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HEALTHCARE reform is the defining issue not only for this President and the Democratic party, but for our generation.

While I am yet hopeful President Obama knows what he is doing, I think it important to also understand how important timing is for our goals and our political leverage. If we get this done, we have a good shot at moving ahead on the full plate of issues covered by the mandate for change.

But I feel we are being set up on the issue of healthcare reform. Whether it is by political design, or merely a window of political opportunism, I propose the following scenario as the reason why we should only strongly back meaningful, comprehensive health care reform including the public option.

We need to get this done.

Because if we don't, the Republicans will.

More below the jump...

1. Everyone agrees that the health care system is broken. There is no viable political position that wants the status quo. So change of some kind is coming. It is a question of which Party will take the prize for getting it done. We should not assume that only Democrats can speak credibly on healthcare reform, despite our traditional identification with the issue.

UPDATED: See the current Rec Listed Diary on Republicans Backing the Public Option.

2. The American public wants the public option. (Even if they don't know exactly what that means).

3. Public opinion of Democratic Party is low. Even when we have our heroes in the Senate our lack of party discipline is a talking point for political exploitation -- even by us.

4. Public opinion of Obama is vulnerable. I am not easily rattled by polls, and I believe he is a master of keeping cool under fire. But he needs to deliver on this issue in a big way, because he ran on it. Republicans believe he is vulnerable here, but beyond just saying NO there is another angle they can work, when the time is right:

5. Universal Health Care getting painted as Socialism is a total feint. It is not socialism. The most fiscally conservative nations in the worldas well as the liberal countries we all know all aim for and achieve UHC or something near it. But there is nothing inherently socialist about it. It is just responsible, socially and economically. This means US conservatives can pivot on this -- because once again we let them define the issue for us.

6. Republicans are not fundamentally opposed to reform or even UHC. See Romney and his involvement getting universal healthcare for Massachusetts as Republican Governor. How might they sell this plan for GOP backed Health Care Reform?

7. Republicans have great political incentive to NOT allow OBAMA and the current crop of Dems to succeed in passing HCR. Yes, it is partisan hackery. Voters don't care, they just want it done.

8. We pass half-assed, expensive reform that doesn't really reform anything. Costs skyrocket, ordinary people are still not protected for health or medical bankruptcy, and Democrats become the party too compromised to Big Business and Insurance Companies.  Repubs may be the Party of No but no one will remember this come election time. All voters will remember is that Democrats were the Party of Can't. (And the left will kinda agree, and further fragment. Stupid, weak center.)

9. In 2012, the Republicans run on the promise of health care reform -- maybe even universal health care -- but add a flat tax (or some other conservative plum). They claim the problem was always only how it would be paid for. They get to look like the responsible adult AND pass health care reform -- with or without the public option -- and pay for it by dismantling other government programs. (Military spending however will continue unabated.)

The hammering by suggestion Obama is taking in the media (he appears weak, racism and stupidity in America is still too strong, etc.,) could coalesce into a more formidable, if patently mendacious, political argument against him, our party in general, and progressives by extension. I don't agree with this perspective, but these suggestions are repeated even here on this site, and so it is worth mentioning the fault lines in our own resolve.

Am I being paranoid? UHC really isn't reserved for socialist countries only, but the fact that we tend to argue 'what's wrong with socialism' instead leaves us wide open on that flank.

UPDATED: Check out this document on House GOP Strategy on Health Care Reform.

ALSO: Sarah Palin is going to Hong Kong to speak in September to an investors group. Hong Kong is the most capitalist and fiscally conservative country on the planet yet they have Universal Health Care -- and a 15% flat tax.

Originally posted to beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:57 AM PDT.


Healthcare reform as a Republican Issue is

11%4 votes
38%14 votes
25%9 votes
11%4 votes
5%2 votes
8%3 votes

| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

    by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 04:57:58 AM PDT

  •  Don't hold your breath (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Van Buren, beijingbetty, mydailydrunk

    The Republicans killed health care reform in the 1990s and are looking to do so again. When they have had control over the legislative and executive branches of our government, they feathered the nests of the private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. They opposed government negotiation for drug prices for Medicare. They even gutted military health programs.

