The media frenzy over Eric Massa is eerily similar to the media assassination of Howard Dean (remember the "Dean Scream"?), as the MSM and even the supposed "liberal" network pile on. It looks like the purge of the left and the final push for the corporate-care insurance bill is on. Topping it all off was the astonishing attack on Dennis Kucinich tonight by Markos on the Countdown show, culminating in a call for a primary challenge (presumably by a nice centrist corporate "Democrat" – how about Harold Ford?) to Kucinich. (Would Keith have tee’d up that assault the way that Lawrence O'Donnell did?)
Net result: the two most outspoken Congressional critics from the left of this corporate-care bill are under assault. (This has Rahm’s fingerprints all over it. Why does he never take out those sharp knives and go after the corporate Dems?) Small wonder that progressives in D.C. these days are so reluctant to speak out.
This White House has repeatedly sold out progressives on this health care issue. Single payer advocates were completely censored out of the discussions (and even arrested). The public option was occasionally dangled, but never endorsed and never pushed in any way by the WH. Bargained away is the concept of federal government negotiation for lower drug prices. Cut off at the knees is the push to allow drug importation from Canada. What we are left with is a collection of largely Republican ideas, including the centerpiece: compulsory purchase of private insurance from the same corporate bandits that have created the current mess. (Referring to this as "bringing health care to 30 million uninsured Americans" is truly putting lipstick on a pig.)
Gone is any hint of what the polls show is immensely popular: the idea of a public option; and even the simple and widely supported idea of expanding Medicare coverage to age 55 has been tossed aside and buried. Finally, to top it all off, the progressive concept passed in the House to tax the wealthiest 2% of households to pay for this has been abandoned, and the ridiculous concept of taxing so-called "Cadillac health care plans" (i.e., plans of union members and others who have managed to acquire strong health care coverage) stays in the bill.
This bill should be an abomination to any true progressive. Yet the ‘base’ is being whipped to support this, under the rationale that Obama and the Dems in Congress "can’t afford a defeat". Well this will be a truly pyrrhic victory, as the Repugs will easily bash the Dems for "using big government to force people to buy something they don’t want" and for "taxing workers’ health insurance". Why are all these Republican ideas in there when they got no Republican votes in exchange for all this garbage.
The bill itself is bad enough. But what is truly tragic is the way that nominally progressive entities are turning on the most progressive members of their own party. Not long ago there were scores of House members who said they wouldn’t vote for a bill without a public option. The public stoning of Massa and the electoral threat to Kucinich are intended as object lessons to wavering Dems. One year under Obama and the corporate takeover on all fronts is pretty near complete.