One of the arguments forwarded during the health bill debate was that the provisions would get stronger over time, as a constituency for new services developed. I thought it a doubtful assertion at the time (consider that no new government program – yes, a public insurance program – was created) and I imagine folks who argued that assertion are thinking it is doubtful now too. From today’s NYTimes:
For starters, Republicans say they will try to withhold money that federal officials need to administer and enforce the law. [. . .] “They’ll get not one dime from us,” the House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, told The Cincinnati Enquirer recently. “Not a dime. There is no fixing this.”
[. . . ] Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, a senior Republican on the Finance Committee, has introduced a bill that would eliminate a linchpin of the new law: a requirement for many employers to offer insurance to employees or pay a tax penalty.
[. . .] Republicans say they will also try to scale back the expansion of Medicaid if states continue to object to the costs of adding millions of people to the rolls of the program for low-income people.
What you will have left is an individual mandate and state based exchanges (with inadequate subsidies.) Would that still be “the biggest progressive accomplishment in 40 years?”
That’s a winning argument you got there, BTD- “If Republicans strip all the progressive aspects out of legislation, it won’t be very progressive. Suck on that, Obots!” Likewise, if I took out all the words in a dictionary, it wouldn’t be much of a dictionary, would it! Haha! I got you with my impeccable logic!
Even more ridiculous is that despite his attempts to spin this as a reason to not vote for Democrats (they weren’t progressive enough, why should I vote for them!), it’s actually even more of a reason to vote for them, because of what a Republican majority would attempt to do. I need a drink.
You’d think the Democratic Circular Firing Squad would eventually run out of bullets…
I need a drink.
That’s why I carry a flask. I think investing in whisky and beer company stocks is the way to go from now on because I predict a LOT of drinking in our near future.
Oh, this’ll be fun.
If I take the “J”, “C”, “l” and “e” out of “John Cole”, all I’m left with is “oh no”.
Sarah Palin tweeted that she would repeal HCR if she were president, so that’s important to consider as well.
Some people are already blaming Obama for the Republicans and two crappy Dems filibustering DADT. Go figure.
I think it’s time for an executive order: no more health insurance for federal employees. Let them all go broke while they die of cancer.
and the chances that any of that is going to happen (become law)? I’m betting zero percent.
The logic is even better as you dig down: not only does HCR become less progressive as you take the “progressive” provisions out, but the GOP’s ability to convince people that HCR is evil is partly caused by the fact that HCR was never defended by the Left because it was not progressive enough.
So, the indifference “generated” to the accomplishment of HCR because it was a boon to the insurance companies comes back to bite Progressives because the Middle is unenthused about the Dems and we get cave people elected.
Disclaimer: I am not punching hippies, per se, I am a hippy. I too am disappointed with Administration’s corporatists leanings and record on state secrets.
I wish the administration would push through a repeal of DADT; i mean come on already. oh wait….my bad
This has convinced me that the best way to punish the Democratic party is to stay home and pound nails into my hands. That will show them not to mess with progressives.
If the argument against something is; “the opposition will win control and repeal it,” isn’t that basically just an argument against everything?
It may not be a winning argument, but it is a logical argument if you believe the ‘realists’ that the Dems are gonna take a bath and lose both House and Senate.
Of course, I don’t believe that, and neither does anyone else whom I consider as serious people. But that’s what I’m hearing half the time from commentors on this blog. So there you are.
My question is how long before ‘So much better than a Republican” Blue Dogs Lincoln and Baucus line up behind Hatch’s bill? Over/under of two weeks?
@Dave: They don’t use bullets. They use boogers, which are harmless but have the advantage of being perpetually self-renewing.
The righty argument against the insurance requirement is that it’s “not like” an auto insurance requirement because “people can opt out of driving if they don’t want the insurance.”
This suggests that they think people can “opt out” of healthcare. I think that might be a viable idea. If these people want to wear a little wristband that says “Do not administer healthcare — Opted Out” then when we find them injured on the road, or slumped over at their desks having a heart attack, we don’t just automatically treat them.
When they arrive at the hospital, we will examine their financial and insurance profiles, and if they can’t pay, then we put them out on the street to die. They will receive quick and effective processing under the preferred Republican approach to healthcare: Die quickly and don’t cost us any money.
Personally I think we should advance this option as a strong compromise to libertarianism. Don’t subject yourself to unwanted government imposed treatment. Save your family the embarassment of going bankrupt to save you.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I actually think SHelby’s Wall Street reform repeal has a better chance of getting to Obama’s desk than this, and both depend on 40 Dems letting it go by. Even as much as I hate Blue Dogs, I don’t think HCR repeal would pass the House, much less the Senate.
It’s a fair point. It just means that we’re not done with health care reform yet. Which means that we need to push to keep majorities so that the Republicans can’t carry out their threats, doesn’t it? (Not that they could do everything that they threaten to do, filibusters and vetoes work both ways, you know.)
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
What he’s arguing is that Democrats should have passed the more progressive version of the bill, because that would have gotten them reelected. Because, somehow, the more progressive version would have passed, and somehow, people would have noticed.
@Mark S.: figures coming from that dingbat, since presidents don’t repeal bills, congress does.
All the more reason to publicize the rights that enrolled families and others will start getting (later this week, I think).
Like no exclusions for pre existing conditions for kids, no lifetime caps, etc.
Will the GOP get away with providing ‘not one dime’ for enforcement of those provisions?
I think the GOP will lose that one.
If Obama proposed a hunk of money for setting up a lot of community clinics, or even a temporary series of RAM style free health care fairs around the country, would the GOP win with the ‘not one dime’ motto? I don’t think so.
@Brien Jackson: Our government has become the Monty Python argument skit. It is just the automatic negating of whatever the other has said or done.
That the GOP is campaigning to regain control of Congress based on public unhappiness with an anemic, sagging economy and mounting deficits that THEIR OWN DISASTEROUS LEGISLATIVE POLICIES (and those of the Bush Administration) MOSTLY CAUSED is infuriating.
That the Dems (both in Congress and the Obama Administration) have proved too often to be more fecklessly loyal to (and intimidated by) big corporate interests, rather than ordinary citizens, is nearly as infuriating.
It’s unfortunately true that the apt campaign slogan for too many of the Congressional Democrats is:
– Vote for us, because the GOP sucks even worse than we do.
I’ll turn out to vote for the Democrats in November, already made some donations to shore up candidates in critical races. However, I’m not a happy camper with my own team just now.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Only if you believe that a Republican-controlled Senate wouldn’t use the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster if the Dems tried to pull it half as much as the Republicans have for the last two years.
Which I don’t. If the Democrats during Bush had acted like the Republicans during Obama have, the filibuster would have been nuked from orbit. Probably repeatedly.
The only thing that will stop them is that Obama won’t sign it anyway, so they’d be destroying a useful tool for a symbolic victory. But if a Republican were President and the Dems were filibustering, they wouldn’t even blink at nuking it.
@Mike: Fuck you.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
The Rachel Maddow was complaining last night that Dems aren’t advertising that the benefits of the bill kick in this week. It was about ten minutes later an ad promoting said benefits aired on her show.
