Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 19, 2009

WHAT BOUSTANY CONSIDERS AN 'INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT'.... The demands of conservative Blue Dog Democrats in health care reform have been odd and contradictory. But their capacity to kill this rare opportunity remains great, and they can still make matters even worse.

Some centrist House Democrats have reached out to Republicans to explore breaking with their party leadership on healthcare and crafting a reform bill with the rival GOP, one congressman claimed Saturday.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) asserted that an "interesting development" is taking place underway that, if true, could effectively remove Democratic leadership from the driver's seat on healthcare reform legislation in the House.

"There's an interesting development occurring behind the scenes, wherein moderate Democrats -- so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats -- and business-friendly new Democrats are actually starting to have conversations with us to build a coalition from the center outward, to actually really come up with substantive and well-founded healthcare reform," Boustany said during an appearance on Fox News. "And that's the only way to do this."

Really? That's the "only" way to reform the system? For conservatives in one party to join up with conservatives in the other party, in order to undermine months of progress? Funny, I can think of other ways to reform the broken system.

Boustany added that "Republicans agree" with the idea of health care reform, just so long as it "doesn't disrupt the whole system."

In other words, Boustany and other conservatives will make sure the status quo (read: insurance companies) is protected. Again.

And thanks to the so-called "Gang of Six" and their demands for delays, opponents of real reform will have all of August to make this rare opportunity that much more difficult.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Excellent! One of the best side effects of health care reform may be that it forces the Blue Dogs out of the closet and into the fully illuminated embrace of the repugs.

Are you watching, Rahm and Barack? Do you see who your dear little centrist friends really love?

Posted by: Yellow Dog on July 19, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Naturally nothing that even a majority of Republicans could agree on would ever pass the House or the Senate or the President's desk. What a clever, not at all obvious way to kill health care reform.

Posted by: TimF on July 19, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

And the lies are already on the air. Just saw an ad on cable TV (MSNBC in fact!) last night from the Coalition to Protect Food, telling the audience how the Democrats want to tax the "simple pleasures" of your food, to pay for health reform, when all that's realy necessary for good health is a "healthy diet and proper exercise." Save your food from being taxed for healthcare!!!

No, I am not kidding - that was real.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 19, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

So near and yet so far. The regressives are still firmly in control.

Posted by: Buford on July 19, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

If health care reform is so compelling, why is this a "rare opportunity" ?

And what about that "status quo" that Obama promised ?
"If you like what you're getting, keep it," Obama said. "Nobody is forcing you to shift."
According to the Associated Press, "White House officials suggest the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn't about to barge in and force people to change insurance."

The BS is so thick you can walk on it.

Posted by: Neo on July 19, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

hey Neo:

simple answers to simple-minded questions...

healthcare reform is compelling because there are millions of children and others who don't have it.

There's a rare opportunity because we have the beginnings of a progressive effective government -- without that turd from texas who turned everything he touched to shit, and his fat ugly vampire vice president.

and your last two sentences say the same thing -- no contradiction.

i think you'll find that BS stacked between yer ears, buddy.

Posted by: neill on July 19, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

But... but... You all say we have to vote for these people no matter what! Because the only way for a politician to be corrupt and evil is for them to have an 'R' next to their names.

Maybe if you people didn't treat politics like it was a missive from sunday school we wouldn't have to deal with this, because one of these assholes would have been booted out in a general election and the rest would be scared shitless of having to work for a fucking living.

Posted by: soullite on July 19, 2009 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, I think that this is a head fake. Boustany would not telegraph something this nuclear and give Dem leadership a chance to counteract it. He also elides the small problem that Republicans have not made one health care policy proposal. He's just trying to give Obama a sleepless night.

"White House officials suggest the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn't about to barge in and force people to change insurance."

Describe the meaningful differences between that and the first quote. Then we can both laugh about the AP constantly screwing up numbers and facts to make Democratic plans look worse.

Posted by: Tim F. on July 19, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

At this point, re-thinking the whole legislative branch thing sounds interesting. A benevolent dictator with an armed populace ala Heinlein doesn't sound so bad anymore. Maybe that 2nd amendment interpretation the Right has been pushing will come in handy, after all.

Anyone see "V" For Vendetta? All I remember is the ending and the vicarious thrill I experienced when Parliament exploded before the cheering masses.

Wow. I am really cynical this morning.

Posted by: becca on July 19, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA, about that "taxing on food" - Interesting that two of the most RepuG voting states in the Union are Oklahoma and Utah, which both have sales tax on food. Several years ago, there was a movement to abolish those taxes in Utah. Early forecast indicated the passage. However, the Mormon Church came out against it and it failed. One would think that large Mormon families would be hit hardest by that tax, but, they fell in line and "saved" the small percentage of those taxes which were allocated to education. It was sold by the Church as protecting education. A lot like the sales pitch of states that money from Lotto sales go to education.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 19, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

But... but... You all say we have to vote for these people no matter what! Because the only way for a politician to be corrupt and evil is for them to have an 'R' next to their names.

