Pay2Play Connolly’s Sources Are “Mystified”

Before I get into the jist of this story, note two things.

First, Ceci Connolly, the reporter the WaPo was selling in their Pay2Play salons, is one of the bylined authors. (In fact, Connolly was the one recruited to convince Nancy Ann DeParle–Obama’s health care czar and the recipient of millions for serving on the board of corrupt health care companies–to attend, which sort of makes Connolly a broker rather than a reporter.)

And second, Connolly and her co-author egregiously break the WaPo’s rules on anonymity, which Ombud Andy Alexander reviewed just a few days ago.

Those are the two details I’d use to answer Aravosis’ puzzle–are these guys lying or idiots?

Neither. They’re trying to pivot their failure back onto progressives.

Here are the anonymous quotes that, for some reason, Ceci and friend couldn’t see fit to present in a way that accorded with the WaPo’s anonymity rules.

President Obama’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program, a firestorm that has left the White House searching for a way to reclaim the initiative on the president’s top legislative priority.

Administration officials insisted that they have not shied away from their support for a public option to compete with private insurance companies, an idea they said Obama still prefers to see in a final bill.

But at a time when the president had hoped to be selling middle-class voters on how insurance reforms would benefit them, the White House instead finds itself mired in a Democratic Party feud over an issue it never intended to spotlight.

"I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform."

"It’s a mystifying thing," he added. "We’re forgetting why we are in this."

Another top aide expressed chagrin that a single element in the president’s sprawling health-care initiative has become a litmus test for whether the administration is serious about the issue.

"It took on a life of its own," he said. [my emphasis]

Remember how we got to the stupid co-ops. It was pitched as a way for Jim Messina’s former boss, Max Baucus, to find a bipartisan solution such that we’d get Chuck Grassley on board with health care. And now that Grassley and John Kyl have made it crystal clear that a bipartisan deal was always a farce, and now that the White House has declared it may go forward without Republicans, those whose real reason to prefer the co-ops (so they can remain on the health care donor gravy train) need to find a way to reclaim the co-ops. They need to find a way to suggest that, even with the hope of a bipartisan bill dead, there’s still a reason to consider the co-ops. 

So they trot out to the industry’s Pay2Pay stenographer, get her to break her paper’s rules on anonymity to hide that this is really more spin from (probably) Rahm and Messina, and try to distract both from the importance of the public option (to control costs and offer a real option), and from the fact that it has been pitched as part of the plan from the start. They’ve got to go out there and disappear some history such that they can retain the co-ops as the conventional wisdom "compromise"–compromise with whom!??–in the absence of having a legitimate block opposing the progressives. They pretend that this has "taken on a life of its own" while ignoring that Candidate Obama gave it that life. They invoke DeMint’s Waterloo comment to insinuate that the progressives are the ones being unreasonable, rather than those who’d like to stay on the gravy train and are willing to tank this initiative to make sure their clients continue to rip off Americans.

This is an attempt to retain the appearance that the Blue Dog and Senator4Hire position remains the center, even after removing the far right Republicans out of the coalition.

And Ceci Connolly was right there to help her corporate-backed sources do so, even without having required those corporations to pony up at the Pay2Play table first.

96 replies
  1. Jkat says:

    well as molly used to say: “you gots to dance with those what brung ya” ..and if the general perception was “they’re selling out the public option” then surely there must have been a reason for that perception .. eh ?? do they think we’re idiots out here …?? [yesh]

    it’s bullh’sit spin ..and yeah .. it’s got head-dirty-dawg rahm’s pawprints all over it ..

    imo .. rahm’s gotta go … he’s undermining what “obama’s all about” ..

    soooo.. now they want to act like they weren’t willing to deal away a public option .. eh ??

    bullh’sit [spit]

  2. Arbusto says:

    This whole White House dance is more like a circle jerk with Rahm as the willing pivot man. That they keep coming back to the idea of the public option as a “sliver” shows, to me at least, the current stance as an attempt to quiet the uproar, before sliding back to offering a fig leaf change. Obama/Emanuels actions speak volumes, their words, not so much.

    • TomWells says:

      They wil do anything to kill the public option. The ratioanle keeps shifting.

      But there will be no bill without it, so now they have to undercut Obama to serve their real masters.