    The uninsured keep dying. Death to AHIP!

    by DWG on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:05:12 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey

      Their status quo allows them to be obstructionist, but does not allow them to lead. What would their new leadership, when it arises, look like?

      Public opinion, now that the economy is weak, has turned towards favoring a public option. Remember that Nixon also had a UHC model, and Romney ran on the issue somewhat during the Republican primary.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:10:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Betty, this is an exceptional diary, full of... (3+ / 0-)

    ...some of the most wide-scope strategic thinking I've read here in eons.

    Many will discount the possibility of the GOP seizing this issue from us (and early returns from your poll are already pointing that way). However, when one stops and considers the business base of that party and their current #1 driver -- to get out from under the crushing weight of HC costs, then what you're suggesting might happen becomes highly possible; to the point that we should pre-emptively be concerned.

    Exceptional diary. T&R'd with gusto.

    Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at

    by Larry Bailey on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:28:10 AM PDT

    •  Cheers! Thank you Larry. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey

      I think there is a lot more room for real improvement on this issue.

      By withholding cooperation with the Democrats, and letting the Palin's and Limbaugh's energize the wingnut base and at least set a low, worrisome bar --- they serve to undermine this President and legitimate political process.

      But imagine the attention Republicans will get when they run someone moderate again. That person has yet to appear, but they will.

      And that person will deliver a sexy promise. What if it is HCR again in 2012? But this time it is the Republicans?

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:34:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  AFAIC, Betty, you're doing original thinking... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...on this possibility. I haven't read this from any other diarist at DKos, and I believe it's something we have to consider. Again, excellent diary.

        Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at

        by Larry Bailey on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:36:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They might offer up the minimal reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the democrats are thinking about going through with if we don't. And they could win some votes that way but they won't go for universal health care that will any cause more costs to businesses and violate the free market ideologues principls - Heritage to Rand foundations - and their billionaire financiers from the oil and coal companies, etc -  would be pissed.
    The grip, this group of free market fundamentalists, over the part is only getting tighter with regard.  

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:48:26 AM PDT

    •  I see your point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I guess that is why I mention Hong Kong.

      So how then is Hong Kong different then? And other fiscally conservative nations like South Korea and Singapore?

      They are free market havens, and have better conservative rankings than the US.

      And they all have UHC. Why? Because it is fiscally responsible. There is nothing about a mix of public and private health insurance that is totally antithetical to fiscal conservatism.

      I don't think they are gonna go Single Payer (even though it costs the least).

      But they may throw us a bone that looks and sounds like reform we were not able to pass ourselves. And they will call it 'American-style' reform.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:55:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand the point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but hardcore republicans won't and with how the teabaggers have become a greater force in their grassroots base it will be near impossible for them to pass a government option like that.

        It make sense on a conservative basis.

        But so would taxing soda, foods high in saturated fat, etc. As this would save the then semi-public health care costs.

        It just isn't compatible with the world view of those in power in the grassroots or the fundies, and those in office or those in the leadership.

        There are few traditional conservatives left.

        "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

        by thethinveil on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:13:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Teabaggers are a feint. (0+ / 0-)

          They are a totally fake political force. It is just irrational and crazy -- but they didn't exist as a political voice before Obama was elected. And they will disappear when the GOP fill their leadership vacuum. The GOP have little incentive to fill that vacuum at the moment. They are just using teabaggers and all that manufactured outrage as their excuse to carve out a political bunker to weather this presidency.

          We give waaaay too much credit to teabaggers.

          If you were to run last year's election TODAY, the people on this site would say Barack Obama would never get elected because of teabaggers! And how ridiculous is that? He won by a landslide.

          The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

          by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:19:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We didn't give them much credit before (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            still the republicans do give them credit - in fact it makes a substantial portion of their base i.e fox viewers.

