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From practically the beginning of the health care reform fight, there have been diaries and comments with people wondering what the White House's position is on the public option.

I'm not sure the WH could have telegraphed this better or been any clearer without undermining their approach to Congress, but unsurprisingly, folks keep missing the forest through the trees, or maybe they weren't paying close attention in the first place.

The White House's position on the public option:

The White House wants the public option.


Now, there are going to be people who will say, well, he hasn't drawn a line in the sand, or, what about the WH saying that they're open to co-ops or any other ideas.

My response:
You don't draw a line in the sand at the beginning or the middle. You build towards it. It's the final card you play.

The WH has always said Obama would be open to co-ops if they satisfy his goals, but so far they don't -- only the public option does.

The Obama WH always says that they're open to any good ideas. ALWAYS. Obama gets to look reasonable. If there are other ideas that are genuinely good ones, then, he'll gladly accept them. It doesn't automatically mean that the WH is going to change their position.

So to reiterate:
The WH wants the public option. The WH is fighting for the public option. The problem is Congress (and the health insurance industry.
(This has been the situation from the beginning as I noted in March.)

Questioning the WH's commitment to real health care reform is a waste of time. Obama himself has been pushing the hardest from the beginning, ever since insisting on hundreds of millions of dollars being budgeted into his first budget. He reportedly insisted on this over the objections of just about every one of his advisers.

I hope this is clear. Now maybe we can move on, and concentrate on Congress. If we don't get the public option, it's not going to be because the WH didn't fight for it. It's going to be because there wasn't enough pressure on Congress to ok it.

ETA: I wrote a diary a few days addressing other myths and concerns re: the health care reform fight.

Originally posted to Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  paranoid, not dense (5+ / 0-)

    And, really, the appointment and behavior of Rahm, Geithner, and Summers hasn't helped build any trust.

    "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game." Sen. Ben Nelson

    by ferg on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:41:47 PM PDT

  •  Obama's position has (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, lisastar, soms, Exquisite

    been clear but white house has been quite timid while dealing with the congress. I think economic situation over next couple of months will determine the fate of public option. If economy continues to suck as bad as it does today, Obama will not have much capital to push around congress in September-October. He should've been more proactive when he had the political capital.

    •  Um, we're the closest to (9+ / 0-)

      significant health care reform since around the 1960s. Not only did the Clinton 1993 effort not even get out of committee, and the Clinton plan was not even as ambitious as what Obama wants. The only thing that Bush attempted that was even as hard (politically) and far-reaching as this is Social Security privatization.

      Democratic Congressional staffers will tell you that in this session, they've probably put in more hours on the Hill than any Congress in at least a decade.

      The sausage making process is ugly, but this Congress is being pushed hard. (That probably says a lot about how the GOP ran Congress when they were in charge, and the Dems in the 110th were just trying to put a stop to anything that Bush tried.)

      "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

      by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:54:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not comparing his (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        efforts to Clinton's but that's besides the point. Secondly, if Bush had 60 votes in the congress he would've rammed an unpopular legislation ,like SS privatization, through the congress but that's irrelevant, too. Obama waited too long before getting into the healthcare game. They lost two-three solid months in the spring. Here is something white house could've done but didn't- they could've co-ordinated Congress' efforts but they didn't. I don't doubt that congress staffers are working hard but there is efficient work and then there is this highly inefficient and redundant work going in the current Congress regarding healthcare.

        •  You have a point about Obama's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miss Blue, freakofsociety

          efforts on healthcare, but Bush did have 55 votes in the Senate, and a majority in House, and I dont think a Social Security privatization bill even got introduced.

          •  Privatization would've passed through (0+ / 0-)

            the house. The issue was senate and it failed when they couldn't get 50 senators and it was close. 60 Republican senators would've sealed the deal.

            •  And if Bush had had all the Repubs on board... (4+ / 0-)

              ...and five more Republican Senators, he'd have had that.

              But Bush didn't even have all the Republicans on board with privatization.  Moderate Republicans or blue-state Republicans - to say nothing of anyone from the Sun Belt retirement communities states - knew they'd get killed at re-election if they so much as touched their AARPers' Social Security.  There's a reason it's called the third rail of American politics - and George W. Bush learned that the hard way.

              Join the Matthew 25 Network and help Democrats win the next generation of evangelicals.

              by mistersite on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:22:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Whatever (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              askew, freakofsociety

              So how's that Bush immigration plan working out?  Seems to me that went down in flames in about 30 seconds with a GOP Congress.

              Silence is the enemy - Green Day 4330+ dead - Bring them home

              by Miss Blue on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 06:10:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Bush couldn't get moderates in his own party... (5+ / 0-)

          ...on board with SS privatization.

