Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2009

CREATING AN INCENTIVE TO LIE, CONT'D.... There are a few interesting angles to the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, but the key results point to the health care reform effort getting less popular as more people come to believe some of the attacks against the plan.

As the Senate struggles to meet a self-imposed, year-end deadline to complete work on legislation to overhaul the nation's health-care system, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the public generally fearful that a revamped system would bring higher costs while worsening the quality of their care.

A bare majority of Americans still believe government action is needed to control runaway health-care costs and expand coverage to the roughly 46 million people without insurance. But after a year of exhortation by President Obama and Democratic leaders and a high-octane national debate, there is minimal public enthusiasm for the kind of comprehensive changes in health care now under consideration. [...]

Obama and the Democrats have had decidedly less success convincing the public that their health proposals will bring positive change. More than half of those polled, 53 percent, see higher costs for themselves if the proposed changes go into effect than if the current system remains intact. About as many (55 percent) say the overall cost of the national health-care system would go up more sharply. Moreover, just 37 percent say the quality of their care would be better under a new system; 50 percent see it as better under the current set-up.

Even among those who presumably stand to benefit most from a major restructuring of the insurance market -- the nearly one in 5 adults without coverage -- there are doubts about the changes under consideration. Those without insurance are evenly divided on the question of whether their care would be better if the system were overhauled.

Think about that last point for a moment -- among those who have no insurance whatsoever, a position that puts them in considerable peril, they're split on whether reform is a good idea.

It suggests the political campaign against health care reform has been pretty damn effective. There's ample evidence that reform would lower the deficit, but the public has been convinced otherwise. There's ample evidence that reform would make medical more affordable, but the public has been convinced otherwise. There's ample evidence that reform would strengthen Medicare, but the public has been convinced otherwise. There's ample evidence that reform would get spending under control, but the public has been convinced otherwise.

Once again, the moral of the story is to lie like crazy during policy debates. An apprehensive public is likely to believe false claims, and most news outlets will simply pass blatant lies along with "he said, she said" reporting. The incentive to make up bogus claims is reinforced when most of the country believes them.

Another angle to keep in mind is that if/when reform becomes law, the sales work is going to have to continue -- folks just don't realize what's in the plan and they get confused by the conflicting information. If/when they learned the details, their support will grow considerably, and it'll be largely up to the White House to get the message to the public once the debate ends.

While most of the data will be discouraging to Democrats, the party can take at least some comfort in knowing that the public is still not turning to Republicans as a better alternative. President Obama is trusted more than the GOP on handling the economy (48% to 36%), health care (46% to 39%), U.S. policy in Afghanistan (47% to 35%), and energy policy (46% to 36%).

To be sure, those margins are closer than they were at the beginning of the year, but the larger trend is still true -- there's growing skepticism of the Democratic agenda, but Republicans are not yet capitalizing.

Post Script: It's highly unlikely to make a difference at this point in the process, but I should also note that the two most popular measures in the health care reform debate -- the public option and the Medicare buy-in -- are the two provisions that apparently have to be scuttled. In this poll, 63% approved of the idea of giving those aged 55 to 64 access to Medicare.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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If some of the lies were actually true, my support would actually go up.

Posted by: qwerty on December 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

the "apprehensive" public? it's a stupid and misinformed public. mostly stupid though. this is a very underrated problem in passing major legislation. call me an elitist if you want.

Posted by: alex on December 16, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"It suggests the political campaign against health care reform has been pretty damn effective."
It's amazing what a million plus dollars a day and a compliant/subservient mass media will do to public opinion.
I give up...the Democrats lead by their new leader Joe Lieberman and his vice president Olympia Snow have rolled over and succumbed to the wishes of Big Insurance and Big Pharma.
I just sent a blast to the the latest fund request from Mitch Stewart asking to be removed from the mailing list. Reform my ass.

