Slamming the Overton Window On Your Own Head

In another thread, someone asked:

Yeah, this blog is starting to rub me the wrong way a little with its knee-jerk anti-activist stink. Are you thinking of switching again, John?

No. Not at all. I’m not anti-activist, but I’m against doing self-defeating things, and what I see lately is a lot of magical thinking and self-defeating tactics at work. In fact, a couple months ago, when we were all working towards a worthwhile goal, I was linking to, quoting, and high-fiving the same activists I am now looking at like they are a freak show.

I understand a lot of what is going on predates my entrance into the Democratic party- progressives and gay right activists have a long history of being shat on by the DLC crowd, Clinton took them for a ride, and now they think Rahm an Obama are doing the same thing. Republicans didn’t pass DOMA, DADT, welfare reform, etc., after all. So I understand it to some extent. At the same time, let me tell you a story about what I see:

I’m walking down the street with my Obama/Biden button on, when up ahead of me on the right, I see a large protest. They are carrying signs, and yelling and ranting about Obama.

“Kill the bill! Obamacare sucks!”
“That’s not change you can believe in!”
“Obama’s Adopting Bush’s Terror policies! But He’s Still Weak on Terror!”
“No taxes on healthcare!”
“Just words.”

I pay no attention to them, then look to the left, and see a progressive counter-protest. They are all amped up, too, and they are yelling their own slogans:

“Kill the bill! No to Obama’s Insurance Sell Out!”
“That’s not the change I voted for!”
“Obama’s just like Bush on National Security/Gitmo!”
“No taxes on healthcare!”
“Just words!”

I recognize a lot of people in the crowd, so I walk up to them and ask them what the hell they are doing. They look back at me and tell me, “Oh. We’re just moving the Overton Window to the left.”

Now do you understand why I am wondering what the hell people are thinking? I don’t understand the logic of adopting the same frames as the right. I don’t understand the idea of killing HCR because there will be something better down the road. I don’t understand why everything has to be done immediately, the way the loudest want it done, or Obama is a sell out.

Maybe I am just an authoritarian at heart, and I know I am much more comfortable supporting a movement than I am attempting to lead one, but it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

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437 replies
  1. 1

    I guess this is where I come to give you your tongue bath, Cole?

  2. 2
    gwangung says:

    it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now as usual is other Democrats.

    Fixed that for you.

  3. 3
    BTD says:

    In my view, your approach, which has been adopted by many, is a “self-defeating tactic” if you are trying to persuade those whose tactics you disagree with.

    If you are not trying to persuade, then have at it.

  4. 4
    Sanka says:

    I don’t understand the idea of killing HCR because there will be something better down the road.

    Shorter John Cole: “Let’s shaft the country right now—Obama’s legacy is at stake and we need a new generation of Democratic voters who are dependent on government healthcare, as mediocre as that may be.”

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    Yeah, this blog is starting to rub me the wrong way a little with its knee-jerk anti-activist stink.

    Tea Baggers are activists, too. They’ve been getting a decidedly mixed bag of results. There’s a certain degree of wisdom to being “anti-activist” if you’re going the Erick Erickson route.

  6. 6
    Zandar says:

    but it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

    Actually, it’s emopants stupidity. Man is inherently flawed, ergo we must elect Republicans, or some Nietzschean shit like that.

  7. 7
    different church-lady says:

    I never really understood what the “circular firing squad” cliche was all about until the past few months.

  8. 8
    AnotherBruce says:

    No Sanka, actually we would like to make all voters, not just Democrats, dependent on government run health care.

    Now go fuck off.

  9. 9
    Dave C says:

    @Sanka:

    You either are an obvious–and poor–troll or you have absolutely no idea what HCR actually entails. Here’s a hint: making people “dependent on government healthcare” ain’t it.

  10. 10
    J.W. Hamner says:

    It can’t be a good thing that Coakley has to defend the value of HCR to Democrats. In Massachusetts. Good job FDL!

    If moving the Overton Window means losing Ted Kennedy’s seat then I am not interested.

  11. 11
    SGEW says:

    This is not the new thread I was hoping for.

  12. 12
    Jim says:

    When was the phrase “circular firing squad” first used to describe the Democratic Party? It’s been true at least since Will Rogers’ day.

    I think the problem with what Mr Pierce called “Circle Jerk Ranch” and their fellow travellers is the Pauline Kael Fallacy brought into the world of blogs and tweets: “Every liberal blog I read– except for that double agent John Cole!–thinks that Obama only ran for president because he’s a Hillary hating misogynist who wanted to block REAL health care reform, gut entitlements and pass too small a stimulus package!!”

  13. 13
    Leelee for Obama says:

    In much the same way that in business women often have problems with female peers, or female supervisors ( though that is getting better ). I have been trying not to get too involved in this stuff, because I’ve been experiencing the circular firing squad for a fucking long time and I’m not feeling up to it just now. But, you’re right, John. There is no point to having a left leaning Overton window if we still don’t have the votes. I would love to exist in a perfect world where a super majority was needed in only the most dire of circumstances, war, for instance. Or changing the Constitution. Or a world where there were opposition Party members who thought for themselves, and then voted for the good of the nation. I don’t, we don’t, that’s the truth. Crippling the possibility of ANY progressive change while waiting for the perfect world is dumber than shit, and that is that.

    OT- Soledad O’Brien succeeded in stunning me today by announcing that BEFORE the quake there were 380,000 orphans in Haiti. Wrap you heads around that why don’t ya? I am very down in the dumps these past few days, and the Coakley/Brown race has not helped at all!

  14. 14
    Lev says:

    Matt Yglesias had a worthwhile piece on this today.

    I agree with you 100%, John. The only way I see of moving the Overton Window to the left would be to pass HCR. Then it goes from liberal fantasy to The Status Quo. The Republicans will have no choice but to go along as they can’t repeal it, and then we’ll all be arguing about cost control from then on out. Sounds good to me.

  15. 15
    Sly says:

    it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

    Fixed, and to an extent, yes.

    Even if I bought into the concept of the Overton Window, the guy who came up with the idea didn’t think that moving said window was accomplished by attacking your allies for not being pure enough. It was supposed to be an issue-related activity, devoid of political personalities, designed to expand the range of acceptable ideas in the public discourse. How attacking the White House Chief of Staff accomplishes that, I’m not sure. Frankly, I think it’s just unhappy people expressing their unhappiness at a target they think is in control over whether they are happy or not.

    Overton also put the movement in a timeline of decades.

    Bottom line: The worst thing that Cable News ever did was give people the impression that all politics is national when it isn’t. The worst thing that the internet did was convince people that they are an expert in American politics when they clearly aren’t.

  16. 16
    Cassidy says:

    Nature of the beast. You have to remember that far left and far right are the same kind of people just on different issues. Both are authoritarian at heart, want the gov’t to mandate their pet issue, and only want the electorate to be able to “choose” what they deem is okay for us to make choices about. Choosing sides is like choosing between fighting a great white in the water or fighting a silverback gorilla in a cage. Either way, you’re meat, but at least one gives you a slightly better chance of living longer.

  17. 17
    maus says:

    Now do you understand why I am wondering what the hell people are thinking? I don’t understand the logic of adopting the same frames as the right.

    Maybe I am just an authoritarian at heart, and I know I am much more comfortable supporting a movement than I am attempting to lead one, but it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

    It’s not the “same” frames. The GOP will tolerate nothing smelling slightly liberal, even if it’s in their best interest. The progressives are sick of conservative triangulation that is objectively not in their interest. The Democrats’ worst enemy is Democrats who do not act like Democrats present themselves are supposed to. This is an ideological issue, not partisanship.

  18. 18
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: You can’t pass nuthin’ if you don’t get and stay yourself elected. That is an immutable fact that you cannot get around with idealism alone. Not in a functioning democracy. And in this one, we have a country split in a big ideological way. So the formula toward success on the electoral politics side is more relevant than say many European countries. Another immutable fact.

    What I and I think Cole is saying is, that though we agree with you largely on policy, you are not paying enough due diligence to the electoral part of a two part solution. The other, or issue side, and the change we all want is predicated on winning elections. Without that, all the idealism in the world cannot bring the change you and I want, within the system. The only one we have.

  19. 19
    wiley says:

    Wall Street and the military-industrial complex can’t just be “stared down” like people imagine that Reagan “stared down” the Evil Empire. The president is just not that powerful. I can’t say I’m overjoyed with President Obama, but if what he has done so far brings out such hysteria, I shudder at the thought of the reaction would be to truly radical action. This country is divided. I don’t see how he has any choice but to be centrist.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    I said a couple of days ago that we are one Scalito Unit away from the overturning of Roe, Lawrence, and a bunch of other things. So I’m definitely not in the “Let’s embrace the teabaggers” camp.

    That said, Obama and Rahm have pretty much taken many opportunities to let it be known that they don’t give two shits about what the left wing of their party thinks. If they want to do that, fine, but don’t be surprised when their support for you is decidedly less enthusiastic.

  21. 21
    Concerned Citizen says:

    Hear hear! We need to keep moving in the right direction, even if it’s slower than most would like.

    I’ll be voting Coakley tomorrow, but I feel many have lost sight of the big picture, and we’re going to get a teabagging prick to replace Kennedy. What a disgrace.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Demo Woman says:

    @Leelee for Obama: No news in my house. Instead of putting on the news, I just watched an old movie on Netflix instant.
    John is attracting lots of trolls so he must be doing some thing right.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    Some folks on the left wanted to crash the gates just so they could get inside the gates and throw things at each other.

    FWIW, the first time I heard the term “Progressive” in its recent context was out of the mouth of a friend who agreed with the Clinton impeachment because “he was a Republican”.

  25. 25
    The Raven says:

    Maybe I am just an authoritarian at heart, and I know I am much more comfortable supporting a movement than I am attempting to lead one, but it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

    I think you are right, John. The fragile coalition between the corporatist Democrats and the liberal Democrats is stressed, perhaps broken forever. Rather than Obama trying to reconcile the Democrats and the Republicans, by shutting out the liberal Democrats and creating a conservative Democratic Party which would then try to compromise with the far-right Republican Party, an approach which seems to me foredoomed, I wish he had concentrated on unifying the Democratic Party.

    Why is loyalty so important to you? Is it just part of your make-up? I basically take the position of reciprocity; I will offer loyalty to a party that represents me, at least in part, and the people and ideas important to me. To me you seem to just want a party to be loyal to, and are willing to follow it most of the way to the Abyss. Why?

  26. 26
    scudbucket says:

    @J.W. Hamner: This radically overstimates FDL’s power to influence public opinion. Coakley’s poor showing is due to a) her and b) the Dem. leadership.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how people who advocate sitting on your hands and doing nothing when Election Day arrives can still refer to themselves as “activists” with a straight face.

  28. 28
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @maus:

    .It’s not the “same” frames. The GOP will tolerate nothing smelling slightly liberal, even if it’s in their best interest. The progressives are sick of conservative triangulation that is objectively not in their interest.

    No one is disputing that the two sides have different aims and goals, as well as a different impetus for their anger at the current political environment. The question is how are they going about rectifying the situation? Calling the Obama Administration a failure and chock full of greedy, immoral corporate whores is not the way to do that, unless you happen to be a Republican.

  29. 29
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Indeed Stuck. I agree. I think we disagree on the way to win elections.

    I disagreed with the DLC too during the Naughts.

    Maybe you are right and maybe you are wrong.

    I’m not much in the persuasion game so I do not even try to write persuasively.

    My point is that if Cole IS in the persuasion game, he is not going to persuade many people his criticisms are directed at given the way he goes about it.

    If he wants to get his shots in, in the circular firing squad, then he should have at it.

    But let’s not pretend that Cole’s shooting is somehow more noble than anyone else’s in the circle.

  30. 30
    Zandar says:

    The other, or issue side, and the change we all want is predicated on winning elections. Without that, all the idealism in the world cannot bring the change you and I want, within the system. The only one we have.

    Meanwhile the Republicans will kill the filibuster in 2012 or whatever and pass Laws That Will Hurt A Lot. Then they will install more Alitos and then we’ll be really fubar.

    Why the bloody purple hell are we worrying about the Overton Window when the entire Overton House is on fire, covered in termites that are eating the house and also made of fire, and having a giant fifty foot tall firey robot made of fire punching said house with fists made largely of fire while refusing the services of the fire department because the fire department may not provide organically certified meals at dinnertime in fire departments?

  31. 31
    chrismealy says:

    John,

    I’m with you on this, but it’d be cool to link to folks doing it the right way once in a while. You know, a little positive reinforcement.

  32. 32
    Mary says:

    If we are able to get healthcare passed, we should be dancing in the streets instead of being forced by our own side to say how much it all sucks and how much the Democrats suck. Absolutely no appreciation for the political risks involved in passing this legislation and no support for the politicians taking those risks.

    And all of this playing out in the first year of this administration after the mess the GOP left. It’s a disgrace.
    I won’t trust these leaders on any matter again. We need new trustworthy leaders with a modicum of historical perspective and who don’t reek of greedy self interest.

    Absent that, I’m sticking with OFA, DNC, DSCC and DCCC. I find them far more trustworthy at the moment.

  33. 33
    SGEW says:

    I find it quite interesting that Mr. Cole and I have diametrically opposed visceral feelings towards authority figures, yet (over the years) we’ve more or less arrived at the same political position.

    As far as I’m concerned, this place is the reasonable center.

  34. 34
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: You would have to work really hard to see this post as inflammatory or an attack on people. All I am doing is trying to explain the way I see things. Nowhere in this post am I attacking anyone.

  35. 35
    Carlo says:

    All of this would be more convincing if John linked to the subjects of his criticism more. For example, from the previous post, which are the left-wing blogs to whom Coakley’s loss would be no big deal?

  36. 36
    mcd410x says:

    Harold Ford’s possible run for Senate in New York pretty much sums up how I feel about politics.

    Think I’ll go read Doctor Zhivago

  37. 37
    Jim says:

    I would say Jane Hamsher’s use of the “…this bill will force you to do x whether you want to or not” argument is classic GOP framing. Somehow I don’t think Jane Hamsher would be saying the same thing if “x” was “pay unemployment insurance” or “pay property taxes to fund public schools.”

    BTW John that is a very good post title.

  38. 38
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD: Well, the folks on the other side of this dispute play pretty hard too. It should not be personal, and I don’t think Cole is doing that. Often the severe reactions to these kinds of posts do not match with the rhetoric Cole presents. It is straight forward and blunt, but like yesterdays post on Greenwald, fairly damn respectful, more so than I would be.

  39. 39
    CalD says:

    I’ll bet the Cadillac tax would be an easier sell if Dem’s put it more like, “We want make it harder for your bosses to hand you shitty raises and say yeah we know it sucks, but just take the whole family out for MRIs instead of going to Disney World this year.”

    If you manage to sideline organized labor in the fight then basically the only opposition you’ve still got on the left are people who will never support anything that’s actually achievable, ever. And yes they’ll still whine and moan and go around calling everyone whores and sell-outs. But the rest of us are surely used to that by now.

  40. 40
    John Cole says:

    Why is loyalty so important to you? Is it just part of your make-up?

    Yes, it is part of my makeup- I’m a dance with the girl who brung you kind of guy, and it probably kept me in the GOP for far longer than I should have been.

    That having been said, I think loyalty matters right now because while inter-party squabbles are to some extent healthy, we need to remember that the Republicans are CRAZY and DANGEROUS.

    And I am also loyal because while Obama has broken some promises, I see him honestly grappling with a huge plate of issues and doing the best he can with the situation, congress, and electorate he has.

  41. 41
    Jim says:

    At the root, I agree with both the FDL crew and John. I think policy-wise and Overton-window-shifting-wise, FDL is a mostly good sense about them. But at the same time there is just a lack of appreciation for the forces at work. Bernie fucking Sanders ended up voting for the Senate bill! Would they argue that we need to elect Senators more progressive than him? Would this bill be drastically different if we had a President Sanders?

  42. 42
    Cassidy says:

    Why the bloody purple hell are we worrying about the Overton Window when the entire Overton House is on fire,….

    Ideological purity baby! Gotta love some self mutilation.

  43. 43
    Allan says:

    The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

    Remember, Larry Johnson was a progressive hero during the Plame case.

    Once the enemy is defeated, the reasons we banded together to slay the beast start to matter again.

    Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher et al have their own agenda. It is not Obama’s agenda.

    They are not my friends.

  44. 44
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    This post? No. I was talking about your general approach that spurred the comment you riffed off of.

    I think it would be hard for you to deny that you have been in war mode against those folks.

    In my view, that is a pretty ineffective – or, in your words, self-defeating, tactic.

  45. 45
    Napoleon says:

    Good post John.

  46. 46
    SteveinSC says:

    The points that need to be made are that (1) Obama tried the “come, let’s reason together, post partisan approach. Nine months of sucking up to republicans who hate his black face. What did he get, even from Snowe and Collins? Spit on his face. (2) Pelosi and the progressives put forward a good progressive bill, while the Senate mumbles along (3) Obama stands back quiet and passive as the fray goes on with an occasional aside “psst, dump the public option…” And soon enough the bill is weak as water and money to the insurance companies. People are told “Just wait ’till he’s needed, he’ll step in and apply the Bully Pulpit.” Crickets. (4) Close Gitmo–deferred, (5) Extraordinary renditions, rule of law, investigations, “…shhh”. (6) and all the while the republicans actively seek the emasculation of his Presidency. What are we expected to make of this? Amateur! He should be appealing to the millions who put him in office. Johnson and Kennedy would have. Call to his base and throw down the gauntlet. He’s about to get fucked raw and doesn’t seem to have a clue. A last minute TV commercial? Give me a break.

  47. 47
    Martin says:

    If Coakley loses, the ‘HCR’ will be defeated, and Democrats will need to go back to their progressive, anti-corporate roots in order to attract a Republican to get on board.

    Thank you Jane and company for a plan that cannot lose.

    Life was much better an hour ago when I was still on Pandora in all its 3D IMAX glory.

  48. 48
    mcd410x says:

    … but here’s some Martin Luther King Jr. from COGIC before I do.

    “Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. …”

  49. 49
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Not only do the play hard, oftentimes, they play incredibly stupidly. Let’s take the obvious example – FDL and Grover Norquist. Not only was that idiotic and counterproductive – it undermined their own ability to influence the debate (which even if you assign to them the most nefarious motives, was just plain idiotic.)

    They have been on the defensive since then.

    Now suppose they are just misguided and not “evil, how would you go about trying to persuade them to modify their behavior? I submit that Cole’s approach is a “self-defeating” tactic.

    But let’s broaden the discussion beyond silly blog wars to things that matter – voters and activists. Should we berate them for not voting or working for Democrats? Or should we try and figure out what might motivate them to work and vote for Democrats and then plan and act accordingly?

    I vote for the latter.

  50. 50
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    And people wonder why many in the Democratic leadership have no respect for “the left”. It’s exactly because of this behavior.

    The ad-hominem anti-Obama and anti-Rahm stuff is totally counterproductive. This isn’t pushing the overton window to the left, this is increasing peoples’ negative perceptions of the Obama administration. Since, for most people, it’s difficult to distinguish between your dislike of a person and your dislike for their positions, this poisons the public’s attitude toward administration policies as a whole, even the more liberal ones. It also makes the Democratic party leadership less likely to adopt their policies (“Hey, I sort of agree with those guys, but they’re assholes”).

    Literally half of the relatives I’ve talked to over the holidays are convinced that “Obama’s policies are too liberal even for liberals!! Look how mad they are at him!”. The revelation that “no, actually, they’re mad because he’s not liberal enough” was evidently confusing to them, because it triggered the response “I thought obama WAS a liberal?!”

    No one would argue Ted Kennedy was a corporate sellout. But did you see him attacking the Dem leadership every time one of his issues got sidelined?

  51. 51
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Well… this thread was quieter… for a while… until everyone over on the other one realized it was here… so much for that.

  52. 52
    Annie says:

    @Sanka:

    As opposed to being dependent on a “business” to determine your health care?

    A business is in the business for profit. Hence, rationing, cost containment, no care for pre-existing conditions, limited care for long-term illness, etc. You may be willing to sell all of your assets if you get sick, but not me.

    PS. My husband is a medical doctor born and trained outside the US, and he can’t believe the structure of our health care system….Go figure.

  53. 53
    Jim says:

    Also, you gotta start including “Paul Krugman should apologize to Marcy Wheeler” in your tags.

  54. 54
    mcc says:

    I think it would be hard for you to deny that you have been in war mode against those folks.

    I really don’t get this defense-of-last-resort here where someone wants to defend to the death their right to go into war mode against everyone except themselves all the time… but gets really upset and hurt if anyone responds to this by going in to war mode against them.

    I want movement to the left. If someone is going to fight that, then I see no reason not to fight back against them. If that’s the Republicans, then okay. If that’s Kent Conrad, then okay. And if that’s Jane Hamsher, then okay.

  55. 55
    mcd410x says:

    And what the hell, a little Robert Kennedy, too.

  56. 56
    Phaedrus says:

    Not even going to read the previous posts… sorry, but I’ve heard it all before.

    Just want to set the record straight :

    I don’t support HCR because I think it’s a bad bill. I think it does more harm than hurt

    Obama’s actions are just like Bush on WOT, Guantanamo, rights, habeaus. (this has been my biggest dissapointment) Obama just frames it differently.

    No, this isn’t the change I voted for – lack of transparency, etc., etc. etc.

    It’s not that it isn’t changing fast enough – it isn’t changing at all! Some times it changes just barely enough to give you guys a STFU moment to people like me (we are getting the White house visitor logs… sometimes, sometimes not – wtf!)

    My question – why aren’t you raving, fucking mad at this? Obama is on tape saying he would do the EXACT opposite from what he is doing. I’m not trying to play political games, move some Overton whatever – I’m just pissed as hell that this fuck lied to all of us on big issues, and I can’t understand why you guys are throwing shit at me.

  57. 57
    BTD says:

    @mcc:

    Actually John and I have had a truce for some time.

    I did not like being at war with John (he ripped me up pretty effectively a few too many times) so I stopped criticizing him in posts and he has graciously for the most part stopped ripping me.

    I am not personally complaining – John has not gone to war with me.

    So my comments do not reflect any personal complaint.

    I am commenting on his post.

  58. 58
    BombIranForChrist says:

    What really frustrates me is that the Democrats have basically tried everything except … what some of the activists have suggested. I am no fan of Kos at all … I had my fill of him before Kerry won the nomination … but something tells me that if Obama and the Congressional Dems had 1) stuck it to the bankers and 2) ignored the Republicans, they wouldn’t be in the boat they are in now.

    And that is what a lot of the activists have been saying along, that Obama + Dems are basically fools for thinking that the Bankers care about anything than themselves and that the Republicans are anything but nihilists. Sully is a major league Drama Queen, but he nails it when he suggests that the Republicans are, at their core, nihilists.

