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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:20 PM
Original message
Obama's Game-Changing Win
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-12-... /


Obama's Game-Changing Win
by Eric Alterman


Way back on December 2, 1993, an ambitious right-wing think tank denizen and former aide to Dan Quayle by the name William Kristol circulated a terse, four-page memo to Republican leaders warning of the political dangers of allowing a Democratic president to reform the U.S. health-care system. The memos language is almost comically deferential, reflecting what was then its authors near-complete non-notoriety. Nothing in these pages is intended to supplant the many thoughtful analyses of the Clinton health-care plan already produced by Republicans and others. The thrust of the memos argument was clear and unapologetic: Republicans must resist health-care reform lest its success be allowed to revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining the growth of government.

We will never know if Kristol was right about 1993: His role as a political swami rather famously leaves much to be desired, (as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis might attest, were they still alive). But we do know his memo succeeded in bludgeoning the mind of what was then, relatively speaking, the Republicans moderate leadersturning them from Clinton conciliators into Republican road warriors. Of course the Clintonites screwed up considerably themselves, failing to embrace any number of perfectly palatable compromises the Republicans (and their own recalcitrant members) had on the table, demanding more than the system could deliver, and ending up, in the words of Elvis Costello, with less than zero.

Exactly why Barack Obama has been able to succeed where so many other presidents, going back to Harry Truman, have failed before him is not easy to pinpointat least not yet. The United States has long lagged behind other nations in the quality of the health care it delivered to the majority of its citizens.

Trumans plan never really had a chance, particularly with the Korean War dominating his presidency. Lyndon Johnson focused his attention largely on the elderly and the indigent, and ended up creating Medicare and Medicaid; not bad at the time, one must admit, but they both left the vast majority of middle-class Americans at the mercy of a mercenary industry dedicated to denying coverage whenever it proved unprofitable. Ted Kennedy writes in his eloquent and moving memoir, True Compass, of his bafflement at Jimmy Carter, who, after running on a comprehensive reform plan almost identical to the one Kennedy spent his career fighting for, was almost immediately replaced by the President Carter who wanted to approach health insurance in incremental steps, over time, if certain cost-containment benchmarks were metand after the 1978 midterm elections (p.359).

Barack Obama, it must be added, not only passed comprehensive health-care reform, but he passed it in a Senate whose barriers against the filibuster of legislation have been considerably reduced to next to nothing. (Filibustering, rather than voting against legislation, is the ideal way for a politician to kill something without being forced to take responsibility for an actual vote. After all, who can mount a campaign against you on behalf of an issue called cloture?)

snip//

But why then, are (most) Democrats so happy and (all) Republicans so glum this Christmas? My guess is that Democrats are gambling on exactly the same ground that so worried William Kristol 16 years ago. Theyve redefined the playing field of American politics to ground that is inherently favorable to their team. When Americans complain about their health care in the future, are they going to look to the party that wants to do nothing to fix it? No, theyre going to go with the side of political activism and government involvement. The other side, after all, isnt even in the game. Republicans had their chance and all they could say was Bah Humbug.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. When Americans complain about their health care in the future-
they're going to blame Democrats.

And this dog bill will give them plenty to bitch about.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Or, it will make lots of people less fortunate than yourself happy. nt
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Great point....
K&R...

It's not what I wanted but I can't, nor should the country have to, wait until the utopian is cobbled together sometime in the future...
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watrwefitinfor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. "...they're going to blame Democrats." You Betcha.
Just like we blamed LBJ and the Democrats for Medicare, and FDR and the Democrats for Social Security. Both of which were less than perfect, didn't cover everyone, imposed new taxes on some, and didn't do one thing to get rid of the corporations that rule America.

I remember well the huge ground-swell of leftists who saved us all when they formed a united front and made common-cause with the facists in the 30s, and with the John Birchers in the 60s, to rid the country of those terrible programs.

OH, wait....

Wat

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rateyes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Let's see. LBJ was a one-termer whose administration was followed up
Edited on Sat Dec-26-09 01:14 PM by rateyes
with 8 years of Nixon & Ford (Republicans)

A one-termer, Carter (Democrat)

8 years of Ronald Reagan (Republican)

4 years of GHW Bush (Republican)

8 years of Clinton (whose actions lost a Democratic Majority in Congress for 12 years)

8 years of Dick Cheney's puppet Bush (Asshole Republican--sorry for the redundancy)

And, now, 1 year of Obama (so far--who has given in too much to Republicans and "centrists.")


NOT a great track record since Medicare. And, the country has gone to hell in a handbasket. We elect a president who promised REAL healthcare reform, and who said that the bill he would sign would HAVE TO HAVE a public option.