            Political forces that are irrational have a rather long shelf life - think about the neo-nazi's, or even better as an example, JBS. Teabaggers will remain a force because the internet now requires the right to have an active base. The churches will also continue to funnel people into these right wing orgs. The base will not have it but that is a sliver of the point I am making - I was also including party leadership, media, think tankers, and fundies. None of them. None of them would sign up for this.

            I am not giving teabaggers much credit to do much outside of sabotage - I doubt they could but they have influenced a reawakening of the libertarian streak which is likely to grow if I know this generation - being part of it myself.

            "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

            by thethinveil on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:36:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  From the outside looking in - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larry Bailey, thethinveil

              Teabaggers dominate the news, but not the electorate.

              They allow people who otherwise have no coherent political ideology alignment (racists, crazies, assholes) to simply appear united against Obama, and to be a distraction. They provide the excuse for the Party of No entrenchment.

              But for moderates -- and there are many out there yet, we know, because many voted for Obama -- they are an embarrassment. Yet they wait and watch Obama to see what he will do.

              The teabaggers are like spoiled children. Horrible to be around, but you end up blaming at the parents.

              I come from a pretty conservative part of California, I still think the arguments can be made to hold off the crazy. What is happening now unfortunately is that the teabaggers are appearing stronger simply because Obama hasn't pushed back.

              I agree about the Libertarian streak. I think we're headed further right if we don't get our shit together.

              The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

              by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:47:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  We on the left also -- (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              really need to be careful about painting all conservatives with the tar brush of teabaggers.

              Moderates cannot stand them either, and potential allies getting lumped in with them will cut a conversation short, quickly.

              Teabaggers are not our true opposition. We should not be distracted by them.

              The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

              by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:49:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Let me put it another way - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larry Bailey

          We won't win by chasing the fringe, and we won't win by letting their fringe define our issues.

          The middle can pivot and will.

          The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

          by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:25:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure I agree with not allowing the Republican (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Fringe define our issues. What kind of leftist would. Unless we make a move similar to, "you are right this is socialist, and there is nothing wrong with that." Basically make them so angry that they begin to make even stupider mistakes.

            Chasing? you mean bargaining? yeah I don't think the democrats should be bargaining with Republicans when they let their positions be defined by tea baggers, birthers, deathers, paranoia fueled anti-communist throwbacks, etc.

            But how does that connect?

            "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

            by thethinveil on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:44:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've heard lots of people make the (0+ / 0-)

              "What's wrong with socialism" argument on this site. And I could offer a valiant defense of it myself. Except that it is off target.

              1. Meaningful healthcare reform is not socialism and neither is the public option.
              1. We ignore the teabaggers, and stop defining them as our opposition. (It's effective and fun enough for sport, and probably drives a certain amount of traffic -- but we are poisoning ourselves and ruining our resolve staring into the abyss. Plus Fox runs that shit already 24/7.)
              1. Public option or nothing. If it sucks we do not pass it - and I mean if it doesn't satisfy the 8 criteria set by the WH including the P.O, we pass. We hold the banner HIGH for meaningful reform.
              1. Watch for the pivot. The base wants the public option, they just don't know yet whose.

              The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

              by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:25:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The gop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, beijingbetty

    will not advocate meaningful reform. Period.

    Not in '09, '10 or '12.

    No one seems to remember the gop HCR plan introduced less thatn a month ago and was diaried here I beleive.

    The main pillar was further deregualtion of the insurance industry.

    Bible Death Scorecard: God 2,390,000 Satan: 10

    by A Runner on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:24:46 AM PDT

    •  Oh I am not arguing merits. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Runner

      Without question our plans are better. They often are - when we can get them passed.

      I am arguing that we cannot pass weak reform without creating an opportunity for them.

      There is no philosophical contradiction or position of principle that a desperate GOP will not exploit to their benefit.

      And if that means embracing health care reform they will.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:28:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will never support any legislation that would actually lead to universal health care, because keeping most people poor and desperate is a core component of their political/economic philosophy, whether they choose to admit it or not.  They want a permanent underclass as a source of cheap labor, and providing people with access to affordable health care doesn't facilitate that.