      • Arbusto says:

        Except Obama is a big, big part of this equation. To me, his “staff” approach on this is his approach. Why else negotiate with PHAMA to play nice on this whole ordeal. Why hasn’t Obama told Congress his specifics instead of caving(?) upfront and changing the end game. Instead the White House has stood by and watched, while Gibbs attempts to play the press and public for suckers as Obama muddies the waters with his outreach.

  3. klynn says:

    “I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,” said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don’t understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform.”

    “It’s a mystifying thing,” he added. “We’re forgetting why we are in this.”

    That comment. Get this comment attached to it’s owner and you have an interesting piece of evidence. And probably “the someone” behind it is not someone who is working for the benefit of the United States. I’ll go as far to state, “Probably a mole.”

    And the owner of that statement needs to be reminded, the left of the Left are not the only ones drawing the line (if intended as snark for progressives). Totally ignorant to use the line, “The left of the Left.” Because, the left of the Left is actually, the Right.

    There is no rift either. It is simple. It is politics vs actually needs of people.

    • maryo2 says:

      Where is that lurker with the astounding ability to identify people by their favorite phrases? His family came back from vacation and now he is busy.

      • MayDaze says:

        Probably not the person you refer to, but solerso said this in Blue Texan’s thread today:

        the use of “mystifying” in the sentence proves(to me) that it came from rahm. ive heard him use that word many other times when he was PO’d at a response from people who were supposed to fall in line for him

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Get this comment attached to it’s owner

      I will bet a $20 donation to the local food bank that the Owner is Rahm.

      Boxturtle (Isn’t anybody going to bet against that? Anybody? Bueller??)

      • Mauimom says:

        (Isn’t anybody going to bet against that? Anybody? Bueller??)

        I hear that Ben Stein’s got some free time now, and perhaps he packed away some money just for occasions like this.

    • sisterscobeav says:

      I’ve noticed lately that elites at, and of the WH, have been referring to me as a less than a real person, that has ideas not to their liking. I am a 62 year old, white guy, life long Democrat and a Viet Nam veteran. It insults me greatly to be labled as merely a member of the “left of the left.” My general reaction to pathetic little elitist bastards that leak information to make themselves feel good is – fuck you guys!!!!! Thanks for posting klynn.

  4. clbrune says:

    Ya know, part of me wishes this is one of those Roosevelt tactics (wherein the Obama admin actually backs a strong public option, but is making it seem like voter pressure is driving them away from “bipartisan compromise”). But I don’t believe it.

    Instead, I’d have to say the Administration and Democratic Reps and Senators are, in fact, idiots.

    When the number-one cause of bankruptcy is health-related, what moron would think a public option is a “tiny sliver” of health reform?

    Prediction: if Obama fails to pass (and/or fight tooth and nail for) a strong public option, his presidency will be as brief, bitter and weak as Jimmy Carter’s. And the legislative branch will eat him alive.

    Ditch Republican cooperation. Focus on Democrats. Place Senate Democrats in the position of supporting a filibuster. Place Senate Democrats in the position of passing or failing health care reform. Have Obama come out and directly say “I won’t support the re-election of Senate Democrats who oppose a strong public option: health care reform touches on core Democratic values–moral, ethical and pratical. Senate Democrats who do not believe in a public option do not belong in the Democratic Party.”

    • Synoia says:

      And polish his Ego.

      Look, look, at the bright shiny co-op object, look look!!

      Hold it still, I want to see it’s shape… Oh, it’s a hollow shell.

  5. phred says:

    At this point any WH advisor who is “mystified” by the response their sell out of health care reform in favor of health insurance reform has wrought, should be fired for gross political incompetence. Honestly, that level of ignorance really ought not to be tolerated in a functional WH.

  6. DonMidwest says:

    I am getting really angry with the Obama games being played. Howard Dean made the clearest case about the necessity of the public option at the NN09 convention. Maybe all the players thought that they could fool the public and pull off something.

    Far too many Obama supporters are waiting to see if he stands for change or is but another front for business and the military. Agreed that health care is a huge fight, but we don’t really know where he stands because he has not drawn the line in the sand for the public option.

