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Health Care Public Option 2009

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#21 Spectacles

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 07:39 AM

UPDATE:

http://www.huffingto...a_n_333271.html

Quote

The White House issued a statement Sunday evening reaffirming its commitment to a public option for insurance coverage and called reports that the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were pursuing different strategies, "absolutely false."

In a three-paragraph post on the White House's blog, Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer offered, what he called, a "Rumor Check" of those recent reports.

"In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition," Pfeiffer wrote. "That continues to be the President's position."

"Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate," he added. "President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate."

Coming amidst reports (including one on the Huffington Post) that Reid has been left alone to pursue health care legislation that includes a public option with a clause allowing states to opt-out, Pfeifer's post is not some insignificant bit of push back. The White House denied similar stories late last week. But as one source points out, this is, perhaps, the most direct pledge that the administration has made to work in tandem with Reid.

Still, sources on the Hill and off remain skeptical. One Democratic aide quoted in the Huffington Post's report on Saturday night, restated (after Pfeiffer's blog entry was published) that the president and his team "want to continue to work" with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on a public option that could be "triggered" into existence - leaving Reid to push the opt-out without the White House's cover.

"[The president] is not working against us- he just continues to be non-committal," the aide said.

The White House has stressed, repeatedly, that the president favors the public option. It was, as one administration aide put it, a major part of his presidential campaign. Pfeiffer's blog entry, at the very least, hints that the administration is going to be more aggressive in its engagement on the issue.


Read more at: http://www.huffingto...a_n_333271.html
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#22 Spectacles

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:26 PM

At 3:15 today, Harry Reid is to give a press conference on the senate's health care reform bill. He's expected to announce support for an opt-out PO. We'll see...

http://www.talkleft....10/26/13344/546
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#23 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 03:17 PM

http://www.politico.com/politico44/

Quote

CHEERING REID: The White House released a statement Monday afternoon from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, praising Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's new health care bill and applauding the decision to include a public health insurance option in the proposal

QT

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#24 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:20 PM

BooMan Tribute seems to have a fairly good working model of the strategy for health care reform - so I'll post here.  I think, if it turns out just as said, we should probably re-think the idea that Obama is floundering, doesn't know what he's doing, or doesn't stand for anything.  And equally, if this goes significantly differently (and especially if health care reform fails) then I'll be willing to concede that it's indeed possible that the Obama administration is just too inexperienced.

http://www.boomantri...10/26/13159/249

Quote

Making Tea Out of Tea Leaves

by BooMan
Mon Oct 26th, 2009 at 01:15:09 PM EST
Here are the stages to passing a piece of legislation once it has passed through the committees with jurisdiction:

    1. The House passes a bill with a simple majority.
    2. The Senate gets 60 votes to start debate on a bill, 60 votes to end debate on a bill, and 51 votes to pass it.
    3. A Conference Committee convenes, made up of representatives of both parties of both house of Congress, and irons out the discrepancies between the two bills. Once they have one bill, they send it back to be passed thru:
    4. The House, with a simple majority.
    5. The Senate, which automatically begins debate but still needs sixty votes to end debate, and 51 votes for final passage.

As I have stated before, the administration has always intended to wait until they reach the fifth step to put on a full-court press for the public option and whatever other pieces of this legislation that they consider must-have. The main reason for this is that they simply didn't think they would ever have 60 votes for the public option in the second stage. But it is also because their number one priority was to keep the ball moving. If they insisted on a certain provision at the committee level and it didn't pass, the process would stall there. If they insisted on it at Stage One or Two, it would stall there. The place to take risk was always during the crafting of the Conference Report (Stage Three) and the real hurdle was always crafting something there that could pass through Stage Five.

Editing to add: I concede in advance, that neither outcome is conclusive.  Just indicative. ;)

QT

Edited by QueenTiye, 26 October 2009 - 04:22 PM.

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#25 Spectacles

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:35 PM

^Welllll...I dunno about Booman. :)  Where is he getting his info about the plan being to wait until final debate for the "full-court press"?

At any rate, I'm glad to see that Obama released a statement through Gibbs in support of Reid. And then, I've learned by now to wait for the "but..."

http://edition.cnn.c...care/index.html

Quote

An administration official went so far as to call Reid's move "dangerous" but quickly followed by saying Reid knows his caucus better than anyone and will therefore have the support of the White House.