    -7.12, -7.54 / "Health care reform will never take place until Rahm Emanuel is strangled with the entrails of Frank Luntz." - Diderot

    by Big Tex on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:40:53 AM PDT

    •  Globalism (0+ / 0-)

      means that the underclass is now the outside world. (I am generalizing a bit, bear with me.)

      As terrible as conditions are for our poor, they are worse still in so many other places around the world. We have done a really pathetic job taking care of our own, and that is the fault of the recent crop of GOP leadership --Who we have already defeated. Why is it we act like we are still fighting the election?

      That means our burden is double as Democrats: we absolutely need to pass legislation that protects our eroding middle and working classes. Period. Full fucking stop. And the other side is that there is actually more tolerance for GOP bargaining, and positioning, than ever before. Why did so many globalists/Wall Street types also back Obama? Not for deregulation - they saw the excesses and coming collapse. But they see the need for more effective government.

      Again, universal health care is not really, at its core, an ideological issue. We make it so at our peril.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:01:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michigan is the test case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      All that was needed to keep our state in perpetual misery was the GOP roadblock in the state Senate, which blocked all progress by the Gov. (Granholm) and House Dems.
      Thus, the damage wrought by Engler, and the structural deficit enabled by his Republican allies, was allowed to fester because nothing could be done about it due to the Senate roadblock.
      The public, politically dumbed down by years of shitty newspaper coverage and mostly right-wing, crappy editorial content, blames the resulting stagnation on Granholm and the Dems, natuturally enough, since they are considered to be the ones "in control" even though they are not.
      Hence, the GOP awaits its inevitable comeback with its all-new agenda to sell off the Great Lakes, cut taxes, screw up public schools, mix church and state and enact anti-evolution edits.
      Obama and the Dem Congress had best beware this sad example of what can happen if the Rs aren't steamrolled when the chance to do so -- COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW! - presents itself.
      Granholm, and I love her dearly, is, I'm sad to admit, a wimp and an appeaser, and the GOP used her very badly.  Now she limps to the finish line.
      None of that from Obama, please!
      Fight to the finish for what we believe in!

    •  AMEN. I hear that. (0+ / 0-)

      We need to do more than we are currently doing. On message, on leadership, and just plain old strategy.

      I am still optimistic about Obama. I am trying to figure out where our heads and our message needs to be at to help hold the line.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 07:03:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect that if the GOP does end up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    supporting healthcare reform, they will attempt an Orwellian repackaging of it akin to Bush's "affirmative access" for affirmative action (anyone remember that?).

  •  Betty - if I may -- a football analogy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      The GOP plays the goal line defense all the time.  Swarm the runner.  Swarm the quarterback. SWARM the message.  Wave your hands.  Scream at the center.  Jump off line and then back.  Anything to throw the play off.
      This works when you run a Woody Hayes (very Old School!) offense.  That is, run the ball every play, which is what's happening now in Michigan and, regrettably, in the Health Care Reform fight.
      You break that defense by passing occasionally, a screen pass of a quick slant in.  Anything but a fullback straight ahead.
      Teams that run predictable offenses get crushed by good defenses.

    •  That makes sense. (0+ / 0-)

      Such an great analogy of our present situation (despite the myriad ways in which that distraction is expressed).

      I think we are running the ball because the WH is setting up for an unpredictable offense (God I hope this is true.):

      1. WH had a certain commitment to bipartisanship in achieving a certain platform. We've fulfilled it. It should be pretty clear to all, and very well documented for the record, that bipartisanship isn't going to work.
      1. WH is working out our offensive strength/weaknesses, shaking out the cobwebs from Congress. Same Congressional votes that go for healthcare will go for everything else Obama needs to do.
      1. WH will need more voter backing for an unpredictable offense to work favorably. Seems to be heading that direction. Polls will bounce up when Obama steps forward with a plan.

      Thanks for your comment!

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 06:06:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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