    • brendanx says:

      We know what Obama “prefers”, and he has very forcefully explained the need for both a public option and an exchange at his town halls (at least the New Hampshire one I’ve watched). What “mystifies” me is why he would make the case so cogently, so visibly while seemingly desiring to scrap it. Is he just cynically trying to keep the majority of engaged Democrats loyal to him with these words?

  7. brendanx says:

    This “Mystifying Waterloo” article incensed me to the point that a wrote a letter to the editor.

  8. Peterr says:

    They need to find a way to suggest that, even with the hope of a bipartisan bill dead, there’s still a reason to consider the co-ops.

    To do that would require that they admit that the bipartisan bill is dead, which they are not at all willing to do, according to Rachel Slajda about an hour ago at TPM:

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the administration is “absolutely not” giving up on efforts to come up with a bipartisan health care reform bill.

    Gibbs took questions this morning about chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s comments that Republicans are bent on defeating reform efforts.

    “Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” Gibbs said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”

    He added that President Obama would do whatever it takes to get a bipartisan bill.

    “He would get in a rocket and fly to the moon if that’s what it would take to get everyone together,” he said.

    Or even sell out the public option?

    • emptywheel says:

      OF COURSE sell out the public option!!

      They’re really screwed now. BC if they ditch bipartisanship, then public option MUST be on the table. But the Republicans have told them in no uncertain terms that there is no bipartisanship. That’s why they’re already backtracking on last night’s announcements. And, as I pointed out, right on schedule Baucus says the Gang of Six is back on schedule.

      • Synoia says:

        “Baucus says the Gang of Six is back on schedule”

        To do what? With what schedule? Is it published?

      • Peterr says:

        I see that I left the snark tag off my comment.

        But Marcy, saying that the Gang of Six is back on schedule implies that there is a destination they will arrive at. As our lawyer friends would say to us non-lawyers, that assumes facts not in evidence. OTOH, there is abundant evidence for the proposition that the GOP’s idea is never to arrive at health care reform at all.

      • dakine01 says:

        Not necessarily. If done through Reconciliation, it only needs 51 votes (per Senate rules I believe).

        • maryo2 says:

          CNN this morning said that because there is an “appropriation for health care” in the budget that the Senate passed, 51 votes is all that is needed. An appropriation is assigned to a thing so that that thing cannot be filibustered in the Senate. Ending a filibuster requires 60 votes, but health care is now filibuster proof – if the Senate chooses to use the appropriation procedural loophole that is available to them.

  9. klynn says:

    These elections did not permit the formations of the radical left (left reformist or anti-capitalist) to make a leap forward on the road to constituting a political alternative. The polarisation to the right in these elections limited the emergence of forces to the left of the left, except in Ireland and in Portugal. But they remain a factor in the political situation in many countries of Europe.

    (my bold)

    There are news items, journal writings and websites you can visit, like this, which will show you, that phrase “left of the left” is not one used in the US.

    Mr. President. You need to know who stated that quote, “..left of the left…” and get rid of them fast.

  10. brendanx says:

    If a “senior White House advisor” too timid to name himself finds it “mystifying” why the majority of Democratic party members demand a “public option” in any health care legislation, he should ask for an explanation from the President he advises (“Debate’s Path Caught Obama by Surprise”, Aug. 19). In a July address President Obama said, “That’s why any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange — a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, costs and track records of a variety of plans, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest…. ” This refutes press secretary Gibbs’ similarly forgetful assertion that the administration has always considered a public plan is optional: “That’s what we said in June; that’s what we’ve said in July; that’s what we’ve said.” When that unnamed “advisor” also declares, “I don’t understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo,” it shows that instead of listening to his President and his party he is attuned to the most reactionary, implacable opponents of any legislation, like Republican Jim DeMint, who notoriously declared that health care reform would be Obama’s “Waterloo”, and who would likely approve of derisively calling the vast majority of Democrats, and the large portion, if not majority, of the public who support a public option, “the left of the left”. The anonymous “advisor” seems to have forgotten who he works for along with his name.

  11. dakine01 says:

    It’s a “Why the feck did the left have to grow a pair with THIS issue?” response. (Of course, that would probably have been rahm’s response, regardless of the issue)

  12. skdadl says:

    “He would get in a rocket and fly to the moon if that’s what it would take to get everyone together,” he said.

    Does a line like that really work on anyone at all? Any adult, I mean? It sounds very Disneyworld to me, both the flying to the moon part and the getting everyone together part.

