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Tilting at Windmills

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December 15, 2009

PAYING THE RANSOM.... Joe Lieberman decided he'd kill health care reform unless the Medicare buy-in and any vestige of the public option were removed. As of last night, the Senate Democratic caucus, feeling as if it had no choice, seemed resigned to meeting the Connecticut senator's demands.

[O]n Monday night, Democratic senators emerged from a tense 90-minute closed-door session and suggested that they were on the verge of bowing to Mr. Lieberman's main demands: that they scrap a plan to let people buy into Medicare beginning at age 55, and scotch even a fallback version of a new government-run health insurance plan, or public option.

Mr. Lieberman said he believed that the Medicare expansion was off the table, though he did not get any guarantee. "Not an explicit assurance, no," he said. "But put me down tonight as encouraged at the direction in which these discussions are going."

There were concerns early yesterday that the more progressive members of the Democratic caucus might balk at a bill lacking their key priorities. As of last night, it appeared that they, too, had grudgingly agreed to accept the weaker bill.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said the loss of the provisions was bowing to "reality." He added, "There's good stuff in the bill. It's a giant step forward. We're changing the paradigm of health care in America." Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), another champion of the public option, told reporters, "I want to see health care reform. There's going to be a good bill." Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), who helped strike the deal for a Medicare buy-in last week, added, "We're not going to get all that we want. But we're going to get so much more than we have."

So, where does that leave us? Obviously, with a reform bill lacking key progressive priorities. But I'm also wondering about the head-count.

As of yesterday morning, reform had 58 votes. If the public option and Medicare expansion are gone, as they appear to be, and no liberal Dems walk away, it will likely bring Lieberman into the fold (unless he finds something new to object to). If my math is right, 58 + 1 = 59. The goal, obviously, is 60.

And with that in mind...

[S]oon after the speech, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) left the session early, telling reporters he remained undecided.

It's likely that if the public option and Medicare buy-in are, in fact, gone, outreach to Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine may go slightly better, though Snowe reportedly doesn't want a vote until January.

Stay tuned.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

The Democrats are being scammed, over and over, by Lieberman. Since Lieberman isn't very bright, what does that say about the Democratic "leadership"?

And what's going to happen in 2010 when Americans discover that the insurance corporations are going to continue refusing to insure people with prior medical conditions and continue dropping coverage for people who get sick because the fines in the bill are too small to discourage them from doing so?

And what's going to happen when Americans discover that they will be forced to buy crappy insurance with high premiums and annual caps from the monopoly in their state?

The Democratic Party -- snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 1980.


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

I am pretty sure the Dem Caucus does not know what an electroral disaster they are creating. This is not exactly a winning strategy to get Democratic voters to the polls next year. People do not vote rationally; they are going punish Democrats by electing Republicans. The aren't going to punish stupid, disloyal Democrats by electing more liberal, less corrupt Democrats who will get this done.

And Harry Reid deserves to lose to anybody if he's really caved to Lieberman (I-Lieberman) and let's him stay in the caucus and keep his chairmanship

Posted by: bcinaz on December 15, 2009 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Why bother calling it reform anymore. It's another give away to another despised corporate interest. This batch of Dems is really taking care of the least deserving Americans,first the banksters and now the insurance racketeers.

Posted by: par4 on December 15, 2009 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

It's a disaster. Mandates forcing all of us into a corrupt private insurance market, with no cost controls, and the best shysters in the business looking for loopholes. Increased consolidation of a few companies, without antitrust oversight. Obama crowing that history has been made, just another good speech.

I was hoping that the Medicare buy-in would survive, as it would have helped me. Without it, I'll have a few years pre-65 where I won't be insured. Who can afford the subsidies? That's just bs. So they'll take my tax money but it won't help my family, who can't find work now. No jobs, no housing, no retirement prospects - we're watching the death of the middle class.

I left the Democratic Party today. Got my voter registration forms all set. I'm officially unaffiliated. I won't lend my name or my money to that corrupt bunch of pols. I'm disheartened and disgusted, but not stupid. They lost me.

Posted by: nyc on December 15, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

One Term President.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on December 15, 2009 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Even though reconciliation is not the answer, I'm kind of rooting for it at this point...

That way, they can sunset this pile of shit before it does any real damage.

