Let us be VERY clear what it means to White Water the administration. It means you create a climate of investigation and political slander and lies; it does not create a legislative climate. It destroys it.
That's how you end up working on school uniform bullshit, people.
I really respect Cenk Uygur a lot but he is dead wrong about Jane Hamsher and the jihad she's on against the Obama administration. This bullshit about Rahm Emanuel is not going to do jack squat but impede legislative work and destroy 2010.
This is just really simple, IMO.
If you work only within the democratic caucus you can not pass anything that Ben Nelson does not agree too. Similarly, Joe Lieberman has enormous power because he is one of the senators who is willing to caucus with the democrats and be the 60th vote too. That is because he wants his chairmanship; but he holds veto power as a result.
If we don't have those two senators or any other two Republicans who decide to break ranks (see Evan Bayh irresponsibly voting against the debt limit and retiring Voinovich covering for him) you only have the option of gaining support from Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. And everyone saw the shit storm progressives threw over the negotiations with Susan Collins and Snowe. Frankly, if Reid had not thrown Snowe under the bus pissing her off in the process we might have had a more progressive bill because Snowe is far more liberal than Nelson and Lieberman would have a harder time throwing bombs on anything she signs off on.
That's what happened with health care.
The President and his team went all out on the public option. Barack Obama campaigned for it through out the process and the health care team made the case to everyone; even the Republicans.
One meeting that captured the sense of impasse between the parties came in June, when Obama’s health czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle, was dispatched to the Hill to meet with GOP leaders.
In a session with Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip, DeParle tried to gauge his support for the public option. Sitting in his third-floor Capitol office with a bowl of M&Ms between them, she explained the need for reform and started to lay out reasons why a public option would be the most effective tool to lower costs and increase competition, before Cantor cut her off.
"Stop right there," Cantor said. "I’m not convinced."
The Virginia Republican said he wanted to work with the White House to revamp the health care system but believed that government agencies are inherently less efficient than the private sector. The conversation, while cordial, fell flat from that point on, Cantor recently recounted. The meeting proved to be their last.
Until now, the debate over a government-backed insurance plan has been largely partisan, pitting Democrats who support the concept against Republicans who don’t. Today, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) reminded us that the protection of regional industries will also play a role in this fight, telling MSNBC that private insurance companies are plenty capable of ensuring that all Americans have sound health care. His reasons for opposing the public plan option:
One is I’m fearful that at a time when we’re spending much too much money here in Washington, going much too deeply in debt that a public option on health care, no matter how you structure it, will end up costing the taxpayers money.
Secondly, we don’t need it. There’s more than 350 companies, maybe more than that, selling health insurance. There’s going to be a lot of competition for health insurance once universal health insurance comes.
And the third, and probably the most important, the votes are not there for a public health plan, government-run option. And this can stand in the way of a historic achievement for President Obama and Congress and the American people, which is really to establish a universal access to quality, affordable health care plan in America.
He forgot to mention that Connecticut, the home-base for scores of insurance companies, has the highest concentration of insurance jobs in the country. Not that it isn’t Lieberman’s job to represent his constituents, but at what point does the moral imperative of covering 46 million uninsured Americans trump the protection of insurance industry profits?
Jane Hamsher and Cenk Ugyur are of the opinion that Barack Obama is the problem. He's not. The problem is that we have 30 full blown progressives in the senate, now that is half of the democratic caucus that signed a statement of support for the public option. But the other 30 are conservative/corporate democrats that have to brought around. Congress should be the organizing activity of progressives.
A story that we hear a lot is that of Franklin Roosevelt. In meeting with progressives he listened to what they had to say and declared: "I agree, now make me do it."
We too have a president that agrees. The goal now is to make him do it by creating the political space for liberal ideas. Progressives succeeded with the public option. That success is something they should celebrate; despite corporate interests holding this hostage the public clearly supports the public option.
The next step SHOULD be to organize around this issue in the 2010 elections by organizing primary opponents to all those New Democrats who stood in the way of real progress, watered the bill, voted against cram down etc. Instead, FDL and the Young Turks are declaring war on an administration more than willing to sign bills with a public option or cramdown legislation.
