The Charlie Brown presidency
by tarheel74, Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:13:02 AM EDT
Two pieces of news caught my eye prompting me to write this diary:
- The Republicans filibustered the Defence Appropriation Bill of 2010, essentially killing the Dream Act and also blocking the repeal of DADT.
- On the eve of a key element on the Health Care legislation being implemented, the insurance companies across multiple states have dropped their child only policy, rather than comply with the new law.
Although taken by themselves, these two facts are just outrageous, what makes them sadly comical are the responses from the administration.
Here's Joe Biden on Rachel Maddow show:
Rachel Maddow: So, we’d be looking at, best case scenario for repeal, would be sometime in the spring. With the-- with the policy under such intense scrutiny, that study underway at the Defense Department, progress being made both in the courts and politically, why not suspend the discharges of people under the policy now, pending that Defense Department review? Why keep kicking people out now while all of this movement is happening towards ending the policy?
Joe Biden: Because that is the compromise we basically had to make to get the votes to finally repeal it. In other words, everybody’s looking for, in my view, if I could just wave a wand, it would just be flat repeal. No one else would be able to suspend it. And everyone who was suspended, would be able to come back if they wanted to.
But the truth of the matter is, we had to build a consensus for this. Working very hard on the telephone. Calling people (UNINTEL). And everybody’s looking forward to the orderly elimination of this law. I would prefer it not be orderly. I prefer it just end, boom, done. But that’s why that hasn’t happened. It’s resulted in us getting over 55 votes, I think we’ll get 55 vote, to flat repeal it. And to send a statement to the country and to all the world that a majority of the elected members of the United States Congress and the President and Vice President of the United States think this is a bad policy. That’s why-- that’s why it’s played out through the legislative process the way it has.
So DADT could not be shelved by executive order, or be repealed by reconciliation, because the administration was seeking a consensus with Republicans and embattled conservative Dems like Blanche Lincoln (Tim Kaine, how does that flushing sound of money going down the toilet sound?) to repeal DADT in congress. This after the acrimony of nearly every fight in Congress so far, be it Health Care, be it the Financial Regulation, Credit Card regulation etc etc.
Then I read the news of the insurance companies dropping the child only plans. The same insurance companies that were enshrined by this new law and being delivered 30 million new customers by a government authorized legal mandate. The same companies that got their way against any meaningful oversight of their premium rates, the same insurance companies that got their henchwoman Liz Fowler to kill public option, or for that matter any other meaningful competition. But what is pathetically comical is the response from the administration:
But officials of the Obama administration said the move contradicted a letter from the leader of one of the insurance industry's most important trade groups after the law's adoption in March. Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, expressed support for the law's provisions concerning children with preexisting conditions and promised to "fully comply" with them.
"We expect [insurance companies] to honor that commitment. Insurers shouldn't break their promise and turn their backs on some of our most vulnerable Americans," said Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.
So we have an administration that is willing to get duped again and again and again by the same set of people, be it Wall Street financiers, who after getting the most outrageous bailout for irresponsible gambling have the temerity to complain about regulation, or the insurance industry, and as always the Republicans. So how does the administration react to these setbacks? Predictably by deriding it's base as the "professional left", or for "griping and groaning" at swanky clubs and expensive fundraisers, places to which much of the base will never have access to, or as the current economic climate goes, even dream of having one.
Which brings me to this remarkable question by one person from the base Ms. Velma Hart:
Quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I’ve been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people and I’m waiting, sir, I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet. While I thought it wouldn’t be a great measure, I would feel it in some small measure. I have two children in private school, and the financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family. My husband and I joked that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives. And quite frankly, it’s starting to knock on our door and ring through that that might be where we’re headed.
And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer honestly, is this my new reality?
This the question that we all want to ask. We are exhausted from defending you from daily attacks when you make the same stupid mistakes over and over and over again. We are exhausted of reading reports that you don't want to take the fight to your detractors, but rather stay on your high pedestal of bipartisanship and prepare for your re-election. We are tired of your professorial pontifications and trying to rationalize with the crazies and ask them for a plan(??)!! In the end Digby sums up the frustration of the base the best:
They have a huge majority and the White House and they are left holding kabuki votes like today's DADT show and tell and rather than making the Republicans look like big meanies, they end up making it appear that the crazies have the upper hand again. And when that happens a lot of Dems just tune out, avert their eyes, preferring to look to more personal concerns and withdraw into their own projects and pursuits.
Which brings me back to my original analogy: this administration will forever be "Good Ol' Charlie Brown", always trying to make everyone happy, always getting duped by the same people, "How long? All your life, Charlie Brown, all your life".