Healthcare: On the Fruits of Capitulation
by bruh3, Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 04:13:17 PM EDT
I made the argument in prior diaries that the central issue with President Obama using concillatory or compromising language is that it emboldens his enemies to smell blood in the water.
Now, comes this from the RNC regarding what was the "fall back" plan of the co opt, which some here defended. Warning, this link takes you into the enemy territory, but it is important for people here to start to understand what happens when you negotiate with people who negotiate with you in bad faith:
Nor is this the only example of the fruits of our present strategy: http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/8/17/20415/4815#commenttop> They are, you guessed it, demonizing the co opt plan. They do not want President Obama to suceed. They want him to fail. I may engage in tough love, but I don't want him to fail, because if he fail, we as Americans fail.
This is why we need to engage the right strategies. For the record, even if yesterday's comments by the HHS Secretary was a mistake or a trial ballon- the damage is done. The narrative in the press is that President Obama has given up on the public option.
Rather than obtaining the result of more support for a compromise bill, the compromise is now being moved even further back. We give an inch. They take a mile.
People keep writing Rahm is this brilliant strategies. I differ to their knowledge of whether he is brilliant or not in the DC bubble, but in the real world, I could not imagine him lasting a second in a real fight to bargain for the best outcome. The GOP's further shift to the right is the fruit of capitulation and post-partisanship because post-partisan rhymes with triangulation in substantive outcome whether President Obama intends it or not.
Let me allow another to sum up my position on this issue with what is called the madman strategy:
""Classic example, seen all over the liberal blogs: "I'm glad Obama isn't using all kinds of LBJ arm-twisting techniques. I didn't vote for him just to get another dictator like Bush!" Sigh.
It is fine to talk about which tactics will and will not work. It is not fine to tie your own hands by making up rules that only apply to your own side and amount to nothing but sour grapes. Are we supposed to believe that if Obama really did get tough with Congress and a great bill got passed, these people would genuinely be upset that some hardball tactics were used along the way? Of course not. But if he doesn't do it, they want to believe it's for some noble reason.
On a personal level, millions of people are being victimized by the dysfunctional health care system in this country. On a macro level, the mushrooming cost of health care is bankrupting us. The urgency is far too great to sit around fretting about which legislative tactics the Marquis of Queensbury would find acceptable. "
How does his comment fit?
Well, another lawyer, Big Tent Democrat, from whose diary this comment is pulled provides the context:
"During the Cold War, Richard Nixon employed what was known as the Madman Theory. It posited that demonstrating a willingness to consider "madness" in action would provide you with negotiating leverage. It is not much different than any negotiating strategy really in that a party may demonstrate that it is willing to scorch the rhetorical Earth in order to gain concessions from your negotiation opponents. George Bush and Republicans often employed the "madman" theory of negotiations with Democrats. The "nuclear option" was coined as a result of the similarity to Nixon's strategies. And the use of the reconciliation process was key to the GOP negotiating strategy. Of course there was no controversy among the GOP and the Media regarding the GOP's use of these tactics."
But, amongst Democrats, being so brainwashed to follow our ritualized capitulation at the slightest danger of fighting it out with conservatives, do not understand this. Well, some of them may understand it at last:
"On CNN's "State of the Union," Democratic strategist James Carville became the first leading Democrat to suggest publicly that there might be political advantage in letting Republicans "kill" health care. "Put a bill out there, make them filibuster it, make them be what they are, the party of no," Carville said. "Let them kill it. Let them kill it with the interest group money, then run against them. That's what we ought to do."
Not accounting for the crappy source (politico) this is an excellent point that I wish more Democrats would make.
The key element here is not whether the Democrats will follow through with this or not. The key element is to make a bluff that someone will believe so that the ability to walk away from the table is out there. That ability to walk away from the table is an important negotiation chip. Right now, I have trouble believing any of President Obama's get tough bluffs when I know in the back of my mind he will want bipartisanship above a good bill or good politics. My fear is that he will give in to the need for Kabuki above a real bill. The problem with the Kabuki is that the GOP plays it a little better right now than we do. Sure, they are out of power, but their influence in the form of Blue Dogs is still there.
There is a ray of hope that even more Democrats, after a decade are finally, a) starting to get that 2009 is not 1994 and that b) Progressives are more in control of this than the electorally endangered Blue Dogs:
" Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We write to you concerning your recent comments about the public option in health insurance reform.
We stand in strong opposition to your statement that the public option is "not the essential element" of comprehensive reform. The opportunity to improve access to healthcare is a onetime opportunity. Americans deserve reform that is real-not smoke and mirrors. We cannot rely solely on the insurance companies' good faith efforts to provide for our constituents. A robust public option is essential, if we are to ensure that all Americans can receive healthcare that is accessible, guaranteed and of high-quality.
To take the public option off the table would be a grave error; passage in the House of Representatives depends upon inclusion of it.
We have attached, for your review, a letter from 60 Members of Congress who are firm in their Position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President's signature, MUST contain a public option."
The fruits of capitulation is an embolden enemy. The fruits of fighting maybe compromise, but it will be compromise that we can live with versus something that we can not. For those of you who like to do whip counts- Grassley's statement, the comments by the RNC and the actions of the Progressive caucus(Weiner places the number for the Public Option at 100 - so there are 40more not on the record) mean that there can be no bill without the public option because the votes are not there for any other plan.