    So, I really do think Jane + Kos go overboard, frequently. I think it is one big reason why they lack credibility, because they basically lose their tops over every slightest thing that doesn’t adhere to their world view, but I am pretty disgusted with the Dems right now, and even though this may be sarcastically referred to as the “circular firing squad” or “There those Dems go again with their in fighting”, maybe someone ought to point out that a lot of what the activists have been saying is exactly right and maybe someone ought to try something different than Ye Olde Mild Mannered Broderism which has infected the entire party. I’m just sick of it.

  59. 59
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Should we berate them for not voting or working for Democrats? Or should we try and figure out what might motivate them to work and vote for Democrats and then plan and act accordingly?

    Interesting question. In an atmosphere of honesty and good will, then I would agree with the second approach. But I am a big believer in straight talk when it comes to politics. And like I said, it should never be personal, but at some point, if it is clear your target for conversion is inconsolable and has made other decisions, then it’s politics is not beanbags time. Or, adult rules.

    **but of course, there are lots of grey areas, that I would give the benefit of the doubt to your second solution.

  60. 60
    Davis X. Machina says:

    No one would argue Ted Kennedy was a corporate sellout.

    Never been to DemocraticUnderground.com, I see….

  61. 61
    gbear says:

    @Phaedrus: DougJ, is that you? Genius.

    edit: Great post John. Great discussion so far. Please excuse me for snarking it.

  62. 62
    Mary says:

    @BTD: John Cole is in war mode? That’s laughable. He asks questions. He is always polite and inviting and I tend to think he has brought a lot of people around to a more measured way of thinking. Other bloggers are indeed starting to rethink their approach and pull back from the extremism and the constant negativity. At the very least, he provides a place for people who have questions.

    He must be shrinking the pool of extremists, else why would they be coming over here to peddle their wares.

  63. 63
    cat48 says:

    Your absolutely right, John. Democrats have become unreconizable to me. I have not seen anything quite this stupid since they destroyed themselves for years that dreadful Chicago nite in the 1960’s. I personally blame people like Olbermann, Schultz, Huffington, Zsa Zsa Hamsher, Greenwald, Centrists in Congress, Repugs, Krugman, etc. who I am certain all have comfy health plans and have spewed discontent, betrayal, and other venom at Obama since the moment he entered the Oval Office. He never had a chance. I knew it was going to be extremely difficult for him because he is black. I knew he would have to be more conservative because it would be a lot of change to just accept a black man for a lot of backward people. Huffington has a new editorial raging about how MLK would not have accepted what Obama has which proves she knows nothing about history. King grabbed half a loaf anytime it was offered. He was not a fool like these supposed “progressives” are. It is extremely disappointing.

  64. 64
    Tonal Crow says:

    I can haz Rush Limbaugh threads? This cat food is sucks.

  65. 65
    Alfie says:

    Good for you, John, you said what needed to be said.

  66. 66
    valdivia says:

    I keep saying this when you write about this topic but will just have to say it again: Amen. Thanks for keeping the sanity.

  67. 67
    BTD says:

    @Mary:

    Sure.

  68. 68
    Matt says:

    Does anyone else think this is insane!!!! That the Democratic Party and the whole of our ability to govern is beholden to one Senator winning or losing, because it takes 60 Senate votes to get anything done in this country. This is the point I just wish the walls would come crashing down and people would start waking up from the stupid shit that rules our world..

    GRAHHHHHHH

  69. 69
    Mrs. Polly says:

    @The Raven: Oof.
    Why is loyalty so important to you?

    Because the expectation of immediate-results-or-I-walk means walking into a right-wing abyss. I’ll take my shallow depression, thank you.

  70. 70
    Walker says:

    I would just like to point to Mish’s blog as exhibit A on exactly how this narrative is going to play out. Mish is conservative, but he is well respected in the economics blogging community and is not a wignut.

  71. 71
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Wait, we’re not supposed to still hate BTD? Can I get a fucking enemies list please??

    And I’m right there with ya Phaedrus. “Not as bad as Bush” is a helluva place to wind up from where he started.

  72. 72
    Goblue72 says:

    Only in a far left-wing nuts fevered delusions would the act of the Democratic Party being on the verge on providing health insurance to 30 million uninsured Americans be considered a center-right corporatist sell-out.

    This is why FDL and their ilk can just frak themselves.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    Personally, I’m waiting for the big sulkfest that will accompany the repeal of DADT because it didn’t happen soon enough.

  74. 74
    deadrody says:

    Ha! Thinking of switching AGAIN. Too funny. Even your fevered liberal fans know you are just a fickle johnny come lately.

    The wind isn’t blowing hard enough from the right yet ? Or have you just not figured out which way the wind is blowing yet ?

    Why have morals and ethics when you can just calculate the right time to switch allegiance ?

  75. 75
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @BombIranForChrist:

    And that is what a lot of the activists have been saying along, that Obama + Dems are basically fools for thinking that the Bankers care about anything than themselves…

    Actually, I doubt if the Dems fooled themselves at all on this one. I think they understand quite well what the Bankers are all about. What’s going to get their (the Dems) Cheneys bitten off here is believing they could fool the people who put them into office.

    I, sadly, see the Dems’ entire act as built around convincing the electorate that they’re somehow ‘different’ from the Repubs when they’re actually not. They pretended they wanted HCR… but really didn’t want to offend the health care companies. So they’ve been doing this weird dance for months now, waiting and hoping they can get the Repubs blamed for this fiasco, all the whilst crying, ‘But we TRIED!’

    It’s the same w/ the bankers. The Dems WANT to be seen as opposing the big banks PUBLICLY, for the sake of the little guy, but really, other than more nauseating Kabuki and tongue bathing, just how many Dems have come and really beaten the drum for truly meaningful, STRONG banking reform?

    ***crickets…***

    IMO, there are SOME truly progressive Dems… Kucinich and Feingold come to mind… but are they not deliberately marginalized by their own party and basically treated like rabid dogs?

  76. 76
    gwangung says:

    And I’m right there with ya Phaedrus. “Not as bad as Bush” is a helluva place to wind up from where he started.

    So…why are people convinced that all movement is ended?

  77. 77
    Annie says:

    @BombIranForChrist:

    And, where have all the activists been this past year, as the teabaggers grab all the press and hold numerous protests and take over the townhall meetings? Invisible….

    Where was the public showing and support for HCR? Sorry, I must missed the large public demonstrations.

    Dremocratic activists quickly turn on each other and the administration. They have failed this year to turn their attention to the Republicans — failed to mobilize, failed to visibility rally around the administration, failed to hold the media accountable — failed, failed, failed….

    While we have failed, the Republicans have succeeded in taking every policy debate and turning it on its ear. Which rally took on the “death panels?” Which townhall meeting was so overwhelming filled with Democratic activists that teabaggers went home with their bags between their legs? Where was the public support for closing Gitmo and finally having real trials for those held captive for more than 8 years….NO WHERE…

    But, we can write, bitch and moan over how the administration has let us down.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Why is it that these sorts of posts always bring in tons of commenters who have never been seen here before?

  79. 79
    SGEW says:

    We only know what we’re against.

  80. 80
    Phaedrus says:

    Don’t know DOUGJ, but I’m guessing that’s not a compliment.

    I don’t read KOS, nor FDL – though I do read Greenwald.

    Can you understand that someone with a sincere desire to see a progressive agenda can be seriously against what Obama has been doing for the year he’s been in office?

    There’s no subtext here – Obama, on almost every substantial issue he has faced, has made choices that are at odds with the direction I think the country should be going in.

  81. 81
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Phaedrus: No one gives a shit what you think.

  82. 82
    baxie says:

    Obama is an improvement on Bush inasmuch as it’s better to have a sane person running the killer robot than a crazy one. But he hasn’t done anything to decommission the killer robot like he promised back when he wanted my vote.

    I’m not going to back a guy who craps on everybody who got him elected because its suddenly more expedient to curry favor with the big money boys.

    I don’t understand what’s irrational about that. His policies suck ass, why shouldn’t I criticize them? Why shouldn’t anyone who disagrees with his policies criticize them?

    The current Republican party neatly illustrates the end result of the “shut up, get behind the train and PUSH!” model of political participation.

  83. 83
    handy says:

    You know, some here were quick to order the troll to DIAF for the “government healthcare” comment, but I think this stems from the larger problem that Dems have had this whole issue, which is that nobody is talking about why health care is so ridiculously expensive in this country.

    If we had real message coordination on this, I think a lot more people would “get it” and realize how unacceptable it is. But instead, people like Ezra want to hand waive the problem away. “It’s not the cost itself it’s the rate of cost!” No, sorry Ezra. It is the cost. That’s the Alpha and the Omega of the issue, people.

    And meanwhile the FDL people keep screaming “public option” or bust–what the hell does someone like Sanka think we stand for in this whole debate? This bill is a piece garbage, but it’s got to pass. And then, we have to do better.

  84. 84
    Jim says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Personally, I’m waiting for the big sulkfest that will accompany the repeal of DADT because it didn’t happen soon enough.

    I saw several posters saying Obama was insufficiently pro-choice because he waited a day to overturn the Mexico City Gag Rule. They wanted him to do it on the anniversary of Roe v Wade, instead of the day after. They were as serious as heart attacks.

  85. 85
    mcc says:

    Why is it that these sorts of posts always bring in tons of commenters who have never been seen here before?

    – Blog attacks members of other blog

    – Members of other blog one way or another find out about this, show up, defend themselves

    …seems pretty straightforward to me?

  86. 86
    Chad N Freude says:

    @SteveinSC: About

    the millions who put him in office.

    NPR interviewed some college students, I think in Pennsylvania, about future elections. One said that that young voters were really excited in 2008 — first black candidate, first female candidate — but congressional and state elections aren’t really very interesting, a lot of them won’t bother to vote, etc. I don’t know what percentage of the millions fall into this category, but short-sightedness, shallowness, and this-is-exciting-everything-else-is-boringism don’t bode well for getting them fired up again.

  87. 87
    ranger11 says:

    @baxie:We want the world and we want it now!!!

  88. 88
    gbear says:

    Does anyone else think that “Not as bad as Bush” is actually a great place to be? Can you imagine how fucked we’d be if things were “as bad as Bush”? Can you imagine the mayhem of the current GOP in the white house?

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mcc: OK, where is Cole’s attack on another blog? Or do I need to read between the lines?

  90. 90
    Phaedrus says:

    @Annie – what were we supposed to rally around? The money give away to bankers? The stimulus that was way too small and full of tax breaks instead of jobs? The continuance of Bush GWOT? Health care with mandates and no public option?

    As each one of those decisions unfolded a little more air was sucked out of the progressive support for Obama, until the only thing we could shout at rallys was “support Obama, he might screw us at every turn, but he probably won’t get us into another war – and he definitely won’t torture people if he does”.

    Not very stirring.

  91. 91
    Chad N Freude says:

    @mcc: How do they find us? I though BJ was like Skull & Bones, secretive and impenetrable.

  92. 92
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @baxie:

    But he hasn’t done anything to decommission the killer robot like he promised back when he wanted my vote.

    I remember that. It was a dark and stormy night campaign stop. The mortars were falling all around. And somebody said, “decommision that motherfucking killer robot”. Ever thing got quiet, and Obama said, I will do it if you will vote for me. Yes, I remember that well.

  93. 93
    cay says:

    Before Obama got elected, I thought that it would take 20 years to get the country back to a manageable level. When Obama got elected, I still thought it would take that long. If you look at him on election night, he already has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Compare that to Bush’s election night. Give him real political time.

  94. 94
    Joel says:

    Sometimes people just have to suck it up and acknowledge that there are an awful lot of other people that they have to share the sandbox with.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chad N Freude: Since you mentioned it, shouldn’t we all leave the room?

  96. 96
    gbear says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: They are pretty entertaining in a bat-shit, I-can’t-bother-to-read-what-you’ve-written kind of way.

  97. 97
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Jim: Symbolism is infinitely more important than substance.

  98. 98
    The Raven says:

    @John Cole: Thank you, John.

    Yes, it is part of my makeup–I’m a dance with the girl who brung you kind of guy, and it probably kept me in the GOP for far longer than I should have been.

    From my viewpoint (I worked this out before the election and believe it is still valid), the two main groups of voters that brought Obama are women and a group I called “progressive beginners”: the young (and not so young) Obama supporters who supported Obama’s “change,” even though they were not sure what it meant. They didn’t want perpetual war, they wanted health care, they were environmentalists. These popular factions have come into conflict with Obama’s elite corporatist supporters: the banks, insurance companies, and financiers. It seems to me that Obama has flirted with the popular factions, but is dancing with the coporatists. That is not a sustainable political stance.

    That having been said, I think loyalty matters right now because while inter-party squabbles are to some extent healthy, we need to remember that the Republicans are CRAZY and DANGEROUS.

    True enough. Generally, I see the matter differently: I find the conservative Democrats (Nelson? Lieberman?) are also troublesome, and I think it’s fair to say that this is a common view among the more radical progressives.

    And I am also loyal because while Obama has broken some promises, I see him honestly grappling with a huge plate of issues and doing the best he can with the situation, congress, and electorate he has.

    Fair enough. I don’t agree, you know that, but without people like you, not a lot would get done; armies need foot-soldiers.

    Personally, I think your leaders are unworthy of you. I would like to see you find leaders worthy of your loyalty. And if you found them, I would probably join up, too.

  99. 99
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, just be vewy, vewy quiet and don’t move.

  100. 100
    Karen says:

    I love Balloon Juice because usually the people here are rational. Even if we all don’t agree with everything, it’s a place where we can all express ourselves like mature adults. But in the past month or so, there is an ugliness that I never thought I’d see here. Instead of discussions, there’s name calling and derision and invalidation of ideas and opinions. I find extremism on any side dangerous because it leads to fanaticsm and the Tea Party movement is an example of fanaticsm.

    I don’t understand the theory that killing the Democratic party that’s there now will enable “Progressive” Democrats to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the “DINOs” that are there now. The reasons the “Progressives” aren’t there now is that if they’re too far to the left, states that are more conservative red states won’t vote for them. It takes more conservative Democrats to win those states or a Republican will. And it won’t be a moderate Republican, it will be a super conservative John Birch Republican who is everything the “Progressive” Democrat they want is against.

    Cutting their nose off to spite their face comes to mind. I’m not being accusatory or anti-activist, they’re needed to balance the party. But what I am against is the “Progressive” Democrats climbing into bed with Tea Party Republicans because they hate Obama so much, they’d rather have someone like Dick Cheney as President rather than compromise.

    It breaks my heart.

  101. 101
    handy says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    They figured out the secret handshake OH NOES!

  102. 102
    gwangung says:

    @baxie: You’re pretty rational about your goals and strategies. You may or may not be irrational about your tactics; I don’t know how many moves your seeing ahead in probable responses. I do know a lot of people really don’t see that many moves ahead.

    And…if progressive people aren’t applying as much, if not more, money, time and pressure as the established corporate factions, then I would submit it is irrational to expect politicians to defy corporate interests (basically, if you’re there only for the short haul, you’re just saying to them that you don’t have their back when push comes to shove).

  103. 103
    mcc says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The OP of this thread casts in a negative light the recent actions of a certain group of self-identified “progressives” who tend to congregate on three or four of the same blogs

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gbear: If you say so… but I pulled a muscle in my back yesterday and I have knee deep in the tax code at work all day.

  105. 105
    Ben JB says:

    John,
    As far as I can tell, we share similar attitudes about politics–that is, it’s about the art of the possible, blah blah blah. We may share different ideological positions–I’m pretty far left–but I believe in getting things done with the tools/frame at hand.

    (So, if there were a real health-care bottoming out–a health-care equivalent of the Great Depression–I’d be all about making changes as big as possible. Since a large part of the country doesn’t think we have a health-care crisis, this is probably an opportunity for more incremental steps.)

    That said, your last post (The Stakes) didn’t seem very focused in terms of its target. That is, there are probably some people out there on the left who might hold to that–but I don’t know them, and the scattershot potshots that you’re taking seem more like venting. And it’s your blog (originally), so you’re free to vent if you want. But I think that some people who get turned off by the left activists who vent against Obama might also get tired of you venting against the left activists.

    What I’m trying to say is that venting doesn’t seem too helpful as a mode right now.

    (That said, am I the only one who likes Obama because of how procedural he is? I didn’t like Bush’s policies but I didn’t like his imperial style of enacting them even more.)

  106. 106
    gwangung says:

    @Annie – what were we supposed to rally around? The money give away to bankers?

    Educate me, please; I’m a little ill read. This is money outside of TARP and to AIG, right?

  107. 107
    Mary says:

    @The Raven: I reject the word “corporatist” as I find it has been used as a way to simply bash our own side. When did FDL start using this term so widely? I don’t recall its use before the current administration. Am I mistaken?

  108. 108
    Phaedrus says:

    @gwangung – thank you – yes that was initiated under Bush. Obama has continued along that vein, but your point is taken.

  109. 109
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ben JB:

    That said, am I the only one who likes Obama because of how procedural he is? I didn’t like Bush’s policies but I didn’t like his imperial style of enacting them even more.

    No, you are not. It is one of the things I like about him as well. I suppose that it is the lawyer in me.

    I do believe that is one of the things that frustrates the so-called “activists” being called out in this post. I think they would like, at some level, to see Obama use Bush’s imperial style to accomplish worthy goals. It seems to me that Obama views fixing the way things are done as being as important as any number of policy goals – a view not necessarily shared by others.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Phaedrus:

    The stimulus that was way too small and full of tax breaks instead of jobs?

    Well, yeah, it would have been nice of you to get behind the stimulus once it passed because now Republicans are running around unchallenged claiming that the stimulus was a total failure.

    Unless you would like to climb onto that bandwagon and claim in the face of the evidence that the stimulus did no good whatsoever, it would have been fucking nice to have at least a few people say (as Krugman did) that while the stimulus wasn’t as good as it could have been, it still did us a whole lot of good and dragged us back from the brink of Great Depression II.

    But instead you decided to sulk that you didn’t get exactly what you wanted and handed the Republicans a lovely, shiny talking point that lets them say “even liberals don’t think the stimulus worked.” So now people think that the stimulus was a complete waste of money when it did actually rescue the economy and save jobs, even if it didn’t happen in the precise way you preferred.

    I guess it’s better to stay pure and refuse to see evidence in front of your face than admit that even the crippled stimulus that passed helped us out.

  111. 111
    valdivia says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This. Exactly. One of the reasons I voted for him.

  112. 112
    Darryl says:

    But in the past month or so, there is an ugliness that I never thought I’d see here. Instead of discussions, there’s name calling and derision and invalidation of ideas and opinions.

    I don’t know, i’ve been coming here for six months, and the whole time, “Troll” and “Concern Troll” have been thrown at plenty of people just for disagreeing. I was recently called a Palinite and a Tea Partier just for suggesting that there are some successful right-wing websites.

    This place might be better than others–and I think it is, especially the more lefty blogs that ban anybody who doesn’t fit the party line cough*pandagon*cough–but it’s got its fair share of tools too.

  113. 113
    Annie says:

    @Phaedrus:

    OMG…Yes. Let’s all stay home, whine, go boo hoo, and make ourselves invisible, while the Republicans are rallying idiots, who most of the time are rallying against their own interests, but who somehow have managed to capture national attention…and, scared the living crap out of the Democratic Congress.

    Becoming visible and really visible would have changed the HCR debate, as well as every other debate. But, no, because we do not immediately get what we want, we take our ball and go home.

    Obama and the administration have had a mess to clean up. And, its base has been largely absent — not mobilized, not taking the offense against the Republicans in Congress, not visibility rallying — but timidly, at home, on the computer, fighting each other to be the purest of the pure.

  114. 114
    eastriver says:

    @BTD:

    he’s right, JC. Don’t back away from the fight now. You were kicking and swinging and tossing Molotov cocktails with the best of them a couple of days ago. Please don’t pretend you weren’t in the thick if it. Your hands still reek if gasoline. (God bless you for being opinionated. It’s why I stop by every day.)

  115. 115

    @Lev:

    The only way I see of moving the Overton Window to the left would be to pass HCR. Then it goes from liberal fantasy to The Status Quo.

    This. A thousand times this.

  116. 116
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Mary:

    I reject the word “corporatist” as I find it has been used as a way to simply bash our own side. When did FDL start using this term so widely? I don’t recall its use before the current administration. Am I mistaken?

    The word has been around for a while. I recall hearing maybe 5, 6 years ago, perhaps even longer.

    It appears to have come into its own now, though. I do not reject the word. I find it appropriate at times, because it does appear that more than left or right fighting back and forth, it is now ‘us (ordinary people) versus corporations’.

    I, for one, think one of the more important steps we could take to straighten this country out is stripping corporations of their ‘human rights’.

  117. 117
    Darryl says:

    I don’t understand the theory that killing the Democratic party that’s there now will enable “Progressive” Democrats to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the “DINOs” that are there now.

    That’s the left-wing version of Tea Bagger thinking–purity purges will solve everything! It’s really, really poor thinking.

  118. 118
    The Raven says:

    @Mary: “corporatist.”

    The word is considerably older than the blogosphere; the first OED cite dates it to 1890. So it’s been around, though I’m not sure when and where it came into its current widespread use by progressives, though I don’t think the source was FDL’s headliners. (Lexicographic research, anyone?) Personally, I’d apply it the Reagan administration, and all Republican administrations afterward. After the bank bailout, and a health care bill written to the specifications of the insurance industry, it seems to me applicable to some of the supporters of the conservative faction of the Democratic Party, as well.

    I do not count the people who looted the global economy and their supporters as “my side,” even if they are Democrats.

  119. 119
    gwangung says:

    @Phaedrus: Actually, I had two points.

    One is that TARP is getting paid back and is going to cost us below $100 billion (which I don’t think every administration could have done). Annoying, but far from deserving the “giveaway” accusation that’s being used. (And if a bank tax is enacted, that $100 billion is going to go to zero).

    Second, is that AIG is a lot more problematic, but a) once started, could not have been stopped, and b) there are a number of indications that an AIG bailout HAD to be done no matter what because they underlaid a lot of sovereign (ie. foreign government) funds. This was not a banker bailout; this was a foreign policy action.

    Given that, I want to know if there is something I should be legitimately outraged over in the “banker bailouts.”

  120. 120
    BTD says:

    @eastriver:

    As long as we are clear that this is all part of the circular firing squad.

    It’s just another part of the circle.

    And it certainly is not some form of “good activism.”

    If persuasion was the goal, in my view, there would be 2 courses of action – one would be constructive, non-belittling good faith engagement. the other would be ignoring them and just fighting Republicans and the Media.

    This is venting. As you say, good venting is fun to read, especially if the venter agrees with you. But there is nothing higher minded going on.

  121. 121
    eastriver says:

    @Phaedrus:

    Agree. More, please.

  122. 122
    machine says:

    Probably the best Cole post ever.

