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It's not over yet?
October 20, 2009 4:19 PM   Subscribe


 
Hold your breath. It's time for a compromise that only involves one side compromising.
posted by 517 at 4:21 PM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wish the third link actually involved a healthcare exec saying "Shit or get off the pot already".
posted by scrowdid at 4:24 PM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hell, I wish the fourth link actually involved the entire insurance industry crying out "Back up off a deez" in unison. That would be AWESOME. I'd totally change my opinion about them if they did that.
posted by dersins at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


I cannot gorge forth enough cynicism to predict what the outcome will be.
posted by telstar at 4:40 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


a second OPTION?!?! how will our capitalist society possibly survive if consumers are given another option!?!
posted by radiosilents at 4:49 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'll sign any petition that uses sunsets, flags, eagles.
posted by pianomover at 5:07 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


How feckless are the democrats? Well, their majority leader is from a red state hoping to get re-elected next year.
posted by wrapper at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2009


When are we going to start seeing caduceus stickers popping up on the back of SUVs?
posted by spilon at 5:13 PM on October 20, 2009


I'm imagining "The Chewbacca Option" - One party has clear majorities in both houses, but can not pass reform. That does not make sense!

Where's Senator Johnny Cochran when you need him?
posted by HannoverFist at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


The longer it goes on, the MORE likely it'll have Public Option, because as more people see what their private insurance will cost them next year, they turn against the insurance companies. And Newt Gingrich promised that if health care reform passes, Republicans will make repealing it a major campaign issue in 2010 and 2012. Which, unless the final passed plan immediately starts costing money for millions of Americans (and, sadly, it might), campaigning to repeal it will be a disaster for Newt and Friends.

That said, "It's not over yet?" is NOT a good basis for a MetaFilter post.
posted by wendell at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


One party has clear majorities in both houses, but can not pass reform.

MAJOR fallacy there... The Democratic Party is NOT a Reform-Oriented Party and hasn't been for a long time. It's also as proudly NOT unified as a political party can be. Think of it more like a ruling coalition of parties in a Parliamentary system. Will Rogers said it best many decades ago: "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."
posted by wendell at 5:21 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Driving home from work a little while ago, I listened to the local segment of All Things Considered play a soundbite from some young man - early 20s, probably - who had helped organize a local rally to insist on meaningful health care reform. He said something about hoping to inspire younger people to become politically active on this issue because they were the future generation who were going to have to deal with the mess later.

I thought I heard his voice lose confidence as it went on. I felt sorry for the poor bastard.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:27 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the Democrats are not so much a coherent party like the GOP. Right now there's basically the Republican Party and the Not-Republican Party, and Not-Republican- which, bear in mind, at this point consists of everyone from Richard Nixon on left- polls a little better than Republican.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:28 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Amended post, to appease Wendell's professorial impulses:

I'm imagining "The Chewbacca Option" - One party - with a 60% majority in the Senate and 59.1% majority in the House ( see 111th United States Congress Wiki page ) - can't pass the currently hotly debated Health Reform initiave. Even taking into account Democratic Party's historical lack of ability to act in a unified fashion, this doesn't make any sense!

Where's imaginary, undead Senator Johnny Cochran when you need him?
posted by HannoverFist at 5:42 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Democrats are not so much a coherent party like the GOP. Right now there's basically the Republican Party and the Not-Republican Party, and Not-Republican- which, bear in mind, at this point consists of everyone from Richard Nixon on left- polls a little better than Republican.

Barring some kind of world-shaking event, I'll continue to vote for the Not-Republican Party until the day i die. I wouldn't vote for a Republican for dog catcher. Hell, I didn't even vote for my dad when he ran for county office as a Republican in 2006.
posted by empath at 5:53 PM on October 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'm with you there, empath, I just like to make sure it's clear that my eyes are open about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 PM on October 20, 2009


Does anybody else watch the numbers for a public option on intrade? I'm puzzled as to why it's so low, 20% as of this post. From reporting I've seen, it feels like there's a good chance of some public option being adopted, even if it's neutered to appease centrists.
posted by condour75 at 6:07 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Newt Gingrich promised that if health care reform passes, Republicans will make repealing it a major campaign issue in 2010 and 2012.

