Democrats “Going It Alone” on Health Care; Is Obama Coming, Too?

About time.

The lunatic fringe has been allowed the mic for absolutely too long. They don’t want common ground, they want Obama’s programs to come to a dead stop. Instead of putting his foot down, Obama is bending over for the likes of Charles Grassley, Big Pharma and the Blue Dogs. It seems we Democrats haven’t yet left the bankrupt strategies of the Democratic Leadership Council, circa 1990.

Thank goodness, Barney Frank had the balls to call out these haters a few days ago. The Lyndon LaRouche adherent and her cohorts displayed Barack Obama–whose mother would have been killed or sterilized for consorting with “subhumans” and giving birth to one under the Nazi regime–with the toothbrush moustache of one of the greatest mass murderers of human existence of all time. To me, Frank gets the Slap the Reality Back into Them Award for the week for expressing the exasperation and disgust all progressives feel. These people have been watching way too much Faux Noise instead of reading exactly what the health care proposals that are on the table. There isn’t just Obama’s. And state taxes have always been different from Federal taxes!

About bending over for these people, Arianna Huffington (who said, “He is demonstrating a preference for compromise and reconciliation even before the fight has been fought…He’s a pied piper but he has not taken a strong stand on health care reform or on Wall Street reform.”) and Paul Krugman reflect on Obama’s penchant for vacillation and for being walked on:

But there’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back.

Some of the economic and health care advisers around the President decided to let it be known through the Washington Post how irritated they were about how the progressives–with all the whining and fake bewilderment of parents irritated about errant children–were responding. Apparently, the progressives were ruining their plans; the advisers, under the cover of anonymity, preferred to call activist Democrats “the left of the left.” With friends like these around Barack Obama, who needs enemies like the Republicans and their allies?

“I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,” said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform.”

“It’s a mystifying thing,” he added. “We’re forgetting why we are in this.”

Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president’s sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue.

“It took on a life of its own,” he said.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What the hell?

I could easily visualize Lawrence Summers peevishly saying things like this in White House corners. “Forgetting why we are in this”? These guys think, as blacks sometimes describe certain people, that their dooky don’t stink. Strategy isn’t everything, but perception in cases like this is. And the perceptions have been mounting for weeks was that Obama was once more bending to the wind of these rather suspect relics from the DLC advisers, letting the wingnuts steal the show, and not listening to those who had provided the means for which he became president in the first place.

Time and again, on other issues like Iraq, domestic surveillance, and the economy, Barack Obama kowtowed to those interests and strategies that got us Americans into trouble in the first place, as Krugman, Frank Rich, Jonathan Alter, Arianna and others have been pointing out. I figured that we progressives would win some and lose some when we won the White House. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case at all. Progressives have lost ground on nearly all of these hot button issues. It’s Clinton light over at the White House. Real light.

For us, Obama seems to have learned appeasement from Chamberlain’s knee, and has learned nothing from the examples of FDR (a fox who didn’t give a damn what his demoralized Republican rivals thought) and Lyndon Johnson, one of the greatest persuaders in Congress, who wanted to extend the New Deal into the Great Society (if he hadn’t lied and gotten us into Vietnam). When it comes to times like these, Democrats have no need to ape the discredited Ronald Reagan. You don’t gain the respect of people–or voters–not standing on principle.

And it was not only progressives who felt betrayed. Krugman related in his op-ed today that it wasn’t Obama’s stimulus bill that middle-class voters objected to, but the giveaways to the banks. And despite that help, the banks are still sticking it to us: cutting off credit, limiting assistance against foreclosures, and rewarding corporate recklessness with fat bonuses. Barack Obama doesn’t move a muscle in this betrayal.

Compared to Franklin Roosevelt, Obama seems to be giving to the rich and stealing from the middle class and the poor. How many times did Daily Kos (through Jed Lewison) and other major Dem blogs present the glaring dichotomy of the Obama of the campaign and the Obama of the health care debate, when he claimed on August 15 that the Public Option was only a sliver of the whole package? A “sliver of the whole package”? If Obama only meant to defuse the wingnuts by saying this, he ended up, as progressives thought, turning yella.

One Democratic Obama ally lamented that the push for a public plan has become synonymous with victory on health-care reform.

“In the last 90 days, it has taken on an aura much more pronounced than it did the first four months of the year,” said the activist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss White House strategy. He said Obama’s advisers have stoked the controversy this week by creating the perception they were abandoning the public plan.

“If they made a mistake, it does go back to what I consider some inartfully framed phrases from the president and some other administration officials,” the activist said. “To get where they had to go, they didn’t have to depart too much from the language of June and July.”

During last week, CBS News as well as HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher contrasted the overheated health care debates with the very real need of working Americans who need health care. Not people on welfare, but people shut out of the health care system with jobs, but underinsured, not insured, and with pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the efforts of Remote Area Medical that has revised its focus from Third World countries to the United States, thousands were seen, treated and given vital medication, surgeries, treatment and equipment in Los Angeles, California. Yet thousands more were turned away this time:

RAM LA Results

The following totals are from patient records in hand and, due to an unknown number of misplaced papers and lost data, are lower than actual numbers.

6,344 patients registered for 14,561 patient encounters (approximately 2.3 services per patient)

3,827 volunteers, largely non-medical support (It is believed that patient encounters could have doubled if medical professionals licensed in states other than California had been allowed to volunteer their services at this clinic.)

3,182 dental patients – 2,274 teeth extracted and 5,438 teeth saved, 1,889 cleanings

2,266 vision care patients with 1,984 pairs of prescription eyeglasses made on site and fitted

8,775 general medical visits

Total value of care: $2,821,383

These patients WORK. People like my brothers, who work minimum wage–those who still have jobs–and their families. They work everyday. Ain’t nobody lazy here, living off the proverbial fat of the land. Ain’t that many illegal immigrants shown here, either. People. Americans.

Thing is, why in hell must they resort to circuit medical care that comes maybe once every two years or so? That’s not medical care, but Russian roulette. It’s nothing less than class warfare.

Those vaunted advisers–those men and women on high around Obama had better get a Slap of Reality, and quickly. FDR didn’t need Republicans when he really wanted to do something. Neither did Johnson. Both presidents cut their losses and accepted the risks of not compromising–that is, not caring to kiss GOP hairy behinds, except when it suited them. Progressives are not losing track of what is important to Americans at this point in time. Obama’s advisers are. Always have.

This is Remote Area Medical’s schedule for the rest of the year; click here. They even offer veterinary services for pets and for larger (farm) animals that are ailing.

(Iceberg Slim over at Daily Kos had the same idea I had, but says it far more eloquently.)

~ by blksista on August 21, 2009.

One Response to “Democrats “Going It Alone” on Health Care; Is Obama Coming, Too?”

  1. […] swear, I actually camp out over there): The Republican Party has a huge problem on their hands. Democrats “Going It Alone” on Health Care; Is Obama Coming, Too? – 08/21/2009 About time. The lunatic fringe has been allowed the […]


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