Obama Doesn’t Want You To Know He Knows Public Option Is Popular

Greg Sargent has a really important find.

The White House is circulating happy poll numbers in favor of health care reform.

But the White House is not circulating the happy poll numbers–from the very same polls!!–in favor of the public option.

Okay, so the White House is circulating an upbeat polling memo citing a bunch of public surveys showing that public opinion still tilts heavily in Obama’s favor on health care.

The memo, by Obama pollster Joel Benenson, doesn’t mention the public option (the White House may not be committed to it) and largely cites general numbers showing support for action and for Obama’s plan.

But here’s the funny thing: We went back and checked, and virtually every poll cited in this memo also found strong support for the inclusion of a pulic plan.

Click through for Greg’s numbers: the White House doesn’t want you to know that 60%, 55%, and 59% (and 43% in a flawed MSNBC poll) of people surveyed want a public option.

So Obama is not just planning to ditch progressives and the rest of the majority of the country in favor of a public option. But he’s willing to be dishonest in doing so.

112 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    ACTION ITEM: if you have a Twitter account, please tweet about this post ASAP.

    Here’s a quick cut-and-paste for you to use, then add your own comments:

    Via @emptywheel – Obama Doesn’t Want You To Know He Knows Public Option Is Popular http://twurl.nl/pd410w

    What the hell is going on that these boneheads don’t understand the desperate need for a public option???

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Just exactly how many democrats need Big Pharma and Big Insurance money to get re-elected, anyway? You’d think he was worried about losing his majority if he SUPPORTS a public option.

    Boxturtle (The Chicago politician ain’t done jerking us around yet)

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Who smells Democratic Party primary challenge for president in 2012?

    If Mr. Obama is a Democrat, he isn’t one FDR would recognize, nor Truman or Eisenhower or LBJ. He’s an Orwellian Democrat who is as good as Karl Rove at making sure his words are devoid of meaning, liability or commitment.

    • Rayne says:

      Time to start shopping around for candidates now.

      Should be asking every single small-medium business across the country to give $25 right now to a PAC for a primary candidate, because the lack of a public option is going to make recovery very, very grim.

    • joanneleon says:

      Orwellian was exactly the feeling I got when I was on the whitehouse.gov web site yesterday.

      I am also getting a sick feeling seeing the ramping up of the OFA organizing again. I don’t get that sense of respect for what they were able to do during the campaign anymore. Now it just feels like a bunch of people targeting the progressive blogs, organizing outside of the blogs and posting diaries with lots of exclamation points in which the same people always post awesome! comments, and vicious attacks on dissenters in other diaries. It’s become downright creepy.

      Obama was never my first choice but after the nomination speech, I was on board. I didn’t expect an ultra progressive but I never expected what we’ve gotten. I might be needing one of those Remorse bumperstickers.

    • punaise says:

      Who smells Democratic Party primary challenge for president in 2012?

      Bowers‘ olfactory organ has not kicked in yet:

      Would Progressives Primary Obama if He Compromises on the Public Option?

      I have rarely met a primary challenge that I didn’t like, but I can answer this question in one word: no.

  4. DieselDave09 says:

    Kucinich 2012.

    Obama has burned the bridge. I hope he’s happy with the birthers, deathers, tenthers, and the rest of the deranged GOP on the other side.

  5. behindthefall says:

    Repeating myself: in case anyone in the USG is listening … I don’t want a “public option”, I don’t want ANY option, I want a National Health: good Medicare for all citizens paid for out of taxes.

  6. rosalind says:

    first sign of Obama discontent spotted in L.A.: a bumpersticker pasted to a utility box – “REMORSE” – with the O the Obama logo.

    • phred says:

      Repeating myself, keep Whitehouse in the Senate where he can continue to act as a reliable check on executive branch abuses of power.

      I am not opposed to seeing a lame President. We desperately need to nip the Unitary Executive in the bud. If it takes health care to wake up Congress, then so be it.

      Go Article 1! Lend a hand to Article 3, and tell Article 2 to go Cheney themselves…

    • FromCt says:

      Re: “Whitehouse in the white house…”

      In a country of 300+ million residents, why does it come down to believing the best interests of progressives will be best championed by sons of CIA spooks and grandchildren of Rockefeller family members? We can do better if we would educate ouselves! It’s not like Glenn Greenwald has not been warning about this problem of legacy domination of American politics: http://www.salon.com/opinion/g…..index.html

      Charles S. Whitehouse …He was a great-grandson of Charles Crocker, and a grandson of Charles Beatty Alexander and Harriet Crocker….Upon graduation from Yale in 1947, Mr. Whitehouse joined the Central Intelligence Agency and worked in the Congo, Turkey, Belgium and Cambodia. He moved over to the State Department in 1956 to serve as Assistant to the Undersecretary for Economic Affairs, and in 1959 he became a regular Foreign Service Officer….Mr. Whitehouse’s first marriage to Molly Rand ended in divorce. From this marriage, he had two sons, Sheldon Whitehouse and …

      Charles Beatty Alexander (1849-1927) — also known as Charles B. Alexander — of Tuxedo Park, Orange County, N.Y.; Manhattan, New York County, N.Y. Born in New York, New York County, N.Y., December 6, 1849. Son of Henry Martyn Alexander and Susan Mary (Brown) Alexander; married, April 26, 1887, to Harriet Crocker (daughter of Charles Crocker); father of Mary Alexander (who married Sheldon Whitehouse (1883-1965)) and Harriet Crocker Alexander (1888-1972) (who married Winthrop Williams Aldrich); grandfather of Charles Sheldon Whitehouse; great-grandfather of Sheldon Whitehouse (1955-). …

        • FromCt says:

          Someguy… your response reinforces my suspicion that my politics are oriented too far to the left from what is the now “centrist” in the US to participate in discussions here. What does this history make “us”?

          Gerhard Wessel, 88, German Espionage Chief
          Published: Saturday, August 3, 2002

          Gerhard Wessel, a spy for Nazi Germany who went on to head West Germany’s espionage agency, died on July 28 at his home in Pullach, a suburb of Munich. He was 88.

