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We’re being played (again)


Single payer is off the table and now that ObamaCare is going down in flames they are trying to stampede us into supporting something they call “public option” that isn’t really public option.

When hustlers are running their scams and the mark (that’s us) is getting cold feet, one trick they use is to have an associate appear eager to take the deal.  The mark (that’s us) is afraid they are going to lose a good bargain and takes the bait.  So what are we seeing right now?  A big push for us to take the deal before it’s too late.

I ain’t buying it.

Marc Ambinder:

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.

I’ll give credit where credit is due – the Obama Permanent Campaign is very good at message control.  That’s why I find it highly implausible that Kathleen Sebelius went off script yesterday.  That leaves two possibilities – she was either floating a “trial balloon” or she was part of an attempt to manipulate us.

If there is one thing that the OPC excells at it is manipulation.

From what I’ve seen this “public option” is gonna be an option for about 10 million people that can afford health insurance but can’t get it because of pre-existing conditions.  Those pre-existing conditions mean they will probably incur higher costs, which means their premiums will be higher or the plan will have to be government subsidized.  Meanwhile the private plans can focus on the most profitable categories of clientele – the young and healthy.

A true public option would be open to everyone and would prohibit private insurance companies from dumping people (or raising their rates) because of pre-existing conditions.  I’m not saying that offering insurance to people who can’t get it elsewhere is bad, but it isn’t public option.

I’m gonna have to disagree with the Big Dawg and others who think it is important that something, even a bad bill, be passed so that Obama can claim a victory on health care reform.

NOTE: My trip to Netroots Nation

You may have noticed my absence over the weekend. On the spur of the moment I decided to attend the annual blogging convention in Pittsburgh.

I had a great time listening to the speakers, rubbing elbows and having my picture taken with the elites and hoi polloi of Left Blogistan. Then I sobered up and realized I was at a Denny’s in Bakersfield.

Better luck next year.

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89 Responses

  1. Loved that last para.

  2. Ayup:

    The Secret Life of Tom Daschle, Moonlighting For The Insurance Industry

    This is how Washington really works: Even a top liberal advocate for taking a strong stand against the insurance industry takes money behind the scenes from the insurance industry.

  3. OT:

    After news broke that music legend Bob Dylan was picked up by a New Jersey cop who failed to recognize him, President Barack Obama has invited the duo to the White House for what aides are calling a “bong summit.”

  4. While tarred as an abject “failure” the Clinton health care initiative did manage, at least, to implement S.C.H.I.P. Would that Obama’s “success” could do so much.

  5. I’m not buying it, no person with a brain cell is buying it. These political midgets are scam artists, nothing more.

    The gig is up. The Obama Adminstration has no balls or ethics or ideas beyond their own petty, opportunistic goals. Because if they did, they would not be willing to pistol whip the American public and call it “good.”

    Grow a pair, Obama! Grow a pair the size of Hillary Clinton’s.

    I dare you!

    • He explained why growing a pair is out of the question in his long winded response to Carville’s assessment of his testiticular fortitude:

      “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”

      His response:

      “Well, you know, James Carville is well-known for spouting off his mouth without always knowing what he’s talking about. And I intend to stay focused on fighting for the American people because what they don’t need is 20 more years of performance art on television. And that’s what James Carville and a lot of those folks are expert at … a lot of talk and not getting things done for the American people.”


      Obviously Carville gave him credit for one too many. The proper retort would have been, “F*ck James Carville,” or “Carville can go…” You get the idea.

      • LOL

        This reminds me of what Axelrod wrote to Obama before he “decided” to run for prez:

        Axelrod also warned that Obama’s confessions of youthful drug use, described in his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” would be used against him. “This is more than an unpleasant inconvenience,” he wrote. “It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don’t know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don’t relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. When the largely irrelevant Alan Keyes attacked you, you flinched,” he said of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate opponent.


