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  •  Quite the money quote here: (12+ / 0-)

    In the era of the permanent campaign, policy can no longer be viewed in isolation. Rather, it must be figured into the larger context of the continually evolving political narrative of its proponents. The loss of the public option and the imposition of mandates and an excise tax--should that indeed be the result of the final bill--is frustrating not only because it is the worse policy. It also represents the loss of a golden opportunity to rebrand the Democratic Party, and it constitutes a huge step backward in the general electorate's perceptions of the party's identity.

    Permanent campaign is right.  Which maybe is why it was always naive to think that after the election, Obama and the Democrats could usher in a new era of bipartisanship.  Because there is no room for bipartisanship in a permanent campaign.

    And I fully agree that this was indeed a lost opportunity.  The Democratic Party could have rebranded itself, could have revolutionized our health care system and said, "You're damn right we believe in socialized health care."  And it could have worked.

    But now?  Now that chance seems to be gone, at least for this election cycle (and perhaps future cycles).

    Excellent analysis, Dante.  

    "Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite his abject failure to be perfect." -- catilinus

    by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 07:32:12 PM PST

    •  it was naive (8+ / 0-)

      and some said so, all along. the republicans have exactly one goal, with obama- make him a failure so the voters turn to them. it's not complicated.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 07:56:18 PM PST

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      •  They have been going (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Turkana

        after him for almost 365 solid days now. Sickening and sad.

        •  I must add (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Turkana

          that some liberals have been going after him pretty hard too.

          It sure would help keep a democratic majority if liberals were a little kinder to their leaders.

          •  depends (4+ / 0-)

            if we remain focused on the issues rather than the personalities, it's our job to be blunt and honest. praise when praise is due, and criticize when criticism is due. the best friend is the friend who can tell you when you're making a mistake or when you're wrong.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:38:11 PM PST

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            •  except we aren't talking about friends (0+ / 0-)

              We are talking about a Democratic President. It isn't like a neighborhood sleep over where your friend says you don't look good in blue.

              What do HuffPo, Big Eddie, Thom Hartman, and Fox News all have in common. They can't seem to stop going after the President.

              At some point liberals should stand up for the guy and focus on the positive. They have been radically impatient and unrealistic in my view.

              I think the Mass. election is a wake up call. We can say, well the President didn't have a good narrative. In return I say the left has been ragging on the President for a long time. The right wins cause they stand behind their guys. The left doesn't seem to be able to. They have bit Obama's butt like a pitt bull and not let go. It is not helping.

              •  republicans win (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Liberal Thinking

                because we don't do a good enough job of delineating the differences. it's not about the narrative, it's about the economy. no matter what happens, on tuesday, the exit polls will tell the tale. in new jersey and virginia, it was the economy. not the flaws of the democratic candidates, not the health care bill, not democratic backbiting or whatever- the economy. jobs.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:58:40 PM PST

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                •  IN order to have jobs (0+ / 0-)

                  the economy had to be stablized.

                  Deliniating the differences is the narrative.

                  But how can you explain that without the tax payer bailout of the banks and the seemingly ridiculous infusion of cash from the Feds, we would not have an economy at all.

                  People do not understand that investors took their pension funds and blew them up, as in there was no money to pay out. So as bad as it sucks at least your retired neighbor still gets his check thanks to the thankless job that Obama has done using Geitner to unwind all these horrific positions. That is not a dilineation that tea baggers will ever understand. Nor is it one that liberals understand either.

                  The thankless job of stablizing our economy was left to Obama. He staved off disaster and is now being punished for it.

                  Let the R's take control for a couple of years. Especially as governors. It's a crappy time to be running a budget, let alone trying to create jobs. But Obama is trying. It will take years for the economy to come back.

                  •  we had a unique historical moment, last winter (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kimberley, Liberal Thinking

                    a population looking for real change, large congressional majorities, a deeply unpopular exiting administration, and a uniquely talented and extremely popular new president. he could have used that moment to remake capitalism. to make the case that the entire friedman/reaganomics paradigm had imploded, and it was time for a dramatically different model.

                    some of the key economists who had predicted the economic meltdown- krugman, roubini, stieglitz- agreed on the path forward. instead, we got a top-down stimulus package, which certainly helped stave off a depression, but hasn't stopped the recession from lingering to such a degree that many now worry about a double dip. and many aren't certain the worst is over.

                    that's the criticism we on the left are making. that he hasn't been liberal enough, and that he hasn't been aggressively liberal enough. he had a chance to make a case for liberalism, and to prove it with successful policies. but he went cautious and incrementalist and he tried to make nice to the republicans, and then they turned on him, anyway.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:18:20 PM PST

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                •  and your answer still ignores (0+ / 0-)

                  the fact that HuffPo, Big Eddie, Thom Harman and Fox News have all been going after Obama relentlessly. I mean who needs Republicans when liberals do their job for them.

            •  You're Asking the Impossible (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              offgrid

              It's virtually impossible to get through to Missliberties. She isn't going to stop bashing liberals that criticize Obama because she can't see that this is (1) necessary and (2) beneficial.

              I always say that Democratic candidates can't be hurt by (legitimate) criticism from their left. What are the Republicans going to do, agree with it?

              We have real problems. Things like global warming, the decay of legal rights in this country, the healthcare crisis--these are real issues. As such, they are not amenable to political hairsplitting. You can't take the liberal solution and the conservative solution and cut those in half and make a real solution. In some cases you might be able to solve the problem, more or less, by picking either one. But, in most cases they are mutually exclusive and only one of them is actually right.

