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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Democrats Vs. the Tea Parties Day 14: the Debacle

A friend of mine in college liked to refer to things that went awry as a "debacle". In college, that was often an occurrence and so "debacle" became a favorite phrase of his. (he's also the same person that used the term fourth dimensionally for long time readers) That would be an apt description of what is happening to the president's health care plan. Here's how Bill O'Reilly described the situation last night.

This morning, the Hill has this story.

A full 60 Democrats have now pledged to vote for healthcare reform only if it contains a public option.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (obtained
by Firedoglake
), the Congressional Progressive Caucus took issue with Sebelius's recent statement that a public plan was "not the essential element" of healthcare reform, and pledged 60 votes against final passage unless a public plan is included

Of course, this weekend, Kent Conrad said there weren't enough votes in the Senate to pass the "public option". If you take both at their word, that means there is no bill. Obviously, we'll see but more importantly we're into day three of the Democratic food fight over whether or not a public option should be in the bill.

No matter what the final outcome, this is bad news for the Democratic party. I have been amused by some of my liberal readers still accusing the Republicans of derailing this effort. Not even the most hardened liberal could think that this dust up is the fault of the Republicans. Instead, the biggest story over the last three days is the infighting in the Democratic party. Think about that for a minute. First, health care reform is crashing. Second, we've been debating this since March. Yet, now, in August, the party still hasn't figured out if they will or will not include the public option. Talk about a failure of leadership.

Meanwhile, Democrats still can't control themselves in lashing out against the town hall protesters. Here's what Senator Specter said over the weekend.

Democratic Senator Arlen Specter said in an interview on “This Week” that he supports Americans right to organize, but warned that recent town hall ruckus from critics of the Democrats' health care proposals are not representative of the public's view on the issue.

“I think we have to bear in mind, that although those people need to be heard and have a right to be heard, that they are not really representative of America in my opinion,” Specter said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The president and his Democratic allies are still demonizing the insurance companies. So, let's take stock. The Democrats are fighting with the protesters. They're fighting themselves, and they're fighting the insurance companies. Like I said, that's a debacle.

Meanwhile, with Democratic lawmakers insisting on demonizing the protesters, this only gives the protesters a platform to respond. Now, one of the most publicized confrontations was between Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and a town hall attendee in which Lee took a phone call during the question. Here's the respondent on On the Record.

Then, here's another protester that actually asked the president a question.

The common theme coming from all of these protesters finding their fifteen minutes of fame is that they are unimpressed with the answers to their questions and that the politicians aren't "listening to them". That, frankly, is not a good place for a politician to be. So, as long as Demcrats insist on demonizing the protesters, they will be the story and they will continue to show up on television to say that they are 1)unimpressed with the answers to their question and 2) the politicians aren't listening to them. The Democrats have effectively made these protesters a major story over this month and so they have created for this to become a loop on news over and over.

Finally, with all the bru ha ha over "death panels", here's a real life grandmother speaking out.

What's the common theme here? Citizen voters of every stripe are all coming out against the health care bill in unison. Like I said, this thing is a debacle.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, I think the Democrats fighting each other is a good thing. It reinforces the idea that only the Democrats care about health care reform while the Republicans only care about retaking power and fighting some wild-eyed crusade against "socialism".

The only way to defeat the ultra-right is to confine them to irrelevance. The only way to do that is for the Democrats to debate amongst themselves, all the while reinforcing the idea that the Republicans cannot be trusted to govern. You might want to call it poor or failed leadership on Obama's part, but I'd think that's unfair in light of the nature of the Democratic Party. It is essentially a dumping ground for anyone who isn't a white conservative.

mike volpe said...

I certainly can't tell you what to think. So, if you think that, that's frankly your problem. That doesn't change the fact that infighting among Democrats is actually still a bad thing.

The Republican have plenty of ideas but no one focuses on them because they aren't being incorporated into the plan.

The Democrats don't need anyone to pass this thing. Do you think the people can't add. Why do you keep throwing out the trojan horse of the "right wing" when dems have 60 votes in the Senate. Having the lead party still fighting over what will and won't be in the bill six months in that they still don't know what to put in the bill.

Anonymous said...

"The Republican have plenty of ideas but no one focuses on them because they aren't being incorporated into the plan."

On the contrary. The Republican's ideas have received attention, its just that it was in the context of how the Republicans suffered two consecutive backbreaking electoral defeats.

I talk about how Democratic infighting reinforces the idea that the Republicans are irrelevant and you interpret that as blaming the Republicans for blocking health care?

I don't know what's harder, watching you try to make a point, or watching Illinois basketball try to make a basket.

mike volpe said...

I don't think we need a health care debate to know that the Republicans lost the last two elections. I don't really see what your point is. The reason I don't get your point is because your point is inexplicable. That the Republicans are irrelevant in this debate is a good thing since this is a total fiasco.

You are totally blinded by your ideology and you are missing that the Democrats are in total disarray. No one knows what the president wants. The only plan that is online is a monstrosity that no one can defend. What exactly is your point?

Lisa said...

The reason the republicans didn't win the last 2 elections is because the people who voted for them are too young or just have short term memory loss about the policies of the democrats. That's how it happens, a couple years of one party and the people vote opposite when they get tired of it or in this case how the democrats and the media convincing everyone how bad off they were when in actuality it's obvious what the democrats are doing are just worsening the economy and racking up unsustainable debt. 2010 should be interesting

Anonymous said...

I listen to a talk show host in Houston who clowns Queen Sheila almost daily. He creates these hilarious parodies about her that he plays on his show. Everybody I know listens to them and forwards the link for others to hear. They are friggin awesome.

I don’t know how long he will keep them up, but you can hear them by going to:

Scroll down until you see the picture of SJL on the phone, and the hyperlink that says “To hear Sheila Jackson-Lee’s Bad Day click here”. There is another one called “I’ve Been Everywhere” about her traveling to Jacko’s funeral on taxpayer dime. Scroll down until it says “previous entries” and keep scrolling and you will find it.

Funny stuff. We here in Houston have been watching Sheila and her silliness for years. You’re only now finding out how bad she can be.