          He also couldn't ram immigration reform through over the objections of the wingnut wing of his Congressional delegation.

          And let's not even talk about the Harriet Miers nomination.

          Let's not pretend Bush was an expert at ramming stuff through Congress.  Sure, the Republicans have a built-in advantage in their natural love of authoritarianism, but at the end of the day, they're just as venal as any other politician.

          Join the Matthew 25 Network and help Democrats win the next generation of evangelicals.

          by mistersite on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:08:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's a bizarre hagiography (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            askew, Miss Blue

            that presidents prior to Obama had an easy time strong arming Congress and getting whatever they wanted.

            Anyone who claims as much is someone who doesn't know what they're talking about, period. I hate being that absolutist, but the blogosphere can be that frustrating when it's not living in the reality-based world.

            If anyone needs any evidence that any changes involving health care really difficult, they should look at the Medicare Part D fight in Dubya's first term. That was relatively easy compared to what Obama's WH is attempting to do, and that almost went down in flames.

            The 1964 Civil Rights Act is frequently cited on blogs, but not only did it take a year to pass... but it came after half-steps in '57 and '60.

            "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

            by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:14:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You used the word "hagiography" -- (0+ / 0-)

              marry me?

            •  Huh?? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sersan, alizard

              Dick Cheney used to take up residence in Congress when they had an important legislation up for vote. Frist and Delay used to keep congress in session until they had the votes. Bush and Cheney had a political operation that , on occasions , went after Democrats. I don't want to name names but on one legislation they kept the voting open until three in the morning and one os the last votes to flip in the house was a Democrat. Obama's white house took the easy way out on pretty much every legislation when he had the capital to push through things that he wanted done. Stimulus bill is a prime example. Less than half of that bill will have any stimulus effect but Democrats have that 800 billion dollar albatross around their necks going into the mid-term. If you don't think that'll be a big liability, there is nothing I can say to convince you.

        •  Wrong. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew, Miss Blue, JanL

          If Bush had 60 votes, he wouldn't have gotten SS privatization. The numbers would've been favorable enough to us and the terrain would've been favorable enough where Dems would've defeated it.

          The Obama political operation was in the health care game from the beginning. Anyone telling you otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about.

          "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

          by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:08:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. Obama wasted too much (0+ / 0-)

            time and capital getting through that 800 billion dollar stimulus of his. Their political operations on healthcare didn't even take off before May. That's at least two-three months of lost time.

            •  It depends on how you define (0+ / 0-)

              political operation.

              If you mean strictly OFA 2.0, then you may be right. But since political operation really is more than that, you're absolutely wrong. I know for a fact that the President's allies have been planning this since before Obama was even inaugurated. How do I know? I worked on it.

              "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

              by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 07:35:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Bush couldn't help but get.. (0+ / 0-)

          anything he wanted passed for those people he represents. The United States Congress works for those people..every law is written with their concerns in mind. John McCain probably wouldn't have any problem either. Lots of people talking tough, but the end result would be the same.

  •  I'm confused... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety, huckleberry

    Why won't Obama just come out and state where he stands on the Public Option?

    Oh, and why won't he just release his birth certificate?

    What about transparency?

    "Sean Hannity...he's the guy who put the 'a' in moron" - Jed Lewison

    by voracious on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:46:32 PM PDT

  •  Now i remember why your (7+ / 0-)

    name is familiar. You are one of the diarists I respected and read here. Thanks again! Kossacks believe what they want or need to believe. I'm into Yogi Berra myself. (It's not over 'til...)

    Back to vacating >>>>>>>>>>>

  •  Sturm and Drang (7+ / 0-)

    is part of the calculus.  It's necessary to get this done.  We can all have champagne or Boone's Farm and toast our accomplishment when it finally passes.  

    October, if I recall correctly, is the deadline for resolving it with a 60 vote non-filibuster.  After that, it's reconciliation.  I'm betting that's the deadline those who want to be on board are working backwards from, and why those who want the right thing are letting the others bleat.  If they don't find the solution by then, the simple majority makes it a stronger bill.  

    But hell, I might be dead wrong.

    Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses, more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows, ---- Paul Valery

    by huckleberry on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:51:02 PM PDT

  •  Anybody who has been watching the THs will (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety, JanL, MKSinSA, Exquisite, Amayi

    happily rec your diary.

    Call me a/an [insert adjective here] optimist

    by soms on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:01:16 PM PDT

  •  I don't doubt what you say, and quite honestly I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would be thrilled with a public option.  Unlike some who think that single payer would be a panacea, I actually think that a public option may actually be better than a single payer system.  However, I think that where Obama and the more liberal wing of our Democratic leadership (i.e. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer) went wrong from the beginning is when they took single payer off of the table.  It should have been explicitly up for conseration, and then the public option should have been the compromise.  When your bargaining and you know what your objective is, you never start by offering your bottom (or top) dollar figure.  You start low (or high), and then work your way toward your ultimate objective.  By starting with the public option rather than single payer, they have given themselves nothing to compromise to that IMHO would be worth passing.  