              Take globalization. You might say that Americans are great competitors and if we open our borders to unrestricted free trade that the U.S. will benefit. Okay, we tried that. We destroyed probably half the wealth-creating jobs in the country. Some sectors profited (if you consider that the shareholders of multinational companies constitute a "sector"), but real wages stagnated. We are well on our way to becoming a third-world nation. We desperately need to implement an international minimum wage or we will completely lose our status as a world economic power. And, out military might is based on our economic power. The liberal solution would have been to regulate globalization so that jobs didn't just evaporate. The conservative "free market" proposed solution was a failure.

              Or, take tax cuts. Bush tried it. It basically tanked the economy. It sucked all the cash out of the working part of the economy and gave it to the rich. Turns out that a modern economy is based in large part on the progressive tax system. Who knew?

              Liberals.

              The conservative "supply side", "trickle down" idea is a failure. Progressive taxation and a "bubble up" economy works. The conservative solution: fail.

              Obama has the option to pick a conservative, Republican idea for healthcare (the Senate bill) or a progressive one (the House bill). He can fight for either by simply calling up the proper people on Capitol Hill and "dealing" with them.

              The Senate bill, based on the Republican idea of mandates, would incredibly raise healthcare costs if it ever got implemented. We are already at 17.6% of GDP. This could push it to 18, 19 or even 20%. It adds people without cutting per-person costs. That will increase the overall costs.

              But 17.6% is already putting a drag on the economy. And it's far higher than most of our competition, which often have costs in the 10-12% range.

              The way to get costs down is with something that puts pressure on the for-profit system to cut costs. That would be something like a public option. (Better yet, single-payer.) If you don't get current costs down by $646 billion, then you can't get to universal healthcare and stay under about 15% of GDP. That's the magic number because it is where healthcare costs really started to cut into other sectors of the economy and it's where this became a political hot potato.

              Only getting rid of corporate waste in the system has any hope of getting you $646 billion in savings. That's the size of the Pentagon budget. That's why getting a public option in the bill makes it a success, and failing to get a public option in the bill makes it a failure.

              The point is this: There are right answers and wrong answers to the questions about how to solve our critical problems. For healthcare, the correct answer is "something that cuts and eventually eliminates corporate waste". It isn't sufficient to take some Republican answers and some Democratic answers and fashion a response to the healthcare crisis. You have to pick the right answer.

              This is why the political middle won't work. It's time for Obama and the Democrats generally to stop trying to please people and start selecting answers that work.

        •  it's who they are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          In her own Voice

          it's what they do. clinton tried to make nice to them, and look what happened.

          bipartisanship is a one-way street. it's also what i call unilateral knee-capping.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 08:36:13 PM PST

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          •  Given their platform, who else can they be? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Turkana

            The GOP roped in all the people with issues, theocrats, bigots, corporatists, you name it, and promised them a vote.

            That, plus going corporate first, made for a combination that can't really budge on the core things.

            There is no bi-partisan, or it will undo Republicans.

            So then, their end game is to take the negative, or "i told you so" framing, hoping for and manipulating to make failure occur.

            They will do nothing else.

            What I don't get is this is just not hard to see, so then why is it being used as an out?

            My gut says it's all about the corporate vs people oriented politics.  Both parties have majority corporate friendly neo-liberal, Reagan / Clinton style economic policy ideas, leaving just the "left of the left" as the only minority bloc pushing for something other than that.

            IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

            by potatohead on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:16:46 PM PST

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            •  campaign money (0+ / 0-)

              until we find a way to fix that we won't be able to fix the system.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:24:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Heck, why not set up a recurring (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Turkana

                fund.

                People do $10 to $whatever per month.  Pool the funds, assign to Progressive candidates, and multiply by how well they do.

                PINO's don't get much, solid Progressives get a lot.

                Everybody signs up, and we've got a flow of money that cuts their burden, and if we set some of it aside, can be used for ADs, challenges, etc...

                Just make it recurring, outta sight, out of mind kind of thing.

                Then, if they give on top of that, they decide where it goes, but the Progressives get a nice fund raising bump that doesn't cost people a lot.

                IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

                by potatohead on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:41:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  act blue (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kimberley

                  is an attempt in that direction. generally speaking, i think the internet paradigm is still finding its feet. it might even be necessary to create think tanks with a beltway presence. with the hope that the system can be changed making such a presence unnecessary.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:44:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  thank you, AM (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimberley

      your thoughts are always appreciated, and always on point.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 09:38:28 PM PST

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    •  Gone, All Gone (0+ / 0-)

      It is a huge missed opportunity. Obama had the opportunity to break loose from the normal political trap and engage directly with the public through the Internet community. But he appears to have gone off into the weeds, just implementing what the moneyed interests want.

      I don't fault him for reaching out to the Republicans, however. I think this was a very healing gesture. However, it doesn't preclude going in a positive direction on the policy questions. He had an opportunity to bring in a much more progressive healthcare reform bill, but he essentially walked away from that. All he had to do was maintain real neutrality on the public option and let the House and Senate battle it out, maybe coming in at the end to crush Lieberman.

      As for the Democrats, generally, they need to form a message around their convictions and stick with it. That need not be even, "We believe in socialized healthcare." It could be, "We are going to create a working healthcare system that provides real affordable, universal healthcare. The only way to make the numbers work is by eliminating for-profit healthcare insurance. So, we are just going to take them all over and make a single-payer system out of them. If you don't like it, go fish."

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