That's sort of consonant with accounts of the WH being less than pleased with Reid on Thursday, saying they "hoped Reid knew what he was doing."
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#26 Spectacles

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:43 PM

Interesting (and good). After all those months courting Snowe on his committee--obviously at the WH's request--Max Baucus makes a statement in favor of the public option and in support of Reid. It looks like the Senate Dems have FINALLY realized that bipartisanship ain't gonna happen. Maybe that's what has really changed--that and polls showing that most Americans like Medicare and prefer a public insurance option be included in the health insurance exchange so that those shopping for mandated coverage may choose a Medicare-like plan.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#27 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:50 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Oct 26 2009, 05:35 PM, said:

^Welllll...I dunno about Booman. :)  Where is he getting his info about the plan being to wait until final debate for the "full-court press"?

At any rate, I'm glad to see that Obama released a statement through Gibbs in support of Reid. And then, I've learned by now to wait for the "but..."

http://edition.cnn.c...care/index.html

Quote

An administration official went so far as to call Reid's move "dangerous" but quickly followed by saying Reid knows his caucus better than anyone and will therefore have the support of the White House.

That's sort of consonant with accounts of the WH being less than pleased with Reid on Thursday, saying they "hoped Reid knew what he was doing."
I've only recently come across his blog (I've been pulling away from almost all blog sites, so this is a step in the wrong direction for me. ;)).

But it looks (to me) like he's hypothesizing, not that he has information.  This and another post that I linked to earlier in the thread both are speculative.  I don't find them unreasonable speculations though.  In fact, I find them plausible, and so far, tracking pretty accurately with what's happening.

The appearance of "waffling" is addressed in the post itself, if you care to read it.

QT

Edited by QueenTiye, 26 October 2009 - 04:52 PM.

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#28 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 05:19 PM

Specs writes:
"polls showing that most Americans like Medicare and prefer a public insurance option be included in the health insurance exchange"

What do the current polls show?

So hey did Reid just lie - he states the insurance ind. is the single most profitable,
but Fortune 500 listed Network and Other Communications as highest, with 20.4% 2008 profits,
and Health Ins. as way on down the list at #35, with only 2.2% profit. Fox News points out Railroad and Food
services and products were higher on the list.
As Pelosi and Kerry talk about obscene profits, Kerry's wife's Heinz Ketchup company made nearly twice as much as health ins.   :bigsmile:

Edited by Nittany Lioness, 26 October 2009 - 06:04 PM.

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#29 Spectacles

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 05:25 PM

My problem with Booman and with other bloggers and pundits--left, right, wherever--is that they tend to deal in speculation and mind-reading to produce narratives that either deify or vilify politicians. Those who are real fans of Obama (and any other pol) will ascribe to him the purest of motives and the most brilliant of plans, usually concluding by telling us that Obama's always "the smartest guy in the room" so we're silly to question him. (It's kinda creepy to me.)

Then on the right, we have the mirror-image: pundits like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck who tell us what Obama really thinks, and it's ugly. His motives, which they are no more privy to than are Obama's fans, are "anti-American." They interpret his every action, every statement through a lens that is just as distorted as the rosy-Obama's-wonderful lens that the Obama fans look through.

Both rely on diving Obama's innermost motives--an impossibility.

I think we're better off looking at actions and words and matches and mismatches of actions to words without claiming we know what we can't: motives. Politicians generally do things because they think they can get more money for their campaigns and/or more votes from their base.  

During the primaries, Obama pledged to fight telecomm immunity in the FISA bill, to much applause. Six months later, he signed on to the bill without a 'scuse me. Telecomms were big contributors to his campaign and ATT sponsored the Democratic National Convention.

