Yglesias, Klein and Silver – with friends like these …

For those who don’t know, Yglesias, Klein and Silver are young, smart, successful, 'progressive' bloggers. I admit to identifying with them somewhat: I’m about their age, smart too, and lean left. (Hey Matt – we both got a philosophy degree from an Ivy!)

All three have filled the commentary void in the wake of the kinda-sorta Whitehouse walk-back on the public option with a qualified defense a healthcare bill w/out a public option. It won’t be perfect they say, but it’ll cover everyone, provide subsidies, and protect against caps, discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, etc.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-08-17/who-needs-a-public-option/
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/life-after-death-of-public-option.html

I won’t accuse any of these gentleman of selling out, but they’re not as down as I thought they were. They’re not strong progressives and that’s what the country needs. I guess I’ll have to glom onto some other whipper-snappers who write intelligent commentary.

Meantime, this is a break-up and here’s my grievances.

First, you’re excusing a pre-emptive surrender by the admin. on what was already a compromised bill. Strong progressives wouldn't gloss over the downsides of caving into the insurance lobby, especially to gut a bill with a supermajority of Ds, a popular president, popular support for a public option, the Pharmaceuticals already on board, etc.

In your attempts to be ‘realistic’ or in the know, you’ve either become cynics or appeasers. Either way you’re a disappointment and I don’t think you understand what your role should be in the public discourse.

Second, you haven’t fully considered the costs of not addressing costs.

-- In a bill w/out a public option but many mandates there isn't much to curb premiums from rising at even faster rates. And why shouldn’t they given that the laws will remove caps, recissions, etc. Were you expecting the healthcare industry to reduce their medical loss ratios solely because of increased private competition? You were?

-- If a bill passes w/out a public option, the government is going to be subsidizing solely private care for millions.

-- In short, expanded coverage w/out a pubic option probably means just what opponents to progressivism say about all government plans – they result in exploding expenditures and unsustainable deficits.

3rd and most importantly, you’ve simply missed out on the larger progressive narrative as it applies to healthcare. The for-profit structure currently aggregates wealth into the hands of a few. The few in turn buy the government that is supposed to regulate them. Cf. the last 30 yrs. in over ½ the sectors of the US economy.

Have you forgotten how this works? Do you remember when Rs staffed regulatory bodies with industry hacks, as the SEC was staffed with accounting lobbyists under Bush? Laws on the books are not enough.

Do you remember what % of the market Microsoft controlled when the Bush admin. dropped its anti-trust litigation? Laws on the books won't stop consolidation.

(And not to let the Ds off the hook: my lesson the past 20 yrs. is that the government works very poorly under D admins and can be downright disfunctional under the Rs.)

While this has been a problem with respect to other sectors, it is nothing short of an emergency with respect to healthcare.

You bastards, you've even encouraged Ds to settle for a bill w/out non-profit co-ops.

So let me try once again in cased you missed it -- the public option was supposed to be a strike at the heart of the for-profit healthcare structure. Instead of worrying about how to please Wall Street investors by increasing medical loss ratios and paying teams of corporate lawyers to invent ways of circumventing regulations for providing coverage, health insurance co.s were supposed to spend their energies on competing with a not for profit strong public option. This is about changing the incentive structures in a disfunctional industry.

Without such changes, the insurance industry is going to continue corrupting our political institutions in basically the ways you’ve just excused.

I’m sorry we can’t be better friends, but you’re just not as down as I thought you were. Maybe you should get out of DC more often. That town sucks.
--

--


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DC sucks?

(#179994)

Where do you think a 'public option' health care plan would be run from? Duluth?

If people outside it showed even an iota of common sense and self-respect, this city would revert back to being the sleepy backwater it was when I first visited it 50 years ago. Why should I complain? I live in the heart of the town you decry, and the quality of life here is immensely improved whenever--as is the case now--the rest of the country goes dramatically downhill economically. Money, jobs, and even more political power magically gravitate here, as they are doing now, with a corresponding boost to tourism, salaries, and real estate values. The problem isn't us (we can't vote anyway, except for Democratic presidential candidates)--it's the rest of you.

The favorite online definition of 'insanity' is repeating the same process over and over and expecting a different result. Every four years both left and right campaign on the cry of "Change"; yet decade after decade they return the same flim-flamming politicians (or the youthful charlatans they've mentored) to our city and then somehow expect a different result. How does this latest one taste?

Want less Washington? Vote against career politicians. Vote for less, not more government. And unlike conservatives, actually mean it.

Eh

(#180213)

I don't buy the argument that DC is growing fat on the teat of government.

Case-Shiller DC real estate index down 15% YOY, 32% since its peak in May 2006. DC unemployment rate in June is 10.9%. If you live in the neighborhood that the folks in power think is cool, you get a pop. The rest of the city and environs? Not so much.

I moved here 48 years ago, at the ripe old age of 5, and it was indeed a sleepy little town. But it hasn't grown terribly faster than most urban areas. The DC MSA was 4.3 million in 1960 and 7.6 million in 2000, a 78% increase. That puts it about midway among the largest US MSAs, on a par with Greensboro, SC and Minneapolis. Las Vegas, home of Big Gummint, grew the largest, with a 1,024% gain, followed by thos big government towns of West Palm Beach, Phoenix, and Orlando. (DC proper, incidentally, has declined in population).

So, no, I'm not sure that DC has been living particularly large in the recent downturn, nor that it fares particularly better than any other town in a recession. Would it be smaller without the government? Of course. But if you're an average guy looking for an average job in this town, as in any town today, you're going to have a tough time.

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

Well, you may not buy it

(#180214)

But it's a fact. I'm speaking of the District in particular, not Poolesville or Manassas.

