Fine. You can have it, but here's what we want in it - and if we don't get it, you don't get our votes. Now, here's our list...oh, you say no? Bye-bye. Call us when you really want to get your bill passed."

    How hard is that? It isn't conceptually difficult, but it takes balls of steel. Those same Dems would have had to speak loud and clear about why they opposed the bill--not hard to do, given how lousy it is--and explain that they are waiting for the president to come up with a better one. Put the ball in Obama's court, make him (and the Republicans) take responsibility for it. They wouldn't be risking much, if anything. Nobody likes the bill, after all.

    It could have been done. IF they wanted it. Clearly they didn't.

    Agree completely. (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by masslib on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:23:12 AM EST
    I think what hurt progressives the most was not acknowledging that the President wasn't going to lead on the issue of public insurance.  Rather, they seemed to cling to any mere mention of public insurance for evidence that the President wanted it in the bill.  He said "public" and "choices" in the same sentence!  He must want a public option.  I think if the progressives had acknowledged early on that the president was indifferent at best to what they wanted, ie public insurance, and that that indifference represented the major hurdle to getting a public insurance program in the bill, they may have fared better. As a bargaining position then the progressives could have stood against the very unpopular individual mandate and for a 200% above poverty increase to Medicaid.

    For almost 20 years now... (none / 0) (#2)
    by NealB on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:17:08 AM EST
    ...health care reform has been assumed the holy grail of the Democratic agenda. When Democrats won fairly large majorities in Congress and the presidency in 2008, it was reasonable for them to assume that their/our long-deferred agenda would move forward. But a third of Democrats in Congress are Democrats in name only. Republicans remain the actual majority in Congress.

    That's why "Democrats" haven't passed health care, or much of anything else Democratic, either.

    with obama/reid/pelosi care, republicans get (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by pluege on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:42:27 PM EST
    a twofer:

    1. a crap bill handing billions and billions over to insurance companies with no controls.

    2. the defacto end to a woman's right to choose

    heckova job their barry, harry, and nance.

    Uh, no (none / 0) (#51)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:21:51 PM EST
    1. It also add millions to the medicaid rolls, and subsidizes coverage (which yes is a give away, but also increases coverage- and is with some major differences not to dissimilar to how coverage for those who can't afford it works in a lot of other countries)

    2. That's a bit much, it certainly restricts access financially- though ironically it could quite possibly expand it at the lower end of the spectrum as increased Medicaid access could depending on how state matching is structured increase abortion coverage- states right now can cover Abortion with their Medicaid plans despite Hyde if they do so with state, rather than Federal dollars).

    So, now the chance to lose your house... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:39:47 PM EST
    ... and all your assets before getting medical care -- since Medicaid is assets-based -- moves up the income ladder.

    And this is what career "progressives" are touting as "expansion."

    Well done!


    Well I guess if that;s how you view it (3.50 / 2) (#104)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:35:43 PM EST
    I can understand your opposition to those in poverty getting healthcare, I mean this way their sick and you don't have to feel guilty- its like listening to Newt on Welfare reform.

    I understand your opposition to women (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by observed on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 06:19:34 AM EST
    having access to reproductive health care---after all, you're not one of them.

    What is this, the primariez again? (none / 0) (#125)
    by lambert on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 01:50:53 PM EST
    You just repeat the earlier smear, except more viciously.

    1. Since you have no on point response, I'm glad you agree that expanding Medicare was a better policy option than expanding Medicaid.

    2. What makes you think I'm not poor? Heck, what makes you think I even have access to a doctor? Versailles "progressives" and their wannabe hangers on who have all those things explaining to the rest of us how we should take one for the team are a royal p.i.t.a.

    20 years (none / 0) (#50)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:17:27 PM EST
    Try 60- heck if you're going to replace Progressive with Democratic- Try 100- Teddy Roosevelt (domestically, very progressive for his time- FP an Imperialist) want HCR, as did FDR and Truman, LBJ got Medicare/caid, etc. - its odd the interests against it have shifted but almost always win (the AMA was initially extremely powerful- and scuttled Truman's attempt coining "socialized medicine" along the way, LBJ got his way in large part because the growing insurance industry was passive if not outright supportive of Medicare and Medicaid- they'd tried to establish a revenue stream with the former and found it unprofitable).

