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When Compromise Means Undermining The Logical Solutions To Our Most Serious Problems

by on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

Photo by Pete Souza

When Barack Obama told the New York Times he was “like a Rorschach test,” after having just defeated Hillary Clinton in the Primaries, you have to wonder if he wasn’t already laying down a narrative he could lean on in defense of all the promises he intended to break. 

Make no mistake about it, Progressives were NOT blinded by their infatuation with him. They were NOT merely projecting their own ideas of ‘change’ onto him, as he, his advisers and some in the MSM would have you believe. 

Obama was not a candidate who spieled off a list of vague promises, leaving himself a vacuous space he could eventually wiggle away from. On the contrary, Obama was very specific about his platform. He eloquently explained to his supporters in precise details WHY his specific solutions were the most sound and the most logical for remedying the problems this country faced.

Unlike most politicians, Obama is blessed with a professorial ability to identify the cause of a complex problem and to articulately guide his listeners towards the most logical solution. 

As it happened, his supporters equated his uncanny ability to brilliantly describe and defend each of his policy choices as evidence of his deep and profound commitment to them.

This is why Obama’s long list of betrayals have stung so many and in a way that differs from the all-too-familiar betrayals of the typical ‘talking points’ brand of politician. Obama was different. He made the intellectual case for the solutions he proposed.

An obvious example would be Obama’s promise that a public option would remain a vital component to any health care reform bill that he would sign. He explained it was the only way of injecting competition into a corrupt industry where none existed; that it was necessary for keeping the ‘for profit’ insurance industry honest, and would serve as a last resort for those who became unemployed, or who couldn’t, for whatever reason, afford the ‘for profit’ industry rates.

He had also described why a health care mandate — something his opponent, Hillary Clinton, favored — was idiotic. He stated “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money.”

As President, he championed the mandate, promised away the crucial public option in secret meetings with the hospital industry, and flipped on a good many of his other significant health care reform promises. And now — shocking! — Democrats worry about the political blowback in 2014 by middle-class families who will discover not only that they don’t qualify for subsidies, but that they will face financial penalties for not purchasing coverage, even if there are no policies they can afford.

Candidate Obama owes his alter ego, President Obama, one gigantic “Told You So!

For this reason, there is a keen sense amongst many on the Left that President Obama has cunningly betrayed not just mere promises, but the public interest itself. That he sinisterly chose to enrich those same corrupt industries he spoke of so often, and to the detriment of millions of Americans. 

Obama shifted very abruptly, once elected, from his commitment to ‘Change’ — as he had defined it — to something entirely different: a commitment to ‘Bipartisanship’. But this necessity for pragmatic compromise has cynically evolved into his chief rationale for pursuing the very opposite policies of the ones he once deemed imperative to solving our nation’s most vexing problems.

Here’s an exercise in simple arithmetic to help highlight the fallacy in Obama’s style of governance:

If Candidate Obama believed 1 + 1 = 2, and now faces Republicans who contend 1 + 1 = 5, should a President who quickly capitulates and decrees 1 + 1 = 4 still be trusted to solve our country’s problems?

Should he be praised for committing himself to something we all know is NOT a solution to the problem: (1 + 1 = 4), merely for the sake of projecting a token display of bipartisanship? 

Many progressives believe that Obama’s commitment to compromise is nothing more than a cover to selfishly advance his own political interests. Because, we know from his campaign speeches what he himself believes to be the logical solutions for tackling these gigantic problems. And they are not at all what he has been fighting for since he was elected.

The Most Effective Way To Protest At The Ballot Box

by on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm EDT in Politics

Are you disgusted with the Democrats, and their cynical attempts at impeding the very ‘change’ they promised us in 2008?  We ushered them in with a clear mandate to make good on their promises, and once given complete control of the government, they’ve taken every opportunity to legislate the status-quo — all under the guise of ‘bipartisanship’.  As if voters are too dumb to understand that reconciliation has remained a tool available to them to actually legislate their promises into law.  When Republicans previously held a smaller majority in both houses, they used reconciliation repeatedly to enact all three of Bush’s major tax cuts which added trillions of dollars to our national debt.

That’s the kind of conviction we believed we were getting in 2008, when we put Obama in the White House and gave Democrats majorities in both houses.  Boy were we fools!

Ever since its passage, the Democratic Party has cited Health Care Reform as its greatest accomplishment.  Back in May, Speaker Nancy Pelosi ecstatically claimed:

“Healthcare reform is my proudest achievement in Congress,” she said. “But it would not have been possible without the leadership of President Obama.”

However, with the President’s job approval ratings plummeting, Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton complained recently that they aren’t getting their due credit from their base (whom his boss had previously referred to as the ‘professional left’):

there is some “frustration” in the White House that activists on the left are criticizing President Barack Obama for not being liberal enough instead of giving credit for his accomplishments, including health care reform. Still, Burton said the administration will continue pushing its agenda even if liberals don’t give them credit.

