Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lost Before It Began
 by Dee Newman

The reason crazy Joe Lieberman is smiling so big is because he thinks he has won . . . that he and his beloved benefactors – of the American health insurance industry – have succeed in gutting health insurance reform, while at the same time, coercing Congress into requiring every American to pay premiums to them – ever increasing premiums with no other alternative.

And perhaps, he’s right, but the game is still not quite over. It is possible that a progressive Senators or two could still locate their gonads and force the President and his administration to by-pass Senator Lieberman and company and use reconciliation to pass real health insurance reform.

Now, that would most likely require the Senate Democratic leadership (if you can call them that with a straight-face and without gagging) to split the bill up and pass a robust “public option” through reconciliation and pass the less controversial measures (like prohibiting insurers from rejecting people based on pre-existing conditions) separately.

Unfortunately, that strategy will take time and involves risks that President Obama does not seem to have the audacity or the wherewithal to even contemplate, let alone, attempt.

Ultimately, if in the end, the President and progressives in Congress accept the demands and conditions of crazy Joe and company, then the future looks rather dismal. Giving in to these buffoons will only emboldened them. The chances of passing any decent bill on any of the major legislative fights to come will be slim to none.

I truly hope that some progressive senator has the balls to put a stop to this charade and force the President and the congressional leadership to use reconciliation and tell crazy Joe and the other conservative democrats what they can do with their vote. Unfortunately, at this point I do not think that will happen.

Let’s be honest, the health care debate was lost before it began. It was lost from the moment the President decided to forget about expanding Medicare to cover all Americans.  From the outset the President pledged that he would only sign a bill that included a “public option” that might one day lead to “Medicare-for-all.”

By abandoning Medicare-for-all from the get-go, the public option, instead of being seen as a compromise and the moderate market-based approach it actually is, was immediately ridiculed and portrayed by conservatives throughout the debate as a radical left position and a socialist big-government takeover of health care.

There is a lesson here for all of us to learn. If the President wants to steer a middle course, so be it. But, the ship of state will continue to veer starboard if progressives continue to allow the winds of change to be diffused and dispersed by a lot of hot air from the doldrums.

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