Posted by: john R on December 16, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Instead of blaming Obama, as the Plum Line is reporting, Senate Democrats need to be spreading this message:

Democrats in the Senate have been forced to do the heavy lifting of putting this nation’s ever escalating health care costs in check. Republicans, though initially supportive of reforming our broken health care system when we worked in small groups, are now refusing to support our efforts even as they continue to add amendments that they then refuse to allow us to even take a vote on the bill for. They have obstructed every step of the way and left the debate about what to do with health care in our hands, as a result we have worked together to make the best bill possible given that 40/100 Senators are refusing to do the job they were elected to do… to govern this nation in a time of crisis and put America back on track. They’ve showed time and again that having America fall further behind is fine, so long as they can take the reins of a nation they spent 8 years bankrupting.

Posted by: Paul W. on December 16, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, the moral of the story is to lie like crazy during policy debates.

No. President Hopey-Changey should have been out front, leading the charge, exposing the lies, and publicizing BigInsurance deceit, week after week. He was popular once, as I recall. Instead, he chose to give away the store to BigPharma, BigInsurance, and the BlueDogs.

Posted by: elbrucce on December 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The reason that the uninsured are split on reform is not just the BS political attacks. Many unisured will be legally required to buy insurance under the reform plan and it's still unclear what kind of subsidies they will receive. It doesn't take much to imagine why their support for that plan is so weak.

Posted by: g. powell on December 16, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks to the Repugnants and their god, Ronnie Rayguns, the vast wasteland of america views the federal government as cynical entertainment, believing nothing of what anyone says, and just chortling at the best one-liners...("that michelle bachman sure do shake up them Dims, heh heh heh. that joey lieberman showed 'em a thing er two, har har hup hup,snort...")

they are quite convinced that the cause of their lost jobs, the coming end of soc sec bennies right when they hit 65, and the cannon fodder all the young in their families are for meaningless wars/stopping the 'war on terror' -- the fed gov't is just a hideous monster inflicting horror upon horror on them...

they know the rich keep getting rich and the poor keep getting screwed over. and they are exactly right about that...

hopey-changey -- like all the rest of the Dims -- just dont git it...

Posted by: neill on December 16, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, the moral of the story is to lie like crazy during policy debates

And you know what? This ain't a new story. "Corporations and their Minions Will Do Anything to Protect Their Own Profits" wasn't written this past spring.

A five-year-old could have seen this coming. This is why it's inexcusable that Obama and the Democratic leadership weren't out there in a coordinated campaign months before this legislation even started in committee, getting the right messages out and pounding them over and over. I don't blame Obama for the things he can't control. I do feel immense frustration that this master communicator dropped the ball so badly on communicating this one.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another idea - maybe a significant number of the polled are Democrats who realize what a crap sandwich they're being handed and are rightfully doubtful about how the current Senate bill will lower the costs of their care. All the ideas that are really sellable (public option/medicare buy-in) have been jettisoned, leaving a lot of people pretty damn skeptical about the value of the whole enterprise. The problem is not republicans and their lies, it's the inability of Democrats to get their act together. I would bet that if a decent public option or medicare buy-in were a part of the bill the numbers would be different. Ordinary Americans are exhausted by this whole process and see very little tangible changes to their insurance (except that they will required to buy overpriced shitty coverage that their tax dollars will be subsidizing for the insurance industry). If I had taken this survey my answers would be right in line with these results. In it's current incarnation the Senate bill will no positive impact on keeping premiums in check and will funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to the insurance industry. It's the status quo but worse, as when people are unhappy with the changes they will then decide that HCR isn't worth it at all. There's no there there in the current bill. Nothing to build on. Almost literally no benefits to anyone (assuming it did work) until after 2014. How does this help anyone? People are right to be skeptical and after the crazy back and forth and having had real reform come so close and then get snatched away at the last second a lot of Dems are ready to throw in the towel. That has nothing to do with lies. It has to do with a profound leadership crisis.

Posted by: Todd on December 16, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

In this poll, 63% approved of the idea of giving those aged 55 to 64 access to Medicare.

Okay, so once the current bill is passed, write another bill expanding Medicare to those 55-63. Attach no funds other than those already accounted for in the current bill. Dare Lieberman, or anyone else, to filibuster such a thing directly.

Posted by: Christopher on December 16, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Because most of those polled watch Fox news (they must be in the majority if thst "news" program is the top rated) then what can one expect in terms of the lies beating the truth these days.
Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on December 16, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats gained control of the Congress not because people turned to them but because people turned away from the Republicans.