  13. Mary says:

    This isn’t my field and I don’t claim to be a good, much less best, source on this stuff, but I’m mystified.

    A public option is one of the pieces of healthcare reform that polls the best. In conversations where you can explain it more than a loaded polling question, it does even better. This, however, is a “left of the left” position?????

    Meanwhile, mandates (which Obama tried to kill Hillary with and which poll badly and which, without a public option, are nothing more than a huge insurance company boondoggle) aren’t even getting much of an eyeblink?

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept on mandates (and had some arguments with Obama supporters about them back in primary days) but mandates to buy into a protected profit system – yeshshezgods!

  14. joanneleon says:

    Not only should that person be fired for incompetence but for the attitude of absolute contempt toward two important groups whose support they need.

    Assuming that the “left of the left” is the netroots and the unions, since that is where the pressure is coming from, using words and phrases like “left of the left”, “Waterloo”, and “unholy grail” is a hostile gesture, IMHO.

    Do they really want to foster that kind of contempt?

    I want to know who said this. I’m glad that Marcy is on the case. I hadn’t even made the Connolly and DeParle connection. Maybe this wasn’t Rahm after all. Maybe it was the health industry enriched Nancy-Ann.

    Me? I’m always looking for the Daschle connection too.

    • brendanx says:

      Maybe this wasn’t Rahm after all. Maybe it was the health industry enriched Nancy-Ann.

      What was the chronology of the “Mystifying Waterloo” piece and the NYT about Democrats going it alone?

  15. joanneleon says:

    An aside: Kudos to Helen Thomas. She’s giving Gibbs a bit of a grilling on the public option and seems more than a little skeptical that “Nothing has changed”.

    Gibbs has Chuck Todd a little miffed because Gibbs is basically blaming the media for the whole thing, saying that they instigated the idea that the White House was throwing the public option under the bus. I guess Gibbs didn’t see Sebelius on the teevee on Sunday, didn’t see Obama’s town hall nor read his op-ed.

  16. Teddy Partridge says:

    Ceci has no credibility left, none at all. A real newspaper would have taken her off the health beat immediately after the Pay2Play story leaked. Sadly, no.

  17. warrenterrah says:

    Let me give you the quote the way it was really said:
    ”I don’t fucking well understand why the Howard motherfucking Dean Democratic motherfucking wing of the Democratic party has decided that this is their fucking Iraq war,” said Rahm Emmanuel,a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of assholishness. ”We’ve motherfucking well gotten to this point where health care on the fucking left wing is determined by the breadth of the fucking reasonable public option. I don’t fucking understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health insurance company revenue enhancement.”
    It’s a fucking amazing thing,” he added. ”We forgot that the Dean Commie left would fight us like we expected my Blue Dawgs to.”
    They’re motherfucking well kicking my fucking ass,” he said.

  18. klynn says:

    Just a final note. “left of the left” is used in the military. It is language found in drill procedures.

    • Jkat says:

      hmm .. got an example ?? i spent 12 years active and 6 in the reserves drilling troops and i don’t know of a single command or a single drill maneuver where “left of the left” is used .. or even what it would refer to ..

      • klynn says:

        My Dad, from his background in the Army, pointed out to me that in his drills and ceremonies, “left of left” was used to direct marching movements to one’s left of their left. A few pages in here use it.

  19. orionATL says:

    damn fine column, ew.

    damn fine!

    the public needs to understand that the white-house/obama “health care bill” is about cutting costs – that’s all.

    it is not about social justice, not based on distributive justice.

    it is not about seeing that our fellow citizens without health carte or without adequate health care get the care they need.

    it is about playing footsie with the various types of medical corporations – insurers, drug companies, hospital companies, physicians’ organizations – leading to an announcement of “savings” those entities swear they will pass on over the next ten years.

    and understand,

    obama has been dancing this waltz with corporations and inner-circle power brokers all his political career.

    this guy no more knows how to generate change, how to bring about reform, how to educate our woefully ignorant polity

    than he knows how to bowl.

    • brendanx says:

      the public needs to understand that the white-house/obama “health care bill” is about cutting costs – that’s all.

      If the worst to be suspected is true, it’s about maintaining costs at levels tolerable to insurance companies.

