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17 August 2009

Comments

FREELEO

Health care reform is doomed folks. I'm sorry this happened. I have excellent coverage with both of my jobs but even I realize that something needs to be done to make things more balanced and affordable for all. The government may come up with some little plan but a public option is needed to make things competitive.

seahawk

The Repubs have done an excellent job of poisoning the water in the debate.
They realize that - as someone said - if Obama succeeds, he's FDR. If he fails at health care, he's Jimmy Carter.
The compromises may be politically smart, a way to save his momentum.

Luther

Well the GOP has won and on to the next battle, since if there is no public option, things will remain the same and 45 million people will be without health care and the big companies will still make the rules and rip the public off.

This is a total turnoff with the Democrats for this voter and shows they have no spine to stand up to the lies of the GOP and voters will remember this next November.

kayman

Can you really blame the Democrats or the White House? Honestly, as person who has a degree in Political Science, no I can't. It's just apart of the political game and if you don't play it from a compromising standpoint you can lose everything including the war. I know the public option is needed, and personally agree with it; however, we have to tend with the fact the "squeaky wheel gets the oil" concept. The vitriol is high and unless the social progressives and moderates in both Houses of Congress can steamroll this legislation through Congress then it is futile to go without compromise.

I'm just being realistic, and we all have to live in the reality.

Carter G

@ Luther and Freeleo: THANK YOU!

@ Kayman: Can you really blame the Democrats or the White House?

YES I can but it seems some refuse to blame Obama or the Democrats for anything. As Rod mentioned above and many times before, Obama and the White House NEVER said the public option was necessary.

If you start from a place of compromise, then you compromise your compromise. The public option was the compromise on single payer which was the compromise on UHC. So what "compromise" are you talking about? What is the "health care" insurance reform?

Sorry Seahawk, if Obama suceeded with a public option or single payer he would be likened to FDR or LBJ. This plan makes Obama nothing like FDR. FDR had grand ambitions and was willing to fight for core Democratic values like health insurance and social security. Obama is not willing to fight for health care, warantless surveillance, gay rights or anything. He just wants a win now to say he succeeded in a "bipartisan" way.

As it stands the House dont pass a plan without a public option and the Senate wont pass a bill with one. And Republicans say they wont vote for one at all. My guess: Obama will get Blue Dogs and Repubs in House to go along with his "compromise" and many Democrats will not vote for it.

Ravenback

FDR didn't have to deal with Fox News and a very rabid right-wing talk radio. He also didn't have to contend with blue dog turncoat Democrats. Also during FDR's first two years, he had 58-60 Dems in the Senate out of 96 seats since there were only 48 states. In the House, the Dems had from 308-312 seats out of 435 seats. Making direct comparisons between FDR and Obama is completely unfair. Also, here's the biggie. FDR was white, and Obama is black. Let's not pretend that race isn't a factor. Just a little historical context.

Kevjack

As I have said many times, lack of leadership from the white house doomed this issue from the start. Obama simply thought that he could get what he wanted, but the GOP outsmarted him by mobilizing the grass roots (isn't that what Obama is supposed to be good at?), staying on message (isn't that what Obama is supposed to be good at?), and asking the though questions. Yes, they lied, they played on people's fears-- but they have been doing so for over 30 years now. Why does this strategy continue to work?

Personally, I see this as a massive failure for our President and this country. We need a public option. Obama should have demanded one as a condition and then set the ball in motion. He had no firm terms, all he wanted (and wants) is a win. He'll get something, but it won't be reform and it won't help the uninsured or keep our premiums low. A hollow victory at best.

Ravenback

President Obama could have insisted on a public option, and the outcome would have been the same. He could have insisted on single-payer and the outcome would have been the same. We need real Democrats in Congress, and not Republicans in Dem clothing. No one has even begun to convince me that things would have gone any differently if President Obama had tweaked his message differently. It sounds like grand words to say he should have drawn a line in the sand. But the political reality of drawing a line is equivalent to painting yourself into a corner. The same forces against reform would have been fighting against it no matter what. And the same ignorant people who fell for the lies would have still fallen for them. As Shakespeare said, "The fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves." The American people are the reason for failure. Stop watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio would be a starter. Their audiences are up dramatically since President Obama was elected. I understand people's frustration at the problems that health care is having, but this goes beyond strategy. It goes to the heart of what this country is all about. And it's not pretty.