This is an excellent way to motivate democrats in 2010: campaign on the fact that 30 million Americans will get health care now and if we put better democrats in the house and senate when the exchanges come online we can have a public option in 2011 that Barack Obama will campaign on in 2012. This is a win-win. Declare victory on the good in the bill, declare more progressives are needed to overcome corporate democrats knee capping the president, run on 2010 as a reform minded democrat determined to get you public health insurance that you can buy into. Run on a strong public option in 2010, enact the legislation in 2011. Same thing with immigration reform: run on it in 2010, get more Latinos out there, enact it by pointing to 2010 as a mandate.
In White watering the president you are foreclosing hope of any progressive action. On the financial front. On health care. On climate change.
This is political suicide. It's incredibly disturbing to me how smart liberals are willing to cut their own throats politically. You can cheer them on in your rage at the White House; but it is JUST as ineffectual as those teabaggers truly are in the political arena.
This is a year where change can be affected within the administration; and it can happen by the progressive blogosphere seeking out New Democrats and Blue Dog targets within the party and sending a message that way. That's how to make a difference; not this shit.
Grover Norgquist is so happy. Bill Clinton got knee-capped by his party his second year in office too. White Water was the start of the campaign to destroy and delegitimize that president. That he succeeded was a testament to his prowess; there were plenty of democratic knives he had to pull out of his back. Barack Obama's being stabbed by progressives declaring this is the way to get notice, to get legislation, to be players. This is what Republicans do.
Republicans keep their purity by creating organizations like Club for Growth that primary the fuck out of folks who step on the legislative priorities of the base; same with the Christian right. It's the method the teabaggers are using.
They don't shit on their officials or their leaders until they're pushed out of office or jailed.
Elections have consequences. Primaries make a difference. See Arlen Spector.
2010 is the year progressives could have taken a stand against the corporate actions of the Obama administration and congress. Rather, some decided to whine about depressing the base and sought to destroy the President on bullshit.
Rahm Emanuel's actions while on the board of directors at Freddie Mac have been investigated three times by the Bush Administration; he was never accused of anything but poor judgment and lack of real supervision as a board member.
There is conspiracy that Rahm pushed out the current IG in May. It is now December, in that time the administration has not appointed a new IG. This is proof that the administration is creating a slush fund at Fannie/Freddie according to Jane. I have no idea how she connected those dots.
A month later -- less than four months after Obama's inauguration -- the FHFA started questioning Kelley's legal status. An internal memo -- which HuffPost did not get from Kelley, originally dated May 12, 2009 and updated on June 23, provided the FHFA's opinion that Kelley had no authority to conduct such investigations.
"It's a serious gap in oversight," Barofsky told HuffPost of Ed Kelley's loss. "It does impact what we do. Ed was a member of our TARP IG council and a partner in our investigative work." Barofsky said he still investigates areas of FHFA, but his mandate only covers "a sliver of what they do."
"Fannie and Freddie are awfully big," Barofsky said. "The idea that the agency responsible for conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doesn't have an inspector general should be a serious cause of concern."
The agency put the blame on the law as written. "Congress did not intend for FHFA to have an Acting or interim IG pending the confirmation of a [presidentially-appointed] IG," writes Janice Kullman, assistant general counsel, in the memo, which was approved by Isabella Sammons, deputy general counsel, and forwarded to General Counsel Alfred M. Pollard.
It's been 16 months since the law took effect.
Obama has yet to nominate a new IG. Kelley said he'd heard that a few candidates were being vetted and wouldn't comment on whether he was one. He guessed there might be a nomination within the next month.
"Given the uncertainty at FHFA, it did not become clear until mid-September that the Inspector General's office required a new nominee," said a White House spokesman. "We are currently working actively to nominate an individual to the position as soon as possible. The process of announcing nominees does take some time given the rigor of the process to ensure that important positions like this one are filled by the highest quality people."
The Obama team has been vetting folks looking for a replacement. This has taken a long time. I would point out that Treasury took a hella long time to staff too; as has everything given the problems with vetting and the IRS issues the Obama team has had they're gun shy. But Kelly is sure they are vetting, has heard names, and might even be a candidate.
As for the Obama team standing behind Freddie/Fannie and guaranteeing them: this was the policy of the Bush administration, it is something I am unqualified to comment on as good or bad policy, and it's a direct consequence of the housing crisis.Whether good or bad, this policy all started when Freddie/Fannie were placed in conservatorship.
Federal officials on Sunday unveiled an extraordinary takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, putting the government in charge of the twin mortgage giants and the $5 trillion in home loans they back.
