Friday, October 23, 2009

Just A Suggestion? Poker: Not Your Game.

I don't find Talking Points Memo all that reliable. They love the play by play too much, and their headlines are frequently misleading. But this story is all over the net tonight and, as usual, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. On the one hand we have unequivocal statements from the White House that they not only support the Public Option --they want the Public Option. On the other hand we have Rahm Emmanuel et al sitting on Harry Reid's shoulder throughout these negotiations without, apparently, using any of their persuasive skills on the wobbling conservative Democrats or Snowe and Collins. What is Rahm's function in this story if Obama and Reid are agreed on the Public Option (per their public statements?). Rahm only makes sense in this picture if, in fact, the White House is pressuring Reid to take a watered down, fake, "trigger" proposal simply to attract Snowe's vote on Cloture.

But why does Snowe have any credibility at all at this point--she has been consistent in one thing only: demanding that her demands be met, and then reneging on even implied promises to consider voting with the Democrats. Furthermore, her vote on Cloture is, as millions have pointed out already, meaningless--she could vote for cloture on a weaker bill and still oppose it on the floor. In fact, she probably will. Why should her vote on cloture be so important that the rest of our caucus is prevented from voting for a stronger bill?

I am reminded of the Simpson's episode (Season 6, Episode 17) in which Homer tries to make a fortune by cornering the market on Pumpkins just before Halloween. He watches the price rise and rise as Halloween approaches, but fails to sell his pumpkins when demand is high. My problem (and ours) is that I'm not sure whether Homer, in this scenario, is Obama or Snowe.


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