    Are you (3.00 / 2) (#81)
    by kidneystones on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 06:49:54 PM EST
    the One stepping up to sell the vapid policies of the Lizard King? He's utterly soul-less. His incremental steps in favor of gay rights or women's right are the result of political calculation not principle.

    Yes of course (none / 0) (#84)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:03:31 PM EST
    that must be it- truly with your clairivoyance one would think you'd have a talk show- me I can't read minds- but I can read data- which tells me that Obama's moved us to the left of where he started on a lot of things, and is trying to go farther, but hey I'm sure your psychic gifts work better.

    Ah, and now the prompt (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by kidneystones on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:46:23 PM EST
    reply. I have another question for you? How many millions more need to go without work for you and this president to accept he's doing a really, really crummy job?

    How much of a free pass are those without work expected to extend to 'A' for effort Pelosi, and 'I give myself a B plus'?

    You'd think we'd see just a tiny sliver of humility from Obama supporters after watching Obama and the Dems do to America for more than a year what Bush did to New Orleans for several weeks.

    Obama messed-up, and messed-up bad. He's good at convincing people that he's up to the job. Herbert reports 16 million Americans are without work.

    None of this is sinking in, is it?


    Were in a Recession (3.00 / 2) (#105)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:39:03 PM EST
    things have been bad, and will be bad for a while longer- i know you think there's a magic job creation wand but for those of us familar with reality, these things take time. Do I agree with everything the President's done economically- no, I don't, do I think he's done a decent job considering the hand he was dealt- yeah, yeah I do. I know it would have been much better to let GM and all of the banks fail so we could have free falled, but some of us actually think that some sort of a bailout be it for the banks or the Unions was helpful.

    Can't stand the heat, can you? (1.00 / 1) (#116)
    by kidneystones on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:27:26 AM EST
    Really don't like this accountability business, do you? My question is plain and simple.

    You claim the 16 million unemployed figure is reflective of a decent job. I say you're a lying, equivocating snake you refuses to provide a clear number for a negative evaluation.

    And here's another assertion: you use a race based sliding scale and you keep your finger pressed down especially hard when evaluating the failures of politicians garbed in Dem blue.

    Would 16 million unemployed be reflective of a 'decent job' if a white Democrat or, worse, a white Republican woman named Palin in the Oval office?

    Doubtless, Obama apologists will be fanning out across the blogosphere explaining to the any who will listen that Obama isn't to blame for using J-O-B-S as a political slogan and that gosh-golly and that !6 Americans are actually lucky to be out of work considering how super-humanly impossible it would have been to keep unemployment under 8% like Obama promised while he was funneling cash to Larry, Ben, and Tim's Wall St cronies.

    Your revolting indifference to the plight of the unemployed is a fetid chip off the blockhead you see as the second-coming.

    Who knows, white folks are beating a black man in the street might work one more time.


    Belief is required in order to have spine and thus (none / 0) (#3)
    by vicndabx on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:29:50 AM EST
    begin the negotitations from a strong starting point.  I suspect those pushing public-option like plans saw, over the long term, a good chance there'd be pissed-off constituents; either because of huge deficits due to Medicare for all run amok, or, an inability of their constituents to go see the doctor of their choosing whenever, for whatever malady no matter how trivial, or doctors and hospitals angry at pay cuts due to their reimbursment levels dropping.  People in Congress know about the failings of man that you touch upon when you say
    livings can be made, but there are easier ways to make a better living.
    They live it every day.  The sell in the plans they pushed were that they would supposedly cut costs.  In reality, the only way costs are going to come down is if we change how we are prepared to utilize healthcare - and these folks know that's going to be long uphill battle.  Why should they risk their livelihoods?  It was more than just bad leadership.  They had no belief their plans would achieve what they were selling, that is why, IMO, there was no strength in the negotiations.

    and I think they would have (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:22:03 AM EST
    started the negotiations from a stronger place if they had built firmer public support first. I know polls showed support for a public option for a while, but it was not solid enough support to withstand the scare talk about 'socialism', deficits, etc, from both the Blue Dogs and the Republicans, and of course the media.