Posted by: John S. on December 15, 2009 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Democratics read the blogs. I seriously doubt it. If they did, they would realize that they just lost the future. Their only hope is the Republicans have painted themselves as being much worse. Look for a 3rd party to take advantage.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon folks. I'm incredibly pissed off, too, but if this bill can pass, then history *HAS* been made. There *are* cost controls in the bill; there *are* limitations on kicking folks out of insurance b/c of prior conditions; it *does* get 20 - 30 million americans health insurance at subsidized rates (paid for with taxes on "cadillac" insurance, elective plastic surgery, etc). These are baby steps, but they are still steps.

If you are going to be pissed, then be pissed at the tea baggers, the filibuster, Fox news, Lieberman, and yes, Reid. Don't forget that Obama pressured Reid early to drop the public option because he didn't see how it could pass the Senate. Reid basically said, no, you're wrong, I'll be able to get it through. And he couldn't.

Despite all of us pressuring our Senators, the votes just aren't there. Sure, get angry, but get angry at the folks that are the real obstacles.

Posted by: noogs on December 15, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's about time you people woke up! This bill has sucked all along.

Posted by: Rick on December 15, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

John S. said:
That way, they can sunset this pile of shit before it does any real damage.

Don't worry, after the Republicans win back the majority in 2012 they'll get rid of the whole thing. And because their leaders have spines, they'll do it with as few as 50 votes in the Senate.


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

The only way the Republicans will be able to undo this is with smoke and mirrors. It would be a raw giveaway to the inscos, and even your average American can see that.

Now, they've got away with this sort of thing before (see under Iraq, War in, Selling of), but it would take a Bush-era level of political power to do it, and I don't think they'll have that for a long while yet.

The bigger question for me is, what is "this"? The Traitor Joe Lieberman has blazed the path for all to see, and there's not gonna be anything stopping Ben Nelson from walking down it, or Traitor Joe himself from doing so again. Given the wway things are going, if he wants Obama pumiceing his corns during a prime-time appearance before Congress, he'll get it.

Posted by: bleh on December 15, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

noos, how many people have to die on the alter of Obama's historic bill? I don't give a shit if Obama's team is crowing this morning.

Lieberman has systematically screwed the American people on behalf of his benefactors in the health insurance industry. Noboby notices. Instead they blame his hatred of progressives as though killing health care is all ok because he is getting back at his political enemies.

Obama has proven himself a weak and indecisive President. The teashirt advertized on this site suddenly seems approp. "Welcome back Carter."

The Democrats are going into the next election cycle with a dispirited base. All the health insurance company campaign money in the world isn't going to make up for a base that is going to sit on its hands.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Social Security wasn’t so great either when it first became law. But, over time it has been greatly improved. So, using arbitrary numbers, we get 50-60% of what we want in a health bill. The progressives in the Senate know this isn’t perfect, but they know that we have to start somewhere.

I am not willing to give up on the Democrats because the alternative is too frightening.

Posted by: Sheridan on December 15, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Will the democratic caucus now accept that they need to remove Lieberman's gavel? He's only in Independent because if he just declared himself to be in the GOP, he'd obviously have to loose his gavel. So let's just send him on his way.

Posted by: Sisyphus on December 15, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

The current bankruptcy law sucks, and everybody knows it. The Democrats haven't lifted a finger to fix it. Sheridan, the days when Congress would tackle big problems over several sessions have gone. They aren't coming back. The Democrats will pat themselves on the back and tell us it will all be better.

Truthfully I didn't care much about the public option, but the Medicare buy in was a genuine change that could have genuinely helped a lot of people who are really hurting.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

Sheridan said:
Well, Social Security wasn’t so great either when it first became law. But, over time it has been greatly improved. So, using arbitrary numbers, we get 50-60% of what we want in a health bill.

The difference is that when Social Security was passed it didn't include hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars being spent to subsidize their obscene profits of corporations. And when the final health care "reform" bill is passed, we're going to discover loopholes that will allow the insurance corporations to continue business as usual.

The progressives in the Senate know this isn’t perfect, but they know that we have to start somewhere.

And how are the ever going to improve the bill? They are conceding the idea that they need 60 votes to do anything -- 60 members out of their caucus who aren't the paid-for whores of the insurance corporations. It'll never happen.

Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad we can't shut down the Office of Attending Physician. That would light a fire under these asshats' behinds.

Posted by: josef on December 15, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

To all the naysayers out there. Do you want to see the right-wingers really gloat. Do you want to hand them another propaganda tool to use so they can further heap scorn on Democrats? Then continue with your diatribes against this bill and the Dems. The wingers love it. Dems fail; they win. Is that what you want?

