Monday, September 07, 2009

Article Of The Week

The newest fashion in Washington is the "trigger" approach to a public health option, in which a government plan would be automatically (yeah, right) invoked if the insurance industry does not meet certain standards within a prescribed number of years. The President and conservative Democrats apparently are intrigued by this idea because of the strategic and political benefits. Moderate Republican (or what passes for a moderate Repub these days) Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine is reportedly amenable to such a position and, supporters hope, could bring along her colleague from Maine, Susan Collins. It might provide cover for blue-dog Democrats, who typically are from illiberal districts, allowing them to contribute to passage of something called "health care reform" while still reassuring their corporate benefactors conservative constituents. And that would help enable the Party to maintain its House and Senate majorities.

At first glance, the posting on September 4 by the heralded leftist blogger Digby might seem to be just another piece warning President Obama that dropping the public option is not the way to political nirvana. But it really it is much more. She demonstrates a political sense few in the mainstream media ever seem to possess when she notes of the off-year Congressional elections of 2010

....it's highly likely that seats will be lost this time, it's just a matter how many. Those seats that can be preserved are highly unlikely to be preserved because of some arcane policy compromise this fall that nobody understands. They'll be preserved because the Democrats are seen as succeeding or failing in a global sense.

The Obama Administration, as Digby (and most of the leftist blogosphere and little of the mainstream media) understands, naively believes that acceding to the complaints of their political enemies on the right (see: Jones, Van; Obama, schoolchildren) will mollify those opponents. Hullabaloo's proprietor notes

Defeating the public option will be totally forgotten once the right starts demagoguing the mandates and the "welfare subsidies" and the forced abortion and god know what else. They should know by now that they will always find something.

Digby urges reform not be something "that just tweaks around the edges and maintains the status quo" by (emphasis hers) "setting up a system that will force people by law to give large amounts of money each month to private corporations they hate." That would hardly be good political strategy because Republicans nevertheless would run against Democrats by "saying the've nationalized the health care sector." Any bill, she might say, would be lambasted by the GOP as government-run health care, repeating their mantra "big government never did anything right."

All good points, but this piece would be worthwhile if only for one line which captures well the political summer we've just been through: "The right has got these people so worked up that talk of 'triggers' is likely to result in people thinking Obama's got gun control hidden in his plan for Death Panels." Delicious.

1 comment:

Dan said...

i put up a new post:

http://debatecurrentevents.blogspot.com/

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