  20. Bluetoe2 says:

    Michael Smerconish, the conservative radio talk show host, will be doing his show tomorrow from the WH with Obama guesting. A handout to conservatives and a slap in the face to progressives.

    • greenwarrior says:

      that’s truly disgusting news.

      there’s an online strategy session that obama’s conducting tomorrow at 2:30p. they sent me an email asking what question i’d like to ask? “I’d like you to put single payer on the table and fight for it with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. Will you do that?”

      and the chances of that question being asked?

      • brendanx says:

        He’s already answered your question unequivocally in his recent town halls: he’s against single payer. What you need to ask for is a viable public option.

        • greenwarrior says:

          i beg to differ. the question i need to ask is the question i want to ask. if you think it’s wiser to ask a different question, then go for it.

  21. Funnydiva2002 says:

    From your first note:
    You say tomato, I say tomahto
    You say broker, I say pimp…or procuress!


  22. tjfxh says:

    This ain’t gonna work. In fact, it’s just going to piss progressives off more than they already are at getting punked by the WH. Rahm’s gotta go, and the sooner the better.

    The Dem establishment is either stupid, spineless or in the tank, and they are aren’t stupid or spineless, even though they pretend to be. They are in the tank, just like they’ve always been. Follow the money.

  23. lukasiak says:

    I’m starting to feel like Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight — according to the White House (and its media enablers) I completely imagined that Obama has vigorously supported the public option.

    Indeed, I’m so delusional that I think that this link takes you to a video where Obama said last month that a reform bill had to include a public option.

    I wonder what it really links to — because according to the White House, there is no reason for me to think that Obama was committed to a public option….

  24. AngelsAwake says:

    Compromise is such a messed-up word here in America. We compromised that black people were only 3/5ths a person. We compromised between North and South for years.

    I just… think of that old logical fallacy of the Golden Mean, and that quote how, if one person wants to kill all the puppies, and one person wants to kill no puppies, we do not compromise and kill half of them.

    A good logic lesson.

  25. alan1tx says:

    The Public Option is intended to save money by increasing competition amongst Major Health Insurance Companies operating in the US from 27, to 28.

    I hate to be a skeptic, but I doubt if adding another McDonalds to a town with 27 burger joints will lower prices very much.

    • Cujo359 says:

      If done correctly, it should push prices downward, because government bureaucracies like Medicare have much lower overhead. It will also, in contrast to the products of nearly all of those 27 entities you mention, be available in all states, not just in a few.

    • bmaz says:

      The Public Option is intended to save money by increasing competition amongst Major Health Insurance Companies operating in the US from 27, to 28.

      I hate to be a skeptic, but I doubt if adding another McDonalds to a town with 27 burger joints will lower prices very much.

      In each state or relevant geographic area, there is pretty much only one, and in most all cases no more than two or three, dominant carriers that cover almost all of the market. The competition is not nearly as robust as you allude to.

  26. tanbark says:

    “We’re forgetting why we’re in this…”

    Dear senior White House adviser: You’re in this because WE progressives got the ball rolling in Iowa for Barak Obama to make a VERY successful and unprecedented run to the White House. We don’t own him, but we sure supported him and were instrumental in that success; and we did it because he campaigned as the best of the lot for making some substantive changes for the better in our government and our country. That you are (seemingly) baffled by the fact that so many of us are pissed that he and some other influential democrats all over the lot on their support for a real public option, is…baffling.

    Just to cut to the chase, as it stands now, you guys do not have the votes to pass a watered-down figleaf of a healthcare reform bill. The progressives can stop it. And we will…even if it means that WE inflict the “defeat” on you that the peckerheads are so lusting for. By now, it should be crystal clear that they don’t give a shit about reforming health care, and their idea of “compromise” is that they’ll furnish the vaseline while they hose us.

    If you think that’s a compromise that is good and useful, then your sense of the things that need to be corrected in America has been compromised; most notably by lots of insurance and Big Pharma, etc., money.

    To the blue dogs: (and if the collar fits, that includes the poor bamfoozled ones like Mr. Senior White House adviser, all the way to the oval office.)

    See you at the mid-terms. :o)

    • AngelsAwake says:

      Actually, since we voted for him, don’t we own him? Isn’t that the basis of a republic?

