Well, that settles it then! Just like when Harry Reid kept assuring us he'd stand up for a public option!
Like, back in February of 2010 when Kate Pickert at Swampland posted:
Re: Re: Could the Public Option Get a Third Lease on Life?I can't find Stuart's comment at Swampland anymore, so let's put it here:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told Greg Sargent that "if a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care," he's open to bringing back the public option. That was fast.
The First Salad Days of The Public OptionYes, that was indeed the turning point, as subsequent events have borne out. Olympia Snowe had just about taken a megaphone and shouted out to the nation what would need to happen for health care reform to pass, given such ruthless partisanship as Harry Reid showed by feebly pacifying shocked, betrayed liberals. The "Triggered" public option --a "Break Only in Case of Emergency " public option-- could be the only public option available for negotiating away later at some future "bipartisan summit."
Ahh, yes...the good old days way back when liberals could possibly dream about maybe enthusiastically supporting the Democrats' glorious struggle with the Republicans over health care reform [link to CNN story from October, 2009]:Reid backs health care public option
October 26, 2009 8:21 p.m. EDT
Washington (CNN) -- The contentious debate over health care took a new twist Monday as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his decision to craft legislation including a public insurance option allowing states to opt out.
Reid's decision is a major victory for the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has been melding legislation from the more conservative Senate Finance Committee and the more liberal Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The Health Committee included a form of the public option in its bill; the Finance Committee did not.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted that the House of Representatives will pass a health care reform bill including a public option.
President Obama is "pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement.
"He supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition," Gibbs said.
Several top Democrats have expressed concern that the traditionally conservative Senate would not pass a bill with a public option.
Remember all of that wonderful, hope-tastic stuff they were saying back when it seemed pretty clear that everybody was confused by the disaster they had just witnessed, and had been walking around already for two weeks muttering "That jackass Baucus did all of that to get this piece of crap out of Finance...?"
That was as far back as when the President's Press Secretary actually said the public option was to "play an essential role" in a reformed health care system.
I remember those days well.
That was before the "concerns" of "Several top Democrats" who weren't Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, nor Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, nor popular President of the United States Barack Obama, that the "the traditionally conservative Senate would not pass a bill with a public option" turned out to be quite remarkably prophetic.
Well, that episode sure kept liberal Democrats on the edge of our seats, as if we might still be invested in whatever would finally be constructed out of the bill that had seeped forth from Max Baucus' Finance Committee's "Gang of Six."
Remember that cross-section of American political genius? Exactly three Democrats and three Republicans out of a majority Democratic committee --as if the Democrats had never been elected to a majority-- provided the perfect atmosphere for getting good policy accomplished in a timely manner: [NYTimes: "Health Policy Is Carved Out at Table for 6" Published: July 27, 2009]:Mr. Obama, in his news conference last week, praised the three Republicans in the Senate group - Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Ms. Snowe. Mr. Grassley, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, and Mr. Baucus share a history of deal-making, and group members said they share a sense of trust despite the partisan acrimony that pervades the Capitol.Strangely enough, it seems that neither the optimism-resonating Snowe, nor the patiently conceding Reid, nor the socialist Presid--sorry, I mean Republican-praising President could have predicted that Mr. Enzi's tolerance for such a lack of compromise would eventually run out four months later in the middle of October, when he finally voted against his own Gang of Six's bill.
Mr. Enzi, who sits on both the Finance Committee and the health committee, has a long record on health issues but found Democrats on the health panel unwilling to compromise.
After the group insisted it needed more time, the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, conceded that a floor vote would have to wait until after the summer recess. "If this is the only bill with bipartisan support," Ms. Snowe said, "that will really resonate. It could be the linchpin for broad bipartisan agreement."
A strange, new, disillusioned disappointment followed, when it became clear to everyone that the President was, in fact, playing eleven-dimensional political chess that no mere mortal could begin to grasp, the only problem being that he had been playing against a Jedi of an opponent whose formidable aggression, infinite wile and Napoleonic tactical skill had been legendary for decades: Iowa's Chuck Grassley. Liberal Democrats, especially those who had vocally rejected the "polarized politics of the past" during the Democratic primaries, were taken aback by this weird, not-hope, not-change sensation they were unaccustomed to experiencing from their President.
Two weeks of this miasma of liberal confusion crept by ("Did the President win? Did the Democrats get anything done? Is the bill as bad as everyone says it is? Isn't everything we begged for gone, and much we know is wrong put in?") before the next significant event happened: On October 26, 2009, our patiently conceding Majority Leader Harry Reid stepped up to declare his intention to support an opt-out, maybe just barely adequate public option available to less than 3% of the American people.
Fired up! Ready to go!