I have no health insurance whatsoever. This bill is at best mediocre and by driving the public away from the Democrats (as it manifestly does) it will be self-nullifying. A congress run by Republicans has a rather obvious negative effect on my quality of life. Ergo the bill stinks.

A simple announcement will solve the problem.

"Through mindless bipartisanship and craven weakness we have arrived at a bill that some conservatives will tolerate, some moderates will settle for, and no one actually likes. We are therefore scrapping it and starting over, as we should have done with the finance industry bailout bill."

Then force through a good bill through trickery, threats and whatever else can be gleaned from the 50+1 playbook.

Posted by: Forrest on December 16, 2009 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

This is a surprise, given that the opposition is spending $10 to every one spent by supporters, and that the opposition is becoming more and more energized and optimistic as they see more and more of the bill whittled away, while supporters become more and more depressed? C'mon! How many of the anti-healthcare ads do you see on MSNBC during Keith or Rachel's show????

"Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give
an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
GEORGE ORWELL
"Politics and the English Language,"

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."
-Joseph Goebbels

Posted by: TCinLA on December 16, 2009 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop- Thank you for expressing in words the frustration I feel...."A five-year-old could have seen this coming" whhhaaaat? big bidness is going to oppose reform ??? who knew?
We won't get fooled again.

Posted by: john R on December 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Well, there might be higher costs indeed if private insurers can just charge what they want, w/o competition from public option / expanded Medicare! That is even with everyone having to buy in, because of insurers needing to pay out all valid claims.

REM above all, that without ending the anti-trust exemption for insurers, there is no way to control costs through competition. I can support one "conservative" idea, if actually practicable: allow the insurers to operate fully across State lines. I suspect much reason they can't, is not liberal stubbornness, but ironically conservative Federalism practice of each State making up its own incompatible regulations.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B on December 16, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Democratic messaging has always been a mess! Simple rhetoric usually takes the day in my beloved nation, and so, long-winded, convoluted reasons to change the status quo are not going to play as well as "death panels" "rationed care" or "government take-over."

Messaging the true villian, the insurance cartel, immediately rallies the forces of "unearned income" as dividends and stock options are at stake for even the uninsured who are heavily invested in this economic sector of our nation's economy.

To stop run-away unearned income, a complete overhaul of not only our health care industry, but also the financial witch's coven that hexes our true productivity with schemes of paper-trash financial transactions such as derivatives, credit swap, and junk bonds needs to take place.

The idea of a quarter percent tax on stock transactions is the best approach to begin with, however, I don't think our elected representatives have enough fortitude to do anything positive at this time in our history! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 16, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

While most of the data will be discouraging to Democrats, the party can take at least some comfort in knowing that the public is still not turning to Republicans as a better alternative


The federal government is a sinking ship. The Democrats, who are liars because they say they want to benefit the poor by using federal power, and the Republicans, who are liars because they say they are opposed to federal power, are both losing.

Dubai, Greece, Spain, Iceland, Ireland...Governments are already going broke. do you think the federal government enjoys some magic immunity from this trend?

There's a reason why people are so interested in Tiger Woods' sex life: it is doubtlessly more interesting than Joe Lieberman's.

Posted by: Mcsallif on December 16, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop: what a middle infielder! Exactly what I was going to say. I think after all the surrender the American people are right. This bill may force people to choose between eating and buying crappy insurance. This is not a Democratic type of policy. It is insane. Republican-blighted.. . .

Posted by: sparko on December 16, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Christopher. Propose Medicare part E (for everyone)starting 6/10. Dare anyone to filibuster THAT. Too bad that President Fillmore (or is it Chamberlain or Carter??)wont like it.

Posted by: gdb on December 16, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

That Obama and the Democrats "caved" on this bill just reinforces the general perception that Democrats are all weak, corrupt and liars. And sad to say, an industry friendly solution appears to be what Obama was angling for all along.

Far from being a foundation for reform, forcing people to buy private insurance becomes the basis for further corruption- over time, this "solution" to our health-care crisis is going to become increasingly "industry friendly" and anti-consumer as the insurance lobby further corrupts our government year after year.

Posted by: dinsdale on December 16, 2009 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I now think we should just lie like crazy too.