Go for it. Once people realize that public, universal healthcare saves them endless aggravation dealing with insurance company assholes and eliminates a huge monthly expense from their lives, any political party that threatens it will go down in lames.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:10 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Except the public option doesn't kick in until 2013. But repealing something that has at least 57% public support will be a hard sell anyway. As will getting back a majority.
posted by condour75 at 6:16 PM on October 20, 2009


Metafilter: any political party that threatens it will go down in lames.
posted by Mitheral at 6:19 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


The longer it goes on, the MORE likely it'll have Public Option, because as more people see what their private insurance will cost them next year, they turn against the insurance companies.

I've shop as an individual on the insurance market for most of my adult life, and in general find it poised to screw me more than help me out. Most of what I've bought has ranged from breakeven bare adequacy to outright fraud.

But for the reasons Wendell mentions, I'd almost rather let things stay status quo than pass some kind of Frankenstein Compromise.

I've heard from a couple of places that the insurance industry is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea at the moment. The writing's on the wall: they're either going to end up striking a deal with the government, or they're going to become less profitable, or they're going to pass on costs to their customers and push the country to a place where we might actually be willing to nationalize their industry.

Most of the proposed reform doesn't take effect for a few years anyway. Maybe drawing the conversation out for 2-3 years wouldn't hurt. I might even be willing to suffer through the current system for another 10 years if I knew at the end of that road lay the death of the private insurance industry in this country.

Of course, if they can actually get it together and operate in good faith as providers of a service that genuinely helps everybody pool and mange risk -- and if that's the first priority, not one that's second to profits -- then I can live with their continued existence. But I'm already past believing the people behind it are capable of that.
posted by weston at 6:20 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is fucking amazing that 72% of Americans favor reform and it's still even up for debate. Is that not an overwhelming political mandate to just ram it through?

If the public option doesn't make it through in any meaningful shape, the GOP is going to make a killing in the next two elections.
posted by cj_ at 6:28 PM on October 20, 2009


repealing something that has at least 57% public support will be a hard sell anyway

The issue isn't whether the population at large supports an issue but whether the political class supports it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:30 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm impressed! This is quite possibly the first mefi post that I've seen that actually, seriously, and in a very informative way, includes more than just the liberal side of an issue.
posted by CountSpatula at 6:32 PM on October 20, 2009


It is fucking amazing that 72% of Americans favor reform and it's still even up for debate. Is that not an overwhelming political mandate to just ram it through?

Yes, but remember, it's not what Americans think, it's what the people who have the Americans' money think...
posted by yeloson at 6:32 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sheeeeeeit, partner!

With one-sixth of an already faltering economy at stake, you don't want to push too hard. When the donations are drying up?

Sheeeeeeeit!
posted by halcyon_daze at 6:44 PM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]




Hell, I didn't even vote for my dad when he ran for county office as a Republican in 2006.
posted by empath at 9:53 AM on October 21 [!]


Now that is eponysterical. Or rather, a bit eponysad. (Your own father?)
posted by armage at 7:04 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


halcyon_daze: "Sheeeeeeeit!"

I was thinking about The Wire as I read through the gun study thread up-page. As the kleptocracy grows ever more brazen, the Baltimore law enforcement situation as portrayed in the final season (short version: Really Bad) will soon be everyone's law enforcement situation.

I mean, I'd prefer men from the county do all my shooting-of-criminals for me... but I don't know if I'd want to bet my life on the efficient delivery of that government service.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:16 PM on October 20, 2009


It is fucking amazing that 72% of Americans favor reform and it's still even up for debate. Is that not an overwhelming political mandate to just ram it through?

If the public option doesn't make it through in any meaningful shape, the GOP is going to make a killing in the next two elections.


I am not sure I follow. Are they going to make a killing by reminding people that they were the most vocal opponents of legislation the people widely supported? Or, are they going to make a killing hoping that all the facts go down the damn memory hole and the people are too stupid to remember? Being America, both options are sadly viable--just wondering which you had in mind.
posted by milarepa at 7:34 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


> I am not sure I follow.

Despite an impressive electoral sweep, Obama won this with 52.92% of the popular vote with an amazing ground game. It's only going to take a couple percent of the people that put him in office in a few key states to not bother next time around (or vote for some third party candidate) to put the GOP back in the white house. I have no idea why people think the Republican party is dead. They still have their loyal base and an iron grip on the media. Don't forget how pliable that "swing voter" demographic is. Quite a few seats in congress are up for grabs too and who knows how that'll go.

