I’m frankly puzzled by the meme that the debacle that is the Congressional debate on health insurance reform is President Obama’s fault.
- Not one single Republican has supported it with votes (outside of Snowe allowing a vote to go forward which she subsequently voted “NO!” on.)
- The major evisceratory surgeries on the legislation have been primarily to appease Republicans and Conservadems who subsequently voted “NO!”.
- The introduction of odious anti-women abortion prevention language has all come from Conservadems like Stupak and Nelson.
- The biggest obstructionist grandstander in the entire sad affair has been Joe Lieberman who has waved his manhood in front of any camera and reporter that would film it.
And not one thing that President Obama could have done would have changed any of this.
I find it laughable that, in this day and age of huge corporate donations and well-organized conservative political PACs, anyone thinks Obama could have “pulled an LBJ” and strong-armed Republicans and recalcitrant Democrats into submission. That’s just not realistic. There is nothing that the administration could offer these people that would stack up against the giant piles of money corporations and PACs funnel into their election coffers. And there’s nothing they could offer that would give them any more power, notoriety or “fame” than they get from the grandstanding they are performing right now.
This is a different world than existed in LBJ’s day. Besides the more intense impact of corporate funding and PAC money, the filibuster is used today in ways it never was back then. And it’s probably worth reminding folks that Obama got elected because he promised to change the way politics is done in Washington. That’s a big part of the reason people like me voted for him. He was different. He actually gave us some hope that he might actually be able to bring disparate groups together to solve America’s problem.
So when Joe Lieberman pulls his shit and does his self-serving, narcissistic craptastic dance to attract attention to himself, it’s disingenuous to suggest that somehow the president could have changed that. He couldn’t. Lieberman is a fuck now and would have been a fuck no matter what Obama and Axelrod and Emmanuel and Reid did. Period. That’s what Lieberman does. You want to blame someone? Blame the voters of Connecticut. That’s a good place to start. Plenty of progressive liberals tried to tell them different, that’s for sure.
This is not Barack Obama’s failure. It’s Joe Lieberman’s failure. It’s Ben Nelson’s failure. It’s Mary Landrieu’s failure. It’s Bart Stupak’s failure. It’s the Republican’s failure. Nothing Obama and Co. could have done would have changed the way these shameless and shameful non-leaders acted.
If he had threatened to veto any legislation that didn’t include [fill in the blank], they would have said, “Fine. Status quo works for me.” And then we’d be no further ahead than we were last year. Or the year before that. Or the decade before that. Or…
About the only fault you could place at their doorstep, in my opinion, is the decision last spring to let Lieberman into the fold and to give him any kind of leadership position. While that argument at least holds some weight, I doubt that most people knew at the time what an incredible fuckwad he’d turn out to be. And, even if they did know, does anyone think Lieberman would have behaved differently if they hadn’t allowed him into the fold? He’s still a Senator that was a “swing vote” and his leadership position doesn’t play into that. He still would have been able to do all the infuriating obstructionist horseshit he’s doing today. How could he have voted or behaved differently that would be any worse than what he’s doing now???
God help us if we don’t extract some good out of this reform. Thanks primarily to Democrats (ugh!), there will be Democratic blood on the floor in 2010 if we don’t.
But, in the final analysis, making President Obama the scapegoat doesn’t address the core issues that have us where we are today: Corporate influence on campaigns, grandstanding conservatives determined to hijack any issue they can in order to draw power to themselves, and the lack of truly progressive members of Congress. If we want to change this country in the progressive direction, those are the areas where we should be focusing our attention. Not on making Barack Obama our scapegoat.
I’m just sayin’…