        • Yeah, I was wonder about that. Comparing him to two black men? Why isn’t that r@cist?


  6. “I’m gonna have to disagree with the Big Dawg and others who think it is important that something, even a bad bill, be passed so that Obama can claim a victory on health care reform”

    Oh no, Bill is correct. Obama and the Dems absolutely must pass something or they are dead in the water. If they fail at health care reform, they are toast.

    It might be a bill that makes things worse for the American people, in fact I suspect it might eventually be just that. But if they don’t get it done, they’re finished. Those progressive Dems that are refusing to sign without a public option? That’s just a bluff. They’ve all been backed into a corner. It’s very slick actually, a Republican could not have done as much damage as Obama has.

    • For the sake of health care in America, I hope they’re finished. No plan would be better than a bad one.

      Besides if it’s a bad plan, they’ll be burnt toast for a generation after 2013 anyway.

      • I agree RalphB and thank you so much for writing this piece myiq2xu. I read and respect the opinions on TC so much and was very concerned that now the argument had switched to fighting for the “public option” which isn’t public at all. I thought perhaps that was the actual slick move, by removing that piece of crap it would get all the single payer advocates to fight for the crumbs. Refocus the argument. Glad you didn’t bite.

    • Is it Tinfoil Tuesday yet? IMO that’s been the plan all along. Put a weak puppet in place then bring him and the entire Dem party down. Mark my words: Jeb Bush 2012.

    • Agreed, and that is exactly what BC said…”political imperative”. Obama will be long gone before Americans determine the plan didn’t work. He needs the rose garden ceremony at this point. And, what BC means is most people don’t follow this stuff the way we do. They just will think, good, they did something.

    • I agree, yttik. And if the Big Dawg said pass anything even if it’s bad news, I disagree with him [though I love Bill Clinton, despite his flaws].

      Get it right or don’t get it at all. This is our moment for genuine reform. If the Dems cannot do it now, they will never do it.

      I’m not interested in the confetti moment, the signing ceremony when the pols can take bows and clap one another on the back. Unless it’s right for the American public, it’s not worth spit.

    • I don’t think so….no bill, or a bad bill will simply show how big the loss is for them.

      I will be so much more furious if a bad bill gets passed that makes the country feed the private insurance companies while they wait decades to get a congress with the balls to fix it.

      We have ENOUGH that needed to be fixed or reversed with no intent in sight. I do NOT want healthcare on that heap.

      It better be a great healthcare reform or none at all.

      • Most people won’t know it’s bad for at least five years.

        • I’m seriously betting that they will know it very soon. If not from their own side, the GOP will be hitting people over the head with the news every day.

  7. BTD is wrong:

    That’s the thing. It’s the Blue Dogs who have most of the Congressional skin in this political game. They are going to need health care reform for their political lives. (They also needed a big stimulus so the economy would be seen as on the rebound in 2010). This is important for the progressive play on health care reform. The Progressive Caucus does not need health care reform politically.

    My Congresscritter (Dennis Cardoza) is a blue dog. During the last Congress he chaired the BD caucus.

    The GOP ran a token candidate against him in 2006 and didn’t even try that in 2008.

    • For someone who prides himself on being such a politically savvy type, I’m amazed at how often he seems wrong when he ventures off the left side of the spectrum. Especially since he’s a self proclaimed “centrist”.

      If I’m a Blue Dog congressman in Texas, nothing would make me happier than for Move-On to run ads against me. That would just get me more votes. Does BDT not understand that the average Blue Dog constituent is more conservative and most likely was not in favor of TARP or the Stimulus package?

      • Heh….BTD considers himself a master at political analysis to such a degree that he is only looking at this issue from the politicians pov. He is completely detached from the public attitude about the bill.

        Then, I’ve also noticed a commenter over there who seems to believe that if the co-op model is used, there’s only one hospital in the country where people will be able to go. Sheesh.

