Obama, Democrats sell us out
On Friday, March 12, 2010, going into a weekend in which it was assumed that final deals would be cut among the White House and Senate and House Democrats on the form of the 2010 health care “reform” bill, it became unmistakably clear that Senate Democrats and the Obama White House were maneuvering desperately to kill any remaining chance that a public option would become part of the bill.
They were in charge, but some members of the House of Representatives and some citizen organizations were making the situation uncomfortable, and presenting at least some threat of exposure.
So the White House and Democratic senators were at the same time trying to make it appear that they wanted the public option but -- oh me, oh my, oh dear -- just couldn't make it happen. Well, working to give that appearance to the more gullible segments of the public and to the carriage liberals who cover their ears and eyes while chanting that we must support Obama and the Democrats in all that they do. And, of course, the corporate news media will buy the act.
It was frustrating and, finally, embarrassing to listen to Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation magazine, and Rachel Maddow talk about the supposed dilemma on Maddow's MSNBC television show Friday evening.
Hayes, who obviously understood exactly what was going on, kept saying that it just didn't make any sense that the Democrats weren't going to pass a bill with a public option. He called it terribly frustrating. He said in two or three ways that the Democrats could pass a public option if they want it; the votes should be there, the method is there. He repeated a couple of times that polls and other evidence make it clear that a solid majority of Americans want a public option, and that they elected Obama and other Democrats in part to give them that choice.
Maddow made similar noises and kept asking Hayes what was going on, and why wouldn't the Democrats give the American people the public option they they want. She almost certainly understood the situation as well as he did, yet neither one of them would clearly state the obvious truth:
The people who hand out corporate campaign money do not want a public option.
It would cut substantially into corporate profits, which will grow insanely by means of a “reform” bill without a true public option. Neither the White House nor Senate Democrats will act contrary to the wishes of those who have the big money. (Neither will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, if she can help it, by the way, but she'll give in if there's major pressure from other House members.)
Obama made it clear a long time ago that he will give the corporations what they want on health care, and to hell with what the people need. He all but publicly guaranteed weeks ago that there will be no public option.
Corporations, including health insurers and pharmaceutical giants, will spend even more millions of dollars this year and in future years to buy politicians. All rules against such spending were removed Jan. 21 by the five-man right-wing majority on what we must now call the Extreme Court.
Neither the Obama White House, ruled to a large extent by this president's own Turd Blossom, Rahm Emanuel, nor most Senate Democrats are prepared to upset people who wield that kind of power.
Hayes did note correctly on Friday's Maddow show that many of the 41 senators who signed what amounts to a letter of intent to vote for a bill containing a public option did so only on the assumption that such a bill would not come to a vote.
That undoubtedly is true of Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, who crawls on her belly for big campaign bucks and who refused to commit to any specific health care reform proposal until last week when, with Minnesota Democrats yelling at her, she reluctantly signed the letter. It would be revealing to know what she said to her corporate funders about that, and what assurances she provided them.
There's a tiny chance that public exposure of Democrat maneuvering could bring us a public option by the tiniest of majorities, but the odds are akin to those against winning a major lottery jackpot.
The simple truth is, we've been sold out.
That's how it works in 21st century America, and even more so since Jan. 21.