BTD has some major girders in his brain belt missing. Other than that, the dude is a genius. Though not quite the genius order of Nobody Special. Man, that one is deeper than an elephant piss puddle.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
That’s true, but I don’t think the Dems are going to lose the Senate
Uh, I worked a long time for that ins. Can I haz mine pls? Old & retired here……please??
@gex: No it isn’t. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
As a commenter on another site put it, I’m not interested in helping one group of corporate hirelings prevent another group of corporate hirelings from coming to power.
As today’s vote demonstrates, progressive causes meet the same legislative fate even with Democratic majorities.
Fixed that for you. There’s an awful lot of Federal employees; we just want to make the point at the source.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I don’t think republicans are going to take such a measure while there is a dem president, because it wouldn’t do them much good against an Obama veto. But when again they control government completely, like with Bush, I do expect all sorts of soft coup type shit across the board, breaking and stretching laws and rules, to ensure, in their lizard brains, no more Obama’s and to offset the demographic train heading their way to remain the rightful white rulers of this country.
I give up. Who or what is “BTD”?
Huggy Bear is the business and economics editor of this comment
They should have hired Bush’s son on a cost-plus no bid contract to make the HCR bill un-f*ck-uppable. He already did that with his super cool education software, so this should have been a snap.
Man, if Obama could just executive order an extra hour on to each day, I could singlehandedly fix a lot of stuff.
If you think this is fun, read the comments in this one.
It’s another all Obama’s fault thread. Getting to be pretty regular.
What the hell is going on?
If they try to dismantle the HC, they will probably try to defund it. That’s the reason they give for why they have to shut down the government because they don’t think Obama will let them strip it and frankly I don’t either.
Govt Shutdown here we come.
Let’s just think about that for a minute. 56 Dems voted in favor of repealing DADT; 2 voted against repeal (Reid doesn’t count b/c it was a procedural maneuver). ALL Republicans voted against repealing DADT…therefore…what? The vast majority of Democrats voted on the “progressive side,” but because two didn’t and those two were joined by an entire bloc of regressive Republican assholes, somehow that means the two parties are equally not worth supporting? I don’t get it.
Big Tent Democrat at Firedog Lake
If they strip out all the progressive parts, it won’t be very progressive.
And if the Queen had balls, she’d be the king.
This. Including all non-combat military. My teatard cousin who’s ex-Air Force is always screaming about how horrible obamacare is while he’s pulling down his VA benefits. Lefty that I am, I’ve always been self-employed or worked for small companies — why should I have to pay for his teatard ass while struggling to pay for my own health care?
What this says to me is that the Republicans really want Democrats to eliminate the filibuster at the beginning of the next Senate.
And even if they do win the House, they’ll show the world how stupid they really are fairly quickly and will lose it again soon enough.
They really are sore losers aren’t they?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@mikefromArlington: it’s really crystal clear if you think about it. Obama beat McCain knowing full well Gampy FuckYou would morph into a crabbed, bitter partisan who would lead filibusters against his erstwhile mavericky stances. Beating McCain was Obama’s way of tricking the country into electing McCain. Duh.
Some of you people are fucked up. Obama deserves a fuckload of “blame” for a lot of shit. Health care and Afghanistan in particular
Many progressives are pissed at Obama because he negotiates from a position of weakness ALL THE FUCKING TIME. And he wasted goddamned months of time with his fucking pipe dream of “bipartisanship”.
He shouldn’t have left Health Care to Harry Reid and those fuckwits in Congress. He should have ASKED FOR THE GODDAMNED MOON to start with–full blown, gold-motherfucking plated SOCIALIZED MEDICINE.
He should have fucking tried to put the insurance companies completely out of business.
When you hold both Houses and the Presidency and you give half the farm away at the start of health care negotiations that isn’t negotiating from a position of strength. It’s rolling over and being the Rethugs bitch.
But no. He’s a big old simpering pussy like all of the rest of the weak-kneed Dems.
Bush and the Rethugs were a disaster for the country, but they got their way because the were disciplined and knocked heads from the top down.
Fuck Obama. I’m not voting for him or any goddamned Dems again. We’re done for anyway.
/cussing is great stress relief
BTD is at TalkLeft.
he (assuming he, no idea either way) also comments here.
Mike from Philly
Exactly. Two management teams competing for CEO position of Slavery Inc. Who cares anymore? Democrats run everything and we get watered down corporate welfare. Republicans run everything we get stronger corporate welfare and some wars.
Bash some gay muslim immigrants, rinse wash repeat. Blah Blah Blah.
Thank you. I never worked in DC! Only in IL & MO. I need my insurance until I’m old enough for Medicare.
I’m going to guess Yes, that would probably still be “the biggest progressive accomplishment in 40 years.”
Where has BTD been? I’ve been alive a little over 30 years, and since then there have been very few major progressive accomplishments (at least on a national level). Of course, I’m not counting Welfare Reform, NAFTA, or school uniform discussions as progressive accomplishments so maybe I’m being too critical.
kommrade reproductive vigor
And if you stripped Big Tense Douche out of the internons it would become a lot less douchier!
Seriously, has that guy ever said anything that makes sense? He gives good flounce tho’.
As ever, for many the idea of benefits that go to others are the problem – not their own. It doesn’t matter what the benefit to society as a whole is. You can find it in all political stripes, for instance renters and mortgage interest deductions.
Boy, Ralphie’s parents sure will be sorry when they find out he went blind due to soap poisoning.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Dave C: I’m very surprised that only two voted with the GOP, and that neither was Nelson, or Webb or Lieberman or McCaskill. I almost said “pleasantly” surprised, but I don’t want to lower the bar that much. I guess this will be Lincoln’s last chance to provide cover for Webb, McCaskill et al. I’m sure Joe will pick up the slack.
@General Stuck: 2+2=4 is deep to a troll like yourself. But thanks for the compliment.
I am sympathetic to BTD’s general opinion that Democrats should be punished if they fail to push progressive policies, because this is one of the only ways to get Democrats to stop taking the base for granted. I am almost in complete agreement with this general opinion. If the progressives want the Dems to grow a spine, they need to start punishing Dems for not sticking to their guns.
But for me, HCR is one of the main reasons I _will_ be voting for the Dems this Fall, even though they have failed on many things I hold important. I was a very big supporter of the public option, but come on now. The Dems really did put something decent out there.
If they hadn’t passed HCR, I would be voting for Donald Duck.
Thanks. I was just going to ask why I deserve to lose my health insurance/die of cancer because I ungratefully decided to be a child dependent of a federal employee.
You’re right – brain fart
As Markos Koulitsas wrote in a recklessly honest moment:
@jl and @Jim, Foolish Literalist (because it’s all sort of intertwined): Yes, a number of the changes do go into effect this week, so this is sort of another bite at the apple for the media to explain just what’s in the bill. Back when it was freshly-minted, seems like a lot of the oxygen was sucked up by those asshat attorneys general who sued. So y’know, if we had a functioning media…
…but guess what? This morning, Chuck Todd had to cut out early, and Savannah Guthrie snuck in an interview with the president of Consumers Union (who publishes Consumer Reports), and he was laying out all this awesome shit that would be taking effect in two days, and as an added bonus, debunked the notion that the legislation is to blame for rate hikes. There may yet be hope!
(This isn’t to say that it’s all on the media…Democrats need to get off their asses and start touting the awesome shit as well. There’s indications that at least the administration is going to do this, though.)