In terms of population, of course, DC is nearly half as crowded as it was in the late '60s; obviously it can never grow geographically. But the quality of life has dramatically improved since then, as I'm sure you'll admit--and nothing will make this place actually vibrant at night. It's a 9-5 town, which is always a surprise to those who imagine their congressmen do nothing but party.

As for jobs--applied for a government one lately? There's never been a better time.

Ok

(#180312)

It's population is down by half, its unemployment is higher than the rest of the nation, and real property is down 32%. Also, there's no night life. But the place is rocking from goverment spending. Hokay.

It's funny, though: I don't know where you live, but parts of DC do have great nightlife -- many of them parts that were certain death when I was growing up. U Street has great nightlife. So does the area around Chinatown. Georgetown seems like a morgue these days.

As for government jobs: Lots of them are gone already, and have been gone since mid-November. Probably could get a job working on the silver line, though, thanks to the stimulus.

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

This is one of those tedious half-empty, half-full debates

(#180351)

Certain death? Once upon a time, the entire city felt like that after dark. A friend of mine has his date shot to death in Georgetown in the 70s, a year later someone was stabbed to death just outside my apartment there. Crime rates are way down since then, we both know it, so what's to argue? The price for that is a record number of the incarcerated and the loss of most small businesses; there are now few places left to rob.

Unemployment? Sure, it's higher than the national average--and used to be much higher. Duh, this is DC, where half the population has traditionally been on welfare. Now with 'black flight' to PG County, that figure is way down--about the same as the rest of the country. There's a miracle for you.

Night life? Sure, it's way better since the riots and the curfews; there's still more going on in much smaller cities like Santa Fe or South Beach after dark. A big reason for our revival is tourism, which boomed dramatically after 911. It was down slightly for the last recorded quarter because of the recession, but from everything I've seen this has been a boom summer.

As for government jobs, I can only parrot the Post, which tells me a record number, due to the stimulus, are still going begging.

I don't know what part of town you live in, but from where I sit in Foggy Bottom there's a whole world of difference from '69. Good and bad. But little of it due to the politics-induced 'suck'-iness Catchy was complaining about, which was our topic.

Well, I was

(#180353)

responding to this, in your post:

"The quality of life here is immensely improved whenever--as is the case now--the rest of the country goes dramatically downhill economically."

I generally agree with what you said to Catchy, tho.

They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

Sorry, kierk.

(#180090)

But I haven't liked the atmosphere of the city when I've visited. I'd rather have the enterntainment industry worshipers in LA. Maybe next time I can stay with you.

I agree about the politicians, but I was here talking about media figures. These guys seemed to be buying into conventional wisdom vs. articulating or advocating reform.

That's surely part of the DC culture, and perhaps Klein, yglesias, and silver are victims of it.

I thought all the entertainment industry worshippers in LA

(#180219)

were from out of town.

I don't like the atmosphere here either, particularly. All things being equal, I'd much prefer to be back living in Paris. Or Miami. But that doesn't mean I think this city is evil or corrupt, particularly.

Or to blame for the nation's ills, literally or figuratively. It's the people you keep sending us ;)

Reposted from another thread....

(#179901)

Tactics vs Politics.....Starts about 1:10 into the clip....

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

Here's Yglesias:

(#179880)

The idea of the public option is that instead of the menu of choices available to consumers on this new individual insurance market ("the exchange") being restricted to existing private insurers, the government would also create a new competing entity. This is a good idea, that holds some promise for improving quality and reducing costs. But even without it, everything outlined above would still happen. That would be a huge win for the uninsured, the poor, the anxiety-stricken middle class, and ultimately for the economy as a whole. It wouldn't be an ideal health plan or the best bill you can imagine. But it's no exaggeration to say that it would be the greatest progressive legislative accomplishment in four decades, and that's nothing to sneer at.

What part of the above is false?

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

My argument was that a progressive should know

(#179909)

that you can't really achieve universal coverage, not discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, removing caps, etc. while leaving the for-profit structure essentially in place.

So I'm denying:

But even without it, everything outlined above would still happen

A public option is conceptually distinct from removing caps, etc. of course, but in practice we're likely to run into the same power dynamics we've seen of late in the financial and energy sectors.

Disproportionate wealth aggregation means the government simply gets co-opted instead of acting as a meaningful check and regulator.

A central component of the last election was about changing the structure of the relationship between government and the private sector. Or at least it was supposed to be for progressives.

This is what a public option is intended to target. And you can see that this is going to be a serious problem down the road precisely from the way this bill has gotten dismantled already by the health insurance co.s. And this with backroom deals to keep the pharmaceuticals out.

healthcare is too important to leave essentially the same incentives that ruined the industry in place. American style capitalism doesn't work as well as we thought and certainly not here.

Which Is Why. . .

(#179913)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .a lot of people are pretty sure that Obama is lying when he claims people will be able to keep their private insurance if they want it, and so on. The ultimate goal is pretty obvious, no matter what shiny BS is used to conceal it.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Just remember

(#179950)
HankP's picture

that unless you have private coverage, you don't get to decide anything - your employer does.

I blame it all on the Internet

But Hank, that's the essence of Freedom.

(#179993)

You dare not leave your job, because you need the health coverage for your family. Meanwhile, in your state your employer is able to reap the rewards of competition, with a grand total of 1.2 insurers to choose from.

Your employer's lawyers bargain with the insurance company lawyers over the 15% of your salary that goes towards premiums, hammering out the exact details of your policy in closed room meetings.

Freedom!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Actually, I dare not leave my job....

(#180043)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

Dare not change jobs. -nt-

(#180048)

.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'm not sure what you're reading into my post

(#179924)

What I meant was: to have private companies compete with a public option would be to not have "US style capitalism'.

