We know you have been waiting patiently for HIGHpocrisy to write at length on this topic, so here goes:
Trying to stay on top of ongoing discussions on health care reform -- on a daily basis and just from the blogs linked up on the right-hand side -- is making my brain hurt! But this week, I heard on Thom Hartmann's radio show the strongest, most obvious explanation about this whole charade that so few in the MSM have even bothered to mention (no surprise): that it's been Obama's goal from the start to honor the deals he and his RahmE. struck with big pharma and big insurance. [Firedoglake has been on this, but no offense, if anything, the MSM would resent any progressive voice doing its job for them. Don't forget, the Senate Finance Committee bill was not the entire Senate's bill; the current Senate bill is not the entire end game either. The House bill is an afterthought, I guess, despite having stronger progressives there than in the dysfunctional prima donna forum.] Why does everyone talk and act as if the Senate deal is the only thing going? Read on...
I'm paraphrasing Thom Hartmann now: 'Obama got elected by a majority of American voters, but before he could focus on governing them, serving their needs, just maybe making their lives a little better, he made Rahm Emanuel his chief of staff, and they had to 1st bolster the chance at getting re-elected.' Back to Rollah: I'm not sure if Obama ever thought about pushing for the best plan ever, but my senses are frying from this ordeal, because we know the plan that's being settled on (compromised away) is nowhere near the best. Not in terms of controlling costs (anything to compete with private insurers a la single-payer, public option or Medicare buy-in?), and not in terms of making affordable care available to those who need it most. More Thom Hartmann (now 2:2 in money quotes, with better paraphrasing by me): "Obama is making the biggest political mistake of his life if he listens to Rahm Emanuel and thinks he can govern like Bill Clinton ... the system is broken, so Obama had 2 bets to make: 1st he could have used his political capital from the election to take on the system, tear it down, change it, really lead the country in a new direction as a new way of governing; or 2nd, to tinker at the margins and be happy, never trying anything bold. Obama placed the 2nd bet, and I think he is going to lose".
Also getting very little coverage: the basic moral imperative at stake here! Forget labels, party affiliation, LIEbermonkey vs. whoever (though, personally, I'm rooting for the lean, Dean, fighting machine). Something as broken as health care has to get fixed, period! That fix has to include some recognition that this country cannot survive without taking care of its sick and infirm. It can't always be about money, or fame. Every other industrialized place on Earth can do that, but we can't because the few are too powerful and greedy? We have to be civil if we are to make it in a civilized society. If we wait for war-profiteers or big whatever to suddenly get all moral and start acting like responsible corporate citizens, we're toast. Principal Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "between grief and nothing, I'll take grief". That's what progressives (the real reformers?) are being asked to support? crap that only gives us grief, but nothing in return!?! [Aside: 'progressive' should include anyone wanting to save lives by making health care affordable, a right not a privilege; profit is OK but not at the cost of human suffering, and not unless you're also helping improve the human condition, stuff like that].
Which brings us back to the newest addition to HIGHpocrisy's lexicon in the title of this entry. Had the WH reneged on its secret deals and come out vocally for what would be best for the majority of the voters who helped elect Obama in the 1st place, we doubt much of this circus would have happened at all. For the top domestic priority, the no-drama-Obama camp has been 1 giant drama-making machine. Why? Why play the victim card, they're so powerless to affect the change they promised, how could they exert any pressure over this process? Shorter Glenn Greenwald: Rahm to Obama in January, "Ya know, we couldn't get health care reform under my pal Clinton because he was trying too hard to impose his own mark on it; let's just sit this one out and hope Congress does its job of, like, legislating and all that". And while plenty of blame can rightly be directed to Emanuel "Can't", he wasn't elected President on a platform of hope and change. So instead, we get all this BS masquerading as hysteria, from just another politician saying whatever he wants to say in order to get anything passed, so he can call it reform, dupe most people into thinking he's with them, but against their corporate puppet-masters, and 'won't everyone's lives be better next year when it's time to vote again'. I.e., just trust him! Well, the Full Cynical goes beyond being disappointed and frustrated with Obama's lack of leadership. Some of the many side effects: LIEberpunk goes unpunished for his lack of any moral compass (Keith Olbermann called him a Senatorial prostitute); progressives are off the reservation; the most important voters to the Dem base (younger and minorities) won't turn out enough next year to keep the Dems in control (talk about disenfranchising!). So the status quo churns, or worse, the corporatist take-over spews the know-nothing party of No to an even faster plummet over the Cliffs of Insanity (Princess Bride reference). I guess the Full Cynical is something like the Full Monty, but you're bent over by some Wall St. banker or Aetna lobbyist, without even the common courtesy of a reach-around... Oh the humanity!
And thus we look to the emotional impact of the Full Cynical. To some of the defenders (not apologists) who dismiss the value of emotion and try to re-direct our attention on the long term ('Obama's had some wins, all of this reform effort is a work in progress, he's not Bush', we get it), Captain James T. Kirk and I have the same reply: "I need my pain", pain is what makes us human. And my pain, btw, is not even real pain, as compared to others'. [It should not have mattered how Obama got there. Once he won, and helped deliver down-ticket wins too, he could govern however he wanted.] My sadness kicks in at the level of what I wanted to believe would be: he would govern aggressively, right out of the chute, punch, not counter-punch or rope-a-dope. Be passionate, but carry the intellectual force and personality to aspire to transformational greatness (a la Jackie Robinson, see older post), and thus become a great President. Dang me for assigning too much short-term emotion to a long-term process. -- When you hire Rahm, Timmy, and Larry, but tune out Krugman and Stiglitz; when you fail to even investigate torture or war crimes, let alone perpetuate some of the worst policies of your predecessor; when you escalate wars instead of ending them; when your tinkering at the margins can't even achieve some of the most basic goals to keep your promises to the base, well it should be obvious that the Full Cynical tears the blinders off an even larger systemic problem. Yes, our 2-party political divide has morphed: progressives are formerly Democrats who want to work for social justice and move the country forward; buttloads of regular rightward-leaning Dems and moderate Republicans are in the muddled middle; and there's the nutbar right-wingers. We're not presuming to know the actual percentage of each group. But, we're all confined to operating within a corporatist oligarchy (me spell good, Beck). That Obama would continue grasping for that faint whiff of bipartisanship no one else can smell, is absurd. He knows damn well that the right will never agree to anything he tries to do.
So it is an emotional issue after all, affecting us humans, who are emotional creatures with our very survival. That is why we get upset over a perceived bail-out of an industry that (a) is not even hurting, and (b) is so viscerally reviled. That is why we can feel like Obama, in making and keeping his secret promises to the fat cats but breaking his ones to the rest of us, has let us down. If only there could be rational debate. We could see the back and forth, we could think, make informed decisions as if we had control over them and our lives. But to so many who only wanted their voices to be heard, not only are we feeling ignored, now we're being belittled by the same people we put our faith and trust in.
Ultimately, then, if Firedoglake, Daily Kos, Howard Dean and now Keith Olbermann all agree that the Senate version of 'reform' sucks, that it does more harm than good, then those are the voices that Rollah is OK hitching his wagon to before they sail away. [We love mixing metaphors]. We're not talking about giving up all reform! We are instead focusing on the fight that has to happen to make things better for the needs of the many [back to Star Trek]. And so, as this crazy year draws to a close, we at HIGHpocrisy say to all: "God bless us, everyone".