This was so predictable.
Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel supported the idea of a government-run program that would compete with private health insurers but wasn’t sure there were enough votes in the Senate to pass it. Senior advisor David Axelrod pointed out that abandoning the “public option” would alienate some in Congress and the liberal voters who made Obama’s 2008 victory possible.
In meeting after meeting, the two longtime and strong-willed friends debated, sometimes even switching sides — but remained committed to the same overall goal.
The story of how the two interacted during the fight to pass the healthcare bill is a window not only on their relationship but also on the administration’s process of governing, which has the historic legislation at the brink of passage. […]
We don’t have a good bill with a serious public option because so called progressives won’t fight for strong policy.
Howard Dean talking with Rachel Maddow last night wouldn’t say the bill about to pass was health care reform or even insurance reform, Maddow looking quite uncomfortable and a bit worried what Dean was going to say next. As a good Democrat, Dean couldn’t very well come out and trash the bill, so he stuck with the deficit, saying he thought in out years the bill would help with the deficit. Dr. Dean also saying the bill was worth passing, but he did so while looking like he was swallowing bad medicine. He knows this current legislation is not a good bill, but it’s what he’s stuck hawking.
That’s because people you helped elect have put the president above good legislation and your best interests, abdicating their duty and your charge. They should be fired, because it doesn’t matter if you work to elect “better Democrats” if they cave when called upon to stand up.
The current outcome on health care is why I’ve always laughed at the attacks leveled against Rahm Emanuel. Why the writings of so many well meaning people targeting Rahm was such a waste. In the end, he’s bound to be proven right, which simply boosts his stature and power. But the notion that what’s happening is all Rahm Emanuel’s fault is simply fantasy.
If progressive Democrats in Congress, as well as their enablers, stood up to Mr. Emanuel on principle they wouldn’t have given him his win, increasing his value and his voice. But they didn’t, so that’s the outcome. Rahm’s very effective, as I’ve written innumerable times, because I know what our legislators will inevitably do. Caving to presidential pressure happens every time.
As I wrote this morning, Congress has forgotten their duty, which isn’t to prop up a president. It’s to deliver to the people good policy.
When I said I agreed that Dennis perpetual-presidential-candidate Kucinich should be primaried when possible it was because I knew his grandstanding hunger for attention and the limelight would always win out in the end. That’s been proven to be true again, as I predicted.
Unfortunately, many Democrats and progressives, including MoveOn.org (channeling Liz Cheney and using right-wing tactics in the process), the AFL-CIO (who agreed to another setback for workers, siding with the White House to further expand the excise tax on “Cadillac” plans to include more middle income workers), as well as Ezra Klein, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Donna Brazile, Robert Reich and many others, Markos even threatening to primary Kucinich if he didn’t back the bill, illustrate that some of the left’s strongest, well meaning and informed, and most visible voices are actually part of the problem. They facilitated the current outcome manifesting, as they’ve got the same protect the presidency virus that is killing good policy. This coincides with their own interests, some of it monetary, some about access, to stay part of the inner power circle by supporting the Democratic Party line. After all, where is the AFL-CIO or MoveOn.org going to get their money without the Democratic machine?
Don’t look now, but you’ve been sold out by the very movement you worked to put in power.
With a Democratic majority and president, progressives have failed miserably.
All Rahm had to do was wait for the inevitable cave that he knew was coming.
I can’t give you one reason why you should support any progressive in Congress again, unless you think being better than the other guys is enough; with looking for different “better Democrats” the only route, however frustrating the cycle. But you certainly shouldn’t give the current crew another dime or a second of your time.
This post has been updated.