Guard the change we got! 2010 Campaign slogan
HCR speech by Obama Thursday
The time for that is Primaries.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@BombIranForChrist: If the progressives want the Dems to grow a spine, they need to start punishing Dems for not sticking to their guns.
There has to be some carrot, too. The reason Congress skews to the right of the country–well, leaving aside the whole Montana>California in the Senate part– is because the mid-term electorate skews to the right. Staying home as punishment teaches Blue Dogs the exact opposite lesson, that pandering to scared old white people pays off in November.
No prob dude, don’t forget yer rubber ducky flotation device to protect that big brain you’re burdened with.
Shorter BTD, Obama has failed to give me a pony, therefore I am staying home.
Davis X. Machina
@cat48: Beats “Nach Boehner, uns!“
John @ top:
Actually, I think it is more like “If Republicans act like they always do they will neuter this bill’s effectiveness until it is not very progressive so it was a bad idea to promote this as a huge progressive victory since most of the progressive aspects will never be felt by the public.”
For those of you who did not click all the way through to the NY Times article, the following items were included in the list of why Republican efforts to repeal the bill face hurdles. I really don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
(italics are mine)
I’ll say I’m as unhappy with our political environment as anyone, but I am flabbergasted that people who got spun up by the Bush administration and it’s complete cock-up of things would even consider not voting Dem. Good God, why do you think things are so bad that you are this fed up? Pick the party that wants to govern over the one that refuses to govern.
@BombIranForChrist: didnt 56 senate dems vote to repeal DADT? How do we reward them for that vote?
ETA: the send button hit prematurely. The point I wanted to make is: How to reward for the votes we like and punish for the votes we don’t? That strikes me as the fundamental problem.
Reward for ledbetter act; punish for state secrets.
I always assumed that Big Tent Democrat who posts here and at TalkLeft was the same Big Tent Democrat who used to post at the Great Orange Satan under the handle Armando. If so, then it’s a he.
Come to think of it, though, I guess that might be a bad assumption. I guess they might not be the same.
@cleek: He was originally Armando at DailyKos way back in the day. Later he formed a blog, Crossing Swords, with the miscreant spawn of Cthulhu known as Josh Trevino, or Tacitus.
For those who love ancient history:
Tim F talking about it on BJ
Some Sadly, No! Greatest Hits.
I don’t mind BTD. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says, either. But at least he’s much more politer about it than the old days.
@Lolis: I agree. Hilarious!
@Trentrunner: I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough in this thread.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Wow. When I saw the words “Chuck Todd” I did not expect to hear a pleasant story. Good on Cap’n Consumer Reports! (I guess “Chuck Todd is out today” is always good news)
and you’re absolutely right that it’s incumbent on Dems to spread this word. That’s what the DCCC should be spending its money on, because IIANM a fair number of Blue Dog critters are running away from HCR, not least because they do not now and never did really understand what was in the bill. Half of them probably think it did drive rates up
I completely blame Obama for passing a healthcare bill where FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, and Clinton couldn’t.
Shame on you Barack Obama! Puma! Rowwwrrr!
@NonyNony: It is same guy. When he first started commenting here he mostly used Armando at first.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
No it doesn’t, see 06. Mid terms skew to who activates voters in a low turn-out election. Given conditions in general this should be easy for GOP, how badly they’ve shot themselves in the foot is up to Ds.
So, can someone explain to me how the GOP is going to get Obama to sign all of this legislation neutering HCR?
Progressives need to find an effective way to punish non-cooperative Dems. Key word: effective ’cause what you’ve been doing ain’t working.
Just had to add that for correctness, Chuck. ;D
Wile E. Quixote
That’s because you’re not insane. Remember this quote from Se7en
Just substitute “Firedoglake” for “Guns and Ammo” and realize that the answer to the question is always going to be “no”.
God. I’ve been watching CSPAN for the last couple of hours, and um just so unbelievably pissed off. This is a horrible day for everyone who isn’t white, rich and straight.
That is not their plan. They do hope to get some provisions repealed, but their bigger goal is to prevent enforcement by withholding funding. (which I think they would be able to manage with the current makeup of Congress)
@Martin: Because if he doesn’t, they’ll simply combine their 58 or so seats (because we’ve been told Democrats are toast, so they’ll lose them all, natch) with President Nelson and President Lieberman and steamroll everything through any attempted filibusters, which will only command 15 or so votes anyways since only hippies would dare threaten a filibuster in the face of Real American Outrage.
@Dave C: The wingnuts voted en bloc and their 41 nay votes to invoke cloture was all that was needed to block the bill. I suspect this was already known, and in such events, certain conservadems in red states get released to join them for political reasons tailored to their states wishes. Don’t know if that is what happened with the AR senators, but it is not uncommon, when their votes are meaningless to the final outcome.
@steviez314: If I take the “J”, “C”, “l”, “e”, and the h out of “John Cole”, all I’m left with is “Ono”.
That mother fucker broke up the Beatles, didn’t he.
Davis X. Machina
Because he’s a tool of the insurance companies and a cat’s-paw of the banksters, they won’t have to ‘get’ him to sign anything, just put it in front of him. He’s only in the White House for the pension and the fat book deal, and the big-money speaking gigs when he gets out. Why I expect him to not run in 2012, so’s he can cash in earlier. After all, the payout isn’t any better after eight years than four.
(Disclaimer — all statements above taken from commenters at Steve Benen’s place.)
Oh yeah they will. This election will be a bloodbath.
The health care law is only as good as it’s latest provision activation. Come 2014, I’m sure we’ll all be much happier to have it than not. But I’m not 26, so I can’t get on my parents’ plan. My state has been dragging it’s feet setting up that high risk pool. I’m not in Medicare Plan D. And if I’ve got any pre-existing conditions, my coverage hasn’t been rejected yet.
So far, the PPAC Act hasn’t impacted me much at all.
Policy-wise, it’s a step in the right direction. Politically, it simply wasn’t executed very well.
@Punchy: You must be a hippie firebagger. Why do you hate America?
Wile E. Quixote
Well shit, I guess the only thing left for you to do is kill yourself. Remember, when you’re slashing your wrists down and not across. Across just makes a mess, takes the valuable time of the paramedics and ER nurses and shows the world that you’re an incompetent, grandstanding drama queen.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Allison W.: Without saying it will fix things now, calling them works, confronting them (politely) works. Jane Harman had to back down on some pro-Bush stances of hers a few years back; Barbara Boxer (whom I admire and $upport to the best of my ability) was gobsmacked at the first Kos Convention to find out people knew (and even remembered!) that she had campaigned for Lieberman, and they were pissed; when Evan Bayh announced (before Obama was even inaugurated) that he was forming a Blue Dog Senate coalition to make sure business had a voice among Senate Dems (feel free to gag on that) the ensuing backlash killed it in the cradle.
This is, to me, the most damaging difference between their side and ours: They’ve been in a forty year war, a lot of our side wants to give up after eighteen months
@gex: Maybe it’s just as well that they stay home. I figure they have a 50% chance of pulling the wrong lever by accident anyway (and a higher probability if there’s a third-party candidate on the ballot).
That’s not circular logic, that’s moebius logic.