Posted by: Sheridan on December 15, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

How can buying into Medicare, a plan that is already deeply in the red and currently being further eviscerated by half a trillion dollars in funding cuts, be a "genuine change that could have genuinely helped a lot of people" ?

It's like jumping on an already crowded life raft that's about to be torpedoed.

Posted by: marybel on December 15, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Much as I want a health care bill, I almost feel like Obama is getting what he deserves. At some point it was incumbent on him to knock heads together and make this happen. Instead, he kept reverting to type, the cool technocrat who doesn't like to offend, and lo and behold, he stands a good chance of ending up with nothing. Gee, Obama, how does bipartisanship look now?

This country is basically doomed if the Senate does not figure out a way to stop tying itself in knots as a deliberately conceived strategy not to get anything done.

Posted by: Barbara on December 15, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Sheridan, go back to your friends in Washington and tell them we don't really care if the Republicans gloat. They should. They won. Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the Democrats lost.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Man, what a buch of doom-sayers out here today. I am with Obama on this - anything is better than nothing. We can build on this. We can't build on nothing.

No, it's not perfect. But for all you Lieberman/Nelson bashers, remember this: it would be a lot worse if Franken had not defeated Coleman. In that scenario, we would probably have nothing.

Posted by: Marko on December 15, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

marybell, Medicare is slightly underfunded, get rid of Medicare Advantage and increase the Medicare tax slightly and it will be fine for several decades. The buy in would probably have helped keep it a float.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Sheridan said:
To all the naysayers out there. Do you want to see the right-wingers really gloat. Do you want to hand them another propaganda tool to use so they can further heap scorn on Democrats? Then continue with your diatribes against this bill and the Dems.

So when Obama pisses in my ear you think I should thank him for the refreshing beverage?

If the current deal in the Senate passes, the Republicans will go into the 2010 election with facts (for once) that prove how little the Democrats "reform" bill helps anyone.


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

No, anything is not better than nothing. If you end up with a bill that just forces people to buy private health insurance and doesn't really regulate the insurance industry, you're going to have tons of pissed off voters (including people who voted for Obama like me). The Dems will have no one but themselves to blame if they lose Congress.

Posted by: Speed on December 15, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I am with SteveT on this one Sheridan. Facts are facts. The bill sucks and Republicans can rightly say that it sucks.

Democrats, in their eagerness to appease their corporate masters, have handed the Republicans a powerful weapon they will use in the next election.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

I'm telling you, when dealing with a guy like Lieberman who is not negotiating in good faith because he wants to kill health reform without having his fingerprints on the murder weapon, (just like the entire GOP), you have to do what LBJ did so masterfully when he was Senate Majority Leader. You have to think outside the box, connect issues that are not connected in order to build a majority for the measure you are trying to pass. That is how LBJ got around the Southern filibuster in 1957 to pass the watered-down civil rights law he needed to establish his liberal bonafides for a presidential run in 1960. He did it by connecting civil rights with a support for a power dam in the West that would have competed with the TVA plants in the South and so was able to get Southerners to lay off on their filibusters because he played hardball and hit them where they lived.

If Democrats want to pass health care they have to do the same thing with Lieberman. They have to go after what matters most to Lieberman, which is Israel. Threaten to cut off the $10 billion or so in aid we give to Israel every year. Or turn up the pressure on the West Bank settlement expansion that Lieberman as an Orthodox Jew thinks is Israel's destiny according to Biblical prophesy. Do that and you might even get AIPAC into the mix to put a little heat on Lieberman to clean up his act and negotiate more reasonably in good faith.

Posted by: Ted Frier on December 15, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

"So when Obama pisses in my ear ..."

Bush was a pisser. Obama, not so much. If McCain got elected, I'm sure we'd be getting more of the same. (we wouldn't be talking about HCR, we'd be blasting him and the repubs for tanking the economy)

Posted by: Marko on December 15, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

For those complaining so bitterly about Democratic leadership, what do you think they should have done, and why do you think that would have made any difference, when there just aren't 60 votes for progressive legislation? Yes, it would have been nice to see some head-knocking, but would it have made any difference? Would Lieberman have voted any differently if people had been harder on him? Would Nelson?

I'm not exactly sure how a party can govern in the new environment in which 60 votes is needed to pass anything. We've never been there before.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on December 15, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Let me say, I definitely think the current bill is better than nothing. Not only that, because the main parts aren't scheduled to go into effect until some years out, there is an opportunity to change things, using the reconciliation process to obtain things which cannot be gotten through the usual legislative process, if necessary.