          General Wessel’s death was announced by Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, and reported by The Associated Press.

          He is regarded as the founder of West Germany’s counterintelligence service, which he headed for seven years. As the successor to Reinhard Gehlen as chief of the agency — known as the BND, for Bundesnachrichtendienst — he is credited with modernizing German intelligence gathering and curbing some abuses….“


          “The predecessor of the BND is the German eastern military intelligence agency during WWII, Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost in the General Staff, led by Wehrmacht General Reinhard Gehlen. Its main purpose was to collect information on the Soviet Union. In 1946 Gehlen set up an intelligence agency informally known as the Gehlen Organization, and recruited many of his former co-workers. Many also were recruited from the former Sicherheitsdienst, SS and Gestapo. The organisation mainly worked for the CIA, which contributed money and other materials. On 1 April 1956 the Bundesnachrichtendienst was created from the Gehlen Organization, and was transferred to the German government. Reinhard Gehlen remained President of the BND until 1968.

          During the Cold War, as many as 90% of the BND’s informants in East Germany were double agents run by the Stasi.[1]

          In 2005, a public scandal erupted (dubbed the Journalistenskandal, Journalists scandal) over revelations that the BND had in the mid 1990s placed under surveillance a number of German journalists, in an attempt to discover the source of information leaks from the BND.[citation needed]

          Yet another scandal came to light in early 2006, when it was alleged that agents of the BND supplied targeting information to U.S. forces to facilitate the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The BND assures that it only conveyed so-called non-targets, locations that must not be attacked.

          Another scandal is one where the BND has (partially) admitted to using journalists to spy on fellow journalists. This supposedly was done to protect the security and authenticity (i.e. the truth) of the BND’s investigations. It was quickly decided to set up a parliamentary investigation committee (”Parlamentarischer Untersuchungsausschuss”) to investigate the allegations. The affair quickly became controversial, and if the allegations are substantiated, it would be tantamount to a violation of freedom of speech which is protected under the German constitution.“

          My point is that, to an alarming extent, the right of center US political “establishment” and society, does speak German, in a figurative sense.

          Consider the origin’s of Sheldon Whitehouse’s family…Tuxedo, NY, the same locale as the Pell and Claiborne’s of RI Senator Claiborne Pell’s family:

          In addition to choosing Whitehouse and Claiborne Pell, consider the other poor choices for senator made by the Rhode Island electorate; Senator Nelson Aldrich, Winthrop Aldrich’s father:
          (From a book authored by Aldrich’s descendant and namesake.)

          …In 1901 his daughter married the only son and destined successor of John D. Rockefeller. Thus, the chief exploiter of the American people is closely allied by marriage with the chief schemer in the service of their exploiters. This fact no American should ever lose sight of. It is a political fact; it is an economic fact. It places the final and strongest seal upon the bonds uniting Aldrich and “the interests”..

          ….and finally;
          What’s in store for the Oval Office Despite 22 years in political…
          Pay-Per-View – Providence Journal – ProQuest Archiver – Oct 30, 1988
          [John H. Chafee] was at Yale University with [George Herbert Walker Bush], and Chafee’s roommate, Alexander Ellis, married Bush’s sister, Nancy….

          So when have the people of Rhode Island been represented in the US Senate by a “man of the people”? Are the CIA and it’s predecessor the OSS, or the German Bundesnachrichtendienst, of a character and a history that conincide with what free people with democratically elected governments would expect?
          We keep making the same mistakes…yet the information about the history and connecting releationships are all there for the seeking. EW serves up the contemporary “water”, but she cannot make you drink it… The Rhode Island voter and the American voter keep repeating the same mistake.

  7. slide says:

    This bullshit about Rahmbo not wanting health care money going to rethugs is crap. If Obama gave 77% of the public what they want in a public option no matter how much money health care gave rethugs it would not make a twit’s difference. Obama = failure.

  8. CasualObserver says:

    I guess, as we all prepare our delicate selves for the bruising, I always come back to this: what is the “or else”?

    One of the reasons our box score ain’t looking so good is that we don’t have a credible “or else”.

  9. orionATL says:

    in light of these poll numbers, let me reiterate a point i made yesterday.

    what i would think a president who actively wanted a strong health care insurance bill would do

    is to form a coalition between american businesses, large and small, and the millions of american citizens who favor strong public oversight and involvement with american health care.

    many individuals, including those inflamed by republican propaganda, have a great deal to gain from a large federal role in providing health care insurance.

    so do most american businesses, other than the components of the health industry.


    rather than play footsie with the “stakeholders” he “brought to the table” (in a back room at the white house no doubt),

    why hasn’t obama created a large and powerful coalition of citizens and businesses?


    i don’t know.

    i do think obama is a natural inside dealer, rather than an out-in-front leader, and i think he tends to shade policy in favor of the wealthy and powerful.

    the media tell us that some of the “stakeholders” are senators and congressmen in key positions who will not go along with a plan that hurts the health insurance industry, the hospital industry, etc.

    some of these congressmen have been lavishly funded by health industry lobbyists.


    congressmen can change their minds virtually instantaneously when large numbers of potential voters expressing their preferences in large numbers.

    so why no coalition building from our prez that goes beyond health industry, congressional, and whitehouse “stakeholders”.

  10. scribe says:

    The thing is, Barry spoke often during the campaign about his agony of dealing wih health insurers during his mother’s last illness, as a motivating factor for his wanting to give us real health insurance reform.

    Ok, I can understand that. I deal with insurance companies in work and, to be fair, it sucks.

    So, now that he’s proven himself willing (and eager) to sell out his mother’s memory for .. who knows what, I have to ask:

    What good is it for a politician – a president – to be known as willing to sell out his mothier?

    It would be one thing if he were as viciously partisan toward the opposition party as was, say, George Bush, Senior. In other words, “not very” by today’s standards. But even that level of namby-pamby working with the opposition is something we don’t get from Barry. To be fair, he’s been the Republican party’s best friend and his own base’s worst enemy. He’s out there showing his black face – guaranteed to be a red flag for the Rethug racists – speaking well and in paragraphs – guaranteed to set off the know-nothings – with a furrin’ name – guaranteed to set off the nativists – and with the (false) implication of a strange religion – red meat for the fundies. His mere existence sets them off.

