Gagging On Half a Loaf
by Upstate Dem, Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 03:50:15 PM EDT
In one of her debates with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (who's forgotten more about health care than hacks like Kent Conrad will ever know) said Democrats needed to insist that their plan provide universal coverage (which Obama has always been lukewarm about), or else the opposition would "nibble it to death." Well, as usual, Hillary was right. The Republicans and their crazed wingnut hordes have been nibbling away like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and they may very well succeed in getting President Obama to sign a shitty bill.
But missing from this depressing story in today's New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/health /policy/06lessons.html?_r=1&ref=poli tics) is any indication that Barack Obama himself -- who's been lauded for playing chess while lesser politicians played checkers -- has much interest in the health care endgame from a policy standpoint. He seems prepared to sign anything, which might be why, at each potential inflection point during the course of the debate, he has chosen to make himself invisible. And politics abhors a vacuum.
This is the problem with Democratic strategists in general and Obama in particular. They're still afraid of looking too liberal. So in the end, because they refuse to lead, they look weak, even in victory, as they pass a milquetoast bill that they then have to sell -- without conviction -- to a still skeptical public.
But maybe this time, the Democratic base might get royally pissed off. What -- really -- have we got to lose?
(From my blog http://partisandawn.wordpress.com/)