  123. 123
    Ben JB says:

    You know who really sold us up the river? Ted Kennedy’s brain! If his brain was really as progressive as we were all led to believe, it wouldn’t have developed a malignant tumor!

  124. 124
    Mary says:

    One of the admirable things the Bush Administration had was loyalty. To a fault yes. But loyalty is a virtue which many progressives have gone out of their way to sneeringly dismiss as unenlightened. Being a Yellow Dog Democrat is no longer viewed as an honorable position to take. Now it’s between corporatists and Kucinich? This doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.

  125. 125
    JBerardi says:

    Maybe I am just an authoritarian at heart, and I know I am much more comfortable supporting a movement than I am attempting to lead one, but it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats.

    Congratulations. You have passed the final test, and your training is now complete. Welcome to the democratic party!

  126. 126
    slag says:

    @BTD: I agree with this point as it pertains to some previous posts. In fact, it’s an argument I had been trying to make for a while now. But this post is not those posts. I see this post as a genuine and relatively introspective statement of John’s perspective. So, I appreciate it.

    I would also add that, while John is not himself responsible for stitching the progresso-sphere back together, he’s the only one I see somewhat regularly expressing an interest in and concern for the long-term goals of progressives. Beyond which, he’s not engaged in intense hypothetical postulating, but rather, focusing on the world as it is. That is a form of leadership, and while flawed, it’s better than nothing. Just like this administration.

  127. 127
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, yeah, it would have been nice of you to get behind the stimulus once it passed because now Republicans are running around unchallenged claiming that the stimulus was a total failure.

    And is this the fault of ‘we, the people’, or is it the result of the corporate media doing the job they’re paid so handsomely to do?

    ‘Republicans are running around unchallenged’… where do you see and hear this? The MSM? Talk radio? The newspapers?

    Is this the fault of ‘progressives’ and Dems for not speaking up, or is the result of a conservatively controlled media? How many Dems manage to get onto the Sunday morning talking heads shows these days? And how often is a gas bag like Gingrinch, or McCain, on?

    Seriously… I was under the impression that conservative talk shows dominated some radio markets by a ratio of 95 to 5 in terms of air time, and in some cases, 100 to ZERO.

  128. 128
    gwangung says:

    One of the admirable things the Bush Administration had was loyalty. To a fault yes. But loyalty is a virtue which many progressives have gone out of their way to sneeringly dismiss as unenlightened. Being a Yellow Dog Democrat is no longer viewed as an honorable position to take. Now it’s between corporatists and Kucinich? This doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.

    I will say that one thing puzzles me. The reason the Democrats are at 60 is BECAUSE of the Yellow Dog Democrats. We can be annoyed at their position, but do they really deserve all the shit dumped on them? Because they got elected BECAUSE of their position….

  129. 129
    Elie says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    LeeLee I am witcha..

    My only comfort is that when I step away from the intertubes, things while bad, are not as bad as when I read some of the thoughts and ideas from those of us supposedly on the same side..

    Alls I can think is that some sort of weird gene splicing hybrid “leftie” evolved during the Bush years — a merge of the worst qualities of the unforgiving and righteous left and the rabid libertarians. The thing that is the hardest to feature is the selfishness — the willingness to let things go to shit — in fact MAKE them go to shit to make your point and to feel just right about that. Somwhere, the ol ‘bleedin heart’ liberals got transformed or somehow replaced with this Frankenstein that uses the same “frames”, as John put it as the right but imports some of the memes of the old left.

    Its sorting out and will over time. The last generation grew up under “Government is the Problem” — even on the left and that has made certain aspects of the left just absolutely crazy.

  130. 130
    Ben JB says:

    @Phaedrus: Wait a minute, Phaedrus (and what a coincidence, I was just reading that dialogue of Plato’s today)–according to Politifact, Obama’s record right now is:
    Promises Kept: 91
    Compromises: 33
    Broken: 14
    That’s not such a terrible record of broken campaign promises.

  131. 131
    David says:

    @Phaedrus: You seem very confused on the difference between the Senate and Obama. Not to mention you didn’t pay much attention to candidate Obama. Hard to see how most if not all of the complaints here about Obama aren’t correctly directed at the Senate or are willfully ignorant of what Obama campaigned on. Overall they seem quite clueless.

  132. 132
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Congratulations. You have passed the final test, and your training is now complete. Welcome to the democratic party!

    This is silly and embarrassing. When Republicans manage to vote ONE HUNDRED percent against something, over and over and over again, and then go after the occasional stray like rabid animals, is it ‘principled politics’ or ‘Fascist-like goosestepping’?

    Try to make a real point next time, okay?

  133. 133
    mr. whipple says:

    Obama and the administration have had a mess to clean up. And, its base has been largely absent—not mobilized, not taking the offense against the Republicans in Congress, not visibility rallying—but timidly, at home, on the computer, fighting each other to be the purest of the pure.

    I don’t consider these folks to be the ‘base’. Obama’s approval ratings with liberal Democrats was pretty good, last time I saw the numbers. (Sorry, I can’t recall the exact number, but I do distinctly remember his approval among black voters was 91%, which blew my mind.)

    To me, these mostly high income, high education elites that are the bulk of those so vocally dissatisfied on the internet are not in any way, shape or form Obama’s ‘base’. They *think* they are, but I sure don’t.

  134. 134
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I don’t understand the logic of adopting the same frames as the right.

    Only a few people do that, and only sometimes. Yet you keep blogging about it like it’s overwhelmingly important. Jesus, give it a rest. If one blogger can bring down the Republic by co-signing a letter with Grover Norquist then the Republic ought to be brought down.

    I don’t understand why everything has to be done immediately

    Because if the experts are right and we will not soon again see a Dem majority like this one, and if nothing can possibly be done if Coakley loses, then everything indeed has to be done immediately. By your very own logic everything has to be done immediately.

    Again, I go back a year and a half. No, forget that, go back half that far; Franken was still in court. Specter hadn’t switched yet. So what did you think was going to get done at that point?

  135. 135
    Elie says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    This — a thousand times this — Amen

  136. 136
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    In context of John’s previous posts, and the comment he quotes, it is difficult for me to separate this post from the others.

    Indeed, his anecdote strike me as worth discussing. I personally would find it interesting to have John transcribe his discussions with these people that he knows and I would be interested in hearing, in their own words, what they think and what John said in response to what they say.

    It would be very interesting to see how John tries to persuade, if he tries, in the real world.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:

    And is this the fault of ‘we, the people’, or is it the result of the corporate media doing the job they’re paid so handsomely to do?

    If Phaedrus believes that the stimulus has been a failure despite the evidence because s/he’s been watching too much corporate media, I’ll be happy to blame the media.

    If Phaedrus believes the stimulus has been a failure despite the evidence because s/he thinks the original stimulus package was too small and hasn’t paid any attention since then, that’s cheering for your own side to fail, and that’s not something I’m willing to let slide.

  138. 138
    Elie says:

    @Phaedrus:

    Fuck off, just go away — shooo!

  139. 139
    gwangung says:

    The only way I see of moving the Overton Window to the left would be to pass HCR. Then it goes from liberal fantasy to The Status Quo.

    BTW…isn’t the complement to this “replace conservative Democrats with more liberal Democrats” to move the Overton Window to left? Because if you defeat moderate Democrats and let more conservative Republicans take their place, you’re moving the Overton Window to the right.

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Only a few people do that, and only sometimes. Yet you keep blogging about it like it’s overwhelmingly important.

    We have people right here in this thread claiming that the stimulus package was a failure and citing that as one of their reasons for not supporting Obama. I think that’s pretty important to note since people seem to be supporting or not supporting the president based on false pretenses. I noticed that a lot with the healthcare bill as well — a lot of people had a lot of false information that caused them to freak out and run around like headless chickens.

    At an absolute minimum, we need to be getting the facts right, don’t you think?

  141. 141
    slag says:

    @BTD: Personally, I found the Martha Coakley ActBlue page very persuasive. That was leading by example. With real outcomes associated with it. Some people are persuaded by that kind of thing; others aren’t. I was. It’s a personal preference.

  142. 142

    I believe that I revealed my meager pension in that mess here last night. Imagine my surprise this a.m. when I found out that my health plan, Kaiser, an HMO, will be taxed. So what medicines should I skip to save money? Health reform. Who knows? Maybe I can make it to Medicare.

  143. 143
    Jim says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think Phaedrus could be part of any of the many groups that is never going to like anything that either Obama (PUMA), any Democrat (Naderite), any politician (an “independent voter”) does. These people will cherry pick any somewhat cogent sounding critique (the stimulus was too small, Krugman; HRC is a corporate give-away, Hamsher; Obama is just like Bush on foreign policy, Greenwald) to justify their pre-existing dislike of Obama, whatever the underlying reason for that dislike. I’m going with Naderite.

  144. 144
    Mary says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: Aren’t retirees exempt?

  145. 145
    Kevin says:

    Don’t worry John, in 30 years, Chelsea Clinton will be president, and she’ll fix health care, no compromises needed…just you wait and see. Then this will all have been worth it.

    Pay no mind to the bodies on the floor, sacrifices must be made. We need a perfect bill, nothing less will do.

  146. 146
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    Happy to hear it. These posts are the antithesis of that imo.

    For the record, at my blog, I am in strong support of Coakley I even tried to sell it to disgruntled “wacky” activists by pointing out how important Coakley winning was to the confirmation of Dawn Johnsen to head up OLC. It’s funny that no one has thought to criticize Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler for NOT making that argument. I think it would have been a quite valid criticism.

    Unfortunately, Jeralyn hates Coakley (she seems to hate all prosecutors, not that surprising in a defense attorney) and it is her blog so we have been delivering mixed messages on Coakley.

  147. 147
    Osceola says:

    @John Cole:

    You didn’t ask but here is the way I see things. I am “old” and became politically active in the 1970s (as opposed to politically aware, which started right after JFK’s assassination and grew with MLK, Jr.; I’m a native Southerner, born in the mid-1950s). I was actually a member of Michael Harrington’s DSOC (wikipedia is ready when you are) and have since always practiced my politics on the left wing of the possible, just as did Mike Harrington from about 1970 until his too early death in 1989. Unlike the proverb, I have not gotten more conservative as I have gotten older. Just the opposite in fact. I saw the Reagan-Bush regime for what it was; it didn’t take me until Bush-the-Lesser became the apotheosis of stupidass “conservatism” (sic) to realize what was going on. But that is probably an age thing that most Balloon-Juicers are not blessed with. I remember when despite war, a civil rights movement, oil price shocks, a tendency toward oligarchy, and stagflation, both Democrats and Republicans could work together for the common good. And they did frequently, even into the Nixon and Carter Administrations. That ended during the Reagan-Bush Descendancy (including the lamentable Clinton-Gore Interregnum). Only a fool could not recognize that.

    With Obama’s campaign I finally saw hope for a dawn after the 30-year-long dark night. I didn’t think for a moment that Obama was the second coming of FDR or the reincarnation of Norman Thomas or Eugene V. Debs. But I believed in his sincerity. I fell for the “change we can believe in” meme. Lock, stock, and barrel, I fell for it. And I didn’t think he believed in the bipartisanship fairy that died in the early 1980s. I even gave money that I didn’t have because I was unemployed from November 2007 to August 2008. Did I think Obama could put things back together immediately? I may have had stars in my eyes, but I’m still sentient. Of course I didn’t. Among other things, having been a Howard Dean and then Ned Lamont supporter, I knew things would continue to be very difficult. But here is the thing for me and millions of others: We never dreamed that Obama would become such an establishmentarian, in the totally ineffective thrall of Big Pharma, Wall Street, AHIP, and the National Security State with its ridiculous focus on the War on Terror (sic) that he would be essentially feckless.

    Basically, we thought that Obama, despite his history as a “moderate”, understood that with the financial meltdown, 17% effective unemployment, the loss of trillions in “wealth” across the board (but catastrophic among working people of all income levels below the 90th percentile) imperatives had changed. We were wrong. I understand that we now have the Lily Ledbetter Act, S-CHIP, and a few other things that the former Navy Captain and Bible Spice would not have cared about. But it is not enough. As good as these things are, they are marginal in the face of our current predicament.

    Instead of working to make things right as fast as he could, Obama turned to the same people who brought on the current apocalypse. These morans(TM) actually believe that the “recession is over.” Tell that to my wife who is still looking for a job 17 months after we moved for my new job. Tell that to me as my second child starts college in August. And I am lucky. I have a good job in my field and some real money in my retirement accounts even after the loss of ~25% during 2008-2009 (maybe it will even be there in 15 years).

    I have been paying health care insurance premiums since I was 20 years old. In that time I have paid more and more every year, way above the rate of inflation, for access to less and less. Even so, I have been fortunate and I understand that. But I have been waiting for Health Care Reform for a very long time. My brother, the carpenter, has never had health insurance because of the nature of his job and a congenital heart defect (preexisting condition!!!) that was partially repaired when he was 16 and our father had a union job with excellent benefits. He has been waiting since then, too, for follow-up treatment…more than 25 years. Now, we all will have to wait longer for HCR that is nothing of the kind. It is Health Insurance Reform (sic) that has become a monstrous concatenation of subsidies, mandates, taxes…basically a large, steaming pile of horseshit for patients and a windfall for AHIP and Big Pharma, Jonathan Gruber notwithstanding. Maybe it is better than nothing, but I am way past settling for better than nothing. I suspect that I am not alone.

    This didn’t have to be so. Obama has not fought for a single thing, not really. That is what I and millions of others wanted from him and expected from him based on his campaign. Action. A goddam street fight if necessary in the face of an intransigent GOP and a pusillanimous Democratic Caucus in Congress. A win on HCR (or DADT, EFCA, Gitmo) would have been nice, but it wasn’t absolutely essential because an honorable loss in the face of implacable opponents would have kept the progressive base energized and would have led to even larger majorities this year and in years to come. The “left wing of the possible” would have meant greater things for all of us, liberal, conservative (not that they would admit it), gay, straight, old, young, atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Rastafarian (well, maybe not for the ganja).

    Instead, the President and his Rasputin from Chicago bought off Big Pharma, AHIP, and the Masters of the Universe in a misguided attempt to corral these malevolent powers for their own political benefit. Of course, that will never work, but they assumed that their natural base, the OFA millions, would come along with them because we would have no other place to go. Well, we may not have any other place to go, but that doesn’t mean we have to come with them. And if we do drag ourselves along it will certainly not be with anything remotely resembling the enthusiasm of 363 days ago. The President’s words now leave me cold. Talk is cheap even when it’s eloquence rivals that of any previous President. Many of us are just sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. In 1980, we had time to recover from the Reagan Descendancy. In 2010, we have 30 fewer years and problems that are much more pressing. But Obama would rather be bipartisan with people who wish him ill, actually hate him and apparently their country, than do the work of the people who elected him. Or die politically in the attempt to do something (which would really mean just the opposite in both the short and long term). The lesser of two evils is no longer enough. I expect the President and his Rasputin will find that out soon enough. But it will make little difference in their lives. But, finally, you know, I thought Obama could see that the future for Sascha and Malia just isn’t very bright in the long term for either of them unless things change. Starting now. Actually, starting on January 20, 2009.

    Me? I’ll continue to press the Democratic button on the Diebold (or equivalent) and hope for the best, while hoping that the vote is actually put in the Democratic column. But my hopes are not nearly as high as they were on January 18 of last year. I am not alone. And I do not wish for the return of the barbarian hordes, but I’m beginning to agree with Ralph the Self-Righteous that there is really not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties. I used to think Ralph Nader was nuts and a dangerous man. Now I just think he is a nutty hypocrite and the danger lies within the Democratic Party.

    And just one other thing. I hope the shoulder is getting better and Lily and Tunch are treating you well.

  148. 148
    Snowshoe says:

    I really prefer to lurk here & read other people’s comments, but on this one I’ll jump in & say I agree with Cole 100%. I had to unsubscribe to several lib email lists because I couldn’t stand the hate they were spewing about HCR. Once we pass it, we can fiddle with it. If we pass nothing, we’re back where we started from and another decade away from reform.

  149. 149
    Annie says:

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    Yes. It sucks. I agree it sucks. For all of us. But, I guess what I am asking is to turn our anger against the Republican Congress for playing politics with our lives, assets, and health care. They took an essential policy debate and turned it into a circus — with lies, rallies, etc. Hold them accountable. Republicans would love nothing better than to kills HCR, and let those uninsured, those who have lost their jobs, and those with pre-existing conditions fend for themselves — just like before. Instead, we are turning against ourselves and an administration that is fighting a billion storms against an extremely organized opposition.

  150. 150
    David says:

    @Bob In Pacifica: No one knows their health plan will be, only that it may be taxed. One of the expected results of HCR is that the cost of health care plans stops increasing so fast.

  151. 151
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    We have people right here in this thread

    There are over three hundred million in the country. But if obsessing over a few of them keeps you off the streets, so be it.

    claiming that the stimulus package was a failure

    It was, at least according to Krugman, if the standard is not only its narrow policy goals but its longer term political implications.

    At an absolute minimum, we need to be getting the facts right, don’t you think?

    Knock yourself out.

  152. 152
    Jim Newell says:

    I heard this blog was selling Percocet. What’s all this other mumbo jumbo?

  153. 153
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    But let’s not pretend that Cole’s shooting is somehow more noble than anyone else’s in the circle.

    Noble is not the goal and rarely if ever part of the mix in politics. This is my personal credo of human doings for politics.

    There are no hero’s in politics, left or right, only people who want something, and people who want something else.

    I think Cole wants something else is all. To keep wingnuts out of office above all else. That is the failsafe point, and I think it is hard to argue otherwise. Though issue activism is also very important, it still comes in second IMHO. And I understand that you may disagree, but I do appreciate your good faith efforts to come here and discuss it honestly.

  154. 154
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jim Newell: Selling? They just hand the things out like candy around here.

  155. 155
    rootless_e says:

    Only a few people do that, and only sometimes. Yet you keep blogging about it like it’s overwhelmingly important. Jesus, give it a rest. If one blogger can bring down the Republic by co-signing a letter with Grover Norquist then the Republic ought to be brought down.

    Nah, it’s enormously common. Read Taibbi. Read Hamsher. Read effin Atrios on the bailout (and his incessant predictions that no TARP money would be paid back). Read Sirota or Paul Rosenberg at “OpenLeft” or any number of other dipshits who will gladly recite Frank Luntz tested phrases back at you and claim to be conducting a “leftist critique”.

  156. 156
    slag says:

    @BTD: In the way that you and Jeralyn deliver different types of content to different readers, this blog does as well. It’s intriguing and a little unpredictable. I like that one day someone can rant about wacko statements being made by certain groups or individuals and the next qualify, amend, or even denounce his own wacko statements. It demonstrates intellectual honesty and a real sense of concern. Keeps things interesting.

    To put it another way, if this blog were always above the fray and only about ActBlue pages, it’d be boring as hell.

    PS If Jeralyn is really ranting about Coakley all the time, she’s lost the plot. Just like so many of us at one time or another.

  157. 157
    wiley says:

    I think the “progressives” who argue that failure would be cleansing are people who have never suffered deprivation, and have never been directly subject to oppressively chaotic circumstance.

  158. 158
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @wiley: This.

  159. 159
    rootless_e says:

    Oh, I forgot Jeralyn and Amando who endorsed Brown recently. Oh, I forgot, they didn’t endorse Brown, they just advocated not voting for Coakley, because if enough people don’t vote for Coakley, the Overton Window Bunny will pop up and make Paul Krugman, um, Bernie Sanders, um, JANE HAMSHER, Dictator for Life.

  160. 160
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s what I call “The Road Show”. John posts something that attracts the carnies and the next thing you know we have a Three Ring Circus of clowns and every single one of them are serious  and should be listened to or there will be Dire Consequences.

    Once the audience dies down they move on, they always do. In the meantime, grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show. If you feel the need to, grab a stick and poke the clowns for amusement.

    Great post John.

  161. 161
    BTD says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You write that phaedrus wrote that “the stimulus package was a failure.”

    Here is an interesting test of the possibility of constructive engagement. In fact, what phaedrus wrote was that the stimulus package was too small.

    Now, perhaps that is not the majority view here, but it is a fairly uncontroversial one in economic circles. As I understand it, even the Obama Administration has embraced that view.

    One way of engaging phaedrus is to misstate what he said and denigrate him. I understand why it is tempting. phaedrus does not appear to be very open to persuasion on the point.

    But may I suggest that one good way to start is to address what he said and explain why he is wrong (if you think he is) or if you think he is right, explain that even if that is true, it certainly helped and Obama, in good faith, believed that was the best that could be gotten at that point politically and that he has promised to do more (if you hold that view.)

    Explain, if it is your view, that the best chance we have for getting more and more effective stimulus is to accentuate the positives of the stimulus and fight for more, as Obama says he is going to do.

    Now, I personally NEVER do stuff like that. For the most part, I know that whether people like what I write or not almost wholly depends on whether they agree with me or not. I think that is true with just about everyone.

    I doubt critiquing how someone engages in “activism” or “persuasion” is going to persuade anybody.

    I guess I really do not like the pretense that someone is arguing for the “good” way and merely trying to get others to do the same.

  162. 162
    slag says:

    @Jim Newell: Yeah. You missed the rave portion of the evening. Now’s the after-hour weepy confession time.

  163. 163
    Mary says:

    @slag: I was persuaded by the Act Blue thing for Coakley too. So few others did that. It was yet another poignant illustration of failure of leadership. That, and the absolute waste of resources that have been misdirected tells me that maybe those constituencies of and resources directed to the current leaders should be drained and redirected to more productive endeavors. Luckily the Democratic party has an existing infrastructure while it all shakes out.

  164. 164
    SGEW says:

    @Jim Newell: Save us, Newell! You’re our only hope, also.

    Green balloons, dammit all!

  165. 165
    BTD says:

    @rootless_e:

    It is too funny when I read these comments. For in this very thread, I explained that I strongly support coakley and it is Jeralyn who supports Brown.

    But lying is a staple of these attacks.

    That is why I laugh at these noble “activists.”

  166. 166
    Darryl says:

    I blame cable TV
    How hack party consultants came to replace real liberals and conservatives in the 24/7 media universe
    By Michael Lind
    Salon
    Why are progressivism and conservatism all but unrepresented on American television? The question might seem absurd. Aren’t there entire television channels, like Fox and MSNBC, identified with conservative and progressive viewpoints? Aren’t there several million left-wing or right-wing talking heads on TV, with new pundits hatching in the factory farm every day?
    Here’s the problem: Most of the representatives of progressivism you see on TV are not really progressives. They are what might be called “Democratists.” Most publicly prominent conservatives are not principled conservatives at all. They are “Republicanists.”
    Whereas progressives and conservatives — and libertarians and democratic socialists, to say nothing of fascists and Islamists — analyze politics and public policy from the standpoint of a more or less consistent view of the world, Democratists and Republicanists are P.R. agents for one of the two parties. The job of a Democratist is to defend whatever the Democratic Party did today, whether or not it is compatible with progressive principles. The job of a Republicanist is to defend whatever the Republican Party did today, whether or not it is compatible with conservative principles.

    good stuff

  167. 167
    Jim says:

    @wiley:
    You remind me of a great Joe Conason piece from the fall of 2000, an open letter (IIRC) from Joe Conason to wealthy celebrity Nader supporters (Maher, Moore, Susan and Tim). He pointed out that to them, there might well have been no real difference between a Bush and Gore presidency (such innocent times), but for people whose lives are actually affected by gov’t policies, there was a big damn difference.