Nope. Yeah, you hold your nose and vote for them in the general, because the option is a republican, and they are almost always a worse option. But Ideally that comes after they get past a truly progressive primary challenger who at least, it is hoped, woke them the hell up.

Don't bitch too loud about your choices in the general if you slept through the primary that a better candidate lost.

Posted by: Blue Girl on July 19, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno. They may regret having aired this threat so publicly. Sure, they can slow things down so nothing gets done until after the recess...but they've gotta face people in their home districts in the interim. I have a feeling that HCAN, the unions, and Organizing for America are about to make some people's summer vacations extremely unpleasant. Daily pickets of angry constiuents in front of your office back home in the district can have the effect of wonderfully focusing your attention.

Posted by: Jennifer on July 19, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, c'mon, Blue Girl, lighten up - Kit Bond wants to know when you're gonna buy his next round.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 19, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

For some strange reason, Senator Wydens' office has become very silent in responding to my scathing e-mail to him. Normally, his office responds quickly. How sad that Oregon has lost another politico to the enemy.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 19, 2009 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Neo, Neo, Neo (Charlie in disguise? Just curious...) Steve explained last week how Ron Fournier has the only working decoder ring!

Posted by: Blue Girl on July 19, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Elected Repugs could care less about reforming health care...they got theirs...they are all about BUSTING OBAMA and the idiot BLUE DOGS are right in there playing with them...time for the REVOLUTION!! Dump these suckers...

Posted by: Dancer on July 19, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

(nodding at Blue Girl) Primaries are where we get our choice.

Blue Girl, didn't you used to have your own blog?

Posted by: katiebird on July 19, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Still do. Moved to a Soapblox platform on a hosted domain after Netroots Nation last year.

Find me here. :)

Posted by: Blue Girl on July 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine, Boustany, a physician, wanting to come up with reform. His plan will probably be similar to Medicare Part D. No negotiating drug prices and they'll tell us it will cost about 30% less than what they really know it would cost. And they'll all get 7 figure lobbyist jobs in the medical industry.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on July 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

To get rid of the Blue Dogs, you've got to 'advance' the minds of the people in the districts they come from. A lot of these fruitloops are from R+5 and up places, where people are dumb as dogshit and have big R stapled to their foreheads like it's a badge of honor.

Keep pressuring them and their donors. ESPECIALLY the donors. These blue dogs will break at some point.

Posted by: agentX on July 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think the best idea is to let states have an exemption to the public option, ie Ben Nelson's state of Nebraska, since he does not think they need it. When most of the country has it perhaps the states opting out will reconsider their position.

Posted by: JS on July 19, 2009 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I got $20 that says Jim Cooper is the one taking the lead on stabbing the Democratic Party by crossing over.

Posted by: Napoleon on July 19, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't this partly from Rahm Emanuel's (?!) strategy of fielding "centerish" Dems since he thought they'd get elected? Maybe he had reason, but now the chickenshits are coming home to roost.

Posted by: delver on July 19, 2009 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans agree with HC ins reform just as long as the whole status quo doesn't change???WTF

We want reform as long as nothing changes that is too big a change. The stupidity of conservative rhetoric is astounding. Only on Fox...Hell, they probably told him what to say.

Notice the concerted effort from MTP, Fox, and the other Sunday shows to demean the dems' efforts.

Defeatists or corporatists dems now, after all this time, suddenly want to create a republican plan so reform won't change the status quo too much???????? That $1.5 million a day is starting to attract assets to help block HC ins reform. They do so at their own peril for the issue is too big, too popular to be stopped now.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 19, 2009 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

What I find fascinating is that Rahm has gone around putting down the "far left" since Obama won the election. Obama himself has pretty much ignored us.
Now, when the polls show a decline in support for his healthcare plan (which is a watered-down "I don't want government to run healthcare, except when it's my own healthcare" plan), he's all of a sudden eager to get Progressive support.
He has a phone conference with Progressive bloggers. He's their buddy now. Except he'll be ignoring us until he needs us again.
He didn't like us targeting Blue Dogs. Oh, no, that wasn't nice! Now it's "call your Reps! Blog! Help Rahm and me!" Ever feel like Lucy has the football again and the Progressives are Charlie Brown?

Posted by: midwestblue on July 21, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

the beginnings of a progressive effective government

Let's see, the President has a filibuster proof Democratic Senate, a +60 seat margin in the House, a favorable press, a fawning Hollywood, a supportive academia and he is still whining about Republicans.

Makes me wonder what President Biden would do ?

Posted by: Neo on July 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK
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