What I am angry about is that I detect no willingness of the President to put himself on the line for that. None. Now, of course, I could be wrong. If he broadcast that he was going to do that then the Lieberman and Nelson won't even vote for the watered down bill that is on the table.

But one of the main things to remember: the so-called corporate subsidies don't kick in for some time. There is still time to maneuver and change. Defeatism is not warranted, but it would be better to know that the president is on our side, and I don't know that at this point.

Also, replace Reid with someone who is much harder nosed, like Chuck Schumer.

I agree about threatening Israel -- it's way past time. Ditto with agriculture subsidies. Conrad and Nelson will fold like lawn chairs if their state GDP is threatened.

Posted by: Barbara on December 15, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman (CT) and Nelson (NE) are both from states that headquarter large insurance companies.

Coincidence?

Posted by: Okie on December 15, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Seems like some of you are still in the anger stage of your grieving, Grieving because Obama doesn’t deliver everything you want. Some of you are giving up. Well, I am past the anger stage. As much as I dislike some of the decisions made by Obama, I refuse to give up and let the right-wingers take control of this country.

Posted by: Sheridan on December 15, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding insurance companies: Sure, Connecticut traditionally headquarters a lot of insurers, but most are not health insurers. Aetna is probably the largest in Connecticut. But other states have large insurers too: Minnesota, California, and nearly every state has a large BCBS plan. Sure, it matters, probably more for Lieberman than Nelson, but I think there is much more to it -- for Lieberman, obviously, personal pique, for Nelson, true political conflict considering his state of origin.

The true conflict for Nelson on the state economics front is with student loan providers. NelNet is a huge Nebraska employer.

Posted by: Barbara on December 15, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Sheridan.

Posted by: GiggsisGod on December 15, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I also agree with Sheridan.

Posted by: Barbara on December 15, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Sheridan don't let this noise dampen your enthusiasm. Steve's column is getting the heaviest trolling I've seen since CB, and it appears to be working.

I stand with Obama and the rest of you gutless wonders can go to hell.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 15, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Two points, which I will break up over two entries:

Some even here gloat that President Obama will be a one tern President. Barring some terrible event, Obama will win (thank God!) because he is still a giant among small, and smaller-minded men and women in Politics.

Obama cannot do what LBJ did because the Senate upped the ante to 60 votes needed for anything, even talking about anything. That leaves every small, twisted, truncated pious fraud like Lieberman a Dictator for life.

I was never for Obama until I saw him speak. Obama is a man and the rest of these people are male and female Lieberman's: bitter, petty, betrayers who enrich themselves by destroying any hope we have of a working government.

I thank God that Scalia and company gave Bush the presidency. Joseph Lieberman the senator is a nightmare, but at least all he can do as senator is veto everything and stab everyone in the back and poison the air we breathe.

As president, I would rather have Sarah Palin that Joe Lieberman. There is no answer to treachery except exile and shunning, and that is what the Democrats need to do to Lieberman. Immediately.

Posted by: tomcj on December 15, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Immediately, the Democrats should cut Joe Lieberman free.

Lieberman should have all his committee chairs and his caucus rights taken away.

Lieberman already has made a mockery out of the power of the Senate, since dictator for life and pious fraud Lieberman has veto powers over everything right now.

Then the Democrats should pass laws with 51 votes, including cloture.

Posted by: tomcj on December 15, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

tomcj, the time to do it will be at the start of the next session. I can only hope the payback is a bitch.

Posted by: Barbara on December 15, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain to me why reconciliation is not being used as a lever, and if that doesn't work, why is it not being discussed ?

Fucking spineless cowards too affraid to use a tactic their republican foes were too happy to use.

This is the non-sense that will keep me home in 2010 and possibly 2012. I am so tired of wasting my time and money and a bunch of a-holes that like their counterparts, have no idea what to do with power.

Posted by: ScottW on December 15, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

tomcj said:
Some even here gloat that President Obama will be a one tern President. Barring some terrible event, Obama will win (thank God!) because he is still a giant among small, and smaller-minded men and women in Politics.

I'm not gloating, I'm warning. I care and I'm worried that the Democrats are wasting a historic opportunity. And I'm afraid of another Republican takeover.

Saying that Obama will be a one-term president is no different than saying to teenagers that if they continue to take drugs and skip school they'll end up in jail. I'm not hoping it will happen, but that's the way things are heading.

See my comment under "The Christmas Timeline".


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

ScottW asked:
Can someone explain to me why reconciliation is not being used as a lever, and if that doesn't work, why is it not being discussed ?

