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Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:57 AM

Democrats lost the Public Option and got drubbed in 2010

If Democrats compromise Medicare or Social Security now they wil lose in 2014 also When the most important advance in social welfare legislation since Medicare was handed off to the private Insurance industry virtually exclusively to monopolize, it was like a gut punch to progressive forces. An energized movement that had swept back to back elections in 2006 and 2008 for the Democratic Party spontaneously deflated.

I am not focusing on policy per se right now, not on the argument over what was and was not possible to actually achieve regarding health care, just on the predictable outcome that happens when hopes and dreams are dashed. Politics comes down to people, especially on the Democratic side of the equation.

Democrats by and large are not as self centered as are the elites that fund the Republican Party. We actually do embrace the concept of shared sacrifice, we expect to have to give as individuals to help keep our nation great. But we also believe that what makes our nation great is a society that does not demand that citizens give up what they literally can not afford to lose. We do not believe Americans should be forced into "sacrifices" that jeopardize their health and physical well being, to the point of risking their very lives. Not while there is great, even obscene, wealth awash in confined sectors of this nation we don't

Any betrayal of that core sense of fairness, which underlies the loyalty that motivates millions of liberals and progressives to work their asses off for Democratic candidates for office and to donate hard earned dollars to Democratic campaigns, will cripple the Democratic Party in the next mid-term elections. It is really that predictable and unavoidable a dynamic that Democrats would do well to ponder now during negotiations with the Republicans over the so-called Fiscal cliff".

Raising the age of Medicare eligibility is the very last option that the core Democratic base would consider in regards to cutting our deficits. To put it in blunter terms, if one dime of the Bush tax cuts for the rich gets preserved as the result of current negotiations, if the top tax rate on the wealthiest Americans does not rise all of the way back to Clinton Administration levels, or if the threshold for those cuts is raised above the $250,000 a year income level, that will mean more food and health care denied to some of the neediest in our nation. Democratic voters will revolt if that happens, just like what happened in 2010.

It will happen at a level deeper than any appeal to reason can touch. People can be talked into continuing a relationship for pragmatic reasons after experiencing personal betrayal, but they can't be "reasoned into" continuing it with the same passion and devotion. In a post "Citizens United" political universe, Democrats literally can't afford that type of drop off in voter base enthusiasm.

Republicans argue that even if the rich resume paying the tax rates they paid in the 1990's, the added revenue won't be nearly enough to right our fiscal ship. All the more reason to demand that the wealthy pay those rates now in full AND close tax loopholes closed that predominantly benefit the upper class - who collectively have flourished while the rest of the nation has suffered. Instead Republicans perversely argue that the rich are the ones who should be spared greater so-called sacrifices.

Millions of Americans are today living in part off of savings they once earmarked for their retirement. Americans who lose well paying jobs after they turn 50 can't replace them. Increasingly those approaching retirement age are limping toward that finish line, just trying to hold on until they can qualify for Social Security and Medicare. Pushing Medicare eligibility back two years would be the functional equivalent of a death sentence to tens of thousands of Americans. That is not a Democratic value, and voters know when their interests are being sold out.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Democrats lost the Public Option and got drubbed in 2010 (Original post)
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 OP
Recursion Dec 2012 #1
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #3
Recursion Dec 2012 #7
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #8
sellitman Dec 2012 #2
doc03 Dec 2012 #4
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #5
still_one Dec 2012 #6
graham4anything Dec 2012 #9
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #10
graham4anything Dec 2012 #11
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #12
graham4anything Dec 2012 #13
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #14
John2 Dec 2012 #15
pnwmom Dec 2012 #16
graham4anything Dec 2012 #17
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #18

Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:59 AM

1. So let me make sure I get you right: we would have won 2010 if HCR had been *bigger* and cost more?

This is like the mirror image of the Republicans who conclude that McCain and Romney "weren't conservative enough".