    And the way he’s handled things plays right into the subtext of their propaganda (which they’ve been spouting for the past year plus): “wait till the n*ggers take over, and watch things really go to hell.”

    So, I return to my question:

    What is the use to a politician of being known as willing to sell out your own mother’s memory, if you’re not going to use that level of ruthless against your putative opposition but rather against your own side?

    That you’ll go after your own side, first? What good does that do?

    To be known as willing to cut off your own nose to spite your face?

    To prove your word is worth shit? Your opponents already believe that, so why do you want to convince your base of it?

    To “Make the tough decisions”? That’s a code for “I’m willing to violate all precepts of law and morality to effect my ego-desires.”

    Again, directly contrary to (a) what Barry campaigned on and (b) what his electorate wante.

    If ever there were a president who wanted to make sure he was a one-termer, Barry’s giving us the case study on how to go about it. Because if you beat on your base like he’s been doing, your base will stay home.

    I mean, I am really looking forward with unbridled expectancy to forking over money to Blue Cross for insurance I don’t want and which won’t do me any good, anyway, because it will be so riddled with exceptions and exclusions as to be worthless. And I’ll bet there are just hundreds and thousands and millions of people just like me. We all need another thousand (or couple) a month in bills tacked onto our budgets. Yup.

    Besides, doctors tend to give a discount when you come bearing a checkbook. And you tend to wait until you really need it to go.

    Frankly, unless and until the tax penalty is bigger than the cost of insurance, I ain’t buying in. Given the size of my income and prospects for the next couple years, it will be a long time until that obtains. And I bet there will be a lot of people – relatively rational economic actors – doing the same, so much so that this plan craters within 5 or 10 years and we have to go through this all again.

  11. MadDog says:

    Totally OT, and I apologize for the interruption, but on the ACLU’s blogsite yesterday, they had this:

    Black Sites? What’s That? Torture? Us?

    Last week, the Department of State (DOS) released a huge tranche of documents on its website

    …In this email from Laura M. Stone of the DOS to Anne S. Casper at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Stone writes (2 page PDF):

    If iTV ask anything about the Black Sites here, I think we should stick to what we have done before: deny flat out that they exist.

    Note that this email exchange took place on September 7, 2006, the day after President Bush’s infamous September 6, 2006 speech in which he acknowledged the existence of these secret CIA prisons — a.k.a. “black sites”…

    Now back to your regularly informative blogging.

  12. nomolos says:

    I wish I could be surprised by the wiffle waffle of the BO administration but, sadly, I am not. Any change to the corporate dominance of Amurca will have to come from revolution. People taking to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, a national strike, a take over and rout of the banks to redistribute the money and the arrest and imprisonment of the corporate leaders and corrupt politicians. Of course none of that would happen in this country populated with sheep and lemmings.

    I can hardly wait for my spouse to retire so that I can get the hell out of this dam country and back to a sane Europe.

  13. TarheelDem says:

    What we are about to see is a cratering of support for Obama and the Democrats. Given the publicity about the speech, the effect should be seen in a couple of days. And what will be surprising to the Village is that it will involve all kinds of Democrats, centrist independents, and even the little Republican support that Obama has.

    And it will be as much about the phonied up poll numbers as about sacrificing the public option. We might as well start calling it the Snowe Job.

  14. MrCleaveland says:

    Your baaaaaa-bee doesn’t love yoooouuu
    anymore . . .

    buh buh buh buh BUM

    buh buh buh buh BUM

    buh buh buh buh BUM

    Golden days before they end . . .

    • Rayne says:

      Do you have anything constructive to add? Because I’ve seen you doing this same schtick elsewhere across FDL sites today; it’s annoying, does nothing to further the topic, and appears intended only as malicious spam trolling.

      If you have something constructive to say, whether in agreement or dissent, say it. If you’re going to continue this childish nonsense, consider yourself warned.

  15. klynn says:

    Our kids’ school district pulled a slick political move and sent out an announcement at the end of the school day today that the district would not interrupt school on Tuesday to view the President’s message to school students.

    If parents are interested, they may request a copy of the message to view at home.

    So nice.

    Imagine this decision was made in a similar back door political pressure session as the health care policy.

    Imagine the content of the emails and letters that led to the decision of not showing the President’s message? THAT could be some fun FOIA!

    It is so tempting to file one…

    And BTW…scroll, scroll, scroll…

  16. BMcGarth says:

    Obama is trying to appease the Insurance Companies.And I hope Pelosi can stand her ground,She has shown no gumption before.I am surprised that the Prez doesn’t realize that you can’t be an effective leader if you are trying to please everyone,especially the Stupidists Party that’s the GOP folks.

    Even more disgusting is the fact that the WH has made deals with PHarma,so that they can continue their assault on the poor & elderly.Let’s hope the house can stand up to this BS.

    • sad4america says:

      Damn big pharma, creating new and life saving drugs for people of all sorts who are sick and need it, then to price it so they can have a profit before their patent comes due, they are truely heartless. America needs to continue on this path to show people that they can not become successful by making money and doing something well. They can only be successful by giving of themselves for the good of others. Well I guess Pharma does that to an extent by helping the finacially downtrodden get medication in some circumstances but THATS NOT ENOUGH, no profit just giving!!!!

      • Clavis says:

        It’s strange the way you frame the debate. The people who run Big Pharma corporations for profit are not the same people as the ones working to develop heart-saving medicines. Viagra doesn’t save anybody’s life (in fact, it’s killed people), but that doesn’t stop Pfizer from pushing it. You’re a fool if you think pharmaceuticual companies are making “life-saving drugs to help poor sick people” out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s a profitable industry, and that’s the only reason they’re in it. The question is whether we can continue down the path of corporations getting more and more power and control over our government. You seem to think it would be swell if the federal government were a wholly-owned subsidiary of Altria.

    • Kassandra says:

      I’m with you. I’m firmly behind Pelosi’s stance. If Obama wants to play pattycake with people’s lives,let it all come to a full head with people dying in the streets, bankrupt and homeless and no healthcare. Maybe that’s what it will take to wake these elites up; maybe not.
      I keep saying, “they don’t need the American people anymore”. They can import or export any job they need done.