      The politician serves the voters, not the other way.

  27. tanbark says:

    [email protected]: if the new “McDonald’s” prices are substantially cheaper than prices at the other “McDonald’s” then the hamburger-costs will come down.

    It’s called “the marketplace”. And taking steps to make sure that it really kicks in, is the ONLY option we have. Cutting deals with the giant corporations who’ve been making obscene profits off of sickness and ageing in amurka is not going to change anything.

    • alan1tx says:

      So it’s not a burger joint, it’s more like the post office – a non-profit driven, low administrative cost government program – that’s needed to keep Big Mail in check and lower costs.

  28. Bustednuckles says:

    For once it feels good to be a Progressive. Fuck Rahm Emannuel. The unions have already stated their opposition and have actually threatened to withhold their support. the WH is going to ignore that? I don’t think so.

  29. tanbark says:

    [email protected]: Other people voted for him, too. We didn’t put him in the White House by ourselves. I don’t have a problem with remembering that, but this issue is clear:

    Lies, bullshit, and 1927 Munich Beerhall tactics on the side of the big corporations, and truth and honesty on our side. Being preznint of ALL the people shouldn’t mean that Obama loses the opportunity to make real change in our medical care system, and instead spays and neuters the push that can do that.

  30. amilius says:

    When is someone going to point out that the ‘potential’ of health care ‘non-profit co-ops’ is nothing more than pitching HMO 2.0? That’s HMO 2.don’t in my book.

  31. sporkovat says:

    I just checked Glenn Greenwalds place today – many people still do even though he doesn’t ‘play ball’ properly with the Democratic Party messaging apparatus – and he makes some good points about the health care imbroglio that is dominating discussion around these parts:…..index.html

    The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But — given the impossibility of achieving that goal — isn’t it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn’t really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House’s central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama’s clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm’s protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists “centrists,” it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the “public option” jettisoned, because that’s the bill they want — this was the plan all along.


    2010 – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

    don’t get caught in the false bind of voting for the ‘lesser of the evils’ again. there is time.

    • greenwarrior says:

      i was just about to say this in a comment. much easier to say i agree with it than to have to write it all out. thanks.

      there was obama campaigning and what that looked like. there was all the campaign money from the health “care” industry. there is the bill that obama wants now that he’s president. in my opinion, that bill has no public option and has mandated health insurance with the government (you and me) paying the INSURANCE COMPANIES for the same mediocre care and non-service that the rest of us now get at prices that are through the roof.

      • sporkovat says:

        if they pass that individual mandate . . . what a debacle that will be.

        because so many here are Democratic Partly loyalists, practically above all else, I frame the mandate passage as likely very bad for the party for the next several decades.

        people won’t/can’t pay their tithe, enforcement measures will kick in – fines, tax refund withholding, jail(?) people will grab their pitchforks and their parting words will be “those Democrats passed this in 2009!”

        • greenwarrior says:

          i’m assuming if mandated insurance is passed that’ll it’ll come from our taxes directly.

          • Mason says:

            I’m assuming if mandated insurance is passed that’ll it’ll come from our taxes directly.

            This is where the rubber hits the road because, without a strong public option (i.e., with the power and membership to negotiate successfully for significantly lower prices for health care and prescription drugs), there is no way to reduce the cost of health insurance. Some percentage of the 53 million uninsured can afford insurance, but choose not to buy it because they are single, young, and healthy. I doubt more than 10% fall in this category, but even if it’s 20%, or 10.6 million people, that means 42.4 million can’t afford health insurance. Subtract the number of people who earn up to 300% of the poverty level (because they will be covered through government subsidies) and you arrive at the group I like to call “The Sacrificial Lambs.” They will have to pay full price and there is no way in hell they will be able to do that for more than a month or two, if that.

            If their mandated payment is withheld from their paychecks, along with federal, state, local, and social security, they won’t have enough to pay for their necessities. They will starve, lose their homes, go bankrupt, and end up homeless. They will soon figure out that they are better off if they persuade their employers to lower their salaries to less than 300% of the poverty level, right?

            Y’all see where this is going don’t you? Not a pretty picture is it?

            We must pound this point home:


            I got the slogan from William Jennings Bryan. Pick others, if you prefer. My advice: Keep it simple (KIS)

      • sporkovat says:

        yep – every even numbered year progressives find themselves trapped with too few options because they are trapped in an old loop.