  168. 168
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    I’ve argued with her privately and publically about it, but my persuasive skills have failed me there.

  169. 169
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Darryl: Many years ago, I think while John was still midwifing his attitude change, there was a snarky right-wing commenter named Darryl. (No, really. Some of the old-timers here will verify that.) In one discussion thread, I worried about the decline, or serious risk of decline, of US scientific leadership in the world, and Darryl attacked me in a very anger-inducing way for being unpatriotic. He was serious: Discussing a loss of leadership in the sciences is unpatriotic. Personal attacks and name-calling are not new on this blog.

  170. 170
    Calming Influence says:

    Fuck the Overton window. Bring the debate back to passing an actual bill and what that bill actually says.

    Consider these questions:

    1) Is it possible to pass a law meant to reform, but is so flawed that it actually does more harm than good?

    2) Does a “foot in the door” (passing a flawed bill) always result in better legislation in the future?

    3) Does failing to pass a reform bill automatically push reform back 8 – 20 years?

    If you aren’t willing to acknowledge that these are valid questions, then it’s not surprising to see the animosity towards those who do think they’re valid.

  171. 171
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    It was, at least according to Krugman, if the standard is not only its narrow policy goals but its longer term political implications.

    So, in other words, since liberals didn’t support Obama after the stimulus was passed because they didn’t think it was good enough to begin with, the fact that there’s now a public perception that the stimulus failed proves that it’s a failure on the merits and not because, say, people insisted it would be a failure before it was even passed.

    You have to admit, that’s a fine Catch-22 you’ve set up there. What’s next, joining Republicans in their call to repeal the stimulus since it’s a total failure anyway? After all, that’s what a true activist would do.

    Oh, and hopefully you read all the way to the end and noticed Krugman’s prescription for fixing what the stimulus didn’t do: passing the healthcare reform bill. So much for “the bill will make things worse.”

  172. 172
    rootless_e says:

    Ah BTD, my bad. I assumed that if you were prominently associated with a blog where the main author was essentially endorsing a Tea Party Republican, you’d have either quit or you endorsed it.

    Since Jeryln banned me from the blog for dissenting from her theory during the primaries that Obama was doomed to defeat and a misogynous monster from the DLC I don’t read it often.

  173. 173
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Jim Newell:

    Someone already haz the Whore Diamonds and Trucknutz concessions, John had to go with something so Percocet it is!

    Works for me. :)

  174. 174
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @SGEW: I hate to burst your Green Balloon SGEW, but this is how it’s going to be for some time to come, I think. In fact, it will likely get much worse before it doesn’t get any better. Or, at least until Sarah Serendipity is sworn in as POTUS, then we will all hold hands in our bomb shelters and sing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” in three part harmony.

  175. 175
    BTD says:

    @rootless_e:

    Jeralyn and I disagree very often.

    she has some strange theory that she is not supporting Brown, just opposing Coakley. Do not ask me to explain it. It makes no sense to me.

    But I certainly am not going to resign every time I disagree with anyone.

    Remember I was the asshole who formed a blog with Trevino.

  176. 176
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @gwangung:

    And…if progressive people aren’t applying as much, if not more, money, time and pressure as the established corporate factions, then I would submit it is irrational to expect politicians to defy corporate interests (basically, if you’re there only for the short haul, you’re just saying to them that you don’t have their back when push comes to shove)

    We gave them our votes and many of us also gave them our time and our money. What are we supposed to do now? Travel to D.C. with a satchel full of hundred dollar bills? The cynic in me suspects that many of the pols from both parties take our votes, our time and our money as an entitlement for having either an R or a D after their names. While I can’t altogether agree with those who would not-vote for their party I can’t completely disagree with them either. For many, their vote is all that they have to influence the process and our two-party-no-matter-how-bad-those-two-parties-become system leaves them little in other ways to express their displeasure.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BTD:

    No, what Phaedrus wrote was:

    The money give away to bankers? The stimulus that was way too small and full of tax breaks instead of jobs? The continuance of Bush GWOT? Health care with mandates and no public option?

    That’s not “the stimulus was too small.” That’s “Obama FAIL!!” It’s an emotional reaction, not an argument. Arguing back with actual facts (like, you know, the ongoing TARP repayments and 5 ongoing torture investigations) just results in more flailing and shouts of “FAIL!”

  178. 178
    rootless_e says:

    3) Does failing to pass a reform bill automatically push reform back 8 – 20 years?

    In this case, probably. It (a) makes puts Obama’s blood in the water and the sharks are desperate for a scent, (b) means that people who are hoping for a concrete health care improvement from the Dems DO NOT GET ONE before the 2010 elections, and (c) proves to congress that opposing the insurance lobby does not win you anything.

  179. 179
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Nah, it’s enormously common. Read Taibbi. Read Hamsher. Read effin Atrios on the bailout (and his incessant predictions that no TARP money would be paid back). Read Sirota or Paul Rosenberg

    Is this supposed to mean something?

  180. 180
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Only if you want it to.

    Carry on. ;)

  181. 181
    SGEW says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    [W]e will all hold hand in our bomb shelters and sing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” in three part harmony.

    Close, but this is probably more apropos.

  182. 182
    rootless_e says:

    she has some strange theory that she is not supporting Brown, just opposing Coakley. Do not ask me to explain it. It makes no sense to me.

    But I certainly am not going to resign every time I disagree with anyone.

    Remember I was the asshole who formed a blog with Trevino.

    I would not co-blog with a supposed liberal who wanted to help increase McConnell’s power, but perhaps I’m too partisan.

    One thing that strikes me is how many of the people who hate Obama for his supposed post-partisan wishy washyness keep finding common cause with wingers while Obama keeps getting bills past congress with Democrats minus blue dog defectors. Who is the real bipartisan traitor to the cause?

  183. 183
    slag says:

    @BTD: Well, good of you to try. So few people do.

    One of the things that has really bothered me these last few months is how many people I’ve just written off because I’ve found their behavior totally, unconscionably counterproductive. I’d already written off a good 1/3rd of the American populace during the Bush Administration. Now, I see the number of people who are behaving sensibly (from a longview perspective) or even just acting in good faith shrinking even further. It’s depressing as hell.

    And the blame for this situation can be spread around pretty widely. The Obama Administration and Congress can take some for actively demonstrating that vocal progressive activists weren’t high on their priority list. Vocal progressive activists can take the blame for…well…losing a sense of perspective. And people like me can take the blame for doing both–losing perspective at times and taking progressive activists for granted at other times.

  184. 184
    BTD says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, if I still know how to read “The stimulus that was way too small” means “the stimulus that was way too small.”

    YMMV.

  185. 185
    rootless_e says:

    tag failure. two more lines belong to BTD

  186. 186
  187. 187
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    So, in other words

    Sorry, this is where persistently dishonest folks like you simply need to be cut off. Read this, and when you’re ready to be an adult we’ll be here.

  188. 188
    Joe Beese says:

    Obama explicitly campaigned on no individual mandate and transparency. What he delivered was an individual mandate with no public option and backroom sweetheart deals with his very generous campaign contributors from Big Pharm. And now he tells us he needs Martha Coakley to help him continue his good work.

    And the Democrats of Massachusetts are about to show him some change he can believe in.

  189. 189
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    I do not try very much.

    I did feel strange about it because I could not understand her argument. It’s not like Brown is superior on crime issues. and she runs the blog I write at so, it was as much about me as anything.

    I wish I could tell you I do it often. I don’t.

  190. 190
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @SGEW: Yes, but Sarah will be carrying the Football, not the NFL official one. And can be expected to go long.

  191. 191
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BTD:

    One way of engaging phaedrus is to misstate what he said and denigrate him. I understand why it is tempting. phaedrus does not appear to be very open to persuasion on the point.

    I think one engages differently with someone who is perceived as open to engagement. Phaedrus did not appear to be such a person. I think we all can read the tells that indicate someone is not really interested in a discussion (referring to the Democrat Party, beginning a statement with “As Rush says…”, saying Obama is the same as Bush, mentioning death panels, etc.). To me there is no point in continuing a political discussion with such a person as it will go nowhere. For others, it provides the same entertainment value as feed a troll – a closely related activity.

  192. 192
    BTD says:

    @rootless_e:

    It is a fair critique. And it would give me pause if Jeralyn was doing stuff like this often. but this is almost sui generis from her.

  193. 193
    rootless_e says:

    Jeralyn’s argument seems to me to be Homer Simpson’s – “but I’m mad now” argument.

  194. 194
    BTD says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    that’s fair.

  195. 195
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Osceola: This is an excellent essay. I agree with you, but I have long been a pragmatist – a chooser of the lesser evil if you prefer – and anything that inches us away from the hideous morass that health insurance has become is better than the status quo. My nose is red from being held, but I think we have to push the boulder up the hill even if we can’t make it to the summit.

    I have to stop — the metaphors are threatening to take over completely.

    One more thing, while I didn’t think Obama had a magic wand to fix everything the day after the Inaguration (damn, another metaphor), I had thought that the Hope he was touting would become action, and I am sorely disappointed.

  196. 196
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Joe Beese: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blegh. You are our street corner “Repent or Die” preacher. Carry on Reverond Beese.

  197. 197
    Annie says:

    @Osceola:

    This is my essential point. “We” were all waiting for the Obama administration to bring radical change from the previous administration. But, our fault is that we were waiting, NOT in the forefront taking action to support real change. Have you participated in townhall meetings? Have you countered the fantastic PR job the Republicans have designed? Have you countered the teabaggers, who have captured the minds of the media? Have you flooded Republicans Congressional offices with voices against their obstruction? Have you rallied and captured the attention of the media with counter-rallies to the teabaggers?? Have you vocally given support to Democratic representatives? The administration — any administration — is the tool to voice the will of the people. Where has been the Democratic and progressive will? Waiting, waiting, while the opposition has rallied, rallied.

    Obama is cautious. Cautious and smart. He knows the opposition is organized. Where are his supporters? Where is the million man/woman march for change? Where is the progressive convention for change to stand behind him? Where?

    PS. I am close behind you in age…

  198. 198
  199. 199
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Shorter Joe Beese: We will win when Coakley loses on Tuesday!

    You’re a Democrat?

  200. 200
    Chad N Freude says:

    @SGEW: In the ’40s, that was an affirmation of the idea that the Lord is great, but shooting the enemy is greater.

    Thanks for the clip.

  201. 201
    bayville says:

    @gwangung:

    One is that TARP is getting paid back and is going to cost us below $100 billion (which I don’t think every administration could have done). Annoying, but far from deserving the “giveaway” accusation that’s being used. (And if a bank tax is enacted, that $100 billion is going to go to zero).

    Pretty optimistic, no? Several points.
    First, the major reason for the quick payback was to get out from under govt. rule in order for the end of the year mega-bonuses.
    I’d love to see the books from these banks to see what they mark their mortgage assets? Guarantee you those #s are based on 2003 (or before) assessments and not ’09 estimates.
    And the banks, with its access to cheap, interest free$$$ still aren’t lending. Why?
    Are we adding in the auto industry subsidy?
    AIG (an insuurance corp.) is never going to pay back its bailout cash. That’s a pipe dream.

    And how about the smaller banks? How are they doing?

    According to a recent Treasury report, 55 institutions that received TARP money are delinquent on dividends they owe the government, as of a Nov. 16 payment deadline.

    After the banksters come begging for Bailout II — with BoA leading the choir – later this year, tell me how great the TARP program has worked.

  202. 202
    rootless_e says:

    In the meantime, the Obama administration has delivered radical change from the previous administration. It may not mean much to “progressives” that the NLRB and OSHA enforcing the law, that the Justice department is busting cops who beat prisoners, or that the EPA is listing endangered species again and coming down on e.g. the Texas EPA for fake enforcement or ….
    But to weak centrists like me, these things are very welcome.

  203. 203
    Joe Beese says:

    @DougL

    I was from 1985 to 2009. But then, like our host, I’m a slow learner.

  204. 204
    Calming Influence says:

    @rootless_e:
    Probably? Then if I were to say you’re probably a shrill over-the-top asshole for thinking that, you would completely understand, right?

  205. 205
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Damn. I thought the Wizard of Oz was a documentary.

  206. 206
    rootless_e says:

    I thought it was cool to be “shrill”. Has that changed now that Krugman has defected to the Obamabot side?

  207. 207
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Dennis-SGMM: Good to see you again, BTW.

    ETA: We can go together. I have a satchel if you’ll bring the loot.

  208. 208
    Calming Influence says:

    @rootless_e:
    How clever.

  209. 209
    mr. whipple says:

    @Calming Influence:

    What would be the incentive for any future Congress to pick it up?

    Seeing that every administration that’s attempted it since FDR has failed, I don’t know why it can be logically followed that something superior would pass anytime soon. How does that work?

  210. 210
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    Thanks! Growing old is not for sissies – especially these days. Just keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table was at times touch-and-go for the past few months.

  211. 211
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I guess it’s better to stay pure and refuse to see evidence in front of your face than admit that even the crippled stimulus that passed helped us out.

    If you see a man drowning in a raging flood, it would be a good thing to throw him a life preserver, but it would be better to throw him a life preserver with a rope attached, and better still to throw him a life preserver with a rope attached to a helicopter that can fly him to safety.

    The progressive complaints about the stimulus were (1) that it was facially inadequate, and (2) that the primary reason it was so inadequate was because of a naive and futile desire on the part of the President to gain at least token Republican support so he could claim the stimulus package was bipartisan, despite clear evidence that the GOP considers Obama’s failure as President to be their only avenue for returning to power.

    It is likely, I admit, that the economy would be in even worse shape with an even higher unemployment rate without the weak stimulus that was passed. However, I think that is cold comfort to all the American still struggling with a 10+% unemployment because of the unwillingness of Obama and the Dems to be bolder with the stimulus plan. It doesn’t help that the primary beneficiaries of the stimulus all belong to the shareholder class, the same people who will be the primary beneficiaries of HCR as it is currently envisioned.

  212. 212
    Andy K says:

    @Joe Beese:

    And the Democrats of Massachusetts are about to show him some change he can believe in.

    So you couldn’t come up with a progressive candidate for December’s primary who would hold Obama to his campaign promises, or you just didn’t show up at the polls in large enough numbers to get that candidate the nomination?

  213. 213
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @rootless_e: Just to correct the record on health care reform being pushed out another XX years, that happened the first time because Republicans gained control starting in ’94. As soon as Democrats got control of the house back, they began to work on an issue that is part of the Democratic party platform.

    If you can build me a case that Republicans are going to gain control magically for another 20 years because this bill fails, I could maybe see the point. Otherwise, it’s just something must be done now! fearmongering.

  214. 214
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Dennis-SGMM: Drop me an email if I can help: jack.jackson0512@yahoo.com

    ETA: Sorry, got the domain wrong, should be gmail.

  215. 215
    Calming Influence says:

    Aside from crappy provisions in the house and senate bills, there appears to be some seriously flawed language in the bills. Some people are studying this and trying to understand what the effects will be if the language becomes law. Some are concluding that it may end up being worse than no bill at all.

    To those, the general argument here seems to be STFU.

  216. 216
  217. 217
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    If you see a man drowning in a raging flood, it would be a good thing to throw him a life preserver, but it would be better to throw him a life preserver with a rope attached, and better still to throw him a life preserver with a rope attached to a helicopter that can fly him to safety.

    Bad Analogy! (Slaps Analogy’s nose.) Naughty! (Shakes finger.) No treats for you tonight.

  218. 218
    Annie says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Then go after the Republicans, and the teabaggers, and the health insurance companies who are using debate over HCR to raise rates, and other corporate interests. Show concern to the administration over their direction, recognizing that Republicans are mobilizing their confused base at every turn — including using the subtle race card. Go after Sarah and Michele for their manipulation of the system at every turn, but getting their voices and faces in multiple venues. Where was the progressive outcry over Michele receiving Federal farming subsidies? About a minute in the press. We can eat our own with ease — what we can’t do is forcefully and vocally take on conservative opposition.

  219. 219
    Karen says:

    It sucks to be Obama right now, you couldn’t pay me enough.

    He has an economy that’s a result of deregulation, free ride dating back to when Alan Greenspan and the Bush Administration’s scorched earth policy to pass the hard choices on to the next Administration (Obama).

    Because he is a guinea pig, the first African American President, he has to be wary of everything he does. President Obama has to be hundred times as good as any white male President. So many people have problems with his race that they’re clutching on to anything to create seeds of doubt so they can undermine him, aka, the birthers. It’s not a coincidence that a lot of the rumors and nastiness was not originated by the Republican party but from PUMAs in the Democratic party during Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Note I’m not blaming Hilary Clinton, just stating a fact.

    At least Clinton had some Republicans he could deal with. Obama is not a partisan President and thought that if he dealt with the Republicans like an adult, that goodwill would pay off in compromises. Eventually every Republican, especially those had been seen as bipartisan and moderate had to fight for their political lives and President Obama had NO ONE in the Republican party.

    He has to be a hawk on defense because of how badly the Republicans want another high body count 9/11 to regain power. He must find it disheartening that he’s using triage to save whatever problem is the worst right now and for a lot, that’s health care issues. As a result, people who care passionately about gay issues, who are anti-military and want to hang the Bush Administration by their balls have grown to not only hate Obama but to blame him for everything.

    It’s irony that the very same things that got him elected: calm and undramatic, procedural, cautious, bipartisan, are they things that will do him in 2012.

  220. 220
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calming Influence:

    1) Is it possible to pass a law meant to reform, but is so flawed that it actually does more harm than good?

    It’s possible. You could argue that Medicare Part D and the prescription drug bills did more harm than good, but you’d also have to argue that they were actually meant to reform and not structured as giant giveaways by the Republicans, and that’s debatable.

    You also have the “good intentions gone wrong” situations like Prohibition, which was a very bad idea that was also badly enforced. I would argue that this bill is not like either of those since there is an actual problem to be solved and most of what’s in the bill will move us towards solving that problem.

    Keep in mind that insurance companies are a very small factor in rising costs. Provider costs are what keep skyrocketing, which then get passed along to us by insurance companies. Even if private health insurance was outlawed tomorrow, we would still have the massive problems we have today. A large part of the bill is aimed at starting pilot programs to figure out the best way to solve provider costs, but everyone is fixated on the “giveaway to insurance companies” idea and ignores those parts.

    2) Does a “foot in the door” (passing a flawed bill) always result in better legislation in the future?

    Not if the intended result is impossible — see “Prohibition” above. I don’t believe that healthcare reform is impossible.

    3) Does failing to pass a reform bill automatically push reform back 8 – 20 years?

    Automatically with all reform bills? No. With every health care reform bill that’s been suggested since Roosevelt? Yes. Please present your evidence that this time things will not follow history.

  221. 221
    mr. whipple says:

    “The progressive complaints about the stimulus were (1) that it was facially inadequate, and (2) that the primary reason it was so inadequate was because of a naive and futile desire on the part of the President to gain at least token Republican support so he could claim the stimulus package was bipartisan. “

    Total bullshit. The Democrats at the time had 58 votes, not 60, and included in that was the disgusting Lieberman.

    Therefore, it had to be bipartisan by design in order to get to 60.

    Can ‘progressives’ count? It really isn’t that hard.

    Further, the critique of the stimulus being inadaquate typically says:

    1) It was about half the size it should have been. IF it had been double, from what I understand the unemployment rate would now be 9% instead of 10%. Would that be acceptable?

    2) Had it been double, how to get the 60 votes, when 60 was barely reachable for a stim half the size? Just how is that done?

  222. 222
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Umm, the supreme court is about to give businesses the right to contribute as much as they want to campaigns….

  223. 223
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Sorry, this is where persistently dishonest folks like you simply need to be cut off.

    I didn’t realize it was dishonest of me to point to actual facts to show that the stimulus has, in fact, done some good (if not as much as Krugman and others wanted) in order to argue against the stated notion here that it’s an example of Obama failure.

    You may need to re-read that Wikipedia entry.

  224. 224
    Jim says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Total bullshit. The Democrats at the time had 58 votes, not 60, and included in that was the disgusting Lieberman.
    Therefore, it had to be bipartisan by design in order to get to 60.

    and Claire McCaskill and Ben Nelson, whose public opposition to a larger stimulus was probably providing cover to a good half dozen others in the Dem caucus. Krugman was probably right that the stim should’ve been much bigger, but politically it’s absurd to suggest all it took for a bigger one was for Obama to want it more.

  225. 225
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Provider costs are what keep skyrocketing

    This is because the incentives are perverse. Pay for number of procedures performed, don’t pay for prevention or outcomes. It’s like paying for the number of pets you can destroy rather than the number you can find homes for.

  226. 226
    Calming Influence says:

    @mr. whipple:
    Beside the point, but compare health care and health insurance now vs. the FDR administration.

    The point is that thoughtful people with enough maturity to recognize the difference between dogmatism and pragmatism are sounding the alarm on the wording of these bills, and are providing analysis of the actual language in those bills.
    All you’re saying is #3: it is inevitable that if we don’t pass any legislation now, we’ll automatically have to wait 8-20 years.

    Of those two arguments, one is more convincing.

  227. 227
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Mark S.:

    Obama is a centrist, he ran as a centrist, his platform is a centrist platform.

    WHY THE FUCK DO “PROGRESSIVES” THINK HE WAS ANYTHING ELSE?!?!

    WERE YOU TOTALLY ASLEEP LAST FALL?

  228. 228
    Martin says:

    Can ‘progressives’ count? It really isn’t that hard.

    The real problem is that ‘progressives’ (ideological liberals, actually) are convinced that there is only one shot at this ever in the history of this country. The stimulus was a weak move by the President because the One True Stimulus bill should have been better, so they argue that no stimulus would have kept the crisis going and helped us reach that state. They make the same argument WRT health care. Maybe if 20,000 more people die due to lack of health care, we’ll get the perfect bill. Maybe it’ll take 50,000, but these activists are willing to make that sacrifice because they, unlike any of us who seem foolishly to believe that Congress can pass more than one bill, are willing to pay any price to get it right, even if that means no progress whatsoever.

  229. 229
    Osceola says:

    @Annie
    Some of what you list, yes. All the time. All of what you list, no. Arguing respectfully with the complacent of all political persuasions, all the time. Which is something that occurs less and less here, at the Great Orange Satan, and at that witch’s site, whatshername Jane…irony alert for the irony impaired, General and Mary.