      The only “career opportunity left will be to join the corporate military arm of the New World Government…
      Rebecca Johnston, Mother Of Four Featured In Obama Infomercial, Is Headed To Boot Camp

  17. tanbark says:

    Good stuff, Marcie! When we have White House staffers telling progressive organizers to stop spending money on getting a public option, because it’s DOA, it’s not hard to figure out that we’re going under the bus, with a vengeance.

    The sad irony is that down the road, when the dues on Iraq and Afghanistan come due, and the repubs are tearing Obama to pieces, they won’t come to the “centrists” to defend him, it’ll be the progressives whom they’ll want to tote the bloody hod.

  18. lukasiak says:

    what a shock!

    After spending months ignoring poll numbers that demonstrated that single payer was also quite popular, the White House is now ignoring evidence that the public option is popular!

    “What goes around, comes around”, I guess….

  19. VADEM says:

    Looks like the trigger is popular in the wh. Shit.

    September 4, 2009
    Sources: White House drafting health care bill
    Posted: September 4th, 2009 03:06 PM ET

    From CNN’s Jessica Yellin and Gloria Borger

    CNN has learned that the White House is working to draft health care legislation.
    WASHINGTON (CNN) — CNN has learned that the White House is quietly working to draft health care legislation after allowing Congress to work on its own for months.

    Multiple sources close to the process tell CNN that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday.

    As previously reported by CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, the so-called trigger option remains very much on the table.

    Under a ‘trigger option’, a new government-run health care plan would only go into effect if insurance companies fail to meet certain affordability standards with their own plans.

    Sources say the current thinking among administration officials is that the president will lay out a path to reform in his speech next week that the White House hopes can bridge the various differences in the competing proposals.

    Sources expect the president to emphasize the message: If Congress passes something now, it will serve as a foundation to pass further reform in the future.

  20. MadDog says:

    More OT – Via the ACLU:

    Ashcroft Can Be Held Accountable For Post-9/11 Wrongful Detention, Court Rules

    In an unprecedented ruling that places responsibility squarely on government officials who after 9/11 championed polices clearly outside the boundaries of the law, a federal appellate court ruled today that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of an innocent American, Abdullah al-Kidd. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also ruled that the federal material witness law cannot be used to “preventively” detain or investigate suspects. The American Civil Liberties Union represents al-Kidd in the case, al-Kidd v. Ashcroft…

    …Writing for the majority in today’s decision, Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., wrote, “Framers of our Constitution would have disapproved of the arrest, detention, and harsh confinement of a United States citizen as a ‘material witness’ under the circumstances, and for the immediate purpose alleged, in al-Kidd’s complaint. Sadly, however, even now, more than 217 years after the ratification of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, some confidently assert that the government has the power to arrest and detain or restrict American citizens for months on end, in sometimes primitive conditions, not because there is evidence that they have committed a crime, but merely because the government wishes to investigate them for possible wrongdoing, or to prevent them from having contact with others in the outside world. We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history…”

    The Court’s ruling is here (96 page PDF).

    • Hmmm says:

      Holy crap! And if Ashcroft has liability, then if anybody else in the Exec branch authorized or directed this bogus use of the material witness statute as a means to indefinitely detain US citizens, then…

      I wonder whether this decision might be — or at least be a contributing factor to — what got all the 43 admin perps and the mouthpieces who love them so het up this week?

  21. eagleye says:

    I’m wondering why Obama and the Democrats in Congress didn’t take the time to get their act together on healthcare before turning the issue loose in Congress? Instead of this intra-party rancor which is playing out for all to see, why didn’t the D’s spend months crafting legislation that they could all support, and then spring the plan? A unified Democratic Party could have slam-dunked this thing, rather than getting bogged down in the messy and divisive process we are now witnessing. IMHO, this is lousy leadership on the part of Obama.

    • Nell says:

      Because a real health care plan would put the hurt on the insurance companies, and involve taking them on politically. Obama and many Dems don’t give a * about actually solving the problems; they want to be seen to be making an effort to solve them, and get political credit for that, while avoiding heat from the FIRE bugs that own their administration.

  22. sad4america says:

    I smoke cigs and drink alcohol, both prolly too much but this is America. I don’t really watch my calorie intake or fat intake but I’m in my 20’s so what should I care. This is America, I pay some in taxes so I deserve my freedom to do, live, and act anyway that I want and get the benefits that any average person would. I should be treated the same as anyone else, it is discriminatory to look at my way of life and especially my credit or financial situation to judge how to is my fair share of my health care expenses!!!

  23. fgubb says:

    This is a good bit of Joe Conason´s article in Salon. Sorry if it´s been already shared.

    “he [Obama] must vow that he will do whatever must be done to achieve that promise[universal coverage]– rather than sell off whatever he can, including the security of millions of families, simply to pass any bill.


  24. Blub says:

    OK. So what are the (realistic) options now?
    1. I assume, keep the pressure up, getting as many House members to commit to passing a workable bill?
    2. work to create the grassroots necessary to kill an unworkable bill in both houses?
    3. work for legislative action against the insurers, beginning with repeal of McCarran-Ferguson?
    4. attempt to explore legal bases for possibly going after the insurers legally?
    5. massive protests?


    • Rayne says:

      Add these:

      6. Check intelligence within the party and the progressive apparatus in your state about candidates for either House or Senate races.

      7. Begin vetting new candidates for House/Senate races for seats where either Blue Dogs, backpedaling Dems or Republicans are currently incumbents.

      8. Once vetted, work on fundraising for primary and for general election this cycle and for next cycle — must be prepared to think two Congressional terms out at all times.

      9. If no announced or obvious candidates for key House/Senate races in your state, begin recruiting and training strong progressives to run. Contact DFA for more info about training available.

      Obviously we need to continue to work on taking our party back; as much as I’d like to walk away, there isn’t the critical mass among Greens or Independents for a progressive third party. It’s a matter of staying the course and re-populating Congress with progressives so that the POTUS stays on course no matter who is in office, the right legislation is submitted and passed, and so that any SCOTUS opening is approved if progressive and denied if not.