As I understand it, reconciliation can only be used for budget items. Regulations on the insurance corporations wouldn't qualify.

So the Senate would end up passing a bill that has subsidies for for the insurance corporations, but no additional regulation instead of passing a bill that has subsidies for the insurance corporations with inadequate regulation.


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I've said it before and will again. Republicans and Lieberman can have their "death panel" provisions rolled back, can have the "government's hands off of medicare", can have no federal budgetary deficit funding of healthcare, can have the "trillion-dollar-2000-page monstrosity of a bill" scraped all together. Fine by me. Just give me this:

Use anti-trust laws to smash the fucking private insurance companies into a thousand little pieces and mandate that an independent, national, non-profit, organization be established to provide at-cost insurance coverage. Outlaw rescission, pre-exiting conditions exemptions, etc with NO loopholes. Use a tax on the wealthy to subsidize insurance purchases for the poor. Make the mandate about 50 fucking pages with a child-like font so that Republicans can understand it.

Posted by: oh my on December 15, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

It's likely that if the public option and Medicare buy-in are, in fact, gone, outreach to Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine may go slightly better, though Snowe reportedly doesn't want a vote until January.
------------------------

And if the Democratic Leadership (which as far as I can see falls short of being either) also throws in simply sacrificing all seats in states with Republican governors, so that Republican replacements can be immediately appointed, and replaces the rest of the bill with provisions cutting in half the tax for those with incomes above $250,000 and doubling it for those with incomes below $25,000, outreach to Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine may also go slightly better, although on past performance, they'd probably pull the football away again and ask for more. And get it.

But what good would these hypothetical (or probable, given the strengths the Democrats have shown so far) sacrifices do us?

I'm asking this about your what-if, not mine.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on December 15, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

SteveT, well of COURSE he'll be a one-termer if assholes like you keep saying it enough. Like battered spouses you're unable to discern good from bad, and desperately seek the seek the status quo because it's where you feel most comfortable.

Keep "hoping" he'll fail. Keep posting your stupid predictions. You'll most certainly get what's coming to you, another decade of reversals of anything we accomplished and an eventual trip back to the Stone Age.

Apparently you all can only be happy when you're being pissed on by Republicans.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain to me why reconciliation is not being used as a lever, and if that doesn't work, why is it not being discussed ?

I suspect it is being discussed at this point. And Steve T, although reconciliation is a significantly limited tool, I don't think you are correct about it not applying to any regulatory activity. One of the major problems with this process is that "budget" can be defined in a number of ways and many calls are left to the parliamentarian. Happy to hear more from anybody better versed in this.

Posted by: shortstop on December 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

With Sheridan, and Obama. Fact: Lieberman has no hope of reelection so is unaccountable. This is an incremental, but historic, step in the right direction. Public option has only been in the popular parlance for a few months, and it is largely a wonky fix to an anticipated problem. The problem that public option solves is not yet widely understood because mandates have not kicked in yet.

The sound and fury of the teabag party cannot defeat incremental change because it is totally dependent on symbolic flashpoints that then prove to be empty. When the new law takes effect, people will love the exchange and the limits on denial of coverage. If they are getting soaked in the process we will need to address that without giving up what people have gained. Boom, public option - and it won't be some cipher or Trojan horse, but a solution for a tangible problem that people understand. Take the long view people, and get behind your team.

Posted by: biwah on December 15, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop - as I understand it, Steve T was correct on reconciliation vis-a-vis budgetary issues. Furthermore, whatever is done through reconciliation can be easily un-done in reconciliation. Plus, reciliation rules only last 5 years anyway, so it would all have to be re-approved in 2014.

In summary, if you want permanent legislation that can actually be built upon, you can't use reconciliation. You have to go through the whole sausage-making process.

Posted by: Marko on December 15, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

biwah nails it @10:44

Posted by: Marko on December 15, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

MissMudd said:
SteveT, well of COURSE he'll be a one-termer if assholes like you keep saying it enough. Like battered spouses you're unable to discern good from bad, and desperately seek the seek the status quo because it's where you feel most comfortable.

Who's like the battered spouse? I'm trying to get the Democrats to move away from the strategy of always making concessions and moving toward the middle. They let themselves get kicked and keep coming back for more, thinking it won't happen this time.

When individual issues are polled, without party affiliation being mentioned, the progressive side wins. So the problem isn't the progressive agenda. It's Democrats who are afraid of being labeled "liberal" (and DINOs whose primary concern is serving their corporate johns, and the corporate media).

