Loyalty to the Party, The President, and The PEOPLE

Simulposted at Daily Kos

Will Democrats stand up and filibuster their own Party’s proposal?

Will they stand up and filibuster a Public Option that their President wants?

Will they stand up and filibuster a Public Option that 65% of The People want?

Yesterday Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, and Max Baucus, voted against even the weaker Schumer Public Option. Though not on the Finance committee, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and our old fiend Joe Lieberman are also quite suspect when it comes down to siding with a Public Option over the Corporate Option.

Here is where we stand. Once the Baucus Finance Bill clears committee, it has to be merged with the HELP Committee Bill in Senate Conference.

Chris Bowers lays it out for us:

…. a source on the Hill confirms to me the Senate HELP and Senate Finance committees will be merged by an informal, behind the scenes process involving the four major players in the Senate: Tom Harkin (Chair of HELP), Max Baucus (Chair of Finance), Harry Reid (Majority Leader), and the White House. Together, these four will meet and decide what sort of bill to send to the Senate floor for debate and amendments.

During this process, we can guarantee that Harkin will push for a HELP or Schumer-like public option to be sent the floor, while Baucus will push for no public option to be in the bill at all. Given his recent statements, the best bet is that Reid will probably push against a public option too, and instead favor either triggers (which he has called a good idea) or co-ops (which seems to be the sort of public option he likes best). With two against and one in favor, this means that the only way a public option ends up in the bill that is sent to the Senate floor will be if the fourth major player, the White House, demands it.

It is all up to the White House now. If it pushes for a public option to be included in the health care bill sent to the Senate floor, then a public option will pass as part of health care reform (at that point, all we would need are 60 votes for cloture, and from what I hear we have 57 already).

It’s all up to the White House now.

IF Obama truly wants a Public Option (and for what it is worth, I think he does) he will have to force Reid to include it in the merged Senate Bill. That Bill then goes to the floor.

To “continue debate” (have a chance to pass) 60 Senators must vote for cloture.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Voting for cloture is NOT voting for the Bill. The ObstructoDems CAN vote for cloture and then vote against the Bill.

That is called Party Loyalty. You show your loyalty to the Party by not obstructing the will of the majority of the Party, even if you disagree with the specific issue at hand.

And if they are loyal to their Party they will vote for cloture. If they are loyal to their President’s agenda (assuming he forces Reid to include the PO and thus proves once and for all that he DOES support it) they will vote for cloture. If they are loyal to both their own constituents and to The People of America they will vote for cloture.

Any one of them who does not vote for cloture is joining the Republicans in a filibuster.

Any one of them that does not vote for cloture brings us one step closer to not passing health Care Reform. Any one of them that does not vote for cloture brings us one step closer to losing seats in 2010, just as we lost seats in 1994 after not passing HCR. Any one of them that does not vote for cloture tangibly HURTS the Democrats…hurts the President and helps make this ‘his Waterloo,’ and most definitely hurts The people by denying them reform of a system that kills 45,000 of The People every year.

There is no more subtlety here, no more hedging or dodging. No more excuses. Either they vote with the Democrats, or vote with the Republicans.

If no “Democrat” joins the Republicans in filibustering their own Party and their own President’s Bill, it will pass cloture and then….we only need 51 votes for a Senate Bill that includes a Public Option.

And avoid the vagaries of Reconciliation. That way even if Baucus < rolls eyes > makes SURE we don’t have 60 votes….by not being the 60th vote on the final Bill…all we need is 51.

We can get 51.

IF no “Democrat” betrays their Party, their President, and The People by joining the Republicans.

It is time to pressure the White House.

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

FAX: 202-456-2461

To make sure they know the ramifications of NOT making certain there is a Public Option included in the final Senate Bill.

And it is time to ask Baucus, Conrad, Ben Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Lieberman where they stand.

Do they stand with The People, The President and The Party?

Or do they stand with The Republicans?



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  1. Photobucket

    Wherever you have them!