      This will not change in our lifetimes if we stop doing these four things; we simply have to continue to take back the party and remake Congress.

      And screw you if you get in our way. I’m looking at you, Rahm.

  25. TarheelDem says:

    Thanks to Arthur Delaney of Huffington Post, the White House healthcare visitors list issued by the White House today. We now know who some of the anonymous sources might be:

    Bill Tauzin (President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America):

    • March 5 (meeting with president)
    • May 19 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • June 2 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • June 24 (meeting with Clare Gallagher)
    • July 7 (meeting with Jim Messina)

    Karen Ignagni (President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans):

    • March 5 (meeting with president)
    • March 6 (meetings with Elizabeth Bafford and Larry Summers)
    • March 11 (meeting with Jennifer Cannistra)
    • June 30 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    Richard Umdenstock (President and CEO, American Hospital Ass’n.):
    Story continues below

    • February 4 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
    • February 23 (meeting with president)
    • March 5 (meeting with president)
    • March 25 (meeting with Jennifer Cannistra)
    • March 30 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)
    • April 6 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
    • May 22 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    J. James Rohack (President-elect, American Medical Ass’n.):

    • March 25 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)
    • June 22 (meeting with president)
    • June 24 (meetings with Clare Gallagher and president)

    William Weldon (Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson):

    • May 12 (meeting with president)

    Jeffrey B. Kindler (Chairman and CEO, Pfizer Inc.):

    • March 5 (meeting with president)
    • May 6 (meetings with Sarah Fenn and Elizabeth Bafford)
    • June 2 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    Stephen J. Hemsley (President, CEO, Director, UnitedHealth Group, Inc.):

    • May 15 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • May 22 (meeting with Peter Orszag)
    • July 14 (meeting with Aneesh Chopra)

    Angela Braly (President, CEO, Director, WellPoint, Inc.):

    • February 13 (meeting with president)

    George Halvorson (Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan):

    • March 27 (meeting with Keith Fontenot)
    • June 5 (meeting with Peter Orszag)
    • July 23 (meeting with Kathleen Sibelius)
    • July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    Jay Gellert (President and CEO, Health Net, Inc.):

    • February 10 (meeting with Tina Tchen)
    • March 11 (meeting with Jennifer Cannistra)
    • March 20 (meeting with Matt Flavin)
    • July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    Thomas Priselac (President and CEO, Cedars-Sinai Health System):

    • April 3 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)

    Richard Clark (Chairman, President and CEO, Merck):

    • March 24 (meeting with Ezekiel Emanuel)

    Wayne T. Smith (Chairman, President and CEO, Community Health Systems):

    • June 4 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

    Rick Smith (Sr. Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America):

    • May 19 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • June 2 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)
    • July 7 (meeting with Jim Messina)
    • July 24 (meeting with Sarah Fenn)

      • nomolos says:

        I guess the term political whore applies to good ‘ol boy Billy

        For 15 years, Tauzin was one of the more conservative Democrats in the United States House of Representatives. Even though he eventually rose to become an assistant majority whip, he felt shut out by some of his more liberal colleagues and sometimes had to ask the Republicans for floor time. When the Democrats lost control of the House after the 1994 elections, Tauzin was one of the cofounders of the House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative Democrats.
        However, on August 8, 1995 Tauzin himself became a Republican, claiming that conservatives were no longer welcome in the Democratic Party. He soon became a Deputy majority whip, becoming the first Congressman to have been part of the leadership of both parties in the House.

      • TarheelDem says:

        That’s the list that Arthur Delaney posted; there is a spreadsheet linked to his article if you want to check.

    • joanneleon says:

      So after the rumors about a deal with Billy Tauzin leaked out, they continued meeting with PhRMA but switched to the VP, Smith.

      • TarheelDem says:

        Actually looks like the switch is between high-level agreements and staff assigned to look at details with whoever the industry sent.

    • Rayne says:

      Assuming I didn’t slip and miscount, that’s (43) meetings with White House officials up to and including the POTUS since mid February, a month after the inauguration, over a 5-1/2 month time frame.

      That’s an average of 2 or so meetings a week with the representatives of corporate America, specifically the health care industry.

      How many meetings with the public and/or their representatives have these people had in the same space and time?

      Let’s be generous and add speeches by the POTUS.

      We’re clearly getting the short end of the stick on the numbers, let alone the money.

  26. PriscillaQOB says:

    The “trigger” option is worse than nothing, IMO, because, like the bankster bailout, it will leave millions of Americans like myself at the (lack of) mercy of the rapacious profiteers who will milk every single drop of what’s left of our money out of us before the trigger is actually triggered (if ever).

    Remember the credit cards reform? Leaving the window open for a year and refusing to cap interest rates (a good, bipartisan, good but not perfect but acceptable to Obama compromise) allowed the credit company thugs to hike up interest rates arbitrarily, demand huge increases in monthly payments, caused the creation of all kinds of new “fees” and cost and they are raking in the dough, man!

    Yeah, a FEW of these things may be illegal in a year if anyone attempts to enforce them but in the meantime many of us will be bankrupt, especially those of us forced to use credit to pay for medical care. The trigger, whether it works or not (and I’m betting not) will be far too little, far too late. Remorse? Yeah, we’ve got that.

  27. ART45 says:

    So, what’s next?

    More and better Dems?

    Third party?

    Or this: Fuck ‘em all: Focus energy on tearing down the structure of corruption we are asked to worship. And replacing same.

  28. ralphbon says:

    I agree with and appreciate the basic point of this post and its antecedent by Greg Sargent — that the Obama administration is being disingenuous in selectively failing to cite high public support for some manner of public plan.

    The numbers in support of a public plan in the three polls cited track about the same as numbers in support of straight-up single payer. Moreover, the three polls use aspirational descriptions of a public plan, considerably more “robust” (especially in the CBS poll) than those actually on offer in HR 3200 and the Senate HELP plan.

    So although the Administration is being disingenuous in ignoring support for a public plan, Democratic legislators should take care before citing these numbers as support for the legislation on offer; Americans actually desire and deserve something considerably stronger.