Right now, my bet is that Obama is a one-termer, too. Republicans aren't going to vote for him, and he is quickly losing the base of the party.
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stevietheman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-27-09 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. I think that losing period has far more to do with the Southern strategy,
and the backlash to civil rights achievements. Racism created the "conservative bubble" of the previous generation.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
16. Surely there have been people to complain about Medicare and Medicaid
They don't seem to blame the Democrats enough to prevent us from winning the last election.
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gleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't think most Democrats ....
are all that happy. Do you have statistics or a poll you can link us to to prove that assertion, or do we just take it on faith the way you want us to take Obama. I'll pass thank you. What I see in polls and articles is an overwhelming anger and disappointment that goes all across the political spectrum and Obama's approval rating falling faster than last year's Shortbread.

If this bill is what you consider a victory, you must have your sights set pretty low. This bill is a dog and it won't help anyone, especially people whom you euphemistically refer to as "less fortunate." It will be a big help to the health insurance companies though. They have a lot to thank Obama for, and maybe vice versa?
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Thickasabrick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Agree..by 2014 this bill will not be recognizable - if still there at all. nt
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Try this...and thanks for your concern.
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gleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I did try it ....
But it is not quite the way you represented what you said. The poll was from the Daily Kos, a favorite blog of mine, but definitely one that attracts predominantly Democratic readers. Much though we may wish it the whole country is not made up of progressive Democrats. You cherry picked the stats regarding Obama personally but disregarded the big, bright red bar which showed even on a Democratic blog that 58% of the country thinks we are headed in the wrong direction. So who's driving? The Obama administration.

I watch Keith Olbermann all the time and Markos is a frequent guest. He is very critical of Obama and his method of governing and the programs and laws coming from his White House. I also saw a poll from the Wall Street Journal that Obama's approval rating overall has fallen sharply, for the first time. Olbermann was referring to it, because he does not approve of Obama's handling of the government either. Granted, the Wall Street Journal is not the most liberal publication, but it isn't only liberals who live here. I may not think too much of more moderate people but we share a country and there are enough of them to change or influence the way the country runs. You can't simply ignore them and think all the problems will go away. They won't. They will only get worse.

You don't remain credible if you tell only half the story or less. You get the reputation for slanting information and that doesn't help you in the long run. No need to thank me for my concern. My concern is for this country and all of the people in it who are hurting and who are not being answered when they cry for help. My concern is not for a man who lies and then lies some more and follows a course that couldn't hurt this country more if that is what he set out to do. I had some concern for his stone blind acolytes, but that is rapidly disappearing the same as I would lose concern for people who were feeding others poison and telling them it was good for them. Their air of moral superiority and quickness to find scorn for ideas different than the ones they are selling don't help their cause much either.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 04:40 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. This bill does have many doglike qualities. But it will help the "less fortunate"
It may help or hurt the middle class but there's no doubt that it will help those without access to healthcare now. The 10 billion for CHCs assures that.
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-25-09 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. Bah humbug indeed.
The Republicans are the Party of No.

This bill is far from perfect, and yet, it will still help.

But the best part? The Republicans had no hand in making it better. They had no good ideas, none, not one.

We must keep reminding the American electorate of this point.

K&R

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gleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 04:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. And while you are at it ...
be sure to remind everyone in this country that Obama sought them out for ideas, catered to them and constantly conceded to their pressure when he didn't have to. People are not thanking him for this, and they won't thank you if you try to ignore their very valid concerns about it.
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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 06:50 AM
Response to Original message
11. The bill is a winner
It would never have gotten 60 votes if Senators felt it was a political loser. The decline seen in some poll numbers is not substance oriented, it is process oriented. The process has been at times ugly to watch and the barrage of negative commentary from all quarters has dominated the news cycle for some time. The process and commentary will largely end with the signing ceremony. Despite all odds, there will be celebration that something got done. The whole point of getting it done now was to end the process and move the commentary to another topic. The doom and gloomers will move on to attempt to create a crisis on the next topic.

The more politically challenging bits of this legislation are implemented in the out years, whereas the billions for community health centers is front loaded. Folks will begin seeing the benefits before the 2010 election, and many will be fully in operation well before 2012.

Poll numbers for the President, and even the congress will rebound over this, and with the economy in the spring. Republicans will be lucky to break even in 2010. Don't blame me if you cannot see the plan unfolding, but the fact that you cannot see it will not prevent it from happening. Poll numbers at this point in late 2007 indicated Hillary likely to be the next President by a large margin. In short, polls are all but useless at this point. The ground will shift rather quickly.



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nonsequitur Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-27-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. No, it's not. Not now it's not.
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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. How phucking naive.
Babble on, sister.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. ...for you, Georgie Porgie...
:*
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. It's Eric Alterman's article and if stating facts is babbling according
to you, then be sure and "MARCH WITH THE TEABAGGERs" which is so fucking hip.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-26-09 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
17. "Not even in the game"...couldn't even be bothered
to suit up.
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