Thursday, August 20, 2009

Murder Mystery Where The Victim Is Us

I'm passing along two articles that I just read and can't recommend highly enough. The first is, big surprise, by Greenwald, and the second is by Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake. Each piece persuasively describes exactly how progressives have been played like suckers for the entire length of the health care debate. Each piece argues that the "public option" was never meant as a serious option; its purpose was to string progressives along until the last moment, when the White House, working in conjunction with conservative Dems in the Senate and the stomach-turning "Blue Dog" coalition, could pull a bait-and-switch. The hope was that by the time the progressives knew what hit them, it would be too late.

Reading these two articles back to back creates a feeling exactly like the end of a mystery novel, where the detective gathers all living parties into the parlor to explain exactly what happened. Point by point, Jane methodically plots out the deception and coercion of which the the WH and its congressional allies have been guilty. I felt like she just as easily could have been saying, "you were meant to THINK the butler was the murderer, but, in fact, it was the heiress the whole time!" And in the same way that a wonderful mystery makes perfect sense and seems wholly inevitable when explained at the end, so too does the likely jettisoning of the "public option." Of course, you think when reading Jane and Glenn. It was a red fucking herring the whole time!

It's a gripping narrative, really. Feel the thrill that comes from reading this passage from Greenwald:

"The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But -- given the impossibility of achieving that goal -- isn't it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn't really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House's central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama's clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm's protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists "centrists," it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the "public option" jettisoned, because that's the bill they want -- this was the plan all along."

And from Jane:

"Mike Allen said earlier this week that "this weekend’s comments by White House officials simply acknowledged the long-obvious reality that the idea of a government-run insurance plan was partly a bargaining chip."

If you look at the cat-and-mouse game played between the Democrats and the Republicans, support expressed by the President for a "public plan" meant "don't you dare." A commitment that the bill will be "bipartisan" (since the GOP would never agree to one) was a signal that there would be no public plan.

The White House never cared about getting Republican votes -- it cared about keeping the Republicans from peeling off the dollars of stakeholders like PhRMA. Giving in to "Republican" demands was cover for writing shitty things into the bill that would keep the stakeholders happy. They didn't need Republican votes, they never did, and they never truly cared. As long as the money stayed out of their campaign coffers, it was all good."

Ugh, god, it hurts to read.

If there is any cause for hope here, it's that FDL is raising money to reward and embolden progressive House members, and collecting signatures for a petition for House members to keep their word and only vote for a bill with a public option. You can support that effort here.

If the House can revive the public option, it will be a coup of epic proportions. If not, then let's just say, "It was Rahm Emanuel, in the Oval Office, with the knife."


Tempy said...

F@#k you, now I can't sleep.

Mo Diggs said...

Rahm Emanuel's got the knife, Ari Emanuel has the cocaine

Ed Murray said...

Is it just me...

...if everyone stopped spending so much money on advertising their political causes and pumping money into their political coffers...

...then that money could actually go to things like health care and education?

This country is stuck in the self-perpetuating cycle of politics...

Politics for the sake of politics is too huge and too powerful at this point.