  29. klynn says:

    I cannot find the post that was on FDL a while back explaining why triggers are ineffective. It was a clearly laid out argument and well written.

    I wanted to link to it in order to post the points of why triggers are not an option.

    Anyone remember it?

    • punaise says:

      Big O has this:

      It seems fairly astounding that the White House would really want to bargain on such a thing. “Trigger” legislation is fairly infamous as a method of conducting a gigantic, transparent legislative whiff to keep the status quo while still being able to send letters back home saying that you’ve done a nebulous “something” that will really, for sure this time, do something supposedly substantive in the future. Triggers are designed to never actually be triggered, after all: if a “trigger” for a public option was strong enough to actually threaten the insurance industry, it would hit the exact same roadblocks that the public option itself has hit: a phalanx of top-industry-connected house and senate members who simply aren’t interested in letting it happen, and will water it down until it no longer poses a threat.

  30. billybugs says:

    I sure don’t have much confidence ,that we’ll get our public option.
    I also don’t see how Obama could just ignore the will of the people.
    So far all we’ve heard are rumors and leaks ,which are not facts that we can verify
    I’ll withhold judgement until I hear what he has to say next Tuesday
    To be honest I’m not holding out much hope

  31. SomeGuy says:

    Whenever I start getting too mad at my fellow liberals, a conservative pops up and reminds me who’s on my side and who’s not. Sometimes blessings come in disguise.


  32. MrSandman says:

    earlofhuntingdon at #3:

    If Mr. Obama is a Democrat, he isn’t one FDR would recognize, nor Truman or Eisenhower or LBJ. He’s an Orwellian Democrat who is as good as Karl Rove at making sure his words are devoid of meaning, liability or commitment.

    He’s not a Democrat, he’s a corporatist. Corporatists are in both parties, and their increasing metastasis means we don’t have a Democratic or Republican party; we just have two wings of a Corporatist party, more or less.

    Doubt it will happen anytime soon, but it’s past time we redefined our electoral politics and instituted a parliamentary system that allows for inclusion of more than just two parties in the system.

  33. arcadesproject says:

    Is it possible? Can it be? Does Obama really think we are stupid enough to fall for these cheap tricks? Does he think the netroots will be fooled into supposing that his superficial tinkering with a structurally fucked up system amounts to actual change?

    We have consistently given Obama high marks for brains. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

  34. OldFatGuy says:


    And in other good news today (what a fukn day), I just heard my school system (Loudoun County, Virginia) is NOT, repeat NOT taking part in Obama’s speech next week when they return to school. Officials say they’ve gotten too much “concern” from parents and have blocked it.

    This is great. A majority of Americans want a public option, and can’t have it. But a tiny, tiny, tiny, insane minority can raise enough stink and suddenly dictate policies like no public option or no President speaking to my kids at school.


    Really, WTF???

    Funny, I don’t remember a peep when Reagan addressed school kids, when Bush addressed school kids, not a peep. But a BLACK PRESIDENT, Oh my goodness sakes, protects the childruns!! ! ! !


    or something to that effect.

      • OldFatGuy says:

        What I really don’t get, and I mean this, I don’t get it, is how a tiny amount of thugs can so effectively change policy over some things, but when literally hundreds of thousands protest an illegal Iraq war, nothing but crickets.

        WTF? Is it really ALL just the media?? Is the root of all our problems just in how and which stories the media decides to cover?? Or is it deeper and a bit more sinister?

        • Hmmm says:

          From a power and motivations perspective, it’s no longer a democracy. Or at least only up ’til the elections.

          • Hmmm says:

            I mean that a 77% majority popular support on an issue alone is apparently no longer reason enough for it to prevail. And yes, it’s the same position as Dick’s infamous “So?”.

        • DavidByron says:

          It’s simple. The media is owned by the right wing and is used as a propaganda outfit. Most bloggers refuse to say it because they want to be taken “seriously”. They will give you a line of crap about how the bias is explained because “the media loves conflict” (unless the conflict is a million people protesting the Iraq war as you say). They will give you a line of crap about how “the media loves a false balance” (but they never feel the need for balance when it benefits the left of course, only the right). And many other excuses.

          News outfits are extended advertising for the corporate right. Their revenue stream is as effective advertising rate and therefore is profitable even without any actual paid for advertising. Think of the news on most channels as one big infomercial sponsored by GE or whoever owns the network. Even Chomsky’s theory of manufactured consent is out of date these days as it fails to account for the lack of need for advertisers at all. That’s why even when a lefty presenter would have a larger market share they will be replaced with right wingers often.

          Quite simply the media is the enemy. They highlight a tiny number of right wingers because they are run by the same groups as run the astroturf to begin with.

  35. Hmmm says:

    We need peaceful organized demonstrations, large enough the tradMed can’t ignore them, and we need them now. Also star power.

  36. shell says:

    Yes, the question is WHY. Why, when the public option is widely popular, does Obama shove it under the bus? That is what I want to know.

    Is it as easy as Health Insurance money? I don’t think so. There are too many who don’t get this money.

    Then what is it?

  37. tanbark says:

    [email protected], I can’t find the link now, but since Obama has released the logs of “white house visitors”, they show one HELL of a lot of meetings with the CEO’s and honchos of the Health Insurance industry, as well as Big Pharma. I mean, a ton. And of course, the progressive democrats who want to meet with Obama to lean on him a little, get shit, if they’re tumblebugs.

  38. gamd521 says:

    It is difficult at times to appreciate when one is advocating for a position that most people favor because it stands to benefit them. That is the case with those who advocate for the PO.

    To continue to maintain faith that one is in the majority position you have to overcome a cosnstant barrage interference from quarters that one should have become weary and indured against.

    A case in point, the hardball show today featuring the host and 2 commentators, MsMahon and Lawrenece O’Donell. All three tried to outdo the other with different permutations of how the differing political scenarios all conspire to doom the PO.

    Mathews and O’Donell were cheerleaders for GWB during the 2000 campaign tauting him for his friendly demeanor and all around good guy. The point is they are vacuous and incapable of dealing with issues on their merits.