    •  You don't start with something (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, JanL, a night owl

      that no credible candidate campaigned on in the presidential election.

      "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

      by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:06:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Credibility is in the eye of the beholder. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alizard, dRefractor

        Had some of your more incredible candidates had the kind of support that the DLC put forth with Hillary and Obama, the calculus might have been a little different. If the concept is not a part of the debate in the first place it makes it that much easier to ignore, right?

        If Obama had been serious in his objective, his Administration would have written a Bill by which all others could be judged. This way he is free to triangulate, never a good strategy for anyone interested in pushing actual Progressive policy.

  •  I was so confused by his response today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When the woman asked if people would be visiting seniors to make them decide how they want to die...

    I was waiting for Obama to forcefully say, No, no one is suggesting that. That is not in any version of the bill.

    Instead, he said, well, we couldn't do that because there aren't enough government employees. And then that the only thing in the bill that is sort of like that is help setting up a living will.

    Say what?

    Yeah, I know that's his way of saying "this is crazy" but I'm not sure the listeners would hear it that way.

    The Republicans are fighting the reforms by pulling out every little thing that sounds the slightest bit bad and twisting it out of recognition. These misrepresentations need to be stomped on emphatically. Subtlety and refined discussion just won't work well when people are being frightened out of their minds.

    I didn't think I could hate the Republicans more than when they were in power, but now I think I do hate them more because they are doing their best to stomp on everything that Obama is trying to do that is good.

    Praise to everyone who is fighting the good fight. I hope to see universal health care in my lifetime, but right now it's looking pretty grim.

    "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

    by lesliet on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:13:44 PM PDT

    •  Well, maybe Obama's language (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      could be clearer, but basically, "we couldn't do it even if we wanted to" is another way of saying, "those Republicans are dumb. Don't believe a word of what they're saying."

      "There is a vast difference between applying pressure and taking bits of evidence and extrapolating to wild conclusions and crazy rhetoric from them."-MT

      by Newsie8200 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah I think he needs to start (0+ / 0-)

        saying that and not the metaphors.  People are scared.  Show them like Roosevelt did that you will hit them in the mouth.

        "They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -Steve Gilliard.

        by demkat620 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:28:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  are you dense (0+ / 0-)

    It's pronounced Brian!

    Fours for anybody who gets the reference.

    "They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -Steve Gilliard.

    by demkat620 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:16:05 PM PDT

  •  Look (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think there has been alot of hyperventilating on both sides but I think it is important to remember, in 1993 the question was if we should fix healthcare.  The answer came back no.  Right or wrong, that's what happened an Americans needed another 15 years to realize that was the wrong answer.

    That question is over.  People know we need to fix it.  That's a big step forward.

    I'm okay with it taking a little longer to get the how we fix it right.  So deep breath, but get it done.

    "They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -Steve Gilliard.

    by demkat620 on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:21:03 PM PDT

  •  Obama is getting hit in the court (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, freakofsociety

    of public opinion because, according to what I think is his own game plan, he can't yet explicitly support contentious elements of the bill because he doesn't want to hold up the committees. Especially the Senate Finance Committee, which might resist releasing a bill at all if he diverts too far from what they (read: the insurance companies) want.

    So he has to play it a little closer to the vest. And that makes him seem, shall I say, less than decisive.

    Once this thing gets out of the Finance committee, as well as Energy & Commerce in the House, he'll be able to take more ownership of it. He won't have to fear that it will be held hostage by self-important "allies" in their little fiefdoms.

    Then we'll be able to watch him rip.

    •  Yep. It is important that we realize he is the. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pres and not a Senator anymore.

      He's not campaigning, he's leading.

      Different jobs.

      I think many of us are still in campaign mode.

      866-338-1015 toll-free to Congress in D.C. USE it!

      by cany on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 05:48:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could rec this 1,000 times! n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Miss Blue, Elise
  •  Thank you, Newsie! As always!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, freakofsociety

    As for ass-kicking Congress...I'm posting Top Comments in about 25 minutes and I'm using it to kick Chuck Grassley's ass.

    It may be futile, but my goal is to break his popularity here in Iowa. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the big mistake I'm hoping he makes soon so we can beat him in 2010.

    •  Is Grassley still running unopposed? (0+ / 0-)

      There has to be at least 1 Democrat who would be willing to take him on.  Iowa deserves 2 sane Senators.

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