To pretend that the US government is going to seriously and consistently stem consolidation and avoid regulatory run-around from corporate lawyers -- while leaving every other incentive structure in place -- is US style capitalism.

Is that clearer?

If Obama's plan is adopted then yes

(#179921)

people shall be free to keep their private insurance.

If Obama's plan is rejected, new plans will emerge that you might find even less palatable.

That is why people compromise.

Those "further left" than Obama will let go of their desire for single payer in exchange for public option. If the compromise is rejected then all offers are off the table and everything becomes fair game.

That is how all negotiations work, isn't it?

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

oh yeah

(#179914)

what "ultimate goal" is that?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Jeez, nilsey, just tell him

(#179939)
HankP's picture

we want to enslave all conservatives, rape their women, slaughter their children and throw rotten fruit at them as they trudge from their Obamapartments to their Obamachines and back. Plus make them sing paeans to Obama on their day off.

I blame it all on the Internet

Michelle Malkin? Eh, no thanks

(#179946)

Not Ann Coulter, either.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Sorry Bill

(#179955)
HankP's picture

being a liberal means you have responsibilities.

I blame it all on the Internet

seriously though

(#179944)

i am interested to know what scott believes teh "bvious" goal of this is.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Incremental improvement in peoples lives

(#179917)

I know, shocking isn't it.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

what improves? is the logical followup and why hasn't

(#179922)

Obama been able to make that presentation to the American people would be the second question.

““I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration!”” –H

The American people favor reform

(#179928)

A few Senators bought and paid for by Big HealthCo are stopping the process.

There is a difference.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

swooosh, right over your head

(#179929)

two questions, which you failed to address.

what improves and why can't Obama sell it?

““I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration!”” –H

Obama did sell it

(#179957)

Nov 4th, 2008.

It must have had one of those 90-day warranties. nt

(#179968)

.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Obama will sell it in conference committee

(#179933)

Obama's own words:

The House bills and the Senate bills will not be identical. We know this. The politics are different, because the makeup of the Senate and the House are different and they operate on different rules. I am not interested in making the best the enemy of the good. There will be a conference committee where the House and Senate bills will be reconciled, and that will be a tough, lengthy and serious negotiation process.

I am less interested in making sure there's a litmus test of perfection on every committee than I am in going ahead and getting a bill off the floor of the House and off the floor of the Senate. Eighty percent of those two bills will overlap. There's going to be 20 percent that will be different in terms of how it will be funded, its approach to the public plan, its pay-or-play provisions. We shouldn't automatically assume that if any of the bills coming out of the committees don't meet our test, that there is a betrayal or failure. I think it's an honest process of trying to reconcile a lot of different interests in a very big bill.

Conference is where these differences will get ironed out. And that's where my bottom lines will remain: Does this bill cover all Americans? Does it drive down costs both in the public sector and the private sector over the long-term. Does it improve quality? Does it emphasize prevention and wellness? Does it have a serious package of insurance reforms so people aren't losing health care over a preexisting condition? Does it have a serious public option in place? Those are the kind of benchmarks I'll be using. But I'm not assuming either the House and Senate bills will match up perfectly with where I want to end up. But I am going to be insisting we get something done.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

sell what, given his gifts, explaining the program to the

(#179935)

American people should be as easy as slicing warm butter.

““I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration!”” –H

Check back in September

(#179948)

Obama hasn't rolled out his full arsenal, yet.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Simple

(#179882)
HankP's picture

But even without it, everything outlined above would still happen. I can already guess at a bunch of things that insurers will do to game the system, in addition to the fact that they'll get the windfall of the government giving them billions of dollars to cover the currently uninsured.

The health insurance companies have failed at everything except getting big returns for themselves. They've consistently done worse than Medicare, Medicaid and the VA at controlling costs. Why they should get rewarded for that makes no sense, especially because they'll take that extra money and simply buy more politicians with it.

I blame it all on the Internet

You don't believe

(#179887)

the Democrats are capable of building the regulatory and enforcement infrastructure necessary to bring the private insurance industry into line and curb their worst excesses, while also expanding coverage? We built Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We can do this, yes we can.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

But that's just it

(#179916)

"Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security" are the equivalent of a non-profit public option.

A complex regulatory structure for keeping the health insurance co.s in line and competitive is the equivalent of our current success with anti-trust litigation and regulation of the financial sector.

I'm exaggerating a bit, but this is not acceptable for healthcare. This isn't merely people getting ripped off. This is people being denied care.

And they weren't all built overnight

(#179920)

but incrementally, improving as we went and required outmaneuvering Republicans every step of the way.

On the contrary, anti-trust legislation could be a useful tool if we applied it to health insurance companies, which currently we do not. And yes, our recent experience with regulating the financial sector is an object lesson in how not to do it.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Our recent experience with the financial sector

(#179967)

is an object lesson in government's fundamental inability to regulate large corporations.

The idea that we can achieve European-style universal coverage through enhanced regulatory structures seems frankly delusional to me. At the very least, there are no precedents, with the possible exception of the Dutch, who came at it more or less from the other side.

This appears to me as a textbook case of the Democratic Party fulfilling its institutional function, i.e. blocking meaningful reform by the substitution of half-measures and false promises.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

I'm just happier with taking half a loaf now

(#179980)

knowing I can probably get the other half later. Rather than trying for the whole loaf now, but at the risk of getting nothing.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

What path do you envision

(#180103)

from a bill that preserves the private insurance structure intact and without public alternatives, to universal government-subsidized insurance coverage?

I think catchy has articulated some very convincing reasons why that is an extremely unlikely scenario.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Rasmussen reports 32% of Americans favor

(#180128)

single payer. Rasmussen!