    • BTD is an idiot. No, the Blue Dogs do not need this to pass “for their political lives”. If this bill died, or they voted against it, their constituents would cheer them for it.

      BTD, like many progressives I know, has NO clue of the realities of flyover country or Red States. None. They usually make one of two predictable mistakes about those constituents:

      1) They assume they are more liberal than they are based on some poll that says they are in favor of UHC or whatever. But they then have no clue how to tap into that “hidden liberalism” in a way that resonates with those voters. You CANNOT sell even “liberal” red state voters on east-coast, Ivy league, elitist style liberalism. They will laugh their ass off, roll their eyes, and puke it up, EVERY time. You have to go blue-collar populist, “put YOUR govt to work for you instead of themselves” style.

      2) They assume a ridiculous conservative caricature of those voters, because they don’t understand the reasons and underpinnings of that conservatism, and therefore denigrate them. It’s not about being right-wingers or fundies for many – it’s about a very fierce sense of PRIDE and individualism and self-sufficiency. You cannot sell those people on collectivism just for the sake of collectivism and pity. Telling them they will get some kind of “benefit” from the govt DOES NOT WORK on these folks like it does in more urban areas. You have to give more practical reasons, with less guilt, less paternalism.

      The biggest problem the Democratic party has with moderate-to-conservative voters who have liberal populist leanings is not liberal policies, per se. It’s that the Dems by and large do NOT know how to talk to or connect with those people in a way that is not contrived or patronizing. They don’t “get” them. At all. Bill did. Hillary did. Obama and Kerry and Frank and Kennedy and Emanuel will never do so – not in a million years.

      • Yep. Like Brian Schweitzer just did in MT. No pity, just common sense:

        Schweitzer’s speech — a ringing endorsement of Canada’s universal health care system — was well received by the audience, though it seemed to deviate from the president’s talking points….

        Schweitzer told the crowd that the time has come for the United States to move toward a system of universal health care.

        “Did you know that just 300 miles north of here they offered universal health care 62 years ago?” Schweitzer asked the crowd, drawing enthusiastic cheers.

        Schweitzer told the crowd that Canadians recently selected former Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas — the “father” of Canada’s single-payer health care system — as the greatest Canadian.

        “He had a single proposition … that we will cover every single person in Saskatchewan and elsewhere,” Schweitzer said to another round of cheers.

        And, what does Obama supporter, upper middle class, urban VA political analyst say:

        “That’s a bit off message,” said national political analyst Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I don’t think that’s what the president is trying to sell. In fact, he’s trying to convince people who are concerned that he is not trying to institute the Canadian style of health care.”


        Seriously, here’s hardly wide-eyed liberal, Brian Schweitzer selling Canadian health care as commonsense. No pity in the policy. Of course, it’s a bit off message. Obama’s message sucks.

        The article is funny. Obama had to spend the first five minutes of his speech explaining he wasn’t for what they have 300 miles over yonder.

        • What I can’t understand is why they don’t sell real UHC. It would sell in Red states, even mine, much better than the huge craptastic plans they’re pushing.

          • Duh, Ralph, because that would mean actually fighting the moneyed interests, not the synthetic thing they got going on right now. 😦

          • Oh, I keep forgetting these are Obamacrats not old style Democrats. My bad. 😈

          • Ralph, they fucked this up six ways from Sunday. I mean, in every conceivable way, they screwed the pooch.

            The Dems are either even MORE utterly out-of-touch and clueless than I knew they were, or this was planned to be a failure and big giveaway to the insurance and pharma giants. Those are the only two explanations that make sense to me.

          • Even I can’t believe they planned it all out. That would be just too evil.

            Gotta find a good dose of fuckitol.

          • I see no reason it couldn’t have been planned to fail. The health racketeers could always reward the politicians with fat accounts in Switzerland or the Caymans.

          • Who is sitting in the office next to the President’s at the WH?
            David Axelrod.