MaxAMillion

Here come the excuses. Obama and the Dems should be fighting for the public option. If they are going to take it off the table, then what is the point? First Obama comes in and immediately helps out his rich friends (read Freddie Mac bailout) and now he is willing to gut any insurance bill because of the Republicans. There is also no sign of the troops being taken out of the Middle East. Hell, John McCain could have done all of this in his first year in office.

Tom Mallon

Private insurance companies invented group medical insurance, they all compete to provide good service at the minimum price. Government has no smarts to do those things and will just bankrupt our entire government. their game is control not service, a pox on them!

Ravenback

@ MaxAMillion

First, President Obama didn't bailout Freddie Mac. Freddie and Fannie Mae were bailed out and taken over by the federal government in June and September of 2008 respectively under Bush. The US is abiding by the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq and troops have already been moved out of Iraqi cities. All forces will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011 according to the agreement. And Obama never said he would end the war in Afghanistan. And John McCain wouldn't have taken on any health care reform at all.

After all that said, I agree that they should fight for the public option. And they should have ended the filibuster in favor of a simple majority -- 50 Senators and the Vice-President.

mjolnir202

The greatest failure of this HealthCare Reform fiasco for Obama and the Democrats is the (continued) inability of Democrats to play offense against the Republicans. No matter how many times it happens, they always looked suprised that the Republicans have absolutely no standards, no shame and will resort to any slander or underhanded tactic to win.

This is not a policy fight, this is a PR fight, and as usual, the Republicans are waging a blitzkreig attack and capturing ground. I saw a poll on CNN this weekend that said that a slim majority of the public now trusted the Republicans on health care reform over the Democrats and their plan(s). Ummm....There is no Republican plan on health care.

During the Bush years all I heard was the constant refrain from my Democratic friends that the Democrats were powerless to put up resistance and had to let the Bush Administration do whatever it wanted. I remember telling them, up to last fall, that once the Democrats took back the Presidency and Congress that the Republicans were going to show the country how an opposition party can really operate. Sadly, I think I'm being proven right.

When you go into a negotiation stating how, when and for how much you'll compromise, you've already lost. The White House needs to take the whip to Blue Dogs and tell the Republicans to get lost. There is no bi-partisonship here and none on anything other issue likely to come up. The Republicans want the President to fail spectacularly. Full Stop! To paraphrase Bill Maher, Obama needs to channel George W. Bush's spirit. He was evil, but he was effective.

Ravenback

@ mrjoinir202

You make some excellent points. During the first 7 months of Obama's presidency, I have heard several Dems in Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Rangel, say that they aren't here to rubberstamp President Obama's wishes. And they stayed true to form. They couldn't even send the President a health care reform bill by the August recess. He knew that all of this was going to happen during the recess. But the Republicans stick together no matter what because they understand that handing the President a defeat on a major issue hurts his image. But also, the Republicans don't have any liberals and very few moderates within their party. The Dems have too many Republican-lites within their party.

The one major mistake made by the Dems was not keeping Congress in session until a bill was passed. I blame the Democratic leadership in Congress and the President for that. No one was facing an upcoming election.

Chris Carney

After 6 mos. of employment with the State of California, I have begun to recieve health coverage from my employer. My wife & I have not been covered by any type of medical insurance for over 7 years. It's a lot harder to get even the most of basic health care plans than most people realize. I believe that an accessable public health insurance option could create a much wider "blanket" of coverage than most privately operated insurance company would want to do . In the process, creating a much increased census of American citizens that are covered and insured.

WonkTSane

We have been utterly betrayed! I will never vote for Obama again!

Anthony Brown

Will you be as so kind to wait before making a judement call. Unless you are dumb, The GOP has and will continue to destroy America. They don't deliver facts they deliver chaos. Be stupid and fall for there tricks! WE could not impeach Bush for lying!!! It all depend on who has the most powerful hand. The GOP is desperate. Please do your homework before passing judgement. What better way to get the still racist americans mad than to tell them the black president wants to kill grandma!!! GOD PLEASE BLESS AMERICA! Greed has already destroyed it!!!

John K

Face it, the majority of Americans firmly reject Obama and the democrat's ideas.

The 60s are over. Now move aside and let us grown ups run the country.

Jim

Ravenback said: “FDR didn't have to deal with Fox News and a very rabid right-wing talk radio.”