    If I were a cynic I would say that the WH pushed for HCR before solid support for a public option gelled on purpose. Oh yeah, I am a cynic.


    There is still strong public support (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:50:08 AM EST
    for a public option, last polls I heard about, as there is for Medicare expansion.

    Well it is sure not very vocal (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:53:30 AM EST
    Not in my area at least. All I hear about is the fear of socialized medicine.

    But BTD... (none / 0) (#5)
    by seabe on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:06:30 AM EST
    Unfortunately, that required being willing to do something progressives simply were not willing to do - create the real possibility that no bill would be passed because of their opposition. Without that commitment, the progressives were sure to be the first rolled.

    I have argued this all along, that this is why progressives NEVER have power. I mean, wasn't it obvious from the beginning?

    However, I'm not sure how you can expect progressives to be sincere in this. It's the general approach in general: blue dogs and Republicans DO NOT CARE if we got a bill. I'm not sure how you can expect progressives, whose world view is completely different, to have the same position.

    Progressives start out at a disadvantage, as Democrats in general do, because they believe government and public programs to be the solution. Republicans would rather the government do nothing, which is a pillar to their ideology (their ideology, not what they do in practice when they're in power).

    The bleeding heart, man. I just don't see how they could be put in that position; everyone knows it, and could have called their bluff. It's why liberals always get the crumbs in every case.

    That reality requires one of three things (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:32:14 AM EST
    1. being willing to wheel and deal on other issues Progressives are not expected to support (could you imagine a nuclear power for public option trade? I could have); or

    2. changing the public discussion so that only your position seems reasonable; or

    3. running credible primary challanges.

    Option 1 is available only to elected officials. And as we have seen, on the progressive side they are mostly useless. Option 2 is available to electeds and activists. But it's hard; damn hard. So instead of doing that, and demanding that the President participate (but Obama seems not to believe in this, and that just comes down to his political style), progressive activists engaged in a year-long process of negotiating against themselves.

    Progressives willing to wheel and deal? (none / 0) (#110)
    by beowulf on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 04:21:31 AM EST
    "being willing to wheel and deal on other issues Progressives are not expected to support (could you imagine a nuclear power for public option trade? I could have)..."

    If they had any balls, HCR would be ancient history...  settled in the famous Wall Street bailout for 'Medicare for All' deal of September 2008.


    Bleeding heart (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:55:09 AM EST
    shmeeding heart.  If unions have managed to do this, and quite well, for all these years, there's no reason liberals can't.

    I'd argue that some liberals (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:48:53 AM EST
    can and do understand the philosophy of walking away from the table rather than accept anything. Unfortunately, they are largely ridiculed for their reticence. Words I've heard utilized include bitter, uneducated(for the group who must not be named), foolish, and unrealistic(for the single payer advocates). It's a darn shame that rather than recognize the value of people who reach a principled position and choose to stand and fight on their behalf(even if you disagree with their position) that the villagers have tossed them away like yesterdays newspaper(by ridiculing and deriding them). It was and in my opinion remains a strategic mistake.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't advocate for what... (none / 0) (#30)
    by seabe on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:58:29 PM EST
    they believe in, but walking away from the table if they don't get single-payer? Does anyone really believe that will happen? This is why it's so easy to call their bluff.

    They want something done.

    "The dynamics working against liberals are fairly obvious: they are the ones who want to help a whole bunch of people in dire straits and nobody else gives a damn. That makes them weaker in the final stages because everyone knows they want it more (that people are desperate) so they will not risk getting nothing at all when so many are suffering."


    The point is if your coalition (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:22:06 PM EST
    isn't willing to walk away from the table and your opponent KNOWS that your coalition isn't willing to walk away from the table that you are arguing from a weak position.