Not doing reform and letting the current FUBAR roll forward unchecked certainly won't reduce that percentage.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

I'm not sure you've thought this through

(#180191)

If the Democrats pass a bill that is presented as a step toward the reform they want, and that bill is ineffectual and unpopular, it will not dispose the American public to double down.

I would also reiterate that there is no example I'm familiar with in the politics of any other country where a socialized health insurance system was established by degrees. That is simply not realistic. It's like saying we should gradually reform the Mafia into a philanthropic organization.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Add 10 to correct the starboard list

(#180142)

makes 42% and that's with no one trying to make the sale for a single payer system!

Done deal for the next Democratic candidate in 2012, if not before if the insurance industry doesn't take the hint.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Ah, The Mythical 10%

(#180193)
M Scott Eiland's picture

You obviously haven't been looking at polls lately.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Rasmussen! 32%

(#180205)

that's gotta hurt.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Given the current FUBAR situation

(#180148)

public support for single payer isn't going to become less, if Obama's plan goes down in flames and the status quo continues with little change.

Its the old Marxist equation -- reform can often be the enemy of revolution. Anyway, I am not a Marxist and would be content with a public option compromise, but if the GOP says "No!" well then time to push single payer.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

If insurance companies see the light then all well and good

(#180126)

If not and they continue to misbehave by gaming the system. Then that would afford Dems the opportunity to revisit the public option, either as a separate issue absent all the GOP misinformation concerning what's in the reform bill or with a filibuster proof majority post 2010. Always assuming we don't blow our chances of securing that increased majority with an all or nothing battle which weakens the caucus and undermines efforts on all the other battle fronts in the ongoing war.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

weakens the caucus

(#180134)

What's weakening the caucus is giving BlueDogs the impunity to jettison central elements of any bills they want whenever they wish to increase their intake from interested corporate parties.

What could strengthen the caucus would be the discipline of learning that *filibustering their own party's bills* isn't an option.

No, what weakens the caucus

(#180145)

is copying R tactics by creating our own endangered species of DINO's to be picked off by the R's in 2010.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

R tactics

(#180185)

It wasn't "R tactics" that created the Democratic resurgence in 2008. It was a weak economy, an unpopular foreign war, and an unpopular President. Republican hardball tactics worked quite well until events overtook them, as they must overtake everyone. There are no permanent majorities. The Republicans accomplished plenty of their policy aims while they were on top.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

"copying R tactics"

(#180164)

That would be not notifying members of the opposition of basic national security decisions and basically treating Congress as if it doesn't exist.

Spart, we're not talking about the nuclear option, we're talking about allowing Ds to vote against a bill if they wish, but requiring them not to filibuster.

This should be basic common sense for a party that wants to bring its bills to a vote.

Forgive, but you seem to have a permanent minority status mentality here.

There are only 58 Dems in the Dem Senate caucus

(#180209)

Of which only 43 are committed to the public option, according to the latest whip count. Add Bernie sanders and you get 59 and that's assuming no Democrat votes against cloture or is too sick to show up for the vote. No Republican is likely to vote for cloture if they want to remain in the GOP.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I can just see the Democratic reaction

(#180240)

if they ever really crushed the Republican party: "but there are only 99 Democrats in the senate!"

You disagree with the math?

(#180248)

lets hear it.

http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=letting_go_of_the_public_option

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/18/AR2009081803449.html

I don't fully agree with either of them. We should keep the public option on the front burner right up until the point where a whip count indicates we can't invoke cloture on the expected R led filibuster. At that point the public option gets dropped, the House signs on and we pass the dammed bill and get it to the Presidents desk.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I don't believe the Republicans

(#180257)

when they say they'll filibuster. This was a central campaign issue last year, they already lost that, and I don't think they want another bloodbath come midterms.

Screaming townhall lunatics provide the Republicans cover to play chicken, but not enough cover to remind the public why they voted D last year.

Here's an archive of his campaign literature:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/index_campaign.php

- Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.

- Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.

- Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.

- Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.

- Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.

- Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care.

See also
http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf

and
http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/Obama08_HealthcareFAQ.pdf

Q. How will we pay for the Obama plan?

A. The Obama plan will realize tremendous savings within the health care system to help finance the plan. The additional revenue needed to fund the up-front investments in technology and to help people who cannot afford health insurance is more than covered by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for people making more than $250,000 per year, as they are scheduled to do.

The American public voted for this.

Exactly

(#180266)

This is a perfect time to call some bluffs. Everyone is acting like there is no upside to forcing the Rs to filibuster health care reform. If they're going to do it, let them do it. Let the Rs with left-leaning urban constituencies explain why the bill was so horrible that they couldn't give it an up-or-down vote.

You can't let your opponents get away with winning purely on threats.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Filibustering is easy these days

(#180265)

Happens in the blink of an eye no fuss, no theater and you could easily miss the fact there's a majority in favor of the bill, if you relied on the news media. Besides, what have they got to lose? If the filibuster is successful, it's the House progressives who are shaping up as the ones ready to do the real damage.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

For all practical purposes, the GOP is dead men walking.

(#180243)

Unless they change their tune, and fast. The GOP's problem is so critical, they're no longer even interested in a compromise on anything. They feel they have to foment incoherent rage against Obama to make any headway at all next year.

America's pretty stupid, all right. Lots of surveys show it, PT Barnum said every crowd has a silver lining - as long as America can be spooked like a herd of cattle in a lightning storm, the GOP still has a chance.