Actually, FDR had to deal with a Republican Party every bit as virulent as the current one. FDR was called every name you can imagine. He was utterly hated by many people. Your other points about his having more senators in his party and about his skin color are, of course, correct.

The main difference, though, between FDR and Obama is that, while FDR was far from radical, he was willing to fight.

But why would Obama even want to fight? One only fights for something if one believes in it.

Ravenback said: “No one has even begun to convince me that things would have gone any differently if President Obama had tweaked his message differently. It sounds like grand words to say he should have drawn a line in the sand.”

Ravenback, you may not be convinced, but I am. Even without any success in getting health care reform actually passed, if Obama had drawn a line in the sand, it would have shifted the entire conversation on health care closer to where it should have always been. As it turned out, single-payer was not even discussed as an option in the MSM. You had Congressmen saying that it was off the table from the start. If Obama had called Pelosi into his office right from the beginning and told her, “This is what we are fighting for, period,” then the MSM would have been forced to discuss it, like it or not. That conversation would have set the stage for reform sometime down the road. It might even have informed and radicalized a part of the American public previously in the dark on the subject. As it is now, many of the American people are even more ignorant and misinformed about what our options really are than they were before all this started.

So why didn’t Obama push for the right conversation?

All this talk about how Obama ought to fight for this or that just misses the point. Obama didn’t fight for single-payer because Obama doesn’t believe in single-payer . . . just as he hasn’t withdrawn from the Middle East because he doesn’t believe in withdrawal from the Middle East . . . just as he hasn’t stopped imprisonment without trial because he doesn’t believe that is important . . . and so on and so on and so on.

As I said before the election, Obama doesn’t represent my interests or the interests of anyone I know and care for, including any of the people on this blog. Which is why I could not vote for him.

Ravenback

@ John K.

You so-called grown ups ran the country the last 8 years and you crashed it into Dante's Inferno. Get your facts straight before you spout off at the mouth. Isn't Red State or Politico more your speed? Oh, maybe Limbaugh can give you some Oxycontin. Or you can sit under Sarah's skirt and be in awe of her assets.

Ravenback

@ Jim

Of course you failed to deal with my point about the makeup of Congress and the lack of a comparable Fox News and right-wing radio during FDRs days. You can't just dismiss the influence that opinion news today has on the American people. Many dealings with Congress could handled behind closed-doors during FDRs time. FDR had his fireside chats that weren't very full of policy and specifics. Today, everything is out in the open and leaked to sources that use that info against the administration. Right-wing forces spend all day and night distorting facts and spewing total lies. Instantaneously info is spread all across the country in a moments notice. During FDRs time, people in California and Oregon didn't know what was going on in Alabama and Nebraska. FDR didn't have to compete with the right-wing machine on a level anywhere near what President Obama has to contend with. There is no disputing of that fact. I also mentioned that FDR didn't have to deal with a Blue Dog faction that is hellbent on fracturing the liberal/progressive base of the Democratic party. FDR had a true filibuster proof majority in Congress. The Dems in the Senate went as high as 75 at one point. He was in a position to tell the Republicans to jump in the lake because they couldn't touch him. Obama has only 60 Dems in the Senate and 6 to 12 of them are soft Dems. FDR had an embarrassment of riches in Congress compared to Obama. And he won the Presidency in a landslide with a 57% to 39% margin over Hoover. FDR won 42 out of 48 states.

And when FDR came into office, he didn't have to convince anyone about the severity of the economy. The nation was already in its third year of the Depression. Not many people were still holding out hope that the economy would start to rebound. On the other hand, Obama had to tell the nation that the economy was worst than a good number of people believed. People were still skeptical that the financial system was in dire straits. Many questioned its severity and believed that it would be OK to let the banks fail. Looking back on things now, the majority of economists now know that as unseemly as the entire bailout process was, without it the economy would have fallen into a full-scale depression. But earlier on, the economists misjudged just how bad the economy actually was. During FDR, there was absolutely no more doubt. In addition, FDR didn't have to contend with two wars when he came into office which allowed him to put his complete focus on the economy.

Also, FDR was able to get away with programs and legislation that was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Of course, FDR ran into trouble when he tried to retire several justices and he attempted to expand the Supreme Court by adding more justices. Congress took great exception to that and didn't stand for it. After that, his legislation wasn't as bold as it was beforehand because Congress didn't give him a free reign as they previously had.