It is a bit ironic that what the Democratic Party feels to be its greatest achievement, Health Care Reform, essentially sent its own base packing.  And they feign feelings of ‘hurt’ and  ‘frustration’ by it all.  As if they don’t already know:

Candidate Obama promised his supporters a robust public option without a mandate.  Once elected, he immediately embarked on cutting back door deals with hospital groups (where he secretly promised them there would be no public option in the final bill), and with Big Pharma (where he secretly promised to oppose Congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to negotiate drug prices downwards.  He also agreed to prohibit US citizen’s from re-importing drugs from Canada).  He then lobbied the Senate to drop the public option and any expansion of Medicare.

As if this weren’t bad enough, he additionally imposed a mandate on all American citizens, who would now be forced — or suffer financial penalty — to purchase expensive and crappy insurance policies (often with unaffordable deductibles and premiums) from the ‘for profit’ health insurance industry.  A HUGE gift to the very industry most Americans hold responsible for creating the worst and most expensive health care system in the world.

It’s clear that the Democratic Party is out-of-step with its own base.  The party shrewdly believed they could promise us what we demanded, meaningful change, and then ignore us once elected.  They used the straw men available to them, obstructionist Republicans and their Blue Dog cousins, to evade ‘Change’.  And President Obama’s call for ‘Change’ suddenly transformed overnight to a call for ‘Bipartisanship’ (his excuse for not using reconciliation to fulfill his campaign promises).  Obama supporters, they figured, would just blame the obstructionist Republicans for Obama’s abandonment of the platform he ran on.  Well, now they’ve discovered that in this new internet era, the blogosphere has made triangulation and political shell games very difficult for politicians to pull off.

Morale is low on the left, and many have concluded that Democrats no longer represent their interests.  So for those of you wondering what to do at election time this November, here are your options, along with my two cents on each:

1. Vote Democratic — reward them for screwing you over.  Nothing reinforces bad behavior quite like an unjust reward.  Result: Democrats get reelected and continue to screw us over, as clearly there are no repercussions for anything they do.

2. Stay home / don’t vote — Perfect!  Then the main stream media can interpret all the Republican victories as an indicator that the electorate wants Obama to move even further to the right.  Hypothetical headlines: “Americans Reject Obama’s Big Government Policies”.  Result: Obama and Democrats in Congress move even further to the right.

3. Vote for a Green/Independent left candidate on the ticket — Even if (s)he has a slim chance for victory, this is by far the most ideal method of sending a message.  Result: It’s a vote for the Left (the message can’t be misconstrued by the MSM), and it helps to strengthen (build momentum) for third party candidates. The defeated Democratic candidate will view that third party candidate as a ‘spoiler’ and the party will realize that for the next election in that state, they better move to the Left or lose even more detractors to independent parties.

4. Write-in ‘PUBLIC OPTION’. Assuming you ONLY have Republicans and Democrats on your ballot, and you’ve realized that option 2 (above) is not going to accomplish anything, what should you do?  Cast your vote for a ‘public option’ as if you are treating this election as a referendum.  Remind the party that is parading this HCR bill around like a trophy wife, that you are not voting for them BECAUSE of that very bill.  Result: If the MSM sees that the Republican candidate won 200k votes, the Democrat won 185k votes, and ‘PUBLIC OPTION’ won 16k votes, that sends a clear message that the Left protested this election.  It provides indisputable clarity that the Left abandoned the Democratic candidate, and instead wrote-in a HUGE Democratic betrayal in its place.  Imagine if the press were to report that the Democrat would have won this race had he won all the votes cast for ‘PUBLIC OPTION’ .

5. Write in whatever you want. Some commenters made the suggestion on TheMalcontent’s FDL diary (which introduced this ‘write in’ idea) — that voters should just write in whatever they want.  For example, if the wars are your main problem with the Democrats then write-in ‘Iraq’ or ‘Afghanistan’.  If you are out of work, and pissed about it, then write in ‘job creation’. Or if you’d prefer ‘Medicare for all’ then just write that in, instead of ‘public option’.  Result: You may potentially get more write-ins, but you will most certainly muddle the message, possibly to the detriment of the entire effort.

When the press gets ballot box results they aren’t going to report seemingly insignificant numbers.  For instance, if the Republican won 200k, Democrat 185k, public option 25, Iraq 4, Ralph Nader 1, medicare for all 7, Guantanamo Bay 6, Bush war crimes accountability 1, …  They’ll only report the bigger numbers.  The more numbers any single write-in gets the more you ensure it gets reported, and brought to the media’s attention.