But there comes a time, when things are just bad enough, when like a whipped dog trembling, resigned to his fate, the dog suddenly snarls, leaps and bites his tormentor. America will turn on the GOP with a vengeance and smash them down like porcelain dolls. America's not real smart, but eventually it works out who's doing the beating and they rebel against it. Americans have a sense of fairness, they're stupid but they're not mean. We can only go so far before we snap, as we snapped as a culture when the images of the Pettus Bridge were flashed all over the country. Racism didn't die completely, but America vomited on its television to watch those people set-upon by dogs. It so completely changed the Democratic Party, it didn't even faintly resemble what it was the day before.

That's what's going to happen to the GOP. America is going to get sick and tired of them, and the GOP will get beaten into the middle of next week. Watch and see.

Olympia Snowe will probably vote for cloture

(#180215)

if my guess is correct.

Snowe is one of three Republicans on the powerful Senate Finance Committee trying to work out a bipartisan deal. And based on her voting record, she is the most likely of the trio to break from the GOP and vote with Senate Democrats - who may need at least one Republican to get a bill passed, especially if Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, is unable to travel to Washington and cast a vote in the fall.

Snowe met with Obama twice the week before the August recess, and she has plans for several major conference calls on health care with the other Finance Committee negotiators. She also shares a state with Senator Susan Collins, another moderate Republican who could be a crucial vote on any compromise that emerges.

I hope she will

(#180255)

but I'm not willing to bet the entirety of health care reform in 2009 on any Republican. Snowe should also realize that doing so would be tantamount to pulling an Arlen, as far as her comrades in the Senate R caucus are concerned.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Gonna be a whole lot o' Arlen-ing going on in the near future.

(#180261)

These politicians know a dead horse when they're being asked to ride it. Maine's one of the poorest states in the union, they really do want some sort of health care reform. So what if she's a Republican? I think this party loyalty thing will collapse like a soufflé when the general public realizes the GOP's got no adequate response.

Sure, a lot of people are scared. But are the senators scared of the GOP any more? I'd say No, not any more. The GOP is a chicken with its head cut off, running around the yard squirting blood everywhere. It's gonna collapse and then it will be plucked and dissected. The Conservatives have had a gut full of the GOP failing to behave like genuine Conservatives. They'll be the ones who pull down the tent poles on this screwed-up party. They'll rebuild, just like the Democrats were obliged to rebuild, not once but twice.

See, after the Pettus Bridge incident, America couldn't hide from racism's ugliness. Racism lost its patina of superiority. The South rejected racism in a big way, and LBJ said at the time, he'd lost the South for a decade. He was right. The GOP moved right in to become the substitute for the Dixiecrats. Strom Thurmond, case in point, embarrassing old fool, even he stopped making ugly noises about niggers. Notice it was Tom DeLay, a Republican, who got the well-deserved pounding for praising Thurmond's long and horrid past. And Thurmond had been a Democrat until 1964!

Soon enough, on this you can bet the farm, as soon as the Democrats close in and pass this legislation, with the help of some heretofore-unknown Republican support, the GOP will pretend it had never really opposed health care reform.

Just like Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. One advantage of being old, you do have memory. Times change, politicians do not. They know dead horses when they they see them.

I sure hope so

(#180294)

LBJ's prediction was probably off by at least one generation.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Trent Lott

(#180275)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Not Tom DeLay.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Right you are. I stand corrected.

(#180279)

Tom DeLay says "racism is a joke"

But yes, it was Trent Lott (R) Mississippi who uttered

”I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

You're settling and I'm not sure why.

(#179982)

Too much Ezra Klein? No D is on record as threatening to filibuster this. Who's going to?

EDIT: further as to why accepting a no-public option as a negotiating position at this stage is ridiculous:

not a single member of the Democratic caucus -- including Conrad himself -- has actually announced that he or she would support ... a filibuster. And a few Republicans -- Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine -- might not support it either. ...

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told his colleagues in July, "Don't let the Republicans filibuster us into failure. We want to succeed, and to succeed, we need to stick together."

It's a simple concept. The electorate has given Democrats a chance to govern, and expect them to deliver. Members of the caucus "may vote against final passage on a bill," Durbin said, but Democratic colleagues should at least reject the idea of "allowing the filibuster to stop the whole Senate." He concluded, "We ought to control our own agenda."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_08/019528.php

If Harry Reid can't keep members of his own party from filibustering, he has to go.

I agree it's a horrible way to negotiate

(#179987)
HankP's picture

Dems shouldn't settle for anything until the actual bills get out of committee and we get a whip count.

I blame it all on the Internet

Have the Dems settled already?

(#180064)

Or has Obama simply stated that 'all or nothing' on the public option is not the best strategy with an eye on the big picture, 2010, 2012 and on?

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

At this point in the game

(#180169)
HankP's picture

you surrender nothing, you give nothing and you compromise on nothing. That stuff is all for final votes and reconciliation. If he was smart he'd still be pushing for single payer or Medicare for all - the GOP would be telling the same lies, but he'd have more room for compromise when it matters in the end game.

I blame it all on the Internet

Maybe not.

(#180173)

I find myself agreeing with Bill's earlier assessment that the WH plan is to present a low profile, moving target, let the Petty Hate Machine expend itself on a plan that doesn't exist, announce quite different parameters shortly before the vote, and suddenly he's Lucy with the football and it's Grassley and Limbaugh who are flying chubbily through the air.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Impossible to say at this point

(#180179)
HankP's picture

we won't know until we see what's in the Senate and House bills and what they do in reconciliation.

I still think there are other problems with allowing blatant lies to go uncontested, but that's a different issue I guess.

I blame it all on the Internet

I concur

(#180171)

FWIW

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

I belive we've been in the pre-game warm-ups

(#180076)

The real game starts in September

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

That's funny

(#180106)

because the enemy seems to be on the field and scoring goals.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

The game's on, and has been since July.

(#180079)

Seen this at HuffPo? Presume you have.

