Why does Barack Obama want my friend to keep bleeding into her shoes?
Oddly, or not, Obama support ranks with Olympic diving for degree of difficulty.
Or any kind of dive into any kind of tank you care to name.
But some Villagers can make it look easy. Let's watch one in action!
Universal health care is a big concern for me in this race. I expect the Democrats to deliver on it. There's a woman in my town who runs a small store -- she's the one who had to miss the caucus because she couldn't afford to close up for an afternoon -- who works like a dog, employs three people, used to be able to afford health insurance for herself and her employees, and now she can't.
So she's going naked.
Because she stands all day, she's got blood circulation problems, and sometimes she bleeds out into her shoes, standing there at the cash register. That's a pre-existing condition, so she's never going to be able to get back into the insurance system at a price she can afford. This country has thrown her away. She's also a lifelong Democrat.
I don't expect the Democrats to throw her away.
I expect the Democratic Party to deliver for her.
And that means I expect either Hillary or Obama to deliver for her. Well, Obama, not so much.
Awhile back, the observant Big Tent Democrat noted that Tennesse Bush Dog Jim Cooper, who helped scuttle universal health care, in 1993, was an Obama supporter. (Cooper, like Obama himself, has the David Brooks Good Teabagging Seal of Approval.) Today, Mike Lux at Open Left noticed that Cooper is actually Obama's point man on universal health care (if something so flaccid can be said to have a point).* I quote Mike's post almost in its entirety:
[T]here are still certain things that make me really, really nervous about Obama. At the top of that list is the health care debate, where I think he's just wrong about the importance of universality, and where he's employed Harry and Louise-style tactics to argue against Clinton's plan. My concerns shifted into overdrive, though, when I noticed that the Obama campaign is now using Rep. Jim Cooper as a spokesperson/surrogate on health care.
I was part of the Clinton White House team on the health care reform issue in 1993/94, and no Democrat did more to destroy our chances in that fight than Jim Cooper. We had laid down a marker very early that we thought universal coverage was the most essential element to getting a good package, saying we were to happy to negotiate over the details but that universality was our bottom line.
Cooper, a leader of conservative Dems on the health care issue, instead of working with us, came out early and said universality was unimportant, and came out with a bill that did almost nothing in terms of covering the uninsured. He quickly became the leading spokesman on the Dem side for the insurance industry position, and undercut us at every possible opportunity, basically ending any hopes we had for a unified Democratic Party position. I was never so delighted to see a Democrat lose as when he went down in the 1994 GOP tide.
Unfortunately, he came back, like a bad penny.
It is such a huge mistake [Mistake? What mistake? this is the plan! This is the big table!] for Obama to use a guy like this to defend their position on health care. The signal it sends to reporters, organizations, and activists like myself who know something about the old health care battles is that Obama truly doesn't care about comprehensive health care reform or universal coverage, and that the health care package you would propose if President would be a conservative, pro-insurance industry bill. The campaign ought to be trying to reassure folks who care about this issue, and using a guy like Cooper does just the opposite.
Well, why would the Obama campaign not be reassuring folks? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Obama's said "Fuck the base" at every opportunity, and he's trying to win the Democratic nomination with a margin of victory derived from Republicans, and they like the idea of universal health care about as much as they like Social Security. So, I'd say believe the signal that Obama is sending. Just like we learned, through bitter experience, to believe Bush and the Republicans when they said what they said.
Now, to his credit--and I have a lot of respect for his work over the years--Matt Stoller front-paged what Mike Lux wrote. And here's his reaction to it, and his defense of Obama, which I find disappointing. To say the least. Read along with me, and I think that, with me, you'll give Stoller straight 6.0s as he gracefully heads toward the tank:
Starting Position (6.0!) Stoller's starting position is brilliant. He doesn't even bother to defend Obama's broken plan, or Cooper; he just redefines the problem away:
It could be a really bad sign, but it might actually be the right strategy on health care, considering the enormous amount of organizing being done outside of the Presidential contest - let health care reform come to the President, rather than driving it from the White House.
R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t. Obama has much more important things to do with his super oratorical powers and mad negotiating skills than preventing hard working people from dying in emergency rooms! What could we have been thinking?! And to think I thought that leaders, well, led, instead of making speeches or saying "look at my web site" when it comes to the detail. But it gets better:
The Approach (6.0!) And now, Stoller steps smartly to the edge of the platform:
So I'm left wondering and reading the tea leaves about what his priorities might be as President.
R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t. So, now that universal health care is off the table -- funny, I guess that makes the website the OFB kept telling me to go read the worthless p.o.s. I always said it was -- Stoller feels compelled to "guess" what Obama's going to do!
The Take-Off (6.0!) Two, maybe three days ago, universal health care was a pillar of Democratic policy, and common ground between the two candidates. And now, according to Stoller, for one candidate the policy has fucking crumbled into nothing. You might think that might give Stoller pause, maybe even make him rethink his support, maybe make him stop at the brink... But no! Stoller's in the air!
If I had to guess, I'd pick global warming.
The man can guess with the best of 'em! Would you look at those tea
The Flight (6.0!) Stoller twists! He turns!
There's been a huge amount of youth organizing around global warming, so this problem fits into Obama's overall demographic base. It's also something of a creative class originated issue, coming first from the scientific/academic world and now being driven into the mainstream by scientists and young people [and old Al Gore].
The Entry (6.0!) And the smooth, smooth re-entry. Barely a ripple:
Health care as an issue, by contrast, was the one piece of the New Deal that FDR never completed.
So there you have it. Translation: Obama's base is young. They don't need universal health care. Yet. So if you do, Fuck off and die. And forget about Social Security, too, for the same reasons (though Stoller tactfully sweeps that issue away with "completed").
A magnificent dive by a great performer! The crowd goes wild! Because, now we're not arguing over mandates anymore. The issue is no longer implementation. Now, universal health care is off the table entirely. As Krugman says, "It looks like the dream is dying." Smart work, "progressives"! I'm proud of you.
Why does Barack Obama want my friend to keep bleeding into her shoes?
Why does Matt Stoller?
Forget the fucking website. Watch the talking points, watch the money, and especially watch the hires. Cooper is very, very, very bad news.
NOTE * For Lux, Obama's choice of Cooper set off the same tiny alarm bell that Obama's choice of Chicago School economic advisors set off for others.
NOTE Here are the five elements of a dive.