Posted by: MNPundit on December 16, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Call your senators NOW and let them know you support the president and to pass HCR!

Click here and pass on to your friends!

We're this close!

Posted by: MissMudd on December 16, 2009 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

As a wealthy republican, this posting just reinforces what I have been telling you idiots all along:

We lie.
We know that we lie.
Our corporate media will never call us on our lies.
Our base of stupid white idiots will always believe our lies.
We pay no penalties for lying.
We will continue to lie.

We win...
You lose...

Our motto:
We have nothing to fear, but the loss of fear itself.

Our mantras:
More is never enough!
I've got mine, fuck you!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on December 16, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Getting screwed by congress and corporations is a regular occurence in America.

My guess it's not all about being "stupid" but a huge dose of cynicism. Congress will always choose screwing over the American people for Corporations.

Posted by: Silver Owl on December 16, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

What this poll suggests to me is that people are starting to realize there is no reform left in this "reform" bill. Every new concession the Senate makes is more reason to oppose it. Since WaPo/ABC didn't ask why people were no longer in favor of the bill, either my explanation or yours are just as likely to be true.

In fact, there's no reason it couldn't be both.

The questions are important. They don't appear to have asked nearly enough to make a judgment.

Posted by: Cujo359 on December 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Making the worries I and many others have about forcing people to buy private insurance without real competition and/or stringent regulation: if SCOTUS rules on letting corporations donate at will to politicians (under the fraudulent claim they are "persons", see Jim Hightower about that), then Congress will be too bought to regulate them and it will be *even worse* than before.

Steve, Kevin, and other "liberal establishment bourgeoisie": Many of us are angry about this and are not going to support anything just to "get a bill out" which is one of the stupidest lines I ever heard. It's typical Rahm stuff, promise it can be improved later with little hope IMHO of the latter. Even though I still support voting for the LOTE when it finally rolls around, we must fight for the principles and better candidates meanwhile.

Obama does have the burden of the 60-vote req. to account in his evaluation, but the Democrats need to fight harder against that and quit miserable weakling spectacles of crawling on their knees to traitorous rogues like Lieberman. Do they realize how much those visceral images of submission and failure of nerve impact people's perceptions of validity and "virtus"? Are you listening; Steve, Kevin, ... ?

Posted by: neil b on December 16, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Blame for this lies ENTIRELY with Obama. When he started the health care push he did it in a vague and tepid way. He let the tea party whackos dominate the discourse, and then from a position of vagueness stared backpedaling. He never made it clear what the benefits would be, he just let the right frame the debate and then got defensive and moved to the right. Does anyone else see the hand of Rahm in this?

Yes, I'm disgusted with the Democrats, and I'm in no mood to give them money or campaign or even turn out. For what? This bill is mostly crap and will accomplish none of what it might have accomplished had there been effective leadership

Posted by: HC Carey on December 16, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

MissMudd, I wouldn't doubt your sincerity and that:
1. There are good things in the "HCR" bill.
2. Obama and other Democrats made some good efforts and were stymied, in part, by the rule of 60, Republicans, and traitors like Joe Lieberman.
But we need to know, if this Bill is really still worth voting for. A distinguished figure, Howard Dean, doubts it still is. I think that's a serious call to question the Bill as it now is. What say you?

Best, in any case

Posted by: neil b. on December 16, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I have a feeling much of the negative poll numbers reflect animosity towards congress more than the bill itself.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 16, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

The D's broke the first rule of dealing with the American Public: KISS.

Subclauses, footnotes,IBID's, and op cits make the eyes glaze over, the attention to wander- easy prey for the Republican short and pithy LIE.

Posted by: DAY on December 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

neil b, I learned awhile back that compromise means no one gets precisely what they originally sought. If you're an all or nothing kind of person, you'll end up getting much less.

This is a start. It's by no means perfect but we'll modify as we go along.

Signed,
Miss Hopey-Changey (and any other naughty monikers you all need to hurl at me ~ funny stuff)

PS: Dean is merely testing the waters for another run. Who gives a fart what he says? He's a mere commentator with ambition at this point.