But they were at least started

(#179930)

where a bill w/out a public option starts no public program.

anti-trust legislation could be a useful tool if we applied it to health insurance companies, which currently we do not. And yes, our recent experience with regulating the financial sector is an object lesson in how not to do it.

My pt. is that these tools have been corrupted b/c of a libertarian ideological hegemony and obscene wealth aggregation. Does anyone believe that Washington is currently capable or interested in meaningfully regulating the financial sector? How has anti-trust litigation performed the past two decades?

Healthcare is our best bet for attacking this general problem -- it's where people are clearest the system is broken and there is the highest moral imperative for doing so.

I'm not looking at this as an ideological struggle Catchy

(#179954)

that's the Republican frame.

In order of preference:-

  1. Single payer universal coverage
  2. Private insurance with public option
  3. Private insurance w/o public option but heavily regulated to remove the worst excesses and extend coverage to all

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and build on what we can achieve without blowing up the Senate and our chances of increasing the majority at the next election.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

The fact that the other side approaches this

(#179974)

as an explicitly ideological struggle just might be why they're winning.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Their only chance of winning anything

(#180066)

is to force an all or nothing showdown in the Senate over inclusion of the public option. Absent that, the best they can hope for is a rearguard action in retreat with no good ground to fight on in 2010 or 2012.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Do you honestly think

(#180109)

that the picture in Congress will be better in 2010 or 2012? Because I assure you, it won't be. This is our shot. If we blow it on some piece of crap bill, we will still have tens of millions of uninsured people two, four, six, ten, probably twenty years from now. 1993 should have taught us that, if it taught us nothing else.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

1993 Is Irrelevant

(#180186)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Or so I've been told by a wise poster here who I will leave unnamed.*

*--Let's just call him Parley Heyton to keep things obscure. :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No point expending all our efforts to establish a beachead

(#180136)

if we can't then support it but are forced to retreat. Increased majorities in 2010 and a second term for Obama are more essential to the Dem agenda than ensuring the current legislation has a public option. As opposed to preserving the opportunity to add it back in if necessary, at some point down the road.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Increased majority in 2010

(#180200)

Historical precedent makes that extremely unlikely, and current polling data makes it unlikelier still. Hey, I didn't say it, Nate Silver did.

Holding a beachhead is a lot better than hunkering down in our boats while the shelling commences and the enemy's reinforcements arrive.

If you think there will be a better opportunity in 2010 or 2012, then you're entitled to your opinion but I suggest you bookmark this page.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Dems will lose some seats in the house

(#180212)

but should make gains in the Senate.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Who's forcing a retreat?

(#180138)

Some of us are pressuring the Whitehouse not to retreat. It's ridiculous to believe that:

the Obama White House is merely an impotent, passive observer of what the Democrats in Congress do and can't be expected to do anything to secure votes for approval of the health care bill it favors. As the leader of his party, the President commands a vast infrastructure on which incumbent members of Congress rely for re-election. His popularity among Democrats vests him numerous options to punish non-compliant Democrats. And Rahm Emanuel built his career on controlling the machinations within Congress. The very idea that Obama, Emanuel and company are just sitting back, helplessly watching as Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and the Blue Dogs (Rahm's creation) destroy their health care legislation, is absurd on its face.

When it comes to defiant progressive members of Congress -- as opposed to supposedly defiant Blue Dogs and "centrists" -- the Obama White House has proven itself extremely adept at compelling compliance with the President's agenda. Consider what happened when progressive House members dared to oppose the war supplemental bill which Obama wanted passed:

The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won't get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday.

"We're not going to help you. You'll never hear from us again," Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen

Retreat = lost seats in 2010

(#180143)

No point emulating the RINO situation by creating our own endangered species of DIO's

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

"What we can achieve"

(#179962)

On that pt. alone it's unclear why yglesias, klein, and silver, were basically excusing a plan with neither a public option nor co-ops. Even the finance committee was talking about co-ops.

There is no reason to settle for that and for the reasons I gave earlier it might be counter-productive to have half measures that help to further consolidate insurance co.s sway over future reform.

I'm not happy with rhetoric casting

(#179976)

inclusion of a public option as the all or nothing element of reform, because that sets us up for being heroes or zeroes instead of being competent and responsible.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

we should reverse The McCarran-Ferguson Act

(#179927)

and deregulate. it works for me.

““I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration!”” –H

Huh?

(#179891)
HankP's picture

of course I think it can be done, I'm complaining about going forward without any kind of public option.

I blame it all on the Internet

If we can get a public option then I'm all for it

(#179906)

But I don't see how without going nuclear (reconciliation) in the Senate.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I'm just wondering

(#179908)
HankP's picture

how much actual pressure is being put on Dems to, if not fully support, at least not sabotage Obama's legislative goals. You'd expect that there's at least some party discipline, wouldn't you?

I blame it all on the Internet

I'm wondering about the pressure also

(#179959)

and found it disheartening that these young progressives weren't at least trying to lead the charge.

Maybe they don't like the look of the cliff

(#179961)

looming beyond the objective.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Reasonable pt.

(#179963)

But I think it was a misread and they seemed more interested in protecting the obama admin's reputation than anything else.

They weren't even demanding good co-ops.

I don't think they understand their roles as opinion-shapers.

It's simple

(#179970)
HankP's picture

look at who in the media got the Iraq War right, and who got it wrong. Now look at who's been the most financially successful since then. I think these guys got the message.

I blame it all on the Internet

Medicare and Social Security Are Fine Examples...

(#179893)

...but that is not what is being proposed.

Again, explain to everyone the value added by the Insurance Industry in including them in the formulation?

Where is their net plus?