During the campaign, Obama pledged to open the committee hearings on health care to the public, airing them on CSPAN. In reality, an open-government group had to threaten to sue to get a list of people meeting with the president and his advisors this summer to discuss hc reform. Many were lobbyists. And of course there were no hearings aired on CSPAN; instead the WH cut backroom deals  with PhRMA. In short, he's governed very differently from how he said he would. I don't know exactly why. I suppose there are explanations that can make him seem innocent or sinister, depending on one's partisan slant, but I think we're better off just saying what is: there is a discrepancy between his words and his actions, his promises and his reality. And I think the only fair thing to say is that this is a common malady among politicians. :) Both parties. In short, he's a politician. Politicians generally say anything to get elected. The trick is to know what they'll stand for when push comes to shove. It's been hard so far to know what that is with Obama. It's early yet in his presidency. But I hope to see signs of a core value being what is good for the average American, not the average American CEO.

And maybe his taking a definite stand on the public option (without the damned trigger) is coming. I hope so. I know I'd feel a lot better about him.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#30 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 06:15 PM

Oh, I agree with the unrealistic and overly polarized deification/villification, and I believe you if you say BooMan is guilty of it. I've mostly avoided the healthcare threads because it all looks like sausage making to me... and I get headaches trying to keep up.  But I do frequent BobCesca.com - one of the few blogs I've kept, and he linked out to one particular post of BooMan's that stood at as having predicted a lot of the insanity of the on-again-off-again public option. So, I'm keeping up to see if it tracks through to the end. I won't be a rwgular follower though... BobCesca is plenty partisan enough, and I'm only there because of Cesca himself.

As to Obama saying what he stands for... I guess I disagree there. I heard him stand for a bunch of things, including a way of doing things, and so far, he seems to be holding to what I expected of him.   Newsweek had an editorial about Obama that seemed to suggest that he sold himself as different from what he is.  If so, then it was to the casual observer, not the avid. I never expected him to be the kind of President some seem to expect...and voted specifically for him with the understanding that he wouldn't be that.

QT

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#31 cade

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 09:51 PM

I personally find Booman's analysis a little strained and unpersuasive, but still reasonable. He could be right, though I think Obama is just really good at getting progressives to think he is one of them. If we go by Occam's Razor, then I think the answer would be Obama simply wanted to get whatever bill was most likely to pass, that he wanted the PO but not if it hurt even slightly the odds of final passage. If Obama supported the PO but nonetheless believed it was too risky a bet, that would explain why he was not helping Reid and Pelosi whip votes.

#32 MuseZack

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:18 PM

In light of today's events, perhaps palisade might wish to revisit his headline? :)
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#33 QueenTiye

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:47 PM

View Postcade, on Oct 26 2009, 10:51 PM, said:

I personally find Booman's analysis a little strained and unpersuasive, but still reasonable. He could be right, though I think Obama is just really good at getting progressives to think he is one of them. If we go by Occam's Razor, then I think the answer would be Obama simply wanted to get whatever bill was most likely to pass, that he wanted the PO but not if it hurt even slightly the odds of final passage. If Obama supported the PO but nonetheless believed it was too risky a bet, that would explain why he was not helping Reid and Pelosi whip votes.

I guess in the sense of progressive sentiment, Obama is progressive, but from what I've seen of progressives, I'm at a loss to know why anyone ever thought that - and it seems that people have short memories.  I haven't forgotten that "real progressives" were not at all behind Obama during the primaries.  One reason why I'm a fan of Bob Cesca is because of his early, rallying call for the "netroots" to endorse then Senator Obama.  He was largely alone then.

QT

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#34 Spectacles

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:10 AM

View Postcade, on Oct 26 2009, 10:51 PM, said:

I personally find Booman's analysis a little strained and unpersuasive, but still reasonable. He could be right, though I think Obama is just really good at getting progressives to think he is one of them. If we go by Occam's Razor, then I think the answer would be Obama simply wanted to get whatever bill was most likely to pass, that he wanted the PO but not if it hurt even slightly the odds of final passage. If Obama supported the PO but nonetheless believed it was too risky a bet, that would explain why he was not helping Reid and Pelosi whip votes.

Yep. That's pretty much my take.

And the WH needs to support Reid on the opt-out PO better than this:

http://www.talkleft....10/27/115350/90



Quote

Big Tent Democrat: The once No Drama Obama team is in tatters. The lack of message discipline is appalling. HuffPo watches Chuck Todd so we do not have to:

   The administration told Reid, "You're the vote counter. But don't come crying to us when you need that last vote," according to NBC News' Chuck Todd.