I dunno, maybe I'm wrong and Democrats can blow this and still keep a majority. On the other hand, maybe they deserve to get thrown out on their asses if they can't accomplish health care reform. There's quite a few of them taking a lot of money from the insurance lobby. It's disgraceful and disheartening.
posted by cj_ at 8:02 PM on October 20, 2009


Now that is eponysterical. Or rather, a bit eponysad. (Your own father?)

Trust me, the county is better off.
posted by empath at 8:04 PM on October 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Realized I didn't exactly answer your question. I think they'll make a killing for the same reason they lost in 2008: One base energized, the other apathetic and unenthused with their party. They won't mention health care reform at all -- the GOP is way more savvy about messaging than that. I suspect they are ramping up for an anti-immigration platform, a narrative that still resonates with a lot of people. I suspect it will be a big hit in a faltering economy.

I'm not really a glass-is-half-full kind of guy though, so that's just like my opinion, man.
posted by cj_ at 8:09 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


It aint the Senate bill. It aint the House bill. Its the bill that comes out of conference commitee. And that's where this game is gonna be won.

Notice something interesting? Reid hasn't said he's against the public option. He's been quiet, more or less, the whole time. So nobody's attacked him. He has maximum manuverability, maximum options. And when this bill comes out of conference is the only time he will deploy himself. Not a moment earlier. Not one second earlier. Because that's the only time it counts. And its gonna turn out that Harry Reid has the votes.

And when that bill comes out of conference and gets voted on, everybody is gonna be surprised. Because this thing is gonna get done.

And everyone is going to look at Barack Obama at lot differently. People are gonna start to understand. Because this guy is good. Really good. Once he shows he can get this past the GOP, watch out. This is the only thing they got left to defend against. If the GOP can't stop this, they are useless to the big money men. And they will be done.

All of this madness they are unleashing is pure desperation. They are out of ammo, folks.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:13 PM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


A further update on OFA's big phone call push today. They wanted to make 100k calls. People went nuts and made 300,000 calls and counting.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 8:28 PM on October 20, 2009


cj_: "maybe I'm wrong and Democrats can blow this and still keep a majority. On the other hand, maybe they deserve to get thrown out on their asses if they can't accomplish health care reform. "

This guy agrees with you.

If Democrats can’t deliver on good policy with strong popular support and dominant congressional majorities, then they’re too incompetent to be in power. - Markos Moulitsas
posted by Joe Beese at 8:36 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


the GOP is way more savvy about messaging than that

They certainly have been in the past, nowadays I'm not so sure. Not sure if you caught that day-long launch of the GOP website the other week, but the message it was pushing absolutely reeked. As more and more time goes by I remain secretly convinced Michale Steele is actually a Democratic plant, add to him the other main republican talking heads and there is little coherency other than no no no no no no, and while that riles the ~20% base it does jack-all in swaying the middle ground.

I still think it is way too soon to have an idea what the 2010 elections will be like, a year out from our last elections and we had no discernible idea what was going to happen 3 months from then, let along a fell year. I do think, though, that if the unemployment numbers get reasonably better it'll be a good year for incumbents all around. As far as health care goes, I tend to be on the side that thinks the longer the HCR debate drags out the better chance there will be meaningful reform with a PO likely. And if that does happen I feel almost as sure, as one can be in politics, that HCR repeal will NOT be a major issue for Republicans, except perhaps as an attack against them.

Short to medium term yeah the Rs will win some elections here and there, long term they are screwed if they don't moderate on social issues a little bit. If the Rs are unable to capitalize willy-nilly on the social environment we are currently in (fear and uncertainty) then what chance do they have if things actually improve and people feel more generous towards on another? Lets be frank, right now should be their hayday, they should have so much political clout it would make J Edger blush, but they don't. They are scrambling nationally as their leaders either make asses of themselves, or just appear incompetent. The major reason the GOP isn't in full tatters is they have managed to come up with one thing to do, and that is to say and vote en-bloc opposite anything Obama says or wants, no matter how much sense it might make. That is the sum total of their national strategy. No wonder Tim "ooops-that-bridge-just-fell-down" Pawlenty must be wetting his pants in glee over his chances at the 2012 nomination, because as asinine, and boring as he is, he still appears somewhat sane, next to his contemporaries.
posted by edgeways at 8:40 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am not sure I follow. Are they going to make a killing by reminding people that they were the most vocal opponents of legislation the people widely supported?