You probably cheered and thought the little boat-rocker deserved it when Oliver Twist was sold for asking, "Please sir, I'd like some more."


Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

With Sheridan, and Obama. Fact: Lieberman has no hope of reelection so is unaccountable. This is an incremental, but historic, step in the right direction. Public option has only been in the popular parlance for a few months, and it is largely a wonky fix to an anticipated problem. The problem that public option solves is not yet widely understood because mandates have not kicked in yet.

The sound and fury of the teabag party cannot defeat incremental change because it is totally dependent on symbolic flashpoints that then prove to be empty. When the new law takes effect, people will love the exchange and the limits on denial of coverage. If they are getting soaked in the process we will need to address that without giving up what people have gained. Boom, public option - and it won't be some cipher or Trojan horse, but a solution for a tangible problem that people understand. Take the long view people, and get behind your team.

Posted by: biwah on December 15, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

...apologies, not sure why the double post.

Posted by: biwah on December 15, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, I get it. You don't believe Republicans would come to this blog and pull their talking points for the morning.

Then keep making it easy for them. A warm golden shower awaits you.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 15, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Steve T was correct on reconciliation vis-a-vis budgetary issues.

Yes, I realize it's only budget issues, but the tough part is defining a budgetary matter. They're not always that cut and dried, at least as reconciliation has been used in the past. That's one of the arbitrary ways the parliamentarian comes into it.

And yes, the five-year rule, as well as the Byrd rule and some other limitations, make reconciliation a very imperfect choice. We are running out of other options, however.

Posted by: shortstop on December 15, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

To the person who used the metaphor about Obama pissing in his ear, if you're dying from dehydration, the piss in your ear might mean the difference between life and death.

Once you've come back from the brink, *then* ask Obama why he didn't simply give you a drink of water to begin with.

There are always a lot of unfamiliar names (concern trolls?) that tend to come along at times like these to tell everyone how they're either not voting in the next election out of spite/pride, or that they're going to vote Republican (again, out of spite).

The Democrats *need* to be punished, but we'll be punishing ourselves (and the entire world) if we allow another Republican majority. They will not allow their "permanent majority" to slip through their fingers again.

Kiss the USA goodbye if, god forbid, that should happen. They are liars, thieves, murderers and tortures and we, and everything we stand for, are their sworn enemy. This is no longer paranoia. It is happening.

Posted by: JTK on December 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, public option "pragmatists". It is thanks to you, Steve, that we are in this mess. It is you who have enabled Lieberman, Nelson, others, with your continued spinelessness.

Frankly, I hope Lieberman moves the goalposts a few more times, just to rub your faces in it.

Posted by: Mike J. on December 15, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

It is thanks to you, Steve, that we are in this mess.

This kind of misdirected melodrama says it all. Just because you set cookies by the fireplace on December 24 doesn't mean that you get everything you want.

If we hold on to attenuated conspiracy theories about why some liberals are not sufficiently hardcore, rather than acknowledge the basic smashmouth politics going on in front our lying eyes, we will have plenty more to complain about in the future.

And remember Mike J....always take it (and dish it out) personally.

Posted by: biwah on December 15, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Long live the corporatocracy.

Give them everything they want or they will allow more uninsured to die.

Saving lives trumps everything else even if we sell our souls to do it huh.

Only an idiot would want to bring back Bushies because they are disappointed in a few dems.

Want change we can believe in?...then demand the senate change their rules... there are 51 senators already there who would pass the agenda of the majority so people like Lieberman alone could not hold the senate hostage.

Republicans have virtually destroyed our nation and can never be allowed to do so again.

btw...what would you do or allow to happen to save 45,000 lives a yr.? Especially when you know you don't have to make a choice as we can reform HC AND cover the uninsured at the same time but we have allowed a few people to hold 45,000 lives hostage just to get what they want.

Are the lives of 5 senators more important than 45,000 other people?

Anyone else just disgusted with the senate being able to hold the majority hostage?

Heres a common threat: "...Don't worry, after the Republicans win back the majority in 2012 they'll get rid of the whole thing. And because their leaders have spines, they'll do it with as few as 50 votes in the Senate."
Posted by: SteveT on December 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans have no new ideas or policies...did nothing about HC and ran the country into the ground nearly destroying the nation...and we get threats that the public would give them the chance to finish the job. Repubs have not changed one iota and are just as pathetic as ever...give me a break. We just need better dems and to change the senate rules so the majority can legislate once again.

Posted by: bjobotts on December 15, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
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