I say ‘appears’ because frankly, I find it hard to believe that they want to win under these circumstances, it doesn’t really seem like they’re responding to base sentiment in any meaningful way.
At first looking over the news of the day I was pleased to see that Obama called for a new crackdown on tax cheats that contract with the government. This is kind of the baseline of decency, but given past performance, it’s an advance.
Then I saw this:
Faced with growing alarm over the nation’s soaring debt, the White House and congressional Democrats tentatively agreed Tuesday to create an independent budget commission and to put its recommendations for fiscal solvency to a vote in Congress by the end of this year.
Under the agreement, President Obama would issue an executive order to create an 18-member panel that would be granted broad authority to propose changes in the tax code and in the massive federal entitlement programs — including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that threaten to drive the nation’s debt to levels not seen since World War II.
First of all, fuck the Washington Post for regurgitating Kent Conrad’s talking points (the entire story doesn’t quote a single god damned opposing view, despite the fact that we’re spending more on “defense” than ever in our history and oh yeah, have no intention of meaningfully addressing cost control on health care.) This is the essence of what I was calling out in a previous post. Way to fail.
Second of all, way to push through a proposal that would be massively unpopular and wouldn’t pass if actually voted on in Congress. Granted this commission isn’t likely to actually do anything:
Under the agreement, the commission would have 18 members, including six lawmakers appointed by congressional Democrats and six lawmakers appointed by congressional Republicans. Obama would appoint six others, only four of whom could be Democrats. Fourteen commission members would have to agree on any deficit-reduction plan, a prospect that skeptics called a recipe for gridlock because action would depend on the support of at least two Republicans for a plan that is sure to include tax increases. Meanwhile, many influential interest groups — including some unions and AARP — have lined up in opposition to giving an outside commission power to cut federal spending and are likely to pressure Democrats to resist sharp budget cuts.
But the fact remains that, in a moment of enormously low Democratic morale, the White House is busy working with Conservative Democrats intent on dismantling the safety net (the very same programming that’s supposedly being enhanced through health care reform) in opposition to majority opinion.
HEALTH CARE BILL OPPONENTS THINK IT “DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH”
- by 3 to 2 among Obama voters who voted for Brown
- by 6 to 1 among Obama voters who stayed home
(18% of Obama supporters who voted supported Brown.)
VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT THE PUBLIC OPTION
- 82% of Obama voters who voted for Brown
- 86% of Obama voters who stayed home
OBAMA VOTERS WANT DEMOCRATS TO BE BOLDER
- 57% of Brown voters say Obama “not delivering enough” on change he promised
- 49% to 37% among voters who stayed home
PLUS: Obama voters overwhelming want bold economic populism from Democrats in 2010.
A simpler, less ambitious bill emerged as an alternative only hours after the loss of the party’s crucial 60th Senate seat forced the Democrats to slow their all-out drive to pass Obama’s signature legislation and reconsider all options.
No decisions have been made, lawmakers said, but they laid out a new approach that could still include these provisions: limiting the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage to people with medical problems, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies, helping small businesses and low-income people pay premiums and changing Medicare to encourage payment for quality care instead of sheer volume of services.
Obama urged lawmakers not to try to jam a bill through, but scale the proposal down to what he called “those elements of the package that people agree on.”
“We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people,” the president said in an interview with ABC News. “We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don’t then our budgets are going to blow up. And we know that small businesses are going to need help.”
I don’t believe you, I just don’t believe you anymore. For months the public option has been the most popular element of health care reform among ‘people’ (not including the insular political class). What you are really saying is that we need a bill that nominally accomplishes the above goals while satisfying the party that ran our country headlong into the ground over the last eight years. Astounding.
Call your Congressperson and Senator and tell them you demand that they pass this thing through reconciliation (which bypasses the filibuster) containing a public option. Every day.
Call your congressperson and Senator and tell them that you demand that Kent Conrad’s deficit commission keep its damn hands off your Medicare and Social Security. Have them look at the Pentagon budget. Every day.
Call your Congressperson and Senator and tell them that they should call for Geithner’s resignation and vote not to confirm Ben Bernanke. Every day.