Update: To be clear... I am persuaded that, given the way that this thing has been handled to date, we need a platform from which to make this bill better. I believe that it's easier to do that piecemeal after the bill is passed then to start from scratch. This will be easier if the chief compromiser is removed from the process.
Put me down with Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman. This thing has to pass. If it doesn't, it will set back the progressive cause for a generation. Better to pass the bill then make it better through reconciliation. But either way, we should exact a price, and after the White House response to Gov. Dean yesterday, the target is clear. It should be the compromiser in chief... Rahm.
See below the fold for details.
Cenk Uygursaid it clearly back in September...
Rahm Emanuel has been pushing for a weaker version of reform from the beginning. In his defense, he believes he is focusing on what is doable (nearly the same thing he said during the previous House elections). Emanuel has argued for a trigger from the beginning of the debate and seems to think that a public option is not realistic in this political environment.
Howard Dean has instead argued for a stronger version of health care reform. He believes the country is persuadable (the same position he had in the House elections) and is largely on the side of bolder reform already. He believes the Democratic politicians need to have the courage of their convictions and they can make a real difference.
Once again, Howard Dean is right and Rahm Emanuel is wrong. The voters didn't vote for a little bit of change. They gave the Democrats the White House and overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. They voted for real change. The kind of change that Dean always pushes for (and often accomplishes) and the kind of change that Emanuel doesn't ever find "realistic."
Emanuel needs to change his definition of realistic. We didn't elect Obama to fiddle around the edges. We elected him to change the current reality of Washington. We didn't elect him to figure out the best way to appease the lobbyists; we elected him to figure out the best way to beat them. What Rahm Emanuel doesn't seem to get is that real change is realistic. You have all this political power. It's time to use it. If not now, when?
Rahm never got it. So the price that progressives should demand for supporting the bill is Obama's "Realist". Rahm must go.