by Jerome Armstrong, Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 05:35:06 PM EST
It's actually an interesting time, seeing who is lining up to swallow this thing anyway, and who is saying no way. What swung me was Nelson gutting the bill to allow the insurance companies to retain exemption to anti-trust laws. You can't get much more anti-progressive than that feat-- and it didn't even get Nelson on board. Without that there, I just believe the whole bill is an exercise of bad faith-- we are going to just trust that insurance companies are going to hold down their costs, when many have a monopoly, in the face of a flood of money coming their way? You have to be really naive to believe that's going to be the case.
Anyway, I've always said that having a mandate was a bad electoral move. When you alert an American to that sort of thing, it gets a pathetic 21% of support (and that's before the Tea Party attack). It's basically un-American to many-- to force costs onto people (even granting that the wish is that it lower costs on the whole). I think there are arguments around that with a public option and a non-monopoly situation in place, but not really otherwise-- its soft teeth to a hard kick.
So when I see people like Jonathan Cohn, Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, and Joe Klein say things like "the left is playing with fire" and argue the merits of incrementation in support of privatized mandates, I just have to shake my head and say no, its just the opposite. It's the Senate Democrats that are playing with electoral fire here. It really is an electoral death-wish to pass this bill in its current form. And people who live in campaign mode, like Jim Dean and Markos, see it plain as day.
Look there's a reason why the Tea Party now has more favorable ratings than the Democratic Party, and its not because of the Deaniacs either. The ethos that increasingly dominates the electoral landscape right now is populist and libertarian. Neo-liberalism and Neo-conservatism are vilified, exemplified by another damn surge of troops overseas and another round of bailouts/subsidies/giveaways to massive corporations that line the pockets of politicians with campaign donations. What's killing the Democrats in DC is that they are doing the work of the Republicans for them right now.
A friend asked me if I thought that Dean was positioning for a '12 campaign. No, I seriously doubt it (though Gibbs did imply it with his trash-talking Deans motives). And besides, that's not the outcome; the real factor here is an independent run against both parties. Imagine if the Tea Party is going to be there, then why not flood it with some real progressive populists/libertarians in the primaries? I jest, but have to wonder what we are left with doing. I had thought that, through vehicles like Accountability Now, that we'd have a role in the upcoming primaries, ousting problem D politicians that are in stronger Democratic districts. It just hasn't materialized yet, but I think the votes over the next month might just make it happen. If not, its going to be a long 2010 on the sidelines for many, though there are certainly people, like Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold that I'll do whatever it takes to help re-elect.