For those of you who have reservations about writing-in ‘PUBLIC OPTION’, I’ll just say this: whatever the write-in is, please pick something that the Left, and specifically the Left, is furious about so that the MSM will disseminate the message correctly.  It’s crucial that if you decide to protest this election with a write-in, and get others to do the same, that you send a clear, simple, distinct message that can’t be spun into a victory for the Republicans or Glenn Beck.  For instance, ‘Obama must resign’ may be a popular write-in for some on the Left, but I suspect Tea Partiers who might hate the Republican incumbent option on their ballot, will take full credit for it, if it were to be successful.  Glenn Beck will be doing victory dances all week long.

We are striving for headlines the morning after which read something akin to, “The Left Abandons Democrats For Their Betrayal On The Public Option”, AND NOT, “Americans Reject Obama’s ‘Big Government’ policies”.  Essentially, we want this message to be one that makes Democrats feel the wrath of their base; the same ones they routinely call names, like ‘fucking retards‘.  We want Democrats to begin to govern to the Left, and fear the very ones who elected them.

We either control the message, or the media will happily create its own narrative for the Republican victories.  And as always, it will be a call for the Obama administration to move further to the right.  So if you were already planning on sitting out this election, please consider option #3 above, and if that’s not an option in your district/state then please consider option #4.  These are the two best strategies for insuring that the main stream media disseminates correctly that the Left played a huge role in Democratic defeats.

A Final Nail In The Public Option Coffin: Nancy Pelosi

by on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

The Democratic Party’s betrayal of the Left is effectively complete:

Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) showed flexibility Tuesday on the public option, acknowledging the political reality that such a plan probably couldn’t make it through the Senate.

A public plan, Speaker Pelosi said at a press conference, is meant to “hold insurance companies accountable and increase competition,” but Pelosi added that “there are other ways to do that.”

[…]

Good luck in 2010!  You’re gonna need it …

UPDATE:

Thought, I’d add a clip of Pelosi taking a little shot at the President, when she was asked about allowing C-SPAN to film the Senate-House negotiations in the Conference Committee, since Obama had promised this while on the campaign trail.  Pelosi responded:

Really?  There were a number of things we was ‘for’ on the Campaign trail.

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Obama’s Biggest Broken Promise: The One On Special Interests

by on Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

Barack Obama told the Washington Post that he never campaigned on the public option.  I recently provided resounding proof — as aggregated by Think Progress — and also included a new scathing ad being run by The Progressive Change Campaign Committee SHOWING Obama telling his supporters that he would only sign a plan that contained […]

New Ad Shows President Obama’s Broken Health Care Promises, In His Own Words

by on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

The two most controversial aspects of the recently passed Senate health care bill include the absence of a public option, and a mandate whereby the public will be required with penalty — to be enforced by the IRS — to purchase health insurance policies from the private, for-profit, health insurance industry; policies which may very […]

Bill Moyers Journal: Why Robert Kuttner’s ‘Party Line’ Mindset Ensures The Status Quo

by on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

On Friday night Bill Moyers hosted a fascinating debate on the Senate’s health care bill between Matt Taibbi, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, and Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the American Prospect.  (The video can be viewed here:  Bill Moyers Journal).  Taibbi and Kuttner both describe the just-passed health care bill as disastrous.  They outline how […]

Watch: Dylan Ratigan Blasts Debbie Wasserman-Schultz For Spinning Health Care Bill

by on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

This is quite entertaining! Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) goes on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Meeting’ with Dylan Ratigan, and starts reciting all the White House talking points in support of the ‘Liebercare’ health bill in the Senate.  She says she is going to “jump at this chance to pass it” in its current state. Ratigan then embarks […]

New Poll: Majority of Americans Reject ‘Obama-Lieberman’ Health Care Bill

by on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

New results from a national poll, conducted by Research 2000 between December 16 and 17, reveal that a majority of American voters are now AGAINST each and every aspect of the Senate’s ‘Obama-Lieberman’ health care bill — which President Obama is now urging for a quick passage. The questions asked in the poll follow below: […]

Health Care Reform: GOP’s “Kill Everything” vs. Obama’s “Pass Anything”

by on Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

This entire legislative debacle is proving to be nothing more than inner-Beltway political gamesmanship where the peoples’ interests have been entirely ignored — subverted to the self-interests of politicians and parties. From the very beginning the Republicans strategically decided to make Health Care Reform “Obama’s Waterloo,” by obstructing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that the Democrats might […]

Health Care Reform: WTF Just Happened? The Left Weighs In

by on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 6:49 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics

The reaction to Obama’s Health Care Reform fiasco is getting rather explosive on the Left.  There seems to be somewhat of a prevailing sentiment that Obama’s Administration bears the lions’ share of the blame for Lieberman and Blue Dog intransigence.  Here’s some of the reactions: Labor Unions: Sam Stein from the Huffington Post is reporting […]