Traveller

I assume you're asking me not Hank

(#179902)

No value added other than allowing a regulatory framework to pass Congress and go to the Presidents desk. A regulatory framework and enforcement infrastructure that can be tweaked, adjusted, amended and added to at any point the Dems maintain a simple majority in Congress and the WH ie. the next 7 years. A regulatory framework that could easily be modified to incorporate a public insurance option at some point in the future when we have the numbers to overcome a Senate filibuster.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Nice Of You To Be Upfront About It

(#179912)
M Scott Eiland's picture

No need to pay attention to the "actual language" of the current bill when the actual goal has nothing to do with it.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The ultimate goal

(#179973)

is single payer universal coverage like every other industrialized western country has, no great secret about that. Just as the Republican goal is to deny it. Knowing that such a system once in place, would be impossible to remove and disastrous for the electoral prospects of the current crop of neanderthal GOPers.

It's all about the #'s.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Actually. . .

(#179975)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .Obama seems to be the one denying it. Republicans know full well that that is his goal.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Not a big mystery

(#179978)

He's said in his books that he favors a single-payer system but doesn't think the US is ready for that.

You HIghlighted the Wrong Sentence

(#179886)

The last one in the piece stands. That's worth remembering.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

but if it's monumentally expensive

(#179911)

and just a matter of time before it becomes ineffective, it's not going to make progressivism look good.

It'll just reinforce the same belief that got us into this mess: the private sector always knows best.

Better than nothing is not good

(#179890)
HankP's picture

and the story that's getting limned here is that Obama only supports fixes that help corporate America. That's not a good reputation to have with Dems, and Republicans won't vote for him no matter what he does.

Look, it's pretty simple. Obama had a giant plate of s*&t handed to him in January, and he's handled most things competently (certainly more than his predecessor). But he's surrendered on several issues that really mattered to his supporters:

- Investigating torture and other crimes of the previous administration

- Disavowing and reversing the executive power grabs (especially Fourth Amendment related) that the previous administration indulged in

- Failing to get a reformer in the Treasury and making new regulations after Wall Street almost destroyed the economy, not to mention sticking it to the firms that the government rescued from oblivion

- And now, compromising from what was already a compromise position on health care

Now there are some reasonable explanations for some of the above and it's early in his term, but if he doesn't show a little more steel in some of these issues and upcoming battles he's going to risk damaging his administration and the Democrats. Maybe he needs to be more forceful with his oratory, maybe he needs to work with Reid to seriously threaten the blue dogs, but he needs to push harder. He's got about another six months before campaign fever 2010 takes over.

I blame it all on the Internet

Which of the above?

(#179953)
stinerman's picture

Number 1 is why I'm very close to supporting Obama's impeachment. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld should be rotting in Leavenworth right now, and if we're being fair, should be executed. I'm not for execution because I'm opposed to the death penalty in all cases.

What does that mean though? I would have been behind impeachment efforts of Bush II, Clinton*, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon.

*I wasn't at the time, but of course I wasn't even in high school then.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

Harry Reid to seriously threaten the blue dogs?

(#179894)

with what, a withering stare? and would he have to clear it with Nancy 1st, they all being members of the other body and all?

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I didn't say it was likely

(#179903)
HankP's picture

in fact there's been no indication that anything like that will happen. But the alternative is to continue to let the tail wag the dog and say goodbye to anything that Kent Conrad or Evan Bayh feel uncomfortable with.

I blame it all on the Internet

Senator Reid is not a good cat herder

(#179910)

but then that really isn't his job and majority leader in the Senate isn't anything like majority leader in the House. Herding the Conrads and Bayh's is Obama's job, he's the sponsor.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

What is his job, exactly?

(#179965)

I've sort of been wondering.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Senate scheduler

(#179971)

votes, debates and the like. That's about it really. Everything else is run by the respective committee chairs who hold the real power.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Bullsh*t posturing appears to be the majority of his job. nt

(#180115)

.

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

Bingo. Yachtze. Thank You. nt.

(#179884)

Traveller

Imitation Being.....

(#179885)

Limp.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

This is by no means to excuse Yglesias & co.

(#179832)

but you should understand the structural constraints under which they operate. It is not really possible for them to be very critical of Democrats. Yglesias has experienced some rather heavy-handed interference from his editorial superiors in the past, and all of them stand to lose readership if they stick a toe off the reservation. In a somewhat more charitable vein, I think they are all aware that no criticism they can level against "sellout" Democrats will have much force; indeed, might be counterproductive, given that some percentage of swing voters regard all bloggers as unhinged radical lunatics. It will hardly hurt Max Baucus to have Matt Yglesias angry at him.

I'd also point out that Yglesias has been a strong advocate of political reform to reduce the extreme rural/urban imbalance of power in Congress, without which we would have had fully socialized health care many years ago. I think he believes, correctly, that balancing the representation of rural voters is the key to enacting the reforms he wants to see.

Now all that said, I agree with you that the role of a CAP blogger should be to advocate strongly for the public option, at a bare minimum. Yglesias' job is to be an opinion leader, not a coalition builder or a vote counter; there is an obvious asymmetry between the way conservatives and liberals operate in this regard. Nobody takes Captain Ed to task for being too hard on squishy Republicans. It should be obvious at this point that the Democratic party needs to be rebooted, if not torn down and the ground on which it stood sown with salt (my own preference).

The other day I heard that ignorance and apathy are sweeping the country. I didn't know that, but I don't really care.

"It will hardly hurt Max Baucus to have Matt Yglesias angry

(#179943)

at him".

But it may hurt him to have catchy upset. Apparently my sister's boyfriend and his parents are slated to have cocktails with Max Baucus later this week.

If I get my way they'll be slipping laxatives into his bevies.