We moved faster than the electorate wanted to go and took a hit for it. Going faster still doesn't make things better.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:05 AM

3. Let me make sure I get you right: we lost 2010 because HCR was too progressive?

I don't think so. By the way allowing for a public option - putting aside the debate about political feasibility for the moment, would not have made HCR more costly - and polling consistently showed that significant majorities of voters supported including that feature as part of HCR.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:27 AM

7. Yes

By the way allowing for a public option - putting aside the debate about political feasibility for the moment, would not have made HCR more costly

That's absurd. It raised the 10 year cost by about 33%

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Response to Recursion (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:37 AM

8. I may or may not have time today to go back over figures

I do know that Medicare has conistently been shown to be more cost effective than private inurance. I also remember that later versions of the Public Option that were being kicked around shrunk the available pool of potential users in a way that skewed the pool toward higher risk enrollees, with the private industry positioned to "cherry pick" the low health care maintanance population.

I also know that repeatedly polling in favor of health care reform spiked when a robust public option was iuncluded in the package and dropped when it was taken out - which is telling political information.

You know, people really aren't dumb. Sure it costs government more to maintain public roads than it would cost the government if private companies maintained them instead as pay per mile turnpikes. But most people would rather that cost be added to their taxes if shown that the alternative of shelling over money to a for profit corporation daily to use those roads added up to substantially more money out of their pockets.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:04 AM

2. We also had idiots like "Ed" from his namesake show telling us NOT to vote.

Another reason I turn him off whenever I hear his voice.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:07 AM

4. If the Medicare age is raised under Obama I guarantee the Republicans

will pin that on the Democrats and we will get drubbed again in 2014. The Republicans used the $716 billion cuts in Medicare they wanted to whip up the Teabaggers and take the house in 2010. Who got blamed for NAFTA a failed Republican idea that Clinton managed to get enough Democrat votes to pass. Clinton of course. Reagan started taxing SS at 50% and Clinton raised it to 85%, who gets the total blame, Clinton.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:23 AM

5. Good examples

Republicans are expected to protect the interests of the rich - that is already factored into the equation of the collective "electorate mind". Democrats are expected to protect the social safety net in an analogous manner. We take the greater hit when we agree to shrink that net.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:26 AM

6. They increase the Medicare age they do not need the republicans, the Democrats will drub them

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:43 AM

9. This is the fuzziest math I ever read. 1 plus 1 = 6 according to that logic

 

Democrats did not lose because of that.

They lost because Barack Obama's CORE VOTERS didn't realize that even though the awipes in congress do nothing that their vote is needed to inconvience someone to go out and vote.

I doubt many of Obama's CORE VOTERS (like me) stopped voting that day because of it,
BEING THAT MOST OF OBAMA'S CORE VOTERS LIKE ME LOVE WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO DO
being that it was the first forward movement in 50 years since the great LBJ was in

What is really needed is another LBJ in the senate and house- someone tough and smart and able to coral votes and voters in. LBJ was the best.

And alas, Teddy was just as good, but by 2010 he had died and wasn't there to do like LBJ did.

No one else in the senate does that.
#1 thing the Dems need is another LBJ or Teddy.

To get the votes, to force the votes

then the voters will come to vote like they did for President Obama himself.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:55 AM

10. Fuzziest math, eh? I think you showed one of the most superficial reads

I didn't say all core Obama voters stopped voting, I doubt many did. I talked about the sapping of passion, a lessoning of enthusiasm, a type of "holding back" that all political professionals are acutely aware of - that is why so much energy is devoted toward measuring the degree of enthusiam one side or another has at any point in the electoral cycle. A loss in enthusiam on the part of a core voter does not usually result in that core voter not continuing to vote for their side, is shows itself in diminished efforts made on behalf of their electoral side beyond the mere act of voting. And it doesn't mean a binary on or off switch boycott type of thing either. An activist might still volunteer some time, but less of it. An activist might still argue with neighbors and co-workers on behalf of their ticket, but not as reliably on every opportunity that presents itself.