        & greenwarrior @ 74 – no I beleive, based on how the plan was implemented in Mass that every individual is responsible for signing up and paying for health insurance, much like car owners have to procure auto insurance on penalty of fine.

        much quibbling in DC right now about how to take some of the sting out of this new unfunded mandate – like maybe if yr income is such and such and you have a knack for dealing with bureaucratic red-tape you can qualify for a program where the Federal Government pays X% of the tithe you owe to yr private, for profit insurance corp. then the corporation keeps your money and the tax money and promises, oh so seriously, to pay your claims minus whatever deductibles and co-pays they have imposed.

        • greenwarrior says:

          what you’re saying is what i meant (what, you can’t read my mind?) – that the portion that individuals cannot afford to pay their private insurance companies will come out of our tax dollars.

          on edit: ok, duh, now i see what you’re saying, that people who can’t or won’t pay will be in trouble legally. it’s a hideous concept.

  32. Clavis says:

    I can see why they’d be mystified. The progressives are the only ones operating in good faith, with lucid motives and laudable goals. Obviously, they’re the problem.

  33. 300SDL says:

    Either Emanuel and crew are clueless political idiots with a tin ear for public sentiment or they think progressives can be just thrown under the bus to further their selfish political ambitions. Or perhaps both.

    I want to make one thing clear to these political fuckwits in the WH–don’t you dare scapegoat us and show some real leadership for once by coming out unequivocally for the public option—period. That’s what you promised, that’s what we expect to be delivered. Now get your head out of your ass and get to work.

  34. judybrowni says:

    Probably don’t need to remind anyone here that Firedoglake led a whipcount to find which members of Congress would support the Public Option.

    It worked: 60 members of the House made it clear they won’t vote for a bill without a public option.

    Yesterday alone, FDL and partners raised nearly $100,000 for progressive members of Congress who agree to draw a line in the sand over a public plan:


    You, too, can offer carrots to these progressive politicians at ACT Blue:…..hermometer

    It’s time we beat the lobbyists at their own game.

  35. TEBB says:

    I went to and wrote them a note – quoted the WaPo “left of the left” crap and made it clear that I am very unhappy with the WHouse flip flopping on the major morality issue here – a public option, and I will NOT go to the polls in 2012 and vote for Obama if he abandons this moral issue.

  36. rapier says:

    Ceci is a player but the thing I don’t get is what does she get out of it? Her work has been worth literally trillions to her tribe and what does she have to show for it? What is more contemptible within that tribe but selfless devotion? Does WaPo pay her more than $250K a year? That’s chump change. Worse,it’s a disgrace. You don’t get the second home on the shore with $250K a year.

    I suppose maybe she just loves the game. What a chump.

  37. maryo2 says:

    The only people with the title “Senior White House Advisor” in the Obama Administration that I have identified are David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett.

    George Stephanopoulos had that title in the Clinton Administration and he does a radio phone call with James Carville weekly. Carville is an Obama advisor, I think. I think George Stephanopoulos is a candidate for those quotes.

    • unfolder says:

      The New Yorker profile of Rahm Emanuel by Ryan Lizza identifies (on page 3 of the article) three people as Senior White House Advisers: David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse.

  38. blue553 says:

    Does “Waterloo” sound familiar? Does it sound like a Democratic or Republican takling point. The think the ombudsman at the WaPo needs to take a look at Ceci’s “sources”. Apparently, FOX is not the only questionable source of information.

  39. Hmmm says:

    Leave it to me to state the obvious, but doesn’t “left of the left” sound terribly reminiscent of “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”? Find the Dr. Dean hater in the WH and I think you’ve found the leaker. Yeah, Rahmbo, I’m lookin’ at you.

  40. Nell says:

    The signs were clear as early as 2006 that the fix was in.

    The highly restricted offerings during the primary campaign, the buy-in of even semi-trusted left-progressive institutions like Max Sawicky and EPI up to a year before, brought it home: Some insurer-friendly weak tea would be the “health care reform” Democrats seemed sure they had to pass in the first year of the new administration or face electoral death forevermore. I was never under any illusion that single payer would be seriously considered by anyone in a position of power once Dems had the White House and Congressional majorities.