    Even if you disagreed with the single payers(by the way I prefer a hybrid system so I am not a single payer advocate per se), it would have been in the progressives interest instead of ridiculing them to stand up for them and insist that they get their turn to speak. Furthermore, I am not completely certain that if some of them had at the very least been allowed their input that they would be as reticent to participate in the process a bit more and felt like they had a vested interest in passing reform.

    I felt the same way about allowing those that supported Clinton to have their floor vote. Instead the party chose to brand them as unreasonable and racist. It still reverberates for me that the party lost alot of dedicated support by not at least attempting to see their position as principled, even if they didn't agree with it.


    Actually a TON (none / 0) (#36)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:30:51 PM EST
    of single payer advocates walked away from the table and heavily support defeating the bill. It's my position that not only can it happen, it did.

    I think it's self-indulgent... (none / 0) (#67)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:12:23 PM EST
    ... to put your own self-image as "a caring nurturer" ahead of making the decisions needed to actually, ya know, care for people.

    I guess I don't see how (none / 0) (#53)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:30:43 PM EST
    being willing to walkaway would have changed things- if they did wouldn't the Blue Dogs have just decided to scrap HCR altogether and move on to a different subject? That's the problem with negotiating with people who are reasonably satisfied with the status quo- they win by doing nothing- I mean that was the GOP's default position until Ryan went even crazier- preserve Medicare Advantage (which seens to be designed to destroy medicare), leave the insurance companies alone.

    That's my point. (none / 0) (#57)
    by seabe on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:40:56 PM EST
    I don't know how it's evading other liberals.

    You're missing mine (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:42:35 PM EST
    Instead of ridiculing the single payer folks, they should have been your strongest position. You could have settled for the most robust pubic option. Instead what happened is you ridiculed the single payer folk as unrealistic and ridiculous so the public option became the extremist viewpoint in the debate. Meanwhile you are debating allowing Stupak and his coalition of 11 coathanger Democrats to violate your own plank and the strongest argument out there AGAINST it coming from your own side of the aisle is that Hyde already restricts a womans right to choose. Good grief! Why isn't anyone asking why this particular belief set gets to opt out of tax payer funding and why the same courtesy isn't being offered to those that disagree with anything from war to the death penalty? Heck, I don't agree with my government detaining people for unlimited amounts of time or allowing them to beat the crap out of people(I'm pretty sure that violates Christian tenets) where's my ability to not fund IT? I certainly am not interesting in funding the data collected by AT&T and was apalled by all of the violations that occured by the FBI, where's my exemption box so I don't have to fund that? I don't want any additional money going to cheating banks. Where's my exemption box for funding that. Why is it that only people who personally disagree with abortion get the special privilege of determining what they don't have to pay tax dollars for?

    Arguing something really isn't that hard if you aren't too worried about people calling you names or having people call you unreasonable for your position. Unfortunately, the "progressives" have gone out of their way to paint the conservatives and their viewpoint as the reasonable viewpoint. It's a darn pity because that position is actually the OPPOSITION party's position.



    and really "doing nothing"? (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:53:42 PM EST
    If they couldn't pass good health care reform, then they could have made the argument that it would be better to work on jobs and continued to work on the public and agitated that it was the Republicans and the blue dogs standing in the way of a popular public option in the beginning. They didn't do that though. They peeled off constituency after constituency like pro choicers and unions until everyone hated what was being offerd, not just conservatives.

    For you, the glue dogs will always (none / 0) (#96)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:29:02 PM EST
    have more power? Why? Because they know they have you by the cojones and you will do whatever you have to to get them to play ball. Ironically enough, you don't seem to do the same job of calling them the nutballs they are for their demands that you did to the single payer folks. Funny that.

    I'm not sure how those are comparable (none / 0) (#52)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:26:10 PM EST
    Unions can go on strike- whats the counterpoint for Progressives- they vote against Medicare? I mean there's no real walkout that wouldn't just be suicidial- Blue Dogs and the GOP would be happy to work without progressive so how is threatening to walk away even a factor?

    Nuh? (none / 0) (#128)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 11:16:41 PM EST
    Vote against Medicare?  What are you talking about?

    And if you think the Republicans would happily cooperate with the Blue Dog Dems, you're living on another planet than the Congress is.