I’m very much with you on this. Not only is it one of the main reasons I will be voting Dem, it is one of the main reasons I will be volunteering for Dems. And one of the many reasons that every liberal with an extra minute or an extra dime should be helping Dems out this election.
Yes We Did. And I’m glad of it. It is a major accomplishment that Democrats should be proud of.
DADT/DREAM Act failed inn filibuster of the Defense Appropriations bill. Because of Republicans and 50 state strateegery Blue Dogs. So, that’s Obama’s fault. Because. duh.
There’s just one problem with that reckless honest comment. We didn’t have strong support from our congressional majorities. We had nearly strong, almost majorities and we still have them. Now what?
@Davis X. Machina: One problem as I see it is that the Left is made up of people that value their intellectual independence and refuse to sell shinola unless it is the real deal. I get this: none of us wants to be taken in as a fool or feel dirty for arguing against our core beliefs. As a result, there really is no Left/Progressive/Liberal echo chamber to magnify and morph accomplishments into more than they really are.
I like your ideas and want to subscribe to your newsletter.
I agreed with the BeeTeeDee in the argument about Orszag’s oped a while back. But this post of his here is stoopid to the point that Hamsher coulda wrote it.
I didn’t realize until now that he was like a big shot FPer at that Talk Left place — isn’t there some other Hamsheresque woman there also? Jeralyn something?
They can’t (the NYT article is actually pretty informative). What they could do is refuse to fund large chunks of it. They probably could fuck up parts of it doing that.
That is exactly what Primaries are about, do you have the clout or not. If so, then you give voters a pretty clear choice and you may be surprised – or not. Teabaggers are giving the voters some pretty clear choices – or would be depending on the (D) they face.
Since I’m left I’d prefer to give voters that choice but if my view point doesn’t have enough ass to do it, I’ve at least managed to put the argument into play in front of people. You get a real argument rather than “vote for me because I’m less bad” even before the GE. You can’t expect a shitload out of an electorate if you never give them a real arguement.
I always feel like this underestimates the environmental movement of the early 70s. I feel like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts are taken for granted in the same way a lot of labor-originated reforms in the earlier part of the century are in favor of the flashier stuff. Like it or not, over 20 million people (minimum) will still have no health insurance in this country even after implementation. The ACA is a partial solution begging for sustained follow-up.
But what you’re ignoring is that the True Progressives are going “Unh, unh, oh, yes, yes, yes! Repeal OBAMAAAAAAAAAcare… (pant, pant)” from the LEFT.
I think whoever figures this out will be a hero for the ages. I don’t even think it needs to be “progressives.” Just _Democrats_. How do we make Democrats act like Democrats? I don’t have the answer to that. That’s why so many of my comments are about how hard it is to dislodge from the minds of conservative and centrist Democratic politicians the idea that the sure path to victory is portraying yourself as a thorn in the side of those other more liberal Democrats. That is a strategy that has worked: liberals took a beating in the ’70s and ’80s, and got demonized, so some Democrats decided that they needed to run against liberalism themselves… and it worked! They have cutesy nicknames and everything, and they get on the news, and they’re beloved by Even The Liberal New Republic!
What is the strategy that pulls Democrats to the left and maybe even Republicans to the center? I don’t think it’s easy to figure out. We need it, bad. _And_ it has to be better and more persuasive than the “triangulate against liberals” DLC-ish tactic that has gotten Democrats elected in otherwise inhospitable climates since the ’90s.
Just a note on HCR – PR: I get several fitness/women’s magazines and they have all had articles on what HCR will mean for us and its benefits, etc.
I’ve also seen commercials for HCR and its website and abc news – new york announced that they will be talking about it soon.
Ugh. you ruined my lunch.
Huggy Bear is the business and economics editor of this comment
But if you put the “h”, back, you get the skater that all the girls love, right? That’s got to count for something.
For anyone who is interested, Hendrik Hertzberg is talking about this too.
you’re right. Whatever it is is going to take hard work, discipline and resilience ’cause its going to take a while.
That’s easy: we don’t give!
@Mark S.: But that’s not all of what BTD is talking about. Sure, they can defund the subsidies, but that’s only going to bankrupt the states. It won’t do shit to take the legal requirements off the books and it doesn’t matter if HHS isn’t funded, the law remains. BTD hasn’t explained how these repeal elements are going to get signed.
If Democrats can’t deliver on good policy with strong popular support and dominant congressional majorities, then they’re too incompetent to be in power.
In a rational world Markos would be right because this would be true .
In the irrational world we live in we have to put up with the best of the crap pile.
Create more real Democrats instead of “Democrats”
In West Virginia, a third of registered Democrats think the party is too liberal!
That’s a fair criticism. I’m ok saying that this is the biggest progressive accomplishment in the last 38 years, then.
Armando is, was, and always will be a horses ass.
This is the same moron who spent months saying that Hillary and the DLC Dems were the only way to vote.
No doubt, in his midget mind they are more progressive.
“big circus-tent democrat” strikes again.
@cat48: You see, if you want to make a pack animal do something, there are carrots and there are sticks. Now, throw away the carrot. There can be only stick!
@BarbF: I miss
how Armando’s posts on GOS
would always have
short lines in them.
They were delicious
and so cold.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
I don’t understand why they made President Obama craft a bill that will be so easily undermined by his trusted GOP associates.
I think that’s what they call “bad optics”.
@cat48: ‘Zactly. No good deed goes unpunished in progressiveland.
Are you always this stupid, or only on Tuesday?
Which part of “there was zero chance of passing a robust public option” do you not understand?
P.S. I killed your unicorn and barbecued it. It was tasty but very tough.
That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN)
That’s easy. Just purge the DINOs. Then we can have a 41 member majority in the Senate and the Republicans will have to deal with a centrist caucus of, I don’t know, Red Hyenas, I guess.
You forgot “I never asked to be born.”
With all due respect, I do not believe you are fairly characterizing BTD’s observation. I understood him to be referring to the argument advanced during the debate by ObamaCare advocates that the costs or problems with the proposed legislation should be balanced not against the law as it would exist once passed but rather against certain benefits which would naturally, inevitably accrue once the process of reform was set in motion. Thus, it was argued, while the law as written might lack many elements once considered by liberals as highly desirable or even essential (public option, cost controls, ability to negotiate the price of pharmaceuticals, etc), those elements would naturally, inevitably and irreversibly develop over time and therefore should be treated as accomplished fact in evaluating ObamaCare. I understood BTD as pointing out that events would seem suggest that these supposedly inevitable improvements are far from inevitable and likely will not survive the next Republican congress.
I would like for you to address that argument rather than the “straw man” which you have created.
For myself, I would add that the rosy future foreseen by many advocates of the Obama plan never seemed at all likely. The Obama plan gave the health care industry everything it wanted up front with the individual mandate and weak cost controls and no competition from a “public option” alternative. In fact, nearly all of ObamaCare’s supposed benefits were future benefits and were highly dependent on the willingness of future Congresses to fund and protect the plan. Likewise, many of the supposed benefits are highly dependent on regulatory efforts for which the political/legal/regulatory will is presently lacking but will somehow develop in order to prevent the health care industry from circumventing the provisions of ObamaCare. Nobody could ever offer a satisfactory explanation of why funding would be safe from Republicans and Blue Dogs or why future regulators would be able to do what current regulators are too timid or corrupt to do.
