Many of the posts and comments urging progressives to support the health care reform bill are based on a false premise. When you remove that false premise you realize that all the arguments for passing this horrible bill are bogus.
Right now Left Blogistan seems to be in agreement that the current version of health care reform is a horrible bill. Months ago I quit paying close attention to exactly what is in the bill because it was already bad and kept getting worse. The current argument among progressives is whether or not they should support a horrible bill.
Some people blame Joe Lieberman, others blame Harry Reid, or Rahm Emmanuel, Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, Republicans, tea-baggers or even Hillary Clinton. There are some newly-minted PUMAS accusing Obama of selling out but others are still in denial and want to believe that Obama tried to do the right thing but misjudged what he was up against or was badly advised.
Whether they blame Obama or someone else, their arguments contain the same false premise. That false premise is the idea that Obama and the Democratic leadership actually support health care reform, but the Republicans and the Blue Dogs have joined forces with the lobbyists to obstruct them.
Obama and the Democratic leadership DO NOT support health care reform. The problem isn’t that they’re apathetic about it, it’s that they are actively opposed to it.They aren’t opposed on ideological grounds or because they want to see people suffer, it’s just a simple conflict of interest. There is no financial incentive for them to reform our nations health care system, but obstructing and opposing reform is very lucrative.
This health care reform clusterfuck was not an accident, it was planned.
Suppose you had a co-worker who on a daily basis kept “accidentally” spilling her coffee on your desk, messing up what you were working on and making you miss deadlines? What if your supervisor was a clumsy oaf who unintentionally grabbed your breast or your ass 2-3 times a week? How about if your boss kept making mistakes on your pay, invariably shorting you 10-20% on your sales commissions?
Assume that each of these people apologized each and every time it happened, and always sounded very sincere. How long would it take before you realized that they were doing it intentionally? Not long I would hope.
The conservative movement has been on the rise most of my adult life. They have been well organized and heavily funded, and even before FOX News was created they had their own propaganda network in the media. The Republican party is their political arm, but the real power isn’t the politicians, it’s the wealthy corporatists.
Their primary goal is returning this country to the golden age that existed before the New Deal. No unions, no government social spending, and no regulation of banks and business. Because this country is still officially a democratic republic we still have elections, but the corporatists have been successful at rigging the outcomes in their favor.
With the exception of the Big Dawg in 1992 and 1996 I watched Republicans run rough-shod over Democrats for decades. As the minority party in Congress they have been able to block progressive legislation and judicial appointments, but when they became the majority that’s when the Democrats really got steamrollered.
I used to get frustrated watching the Democrats get outmaneuvered tactically and many times I shook my head in disgust as they made concession after concession. The worst part was when they surrendered without a fight. I wouldn’t have minded losing quite so much if they at least put up a fight.
Because of Iraq and Katrina you could sense that the public mood had turned against George Bush and the GOP by early 2006. But even though polls showed the war was very unpopular the Congressional Democrats were reluctant to push the issue. But in spite of doing everything they could to lose the Democrats won big.
But when Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker of the House one of the first things she did was declare that impeachment was off the table. I couldn’t understand why the Democrats did nothing to stop the war or end the lawless behavior of the Bush administration. The Democratic leadership couldn’t maintain any discipline. It was very rare to see a Republican voting for a Democratic bill, but there were some blue dogs that voted with the GOP more often than they voted with their own party.
Then one day the light came on in my head. It was about the time that Alberto Gonzales was telling the Senate he couldn’t remember a single thing about his job as Attorney General. Then the “loyal Bushies” started stonewalling with claims of privilege and by pleading the Fifth. There was ample evidence to justify a special prosecutor or the appointment of a special committee to investigate. But all the Democrats did was make a little noise and then drop it.
That’s when I realized they didn’t want to win. They were like the Washington Generals – the team that always played the Harlem Globetrotters – they got paid to lose. The Democrats would say the right things, but when it came time to vote they let the Republicans win. They would make speeches scolding bankers and then turn around and deregulate Wall Street. They pretend to be on our side, but their loyalty goes to the big money special interests.
I’m not saying there aren’t any good Democrats in Washington anymore, but they are an endangered species. The Democratic leadership has gone over to the enemy, and that includes Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Why would they do something like that? During the Watergate investigation Mark Felt/DeepThroat supposedly told Woodward and Bernstein to “follow the money.” That is where the truth is.
The pressure for health care reform has been building for years. It was obvious after the 2006 midterms that the Democrats were going to re-take the White House in 2008 and health care costs have been spiraling out of control for the past couple decades. Add in Hillary as the presumptive front-runner and even Stevie Wonder could see what was coming. So the corporatists shifted their attention to the Democratic party.
