Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Few Basics

Said President Obama to the Washington Post: “I didn’t campaign on the public option,” thus partially validating the current radical chic that Obama was never the progressive some of his supporters have taken him to be.

Think Progress helpfully corrects this false claim:

– In the 2008 Obama-Biden health care plan on the campaign’s website, candidate Obama promised that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” [2008]
– During a speech at the American Medical Association, President Obama told thousands of doctors that one of the plans included in the new health insurance exchanges “needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market.” [6/15/09]
– While speaking to the nation during his weekly address, the President said that “any plan” he signs “must include…a public option.” [7/17/09]
– During a conference call with progressive bloggers, the President said he continues “to believe that a robust public option would be the best way to go.” [7/20/09]
– Obama told NBC’s David Gregory that a public option “should be a part of this [health care bill],” while rebuking claims that the plan was “dead.” [9/20/09]
The way to get a public option -- or anything else contentious -- is to argue for it, advocate for it, speak out for it, and otherwise make the best possible case for it. In a representative democracy featuring separation of powers, an honorable way to fail is to demand and fight for something only to see it fall to the corrupt, bad-faith depredations of a coeval branch, or those of some of the store-bought parasites (e.g., Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu, every Republican, others) composing it.

Whereas it is insulting and dishonorable to pretend to want something, then decline to bother to strive to obtain it, then pretend it's someone else's fault that it could not be.


Ginx said...

I sensed very early that Obama was not liberal enough for my taste. He was just saying what everyone wanted to hear. He could have gotten much more done on the health bill is he was still a Senator, though I am at a loss as to who would be in the Whitehouse now (a Hillary vs. McCain election might have been much closer).

There was so much coverage of the Republican opposition; the Democrats need to be far more assertive. I wish they would just grow a pair.

Dale said...

Ginx, I never thought Obama was as liberal as I am, but I did (and do) expect him to stick with what he campaigned on. I do not let him off the hook for what he committed himself to trying for.

Colorado Legislative Update said...

That reference in the document you linked to was to a public plan. Whether that meant what we have come to call a public option is not certain. And it was just a small part of a campaign that lasted over a year. Overall, health care reform was a big part of Obama's campaign, but public option was not. During the primary season it was obvious that Obama was more moderate on health care than Clinton and that he was not a progressive. (Neither was she.)I think of myself as a progressive, but I supported him anyway and still do.
That said, I have to admit that my belief in him is gradually taking on the character of an article of faith, not something based solely on evidence.

Dale said...

Colorado, the citations and quotations are what they are, and Obama frequently used the term "public option" in them. If he was splitting hairs in some fashion when using this term that came to be so loaded, that's all the more dishonorable.

We could quibble endlessly over whether Obama is a "true progressive" or not. Yes and no, here and there, on this but not on that. Labels are labels.

I expect him to say what he means and mean what he says. If he says in public, multiple times, that the reform bill should have X, his work on behalf of the bill should reflect that same advocacy of X.

The votes are the votes, and the Congress is the Congress, so he won't win every battle, but I expect him to be what he says he is, strive for what he says he's for, and work to accomplish what he says he supports.

As for "faith" and "belief" and "trust" and the like, I don't give those out to politicians, and I don't think anyone should (right, left, center, whatever). I support principles, ideas, causes, and policies rather than the flawed human beings that attach themselves to them.