Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Prez's Health Care Speech: Could Have Been Worse

Not much more to say than that, really. Tort reform is meaningless twaddle that won't pull in any Republicans, but it was a somewhat more spirited defense of the public option than I had expected.

The weakest moment was right at the beginning. Equating advocates for single-payer, the near-ubiquitous system elsewhere, with nutbars who want to tear down employer-based insurance? Good job, thanks a bunch. It did serve as a way of reminding people what progressives have actually bargained down from, but it was still insulting. Not surprising, but insulting. The bit where completely misrepresented how collective bargaining works was almost as bad, but it didn't match up to the dishonest equations being made.

The best bit from Obama was probably when he started calling out the Republicans for being responsible for the debt. Dems don't talk about that enough, and it's one of the reasons the Republicans have been schooling them over the past few months. The Republicans are trying to hide their legislative history, and it's revealing that the Dems have been too terrified or too dense to call them on it.

The best bit overall, however, wasn't from Obama. It was from that unbelievable ass that was yelling "LIES!" while Obama was talking about illegal immigrants not getting insurance. It was supposedly Jim Wilson (R-SC) but it's not confirmed. It was such a ridiculous move that it's probably severely damaged the Republican brand among independents, and even that segment of the Republican party that has reverence for American institutions.

(Clearly not a large group, but they do exist.)

All that said, the mouthpieces on CNN have said that it's an endorsement of Baucus's crappy insurance-veep-authored bill, and not anywhere near as strong a defense of the public option as progressives would have wanted. He DID keep the door open, and he did lay out the rationale. But it's clearly up to Americans to get in touch with their legislators and tell them that they want a public option to be available to keep insurance oligopolies from getting fat on mandated insurance.

The Magic Words are still in effect. That hasn't changed at all. Remember and repeat, everybody who lives in a district/state with a Dem representative:

"If you vote for a bill without a strong public option, I will spend every spare moment and every spare moment helping your primary opponents."

No debate. No discussion. Just that. Obama kept the door open, but he clearly won't pull them through. it's up to you: you'll have to push.


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