I'm not in any way knocking FDR. He was a great President unequaled by any President since then including President Obama so far. Lincoln and FDR are the two greats. But my argument was that FDR and Obama had to deal with an entirely different set of circumstances. There is no way I would compare the two of them especially not now. And FDR didn't have to contend with being black. And there is no way you or anyone else can take that fact out of the equation when it comes to President Obama. In conclusion, I stand by everything I have stated on this issue. I again haven't seen any proof that an altered strategy would have been more successful unless you changed the overall parameters. And that is not possible at this point and time. Thank you Jim for pushing me on my argument. I enjoy a good debate.


Ravenback

@ Jim

One last thing, you said that Obama doesn't represent anyone's interests on this blog. I can't speak for anyone else, but he does represent many of my interests. Certainly more than any other candidate did. I voted for Obama. Out of curiosity, who did you vote for?

Jim

Ravenback, I think you underestimate the opposition to FDR, but even if I agree with you that everything was as easy for him as you say, that still doesn’t change my two main points.

Obama could have accomplished much if he had fought for what we (or at least I) would have liked him to fight for. He might not have accomplished legislation in all the areas in which he fought, but often a fight takes longer than a single presidency, a single decade, or even a single generation. That doesn’t mean that fighting is the wrong thing to do or that it doesn’t accomplish anything. Not fighting, on the other hand, most certainly does accomplish something — for the opposition. Notice how long the right wing has been fighting, whether they were in the majority or not, whether there was any immediate hope of getting what they wanted or not.

My other point is that there is a reason Obama hasn’t fought for what I would have liked him to fight for: He doesn’t really believe in those things. Clinton was the same; I see Obama as a figure similar to Clinton. I even think Obama has consciously modeled himself after the Clintons in some behaviors.

In a few areas, such as gay rights, Obama pretty much lied during his campaign. In other areas, he gave misleading impressions. But in many other areas, such as health care or Afghanistan, he didn’t lie at all. People just seemed to believe he believed what they believe, despite any concrete evidence.

I voted for Cynthia McKinney.

Ravenback

@ Jim

I never said everything was easy for FDR. You are totally misconstruing wha I said. But I don't want or need to keep belaboring my point. Although I am sympathetic with your point of view, you still need votes in Congress to pass legislation. And the shaky coalition between liberals, moderates, and Blue Dogs in the Democratic coalition is not one to rely on. I actually agree with you on the part about the Republicans. The Republicans win more often because they understand that winning is what makes them strong. They don't care about what's best for the country. They are loyal to their agenda. And their agenda at the moment is to slash and burn. It is far easier to destroy than to build. And with the Blue Dogs playing off of the Repubs loyal and united opposition, the Democratic coalition is weakened. And they know that. If you don't have enough votes to get what you want, then you're forced to compromise.

Look at how the decision to close Guantanomo is going. The President announced he'll close GITMO by January of next year. The Democrats already bailed on him in withholding $100 million to close it. Why did they do that? Because the Republicans scared them into buying the argument that people don't want these terrorists in their backyard. Even after the President clearly and succinctly spoke about the need to close GITMO and bring some prisoners to maximum security federal prisons, which by the way have never had an escapee, the Dems stabbed him in the back anyway. Why? Because they looked at polls that said a majority of Americans are against the plan to close it, and they gave in to fear. The Dems haven't realized that a defeat for President Obama is not in the best interests of the party.

So fighting is great and can bring about many accomplishments. But the Dems in Congress, mainly the Senate, aren't willing to back him up -- not even on an issue like closing GITMO. But I forgot, the Dems don't believe in rubberstamping what a Democratic President wants. That's beneath them.

I am willing to give the President more time to accomplish his goals. He still has 3 years and 5 months to go after all. By the way, I wonder how Cynthia McKinney would have handled things, and how far she would have gotten?

Chitown Kev

To add to the points about FDR:

FDR also survived an assassination attempt, sniffed out a plan to overthrow him. And no, you didn't have Faux News (or TV) then but you had Colonel McCormack who owned the Chciago Tribune and William Randolph Hearst. You may want to go back and read some of the editorials that they published in their newspapers, the vitriol is very similar to what Obama is facing.

To counteract the newspapers, in fact, FDR started doing the famous fireside chats (my grandmother remembered those fondly 'til the day she died). In fact, Ronald Reagan (an FDR supporter and admirer) began the Sat. radio addresses modeled on the fireside chats and actually, I think Obama should do a Youtube chat or 2 during the week based on FDR's model.

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