    Yes, we are still waiting. To be led by a President who is willing to fight for all of us. We thought we elected him in November 2008. It is neither practical nor reasonable to expect the millions of us out here to lead him. We are not passive, but that is not the way politics works. Obama led us and each other to the polls in 2008, we chose him as our leader, and he then abandoned us shortly after his inauguration. He could have done what FDR did…explicitly tell us to raise hell and make him do what needed to be done. Instead he deferred to Max Baucus on HCR for God’s sake. Grass roots organizing is fine as far as it goes, but there is no way we can fight the Wingnut Noise Machine unless Rasputin from Chicago and his President start the fight. If they start it and help us keep it going, we can finish it.

    As for Obama being cautious and smart, I’ll grant both of those to you. Provisionally. But smart people are really a dime a dozen. You ask “where are his supporters?” We are still where we were on Election Night and Inauguration Day. Were is Obama? That is what I want to know? That is what a lot of people want to know. Obama famously alluded to Ronald Reagan during the campaign. I know what he was trying to say in that interview, so even though I thought he had missed the point about Reagan and Government by a mile, I let it go. But here’s is the thing: Reagan was absolutely the Great Communicator! Hell, he even looked good in a brown suit while reading his speeches from the teleprompter. I have no trouble understanding his appeal to young whippersnappers like John Cole. They didn’t know any better. Obama is smart, and cautious, as you say. But he needs to take Reagan the Great Communicator to heart. Then we’ll see that Million Man March and more. Then we might get somewhere. If it is not too late…

  230. 230
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    If you can build me a case that Republicans are going to gain control magically for another 20 years because this bill fails, I could maybe see the point. Otherwise, it’s just something must be done now! fearmongering.

    The last time the dems had a 60 seat majority was I think in 1965, you can do the math. well,

    And sure as Carter has Little Liver pills, the GOP will never ever support anything like what will get passed shortly. Let alone a PO, or any expansion whatsoever of general health care involvement into the federal government. More than what exists now, which they would love to kill deader than Franco.

  231. 231
    mr. whipple says:

    @Jim:

    Thanks, Jim. What’s the saddest thing to me isn’t that people can’t count to 60. I realize the desire can be very strong to want to stamp one’s feet hard enough to make that go away.

    What makes me saddest is to take any Obama ‘failure’ or difference in policy and automatically assign it the most nefarious of motives, ranging from Obama being hopelessly naive to a Republican mole. These were Obama ‘supporters’? Because if they were, I sure wouldn’t want them in my camp.

  232. 232
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Total bullshit.

    No, this was in fact the progressive complaint, if Paul Krugman is a progressive.

    how to get the 60 votes

    Start with a better opening bid? Guess we’ll never know since it wasn’t tried.

  233. 233
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): It’s only fair. Megacorporations are just like people, and they should enjoy the same rights to free speech, the same right to bear arms, the same right to practice their worship of Mammon, etc., etc., and so forth.

  234. 234
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    Thank you again. Things are on a sort of an even keel now. Fortunately, my family has been independently poor for generations so the experience wasn’t a shock to my system.

  235. 235
    Comrade Jake says:

    I think the next couple of months to a year are really going to suck.

  236. 236
    Calming Influence says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And I would argue that you’re an ignorant self-defeating asshole for considering that those questions should even be considered.

  237. 237
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @John Cole:

    John, that was an awesome post. I honestly cannot see how you could have possibly have been a Republican before.

  238. 238
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I didn’t realize it was dishonest of me to point to actual facts

    Which of course you don’t do, you paraphrase dishonestly to suit your own purpose. You’re a sad little failure.

  239. 239
    jcricket says:

    We all know what’s gonna happen if Coakley loses.

    1) Dems will get “spooked” and run screaming from actual legislative work (including HCR). Dems will try and “assuage voter anger” by running further to the right, or simply giving Republicans what they want.

    2) More Republicans will get elected because #1 doesn’t convince voters to vote for you. And everything will get dramatically, dramatically worse.

    3) Voters will finally be disgusted and elect some more Democrats. But Democrats will dither and dally and then we’ll be back in a situation where #1 happens all over again. (we are between #3 and #1 right now).

    HCR matters – even in its current shitty form. And if it fails, hundreds of thousands of people will go on not getting the care they need, declaring bankruptcy, etc. Not to mention the impacts of not passing climate change bills, lack of public transit support, fiscal hawkishness when we need it least, further tax cuts, etc.

    It’s so fucking obvious I wish Dems could get it. The Republicans have no agenda. Or they have an agenda full of bullshit. Yet their unity and unwillingness to compromise (combined with our passivity) leads to victory, and them being seen as winners. And like it or not, America seems obsessed with who the “winner is” – not who has the “best ideas” or “biggest tent”. And no matter how bad things get, the public isn’t going to elect some big swath of liberals and give them (us/me) free reign to do the shit that actually needs to happen. No, that’ll take place when Dems have been in power enough years (see MA state politics) to command huge majorities over many legislative sessions. And that will only happen if we win, use our majority to pass some real shit, and then use those victories to win again.

    Yeah, there’s other shit at work, but until Democrats can get some fucking unity (at least at the procedural vote level) and willingness to back each other in public and push back on media counter-narratives, this cycle will be endless – to the detriment of you and me.

    I’m so fucking mad right now I can hardly speak. And yet I’ll keep voting Democrat (and giving to real progressives, and being active in party politics) because I know that going home will only embolden the Republicans.

  240. 240
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): I’m skeptical of the argument that if Obama had gone in requesting more from the start, e.g. single-payer, a $2 trillion stimulus, that we would have gotten more. Compromise isn’t just a matter of averaging.

  241. 241
    Jim says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Start with a better opening bid? Guess we’ll never know since it wasn’t tried.

    Even this O-Bot will concede that Obama’s mistake, I think his biggest, was starting out the Stimulus and HCR by offering up a compromise as his opening bid. He and the party as a whole should have started much bigger on both counts. Terrible strategy. But even moreso what Mr Whipple @mr. whipple: said about the hysterical impugning of the worst possible motives to Obama for every misstep and compromise, and the utter refusal to recognize that the Senate and its absurd, unconstitutional rules do actually exist.

  242. 242
    mr. whipple says:

    @Calming Influence:

    All you’re saying is #3: it is inevitable that if we don’t pass any legislation now, we’ll automatically have to wait 8-20 years.

    No, we could, in theory, pass a totally new HCR next month. Given history, what odds would you give of that happening? Last time it was tried was 1993…so how long has that been?

    And I’ll ask you further: what is the incentive for, say, a blue-dog Democratic congresscritter or Senator to want to go through all this again? Because from their perspective, they gain nothing but angry constituents(from both sides of the ideological spectrum), and who gives a shit about 30 million uninsured people, anyway?

    Now, you call this fear-mongering. I call it common sense.

  243. 243
    johnny walker says:

    @Jim:

    Well, taking that attitude is certainly a lot simpler than granting that it’s possible for a person to have legitimate beefs with Obama. So essentially anyone who criticizes Obama from the left is only doing so as an excuse for their pre-existing hatred. Strawman harder.

    @Mnemosyne:

    See, it’s ironic that you would mention the thing about getting our facts straight given that what Phaedrus actually said was: “@Annie – what were we supposed to rally around? … The stimulus that was way too small and full of tax breaks instead of jobs?” You went ahead and plugged him saying “The stimulus has failed” in as a replacement for his actual statement and have been arguing against it ever since. If the Dems wanted people to show up and drown out the teabaggers, etc. then it would’ve helped to give them something to get excited about.

  244. 244
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we get a stimulus number the Republicans wanted, and all the tax cuts they wanted, after which none of them save ~3 voted for it?

    Too lazy to look it up but I remember thinking at the time, being a Republican senator is a good gig if you can get it, at least with this President.

  245. 245
    mr. whipple says:

    Start with a better opening bid? Guess we’ll never know since it wasn’t tried.

    Let’s see if I get this logic. Obama barely got 60 votes for a pared down bill. So, if he had started bidding with a bill 4 times what he got, he would have ended up with a bill twice the size of what he got otherwise?

  246. 246
    andrewtna says:

    @ John Cole

    Do you not remember when Obama himself adopted right-wing attacks on taxes? He did so, because these types of cues are proven to work.

    For instance, Obama claimed in the TV spot “Rearview Mirror” that McCain “would tax your healthcare benefits for the first time ever.”

    Or Obama’s “Prescription” ad, which said “Taxing health care instead of fixing it. We can’t afford John McCain.”

    I bet I’m a fagpussyprogdouche for pointing this out.

  247. 247
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @slag:

    The Obama Administration and Congress can take some for actively demonstrating that vocal progressive activists weren’t high on their priority list.

    I remember when the “vocal progressive activists” were driving me away from Obama, because questioning his primary campaign one iota meant kissing the ass of the vile corporatists led by all-around malefactor Hillary Clinton. Strangely, two years later, “vocal progressive activists” are still flailing about in search of corporatists to slay, and _not_ questioning the Obama administration means kissing the ass of the vile corporatists led by all-around malefactor Rahm Emanuel. You’d almost get the impression that being a “vocal progressive activist” means railing against “corporatists” and just plugging in new villains every time the firmware gets uploaded. It’s a hell of a way to try to climb a priority list.

  248. 248
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Compromise isn’t just a matter of averaging

    No, but good governing is a matter of doing what needs to be done. The job’s a bitch, but he ran for it.

  249. 249
    donovong says:

    I think it is at this point that I am supposed to say that I agree completely with John. However, I am only a syncophant, so you have to take that with a grain of salt.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have to work on my John Cole altar effigy. Funny, but it looks an awful lot like a fat cat.

  250. 250
    Uriel says:

    @Calming Influence:

    And I would argue that you’re an ignorant self-defeating asshole for considering that those questions should even be considered.

    Ok, I’m a bit confused here- are you yelling at memosyne for adressing the questions you asked? Or is it some other questions you’re objecting to? That would seem a bit harsh…

    Not trying to be flip- I just honestly don’t understand where you’re coming from here.

  251. 251
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @BTD:

    BTD, you seem to be a very reasonable person, but you fail to understand that Democrats (politicians and members) are not of one mind as to what to do.

    We have Ben Nelsons in the party who honestly represent the largest, most liberal fraction of the Nebraska population there is.

    So how do you deal with these people? Realizing that you cannot ignore their concerns because you need them to stay in power.

    And you cannot legislate a progressive agenda if you don’t have enough votes to pass it.

    Convincing Ben Nelson to pass HCR is possible, as watered down and weak as it eventual results.

    It is impossible with any Republicans. Period.

    This bipartisanship from Obama is not intended to whoo Republicans, it is intended to whoo ConservaDems.

    And that is because ConservaDems are what used to be called mainstream Republicans.

    We are not living in normal, rational times and the threat from the Teabaggers scares the shit out of me.

    So Soshialist that I am (and I am left of even Progressive politics), I am also foremost a pragmatist too.

    All or nothing almost always leaves you with nothing.

  252. 252
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Let’s see if I get this logic. Obama barely got 60 votes for a pared down bill. So, if he had started bidding with a bill 4 times what he got, he would have ended up with a bill twice the size of what he got otherwise?

    You mean, mr. whipple, that when you’re selling a house you don’t always set the price at a billion dollars, so that when you meet the unsuspecting buyer halfway, you still–heeheehee–get 500 million out of it? It’s genius! Never fails!

  253. 253
    jcricket says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Right – and coming from a position of strength, rather than pre-emptively giving away everything at the start, doesn’t usually lead to better outcomes in an adversarial system.

    This would be different if Republicans were, say, moderate and nice. Then compromising at the start would be a sign of good faith, and they’d come in a bunch from their end and you’d get to a conclusion faster.

    Instead, they smell blood in the water, continue to say no, force us to dither about for a year, and here we are.

    I’m not saying we ever would have gotten a bigger stimulus or better healthcare, but we would have a chance had we come out for what we really wanted, and then negotiated from there. And given up the bipartisan-game a lot earlier.

  254. 254
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Let’s see if I get this logic.

    No, it’s obvious you don’t. Go join Mnemosyne at the School of Dishonest Paraphrasers and do a little remedial work.

  255. 255
    Jim says:

    @johnny walker:

    I have beefs with Obama that I consider legitimate. But based on what Phaedrus posted, I think s/he is self-important purity troll wanking to his/her own sense of righteousness, ignoring the political realities that Obama and the country are faced with so that s/he can indulge in said onanism. YMMV.

  256. 256
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Didn’t we need three Republicans to pass it, seeing as we didn’t have 60 Democrats when we passed the stimulus?

    I’m not saying that Obama shouldn’t have started at a higher negotiating point, I’m just not sure how much that would have helped. The most common analogy I’ve seen used is the buying a car analogy, where you start at a low negotiating price to get a better deal in the end.

    The problem with that analogy is that it’s in the car salesman’s best interest to compromise, since he will get more from making a deal than refusing, while the parties Obama had to negotiate with for the stimulus and healthcare had it in their best interest to make sure that Obama got nothing. In essence, the analogy would be more apt if we see Obama as the salesman, trying to sell a car to the Republicans/insurance industry that have every incentive to keep the status quo.

    Yeah, I know analogies aren’t perfect.

  257. 257
    stillnotking says:

    You know, your occasional attempt at a reasonable post would be more convincing if you didn’t repeatedly mischaracterize the views of those who disagree with you. The incessant, snide mockery doesn’t help either.

  258. 258
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    As Feingold said, “We got the bill the Obama administration wanted.” As Pelosi said, “He was for a lot of things on the campaign trail.” As Obama said, “Make me do it.”

    I wonder how long we’ll doom this presidency with the soft bigotry of low expectations?

  259. 259
    tomvox1 says:

    I guess I am in the extreme minority on this but I do not see a Coakley loss as Game Over for HCR or the Dems. The 60-vote Senate threshold doesn’t really mean that much with assholes like Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu, etc. So what if we’re down to 59? Personally, I would like to see the GOPers try to filibuster absolutely everything.

    It’s also possible that a Coakley defeat will actually insure the rapid passage of the Senate plan because if the House OKs it as is, it does not need to be sent back to the Senate again. (Yes, I Know the Senate plan kinda sucks and all that but if it passes then you will really have Shifted the Overton Window, Stuck the Camel’s Nose Under the Tent, Had the Cat Lap Up the Milk, Insert Banal Analogy Here). I mean, I hope she wins and think that she will pull it out but it’s not catastrophic IMHO if she doesn’t.

    In any event, this is a two-year seat and even if Brown pulls the upset, he will wear out his welcome in Mass in about 2 weeks. The voters are cranky and will take it out on most incumbents, so the Hunky Jag has got that beatdown to look forward to.

    I suppose I’m just an optimist but whatever happens in Massachusetts tomorrow, I don’t think anything is “Over” over. There are often small defeats on the road to the greater victories and this doomsday talk is mostly a combo of media hype and Dem jitters.

  260. 260
    Uriel says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we get a stimulus number the Republicans wanted,

    I’m pretty sure there were a number of Republicans on record as wanting a stimulus number of “0 and 0/100 dollars” so that the invisible hand could work its wondrous magic weeding out dead wood and making already rich people richer and what not, so I’m not sure that characterization is completely accurate.

    I’m pretty sure the tea party folks are still going on about the sublime wisdom of just such a position.

  261. 261
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calming Influence:

    That’s what I get for actually listening to BTD’s criticism and trying to actually engage you with answers for the questions you asked because it looked for a minute like you were trying to have an actual discuss. Silly me.

  262. 262
    Chad N Freude says:

    My psychic has just spoken with both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and she tells me they said “YES! This is exactly what we envisioned!” Then Jefferson said to Adams “No you di’nt,” and Adams said “Yo mama so fat when she sits around the house she sits AROUND the house. And the Senate.”

  263. 263
    AhabTRuler says:

    I just honestly don’t understand where you’re coming from here.

    This could be the theme for the entire weekend.

  264. 264
    Chad N Freude says:

    @stillnotking:

    snide mockery

    Coin of the BJ realm.

  265. 265
    Uriel says:

    @Mnemosyne: Huh- that’s what I thought I influence was going on about. Seems like weird way to make an argument. But I guess to each his own.

  266. 266

    Hmmm, I’m wondering why politicians would move left even a little bit if whatever they get up to is just fine, anyhow. I’m real sure tying a wagon to some rightist movement is not exactly a recipe for left results but that also seems an exception. What I am taking away from this is that things are just fine and any other reaction is Party treason.

    Part of my being a Party official was to not throw rocks at Democrats, I chose to finally resign that role for that reason. I am quite convinced that this is not where we should be at or going and I’ll no more suffer silently under a (D) label than that (R) one. Some of you will question the “suffer” because you’re happy. Good – I’m not. Almost fifty years of observing and working at this convinces me that some things work very badly. Ah well.

  267. 267
    mr. whipple says:

    We have Ben Nelsons in the party who honestly represent the largest, most liberal fraction of the Nebraska population there is.

    And what is Ben Nelson’s approval rating back home?

    Sen. Ben Nelson’s popularity in Nebraska has plummeted in the course of the health care debate, with a new survey putting the Democratic senator’s approval rating at 42 percent.
    According to the latest poll from The Omaha World-Herald, 48 percent disapprove of Nelson. Forty-four percent said his support for health care reform would count against him if he runs for re-election in 2012.

    So, what’s in it for Ben Nelson to support HCR? Think he’ll wanna try again in 6 months?

  268. 268
    MikeJ says:

    @AhabTRuler: Or a sex ed movie.

  269. 269
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    Analogies are tricky. A car salesman who knows that he must get $15,000 for a car does not open with that price in the hopes that the customer will appreciate his reasonableness and therefore buy the car without another word.
    As a side note: great nick! Philip K. Dick has been one of my favorite authors since pulp days.

  270. 270
    Tax Analyst says:

    John Cole said:

    I’m walking down the street with my Obama/Biden button on, when up ahead of me on the right, I see a large protest. They are carrying signs, and yelling and ranting about Obama.

    I think it was those great philosophers in the group “Steeler’s Wheel” that wrote something like:

    “Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right/Here I am/Stuck in the middle with you.”

    But I could be wrong.

  271. 271
    Darryl says:

    Even this O-Bot will concede that Obama’s mistake, I think his biggest, was starting out the Stimulus and HCR by offering up a compromise as his opening bid. He and the party as a whole should have started much bigger on both counts.

    The Clintons Went Big in 1994, arriving on the hill with a big, fully fleshed out, complete overhaul of the health care system.

    The Democratic congress rejected it utterly. It didn’t even get a vote.

  272. 272
    Uriel says:

    @AhabTRuler: Yeah- that about sums it up for me. Guess it’s time to see what’s going on in the world that doesn’t require an ac adapter and an ether-net connection.

    Good lord, I hope no one out there is talking about any of this stuff too…

  273. 273
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @Joe Beese:

    A newly-minted non-Democrat Brown supporter? Teabag away!

  274. 274
    Jim says:

    @Darryl:

    The Clintons Went Big in 1994, arriving on the hill with a big, fully fleshed out, complete overhaul of the health care system.

    There is that. My fantasy was that Sanders and Harkin and Frank and Edwards and who knows who else started out demanding single payer. I think in that case the Overton Window might have worked. Might have.

  275. 275
    Tax Analyst says:

    @ #94 Joel said:

    Sometimes people just have to suck it up and acknowledge that there are an awful lot of other people that they have to share the sandbox with.

    …and hope they don’t try to turn it into a catbox.

    Edit: I think I feel something yucky on one of my back paws right now.

  276. 276
    MikeF says:

    @Mary:

    I reject the word “corporatist” as I find it has been used as a way to simply bash our own side. When did FDL start using this term so widely? I don’t recall its use before the current administration.

    FDL is hardly the only site to use the phrase. I was just reading that 900+ thread and someone named Mary (you?) linked favorably to an article by Howie Klein at Kos titled “A Better Way To Fight Corporatism Among Democratic Insiders Than Empowering Teabaggers”. Mary claimed it proved “digby and Howie Klein have both now disassociated themselves from Hamsher”. Now, maybe I’m missing some context that backs that claim up, but nowhere in the article did Hamsher’s name appear. Instead, in comments responding to someone who brings up Hamsher as an example of “bad faith” Klein writes:

    You want “bad faith?” Bad Faith is the Inside the Beltway Democrats like the DCCC who live to sell out grassroots Democrats in every part of the country. They’re the worst bunch of losers we have to contend with and they will screw us every day in every way…

    Hmm, the DCCC. Someone was just talking about-

    @Mary:

    I’m sticking with OFA, DNC, DSCC and DCCC. I find them far more trustworthy at the moment.

  277. 277
    Darryl says:

    It might have. It’s possible. I do want to see some Overton Window shifting, and it needs to happen bigtime. And that project will be productive, whereas these people who want to punish dems for being insufficiently liberal will be grossly counterproductive.

  278. 278
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    Wow Bruce (formerly Steve S.), you need to work on your reading comprehension because that Krugman column doesn’t say the stimulus was a failure, in fact it says,

    About the stimulus: it has surely helped. Without it, unemployment would be much higher than it is.

  279. 279
    Karen says:

    The Clintons Went Big in 1994, arriving on the hill with a big, fully fleshed out, complete overhaul of the health care system.

    The Democratic congress rejected it utterly. It didn’t even get a vote.

    Thank you Darryl! That is exactly why he’s been so careful about health care, to avoid what happened last time. President Obama is putting his neck on the line to try and please EVERYONE.

    It won’t be passed unless there is a compromise on certain issues and every issue is important to everyone.

    That means you have to cave in to issues from everyone. If Obama didn’t make deals with everyone, you’d have a repeat of 1994 where even his own party didn’t support him and were throwing him under the bus….

    Oh wait. They are.

  280. 280
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @MikeF: Hah. I thought that testimonial was kinda freaky when I read it.

  281. 281
    Shell Goddamnit says:

    But instead you decided to sulk that you didn’t get exactly what you wanted and handed the Republicans a lovely, shiny talking point that lets them say “even liberals don’t think the stimulus worked.”

    Goddamnit, you are telling me I can’t criticize these policies AT ALL because the Republicans will turn it on the Dems?? The Republicans will turn SOMETHING on the Dems in any case. All you’re doing is telling everyone to the left of Richard Nixon to STFU.

    NO.

  282. 282
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Karen: Karen, if ya do the right thing, people will respect you for it whether or not you prevail. Cutting deals with Pharma and BigIns before the thing even started was not the right thing to do. I understand the motivation for it, but that doesn’t make it right and now even after that, the thing is up in the freakin air.

  283. 283

    […] Obama, and who are using nearly the exact same talking points to damn him. He echoes my thoughts to the letter: Now do you understand why I am wondering what the hell people are thinking? I don’t understand […]

  284. 284
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Shell Goddamnit:

    Goddamnit, you are telling me I can’t criticize these policies AT ALL because the Republicans will turn it on the Dems??