Stay the course.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 16, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter what percentage of people want the Medicare expansion or public option, it only matters what Lieberman wants, and Obama gets on his knees and delivers.
Also, doesn't really matter if opposition to reform is based on GOP lies anymore, the facts of the bill are bad enough.
Forced transfer of taxpayer dollars to for profit insurers with no real regs, can't wait to see how they "build" on that pile of crap. Whoopee! I'm so excited to vote next year!

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 16, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

People, step back for a minute, and read Thom Hartmann's article today - it gives you a picture of why we're in this pickle, and what we need to insist on to get out of it.

Posted by: Ohioan on December 16, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dean is merely testing the waters for another run. Who gives a fart what he says? He's a mere commentator with ambition at this point.

Yeah, who cares what that know-nothing says? He was only the DNC chair responsible for a 50 state strategy that resulted in big majorities in congress. Oh and he's doctor who has more knowledge of healthcare policy in one of his bowel movements than all the self-annointed internet wonks combined. Why should anyone listen to him when you should be listening to corporate funded congressmen--they surely have your best interests at heart and would never lead you astray.
Just wait to you see how they "build" on this "reform". The next step is to simply forward all your pay checks and savings directly to Aetna.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 16, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

MissMudd, I don't think Howard Dean is just politicking, he cares a lot about our true values. His opinion as a "commentator" matters to me (what, only the opinions of active officeholders matter?) His brother Jim cares too. I've met Jim twice in person to talk about these issues, and he is not running for anything - just fighting for the genuine public good. I just got this email from him (sorry, links and italics not active) and I think it's right on. Your point has some general relevance, but sometimes you must realize that it isn't worth it, true? Sorry, MM:

Neil -

I'll get straight to the point.

If Democrats remove the choice of a public option, they can't force Americans to buy health insurance.

Here's the deal, Senate leaders are all over Washington claiming they finally have a healthcare reform bill they can pass, as long as they remove the public option. After all, they say, even without a public option, the bill still "covers 30 million more Americans." The problem is that's not really true.

What they are actually talking about is something called the "individual mandate." That's a section of the law that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more Americans -- instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.

A public option would have provided the competition needed to drive down costs and improve coverage. It would have kept insurance companies honest by providing an affordable alternative Americans can trust. That's why, without a public option, this bill is almost a trillion dollar taxpayer giveaway to insurance companies.

We must act fast. Both Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senators need to hear from you. Please stop whatever else you are doing and make the calls right now.

Senator Harry Reid
DC: (202) 224-3542
Carson City: (775) 882-7343
Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020
Reno: (775) 686-5750

Call your Democratic Senator too -- Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

REPORT YOUR CALL AND TELL US HOW IT WENT

Without the choice of a public option, forcing Americans to buy health insurance isn't just bad policy, it's political disaster for Democrats -- a ticking time-bomb for years to come.

Does anyone think Republicans won't use this against Democrats in 2010?

What about in 2014 after the mandate goes into effect and the press reports all the horror stories of Americans forced to choose between paying their monthly health insurance bill to Aetna or paying rent?

The mandate is toxic and Democrats will own it. By the 2016 presidential election, is there any wonder how this will play out for Democrats?

CALL SENATOR HARRY REID NOW AT (202) 224-3542 THEN REPORT YOUR CALL HERE

The message is simple: No public option? No Mandate!

Thank you for everything you do,

-Jim

Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

Posted by: neil b on December 16, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

You so-called progressives cut and ran as soon as he made one faux pas at a fucking microphone. Just like you're abandoning Obama now. Dean won't win if he runs against Obama because he'll be fueled by a bunch of frothing keyboard jockeys like you - and we'll all lose - AGAIN!

But oh please keep dividing us. Maybe another decade of shit will make you come to your senses.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 16, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

HELLO PEOPLE!!!!!!!
Quit wasting your time, our system of government is hopelessly corrupt and inept!

60% of the people favor a public option or medicaid buy-in, so what the hell are our representatives debating? They are debating insurance industry profits and their right to keep them!

If our 'representatives' actually represented their constituents, the bill would have passed months ago with a robust public option!

Now we have a individual mandate? It's OK for the government to SUBSIDIZE lower income people's premiums, thus ensuring 30+ million more customers to the companies that caused this mess, but the government isn't allowed to offer insurance as an alternative?