    I was deeply skeptical of the assurances of the Health Care for America Now crowd that their “public option” pre-compromise would be a possible path to single payer in the future, and viewed the pundits who were touting it that way as collaborators who’d been paid off to keep us relatively quiet as we were led in to the shearing shed. Well before election day I predicted what was strategically and tactically wrong with shutting down single-payer advocacy, even if one accepted the political necessity to ultimately settle for some incrementalist half-reform. The role of CAP/CAF in the Obama transition did nothing to increase my confidence that this would turn out well.

    And lo, as early as March the masks were being allowed to slip. Does this passage remind you at all of the Rahmonymous “senior White House advisor”’s mystification? It’s Ezra Klein responding to Howard Dean’s launch of the DFA campaign for a public option.

    “That’s a bit of a weird line to draw. … I strongly favor a public insurance option. But it’s hardly the main determinant of real reform.”

    I just lost it in the comments to Ezra’s post, because it was exactly the same kind of infuriating, gobsmacking me-or-your-lying-eyes-ism as the quote in the Connolly story:

    Wow. Considering EK was one of the main people making the case that public pool was the way to preserve a path to single payer in a crappy, insurer-friendly “reform”, the willingness to abandon the position because of a desire to distance himself from DFH Howard Dean is an impressive package of arrogance, sellout, and political cluelessness all wrapped up with a ribbon of self-satisfied centrism.

    As one of the tens of millions of uninsured, I just could not afford to get my hopes up. As an activist of thirty years, I couldn’t bring myself to take an active part in a doomed strategy that in the very best case would win something that was about a third of a loaf. As someone who’d felt something inside her just click shut in the middle of 2007, after the Iraq-war-funding kabuki show and the FISA sellout, I wasn’t prepared to be led around by the nose on behalf of supposedly “better Democrats” and their valiant, principled fight for that third of a loaf, getting outraged at the inevitable, blatant signals that the White House had never been on our side in this, suffering through many more rounds of “are they incompetent or just bought off?”

    Given that the public option had been set up as the leftward edge of what was possible, I respect the ability of people like Jane Hamsher to see a way through to keep it from being ground away entirely. But even if we “win” this fight, what we end up with substantively sucks. Politically, the win might be a bit bigger. But it will still have been a huge effort for little ground made necessary by the pre-compromised, brain-dead, Obama’s-with-us approach of our “allies” at HCAN, and the willingness to settle more generally.

  41. Mason says:

    With all due respect to the many intelligent and thoughtful people who have posted remarks here, I don’t believe it’s very important to identify the jerk who said, “left of left.”

    We have no friends in the White House, including Obama. All of them march to a different drummer and all of them have no respect for progressives. Like it or not, they are our enemies.

    We need to outsmart and defeat them, not waste time and effort attempting to reform or work with them.

  42. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Ok a thought occurred to me after reading about how so many of the insurance companies are in near monopoly conditions in the markets in which they operate.

    What do we do when there is a monopoly? We regulate it heavily or break it up. One could argue that the so called public option is a step toward breaking it up, however we could go the other direction.

    If we limit the profit of healthcare companies to some reasonable percentage oh say 10% which is a nice rate of return, any excess profits are refunded back to policy holders. If refunding back to holders is too much perhaps a portion is refunded and a portion is held in reserve for potential outsize losses.

    We limit profits on utility companies, how is healthcare not like utilities if they are in a monopoly or near monopoly oligopoly situation?

    It is in the public interest that people have access to affordable care.

  43. perris says:

    They’ve got to go out there and disappear some history such that they can retain the co-ops as the conventional wisdom “compromise”–compromise with whom!??–

    bingo, per jane hamshire;

    the compromise IS the public option

    now, if Obama was HALF the poker player, ONE THIRTY SECOND the “32 dimensional chess player” some people have made him out to be, then he would have had single payer ON the table and allowed the republicans to offer a public option

    to which we would have given pressure but acquiesced in the end

    but Obama pulled a “pellosi” and showed his hand…took single payer off the table the same way pellosi told bush there would be no impeachment…bing, Obama lost the momentum

    now, if Obama wanted to “re-compromise” then he would counter offer a government run co-opt (which is very similar to Medicare I might add)

    as jane said so eloquent, the public option IS the compromise

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