    No, I’m saying you can’t use the same fucking arguments that the Republicans do. Argue that the stimulus was too small, but at least remember to say that it prevented Great Depression II at the time and therefore it proves we need another, bigger stimulus to keep it going.

    If the meme is “stimulus FAIL” from both sides, you’re not going to get another bite at that apple. If the meme from at least one side is, “Good start, we need more,” then guess what? You’re getting two different memes out there, not a single one that can be elided together as, “even liberals say the stimulus was a failure.”

  285. 285
    Tax Analyst says:

    @ #109 Omnes said:

    That said, am I the only one who likes Obama because of how procedural he is? I didn’t like Bush’s policies but I didn’t like his imperial style of enacting them even more.

    No, you are not. It is one of the things I like about him as well. I suppose that it is the lawyer in me.

    Yeah, the process is very important. The fact that it rarely satisfies anyone completely can be frustrating (or worse) but it is how our Constitutional process works and is supposed to work for the most part. The fact that Bush took a “my way or the highway” stance on just about everything and pushed and bullied to get that result has set a lot of people off and made them want to apply the same imperial style now. I would prefer we get back to following the process…where the process has not been hijacked or subverted (such as with the fillibuster fiasco we have now – the way the Republicans are using it is an extreme abuse of the process IMO). Where that has occurred we need to get it back on track. Otherwise we invite an atmosphere of never-ending bullying versus obstinate non-cooperation that will be difficult to contain. Does anyone really want it to descend into that? (Some probably do – more’s the pity)

    But it is very tempting to want to force things down their throat when they refuse to cooperate in any manner.

  286. 286
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    No, but good governing is a matter of doing what needs to be done. The job’s a bitch, but he ran for it.

    With his magic wand and steely eyed stance, of course.

    Silly of us not to realize it was that easy.

  287. 287
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Karen, if ya do the right thing, people will respect you for it whether or not you prevail.

    Yeah, look at how much respect Clinton got from the Republicans after he failed to pass health care reform.

  288. 288
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Darryl:
    The Clinton Health Care Plan of 1993 had a lot of other problems so I’d hesitate to say that it failed because it was too ambitious. Clinton’s choice of his wife, a political unknown at the time, to head up the drafting of the plan, and the secret meetings of her committee that eventually led to litigation under the Federal Advisory Committee Act were among the things that led to the plan being a non-starter. This was also during those halcyon days when unemployment was around 6.9% and the standard for worker compensation was not what they’ll do it for in China.

  289. 289
    Calming Influence says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Who the fuck are you talking about? Where exactly did I call anything fear-mongering?

    All I’m saying is this:

    Aside from crappy provisions in the house and senate bills, there appears to be some seriously flawed language in the bills. Some people are studying this and trying to understand what the effects will be if the language becomes law. Some are concluding that it may end up being worse than no bill at all.

    To those, the general argument here [has been for the last week] STFU.

    I would just like to see some response to the merits of the arguments against the bill’s language, rather than vague crap about “if some bill doesn’t pass, it’s inevitable that…”

    That shit is just weak.

  290. 290
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: What the hell does that even mean? Democratic Senators killed health care reform in ’93.

    Look, I know you mean well. I’ve read ya in comments on various sites for years. But can you just pie me?

  291. 291
    Darryl says:

    Karen, if ya do the right thing, people will respect you for it whether or not you prevail.

    I’m sure that’s what Bart Stupak and Joe Lieberman tell themselves.

    In another matter, you can’t just look at the principles of the stand. You have to look at the ethics of the outcome. Lots of Christian Conservatives w/r/t sex ed take a principled stand against advocating fornication, with the consequence being increased STDs and teen pregnancies. I sure as shit don’t respect them for it. If you only look at the ethics of the position you take, and you don’t look at the real-world consequences, you are a moral midget.

  292. 292
    t jasper parnel says:

    Ya know there was an essay in the New Yorker a couple of weeks back about how the HRC bill ought to be thought as analogous to the farm bureau in that it had a whole bunch of pilot programs designed to bring down healthcare costs in a manner similar to the farm bureau, which — the author argued — has done an excellent job of aiding farmers in being better farmers. The very next week almost all the letters to the editor pointed out that the key difference was that the farm bureau aided farmers in increasing their profits while HRC sought to do the opposite. There, I submit, is the rub. So long as Health Care is a for profit enterprise we are doomed.

    Plus and also, I once watched a PBS mini series, the details of which I will spare one and all, the comedic pay off of which was one of the lead characters transformed from an upper class twit into a political activist protecting an endangered forest by sitting in a tree and chanting: What do we want? Trees! When do we want them? Now! There are, I think, certain similarities between the twit and the poutocracy,.

  293. 293
    t jasper parnel says:

    I would also suggest that all and sundry watch the 49th Parallel and consider what might have happened had Raymond Massey decided that the absence of turnips in his weekly diet meant that he ought throw in his lot with Richard George, ditto Larry Olivier.

  294. 294
    slag says:

    @Tax Analyst: Damn you for getting that song in my head.

  295. 295
    Chad N Freude says:

    The Clintons Went Big in 1994, arriving on the hill with a big, fully fleshed out, complete overhaul of the health care system.

    Not exactly.
    One huge problem not noted in the Wikipedia article was that Hilary developed the health care reform plan behind closed doors, inviting unidentified parties to participate in forming the plan. Kind of like Cheney developed energy policy behind closed doors, inviting unidentified parties to participate in forming the policy. The lack of transparency and the non-involvement of congress killed it before it was even announced.

  296. 296
    Glocksman says:

    @CalD:

    I’ll bet the Cadillac tax would be an easier sell if Dem’s put it more like, “We want make it harder for your bosses to hand you shitty raises and say yeah we know it sucks, but just take the whole family out for MRIs instead of going to Disney World this year.”

    As a longtime union member who has served on the bargaining committee, I can state that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    There’s a reason why Rich Trumka and CTW were so opposed to the Senate bill as passed, and that reason wasn’t because they were purity trolls.

    At work, the ratio of company/employee premium payment responsibility is 80/20.
    It’ll vary a few percent from contract to contract, but that’s the starting point in negotiations and generally doesn’t change much.

    In 1999, my share of my single coverage was about $11 or so per week for a 0% deductible and low copay HMO from one of the best HMO’s in the country.

    Today I pay $23.91/wk for a 90-10% plan with tripled copays.

    Do the math and you’ll see why the Senate plan as passed is simply unacceptable to this union worker who makes $13/hr.

    As an aside, those who claim that we’d get bigger raises because the tax would shift money away from insurance are either naive or fucking lying.

  297. 297
    quintillian says:

    This reminds of a post at the Am. Prospect during the primaries. Schmitt argues that Clinton, Edwards, and Obama all had different theories of change, and I think to some extent that’s what’s playing out now. Clearly, many of the details in the Schmitt piece are dated, but it’d be helpful, I think, to consider how Obama’s theory of change is put into practice with the context in which he must work and compare it to other theories of change that seem to be at held by others on the left.

    Also, thanks John and DougJ. Long-time lurker and fan. Best comments and commentators in all of the blogistan.

  298. 298

    @Jim Newell: Just make sure you give your money to the cat. The dog will fill your Rx.

  299. 299
    mr. whipple says:

    @Calming Influence:

    “Who the fuck are you talking about? Where exactly did I call anything fear-mongering?”

    My apologies. I got that wrong.

  300. 300
    Andy K says:

    @Darryl:

    This. A thousand times THIS!

  301. 301
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Chad N Freude: OK, I didn’t go far enough into the article. It is noted:

    The First Lady’s role in the secret proceedings of the Health Care Task Force also sparked litigation

    Hey, it’s late, I’m tired.

  302. 302
    Karen says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead

    What’s the point of even trying if you don’t prevail? I really think that President Obama has good intentions. But I think he underestimated how hard it would be to implement those good intentions. It’s one thing to promise something when you’re a candidate and you’re not in the muck of things. It’s another when you’re the President and you have not just one emergency but several, including the biggest one you inherited from the Administration before you: the economy.

    It reminds me of when I started a job and because they were so swamped, no one could take the time to train me. My predecessor was so behind that I had no learning curve and they threw me in to sink or swim. I drowned.

    I’d say Obama is drowning and no one can or will offer him a life preserver because they don’t like how he’s swimming and thinks he deserves to drown.

  303. 303
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    As an aside, those who claim that we’d get bigger raises because the tax would shift money away from insurance are either naive or fucking lying.

    Or enough of a card-carrying economist to believe that there’s a real tradeoff between benefits and wages.

    Oh, and it might kinda be important to consider the last two paragraphs here:

    Maybe it will help the plausibility of this case to notice that we’re not actually asking whether a fall in premiums would be passed on to workers. Even with the excise tax, premiums are likely to rise over time — just more slowly than they would have otherwise. So what we’re really asking is whether slowing the growth of premiums would reduce the squeeze rising health costs would otherwise have placed on wages. Surely the answer is yes.
    The last argument is that this hurts unions which have traded off lower wages for better benefits. This would be a bigger issue than I think it is if the excise tax were going to kick in instantly. But it won’t, giving time to renegotiate those bargains. And bear in mind that this kind of renegotiation is exactly what the tax is supposed to accomplish.

  304. 304
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    OT: Looks like we may have another power outage here on the south Oregon coast. We were out of commission for 10 hours yesterday due to the storm and we are getting slammed once again. Lights are flickering and the APC units are triggering on and off.

    Good thing we have lots of propane, a generator and supplies on hand! At least it’s in the mid-50’s outside.

  305. 305
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    Doing your math, your plan comes in at about 60% of the deductible cap. If you were in a high-impact profession, it’d be 40%.

    What’s the problem? You are trying to tell us how this will impact the little guy by giving us an example where it doesn’t.

  306. 306
    Glocksman says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    Bob Herbert column

    We all remember learning in school about the suspension of disbelief. This part of the Senate’s health benefits taxation scheme requires a monumental suspension of disbelief. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, less than 18 percent of the revenue will come from the tax itself. The rest of the $150 billion, more than 82 percent of it, will come from the income taxes paid by workers who have been given pay raises by employers who will have voluntarily handed over the money they saved by offering their employees less valuable health insurance plans.

    Can you believe it?

    I asked Richard Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., about this. (Labor unions are outraged at the very thought of a health benefits tax.) I had to wait for him to stop laughing to get his answer. “If you believe that,” he said, “I have some oceanfront property in southwestern Pennsylvania that I will sell you at a great price.”
    A survey of business executives by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, found that only 16 percent of respondents said they would convert the savings from a reduction in health benefits into higher wages for employees. Yet proponents of the tax are holding steadfast to the belief that nearly all would do so.
    “In the real world, companies cut costs and they pocket the money,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America and a leader of the opposition to the tax. “Executives tell the shareholders: ‘Hey, higher profits without any revenue growth. Great!’ ”

  307. 307
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Karen: We disagree here. I don’t think he’s drowning. I think he’s doing what we wants and getting what he wants. Move away from health care, which you all claim he’s completely powerless on, despite his being able to cut backroom deals with big business and abandon effortlessly what he campaigned on.

    Consider Afghanistan. How easy would it have been to leave? A majority of Americans want us out of there. He can make the call all by himself. What call does he make?

  308. 308
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Feingold can introduce a bill any time to pass a public option stand alone with 50+1 votes. He won’t do that and you, me and he all know why: There were between 44 and 46 hard Yays in the Senate for a HCR bill that included a public option and the Democratic Senate leadership managed to get that number up to 58 or 59 through arm-twisting and cajoling. But Liberman wouldn’t come along.

    That’s what actually happened. If Russ thinks there are 50+ votes for a public option have him introduce it and put it to a vote. It won’t get 50 votes no matter how watered down it is. That, unfortunately is the Senate America has at the moment.

  309. 309
    Jim says:

    @Karen:

    I really think that President Obama has good intentions. But I think he underestimated how hard it would be to implement those good intentions

    As you mention, the economy got steadily worse from the summer of 2008 on, and very few people saw how bad it would get. I do think Obama overestimated Repulicans’ willingness to work with, not just the Morons from Maine, but also Lugar, Coburn (BO used to brag about their good relationship). Probably even McCain. Didn’t he invite McCain to the White House for a beer summit last January?

  310. 310
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    If medical inflation holds to the current 10 year rate, the Senate tax will snare people like me in 10 years or less, or, as the advocates frankly admit, I’ll have to take shittier coverage to avoid the tax.

    No thank you.

  311. 311
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I gotta hand it to you… you keep trying…very commendable but not sure how much is getting through the metamorphic strata…

    At first it made me puzzled, then angry, then tired, then back to puzzled..

    There is little but the same object in circuit around the solar system – out and back, watching the point come in and go out, unchanging the object in any substantive way..

  312. 312
    Martin says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    Most people can’t cope with two variables moving at once. That’s a major problem with trying to explain any of this stuff. They can’t grasp that employers and insurers are going to bend over backward to keep most plans under that cap. That’ll mean somewhat weaker insurance for some people, but stronger insurance for others.

    Opposition to it is just a different flavor of ‘fuck you, I got mine’, one from the left.

  313. 313
    bayville says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    There have been no studies done that prove Krugman’s hypothesis. Public sector unions will certainly receive little more than a cost of living increase in wages, if that, considering the lack of federal and state aid currently available.

    In essence, this is a national pilot plan that Krugman and excise tax supporters have signed off on.

  314. 314
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    Ok, that’s a fantastically bullshit attitude. You’re basically arguing that since health care costs are going to skyrocket, you might as well be on board. You want those costs to not skyrocket so long as you personally don’t have to play a part. Why not just join the GOP with that attitude?

  315. 315
    Shell Goddamnit says:

    You’re getting two different memes out there, not a single one that can be elided together as, “even liberals say the stimulus was a failure.”

    Oh bullshit. THE REPUBLICANS WILL STILL SAY THAT VERY THING. They are perfectly capable of lying through their teeth while convincing themselves it’s just a matter of perspective, that it’s essentially the same thing to say “it is good but could be better” and “it’s a failure.”

    That said, I completely agree that we should be as specific as possible in our criticism in the probably vain hope that it might sink in. Just saying “oh it’s all useless!” is not helpful, but that is where a lot of people are at this point, and as a crazed far leftist, I can’t say as I blame them. Real change has been rejected as even a possibility over and over; all we’re doing is hackwork and baling wire repairs. Not that those are completely valueless, but it’s pretty goddamned frustrating.

  316. 316
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Karen:

    It’s one thing to promise something when you’re a candidate and you’re not in the muck of things. It’s another when you’re the President and you have not just one emergency but several

    Ah, there’s the rub. Demanding things you probably won’t get is the root of principled activism, because that’s the only way you move the final result in the right direction. But it’s not true for Presidents. There it only counts as breaking promises.

  317. 317
    Elie says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I should probably have resisted responding to your comment, Lord knows, but the oversimplification just stuns me:

    “Consider Afghanistan. How easy would it have been to leave? A majority of Americans want us out of there. He can make the call all by himself. What call does he make?”

    Its really just that easy? So he must be stupid or just corrupt and want to have war. But he should just up and decide to leave cause its just easy, simple and straightforward…

  318. 318
    andrewtna says:

    @ John Cole

    Do you not remember when Obama himself adopted right-wing attacks on taxes? He did so, because these types of cues are proven to work.

    For instance, Obama claimed in the TV spot “Rearview Mirror” that McCain “would tax your healthcare benefits for the first time ever.”

    Or Obama’s “Prescription” ad, which said “Taxing health care instead of fixing it. We can’t afford John McCain.”

    I shouldn’t have pointed this out….

  319. 319
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    I’m not high income (keep in mind my $13/hr wage) but I do have good insurance.
    Now if we were talking about shared sacrifice, I’d have no problem with a general income tax hike to pay for HCR.

    But no, Mary Landwhore and Joe Lieberdouche say income tax hikes are ‘unacceptable’, so in what’s become a fucking trend over the last 30 years, the Democrats throw labor a few crumbs while fucking us in the ass on the important issues.

    Frankly I’m tired of being told ‘more, more, more’ when I ask how much do I have to give.

    I ain’t no fortunate son.

  320. 320
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: I know you gotta stay on point and keep pimping this thing until it goes or blows but I didn’t say a thing about the public option or how many votes were needed for it.

    I simply quoted Feingold saying we got the bill the administration was pushing for. If that bugs ya, yer gripe is with the administration.

  321. 321
    Ron says:

    I think the people who think if only we can defeat the current health reform package,then we can get GOOD health care reform passed are living in a dream world that bears little resemblance to reality. I will be the first to agree that the Senate bill is flawed and nowhere near the ideal bill. But there are political realities. The first is no matter how much people dream of doing away with it, the filibuster is not going away in the Senate in the foreseeable future. The second is that there are somewhat conservative democrats in the Senate that will not be replaced with progressive ones. Even if you could successfully primary Nelson and Baucus, I’m pretty sure that a “progressive” candidate is pretty unlikely to win in Nebraska or Montana. Those two realities combined mean that we have to try for the best bill possible, not the best possible bill. Look at what happened in the House. The House has an overwhelming democratic majority and a larger group of progressives, yet they could barely pass a bill that IMO isn’t that much better than the Senate bill. It has a “public option” that is pretty weak and they couldn’t get it through at all without the odious Stupak amendment. I’d rather get SOMETHING through as a starting point. It’s easier down the line to make it better by changing it, than it would be to start over sometime in the future and hope to get a better bill then.

  322. 322
    bayville says:

    @Martin:

    So union workers should be forced to pay more, for less at the expense of taxing high-income earners?
    That, my friend, sounds like the Republican philosophy.

  323. 323
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Elie: I don’t know his motives for staying in Afghanistan. But it certainly isn’t because he’s drowing and powerless, right?

  324. 324
    booda says:

    ** I read your post John, but do not have time to wade through all the comments, so this may be redundant and/or late in the game**

    I agree with your overall point here. Conservatives seem to have more patience with incremental change, where progressives (and I consider myself a progressive) tend to want all-or-nothing major changes. Perhaps it’s due to a sense that we have a more limited time window to get things done until the next “conservative revolution” aided by the media and the corporations. One of the reasons I still have confidence in Obama – even though he frustrates me and even though I don’t agree with him on every issue – is because he seems to work on this patient, long-view plan rather than a more emotionally satisfying, right-here-right-now approach. Yes, it is frustrating sometimes and I understand some of the better arguments on sites like FDL for scrapping HCR for a better solution in the future. However, I still think we’re better off with health reform that can be improved upon rather than another Democratic failure and another severely weakened Democratic president – who is, for all his faults, a hell of a lot better than any alternative from the other side of the aisle.

  325. 325
    Jim says:

    I simply quoted Feingold saying we got the bill the administration was pushing for. If that bugs ya, yer gripe is with the administration.

    Assumes a lot about everyone’s opinion of Feingold, doesn’t it?

  326. 326
    Joe Beese says:

    @andrewtna

    Didn’t you get the memo? You were supposed to know that politicians lie during their campaigns. (Except about escalating wars.)

    Noob!

  327. 327
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim: Yeah, he was the best thing evah before he said that.

  328. 328
    Ailuridae says:

    @Glocksman:

    Bob Herbert isn’t an economist. And as I’ve gone to great lengths to demonstrate in other threads there is basically Larry Mishel arguing on one side that putting a cap on tax free money to for profit insurance companies wouldn’t do positive things for wages. Pretty much every other economists thinks it would be a net positive for wages.

    But, why would I bother to repost that again when you can get Bob Herbert from the WaPo to make a wrong-headed argument? If you follow Herbert’s argument to its “logical” conclusion it offers no hope that there can ever be any way to control costs in health care or to maintain wages. Soon we’ll be a bankrupt country with nearly all people making subsistence wages at best.

    Its telling that Herbert managed to find several union heads to talk to but couldn’t find a single health care expert to offer an agreeable opinion. Its also interesting that with some minor predictable tweaks the unions got on board with the plan.

  329. 329
    Ailuridae says:

    @Glocksman:

    There is very little correlation between the quality of care and the cost of care.

  330. 330
    Martin says:

    @andrewtna:

    But Obama was correct. McCain wanted to make 100% of employer paid benefits taxable in exchange for a $5000 tax credit to workers. Now, that plan has one clear benefit in that it turns workers into consumers, who have an incentive to stretch that $5000 as far as possible. The downside is that $5K really doesn’t go very far and the arrangement was a HUGE incentive for employers, who have the benefit of pooling employees to get better rates to dump that for everyone to go on their own. People are already bitching about a $8900 cap against employer plans and while the $5K credit would be a boost for a number of people, the folks at the bottom don’t pay $5K in taxes, so they get fucked.

  331. 331
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Glocksman:

    Except that if they pocket the money they pay taxes on it. If they pass it along as wage increases they can write it off.

    Employment taxes that a business must pay on behalf of its employees are deductible…including Gross salaries, wages, or other compensation paid…

    .

    Gee, as an employer I can either pay the Cadillac Tax if I recruit employees with expensive health care packages, or I can pay taxes on the profits if I just pocket the difference, or I can deduct the cost of paying wages from my taxes by giving wage increases instead of insurance company blow jobs.

    Golly, what will I do?

  332. 332
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Shell Goddamnit:

    That said, I completely agree that we should be as specific as possible in our criticism in the probably vain hope that it might sink in. Just saying “oh it’s all useless!” is not helpful, but that is where a lot of people are at this point, and as a crazed far leftist, I can’t say as I blame them.

    I blame them to the extent that I feel like they’re trying to use the exact same strategy that led to 30 years of Republican dominance and acting like it’s a brand-new thing for people to say they’re going to drop out of politics because the Democrats have failed them. The left has been saying that since Chicago 1968, for chrissakes, and it’s been a failure that whole time. Why are we supposed to continue to follow a failing strategy?

    As I said from the very beginning of this spat, if what I was hearing from the far left was, “We are going to primary each and every motherfucker who votes against the Democrats,” I would have been first in line to get my torch and pitchfork. Instead, I heard a lot of whining about how Obama hadn’t magically fixed everything his first year in office and politics was haaard so people were just going to take their ball and go home. It’s given me lots of nasty flashbacks to 1994, and I’m not the only one.

    Real change has been rejected as even a possibility over and over; all we’re doing is hackwork and baling wire repairs. Not that those are completely valueless, but it’s pretty goddamned frustrating.

    That’s the problem with working within the system — you have to work within the system you have and try to repair things, even if those repairs go so slowly you want to scream. The only other alternative is to start a revolution, but those things tend to turn ugly very quickly. The American Revolution ended up working out mostly okay, but the French, Russian and Chinese ones, not so much.

  333. 333
    Glocksman says:

    My point in quoting Herbert was his reference to that survey that stated only 16% of businesses would pass on the savings.

    The rest of it was quoted merely to avoid the accusation of quoting Herbert out of context.

    My own experiences at the bargaining table coupled with that survey convince me that the people who say the overwhelming majority of employers would pass on the savings are, to be polite, living in an ivory tower.