The core Republican base ended up energized by the results of the health care reform battle, the core Democratic base much less so, if at all.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:16 AM

11. we agree to disagree

 

all that was need last time was for voters to not feel complacent

I myself found it hard to enthusiastically vote for Corzine in NJ, but one had to
More people hold their noses and voted, Christie wouldn't have won

And had Obama been running in 2010, they would have voted for him.
It gets more abstract to think when he is not on ballot they still need to vote

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:24 AM

12. I can agree to that

There is typically a fall off on Democratic turn out on non Presidential election years. I wish that were not the case. Like you, I vote every year whether or not I am enthusiastic about my choices. But I look to the 2006 mid term elections as an indicator of what we can still achieve during off year elections - when our Party is firing on all cylenders - from the grass roots on up. Simply put, like it or not, I am afraid Democratic enthusiasm will take a hit in 2014 if the Medicare age is raised to 67. We can argue about whether that is a fair or wise outcome from the perspective of Democratic voters, but I think it can reasonably be predicted that it would occur.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:36 AM

13. I will agree with that but add

 

it is why if we pick off some republicans (like Charlie Crist) and they run as democrats(like Charlie in Florida running vs. Scott, Scott will not win and Charlie will

Remember, now the tea party people are in office, and cannot run as outsiders anymore.

YES, I agree that they will be entusiastic if they percieve a victory on issues, however, they have a finite number of voters, so that is what we need to offset.

and it's not so easy

That is why I specifically want all candidate in office not to go for another job at this time in our history. It was different in past, and maybe again in future, but now it is dangerous

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:42 AM

14. Good points, good discussion. Thanks n/t

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:14 PM

15. The OP

 

is correct. Most of the Democrats that lost, were Blue Dog Democrats and many lost even though they didn't even support the Public Option. They lost because they threw their base under the bus, moreso than getting voters, they were never going to get. There are not many Blue Dogs left. This is a fight between the two extremes, and if Obama throws the base under the bus, the Democrats just as well disband and that Base will get another candidate to push their causes. If those in the middle want to join the Far Right than so be it. Let the Right have everything they want. I will stay with the Liberals and bet many of those minority voters will too. And as far as I'm concerned, in the long term, the numbers favor us. We put him in office! And if Hillary wants to be President, I wouldn't start making plans for the White house because she want have a base. The simple facts are, there are not any sheep here and never were any. Apparently the Democratic Leadership might think so though?

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:18 PM

16. That's not why we got drubbed in 2010. It's mostly because without Obama at the top of the ticket

there was a lot lower turnout from African Americans and young people.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 02:22 PM

17. Which is why we constantly need to keep electing more minorities/women in ALL elections

 

senate/house/governor/mayor/all the way to election board, assembly, freeholder, etc.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 03:02 PM

18. Democrats did exceedingly well in the 2006 mid term elections

Minorities and women then weren't even assured in 2006 that there would be an African American canddiate, let alone a President, to give support to. I am not dismissing your observation, it undoubtably came into play - but there is more to it than that. The difference between the 2006 and 2010 mid term election results points to multiple causes for the Democratic turn of fortunes. You named one and I named another. There were other shifting variables also but the Democratic Party IMO would be foolish not to look at this type of warning.

Right or wrong, the Democratic base did not experience the ultimate health care compromises in 2009 as a great victory to inspire them, leading into 2010. Much of the activist base, again rightly or wrongly, expected more from a Democratic Party dominated national government.

At this point I honestly don't want to re-litergate the politics of what was finally settled for with the Affordable Care Act, and why that was, or how great or small a victory it actually was. For the sake of discussion I'll assume that nothing could possibly have been done to improve on that outcome. Besides, for now it is water under the bridge. I am just saying that it was obvious to me and many others at the time that Democrats would pay some price, fair or not, for falling short of campaign promises and what was expected by many of them on the signature issue of the time.

We are at a similar crossroads today regarding protecting "entitlement" programs in budget negotiations.

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