            Is he or is he not a media genius?
            Does he or does he not have private Wednesday evening meetings every week, that revolve around think tanks and polls and getting out the message?

            Of course it was a planned failure.

      • This was Hillary’s gift. She knew how to bring out the potential liberal in almost everyone. I think she’s even more of a master at retail politics than Bill Clinton.

        • She knew how to bring out the potential liberal in almost everyone.

          Yup. Which is why she could’ve gotten things done by winning the people’s support, not telling them to STFU and shoving it down their throats. It’s as much the high-handed manner of the Dems as the policies themselves that have sunk this debate.

      • Man, that is just the whole problem with most of the TL “progressives” (excluding Anne, Cream City, and a few others). They are myopic and arrogant. And Squeaky–what a nasty, pathological individual.

        • Haha. Well, we were praising Anne below but I’m not enough of a regular at TL to know who in the comments is arrogant. I know some are kool-aid drinkers but some are in the Krugman family of liberals who support Obama but are going to hold him to task for breaking his promises.

  8. Glad to see that others feel the same way about Bill’s push today. I SO enjoyed watching Bill the Hero after his trip to N. Korea, and this afternoon hated the disappointment of having him align himself w/ the idiots.

    Also glad to hear that you are dining only at the four-star places at this point, myig2xu! I’m thoroughly impressed!

    • I think Big Dawg is just telling the truth. He’s said before that he supports single payer but he’s smart enough to know that Obama will never deliver. Bill isn’t going to go against Obama (at least publicly) and tell him that we must have the public option or else Dems shouldn’t support their president. He simply said that if Obama gets a bill passed that his approval rating will get a 5 point boost. That is probably accurate.

      • Exactly. This wasn’t a ringing endorsement of ObamaCare. It was just a simple truth.

      • Indeed. It was a political observation , not about the “merits” of the bill .

      • Well, okay, maybe the truth—but not the WHOLE truth—so help him Gawd. Publicly he won’t, it’s true, but I hope privately Bill is politically incorrect to Obama’s face.

  9. Mmmmm…..Newman and Redford. Thanks for the eye candy, myiq! Thanks for nothing, Mr. Pretendident.

    • Serious eye candy (and I’m a Lesbian)! Let’s go for the full monty:

      • You’re a doll, Sophie! That made me forget all about whats-his-name and his watchamacallit bs.Thanks a bunch!

      • Suddenly all the gray bleakness of our national, economic, political, health care, & global situations has melted away and life feels sweet again. Oh, the joy of the endorphin rush.

  10. For anyone who didn’t see my posts about insurance whistleblower Wendell Potter downstairs in the last thread, I put the video/links into one place:


    What Potter has to say is a must-read.

    • Thanks for linking via your ‘Wonk the Vote’ handle…I will go looks see, often. Good post! I always liked your comments, they are spot on, and most informative.

  11. A great comment from “Anne” responding to a post at Talk Left:

    “I understand the political calculus here, but I reject the idea that bad legislation must be enacted to give Obama – or anyone – a bump in approval rating; if he had demanded and fought for the best possible plan from Day One, instead of starting at half-a$$ed and working his way down to worthless, he’d have had to strap on a seat belt for the rocket-ride up the polls. Instead, we are being asked to put our own needs aside to make sure he doesn’t suffer any consequences for bad decision-making and poor execution – doesn’t that seem like a good way to guarantee more of what didn’t get us where we need to be?”

    I especially like where she says that we’re being asked to set aside our needs so Obama doesn’t suffer. Riiiiiiight. Yeah, I really don’t want Obama to suffer.(/snark) You’re right, myiq, Obama’s presidency is just a bad replay of “The Sting”.

    • Exactly. Actually, this entire thing reminds me of the last gilded age and the whigs. My thinking is we may see political power change hands rather quickly, back and forth, as neither side does much of what people can see as helping them in their everyday life, until something better emerges. But I’ll be damned if I am going to happily base another mandate, this time on the federal level, for more private insurance I can not afford. What’s in it for me?