  334. 334
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    No it bugs me that you are accepting Feingold’s word uncritically when there is a very easy follow up that could see if a better bill could have been passed.

    I’ve already called his office and spoken to them and, as is often the case, Senator Feingold took an inconsistent and vexing position and refused to answer the direct question.

    At least this time you didn’t quote Lieberman to back up something that’s laughably untrue.

  335. 335
    bayville says:

    @Ailuridae:

    There is very little correlation between the quality of care and the cost of care.

    Cite your source please.

  336. 336
    Jim says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Not to me. Voted to advance Clinton’s impeachment, voted for Ashcroft, held hearings on “Czars”, said a McCain presidency wouldn’t be so bad, couldn’t get anyone to support him on censure of Bush. He had a lot more to say about the public option after it was killed than he ever did to support it. In short: Self-righteous, ineffectual prima donna, in love with his own contrarianism. Maybe Slate will hire him.

  337. 337
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    I know you aren’t, but Congress isn’t responsible for the fact that your employer pays you shit or that your bargaining unit put too much emphasis on benefits and not enough on salary. I agree that should be addressed, but killing a valid reform effort (one that doesn’t even impact you) isn’t an appropriate reaction.

  338. 338
    Allan says:

    @Calming Influence: I don’t know what offense the word “some” committed, but it can’t justify you torturing it in this fashion.

  339. 339
    bayville says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    Convoluted speculation based on false assumptions. Sign me up.

  340. 340
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    Well, you’d be hard pressed to find a source that says, in the larger sense, that cost/quality correlate. Are US doctors that earn 3x their foreign counterparts 3x better doctors? Uh, no.

  341. 341
    Glocksman says:

    Dr. Morpheus:

    If I were to believe your logic, my employer would have leapt at the chance to pay more for insurance and maintain our old 0% deductible plan despite the cost rising to $7k/yr for single coverage.

    Hint: they didn’t and we practically had to threaten a strike to avoid an 80-20% plan two years ago.

  342. 342
    Calming Influence says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    The point of my response to your comment at @220 was this: for a week, it hasn’t mattered why someone might think that the currently proposed bills might actually be more damaging than nothing at all; the discussion pretty much revolved around what degree of “delusional’ should be ascribed to those who didn’t believe that any bill was better than no bill. Details didn’t matter; it was “wid us or agin us” all the way.

    The merits or demerits of the actual language no longer mattered. When you actually tried to address valid questions, I simply addressed them in the same manner as they’ve been answered here all week.

  343. 343
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: What reason would I have to think Feingold is lying? He was involved in the process. He has a reputation for acting independently and with integrity. Why wouldn’t I take his word over an anonymous blog commenter who claims to be a bartender? No disrespect intended, you ply a guy with a few drinks, he starts talkin, ya pick up stuff. I get that. But what credibility do you have with me?

  344. 344
    bayville says:

    @Martin:

    Boy, you really are clueless about this bill.
    Again, you , as a so-called Progressive, are advocating the working guy- making minimal wages – to have to pay more for his healthcare.
    Seriously, I get it. Obama cannot fail, we can only fail Obama.

  345. 345
    Quiddity says:

    Who is saying kill the bill? Most “activists” (like me, I guess) are merely being critical of the bill and how it has been managed. Raising important points about the defects in the legislation and complaining about the White House leaning on progressives but not (visibly) leaning on Blue Dogs.

    It’s important that the message get sent up to the top that people are pissed. Otherwise, how can we expect Obama & Company to change for the better? Also, if people aren’t allowed to gripe, they will disengage and that’s bad politically.

    I’ve yet to see a commenter here support Hamshire and her partnership with Norquist. But people are unhappy with the Senate bill’s excise tax, Johathan Gruber’s support of it (claiming it is progressive), the potential fallout from taxing the middle class instead of the rich, and the failure to control costs via drug importation and/or using Medicare to negotiate prices. And they say so in the comments section. Lately at Balloon Juice they get pummeled with snark, or worse.

    I am glad to see John pick up on that comment he cites. I was telling someone today that I used to enjoy visiting Balloon Juice as recently as two months ago, but that something seemed to have changed starting in December. It looks as if the Senate bill has exposed a big fault-line within the progressive ranks.

  346. 346
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim: Does that make him a liar?

  347. 347
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    Of course they aren’t going to volunteer to hand it back, but that’s why you’re in a union, you idiot. Send your negotiators in to take their 10K apart and get your share back.

    Jesus, you’ve got a tool at your disposal that most of us don’t have and you assume they are completely irrelevant. Congress can’t make your union do what they exist to do, you know.

  348. 348
    bayville says:

    @Martin:

    I would say that proves the American healthcare system is entirely too expensive.
    Ezra Klein writes today the total healthcare expense in the U.S. in 2009 was about $2.3 trillion. He also writes that’s not a problem. I don’t know, $2.3 trillion with an avg. annual growth rate of 8% sounds like a lot of waste to me. Americans pay about $7,300 per year on healthcare costs – more than twice as much as just about any other country in the western world.

    What does this bill do to address that problem?

  349. 349
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bayville:

    This is a link to a PDF from the Kaiser Family Foundation with a lot of cites. Basically, the cost of healthcare is strongly correlated with the region you live in, not so much with the quality of that care. If you live in a high-cost region, you will pay more for lower-quality care than someone who lives in a lower-cost region.

    According to the CBO, “After adjusting for other factors, areas with higher Medicare spending tend to score substantially worse on a composite indicator of the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries.”

  350. 350
    bayville says:

    @Martin:

    Of course they aren’t going to volunteer to hand it back, but that’s why you’re in a union, you idiot. Send your negotiators in to take their 10K apart and get your share back.

    You continue to prove you don’t know what you are writing about.
    Let’s talk sports.

  351. 351
    David says:

    @bayville: If you don’t understand the “Cadillac Tax” is directly addressing this problem by now, I’m not sure how else it can be explained.

  352. 352
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    No, I really do get it. I’ve yet to see an example of a working guy that will be impacted by this bill. I’ve even asked family members, who run insurance companies, to find me examples and they couldn’t, not below middle management. There were a few that came close but the higher cap on higher impact professions gave even them a fair bit of headroom.

    Now they have a lot of individual plans over the cap, but they’re already deductible and that’s not changing. So again, find me a plan for someone earning under 50K that would be impacted by this. I’ve looked hard and found none. Glocksman would be impacted only in some future hypothetical case as he’s now at no more than 60% of the cap.

  353. 353
    Jim says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    “Liar”? He’s expressing an opinion, and I think his record demonstrates some seriously questionable judgement, and IMHO an erratic temperament, which makes me question the value of his opinion.

  354. 354
    The Other Steve says:

    The only mistake I think Obama is making… Is while it’s not uncommon to face opposition from the left flank, and definately from the right flank.

    I don’t think he’s communicating with the people well enough to gain their support. I understand what is going on, and I understand the details but most don’t.

    And frankly, the opposition on the right is pretty thin. The Republicans are pretty confident they are going to recreate 1994 but I just don’t see it happening. The polls aren’t accurately reflecting the mood of the people.

  355. 355
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calming Influence:

    Good to see that you’re more interested in being an asshole than in having a discussion because some other random people who weren’t me were assholes to you at some point last week.

    Clearly you’re not interested in having any kind of serious discussion since all you want to do is weep about how meeeaaaannnn everyone was to you. Buh-bye.

  356. 356
    Nick says:

    @Mark S.:

    That said, Obama and Rahm have pretty much taken many opportunities to let it be known that they don’t give two shits about what the left wing of their party thinks. If they want to do that, fine, but don’t be surprised when their support for you is decidedly less enthusiastic.

    With Independents fleeing, I could care less how enthusiastic they are anymore. Most of them will showup no matter what. They could be jumping up and down with the excitement of a horny cat covered in catnip and Democrats would still lose elections wihout Indys.

  357. 357
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Quiddity:

    I’ve yet to see a commenter here support Hamshire and her partnership with Norquist.

    Are you serious? I can pretty much guarantee you won’t, unless Tunch eats Cole and for kicks posts a pro Norquist/Hamshire unholy union thread/

    Lately at Balloon Juice they get pummeled with snark, or worse.

    Only until morale improves.

  358. 358
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    Yeah, in an economy with a 10%+ unemployment rate, employer friendly labor laws and states handing out tax breaks willy nilly to employers who relocate, it’ll be just that easy.

    Never mind that Whirlpool recently announced they were moving their Evansville plant to fucking Mexico, and that puts a damper on any union militancy.

    Thank you for NAFTA, Mr. Clinton.

    Protip: not all unions have the power that the UAW had at its height.

  359. 359
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Nick:

    With Independents fleeing, I could care less how enthusiastic they are anymore. Most of them will showup no matter what. They could be jumping up and down with the excitement of a horny cat covered in catnip and Democrats would still lose elections wihout Indys.

    Could that be because independents largely opposed an individual mandate and generally supported a public option and they don’t like what they’re getting with this bill? Just asking, not asserting anything.

  360. 360
    bayville says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Thanks for the links.

  361. 361
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim: You could be right. We’ll find out when the book on HCR is written.

  362. 362
    bayville says:

    @David:

    If you don’t understand the “Cadillac Tax” is directly addressing this problem by now, I’m not sure how else it can be explained.

    What problem are we talking about?

  363. 363
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    Oh, it absolutely is, without question.

    The urgency of the bill is not tied to you or me or Glocksman directly. It’s tied to Medicare costs and the fact that the program goes negative by 2018. It needs to get fixed in this administration, and the whole point of the bill was to do enough to kick that deadline out another decade to buy them time. In that opportunity they were going to fix a handful of problems for the rest of us, but we aren’t the point of this pass – the federal deficit is.

    From our individual perspective, sure, the bill sucks in the same way that a farming bill sucks – I’m not a farmer. What the fuck do I care unless I care about the larger benefit to the nation. That’s where this bill lies. Knock the deficit down a notch and Congress has a bit more room to work in the next bill.

    And anyone who is concerned about the deductible cap better be a staunch opponent to single payer, because that program is going to be far more limiting than any insurance plan that is bumping the cap today. Glocksman should be pissed as all get-out because not only would single-payer cap his benefits and incur far more out-of-pocket costs than anything that Congress can do to him now, but his employer still won’t be compelled to pay him more.

  364. 364
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    None. That’s why I asked you to call his office and ask him yourself why he doesn’t introduce a stand alone public option. You might learn something rather than continuing to embarrass yourself.

    The reason to suspect Feingold is lying is because what he said makes no sense in light of his further actions.

  365. 365
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    Ok, so now we’re down to HCR not ever touching you personally not only because your employer is a douche, but also because the economy is in the shitter, unions are toothless, and Clinton sold us out.

    So, we’re fucked, because there is no way that HCR can preserve the fantastic plans that many of us (like myself) have in lieu of salary, and you won’t sign on until your employer is forced to pay you more, and then you’ll consider letting your plan dial back.

    And in what reality is this even possible?

  366. 366
    Jim says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Heh. We’ll have to wait and see what Boobie Woodward and Mark Halperin have to say about what Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer anonymously source to them.

  367. 367
    Ailuridae says:

    @Glocksman:

    Economies don’t maintain constant employment rates. Yes, it would stink to be a unionized worker negotiating a deal right now. But that has nothing to do with this health care bill – now would be a shitty time to be in collective bargaining regardless. And 1998 would have been a great time.

  368. 368
    bayville says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Sorry, I was talking about high-end premium “private” health insurance as opposed to Medicare spending, which is what the Kaiser Foundation link is focused on.
    With regards to private health insurance, the more you pay the better the coverage. The state you live in is relavent as well with regard to each state’s own insurance mandates (if there are any).

  369. 369
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: What if I called him and got him on the phone and asked him why he didn’t propose a stand-alone public option and he said because the Obama administration didn’t want that. Would that mean he’s still lying about them?

    I actually don’t see what’s so controversial about his saying that. Obama said he didn’t campaign on it after the fact. It’s not hard to imagine *no public option* was part of the original deals with pharma and big insurance.

    ETA: Obama could have simply said he worked his ass off for the PO and he failed to deliver it.

  370. 370
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    You misunderstand.
    My anger is aimed more at being yet again asked to sacrifice (see free trade if you want to know more) while taxing those most able to bear it is unacceptable.

    If everyone were being asked to sacrifice in proportion to their ability to bear it, I’d have no problem.
    I do have a problem with being yet again told that union people have to bear the burden while the ones best able to afford it skate yet again.

    That, and I don’t like being made a fool of.
    The primary reason I had so much success pushing Obama in a plant with an aging, white workforce was the McCain health plan.

    Obama’s promises of not taxing our insurance and that we can keep the ones we have helped me win over a lot of people.

    If you think I’ll have similar success in 2012 if the unmodified Senate bill becomes law, you’d be mistaken.
    I’m already getting tons of blowback over the Senate plan and it’s not even law yet.

    The day it does, I feel comfortable in saying that Indiana will be ‘Red’ for another 34 years.

  371. 371
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jim: Well, no, I don’t think we can prejudge the veracity of book that hasn’t been written yet based on who might write it but I get yer point: yer not interested in the truth if it contradicts what you think about Feingold’s opinion. That’s fair. :)

  372. 372
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    With regards to private health insurance, the more you pay the better the coverage

    Not normally. The cost of changing plans is sufficiently high (infinitely high to someone with a pre-existing condition) that both individuals and employers will stick with plans they know are more expensive than better care that they could get elsewhere. That lesson is obvious when you look at Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. People overpay as a matter of routine.

    Yes, there are some broad trends there, but they aren’t anywhere near as clean as you would think. For example, a lot of employers pay a lot of money for plan features that they know won’t get used, but look good when recruiting employees, or make employees feel better about their coverage. Even the insurers know that they are a rip-off, but it’s what the employers want.

  373. 373
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    Or in my case, an older workforce with a long history of using the insurance.
    If the average age of our workforce was 24 and not 39, our insurance would be much less expensive.

    I personally haven’t had any issues with my HMO, but there are enough members that do to make it worth our while to have a union steward assigned as a liaison to the company and the HMO to deal with insurance issues.

  374. 374
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Would that mean he’s still lying about them?

    No, that would be an interesting answer though (and not what I received).

    ETA: Obama could have simply said he worked his ass off for the PO and he failed to deliver it.

    I think Obama counted the votes better than Reid did. And I think Obama also realized he had some snakes in his caucus after what Nelson did in the ARRA negotiations.

    Feingold is actually pretty similar to a lot of people on the left who admire him so much. He’s not terribly pragramatic, he has a very strange set of principles and he caterwauls when things don’t go his way. And rather than just openly blame the person who double-crossed him and the caucus he does some adolescent hand-waving.

    But again, if he has 50 votes he can pass a public option at any time. So he should do that and force the President to veto very popular legislation.

  375. 375
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    But unions aren’t bearing the brunt of this. They really aren’t. Congress has bent over backward to ensure that wouldn’t happen, and to make the point the 3rd time, nobody has shown me a case where a unionized employee would be affected. Now, unions are making the case that this is bad for their people, but as far as I can see, that’s a bad-faith argument.

    And you yourself have provided the numbers to show that you aren’t even close to being affected by this, yet you persist in feeling victimized. That makes no sense.

  376. 376
    Jim says:

    yer not interested in the truth if it contradicts what you think about Feingold’s opinion.

    Nah, I just don’t automatically assume Feingold = truth because he’s telling me what I want to hear.

  377. 377
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: Yeah, don’t waste yer time. I know all the anti-Feingold stuff already from all the other threads where we chewed up anyone that didn’t agree with us.

    Gotta crash barkeep. Keep flogging it.

  378. 378
    Calming Influence says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So what do you think about Gruber backing off of his projections on the benefit to wages because of the excise tax? That the cost savings that are supposed to keep this plan afloat are a fiction?

    You keep missing the point: I’m not claiming I’m sure about any of this. I’m pointing out that this site has been a hotbed of knee-jerk negative response to valid questions about the language of the proposed bills.

    I’m more than happy to debate the particulars, and take my licks. But recently the comments here have been little more receptive to different opinions than those at RedState.

    Read this. Follow the links.

    If you honestly do that, and come back and say I’m an asshole, there’s nothing more we need to discuss.

  379. 379
    Glocksman says:

    @Martin:

    If the compromise bill the unions and the WH agreed to is adopted, I’ll support the bill despite my reservations.

    If the Senate bill is adopted *as is*, I’ll oppose it.
    Call me selfish, call me a DFH that doesn’t understand politics, or whatever, but I’ll still oppose it.

    In other words, I can only compromise so much.

  380. 380
    Calming Influence says:

    @Allan:
    Fair criticism. I duly apologize to “Some”.

  381. 381
    Calming Influence says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “…since all you want to do is weep about how meeeaaaannnn everyone was to you…

    Mnemosyne, no one here has been “mean to me”. I’m 54 years old, and high school is a distant memory. If you have something substantive to say, say it.

  382. 382
    Martin says:

    @Glocksman:

    But you aren’t compromising on this. You’re keeping everything you currently have and everything that any of the people you suggest you are supporting currently have. That’s what I don’t understand.

    Look, I’m not saying the excise is fantastic. I’d prefer other avenues, but those other avenues are complex, including the income avenue.

    The bottom line is that progressives should be looking at the end game – single payer. If what Congress proposes leaves workers no worse off than under single payer, but lowers the cost to the nation, expands coverage, etc. then we should support it. This bill meets that standard. We can get worked up over executive salaries, the unemployment rate, Obama’s campaign strategies, and a million other unrelated things, but those are just distractions against the real issue. If we are serious about single payer, then we need to show that we’re willing to go there. I don’t see that people here are willing to go the distance on it.

  383. 383
    Ailuridae says:

    @Calming Influence:

    So what do you think about Gruber backing off of his projections on the benefit to wages because of the excise tax? That the cost savings that are supposed to keep this plan afloat are a fiction?

    I would honestly like to see where you think Gruber wrote that: the cost savings that are supposed to keep this plan afloat are a fiction.

    As for quoting Marcy Wheeler on this she’s basically making an objection akin to how people attack climate scientists. FDL has plenty of money to run polling – they should take Gruber’s readily available data sets and results and challenge them. Of course they won’t do this as they knew from the get go that this was much ado about nothing

  384. 384
    Uriel says:

    @bayville:

    Again, you , as a so-called Progressive, are advocating the working guy- making minimal wages – to have to pay more for his healthcare.

    Just curious- is there some specific language in the bill which caps the tax so that it only applies to “working guy’s making minimal wages?” Something that says union workers will have to pay the tax, but bankers, CEOs and Microsoft executives are exempt?

    Also, what in your view constitutes “minimal wages?” $8.50 and hour? $10? $15? $20? Higher? Because if it is, you’re not talking about the same “minimal wages” the rest of the world is working under. In fact, I would suggest that implying that people making $50,000 a year are getting “minimal wages” is pretty much the same kind of tactic Shawn Hannity uses to convince people that raising taxes on people with incomes of $150,000 will somehow impact “the middle class.” Maybe to a different purpose, but still.

    Not to be personal about it, but if there’s one thing that irritates me to no end, it’s the constant redefining of middle and lower classes up and up until the terms stop having any meaning. Minimum wage at full employment nets you significantly under 20,000 a year. Lots of people make less. If you’re making 2-3 times more than someone making minimum wage, you no longer get to claim it’s “minimal wages.”

  385. 385
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Gotta crash barkeep. Keep flogging it.

    Aren’t we a particularly charming breed of classist? There isn’t anything wrong with bartending but my helping my friend out on Saturday doesn’t make me a bartender.

    Its good that you are just avoiding actual discussions of policy. Also good that you stopped using Lieberman quotes to ascertain what Obama wanted from the health care bill.

  386. 386
    bayville says:

    @Martin:

    Look, I’m not saying the excise is fantastic. I’d prefer other avenues, but those other avenues are complex, including the income avenue.

    And the excise tax isn’t complex? Please.
    Certain folks that have good insurance right now, will have lesser quality insurance in a few years once the excise tax kicks in. That’s a fact.

  387. 387
    bayville says:

    @Uriel:

    Simply put -a wage earner. Someone who isn’t paid via a salary or commission.

    Other than that I’m not sure what your argument is. This excise tax will have a greater impact on working class people than executives. That’s a fact. That this is in dispute by anyone who has read or even skimmed the Baucus bill is really unbelievable.

    Now you may support the bill, which is a legitimate argument made hundreds of times on this site, but you can’t dispute that some people -who can least afford it – will being pay more for their insurance coverage.

    I shortened it for ya.

  388. 388
    Ailuridae says:

    @bayville:

    No actually its not a fact. And excise tax or not, many people are going to be without employer based care (nobody disputes this) ten years from now as more employers elect to drop insurance outright.

  389. 389
    Calming Influence says:

    @Ailuridae:

    Just fucking read it. I’m not “quoting Marcy Wheeler”, because God knows that’s the kiss of death around here. I’m asking that you actually follow the story that’s coming out. Gruber doesn’t study wages. His assumptions in his model on wages were faulty. Lawrence Mishel, upon whose work Gruber drew from, says he discussed this with Gruber and Gruber backed off on some of his claims, saying that he overeached. What the fuck that has to do with Marcy Wheeler, I haven’t a clue.

  390. 390
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    The excise tax is less complex than even the income tax (hint: most high earners don’t pay shit for income tax because they take their income as cap gains, not salary), but the excise tax has the added benefit of putting some pressure on insurers to lower the cost of these plans, and particularly on employers to cut out the pointless shit that they insist on having in the plans. Virtually none of the alternatives have any impact on costs, even marginal ones.

  391. 391
    Ailuridae says:

    @Calming Influence:

    We’ve all read it. Marcy was in a thread a couple of days ago.

    Again, show me a source where Gruber wrote he over reached. Marcy implied the same thing in the post you linked and was challenged here to do so as well.

  392. 392
    Martin says:

    @bayville:

    This excise tax will have a greater impact on working class people than executives. That’s a fact.

    No, it’s not a fact. The fact is that the excise will have no impact on the overwhelming majority of working class people and it will have some impact on the majority of executives. Will it have enough of an impact on executives? No. But I suspect that’s the real issue here. There’s a lovely saying out there:

    I don’t want the world, I just want your half.

    I suspect that’s the base of the argument here as it so often is around here – it doesn’t matter one way or another how it helps or hurts working class people as long as it assrapes executives – that’s the real litmus test, and any plan that doesn’t offer it must suck. Financial revenge is a much more powerful meme in this place than progress is.

  393. 393
    Calming Influence says:

    @Ailuridae:
    Here, dismiss Lawrence Mishel.

  394. 394

    @Martin:
    Did somebody forget who was engaging in class warfare and who was losing?

    But then I forgot, you’re the guy talking about 2% Ins Co corp profits.

  395. 395
    Calming Influence says:

    @Ailuridae:
    Sorry, I know you’re probably not comfortable going to a FireDogLake site, so this crosspost at the Economic Policy Institute may be less frightening: http://epi.3cdn.net/f121df10fa.....6bhd7e.pdf

  396. 396
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: I don’t know how you discerned classism from my remarks. There is nothing wrong with honest work and “barkeep” is generally a term of approbation as I used it. Distancing yourself from it as you did makes me wonder who actually is the classist here.

    I hope you’ll be moving on when health care is resolved.

  397. 397
    Ailuridae says:

    @Calming Influence:

    I disagree with Mishel s(s does basically every economist looking at the issue.)

    But I already knew Mishel’s opinion. What I asked you to demonstrate is where Gruber walked back what he wrote. Hint: he didn’t.

    For workers who currently have employer based coverage especially those who reach wage agreements via collective bargaining the excise tax will be positive in relation to their wages. That doesn’t mean wages will necessarily rise; it may mean that they will decline less than they would have without the excise tax. But across the board it will end with better wage conditions within wherever the larger wage graph ends up

  398. 398
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Because they were. Maybe you should re-read how you describe what a bartender does. Or you should work on your reading comprehension broadly because I never suggested I was a bartender.

    Just out of curiosity, do you understand the substance about any issue? I get what the likely appeal of the ignorant, internet tough guy persona but I’m just curious whether you’ll ever be able to add to a conversation. As it is you just keep embarrassing yourself.

  399. 399
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Ailuridae: You keep telling everyone they’re embarassing themselves so how am I supposed to read special meaning in it for me? If you treat everyone in yer haughty snotty manner it loses its singular effect on any one person.

  400. 400
    Ailuridae says:

    @Calming Influence:

    Again, I read Mishel’s piece the day it came out. I disagree with him and a whole lot of economists do as well. Actually, until Mishel wrote his EPI piece I am not sure I had seen make the argument he made.

    What I will ask you again: you asserted that Gruber walked back his claim about wages and premiums offsetting. Gruber certainly didn’t do that.

  401. 401
    Ailuridae says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I tell people who are embarrassing themselves that they are. There is nothing haughty about that. Again, at least this round of thinly sourced innuendo about Obama’s true agenda with health care didn’t rely on a Lieberman quote.

    And snotty? Coming from the person who tried to dismiss my ability to engage on this or some other issue because he perceived that I was a bartender? That’s rich.

  402. 402
    Martin says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I’m not overlooking who is losing, but is this really the place to fight that battle, at the expense of those people at the bottom that would get access to health care that won’t without this bill?

    You want to talk about raising the top marginal rate? Great. How about raising cap gains? I’m there. Regulate bonuses? Eliminate all of the corporate loopholes so that some company, somewhere actually pays the corporate rate? Count me in. Crank up the estate tax? I’m in. Crank up the minimum wage? Sounds good.

    But here’s the argument against excise as I hear it:

    The excise hurts the little guy. My employer provides me with an incredibly generous health care plan that will now be taxed on every dollar above a widely accepted rate that is itself quite generous. I give my employer zero credit for providing this generous plan, and I assume my union who negotiated this plan has no ability to deal with this situation, nor that in a revised tax scenario that they could negotiate with my employer to strike a better benefit/salary balance. I will also conveniently overlook the fact that not only would the executives at my company pay substantially more than me in taxes on this plan (if I even pay any at all, which I question) but they also consume more of the health care resources that, with less demand due to a direct tax on those resources, could have at least a small impact on lowering costs for everyone.

    Instead, let’s put up an income tax, which although it won’t ever hit me (like the excise tax most likely won’t), it also probably won’t hit many of the bonus-driven executives that the excise tax would have hit, nor will it help drive down overall costs by reducing care consumption a wee bit. It’s not a bad solution, but in reality, it’s not a better solution as it doesn’t actually have anything directly to do with health care but it feels better.

  403. 403
    ranger11 says:

    @Ailuridae: Wow, you’re good.

  404. 404
    Uriel says:

    @bayville:

    Other than that I’m not sure what your argument is.

    The point is that, if you’re going to define “working class,” “those who can least afford it”, and making ““minimal wages” as equivalent to “someone who isn’t paid via a salary or commission,” than your definition is so wildly flawed that it renders your assertion that the bill will “have a greater impact on working class” all but meaningless. Because many people who aren’t paid by either method don’t even vaguely fit into the former categories.

    The University I work for has plenty of people who make $80,000 a year or more and aren’t paid via salary or commission. All of them happen to be in unions as well. I’m sure their plans might get hit. Are you seriously arguing that they are in the same boat as someone making $9 an hour at walmart? Or less, working part-time at the corner gas station? That they fall into the category of “those who can least afford it?”

    Show me language in the bill that hits the bagger at your local Piggly Wiggly or the bartender at your neighborhood bar at a higher percentage than it does the electricians I work with, and hits both of those harder than it hits the various deans and presidents and such, and I’ll agree it’s not “progressive.”

    Otherwise, if your only complaint is that some people in the mid to upper middle class, who happen to get their hands dirty for their pay, are getting taxed more than they’d like to ensure that the bagger, the bartender and the gas station attendant can actually see a doctor when they need to- along with the executives, who are most likely getting hit even more- your argument is not based on anything resembling a “progressive” position.

    Theirs a big difference between “those who can least afford it” and those who can afford it but would rather not.

  405. 405
    ilsita says:

    @Lev:

    This makes a lotta sense to me.

    I am stuck in the middle of this debate, though, because it also makes sense to me that, rather than providing a foundation for future improvements, HCR is going to provide a platform for the republicans, which they desperately need, since they don’t actually have one now.

    The compromises seem to have turned it into a rolling cf that doesn’t look anything like it should. And it would be nice if “Good news for the Republicans” were just a funny thing to say — but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be a horror show, and it will actually be good news for them. They’re fucking it up for a reason.

    I think the old “measure twice, cut once” rule might be apply in this case.

  406. 406
    Uriel says:

    @Uriel: Hmmm now that I look at that, and edit rights have disappeared, it seem a lot more strident and personal then I meant it to be. Sorry if that’s the case. You get my point. I hope.

  407. 407
    Martin says:

    Theirs a big difference between “those who can least afford it” and those who can afford it but would rather not.

    Well, the argument I’m hearing more strongly is ‘We gave up salary for benefits, while the top guys got both.’ and people want to go after what they missed out on, whether it really results in a different outcome or not. And it doesn’t seem to matter what you earned, so long as someone did better than you. That’s a wicked game to play, as only one person ever wins.

  408. 408
    Uriel says:

    @ilsita:

    The compromises seem to have turned it into a rolling cf that doesn’t look anything like it should.

    And to be clear, I’m fairly sympathetic to this view- I honestly can say I’d hoped for a lot better. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so I guess the best we’re left with is deciding where we go from here.

    My hope is that the thing will work out for the best- but it’s certainly a lot less than what I’d have preferred. In case that’s in question.

  409. 409
    The Ace Tomato Company says:

    Just less than a year into Obama’s presidency and it’s looking very likely the entire Democratic agenda is dead in the water. In 2010, when the Republicans control Congress and nothing gets done and in 2012 when Republicans once again control everything and we start backsliding (from an already tough spot) again, I am going to lay the blame squarely on Democratic activists. Bunch of whining pricks didn’t get everything they wanted, so instead they decided to burn it all.

    People get the government they deserve and right now the US pretty much deserves Somalia’s.

    I have a pretty strong stomach for politics (10 years in DC will do that to a man), but I think this is it. I’m out, both Democrats and Republicans can go fuck themselves. My raison de être from here on out is making sure my family and I are taken care of and the rest of you dumb activist dildos on both sides of the aisles can argue amongst yourselves as the ship sinks.

    We were THIS close to achieving some of the biggest policy advances in 50 years, but instead we decided to give an audience to paranoid wingnuts and allow a bunch of generally well-to-do activists torpedo all social policy because it wasn’t made exactly to their specifications (conveniently, most of the lib-douche activists will not bear the brunt of their actions and this is what makes them particularly despicable).

    Okay, that’s enough incoherent ranting for today, so allow me one final “fuck you” to Democratic activists and I will bid you all adieu.

  410. 410
    Uriel says:

    @Martin:

    And it doesn’t seem to matter what you earned, so long as someone did better than you. That’s a wicked game to play, as only one person ever wins.

    Agreed. And I get that, no matter what the eventual conclusion of almost any legislation is, some people are going to do better than others, and most likely it’s going to be the people who are doing well now, absent full scale revolution. And most likely even then- the founding fathers weren’t exactly the most trodden of the down trodden.

    No question it sucks that it should be that way. But it is. The best you can hope for is that, maybe, some of the people who are living the lives of the truly screwed might be able get a leg up on the constant uncertainty of their lives. Which is something that happens all too rarely in this world.

    If this bill accomplishes that goal, even if it gives some insurance exec a bonus I don’t think he deserves or fails to impact a CEO as much as I’d like- well, then I have to say that my concern lies with the person who is waiting till the lump under their arm seems severe enough to merit a emergency room visit before they find out they have cancer.

    But that’s just me.

    Also, I should point out that my spelling sucks. Sorry about that.

  411. 411

    @Martin:
    Frankly where I live that cap is getting pretty close to pretty good insurance – rather than extravagent ones.

    I take exception to this horseshit about wages showing a reflection of reduction of benefits. NO ONE can show wages reflecting productivity increases – though it is easy to show that in Exe. and shareholder ranks. You could postulate that it is a reasonable thing to do and a good thing to do all you’d like – it hasn’t happened in over a decade. There is no fucking incentive to do it, top wages are taxed at such a low rate that it is worth keeping the bucks and cap gains is fucking ridiculous.

    People act, you and Allie, as though there is some sort of market at work in Health Care, period, much less Insurance. You look at shit like Corp profits and take it seriously, goddam Nike pays OR minimum corp tax – same as me because they show shit for profit. Do you actually believe Nike and I are the same somehow – other than being profit avoiding corps? Like any corp is? There is no freaking market because you’re stuck in the skin you’ve got and now the govt is going to MAKE you buy their shit.

    Neither of you looks at what actually determines the bad outcomes of being uninsured – it isn’t expensive operations and it isn’t ERs and this thing barely touches on that but it does insure the hospitals and docs from having people default on bigger bills. Freaking Allie wants you to believe that ins products that don’t fucking exist will fill in for the mess that the cheaper plans offer. Horseshit. He wants you to believe that Americans will get cheap primary care with the pittance that the bill provides. The existing cheaper products will bankrupt low income wage earners.

    Coakley doesn’t matter shit to HCR passing as long as it is the Senate version – it’s fucking passed, all the House has to do is pass it and it is what you’re going to get if anything anyhow because LIEberman wants that. (& Nelson, et al)

    I don’t give a fuck. This approach means it will get left to rot for as long as it takes for the system to break which is not really different from it not passing other than a mandated taking from those who’d avoid it. It will perpetuate it a bit longer by spreading the risk a bit wider and tossing the Fed into subsidizing. The thing is not a total loss, but what it costs lower income people is to me a deal breaker. Since this is what Democrats propose to do to the people who’ve lost the most for the last 30 years – I’m pissed at them.

    I’ve been around too long to buy this best case shit, especially starting out this bad.

  412. 412
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Uriel:

    Otherwise, if your only complaint is that some people in the mid to upper middle class, who happen to get their hands dirty for their pay, are getting taxed more than they’d like to ensure that the bagger, the bartender and the gas station attendant can actually see a doctor when they need to- along with the executives, who are most likely getting hit even more- your argument is not based on anything resembling a “progressive” position.

    Except, of course, that this bill doesn’t make sure that THIS particular gas station attendant can go see a doctor. Or probably a lot of others in his financial situation, where he makes too much to be considered ‘poverty level’, but has enough real-world expenses to limit his ability to pay premiums and outrageous co-pays and deductibles while keeping even the smallest bit of economic flexibility so that if his car shits a vital part he can fix it, for example. That’s WITH the less than generous subsidies in the Senate bill that won’t be changed, by the by.

    But it’s ok, big victory, right? Party whistles all round.

  413. 413
    Ailuridae says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Frankly where I live that cap is getting pretty close to pretty good insurance – rather than extravagent ones.

    If you live in a high cost state (and I have no idea if OR is) the caps are adjusted upward. I have heard numbers for a state like NY being as high as 34K for a family plan.

    And Coakley matters as to fix the subsidy issues and the ilk the bill has to come out of conference improved.

  414. 414

    @The Ace Tomato Company:
    The activists on the left did what? How fucking stupid are you? They’ve gotten nothing and done nothing to anyone – other than whine at them. Some folks are done with working on shit – you want someone to accept that your approach is more lofty? Christ FDL makes a minor stink by being stupider than dirt and that means what?

    Yeah I’m pissed but I’ll be fucked if I’ll blame those with no power over it. Apparently DC also rotted your brain.

  415. 415

    @Ailuridae:

    fix the subsidy issues and the ilk the bill has to come out of conference improved.

    So now it’s not good enough? What makes you think LIEberman and the other Liebercrats will go for your improvements? Is there a point at which you’ll get pissed other than no bill?

  416. 416
    Ailuridae says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    The current Senate bill is certainly worth passing. Some small predictable fixes like those added to the excise tax would make it better. So Coakley is needed for those improvements.

    Of the Senate bill about 85% of it is unequivocally good, 10 percent is pretty meh and five percent stinks. I would have liked a better bill and I really think a Medicare buy-in structure would also allow the government to simultaneously address long term Medicare funding issues but I don’t control Joe Lieberman. As for him, I don’t think he’ll object to any improvements as long as their isn’t anything in there he perceives makes progressives really happy like a public option or a Medicare buy in. Nelson, is another ball of wax and he’s going to be a very tough sell.

    What doesn’t get mentioned here and elsewhere this is debated is that a lot of the crap in the Senate bill is there to try to get the 12-16 Senators in the Democratic caucus who were not solid Yays for a public option on board.

    I admire what Reid tried to do and I think he had good reason to think Lieberman wouldn’t just out and out betray him but a lot of the shit in this bill is there because of the push to expand public insurance that wasn’t Medicaid. Now personally I agree that an expansion of public insurance would have been socially just and fiscally responsible but its clear to me that was never in the cards. The Democrats almost certainly can’t get 50 votes in the Senate for any expansion of public insurance as a stand alone measure and that’s why the arguments about the President not using his Green Lantern Ring the right way are so dishonest.

  417. 417
    Mike M says:

    Who cares? That’s what I’m saying to myself and clearly what the people of Massachussets are saying as well. Who cares if we have 60 votes in the Senate, our government doesn’t do a damn thing we want it to anyway. Do you really think a 59 seat majority is going to pass progressive legislation with any more difficulty than a 60 seat majority? What happens to Lieberman, Baucus, Stupak, and the rest of the fame whores after today? The very concept of a “Blue Dog”?

    I just can’t get worked up about this as I honestly don’t see it changing anything. Sorry. We’re going to get the same corporate-centric do nothing legislation we’ve been getting the last 30 years no matter who is in power. That’s been the lesson of the last year. Maybe with a non-binding resolution that we all love Haiti or some other stupid bullshit.

  418. 418
    Michael says:

    Moar better trolls, please. These are lacking.

  419. 419
    debbie says:

    it just seems like the Democrats worst enemy right now is other Democrats

    It’s always been this way. Democrats have always been the more fractured party because they better represent their constituents. Republicans have always put their party over voter. In fact, one reason the Democrats have so much difficulty today is because they’ve tried to emulate the Republican model, not just in striving for partywide unity (and the lukewarm pablum that creates), but in the way they conduct the legislative process. Regardless of the legislation I want passed, if it was wrong for Republicans to govern unilaterally, it’s equally wrong when Democrats do the same thing. There’s no getting around that.

    Having said all that, I think the Republicans will be in big trouble in 2012, if not this November. Their obstruction to a workable health care reform bill and especially their opposition to any financial reform will cost them even more seats in Congress.

  420. 420
    The Ace Tomato Company says:

    @Chuck Butcher

    Thanks for proving my point!

  421. 421
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @debbie:
    There is probably a strong strain of psychological research that could be done on the differences between conservative and liberal minds and the way that affects their governing/political styles.

    Republicans have a very simple mantra: lower taxes, smaller government, family values, with a few side issues like anti-immigration thrown in at the periphery.

    Democrats … don’t. It’s much more difficult to govern in a way that pleases all those various constituencies who adhere to the democratic platform.

    The democrats are running a symphony orchestra. The republicans are playing a banjo with two strings.

  422. 422
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I’m walking down the street with my Obama/Biden button on, when up ahead of me on the right, I see a large protest. They are carrying signs, and yelling and ranting about Obama.

    “Kill the bill! Obamacare sucks because it expands health care coverage to people who don’t have it!”
    “That’s not change you can believe in because it’s the dreaded sewshullism!”
    “Obama’s -Adopting Bush’s Terror policies! But He’s Still- Weak on Terror because he has abandoned Bush’s policies!”
    “-No taxes on- Tax healthcare! The Republican candidate campaigned on it in 2008!
    Obama’s devotion to bipartisanship is Just words because he hasn’t switched to the Republican party.”

    I pay no attention to them, then look to the left, and see a progressive counter-protest. They are all amped up, too, and they are yelling their own slogans:

    “Kill the bill! No to Obama’s Insurance Sell Out because it subsidizes the insurance industry without doing enough to regulate abuse, meaning that any extension in coverage will be nominal and illusory!”
    “That’s not the change I voted for because I voted for a center-left administration and this is a center-right policy!”
    “Obama’s just like Bush on National Security/Gitmo not in every way, but in too many ways! And that’s a bad thing!”
    “No taxes on healthcare! Obama ran ads against McCain for proposing the same thing in 2008!”
    Obama’s supposed commitment to Democratic goals is Just words!”

    Fixed. You really have to stretch to make these two critiques similar.

  423. 423

    […] writes the post I had planned to write today, which saves me a lot of time. See also Bob Cesca and John Cole. Spotlight No […]

  424. 424
    Mary says:

    @MikeF: I think you misunderstand. I’m not saying I trust Klein and Digby. I don’t. I think they are trying to maintain their constituency. But if you don’t get that Digby is walking her positions back and know to whom Klein is referring when he’s talking about being willing to align with the far right for money, I don’t know what to tell you. For a little history on that, go here:

    http://dyn.politico.com/prints.....A3D4584742

    I continue to consider OFA, DNC, DSCC and DCCC the safer investment for energy and resources. At least they understand the value of maintaining Democratic majorities and legislative wins. The others, not so much. If I implied that I trusted Digby and Klein after the events of the past year, I retract that. I would consider throwing money into their Blue America PAC an iffy proposition. Sorry. And I reserve my right to reconsider later.

  425. 425
    debbie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Republicans have a very simple mantra: lower taxes, smaller government, family values, with a few side issues like anti-immigration thrown in at the periphery.

    That psychological research would have to conclude that Republicans have gone schizophrenic, what with their sudden support of Medicare.

  426. 426
    CalD says:

    @Glocksman:
    As someone who grew up in a GM town, has spent a few years sweating it out on factory floors in both union union and non-union shops, and spent the decade of our last double-dip recession in an economically depressed area without a dime to my name doing any shit job I could find, it’s just possible that I may know a little more about what I’m talking about than you seem to be assuming…

    Do the math and you’ll see why the Senate plan as passed is simply unacceptable to this union worker who makes $13/hr.

    …and of course part of the reason those guys are making only $13 an hour is that thanks to tax loopholes it’s cheaper for your bosses to give you a 90/10 health plan than it is for them to pay your guys decent wages. But the actual value of that plan versus getting paid more — unless they happen to be chronically ill (in which case they will find a reason to dump them) or someone who runs to the doctor every time they skin their knee — is largely theoretical.

    If they made a couple of bucks more an hour instead, paying a little more in co-pays wouldn’t sting any more that it does now when they do go to the doctor, and unlike the healthcare plan, if they stay healthy you can spend the money on all the other things they need to spend money on. Take away that loophole and if you had the leverage to get the health plan, you’ve got the leverage you need to get your guys more money. Or to put it another way, you’ve been rolled.

  427. 427
    CalD says:

    @CalD: PS: I would agree however that the Senate bill set the threshold a tad low when you factor in the cost of healthcare in different parts of the country. That needs to be adjusted upward a little, so that guys making $13 an hour don’t get screwed no matter where they live. They certainly weren’t the target

  428. 428
    MNPundit says:

    Alright Cole, how to enact progressive change in this country? Tell me? If your only contribution is “you’re doing it wrong shut up and blow Obama” then what fucking good are you?

  429. 429
    TaosJohn says:

    It’s very simple, John: the mandate enriches the same people who created the problem. That is inherently evil. Everything else is secondary.

  430. 430
    TaosJohn says:

    And personally, I am loving this internecine warfare, because I have left the false “it’s either lousy Dems or neanderthal Repubs!” dynamic behind for good.

    That’s what the complete and utter cave-in to corporate interests by the Obama administration has done. This isn’t rhetoric. Everything is different now, but most people don’t get it. It truly doesn’t matter if the Dems go down in flames. Repubs coming after will go down in flames, too. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Hard to grasp and harder still to understand, but there ya go.’

    We all have bigger fish to fry. Just wait.

  431. 431
    gex says:

    I have yet to hear anyone make the argument that if the unions had taken their compensation through wages instead of benefits, that the compensation should be tax exempt. So I guess we are basically fighting for lower taxes through the most distorted method possible.

  432. 432
    BDM says:

    “If moving the Overton Window means losing Ted Kennedy’s seat then I am not interested.”

    Got news for you, JW, that seat is lost no matter who wins.

  433. 433
    The Truffle says:

    Pelosi has stated that there will be a healthcare bill no matter who wins today. There is probably a plan B. Relax.

  434. 434
    The Truffle says:

    A quote from Nancy Pelosi:

    So if Brown wins, what does that mean for the health care bill?
    “Certainly the dynamic would change depending on what happens in Massachusetts,” Pelosi told us and our notebook-toting brethren Monday in San Francisco at an MLK event. “Just a question about how we would proceed. But it doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill.”

    She went on to say that Brown has said he want to go back to the drawing board on health care. Not in my House, Madame Speaker said.

    “There is no back to the drawing board,” Pelosi said. “The Republicans in Congress have said we will kill health care reform. They are the handmaidens of the insurance company.”

    ” Let’s remove all doubt, we will have health care — one way or another ,” Pelosi said. “Back to the drawing board means a great big zero for the American people.”

  435. 435
  436. 436

    We all dislike insurance firms, but wherever would we be without them.

  437. 437

    […] done is to dump on their friends is beyond me. Mithras expresses my puzzlement succintly. John Cole dissects the illogic of it […]

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  2. […] writes the post I had planned to write today, which saves me a lot of time. See also Bob Cesca and John Cole. Spotlight No […]

  3. […] Obama, and who are using nearly the exact same talking points to damn him. He echoes my thoughts to the letter: Now do you understand why I am wondering what the hell people are thinking? I don’t understand […]

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