    In a way one should be thankful that the barriers that need to be overcome are represented by such dwarf intellects these 3 exemplify. There is certainly every expectation that no matter how hard Obama and whoever else may try, the majority of people want a choice to acquire a PO and that is an immutable fact they will not change or overcome.

  39. orionATL says:

    klynn @52 and priscilla @48

    don’t know the post, but i do know fed gov.

    per vadem @32:

    [As previously reported by CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, the so-called trigger option remains very much on the table.

    Under a ‘trigger option’, a new government-run health care plan would only go into effect if insurance companies fail to meet certain affordability standards with their own plans.]

    think of the time it would take to set up an effective federal govt health insurance organization once the “trigger” was pulled.

    it would take a year or two – ms. davis, if you’ll just put your cancer on hold, we’ll be back in a jiffy.

    trigger = bullshit for simpletons – simpletons, like media simpletons in d.c., like david broder or robert smauelson.

  40. orionATL says:

    tarheel dem @47

    this is such useful information.

    you really do add something of value here virtually everytime you post here.

    thanks for this and many other thoughtful comments.

  41. Hmmm says:

    Gotta at least ask: Could the release of the visitors log be in any sense an attempt by PBO to highlight, and through highlighting, neutralize, those on his staff who have been playing footsie with Big Health Insurance and Big Pharma?

  42. orionATL says:

    nomolos @54

    that is a very good question.

    i have commented previously here about the “stakeholders” that prez obama “invited to the table” to discuss health care.

    a key question is: were any “public stakeholders” invited and if so who were they?

    i suspect none were, except in a p.r. sort of way.

    my belief is that the stakeholders obama invited were health industry bosses, and congressional bosses, but nobody representing the public interest.

    and lest there be misunderstanding, i’m saying that prez obama

    does NOT represent “a” or “the” or “any” public interest.

    he represent his own political interest only.

    the guy craves power – that was clear a year and a half ago.

    • PJEvans says:

      I think you can say, safely, that anyone running for president craves power. Otherwise they wouldn’t want that job so much.

  43. orionATL says:

    pjevans @89

    you missed my point, which was quite evident given the context,

    but i don’t find your error surprising.

    you seem to want to contest matters with me.

    go ahead,

    i’ll bat clean up.

  44. Patri says:

    There is one more thing Obama doesn’t want us to know: He’s as Blue Dog as Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Rahm Emanuel, and all the other “Democrats” he has surrounded himself with in his administration. Look at his record thus far and then read David Swanson’s article of September 1 entitled “Bush’s Third Term.” Once you have done this, you will find that we have been snookered into believing Obama really wanted “Change We Can Believe In”. He never wanted to change the path Bush set out for all of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, on Wall Street, and with health care reform. Obama has done nothing differently. Rather, he has extended and supported most of the Bush/Cheney agenda. So, now we’re expected to be surprised he is muddying the poll numbers? Obama has lost me permanently. In 2012 I will vote for ANY 3rd party candidate, no matter who, just to be sure Bush doesn’t get a 4th term!

  45. Patri says:

    Looks like we got Bush instead of McBush. Read David Swanson’s article in The Nation entitled “Bush’s Third Term”. You will find that McBush would very likely be doing exactly as Barack Obush. We were made fools of and Obush is having a grand old time at our very costly expense.

  46. libbyliberal says:

    The only percentage that the Congress and administration care about are what the top 2-3% WANT. The fat cats. Gigantically fat cats at this point. We could have 97% of people clamoring for PO or SP and it probably would not matter, the press would not report it, and that 3% needs would prevail. And spinning to make it look differently right now, that is less than pathetic, besides profoundly insulting.

  47. marchan1940 says:

    And then there are the senators and all the money they get from the health are industry. If you want to see how the Democratic senators are doing in that world, go to http://boldprogressives.org/Pu…..heet.html.
    You’ll find pictures of the seantors and detailed info on which interest groups have given them money. Most illuminating. Senator Kennedy has gottem some $9m! The really progressive senators have gotten next to nothing. Yea for them. You can sign up to have your name shown in a TV ad of folks who support public option. The first target is Senator Baucus. Donations sought to run ads.


  48. FromCt says:

    An excerpt of what I posted in response to Glenn Greenwald’s latest on the “legacy lock” on US Senate seats:

    …The Bush connections not only are the epitome of what you decry in your columns, but they build on the “juice” of interconnections that the media and the public never inquire about, and thus are not exposed to…..

    What’s in store for the Oval Office Despite 22 years in political…

    Pay-Per-View – Providence Journal – ProQuest Archiver – Oct 30, 1988

    [John H. Chafee] was at Yale University with [George Herbert Walker Bush], and Chafee’s roommate, Alexander Ellis, married Bush’s sister, Nancy….

    Thomas Devine had the same best man in his 1973 wedding as Nancy Bush had in 1946:

    Attended by Nine at Marriage in Glenville, Bonn., to Alexander…

    – New York Times – Oct 27, 1946

    … Prescott Sheldon Bush of Greenwich, to Alexander Ellis Jr., son of Mrs. Ellis of New York, … William Butts Macomber of Rochester, N. Y., was best man.

    Miss Alexandra Mills Is Bride of TJ Devine

    – New York Times – Apr 15, 1973

    William B. Macomber Jr., United States. Ambassador to Turkey, was best man.

    In 1963, William B. Macomber Jr. married John Foster Dulles’s personal secretary:


    – Chicago Tribune – ProQuest Archiver – Nov 4, 1956

    M1lrs. Dulles was with her husband in the hospital. A dip- assistant, William B. Macomber and two other aids, and Allan Dulles, brother and head of the ….

    WB Macomber Jr. Weds Miss Bernau

    – New York Times – Dec 29, 1963

    Phyllis Dorothy Bernau of Milton, Mass., and William Butts Macomber Jr., recently United States Ambassador to Jordan, were married today at the American ..