    • “Anne” is the best at TL and has been for quite a ong time.

      • She also agrees with myiq2xu that BTD is wrong about Blue Dogs:
        For Gawd’s sake, Blue Dogs get (5.00 / 2) (#60)
        by Anne on Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:44:26 PM EST
        elected because they are conservative Democrats, whose constituent base approves of their conservative stance – getting re-elected requires them to oppose those elements of the proposals that liberals and progressives support.

        If this were not so, how on earth did they get elected?

    • I haven’t heard anyone sum up how I feel any better than Anne in that quote. I’ll have to check out more of her comments on TalkLeft. Maybe it’s just me but she sounds a bit like Anglachel.

      • I don’t think she’s Anglachel btw. But the style is very similar in addition to their feelings about Barry.

      • She’s just great. Well thought out and delivered like a lance through the heart.

  12. Here’s what I think is going to happen unless all of us work on our *senators* to kill the bill (remember you heard it here first): The House will pass a bill with a public option. There are too many Dems from Dem strongholds who will have to go back and face an angry constituency if they don’t at least go with a public option. However, all of this will be nothing more than kabuki, because, unless the Senate kills the bill outright, the Senate bill will override the public option in the compromise committee meetings. The health insurance industry will get everything it wants and we will get worse than nothing.

    Over at Firedoglake, front pagers keep touting the “progressive” representatives who have refused to pass any bill without a public option. IMO, these people are on a mindf*ck. This won’t be influenced by the House unless the bill is voted down entirely. It’s the Senate that holds all the cards at this point if the House passes any kind of bill, and most senators are totally bought and paid for by the health industry.

    • “Over at Firedoglake, front pagers keep touting the “progressive” representatives who have refused to pass any bill without a public option. IMO, these people are on a mindf*ck. ”


      • I just heard that 50+ signed a letter and that close to over a hundred are saying they aren’t going to vote for a bill with no Public Option. So, I think it is true, the press simply isn’t reporting it, because they are still on the stump speechie sell thingie.


  13. OMG! This is so damned funny!

    Death Panel Recommends End-of-Life Counseling for Public Option


    • Speaking of Biden…

      He needs to come out of the cone of silence and let the truth slip about health insurance reform.

    • Nutter should be off anyone fantasy gov’t team.
      His one great thing was initially supporting Hill in the face of Obama pressure. But since that he’s been a big disappointment here in Philly. He’s trying to close fire houses, the libraries have garbage pickup every two weeks ….all due to the budget sure, but he refuses to collect a shit load of back taxes from the wealthy. and brushes aside any idea for a way to generate revenue He’s so imperious while doing
      all this , he should fit in Obbie’s circle very nicely .
      I believe big cities, want out of public service so the waste managements inc can take over. imo

  14. O/T…. sorry kids, this one is now off the market…..


  15. Played is the right word to use, Myiq.

    Immediately I flashed on that Fleetwood Mac song about “players only play you when they’re playing”

    Not too web savvy or I’d be able to find a video to link to for this song….

  16. Hillary is 44 posted Peggy Noonan’s op-ed “From ‘Yes, We Can,’ to ‘No! Don’t!” It’s a good read.

    • Wondering why Hillary is 44 would post anything by that Hillary hater Noonan? I’m not forgiving her because she changed her tune about Obama now that it’s too late. She couldn’t have been nicer to him or worse to Hillary last year. Then, later, she didn’t give McCain any support even though she’s a Repub. Ugh. Conservative Obots are the lowest form of life. Hope her koolaid withdrawal was painful.

  17. Jeez, I still love Stevie Nicks…

  18. I think it’s time we all dropped congress a note:
    Email your rep: http://wordbloom.wordpress.com/

  19. (Bakersfield? Bakersfield? That’s where lizards go to die. Stay classy, myiq. Else us cool, fogged-up coastal types will have to pretend you don’t exist.)

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