Last year what party and which candidate got the most money from Big Pharma and the health insurance companies? I’ll give you a hint – it was the same party and candidate that got all the Wall Street money. They gave him millions back in 2007 when he was a rookie Senator to start his campaign and they spent lots more buying him the nomination.
You didn’t really think all those career Democrat politicians in Washington suddenly got starry eyes and tingly legs just because they heard Obama make a speech did you? The party insiders helped Obama because Obama had rich and powerful friends that asked them to help Obama. The same thing goes for the media. Early on Obama was getting more media attention than he deserved, and it was mostly positive.
After decades in Washington shilling for the special interests Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd could barely raise enough money to compete in Iowa. Even though they were both regulars on Sunday morning news shows their campaigns got little attention. Richardson, Vilsack, Kucinich and Gravel were even worse off. During 2007 the six of them combined raised about $25 million. Obama raised that much in the first quarter of the year.
They took a light-weight politician with virtually no accomplishments and hired David Axelrod to turn him into Candidate Obama. He was nearly perfect for them, an unscrupulous man with no core beliefs except his own ambition. Best of all from their point of view, Obama doesn’t have the strength of character to defy authority.
During the campaign Obama resurrected “Harry and Louise” to attack Hillary’s plan, and criticized her for proposing health insurance mandates. He also promised to televise the health care reform discussions on C-Span.
People think that after he took office Obama made secret deal with Big Pharma and the health insurance companies. That’s not true. There might have been some specific details to discuss but the basic outline of the deal was made when Obama sold them his soul in exchange for being President.
Despite his promise to consider all the options Obama made sure single payer got buried. Max Baucus helped him in the Senate and the A-list progressive bloggers cooperated to keep the subject taboo on the front pages of their blogs.
So they’ve supposedly been wheeling and dealing on health care reform for months now, and some parts have changed quite a bit but other parts haven’t. (Keep in mind the speed and efficiency with which the FISA revision and TARP moved through Congress without major changes. Nancy and Harry were in charge back then too.)
They started with a “robust public option” and after weakening it until it it was meaningless they still took it out. There was a provision for a Medicare buy-in for people 55-65 years old. Lieberman liked it, then demanded it be taken out. The House version included the Stupak-Pitts amendment.
Who will be covered and how much will it cost? Fuck if I know, but whatever the current version says will change again before it’s over. But one thing hasn’t changed.
I’ve seen my state government mandate the purchase of insurance, but this is different. If you drive a car in California you have to buy auto insurance. When that law took effect the insurance companies saw a big jump in profits. But you’re not required to drive a car. If you own a business that hires employees you have to buy Worker’s Compensation insurance. But you don’t have to be self-employed.
Obama and the Congressional Democrats are proposing to solve the problem of people without health insurance by making them buy health insurance from private companies. That is truly unprecedented and historic.
Will there be effective cost controls and guaranteed coverage? I wouldn’t bet on it, 30 Democratic Senators voted against allowing the importation of cheaper prescription drugs. It doesn’t appear they give a fuck about us little people.
They have generously included subsidies for the working poor (the non-working poor already have Medicaid) but all that means is that they will use tax dollars to help cover their premiums.
Right now the health insurance companies are paying out in benefits about 2/3 of of what they collect in premiums. The remaining 1/3 goes to overhead and profits, and the health insurance companies are very profitable. Soon they will have their profits guaranteed by law and subsidized with tax dollars.
That was the plan from the beginning.
The primary beneficiaries of the plan are the health insurance companies. They invested millions and they will get back billions. The plan does nothing to reform the system. This is not half a loaf, it is a windfall for the health insurance companies disguised as reform.
The Democrats didn’t try to write a better bill. They didn’t want one. The Democrats wanted this bill because the people they work for wanted this bill. Unfortunately we aren’t the people they work for.
I expect the bill to pass. The Democrats aren’t worried about public opinion or job security.
The A-list bloggers can’t stop it, just like they couldn’t stop the FISA revision. They’re as useless as tits on a boar hog. All it took was a David Axelrod whispering sweet nothings and promises of insider access and they abandoned the idea of a democratic, grassroots progressive blogosphere and became the disseminators of White House talking points.
Health care reform is a big shit sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite, but the A-listers deserve a double helping for all the help they gave the cooks.
The worst part is that despite the humiliating way they were exploited and discarded most of the progressive bloggers will go crawling back to vote for Obama and the Democrats because “the Republicans are worse!”
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Filed under: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, General, Health Care Reform, Worst President Ever | Tagged: Barack Obama, Health Care Reform, Worst President Ever | 270 Comments »