    Pay-Per-View – Los Angeles Times – ProQuest Archiver – Jun 9, 1957

    Secretary of State Dulles made a safe emergency landing today when one of his plane’s … be- cause he was dictating to bis secretary, Miss Phyllis Ber nau, …

    William Macomber Jr.’s brother John is the Mckinsey & Co. mentor and co-director at the failed Lehman brokerage, Michael Ainslie. Ainslie is the seoond husband of:

    Miss Suzanne B. Hooker Married to Ames Braga

    – New York Times – Sep 14, 1973

    … of Miss Suzanne Butler Hooker, a junior at Barnard College, to Ames Braga, … George H. W. Bush, chair of the Republican National Committee, escorted …

    Susan Hooker Braga Ainslie’s father was Edward Gordon Hooker. GHW Bush’s Phillips Andover roommate (unmentioned in Bush’s book), who was

    George Demohrenschildt’s step-nephew and Oil exploration business partner:…..

  49. marchan1940 says:

    OT but relevant
    Go to http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/feature/commonsense/ for lots of info about Walmart’s employment practices, etc. in article entitled, The American Values of Quest for Change at Walmart. Great ideas on getting involved in changing Walmart’s values and practices. There was a note that the company had withdrawn sponsorhip of Glen Beck.

    I’m not looking for another cause, but this was very interesting in terms of
    why we need a public auction and why Walmart needs to pay big time to cover their employer’s share of just health care option. Bet all their employees would vote for a public option.


  50. wavpeac says:

    I find it fascinating. I could have sworn that there were a group of old timers around here who would be voting for Obama…but who clearly knew that Obama would be another “clinton”. These same folks also had a hard time mustering rage over the “clinton” years. It’s all the same. It will be better than the horrific damage to our infrastructure…truly looting america, by bushco…but not by much.

    “We the people” have not been influencing national choices for a long time.

    But the more of us who see it, the better.

  51. radiofreewill says:

    I spent some time talking with my right-wing friends this week, and this is what I came away with:

    – Despite their rhetoric, they don’t really care about Afghanistan. They think we are in the same exact position as the Soviets in the ’80s. The most common phrase I heard was ‘exit strategy.’

    – They’ve bought-in to the “don’t look back” at the ‘Policies of a previous Administration’ line – Don’t Criminalize Policy differences – based Almost Entirely on their belief that Bush’s Programs were determined to be Legal by the OLC – so, any questions regarding implementation are questions of style, not substance.

    – On Healthcare – What they ‘know’ is that they don’t want any Government ‘give-aways’ to the ‘un-deserving.’ But, they do want coverage for pre-existing conditions (every single Gooper I talked to wants this.) When they hear the story of how the insurance companies went from being pennies-on-the-dollar forms processors, to profit-through-claims-denial legislation-writing lobbyists – some sources say that up to 21% of claims are denied – then they can ’see’ that both the left – and the right – are actually victims of the ‘healthcare’ industry – how Ironic: the Healthcare Industry makes Profit by Denying – no matter whether it’s Stopping the Public Option or Pre-Existing Conditions – the sick amongst us!

    A big part of the problems we’re having, imvho, is due to Noise. Noise introduced by the ‘interested parties’ of the Healthcare Industry, intended to ‘drown out’ any possible cross-pollination of positions through dialogue.

    The Healthcare Industry doesn’t want US talking to each other, so they and their purchased/fearful minions, including corporate media, are disrupting town halls, and other civil forums for info exchange, with food-fights intended to pit – from the Healthcare Industry’s point of view – the loser left against the loser right.

    If Obama’s speech leads US out of the Healthcare Industry’s “Duping” Play on US and, instead, into Clear, Honest, Open discussion, then he will have broken through, imvho, the most critical obstruction to a win-win solution – whatever that may turn out to be – for both the left and the right.

    We need to talk to each other more…without Special Interests stepping between US.

  52. archiebird says:

    radiofreewill-you know what all this sounds like to me. It sounds to me like Bush’s third term. The Obama Administration has already adopted what seems to be most of W’s stances. Continuation of War no exit strategy, no accountability, No real reform to health insurance. Yes a big part of it is noise, but we need to cause this blue republican some REAL political harm. We need to stop whining and complain’ about poor us, and mobilize. And don’t be fooled by any so-called ’soothing’. Any trigger that is implemented will be repealed by the next Repug congress, Senate, or POTUS. And the insurance companies win. again.

  53. tanbark says:

    Radiofreewill, I respect your moderate position, but the notion that we can “talk to” the people we’re seeing at the townhalls, is nonsense. They don’t want to talk, they want to shreik and scream. And while I admit that that is not EVERY republican, it suits practically of them, because if we have rational dialogue. then, when they start talking about the “costs” of health care, anyone with a functioning pre-frontal lobe points to the $3.5 billion that Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us, and the republican mantra of letting the big corporations run hog-ass wild, which, we may remember, has cost us a bit of change, recently.

    As for your GOP friends wanting to protect people with pre-existing conditions from the Health Insurance industry predators, I’ll just say that you know some relatively classy republicans. And I have yet to meet any.

    • radiofreewill says:

      tanbark – Based on my venture into the wilds of Wingnuttia last week, the ‘Disrupters’ at the Town Halls are not, in fact, representative of the Republicans, at large. It appears to me that the Republicans are actually split amongst themselves, about 50-50, with half of them – the irrational, nanny-nanny-boo-boo, hysterical screechers – acting like interested parties to the Healthcare Industry. The other half, from what I gathered are – surprise, surprise – just like the rest of US.

      That’s how we get to the 77% of all of US want a Public Option – half of the Goopers are actually with the rest of US – but the Healthcare Industry doesn’t want US to know that.

      The tactic being employed here is that of a Minority Player (the Healthcare Industry) dividing and conquering the Majority Player (300 Million of US) – and Keeping US conquered – by ‘playing’ US off against each other, and SCREAMING really loudly when we mix, so that We, the two parties divided, can’t talk to each other. They don’t want to risk US learning that our seemingly separate goals have much more in common than the Insurance Companies want US to realize.

      So, imho, if the venue for discussion of the entire Healthcare Reform process is moved to a rational, fact-based, civil investigation of Our options – free from the intentional disrupters and the bought-off politicians – then a concensus solution that the vast majority of US could agree on would become, imvho, clearly obvious.

      But, that’s jm2c!

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