People who did not pay attention during the 2008 primaries may not know that Chuck Todd, one of NBC White House correspondents, was then practically a member of the Obama campaign team. I have no doubt that someone (Rahmbo! (Cough!) Messina! (Cough!)) in the White House said that to Todd. What is interesting to me is do these people REALLY think the President can just sit on the sidelines on this one? And not face a progressive backlash? More . . .


The opt-out PO is better than nothing, which is what the trigger--which the WH seems to support--would be.

But it, too, is a disappointment compared to what could have been/should have been. And I feel for people in states where the politics and insurance industry will actually force the legislators to opt out. Alabama will likely be one of them. So that doesn't do much to help my plans: retire early and move back "home." Obama said in his address to Congress that one insurer controls 90% of the insurance business in Alabama. That insurer and his bought-and-paid-for flunkies in Montgomery will not allow there to be a public option....

Edited by Spectacles, 27 October 2009 - 11:12 AM.

"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#35 Spectacles

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:26 AM

Quote

QT: I haven't forgotten that "real progressives" were not at all behind Obama during the primaries.


Really? kos, Arianna, digby, josh marshall, john aravosis, chris bowers, you-name'em; most of the influential progressive bloggers were enthusiastic Obama-supporters and Hillary-bashers during the primaries. Taylor Marsh and Jeralyn at Talk Left and the crew at Corrente were the only Hillary-supporters I can think of right now--aside from the nuts at No Quarter, who are off-the-deep-end Obama-haters. But it seemed to me that most progressives supported Obama and took him as more progressive than Hillary primarily because of his initial stance on the Iraq War and his refusal to join the DLC, the centrist Democratic organization that the centrist Bill Clinton helped to found in the late 80s. Of course, Obama's move to separate himself from the DLC seems to have been much more political than ideological, especially considering he's governing like a DLCer, having chosen one of the DLC's founders, Rahm Emmanuel, as his chief-of-staff. That doesn't bother me. Centrism doesn't bother me, and I don't see the DLC as an enemy, as do many progressives. But it does bother me that progressives were encouraged to think of Obama as an almost radical, transformational progressive--and they fell for it. His record, aside from his great speech in opposition to the Iraq War, did not support that view and neither did his platform. The buzzwords, "change" and "hope" and "turn the page" and "new politics," did.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#36 Spectacles

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:20 PM

Check out this post by Ezra Klein, reporting on Wyden's push not simply to keep the PO on a lifeline for 10% of the population but to really expand it and make it what it ought to be: a viable alternative to private insurance for everyone:

http://voices.washin...ealth-care.html


Quote

Can you reform the health-care system if you can't change it?

The exchanges are closed to 90 percent of the population for the same reason that the public option is weakened and limited only to the exchanges, and even then, limited to the states that want to offer it, at least in the Senate's version. These rules exist for a simple reason: to stop people from fleeing employer-based insurance. Rep. Anthony Weiner, speaking at the New Republic's heath-care reform panel this morning, is a bit confused.

    What are we trying to protect when we're trying to protect against the destabilization of a system we all agree isn't working and that we think people are trying to leave?

He's right, of course. Among the many implicit precepts directing health-care reform are the following:

(1) The employer-based system doesn't work, either to assure coverage or control cost.

(2) The employer-based system must be preserved.

(3) A strong public option would offer consumers lower premiums and attract a lot of customers.

(4) A strong public option cannot be included because private insurers cannot effectively compete with it.

(5) Among the worst economic distortions of the system is the fact that employers choose insurance for their employees, and thus employees don't really understand the cost of coverage.

(6) The exchange cannot initially be open to employees, and may never be opened to employees, because they might leave employer-based insurance in order to shop for their own policies more aggressively.

You can go on in this vein, of course. It's a bit of a problem. Underlying it is the political insight that people want the system changed but are afraid of rapid changes to their personal situation, and so reformers are trying to build out their reforms such that people can transition to new and better options gradually. The problem with that, of course, is that the reforms won't necessarily have the size or scale to show their power, and many people will be legally prevented from changing over even if they would like to. It's a bit like rolling out a new television, but refusing to sell it to people who own televisions larger than 25 inches. You've lost a big pool of early adopters, which means you might also lose the people who would otherwise follow them.

