After a potentially devastating flip flop on the public option portion of healthcare reform, the Obama Administration and its allies seem to be ready to play hard ball. Granted, they’ll have to use a legislative maneuver to get a bill through the Senate. But so what? It’s about time those who hijacked the reform discussion in the first place (including conservative Democrats) have to face a little chin music (a baseball term).
As to those town hall protestors, many of whom compared healthcare reform and Barack Obama to Nazis, witness the response of Massachusetts Cong. Barney Frank to a question along that line.
Here are some real Nazi war criminals.
Finally, an elected official willing to call it as he sees it! Could this actually be a turning point in the debate over healthcare reform? There’s other evidence as well. Several faith organizations are getting involved, speaking out, and one of them will even have the president on a Webcast Wednesday. It’s heartening that the many people of faith who support reform are willing to act as a counterbalance to the agenda based opposition.
The heavy lifting, however, will have to come in Congress. Democrats (at least many of them) now seem ready to go it alone. They realize what a lot of folks have been saying for awhile now. Bipartisanship on an issue like this is overrated. The Republicans may scream and cry about tactics, but the simple fact is, they aren’t the majority. When they were, they used some of the same tactics to accomplish their legislative goals.
The White House agrees. “If we have to push it through this way, no one is going to remember how messy it was,” a top White House adviser told CNN. “At the end of the day, they’ll remember we got health care reform done. A win is a win.” That would be a win including a public option.
And remember this. The public option isn’t the best the administration could do. That would be (and I’ll keep saying it), single payer, universal care. I guess in this case, half a loaf is better than none, but just this past weekend we got signals the Obama people were ready to bail on the public option.
Here’s the real deal. The White House is no longer sure Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee who are trying to negotiate a bipartisan deal are serious. Those talks center around health insurance cooperatives, not the public option. It now looks like Obama and congressional Democrats are ready to end the card game and turn the table over.
One can argue that Republicans never wanted any healthcare reform at all, that the whole negotiating thing was a scam from the start. Same with the notion of bipartisanship on just about anything. That would be a cynical view, one which I came to just after this president’s inauguration. Now, maybe those walking the corridors of the White House realize what they’re up against, and how they have to fight to win.
What do you think? Can the Democrats in the Senate go it alone, and win?