Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I don't disagree with this,

We definitely need to wait to hear what the president has to say on Wednesday or what can be gleaned over the coming days. But my own take is that if the president really does lay down a series of requirements which doesn't include the public option or something ... well, public optionly, then it won't happen. Perhaps he's got some incredibly subtle plan for coaxing it from the Congress without ordering it to emerge. But critics of reform have succeeded in making the phrase extremely controversial, even if people tend to like it when what it is is actually explained to them. And it's very hard to see how this big arc of red-state or purple state Dems goes out on a limb for this thing when their president isn't willing to.

Perhaps the most we can say is that the entire conversation has become completely disconnected from the actual legislative and policy questions at stake. And the Dems have a better argument now that the Republicans are not interested in negotiating anything in good faith. On the other hand, the public mood, if not wholly settled, is instinctively less friendly than it was even in early July. And at a certain point, when everyone who's needed is dumping in one way fashion or another on the public plan, you need consider the possibility that ... well, it's not looking good for the public plan.

but I'm sick of it.

The Jews say we each have both good and bad impulses, and its up to us which gets stronger because it is up to us which one we "feed." In Nepal the Rai propitiate their hungry ghosts with food and religious observances--but when the Rai move to a big city they stop putting the food out. Why? Because "hungry ghosts are like dogs--the more food you put out for them the more they come around." In other words: you get out of a process what you put in to a process. If we want the Democrats to get us global, universal, or even good health care reform we needed to be sure that Obama and his administration were willing to feed the good side of the debate--and starve the bad.

We elected our representatives, and Obama, and by indirection his staff to get some serious shit done. And they are fucking it up. I've organized a bunch of things, in my day, from a PTA rummage sale to an Auction to two successful live births. Hell, even to lose a couple of pounds the first thing they tell you is "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." This is not rocket science. There is simply no excuse for the piss poor handling of Health Care Reform unless the object was simply not to get a good bill through at all. If that was what they wanted--well, looks like the organization of the process was brilliantly planned.

One: have a plan. Two: communicate the plan. Three: line up the votes. Four: use public pressure and financial incentives and threats to force the votes your way. Five: never allow any public wavering. Six: never negotiate with yourself or bargain away parts of your plan. Seven: never let them see you sweat. Eight: hold the vote. Nine: reap the rewards.

Every single time a public figure has wavered from an absolute "yes sir, how high" and every time the Obama administration has, through silence or inattention or leaked anonymous hits allowed the debate to be sidetracked we have lost momentum. Now the President is "signaling" that he's going to take the lead? The Democrats are still wedded to the notion that people give a flying fuck about process. You either lead by leading or you are running behind.

We're going out to a "Health Care Rally" right now. My ten year old's handmade sign, which she came up with on her own, says "We Voted For You/Now You Vote For Us." Mine says "Go Big/Or Go Home." But I'm afraid its too little, too late.

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