This health care reform debate has made it crystal clear that our government is no longer a functioning representative democracy so to think it can change is just wasting your time.

Posted by: citizen_pain on December 16, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

As a newly-minted Canadian because of a recent law granting citizenship to children born abroad to a Canadian parent, I must say that when it comes to understanding health care policy half the citizens of my birth country (USA) are morons when compared to us Canucks.

Posted by: buddy66 on December 16, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with the people who've already commented that most of the blame lies with the Obama Administration and Democrats. Yes, the Republicans have lied about well everything they've said has been a lie pretty much.

But, the administration never came out and said, unequivocally, what they were for. Certainly, they never fought for things like the public option.

Now, the 2 most popular measures won't be part of the bill and that is due to a very large extent to the handling of this whole mess by Democrats, be they in the Senate or in the White House. The Democrats will rightfully own this bill and I think it will be considered a huge boondoggle for the private health insurance business and pharma. Now, the Republicans will be happy since they are completely in bed with those two corporate interests, but at least they'll be free to run against the boondoggle nonetheless.

We've been through this whole kabuki dance to end up with exactly what the corporate whores at the top of the Democratic party wanted from the outset, which is why the simplest and most popular approaches were never considered in the first place. The whores in the Dem party couldn't allow medicare option for all or some other public option to happen, less their corporate pimps beat them up.

It's disgusting and the Democratic party and the Obama Administration will pay a heavy price. I am a progressive that will not donate a dime to any Democrat and will not vote for any Democrat in '10. The one that I might still vote for is Pelosi, but if she goes along with this Senate plan screw her too.

Thanks for the change we can believe in, Obama. And Washington certainly has changed under your leadership, only for the worse.

Posted by: Vince on December 16, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

You so-called progressives cut and ran as soon as he made one faux pas at a fucking microphone.

You know nothing of what I or anyone else here did during Dean's campaign. Don't reinforce your own ignorance with an even more ignorant, ad hom-laced tirade.

a bunch of frothing keyboard jockeys like you

One thing you have in common with the teabaggers--absolutely no sense of self-awareness or irony whatsoever.

Neil B--thanks for you post.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 16, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever Allan. Your words don't hurt me.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 16, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Vince, the WH and the democrats lost this. They got their butts kicked by the republicans yet again.

Posted by: citizen_pain on December 16, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Echoing Todd and Neil B, I don't see costs coming down. I believe the GOP is right on this one point, at least at first.

The public option would be scant competition at first. Since it would take all comers, it seems at least plausible that its premiums would be higher than private insurance that can just use rescission to jettison everyone who gets too expensive.

Healthy people forced to join private care will pay money for almost no treatment. This will swell profits that private insurers can use to lower their premiums a little if the public plan is competitive.

Finally, the concept of women paying the same as men, as reasonable as that is, will cause half the population to pay more. Insurers aren't magicians. If they have to pay for the same expenses, they'll either eat the extra cost of women's lowered premiums, or jack up the men to match or meet in the middle. Guess which option insurers will choose? Not to say this isn't a good, equitable, idea; but it will reinforce the GOP mantra.

The emphasis should never have strayed from the goal of universal coverage. When the costs of universal care are sky high, THEN attack the costs. As it turns out, the "moderates" and the GOP are making sure it works out just the way I expected it to, not that I'm especially PLEASED that we couldn't have skipped the next 5-10 years of private insurers sucking our wallets dry.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 16, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Echoing Todd and Neil B, I don't see costs coming down. I believe the GOP is right on this one point, at least at first.

The public option would be scant competition at first. Since it would take all comers, it seems at least plausible that its premiums would be higher than private insurance that can just use rescission to jettison everyone who gets too expensive.

Healthy people forced to join private care will pay money for almost no treatment. This will swell profits that private insurers can use to lower their premiums a little if the public plan is competitive.

Finally, the concept of women paying the same as men, as reasonable as that is, will cause half the population to pay more. Insurers aren't magicians. If they have to pay for the same expenses, they'll either eat the extra cost of women's lowered premiums, or jack up the men to match or meet in the middle. Guess which option insurers will choose? Not to say this isn't a good, equitable, idea; but it will reinforce the GOP mantra.

The emphasis should never have strayed from the goal of universal coverage. When the costs of universal care are sky high, THEN attack the costs. As it turns out, the "moderates" and the GOP are making sure it works out just the way I expected it to, not that I'm especially PLEASED that we couldn't have skipped the next 5-10 years of private insurers sucking our wallets dry.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on December 16, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Who could have predicted that as the bill is successively stripped of provisions that are popular with the public, the public would become less supportive of the bill?

Posted by: KCinDC on December 16, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Once again, the moral of the story is to lie like crazy during policy debates."

Where has there been a real debate on the merits? I've seen a few congressmen have brief exchanges on the floors of Congress, but nowhere have I seen an actual televised debate between representatives of both sides.

I'm positive the MSM isn't interested in putting one together, because they know the GOP would have their ASS HANDED TO THEM if they actually had to explain their positions.

I want to see some GOP senators look like fucking idiots on national television. But the media is more than happy to air their assertions unchallenged.

Posted by: bdop4 on December 16, 2009 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, none of this is surprising. As usual, I blame Democratic messaging, both WH and Congress. But I also blame the stupidity of a populus barely capable of democracy.

The clearest sign for me came in a national poll just before Obama's big late-summer speech on HCR. It asked people if they were for or against a series of discrete HCR policies. And then it asked if they favored or opposed "Obama's Health Care Reform Plan."

It should surprise no one here that (a) everyone one of the discrete items was favored, most by substantial margins; and (b) a slight plurality opposed the "Obama Health Care Reform Plan" -- made of the same list of discrete proposals.

I draw the following conclusion: the Republican distortion machine works on the KISS principle. So it did not get down to the detail level - the sheeple could still think on their own about the discrete policies. But on the 30,000-foot conceptual level, the fearmongering had worked. "Obama" was trying to kill Granny, socialize medicine, get between you and your doctor. And those vague bumpersticker slogans stuck to the "big picture" of the plan to such a degree that people were disliking a plan that including all of the things they liked. Such is the level of malleability and stupidity, such is the Republican willingness to deceitfully exploit same, and such is the Democratic incompetence in counterprogramming.

I haven't much hope left. To borrow a Rachaelism, someone talk me down.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 16, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, I blame Democratic messaging, both WH and Congress. But I also blame the stupidity of a populus barely capable of democracy...

As usual, I agree with you completely.

To my chagrin in this case, because we really are screwed.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, I agree with you . . . we really are screwed.

While I appreciate the compliment, I don't think that qualifies as talking me down. :)

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 16, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that qualifies as talking me down. :)

I just can't do it. I haven't got anything for you.

Posted by: shortstop on December 16, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

We don't need no steenking social contract.

Posted by: Jamie on December 16, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, the moral of the story is to lie like crazy during policy debates.

No its NOT!!!! You miss it completely. There is no moral of the story. This is the result of intentional acts by Big Media always pushing the same meme: democrats = bad, republicans = good. Democrats could NEVER get away with the constant lying that republicans do, they would be called out and demonized ruthlessly. Lying is completely the providence of republicans.

Posted by: pluege on December 16, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

There are two kinds of convincing that the Dems need to do. One is for people who read and pay attention to issues. The othe is for low information voters. Especially in the latter case fear of loss far outweighs attractiveness of potential gain. As has been said above the Dems need to professionally script their messages.

Posted by: JohnK on December 16, 2009 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

"a revamped system would bring higher costs while worsening the quality of their care."

Okay, Steve. I'm looking for the lie in this. the current bill:

(1) requires buying by those who chose not to be insured (which is why they claim they'll "cover" 30MM more people)

(2) does not require full coverage, only "reasonable" coverage, for that policy

(3) does nothing to bend the cost curve except make it more difficult for employees to buy insurance that has made sense to them before (in the case of those who currently select those "expensive" policies that are the default option for anyone with a family to cover).

Even Mitt Romney knew better than to try to push a plan that bad without a public option with clean cost controls.

So I get no better, and probably worse coverage, for a higher cost.

Sounds as if the description fits the "reform" bill rather well.

Posted by: Ken Houghton on December 17, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK
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