    Is this really true? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Manuel on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:13:14 AM EST
    It is amazing how minds change if Obama actually whips for something.

    I can't think of an example.

    Getting himself elected? (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:37:00 AM EST
    Agree (4.00 / 3) (#39)
    by pluege on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:39:24 PM EST
    obama is an unqualified failure including if he passes what is circulating under the guise of HCR, but what will end up being a HUGE impediment to women exercising their constitutional right to dominion over themselves.

    So far obama has trashed:

    • women
    • gays
    • civil rights and human rights
    • home owners
    • young adults (HCR mandates and no college help)

    While at the same time giving a HUGE boost to the plutocrats including:

    • health insurance companies
    • banksters
    • the military industrial complex
    • the police state

    Next up to hand over to the plutocrats: sustainable energy.

    A worse president is hard to imagine short of a republican in the White House.


    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:38:37 PM EST
    gotta love how, slow movement on a variety of issues = total failure. Under those criteria when was the last time a Dem President was a success? LBJ maybe- though he did trash HCR since all he got was Medicare/Medicaid instead of universal coverage.

    Let's see: On Gays- DADT appears to be on the way out; Women- Pro-Choice Female SC Justice, Leadbetter, Removal of Global Gag Rule, Boom in Comprehensive Sex Ed funding; Civil Rights/ Human Rights- move to close Gitmo, ban on torture, possible shift to Criminal Court (this is up in the air); Young Adults- expansion of Pell Grants (should be more but is larger) Americorps and Peace Corps (mandates were always going to hurt young people, they would even with a public option- young people are free riders in large part)- this is not to say the results aren't mixed.


    addendum (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:39:46 PM EST
    on Gay/Human Rights- the change on AIDS Policy with regards to visas.

    Don't leave out SocSec and Medicare, now on (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by jawbone on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:50:40 PM EST
    Obama's chopping  block via his deficit commission. Stacked with those favoring cuts to both.

    Oh, just put The People at the top of the trashed list.


    And don't forget, (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Farmboy on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:40:59 PM EST
    there's still no "real" birth certificate. And I heard that he often looks east a few times a day.



    How is this snark? (none / 0) (#88)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:30:08 PM EST
    You're really not equating listing Obama's policy problems with being a birther, right?

    See, there's my mistake. (none / 0) (#115)
    by Farmboy on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:24:48 AM EST
    In the laundry list of failures the original poster stated as fact a number of items that to me are complete hyperbole (he "trashed" women and gays? really?). So, instead of asking for citations of those acts (which I should have done so a conversation could ensue), and being in a hurry, I attempted a humorous reply by briefly repeating a couple other open-faced accusations made against our "unqualified failure" of a president: that he's a non-American secret Muslim.

    I should have added that he was the 21st 9/11 plotter, just to drive the point home.


    Oh, I see now (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by lambert on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:54:11 AM EST
    You don't regard having Rick Warren do the inaugural prayer as trashing gays?

    And you don't regard Stupak as trashing women?

    Alrighty, then.

    Oh, and all the other points are obviously true. Since you don't mention them, I assume you agree with them.


    That's beside the point (none / 0) (#121)
    by Farmboy on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:07:17 AM EST
    I admitted that I should have taken the time to ask for the sort of specific examples you just gave. As I stated previously, in my opinion the original post was filled with un-cited hyperbole. Therefore, please don't insult me by making the claim that because I didn't take the time to repeat the entire list I agree with it. I joined Corrente because I think better of you than that.

    Fair enough... (none / 0) (#126)
    by lambert on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 01:52:43 PM EST
    ... but some things are really obvious. I mean, sheesh, militarism? What's the war count up to these days?

    Would have been better, IMNSHO, simply to ask for links as opposed to snark. ...


    The unmentioned BTD agrees with Jane on (none / 0) (#37)
    by pluege on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:32:07 PM EST
    Jane was strong on negotiating hard and not supporting the bills without a strong public option. She was trashed by many in the faux progressive blogosphere for her stance. Now BTD confirms she was right and the faux progressives were just village blogger, cocktail party weeny wannabes.

    the vichy dems are terrible, obama is terrible, whatever is left to pass of HCR is terrible and the village faux progressive bloggers are terrible. There are barely any progressives worth spit in Washington: Grayson, Weiner, Holt, Kuccinch (the only one doing exactly what BTD recommends and rightly so)

    I just think its easy (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 02:45:26 PM EST
    to be willing to walk away ala Jane when you would never have benefited from the massive medicaid expansion in this bill in the first place- after all who really cares if those poor people don't get Healthcare- if anything its better that they don't then they'll be angry and willing to stand with you to get more overall change.  On the other hand if you actually care about the poor (as more than just an abstraction and occasional political ally) its a lot harder to walkaway from a bill that provides healthcare for millions of adults currently living in poverty.

    The problem is that this approach -- health (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by esmense on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:51:22 PM EST
    care as welfare rather than an entitlement -- is, politically, extremely vulnerable. It does nothing to advance the notion that health care is a right, drives a wedge, that Republican's can't wait to exploit, between the middle class and the poor, and, as a result, makes the little aid being offered extremely vulnerable to future budget cuts and repeal.

    The insurance purchasing requirement makes this a plan that will only increase the political and financial power of the for profit insurance industry in the future. Plus, the plan's ideological approach to lowering costs is one that hasn't worked in the past and is unlikely to work in the future. What is likely is that more and more middle class consumers (those the plan depends on to finance benefits for the poor) will be thrown into lower benefit higher cost plans, while health care costs in general, and the cost of providing care to the poor, continue to inflate.

    All developments that will work against maintaining, much less expanding, health care resources for the poor in the future. And against attempts to "reform" the system further.


    Hamsher only walked away... (none / 0) (#68)
    by lambert on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:15:31 PM EST
    ... after successfully baiting the public option roach motel that so many progressives walked into.

    That's a BS argument and PURE opinion (none / 0) (#98)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:44:59 PM EST
    You don't have to be poor to believe in the benefit of helping the poor.

    No you don't (none / 0) (#106)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:47:26 PM EST
    but to view it as a better option to deal with healthcare in another decade or so when you can get what you want as opposed to helping millions today even though it forces you to compromise your ideals, suggests that "helping the poor" probably isn't at the top of the agenda- and that's okay- I don't think Republican's view the poor as the first group to help either, nor do many enviromentalists- it doesn't make them monsters it just means they put other things- be they tax cuts for the rich, fighting global warming, or getting single payer in a decade higher than helping the millions of Americans currently without coverage of any sort.

    Who says it has to be another decade? (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by cawaltz on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 01:25:12 AM EST
    The democrats that are in charge? Oh that's right I forgot even though the Democrats are in charge they've ceded the debate to the conservatives.

    Saying just because I don't want to pass junk reform that will make it harder for middle class fsmilies, many of them that stomped on the Dems behalf or would compromise the rights for women to choose farther does not in any way shape or form mean I do not want to help the poor.

    Heck, I'm not the one holding the health care for the poor hostage. That would be Stupak.

    Evidently what it is is YOU feel it is more important to compromise core planks of the Democratic platform and discriminate against families who have good health care to the conservatives then to actually fight for health care for the poor without those strings. After all, it is the DEMOCRATIC party that is in charge and there is absolutely no excuse for this to look like Republican bill and yet that IS exactly what you are arguing for.

    The idea that we must make this a giveaway to insurance companies and the middle class must be responsible for paying for health care for the poor and that it must be done on the backs of women's choice is exactly what I would have expected from the Republican side of the aisle. The fact that the Democrats are in charge while this is being done shows me that a) they talk alot about being the party of the working class but they aren't b) they talk about being for labor but they aren't c) they talk about being for women's choice but they aren't d) they are in some ways worse than the Republicans because they are principless liars.

    If this thing passes with Stupak you can mark my words, I will be in Roanoke canvassing to replace Periello with a Republican. I'll choose a principled person over an unpricipled one anyday and twice on Fridays, even if I disagree with him on practically everything and I will likely have to fight him next go round.

    If that's what the Democrats want though so be it.


    In the end, it helps to have the votes. (none / 0) (#82)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 06:50:43 PM EST
    The votes, that is, to pass whatever it was your artful negotiating was intended to bring to the threshold of adoption.  Progressives never had the votes. ("Why not?" is another matter for another time.)

    Failing that, it helps to have options - such as the realistic prospect of adopting something better "next time".  Progressives may have seen better through the fog earlier, but time's run out and Congress(es) to follow look much worse now. (There are many cases where voting "A" when you truly prefer "B" gives you a better shot at "C" or "D", but this is not one of them. Given the choice of this bill or nothing, most progressives true preferences are for this bill ... and that's all that's on the menu.)

    It helps to have agenda-setters on your side. Obama set this round's agenda (nobody is a close 2nd in agenda-setting power), and he's just not that into you or your public options. Could parallel-universe Obama have moved a public option through both houses? In this universe, we were never going to know.

    It helps if you really are on the bubble, and not just posturing. It matters for centrist reps (whose swing district career bubbles can pop if they get on the wrong side of their constituents) but not for progressive reps (most of whom will be back next time no matter what).

    Bowers scheme (threatening to deliberately and openly harm your coalition-mates interests if they don't grant your concessions) is a micro-bargaining tactic that doesn't scale up.

    This time around, progressives succeeded in shaping a measure that is progressive enough to peel off some fiscal conservative votes - thereby giving Stupak bargaining power - but that's all the potential this season had in the first place.

    Rotten deal, but the the best deal you're going to get -- take it or leave it.  Of D's left of D-caucus center, only Kucinich means to leave it. (Oberstar is dickering for Stupak-style language.)

    Only Kuchinich means to leave it? (none / 0) (#99)
    by cawaltz on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 10:49:09 PM EST
    Really? Because last I heard the numbers were'nt there to pass it.

    I'm up for a good game of chicken though.

    I'll start with Periello an work my way through. If the Dems can't take a principled stand on their platform they deserve to go extinct.


    fair enough (none / 0) (#107)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 11:48:44 PM EST
    all I'm saying is that Nader took a principled stand in 2000 and he doesn't seem to get much thanks for that.

    You don't take principled stands (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by cawaltz on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 01:41:01 AM EST
    because you want to be lauded as a hero, you do so because it is the right thing to do and because if you bargain away your core beliefs pretty soon all you are left with is a sad and sorry shell which stands for nothing. People don't generally vote for people who will sell themselves out because they recognize that those same people would also willingly sell them out.

    The Dems are flirting with that particular problem right now. Give me one reason why a union guy or gal is going to put their time and resources into a Democrat that is going to tax the benefits they fought for? Give me one reason that a woman who believes in choice will vote for a party that believes it is acceptable to bargain away her rights? Give me one reason why a gay or lesbian is going to stomp for someone who has his DOJ arguing that DOMA is right just like Bush and that gays don't deserve marital rights like heterosexuals? Give me one reason why someone who felt strongly about civil liberties and the abuse of them during the Bush administration is going to go out and support people who sent the Patriot Act through, continues to argue for indefinite detention or fail to prosecute people who acted or continue to act abusively toward detainees?

    By the time the party is done I'll be surprised if they manage to round up anyone who is willing to contribute their time to them. Of course, they'll always have the banks and insurance companies to fund their commmericials. Still I wish them luck because insurance companies and banks are quite principleless too and I would not be surprised to see them switching alliances once the Democrats lose their usefulness. What comes around usually goes around.



    I referred to D's left of D-caucus center (none / 0) (#127)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 05:28:19 PM EST
    Stupak and Kaptur are barely left of middle (117.5 out of 260) by Poole's O.C. for the 111th Congress; both have scored to the right of Democratic party center in previous House rankings.

    Unless I've missed a beat, the only a Progressive Caucus member (other than Kucinich) threatening a No vote is Kaptur -- who (like Oberstar) votes Yes if the Stupak language is included.


    Or may be ... (none / 0) (#124)
    by nyrias on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 01:00:34 PM EST
    the progressives just don't have the bargaining power they think they have.