On the other hand, as I’ve said, the benefits to the industry are far from speculative. They are immediate and concrete. One example of which is that Blue Cross is about to hike my premium by about 18% this year and perhaps double that next year. Once again, liberals got rolled by the village.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Yep. Mid-term elections belong to the old white people who have nothing better to do than vote. It’s very, very difficult to motivate most people to vote without the 24/7 excitement of a presidential election, but those old white people show up day in, day out. They don’t need any more motivation than it being election day.
Who cares what Armando thinks? He’s been a horse’s butt since he first discovered the Internet. And I should know – I was the direct recipient of His Jerkoffness when I happened to suggest that maybe, just maybe, there was a link between his pro-corporate/pro-free trade sycophancy and his day job defending WalMart and Clorox in the courtroom.
I was nearly banned from the GOS for “outing” him – regardless of the fact that he originally had his actual name and other information including in his own user bio, which one could find by doing the incredibly complicated task of clicking on his name.
@Mitch Guthman: Tell that to the tens of millions of uninsured working class and working poor families who get to have health insurance through Medicaid as a result of raising the income eligibility. I’m sure they would really support your contention that the benefit of HCR were speculative.
No, that’s not quite the case.
Saying that proponents got rolled kinda ignores that there was no way Republicans were going to agree with anything, and that you were essentially negotiating with Blue Dog Democrats—and that there was no way THEY were going to accept strong regulatory controls.
Warren Buffet is a prominent corporate executive who has been very supportive of the administration and very vocal in his mockery of the banksters whining about their taxes.
@Joe Beese: I’m hoping it’s Tony Stark.
That must be why healthcare companies are donating eight times more money to Republicans who promise to roll back the health reform bill than they are to the Democrats who passed it — because it was such a massive giveaway to the healthcare companies.
Riddle me this: if it was such a massive giveaway and gave the companies everything they ever wanted, why are they so desperate to repeal it? Shouldn’t they want to keep it in place?
Oh, and make sure you file a complaint with the HHS and your state’s insurance commission (if you have one) protesting your rate increase. They’re not supposed to do that, but the HHS has no way of knowing that they’re trying to screw you unless you complain about it to them.
Proof, I guess, that the left has our idiots too just like the right does.
The difference is that their idiots are out to destroy us, and our idiots are also out to destroy us.
@goatchowder: Ah, I get irritated with the kinds of self-congratulatory lefties who congregate online too, but I don’t think they’re “out to destroy us.”
@FlipYrWhig: PRIMARY THEM!
This is NOT FUCKING HARD AT ALL!
The thing you do to sellouts, is you primary them, and you win. Kind of like the teatards have been doing all over the country, primarying moderate Republicans. That’s how it’s done. And we have done it too, successfully. It’s just a big job, takes time.
We need more Joe Sestaks, more Bill Halters, more Conways, more progressives primarying sellout corporate dogs. We need to grow and fund these candidates ourselves, at the local, 50-state level.
WRONG. Talk Left.
No. It’s known as the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t Fox & Friends. Check the “ObamaCare” bullshit at the door.
Because none of those things are safe if Republicans win control of Congress. They are the antithesis of their existence.
Sorry that reality is so unsatisfying for you.
I’m missing the part where progressives devise a plan to sell more liberal Democrats to voters in states (such as WV, mentioned earlier in this thread) where most Dems identify as conservative, let alone the GOP. In other words, where is the progressive voting bloc on the ground in Arkansas and in Nebraska? Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson don’t vote themselves into office. Do you wait for demographic changes that are likely to be more favorable to Dems (more Latino/other immigrant communities becoming politicized, etc) as the old “Solid South” good ole boys die out? Or do you start doing years-long painstaking groundwork at every level now?
This really isn’t a snarky question. I think “better candidates” and “primary them” sound really sexy and great as a short-term thing to salve the disappointment progressives have with Blue Dogs, and no candidate should ever think they have a “safe seat.” And I do think that better candidates exist in many traditionally red states and districts. Finding them isn’t the problem. Finding the voters is.
If you’re spending a lot of money to run Bill Halter (who wouldn’t come out foursquare in favor of EFCA, remember, when we’re weighing relative values of progressivism) in a primary in Arkansas, part of that investment should be on long-term GOTV efforts on the ground. Efforts that run all the time, not just during tight primary races. That was indeed what the GOP did during their wandering in the desert — they ran for every water district, school board (lord, did they run for school boards), name it. Unlike Dems, who tend to take a “top down” approach and keep their powder dry except for the presidency and key Senate races, (which is why so many progressives are disgruntled to find out that “Obama” and “all-powerful leader” aren’t the same thing), the GOP knows they have to have skin in every game.
And look at how easy it was for Blanche Lincoln to sell the “outside agitators” line about the people pushing Halter’s primary challenge in the blogosphere. Like it or not, the idea that a lot of people who don’t live in a state are pushing the agenda for that state’s elections doesn’t sit well in lots of areas of the country. Many of those areas tend to valorize the concept of “states’ rights” — hint, hint.
So really — we don’t just need better candidates. We need better voters. And I’m not sure how “well, I’m the Democratic base and I’m disappointed so I’m staying home,” as some put forth here and elsewhere, works as a recruiting tool to get people in areas that are more conservative to sign on with Democratic candidates across all races.
Yeah, what the fuck ever happened to the “no backsies” part of the Constitution? When we get the Dem 70 seat majority in the Senate, which totes would have happened if they had insisted on single payer or nothing, they should do fucking nothing anyway, cause it might not last forever.
If you stood back and watched and didn’t do a goddamned thing while Republicans took all the words out of your dictionary I’d be primarily pissed at Republicans – but I wouldn’t forget to tell you your a pussy too.
Can there not be two truths at once with you on this?
Except for one thing: the only teatard who has managed to win the general election is Scott Brown. Every single other one of them has gotten their ass handed to them in the general election.
I’m not disagreeing that we need to primary bad Dems, but it’s not quite the magic road to victory that you seem to think. IIRC, Sestak is having a pretty hard road in Pennsylvania despite his primary victory over Specter.
@Wile E. Quixote:
Sure, reading Guns and Ammo is obviously fucking crazy, but I fail to see why jerking off in one’s own shit is.
@goatchowder: The risk of that, of course, is that you manage to elect someone who appeals to a bare majority of your party, not to the other half, and to virtually nobody in the other party, and you end up losing 65-35. It’s not going to happen that way all the time, but that’s the risk. And then there’s the Lamont/Lieberman/Schlessinger scenario. So “primary them!” is an excellent first step, but figuring out that next one is a lot trickier.
@Kerry Reid: This. I’m all over this.
I’d also like for some of the “I’m mad at Obama so I’m staying home” folks to explain how that strategy works when it comes time to court votes from the real, loyal, abso-fucking-lutely-cannot-win-without-them Democratic base in southern states — i.e., African-Americans. Incidentally, the base that really has had to eat the most shit for the most years — “no public option” pales in comparison to “We’ll forget about that pesky federal anti-lynching legislation if some of you white Southern Dems will sign onto the New Deal. Oh, you don’t want women and ‘coloreds’ covered by Social Security? Consider it done! Pleasure doing business!”
