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Sunday, August 30, 2009



And of course, if Senator Reid were marching in lockstep with the President and reading exactly from the script, the Republican spin would be, "President Obama controls the Democrats with an iron fist, crushing voices within his own party who might dare to represent the differing views of their local constituents."


I find myself essentially in agreement with what both of you say--unfortunately. Republicans have been fairly successful at scaring a lot of people regarding reform. Polls show few have bought into the whole death panel canard, but even a small erosion of support hurts. A worse canard is saying Democrats are going to reduce medicare benefits to fund reform which probably has garnered more believers. Republicans should know it's not nice to scare old people with lies, but... And Democrats should not be afraid of Republican spin, but...

So in the face of a Republican/insurance industry B.S. storm, we've got our Senate majority leader demonstrating an inability to express a coherent thought on what a public option is. Meanwhile, the administration is waffling on support for a public option and Kent Conrad says there never were enough votes in the Senate to pass one anyway.

At this point, Democrats shouldn't care how Republicans might spin Obama getting tough with the Senate. Paraphrasing what someone on one of the talk shows said of Obama this morning, we've seen the hope, now show us some audacity. Conrad's statement is asinine. So what if the votes aren't there yet, go get them. Change some minds. If that means making deals and/or twisting arms, do it. That is how meaningful legislation gets passed. That's how LBJ got Medicare.


A.I.: You have criticized (in some cases rightly) several of my arguments as poorly supported. Do you have strong support for your argument that the insurance industry is behind this "storm" as you call it?


Cory: I doubt that Republicans would make the argument you suggest. Obama isn't unpopular enough. Yet. But as A.I. offers, what does it matter what the Republicans are saying? It's one thing that Reid is not walking in lockstep withj Obama, its that Reid is not walking in lockstep with himself! He is for the public option as long as its private. At this stage of the game the proposal should be narrowing and a consensus forming, if you are going to get something at all. Instead, we still don't have anything resembling a coherent proposal, and what the Democrats are talking about is all over the board. This just doesn't look very good, from the point of view of policy making.


"Insurance industry" may have been too narrow an accusation. I should have said elements of corporate America or some such as there are documented sources of funding for groups working against reform. The insurance companies are not among those sources so far as I can find. Thus, the best support I've found linking the insurance to the movement does not track specific funding. Rather, it's an "if it walks like a duck" argument from ex Cigna PR manager Wendell Potter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/12/ex-insurance-exec-industr_n_258095.html

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