The move, which extends as much as $200 billion in Treasury support to the two companies, marks Washington's most dramatic attempt yet to shore up the nation's housing market, which is suffering from record foreclosures and falling prices.
The sweeping plan, announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, places the two companies into a "conservatorship" to be overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Under conservatorship, the government would temporarily run Fannie and Freddie until they are on stronger footing.
"A failure [of Fannie and Freddie] would affect the ability of Americans to get home loans, auto loans and other consumer credit and business finance," Paulson said at a press conference in Washington. "And a failure would be harmful to economic growth and job creation."
This isn't about a slush fund scandal or whatever FDL wants to foment. It doesn't sound like sound policy to me; but I don't know the options given the fragility of the economy.
I do know, politically, this is a hit on the president from the left that will lead to calls for investigations. It's petty. And given the magnitude of issues and the need for legislation; I'm amazed anyone would accept the idea that bringing down a democratic president will lead to progressives getting their policies enacted. No, it will lead Grover Norquist a step closer to getting a president he wants, maybe getting the House back in 2010 and destroying any hope of legislation moving for the president beyond the budget (which will be a battle), and create a negative feedback loop to destroy the party in 2012.
So clap all you want for Jane Hamsher.
She's throwing punches, pulling out the 2X4's, she's got a gun and isn't afraid to pull the trigger. But she's killing progressives, folks. Not conservatives. And they're willing to fund and signed on the dotted line to get her to do it for them.
It'll depress the base enough in '10, that even dealing with the teabag revolution they might get the House calling for the need to investigate this president who might not even be American. (See, the birthers started the de-legitimization and the left will finish the job.)
Good luck with that.
ETA: Thank you for the discussion.
A lot of folks are commenting on me saying the President went all out on the public option and that this is revising history. I don't think so. The president campaigned for this in August. Every time he talked about the public option he supported it and that made the papers as the lede: the President wanted a public option. Go google it. This IMO is why this sustained the popularity of the public option. Lobbyists killed it w/corporate democrats help and watered it down in the senate and house. It died. And the President, after Lieberman and others came out against it, made it clear he was willing to compromise to a trigger in private.
But he did campaign for it and it is why IMO in this assault it's the only part of HCR that is supported. That was where the argument was, the president took the progressive position, folks supported it, the health care team made the case in the senate and house, Joe Liberman took care of CT insurance companies and killed it.
Snowe's trigger would have substituted Lieberman's vote folks, JMHO
That's how I see it; I think the WH completely supported the PO and Nancy Pelosi's crusade and near win of Medicare +5 represents this.
I also want to add this too: It's is tragic that progressives are not celebrating the incredible win they have on the public option. Again, this is an easy sell. Instead of focusing on the WH, folks should be talking about the industry killing a popular policy because lobbyists spent millions every day against the administration and reformers. Congress needs progressive blood to enact the legislation Barack Obama wants like cramdown and the public option. That creates a positive story cycle of reform minded democrats standing with the people. And that can happen b/c democrats have campaigned for these progressive policies.
Instead of shooting at the administration; we could talk about how no Republican voted for financial reform a year after the financial industry destroyed the world almost. That's a progressive story untold and can fold in New Democrats and blue dogs owned by the banks.
That's what needs to happen for 2010 IMO.
There is a fundamental flaw in FDL's argument...
that is not pointed out enough. Coalitions with political opponents can be desirable when the end goals are the same (ex. lefty groups and libertarians making common cause for marijuana legalization). If they are not, they don't make any sense.
Ostensibly Ms. Hamsher wants a better health-care bill (I actually doubt this, but let's assume it's true for arguments sake). Grover fucking Norquist doesn't want a better health-care bill. He doesn't want any bill. He wants to dismantle the entirety of the US social safety net, repeal the New Deal, and (his words) "drown the government in the bathtub".
The stupidity of this alliance is astounding. How is weakening the President and trying to kill his legislative agenda going to help get "progressive" legislation passed?
That is the difference btwn Alan Grayson working with Ron Paul to audit the Fed; and teaming with Grover Norquist to launch investigations of the White House which does nothing to create a climate for progressive legislation. Or any legislation.
And to be clear: this diary wasn't about HCR. This was about creating an investigative climate in Washington which once started means nothing gets done until someone goes down. That's destructive to the progressive agenda IMO.