I’m not sure that a bunch of disgruntled white progressives giving up on the first black president (even though said black president did manage to sign a healthcare bill when those Bully Pulpit Progressive Gods — LBJ and FDR — never introduced universal healthcare at all) after less than two years in office translates into African Americans feeling more inclined to support whatever Golden Boy/Girl Du Jour that the blogosphere deems America’s Next Top Progressive. Unless they’re just taking black votes for granted. Again.
@Mnemosyne: @FlipYrWhig: I don’t disagree with either of you, but you have to look at things more long term. In some cases, the goal of the primary challenger is not so much to win the race but to clear the field in the future. It’s definitely a tougher case to make for the Senate than the House, but I am not so sure that John Boozman will be that much worse than Blanche Lincoln for the last 6 years of Obama’s presidency so it might be worth it if it means a less corporate Democrat might win in 2012.
@Kerry Reid: I have to be honest and say that I never looked at it from that perspective. You are absolutely right, but I never looked beyond the “Republicans abhorrent” argument and I am guessing that a whole lot of the 40 and under white folks in America never thought of it that way either. (And we know that the only way the media will bring this up is to chasten any Democrat who points this out for “playing the race card”)
@goblue72: Yeah, about that Medicaid expansion? Turns out that it’s not going to be worth the paper it’s printed on since the states have no money to fund it. Tell that to all those people you’re talking about. Or, just let them find out the hard way.
@MattR: But, here’s the thing: if the goal of your primary campaign is to Send A Message, and you lose, shouldn’t you still be at least privately kind of happy because, hey, mission accomplished? That’s the paradox I see with the dissatisfied activists of the Obama era. They want to be pure of heart _and_ they want to win, and when both don’t happen they get bouncing-off-the-walls mad and make noises about having been stabbed in the back and that they might as well just give up. But they’re setting a task for themselves that is virtually impossible. Isn’t that just being what my mom would call a “glutton for punishment”?
@FlipYrWhig: No argument from me there. If we are going to create some new model for the future we need to understand that losing is sometimes a victory
I guess I get kinda pissy when I hear people complaining about how Rahm and Gibbs hurt their feelings and so they want to punish the Dems to even the score when I compare it to all the times that the Dems put off doing the right thing (integrating the troops is one that comes to mind today, of course — another place that FDR wouldn’t go, despite his allegedly simon-pure fighting progressive cred), yet basically decided that minority voters would still turn out for them. And you know what? They did. Even when it helped white folks more than minorities.
In other words: if white progressives hate having their votes taken for granted, they are getting a small taste of what black voters put up with for years and years and years as they voted for candidates who, at least initially, put forward legislation that largely benefited working-class whites over women and minorities (again, I’m referencing the original Social Security Act, which didn’t apply to railroad workers, temp workers, farm workers, domestic servants, and a lot of other job categories in which people with female genitalia, melanin, or combination thereof were overrepresented).
Very well said.
@MattR: Also, the thing I liked about the Halter challenge was that it was not really Lincoln on the right vs. Halter on the left; Halter wasn’t really left. What Halter actually is/was is more _populist_ than Lincoln. And that’s the kind of thing that Democrats have done successfully in Montana: run as the common-sensical common man (Schweitzer, Tester) rather than as the Bold Progressive. Because, sorry to say, Bold Progressive isn’t gonna win in a lot of states.
Well … you know. White Progressives Know Better. Duh.
Whoa. I am so thising this.
With regard to the primaries, you can find the more progressive, more populist challenger and I say make them run a good hard battle. However, and this is a big one, toss that away for the general. That is why they don’t win. If they don’t win the primary, they take that half a loaf and throw it away. I’m sorry but I’m still reading screeds about how Hillary was a fighter and we’d have DADT repeal, DOMA ended, universal health care, no more Iraq or Afghanistan and a pike with a banker’s head on every block. Yeah, not so much and quit fighting over the primary. During the general, you have to show up and vote against the other guy, period.
The thing with Toomey is he supposedly polled better than Spector. Now, he’s trailing. People hate the guy in charge a lot, but when it comes to the election, they often go with the devil they know, not the brand spanking shiny new pair of horns.
Odie Hugh Manatee
I find it humorous that the teabaggers and manic progressives are in complete agreement that Democrats suck and therefore they must go. They are on opposite sides of everything except for this…lol!
I would suggest that they join forces except that they already have. If both sides get their way this fall I predict that the teabaggers will be the ones celebrating while the manic progressives will just wail louder. It’s the perfect win-fail and if it happens then we deserve the disaster that will surely follow.
A small consolation is that at least the smug ‘progressive’ purists will be able to say “I told you so!”, and that’s all that really matters.
I am so stealing your thising that.
Brave progressive warrior BTD surrenders the moment John Boehner whispers “boo”, and throws millions of newly-eligible potential Medicaid recipients under the bus.
No one is afraid of John Boehner, BTD. Really. Get a grip.
@goblue72: First, you seem to have missed the point. I agree that it was good to expand Medicaid eligibility. But having access to Medicaid today is not the same as having it in the future. The Republicans want to roll that back and they are perfectly capable of doing so and there is nothing we can do to stop them. That’s because health care for poor or working people (and increasingly for the middle-class) isn’t baked into the system like Medicare or the VA. That’s the difference between a one-time adjustment in eligibility which is easy to change and a system of government provided insurance such as single-payer or even the public option.
What’s more, what you are talking about is not really “reforming” the health care system. It would have been fine to just pass that so more people could have access to medical care. It could (and should) have been done as a stand-alone bill. More importantly, simply expanding Medicaid does not solve the very real problems with health care system and it especially does change the way medical care is paid for and the way the industry is regulated. We needed a structural change. Instead we got massive giveaway to the industry in return for maybe a year or two of health care for some additional number of people.
Second, unless I am misunderstanding what the Republican leadership is saying, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility will be among the first (and easiest) of ObamaCare’s provisions that the Republicans will try to roll back when they take over in November (which seems highly likely). It will be the easiest to roll back because (1) it can be changed with a majority vote in either house and (2) it requires an annual appropriation which the Republicans will be able to block if they control the House.
So, basically, the expansion will be rolled back and defunded next year. As I said, the benefits to industry are tangible and immediate but for consumers they are ephemeral and vulnerable.
I don’t think they will be able to defund it, because states will object.
The big conservative lie about health care reform was that states opposed it. They were desperate for a solution. They’re already putting it in place, in Texas and Ohio and Connecticut. Connecticut already has federal approval for their Medicaid expansion plan, 4 years ahead of schedule. It doesn’t cost the states anything additional until 4 years out. They can start taking additional Medicaid funding NOW.
You guys have a nervous breakdown every time a Republican steps in front of a camera, and starts yammering.
You dance around like marionettes while they pull your strings.
Read this carefully, because this is the sum total of BTD’s case that Republicans will repeal the expansion of Medicaid:
States have finally, finally, dumped their huge health care problem into the federal government’s lap.
Are they really going to be anxious to pick that back up again?
This is what the assholes want, and they’ll probably get it, because the only money that was cut from Medicare came from Medicare Advantage, and it’s a popular program with more affluent seniors, although a complete tax payer rip-off.