It's nice to see Ezra snap out of it. For too long, he has been a semi-apologist for whatever the administration does, or doesn't do. But, man, he sums up the crazy contradictions of what we're doing very well.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#37 Themis

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

I'm pretty sure Tennessee would opt out also.

If anything gets passed, it'll be baby steps compared to what is needed.
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#38 Spectacles

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:46 PM

Well, Lieberman says he'll filibuster Reid's opt-out PO if it comes to a vote. So maybe now it's time to push for the whole enchilada--which the Democrats should have done from the get-go. They should have begun with single payer and negotiated from there. If the "moderates" in the Senate won't even go along with this watered down, conservative version of the PO, why on earth don't the Democrats at least push now for the version that most people would benefit from? Who knows? Maybe then the political pressure from the public (minus the tea partiers) would scare these sellouts more than pressure from AHIP and PhRMA. And if you're gonna lose, you might as well go down fighting for something that's really worth fighting for.

http://www.politico....1009/28788.html
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#39 Palisades

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:56 PM

View PostMuseZack, on Oct 26 2009, 09:18 PM, said:

In light of today's events, perhaps palisade might wish to revisit his headline? :)

Personally, I think a robust public option is dead and has been dead for a long time. IMO, the Senate would kill it or at least water it down, even if it could make it past the House.

Dana Milbank thinks that Reid is posturing to assuage liberal interest groups and make himself look good to Democratic voters back home even though he knows getting a government-run health insurance option past the Senate is a longshot.

Also, as Spectacles wrote, Joe Lieberman says he'll filibuster the public option, even if it's a version that lets states opt out. (It's worth wondering if he'd be so bold if the hard-left MoveOn types hadn't estranged him from the Democratic party.)

Edited by Palisade, 27 October 2009 - 03:06 PM.

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#40 QueenTiye

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:59 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Oct 27 2009, 12:26 PM, said:

Quote

QT: I haven't forgotten that "real progressives" were not at all behind Obama during the primaries.


Really? kos, Arianna, digby, josh marshall, john aravosis, chris bowers, you-name'em; most of the influential progressive bloggers were enthusiastic Obama-supporters and Hillary-bashers during the primaries. Taylor Marsh and Jeralyn at Talk Left and the crew at Corrente were the only Hillary-supporters I can think of right now--aside from the nuts at No Quarter, who are off-the-deep-end Obama-haters. But it seemed to me that most progressives supported Obama and took him as more progressive than Hillary primarily because of his initial stance on the Iraq War and his refusal to join the DLC, the centrist Democratic organization that the centrist Bill Clinton helped to found in the late 80s. Of course, Obama's move to separate himself from the DLC seems to have been much more political than ideological, especially considering he's governing like a DLCer, having chosen one of the DLC's founders, Rahm Emmanuel, as his chief-of-staff. That doesn't bother me. Centrism doesn't bother me, and I don't see the DLC as an enemy, as do many progressives. But it does bother me that progressives were encouraged to think of Obama as an almost radical, transformational progressive--and they fell for it. His record, aside from his great speech in opposition to the Iraq War, did not support that view and neither did his platform. The buzzwords, "change" and "hope" and "turn the page" and "new politics," did.

Hillary bashers on the "progressive" side were also Obama bashers - most saw very little difference between the two. Most wanted Edwards.  Chris Bowers from Open Left may have been in favor of Obama - but almost everyone else from OpenLeft was largely anti-Obama, until Edwards dropped out.  As for DailyKos, I guess there are just too many bloggers for me to have any sense of who thinks what there - and I gave up on them as being largely insane, ages ago.  Still - I lean to your expertise.  I'm not a progressive, and so didn't have anything to do with any of these sites before this election.  My perceptions are based entirely on that... and as I said, my retreat (largely) to BobCesca.com and Andrew Sullivan had largely to do with finding them sympathetic and realistic in their expectations, and finding progressives either nutty in their expectations, or virulent in their opposition to then-Senator Obama.

As you noted while I was in the process of posting - Lieberman is now threatening to filibuster.  There's two ways to look at this - one is how you (and most progressives) are looking at it, as time for the President to step up and push.  Maybe he will.  Or, maybe BooMan's predictions will play out.  We'll see!

QT

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