“(Barack Obama) supported the public option. He did not fight for it.” – David Gregory to David Axelrod
Well, as with the late Tim Russert, once again with David Gregory on “Meet the Press,” women are not seen or heard at a time when abortion politics has been at the center of the healthcare debate. (I’ve been covering this reality for years.) That women also pay more for health insurance evidently doesn’t meet the “Meet the Press” standards for being included in the debate. That says it all, not only about the continuing If It’s Sunday, It’s Misogyny, but also why women like Senators Boxer and Murray felt pressure to give Sen. Nelson his Lieberman. Giving credit where it’s due, however, he did confront Axelrod on Obama’s support for the public option.
Joe Biden jumps in for the boss as well.
Listening to David Axelrod say that Obama’s mandate won’t got above 8% of anyone’s income if they can’t afford it, I just did the math. Democrats are simply clueless about what the middle class are experiencing financially. The current Senate health care bill proves it beyond any doubts.
One person I always rely on where politics is concerned is my husband. He’s a blue collar guy and recovering Republican. Mark is also a regular voter who doesn’t spend his every waking hour, like I do, digesting political (and foreign policy) minutia into the middle of the night. He was a die hard Hillary person who proudly voted for Obama, including singing his praises during 2008. Mark took off work and drove me to Denver for the convention, which was quite an experience for us both. So, I asked him what he thought about where everything stood as of today on the health care bill, after Nelson got his Lieberman. He looked at me and asked one question: Would you support this bill if Republicans had put it together?
–Insert cackle here– Republicans have had decades to put together health care legislation, which they have no clue how to write.
The job I have is not an activist or a movement progressive, it’s as a political analyst. So, I understand that at this point Pres. Obama and the Democrats are trying to save themselves after an abysmally bad year of absent leadership, thinking they have to get a “win,” no matter what it looks like. I’ve got plenty of colleagues, friends, readers, and podcast leaders who are emailing me saying Dems have to pass this bill, some willing to even accept the current Senate bill as it now exists. The latter group are wrong and have lost all credibility, especially with women, the elderly, but also the middle class, who would be mandated to buy insurance without cost saving measures built in.
But do I believe what Vice President Biden wrote today?
If the bill passes the Senate this week, there will be more chances to make changes to it before it becomes law. But if the bill dies this week, there is no second chance to vote yes.
The bill as it is today is unacceptable. But if it isn’t passed into conference we will never know what we could have gotten. As a political analyst that’s a very important point that cannot be ignored.
The question is whether the Democratic progressives, particularly those in the House, are strong enough to take on the Democratic establishment. Speaker Pelosi has already proved she will do anything, including invite religious leaders into the room to write legislation, just like the right-wing Republicans do, to get Pres. Obama health care. Unlike the boss, however, her caucus is afraid of her, because she knows how to play hardball. Obama clearly does not. So, anyone thinking this bill is likely to be changed in conference, given the urgency of economic and job issues facing Pres. Obama, is dreaming. There is also no way any Democrat will vote to scuttle even a bad bill. The politics of abject failure is just so much greater than the politics of ineptitude for writing a bad bill.
What matters most is how you feel about what’s going on. I’d like to hear from you.
For me, as I’ve already written, it’s immoral and political suicide, looking long-term, to force Americans to pay for insurance inside a market that is a monopoly, without any choice to keep costs down. But it’s a catch-22, because without the mandate rates will be higher. That’s why the public option compromise is so important, even one with an opt-out, or even Medicare buy-in. As for the abortion debate, “Meet the Press” today illustrates that even as 2010 dawns, our issues aren’t seen as important enough to include us in the discussion.
Finally and depressingly, the bottom line remains that Pres. Obama didn’t suit up for this fight. If he had we might not be where we are today.