Are they also going to roll back the increased Medicaid payments to providers? I don’t think so. The providers will scream bloody murder.
This is one of the saddest, most pathetic statements I’ve read in a long time.
There are an infinite number of things you can do to prevent that from happening, the least of which is getting out to cast your vote against them and making sure others you know do same.
EDIT: Really, just the saddest fucking thing.
I think it’s hysterical. Next, BTD will announce the End of Social Security.
Oh, wait. They’ve already done that, right? There’s that commission, they’re saying shit, it looks DIRE, all is LOST.
Just surrender, Marauder. Accept Orrin G. Hatch as Supreme Leader.
This is the point. John Cole apparently missed that part of the debate during the health care bill epoch.
But I will link to a few of them tomorrow in my response to this post.
For now,. let me say that John’s characterization of my point is completely incorrect.
Indeed, I agree with John’s last point that this is a compelling argument for voting Dem in this election.
To be clear, that was not my point at all.
It was referencing an argument raised during the health care bill debate about how the constituency for the bill would grow over time and save it form these types of threats from the GOP.
John completely misstates, indeed he does not understand, my point.
But I will respond in full tomorrow. I was on a plane this afternoon.
This is an interesting comment. Are you not at all concerned about Social Security? Because I am not either. But not for the same reasons I suspect.
I know the constituency for Social Security will protect it.
The health care bill has nothing like that protection.
It’s an interesting contrast you have chosen, however indevertently.
Odie Hugh Manatee
The two problems for Democrats who want to win is that herding their voters to the polls is like herding cats and all the Republicans have to do is herd their lemmings. While progressives pride themselves on their intelligence and depth of knowledge there is something to be said for the solidarity of the stupid.
What that is I’ll leave to you. :)
In all honesty, I always thought the cliche of Democrats as being outrageous cowards in the face of Republicans just talking about doing something they couldn’t even do was a bit of a caricature. But seeing some of these comments the past few days, I mean…WOW. “Oh shit, Republicans might win back the house. That means they are going to DEFINITELY win back the house, and somehow, they’ve already passed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act!”
It’s a fucking joke. Just a feeble, spineless effort all around. What is the point of fighting in their world? The other guys have already won, so let’s just pack things up and we can all go home and wait for the world to burn out in a fiery blaze of ineptitude. It’s not like there’s an election going on that we can still win. Nope, nothing like that going on here.
The point. You missed it.
Explain it to me then.
Let me restate my view – Social Security is not threatened by Republicans, the Catfood Commission or Obama. The reason is old people will not let it happen.
The CONSTITUENCY for Social Security will block any attempts to cut Social Security.
In contrast, the health bill not only is under real threat (contra Cole;s strawman of my view, this is a REAL argument for voting Dems and one Dems should be making now ), the chance of IMPROVING the inadequate bill (unlike, yes, the inadequate original Social Security bill) looks slim at best.
The point is the policy should have been built to create a constituency for health reform as soon as possible. The health bill simply did not do that.
Wait up, you’re saying that the critics of the health bill were against fighting? Really?
Now any coherence this critique held is gone. I thought that they were delusional fools who did not see a good deal when it was offered and like lunatics, did nto know when to stop fighting?
The states’ health finance problems are not solved by the health bill. Medicaid is not federalized by the bill.
Clearly, you missed the entire fact that the conversation you linked to was about Democrats cowering in the face of Republican blustering during an election.
I’m sure it’s all because of the jet lag. You were on a plane earlier.
As opposed to GOP blustering during the health bill debate?
In any event, surely you are not accusing me of advocating for cowering to GOP bluster during the election are you?
You see that post Cole has about the Bush tax cuts? I’ve been writing those for a while now.
It’s not that you disagree with my assessment of the health bill that is galling, it’s that you and Cole before you blatantly mistated my argument.
How about an honest discussion.
Medicaid is not government-provided insurance? Huh?
Medicaid was founded the same year as Medicare, 1965. It’s not going anywhere.
Medicaid is paid half and half by the federal government and the state and each state’s program is monitored by the feds. Where is this “it’s not a federal program” crap coming from?
Medicaid expansion, if it holds, is great.
But it is NOT like Medicare, which is a federal government run and funded insurance program.
Medicaid is a federal grant program that funds state based insurance programs, that also depend on state funding, and thus much more susceptible to funding cuts.
Not federalized meaning it is not run by the federal government and not fully funded by the federal government.
Medicare is the obvious contrast.
I’ll get back to this tomorrow night.
Hope everyone stays well.
@Kerry Reid: Yep. I agree with you completely. This has been argued here many times about how Obama is ignoring ‘the base’ and what constitutes said base. I have never been a part of ‘the base’, so I don’t get the angst and agitprop that people show at being thrown under the bus or ignored or whatever. I’m thising your comment as well.
@WyldPirate: Awesome. “The Democrats aren’t delivering what I want , so I don’t care if the GOP^H^H^HTea Party takes over the government.” Yeah, that’s a really good plan.
I think that a number of commentators on this thread have been attacking a caricatured version of my argument rather than engaging in a debate on the arguments I am actually making. To clarify my arguments:
1. Medicaid is vulnerable: My argument is that Medicaid is particularly vulnerable because it exclusively serves the poor and disadvantaged. People who, almost by definition, can’t make campaign contributions or hold $30,000 a plate fundraising dinners and have no high-powered lobbyists. Whatever access poor people got to health care in this legislation is not a permanent feature of the political system but is really nothing more than a welcome victory in an perpetual battle for annual funding.
This money can easily be cut and whether they are in the majority or not, the Republicans are certain to try. You might want to remember how close they came to killing the SCHIP funding bill and how willing the Congressional Democrats (and the administration) to compromise on SCHIP until liberals and others brought pressure to bear. If you think that’s unlikely to happen again (“they wouldn’t dare!), you might want to remember that Ronald Reagan’s purges came literally within an inch of wiping out SSID. I was interning at a legal services office then and it was clear that the Republicans didn’t care at all about the tidal wave of human suffering they caused. And if you’ve been paying attention you’ll appreciate that this current bunch makes Reagan look like squishy liberal in comparison.
I believe this to be a realistic assessment of the future we are likely to face in the aftermath of this election. All of the polling data I’ve seen point to a Republican wave, perhaps on the scale of 1994. Republicans are sure to be the dominant power in Washington and they will get their way on most things. Every Republican leader and most candidates are running on pledges to repeal ObamaCare and to destroy the Great Society and New Deal to the extent possible. I see no reason not to take them at their word. I also see no realistic prospect that the feckless, whipped dog Democrats will be any more effective in opposition now than they were during the Bush years.
I conclude, therefore, that ObamaCare was a bad bargain. The industry will get massive amounts of new victims via the individual mandate and great wealth from Obama’s promise not to try and force down the price of drugs, etc. By contrast, many of the supposed benefits are in the future and the battle for them must be refought every year. The other benefits all depend on the stringent and vigorous enforcement of administrative regulations even though regulators in the health care and financial services industries have consistently proven themselves corrupt or ineffectual.
2. I do not advocate that Democrats should stay home. On the contrary, this is a critical election and we should fight hard for our beliefs and our party. My disagreements with the Obama administration (as anyone with access to Google will see) are partly that his policies are too conservative for my taste but mainly that I see him as ineffectual and vacillating. The gratuitous hippie-punching is illustrative of his flaws. You do not motivate your people by being the somewhat lesser evil.
Obama should lead our party in a spirited defense of those programs and to make it clear that the choice in this election is to retain those programs such as social security, Medicare, deposit insurance, food safety, et cetera, or to allow the Republicans to slowly strangle them. (Assuming, of course, that he feels these programs are worth defending).
More importantly, I would very much like to see my president dwell less on his accomplishments (many of which are disputed by parts of his own party) and talking about Sarah Palin or the crazy tea-baggers. Instead, he should talk about what he’s going to do right now to get the economy moving, to bring back jobs and improve peoples’ lives. This is the sort of thing which I think will motive the base. Punching hippies, not so much.
There are a lot of good liberals in tight races this year. Let’s support them as strongly as we can. Of course, I don’t think that the problem is that chronic Democratic voters like me are going to stay home and pout. What I do think will happen is that the new voters who supported Obama and some independents will become disillusioned or disappointed and they will stay home. And punching those people won’t help any more than punching hippies did. People need something to fight for—something that we Democrats will do if we are elected and something that will help to make things better. That’s what I want from Obama and that’s what my criticisms are directed towards achieving.
These are the points I’m trying to make. Can we discuss them?
@Mnemosyne: To be clear, yes, Medicaid is a government funded health care program. But it is not funded entirely at the federal level and furthermore it is my understanding that Medicaid is funded (like similar programs such as SCHIP) by an annual appropriations bills. That means the funding level and eligibility requirements get voted on every year and are subject to change (or elimination) in any budget cycle.
In other words, Medicaid funding generally and the new ObamaCare extensions of eligibility specifically are not in any sense “locked in” and are therefore at the mercy of every Congress. This means that the claimed achievement of “extending” Medicaid is the result of a battle which will probably need to be refought with each appropriations cycle.
By contrast, a universal single-payer system or even a viable “public option” would represent a structural commitment to extending the social safety net (following the example of Medicare) and so would be far more difficult to dismantle.
@Midnight Marauder: I think you’re still missing or perhaps misconstruing my point, which was that while Obama’s gifts to the health care industry are probably going to continue indefinitely, the benefits to the public are likely to be ephemeral and not worth the cost. Specifically, I said that the expansion of Medicaid which you mentioned was not likely to survive the expected change in control of Congress. Which is to say that the poor people receiving Medicaid as a result of the passage of ObamaCare will probably stop being eligible in the event of a Republican victory in November. This is not a result which I desire but it would appear to be the most likely outcome, as reflected in every single poll which I’ve seen.
Naturally, I intend to do all that I can to prevent this but, again, the polls are not encouraging. I have voted in every election in which I was eligible and I have always voted for the Democrat (with the exception of the 1991 first round election in Louisiana in which I was proud to vote and campaign for Buddy Roemer, the best governor in Louisiana’s history).
I do believe that if the Republicans get in this November they will have pretty much a free hand to do what they please legislatively. If that happens, then I do believe there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to stop them from dismantling ObamaCare or from doing any other dam thing they want. Why do I think this? Well, frankly, the history of the Democratic party during the Bush years do not give me much confidence in their ability to effectively oppose the Republican agenda.
What I do think will matter is for the supposed leader of my party to get out and fight for the party’s historic achievements which, yes, I do believe are in real jeopardy. Equally as important, I think Obama (and you, too) should spend less time punching hippies and more time formulating and selling a plan which will turn the economy around, get people back to work and make America a better place if the Democrats retain control of the Congress.
But I also want to apologize for my sad comment. I feel bad for having inflicted “the saddest fucking statement” upon you. And I want to thank you for elevating the discussion here by pointing that out.
You are incorrect, at least at the federal level. It is subject to state budget pressures when it comes to the state portion, but that’s because participation by the states is voluntary. The federal portion is fixed and funded the same way that Medicare is. The various fights you see at the federal level are over expanding Medicare coverage to additional people, not over funding the ones who are already there.
That was actually one big reason why there was such a huge fight over opt-in/opt-out when it came to the current bill — Medicaid varies hugely from state to state because states can fund it at the minimum level or even stop participating entirely if they choose. It causes a lot of problems for patients to have state legislatures constantly playing games with their funding. IIRC, states are NOT allowed to opt out of the new plan, but it’s late and I don’t have time to look it up right now.
I think you misunderstood what people meant by a “public option.” A PO would be an addition to the exchange system where people could choose a non-profit provider over a for-profit insurance company. Essentially, it would have allowed Medicaid to compete for customers alongside Blue Cross and Cigna.
The compromise allows people to buy into the federal employees’ health system, which allows for the federal government to negotiate rates and coverage on their behalf. It seems like a distinction without a difference to me for the program to be run by OPM and not HHS, but YMMV.
Even this is wrong, and you can look at Medicare to prove it.
Conservatives privatized almost 20% of Medicare in 2002. That’s what Medicare Advantage is. It’s the privatization of Medicare. That’s what the Senate health care bill defunded. The privatization of Medicare. I would think public option supporters would cheer, because Medicare Advantage is bleeding Medicare. The private option is bleeding the public option.
We were going backward. Fast.
It would be easier for the US Congress to gut a solely federal health care plan, not harder. It will be more difficult to undo a state-federal plan, not easier, because states want the money.
It was easy, when conservatives privatized 20% of Medicare. It happened. In 2002.
Medicare was radically changed, by the US Congress, in 2002. They privatized 20% of it. The private program is bleeding the public program. Had it continued, there wouldn’t be a public Medicare program.
Explain that, BTD. In light of your theory that a federal program is structurally more difficult to change then a federal-state program.
How does this even make sense? You’re telling me that it is more difficult for the federal congress to change a federal program than it is for the federal congress to change a federal-state program.
Lay that out for me.
There is this weird liberal blind spot on states. A complete close-mindedness, where states are somehow malignant actors with ‘parochial’ interests seeking to undo any federal initiative. It’s as if you’ve completely internalized the conservative argument that states are burdened by the federal government, and saddled with ‘unfunded mandates’. That’s a talking point. It isn’t reality.
Is any of that true? As a practical matter, don’t state governments spend a good part of every day bitching about the federal government, while lobbying incessantly for federal funding? It is arguably a governor’s JOB to bitch that he or she isn’t getting enough federal money. It’s all they freaking DO.
States are grabbing the funding that the health care reform law made available, because that’s what states do. They’re be poorly run states if they didn’t.
As of January 1, 2014, states are required to expand Medicaid. From 2014 to 2016, the federal government will provide 100% of that funding. It then declines, but it bottoms at or around 90%.
States can speed up the process (Connecticut did, which seems like smart state-budget move to me, grab the money when it’s on the table) and qualify early. That way they get the additional federal funding immediately.
I just don’t see states turning down a huge grant from the federal government, despite what they say.
What happens to states when the people who live in them can’t access health care, or default on medical bills, or get sick and can’t work? The burden doesn’t fall on the federal government. It falls on the individual state.
They scream constantly about not getting enough federal money, because that’s part and parcel of the federal-state tug of war game we’re playing, and once they get it, they are going to be a powerful political force to keep it.
Sorry. I meant to give you a link. Read this on Medicaid.