Oh the superb minutes that followed! Oh the hundreds of seconds of joy! We were so cheered, so ready to keep on fighting for Democrats, so back in the Change saddle, right up until we heard the bad news from President Snowe:Reid said he hoped to eventually win over Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, the lone Republican to back the Finance Committee bill. Snowe has indicated her preference for a "trigger" provision that would mandate creation of a public health insurance option in the future if specific thresholds for expanded coverage and other changes were not met.
Snowe issued a statement Monday, saying she was "deeply disappointed" with Reid's decision on the public option. She argued that a decision in favor of a trigger "could have been the road toward achieving a broader bipartisan consensus in the Senate."
"It's unfortunate the Senate majority leader decided to take a different path, because he did say it was a pretty good doggone idea with respect to the trigger in September, so I don't what has happened to change his mind," she said later.
"It's regrettable, because I certainly have worked in good faith all of these months on a bipartisan basis and, as you know, have been standing alone at this point as a Republican to do so because I believe in good public policy," Snowe added.
And so we're here, back again at the place where Rahm and Baucus planted the non-majority flag of the Gang of Six, and made the outcomes of two national votes disappear for only a little while (six months) so that Mr. Enzi could be better pleased by his position, despite the chronic unwillingness of Democrats to compromise. We're back at another "bipartisan summit," in which the majority attempts to mollify the minority by pretending that it has already lost upcoming elections, as Democrats have been so comfortable doing in the past, when there was more bipartisanship.
And we are allowed by our leaders to possibly dream once again about maybe enthusiastically supporting the Democrats' glorious..."Trigger" option?
Good times, good times they were, and are still, apparently.
Thanks for reading this far, commenters, I really appreciate it.
Stuart ZechmanGlenn Greenwald has a list of six of the steps in the betrayal of liberalism that we can expect to see, but of course he left two out: Hostage-taking and co-optation to try to fight for the "more liberal" of two not-really-opposing bad policy proposals, which usually come in the same package. Like, say, maybe some sort of choice between a big "tweak" and a very slightly smaller "tweak" that only kills 9/10 as many people as the larger "tweak" will. Or maybe creating a fight over raising the age of retirement even further, so that you're fighting over 69 or 70. Are any of those proposals acceptable? No, of course not. But if they are suddenly on the table, we will see people allowing such a fight to become the fight, as if lowering the retirement age back down to where it used to be (or even lower) wasn't even conceivable. It is conceivable, dammit, and for every nasty proposal, there should be a counter-proposal that goes farther in the other direction than politicians have been willing to talk about. They want to raise the retirement age? We want it lowered to 55. They want to change the calculation for the costs of living? We want to change it so that the amount is higher rather than lower. They want cuts? We want the cap eliminated. Don't even argue about this crap - just go in the other direction.
Another thing to watch: Right now, everyone seems to agree on the need for something they call "immigration reform". And, certainly, no one doubts that we need to make changes. But watch out for what these people mean when they say "reform". Because, without improving things one bit, you may find yourself fighting over what kind of a guest-worker program we are going to have, rather than fighting on ground that recognizes that any kind of guest-worker program is an unacceptable evil.
Stop fighting on their ground. Stop letting them set the terms of debate so far to the right that people forget what things were like when they were better. When, for example, the top marginal rate was 91%. As CMike said in comments to the previous post: "Presenting for years at a time an argument on whether the top earned income tax rate should be at 39.6% instead of 35% means the corporate media is telling you that there is no substantial disagreement over what the tax rates should be."
Howard Zinn, The Coming Revolt of the Guards: There is evidence of growing dissatisfaction among the guards. We have known for some time that the poor and ignored were the nonvoters, alienated from a political system they felt didn't care about them, and about which they could do little. Now alienation has spread upward into families above the poverty line. These are white workers, neither rich nor poor, but angry over economic insecurity, unhappy with their work, worried about their neighborhoods, hostile to government- combining elements of racism with elements of class consciousness, contempt for the lower classes along with distrust for the elite, and thus open to solutions from any direction, right or left.
In the twenties there was a similar estrangement in the middle classes, which could have gone in various directions-the Ku Klux Klan had millions of members at that time-but in the thirties the work of an organized left wing mobilized much of this feeling into trade unions, farmers' unions, socialist movements. We may, in the coming years, be in a race for the mobilization of middle- class discontent.
The fact of that discontent is clear. The surveys since the early seventies show 70 to 80 percent of Americans distrustful of government, business, the military. This means the distrust goes beyond blacks, the poor, the radicals. It has spread among skilled workers, white-collar workers, professionals; for the first time in the nation's history, perhaps, both the lower classes and the middle classes, the prisoners and the guards, were disillusioned with the system.
Get involved locally. Even in small ways. And maybe in bigger ones.
I actually meant to link "Obama Wins, the System is Broken" in the previous post, but I forgot.
In other news, Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent.
"What CAN happen here [...] So one of the things that can happen here is your assassination by Uncle Sam - and coming soon perhaps, by your local cop-shop."