Obama’s Top Strategists Appear To Have Forgotten That The Economy Decides Elections
Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reminds us that Obama’s new all-time-low approval rating (dipping below 40% for the first time) is less an indicator of a President’s reelection prospects than the state of the economy:
Ronald Reagan started the third year of his presidency with his approval rating at 35 percent, while George H.W. Bush, who went on to lose reelection a year later, had approval ratings in the 50s in August of 1991.
What should worry the Obama administration is the reason Reagan won and Bush lost — economic growth. Strong economic growth in the later stages of the first Reagan administration resulted in his winning reelection by a landslide—while a faltering economy ensured the elder Bush would lose reelection to Bill Clinton.
So Obama supporters should be very concerned when the President’s key political advisers tell the New York Times they remain committed to giving the appearance of addressing the country’s economic free-fall, rather than taking the more difficult — and politically risky — steps required to actually fix it:
Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.
But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.
If Democratic partisans are truly concerned about getting stuck with the ‘greater of two evils’ as their President for the next four years, they might seriously want to reconsider their rationale for NOT primarying this President.
Lieberman Threatens To Filibuster Medicare Buy-In, As New Video Surfaces Showing Him Endorsing It
I discovered this video (courtesy of the Connecticut Post) via Digby, originating back to Greg Sargent. Hopefully, it will continue to make its way throughout the net roots. Pass it on! In the video — shot just three months ago on September 8, 2009 — Joe Lieberman explains his support for a Medicare buy-in.
The interviewer asks him, “Why do you now, in 2009, oppose a public option after for so long supporting it?” Here’s a transcript of Joe Lieberman’s response:
“I didn’t really support a public option in the way that it’s being recommended now. In other words, what’s being recommended now is a separate new government run health-insurance plan. What I supported then, and um … thanks for mentioning this, because it points out for some period of years I’ve been concerned about health care reform and devoted to doing something about health care reform, and trying to figure out how to best cover with insurance, people who are uncovered.
So what I did — and here’s the difference — my proposals um … were to ah … basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid. In the case of Medicaid, to allow people who were above the eligibility level to buy into the Medicaid system on the theory that it would be — up to a certain income level — a theory they’d be able to buy into it at less than the market rate of health insurance.
When it came to Medicare I was very focused on a group — post 50, maybe more like post 55 — people who have retired early or have unfortunately been laid off early, who lose their health insurance and they’re too young to qualify for Medicare, and what I was proposing was that they have an option to buy into Medicare early and again on the premise that that would be less expensive than the enormous cost — if you’re 55 or 60 and you’re without health insurance and you go into to try to buy it, because you’re older — although to me still young and vital — you’re rated as being; you’re rated as a risk, so you pay a lot of money.”
Here’s the actual video:
Joe Lieberman just articulated the merits of the EXACT bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just put together — now being scored at the Congressional Budget Office — which includes a Medicare buy-in for those over 55.
And guess what? Just yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that Joe Lieberman told Harry Reid to his face that he would filibuster any bill that includes a public option OR a Medicare buy-in:
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a face-to-face meeting on Sunday that he will vote against a health care bill that includes a public option or a provision that would expand Medicare, a Democratic Senate aide tells the Huffington Post. […]
Lieberman punctuated the discussion by telling the majority leader directly that he will vote against the bill if the Medicare buy-in and public option provisions remain in it. Roll Call reports that Lieberman said he would also support a Republican filibuster of legislation that included these provisions.
And today, Huffington Post reports, that Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel demanded that Reid bend over for Joe Lieberman and pull the public-option and the Medicare buy-in out of the bill:
Rahm Emanuel visited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his Capitol office on Sunday evening and personally urged him to cut a deal with recalcitrant Sen. Joe Lieberman, two Democratic sources familiar with the situation said.
Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, has long been identified as leading a faction of White House advisers who have been pushing the Senate simply to pass any health care bill, no matter how weak.
His direct message to Reid (D-Nev.), according to a source close to the negotiations: “Get it done. Just get it done.”
As if we required any evidence that Joe Lieberman was nothing, but an unprincipled, dishonest, insurance industry ‘fuck-boy’ — we now have the actual proof to be aired over and over again in his home state of Connecticut.
It’s time to give Rahm Emanuel the finger, pursue reconciliation with a Medicare Buy-In For All, AND it’s time to strip Joe Lieberman of all his committee chairs. After this video goes viral, anything short of that will make you look weak and spineless.