  2. The real question is does Obama himself really want a public option?  If so, then:

    1. Why did he make Rahm Emanuel his chief of staff?

    2. Why did he reject Howard Dean from having any contributing role in his administration?

    3. Why does he always tiptoe around the public option in speeches — being very careful to never say with conviction that he would any bill that did not include it?

    4. Why has the focus of the entire Health Care debate, and of the White House – Senate interactions been under the grip of the viewpoints of just the Senate Finance Committee?

    5. Why are tax-payer funded subsidies to private Insurance Companies (middle-men profiteers) the core component of any of these bills and proposals from either Congress or the White House?

    6. Why were all the single-payer advocates totally excluded by Obama, and also Nancy Pelosi, right from the start from having any voice in the debate over Health Care?

    7. Why did Obama refuse to lead with the single-payer argument, and in the process make the “public option” the fall-back position in the debate, rather then start out with a weak hand that could only be inevitably water-down from there into a decidedly weaker result?

    I think the real problem here is not loyalty. I think the real problem, is that the Democratic Party leadership structure (White House, Harry Reid, the Deanless DNC, etc.) is committed to Corporate appeasement and not to any high principle, and as a consequence they are not willing to twist the arms and browbeat the “Blue Dog” members of their own Party into cooperation to any specific goals or outcome.

    It is a form of planned chaos, because unlike the GOP which fights their arguments (however wrong) on unshakeable beliefs and principles (at least in public), the Democratic Party seems to be afraid of progressive thought, afraid to cite polls that reveal popularity of progressive policies, because they themselves are not committed to it.

    Even in Obama’s famous so-called “anti-War” speech in 2003, he said only that he opposed the Iraq War because he thought it would be a “dumb War” and have difficulties — not that the concept of perpetrating a wholesale bloody Invasion against an independent sovereign country and people that never attacked us was an immoral or tyrannical act.

    Unfortunately, much more public grassroots pressure has to be put on all of the Democrats — including Obama himself, to move away from the Corporatist model of governing.

    Talk is cheap, and speeches are cheap.

    Very few of these public officials have any “loyalty” to the public interest — aside from the obvious noteable exceptions (Dennis Kucinich)

  3. Bruce Dixon, one of the managing editors of Black Agenda Report talks about the various Public Options at Why the Public Option is Doomed To Fail, and What Can Be Done About It.

    The second version of the public option is not imaginary, it is all too real.  President Obama explicitly outlined its contours in his health care address earlier this month.  Unlike the expansive and inclusive imaginary public option championed by MoveOn.Org, the president’s public option will be stingy, means-tested, socially divisive, actuarially unsound and doomed to failure, unless its objective is simply to discredit the word “public” in the term “public option.”  The president has said it will be limited to 5% of the nation’s population, those Americans too poor to afford the cheapest insurance available on his regulated “insurance exchanges” which won’t be fully implemented anyway till 2013.

    Dixon goes on to say:

    The only good thing one can say about the president’s version of the public option is that even he is not firmly attached to it, and does not regard it as essential to his package. That’s actually good news.

    Beyond the imaginary “robust public option” of MoveOn.Org, and the divisive, destructive public option of the president, there is a third public option, a very real one.  It;’s HR 676, the Enhanced Medicare For All bill, sponsored by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich.  Unlike the mostly imaginary “robust public option” of MoveOn.Org, it actually exists and ordinary people can read and understand it.  Unlike the president’s public option, which does not take effect till 2013, a fact still ignored by most of the mainstream media, HR 676 can be put into effect almost immediately.  The first Medicare back in 1965-66 took only eleven months to send out the first cards and pay the first medical bills.

    The White House of course, is not listening to the public outcry for Medicare For All.  For example, a group of Oregon physicians calling themselves the Mad As Hell Doctors put up a web site that included an email-the-president page.  After the White House received only about 5,000 emails in the first few days, it elected to block emails coming from the Mad As Hell Doctors as spam.  Never mind that tracking polls as late as this June indicate majority support among the public for the simple extension of Medicare benefits to everybody.

    And today’s (9/30) BAR lead story says polling shows two thirds of Americans still want Medicare for All.

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