Don't remind him about the reconciliation process

(#179951)

Obama's own words, via Ezra Klein:

The House bills and the Senate bills will not be identical. We know this. The politics are different, because the makeup of the Senate and the House are different and they operate on different rules. I am not interested in making the best the enemy of the good. There will be a conference committee where the House and Senate bills will be reconciled, and that will be a tough, lengthy and serious negotiation process.

I am less interested in making sure there's a litmus test of perfection on every committee than I am in going ahead and getting a bill off the floor of the House and off the floor of the Senate. Eighty percent of those two bills will overlap. There's going to be 20 percent that will be different in terms of how it will be funded, its approach to the public plan, its pay-or-play provisions. We shouldn't automatically assume that if any of the bills coming out of the committees don't meet our test, that there is a betrayal or failure. I think it's an honest process of trying to reconcile a lot of different interests in a very big bill.

Conference is where these differences will get ironed out. And that's where my bottom lines will remain: Does this bill cover all Americans? Does it drive down costs both in the public sector and the private sector over the long-term. Does it improve quality? Does it emphasize prevention and wellness? Does it have a serious package of insurance reforms so people aren't losing health care over a preexisting condition? Does it have a serious public option in place? Those are the kind of benchmarks I'll be using. But I'm not assuming either the House and Senate bills will match up perfectly with where I want to end up. But I am going to be insisting we get something done.

That is why Senator Grassley will vote "No" even if the bill includes everything Senator Grassley can come up with to put in the bill.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Well said, snk.

(#179940)

I agree with you that the role of a CAP blogger should be to advocate strongly for the public option, at a bare minimum. Yglesias' job is to be an opinion leader, not a coalition builder or a vote counter

The sad thing about these guys is that I think they were trying to find a unique take on this and all ended up saying the same thing. They should all be sentenced to remedial training under Howard Dean. This was not the time to cheerlead a cave.

Good On Ya`, Catchy!...YOU are the Future. Seriously. NT

(#179840)

Traveller

Indeed.

(#179829)

Those guys were quick to yank the plug on Granny Public Option.

Before the walkback, I figured they were getting tipsheets from the administration. But maybe they were just eager to demonstrate their credibility.

It doesn't feel too different from the Centrist/Progressive split during the Iraq War sales push. If you wanna contribute, you gotta get with the program.

------------------
FWIW, I dropped Yglesias from my feed reader months ago. He was opining on everything everybody else was already opining on, and he was doing it sloppily.

Re: the Iraq war

(#179960)

Yglesias was pretty young back then and looks to have done some soul-searching.

But I think their quick jump looks worse tonight after reading the news than it did last night.

It speaks poorly not only of their instincts, but of their objective read of the political possibilities.

No public option, no bill gets enacted

(#179828)

The current challenge is to create a pro-public option block in Congress similar to what the Blue Dogs have done.

Then we play chicken. Who will blink first?

What politician in his right mind would pass a law that requires individuals and businesses to buy products from companies who can then charge whatever the traffic will bear -- especially in an industry where premiums have increased three times faster than wages, and profits keep heading skyward even in the worst recession in 60 years? Once government requires you to purchase a product, it has to provide some means to guarantee that the price is fair.

= = =

That said, I disagree with you on Obama's role.

He cannot whip the recalcitrant Blue Dogs but he can let them see the consequences of not cooperating.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

"pro-public option block in Congress"

(#179850)

That's the House Progressives together with the Congressional Black Caucus.

Eyes on the prize Catchy

(#179826)

Best not to bite off more than you can chew at any one sitting. If you want a truly progressive agenda then you are going to have to elect a truly progressive Congress 1st. Moderates and independents favor a more incremental approach and this isn't the time or the fight to risk alienating a large slice of the electorate over. If Obama plays it right he will have the best part of 7 years to build up the regulatory and enforcement infrastructure necessary to bring the private insurance industry into line and curb their worst excesses, while also expanding coverage. We can pay for it with increased taxes on those with ideological objections to more effective methods of paying for it, until either they relent or we have the numbers to pass a public option at some point down the line.

Eyes on the prize.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I don't see why we should cave

(#179919)

This isn't really very ideological. Max Baucus is simply selling out and has suppported a public option in the past. This is about not caring enough to knock some heads together.

And I'm highly unsure that an expensive bill w/out a public option, that gives more $ to the health insurance co.s and emboldens them with this success, is worth passing. It's going to give progressivism a bad name.

I still don't get your idea that the Obama admin. is going to be able to pass a sizable tax hike on the wealthy when everyone's seen it can't beat the insurance lobby. How does that make any sense?

You're thinking the prize can be acquired piecemeal, which isn't necessarily true, and you've offered no other reasonable route for getting there.

Tax increases are easy

(#179938)

Just like tax cuts, simple majority. Especially tax increases targeted on the wealthy, with the explicit rationale of paying for something as popular as health care reform. What are they going to do? they can't all go Galt.

I agree that Obama should knock some heads and voting against cloture on this issue ought to be an unconscionable act for any Democrat, but the numbers don't look good:

http://www.openleft.com/diary/14574/latest-public-option-whip-count

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Again I'm not really getting this

(#179964)

"something as popular as health care reform". Then why not just pass the reform?

"What are they going to do?" The same thing they've been doing opposing healthcare reform. Tap into the public's essentially libertarian frame on politics, say whatever to whip people into a froth, and buy off legislators.

60 votes versus 50

(#179969)

R's can't filibuster a tax increase.

Voters are aware that taxes have to go up and will be happy enough to go along with it knowing that its not their taxes going up.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Again

(#179986)

If you could lay out why you're assuming the R's will be able to filibuster this. What D is going to join them?

Bingo. Yachtze. Thank You. nt.

(#179881)

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“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco