During most of the long march to the health care reform bill, I thought that the pressure that many in the Kos community put on our friends, our false friends, and our enemies was tremendously helpful. I think that the health "care" industry game plan was to have the August recess meetings appear to be a spontaneous uprising to scare Democratic Congress folks who might have been wanting to put their fingers to the wind and vote that way.
We know how that went. Unrelenting pressure from our side didn't allow a total and quick fold (in my opinion). The "spontaneous" demonstrations were seen to be the fraud they were.
And time and time again, we saw the pressure we applied doing a lot.
Myself, I started my own little efforts (helped by Slinkerwink's coordinating and others). I spoke at a MoveOn rally for the public option in front of my Senator's office building long before August, 2009. I called, etc. I was a true believer in the public option and frankly would prefer single payer.
However, at a certain point, our side had to compromise, I believe (not because I wanted this at all but because of the bullshit we were facing -- totally obstructionist Republicans, our own Conservadems, etc.). And I didn't see that sometimes. (Worse, I saw the likes of Jane Hamsher circling wagons with the Tea Baggers.) To use the cliche: this was letting the unattainable best defeat the attainable good. And a defeat for Obama would have completely derailed a lot of the things I still hope and expect him to do.
What turned the tide? A few days ago I realized it was exactly what Axelrod says below. Scott Brown.
This is a quote from Axelrod:
"And actually, with Massachusetts, I think people wanted to see this debate go on for a while and they wanted to see our suppositions tested and retested. But what Massachusetts did at the end of the day was that it persuaded people on our side of the fight not to make the perfect the enemy of the good. And it really rallied our base behind the president's proposal."
Full story from Sam Stein: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
Another observation I'll make: among the many people I queried, among my liberal friends, to a "t," the people more willing, after a long fight, to throw in behind the attainable good, far from perfect, bill were my friends who have real Washington or other lobbying and advocacy experience. It is my friends who are political naifs that wanted the complete ideal.
LESSON 1: FIGHT HARD. GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT. IT TURNS OUT THAT OBAMA DID. HE SPENT SOME REAL POLITICAL CAPITAL.
LESSON 2: KNOW WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS AND WHEN THEY NEED YOU TO HAVE THEIR BACK. LEARN TO ACCEPT AN ATTAINABLE GOOD. DON'T FOLD TO EARLY, BUT DON'T WAIT TOO LONG. IN WHAT AXELROD SAID, THANK GOD, WE CAN SEE THAT THEY KEPT THE FIGHT GOING WHEN SEVERAL DEM. LEGISLATORS WERE WILLING TO MOVE ON AND FORGET HEALTH CARE. WE'D HAVE LOST THIS FOR A GENERATION AT LEAST.
LESSON 3: ANYBODY WHO FOUGHT ON THE LONG ROAD TO THIS BILL IN ANY WAY WAS TESTED AND FURTHERED THEIR ENDURANCE. THERE WERE TIMES WHEN PEOPLE WANTED TO GIVE UP BUT THEY DIDN'T, MANY OF THEM. TAKE THIS ATTITUDE INTO THE FUTURE, TO FURTHER THE CAUSE OF GOOD HEALTH CARE REFORM, AND FOR THE OTHER CAUSES. FIGHT ON!