It worked last time.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:42 PM on October 20, 2009


oh, and may I just say, "Spencer Bachus" (R Sen. AL) would make a great name for a noir villain
posted by edgeways at 8:45 PM on October 20, 2009


As much noise as Fox makes, they only have an audience of 2 million people in prime time. That's essentially not an audience at all. Conservatives delude themselves if they think that Obama going after Fox is a loser. Let's say they go all anti-Obama all the time (which would be different how?), and by some miracle they DOUBLE their viewership. That's still 4 million people. In a country of 300 million.

We outnumber them. And Obama framing this debate as a choice between Fox News and Health Care reform is genius. Because sure, we know which way the nutcases are going, but as many nuts as there are in America, we still out vote them. They only way they win is if they actually follow through with their threats of violent insurrection, no matter how loud and angry Glenn Beck gets.
posted by empath at 8:54 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


oh, and may I just say, "Spencer Bachus" (R Sen. AL) would make a great name for a noir villain
posted by edgeways


and The Spencer Bachus aRSenAL would make a killer band name for sure.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 8:59 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm here to say that I'm offering the "LT Public Option" wherein I will come to your home and take care of you in some meaningful, minor manner that will cost you less than if you hired someone to do the same, meaningful, minor task.

Operators are standing by - it's time this hizzy stood up for what it believes in, namely that LT is a good little helper and wants to travel.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:00 PM on October 20, 2009


Why aren't Republicans fighting against public libraries? I mean, that's an obvious public option right there. Considering most public libraries I've been to stock music, movies, and books, I'm wondering how privately owned bookstores can hope to compete. These bookstores are many American's livelihoods and businesses, and I'm sure many of you enjoy visits to the local Borders or Barnes and Noble. Why are we letting Big Government crush them under the heel of the misguided public's opinions?

And you may argue that it's noble or morally right for the government to supply books for the people to reference for free. After all, they provide education and entertainment, and it'd be great if it didn't cost the public so much. However, how would you feel if you knew that GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES got to decide what "obsolete" or "damaged" books were REMOVED in a process called "weeding?" The Nazis and the USSR also removed books, after all. That's not all they do against free speech, though, many of these so called "Library Annes" also insist that visitors be quiet. They want us to be glass eyed idiots, staring at the dead pages of books THEY think are worth keeping. I say that I'll shut up WHEN I DAMNED WELL PLEASE!

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

I should really stop thinking like a right wing talk jock. I'm worried that my neurons will get stuck that way.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:08 PM on October 20, 2009 [21 favorites]


Notice something interesting? Reid hasn't said he's against the public option. He's been quiet, more or less, the whole time. So nobody's attacked him. He has maximum manuverability, maximum options.

So, all along, that crazy old coot Harry Reid has playing eleven-dimensional canasta?
posted by rokusan at 9:49 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act anti-trust exemption for insurance (including health insurers) hasn't been mentioned above. DeFazio reintroduced his "Insurance Industry Competition Act of 2009" and Sen. Leahy has also introduced a similar act in the senate.

Given health insurers' Pavlovian barking of "anti-competition" faster than Giuliani can say "9-11" in response to even the mere mouthing of "public option," it would seem that insurers might stutter a bit trying to explain why health insurers should keep their free pass from anti-trust enforcement when most of the time there's only 1 or 2 players in any given market because of the exemption.
posted by webhund at 9:52 PM on October 20, 2009


I have no idea why people think the Republican party is dead.

Hint.
posted by EarBucket at 10:45 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why aren't Republicans fighting against public libraries?

They will be. The writing's on the wall.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:11 PM on October 20, 2009


Well, their majority leader is from a red state

Nevada is not really a red state. It went 55-43 for Obama. 2 of the 3 house reps are Democrats. It does have a Republican governor and a Senator, both elected before 2008 though. It seems to me Nevada would be considered a blue state now. (Although I suppose it's clearly not too firmly either, since prior to 2008 Republicans were doing well there. But it had a big shift last year).
posted by wildcrdj at 12:55 AM on October 21, 2009


55-43 looks like a significant split but that's really 11 to 9. One person out of 20 changing their allegiance and you've got a tie.

Luckily we had ACORN, SEIU, plus the SEAs operating out of Area 51 working overtime in NV to bring those votes in last year.
posted by mokuba at 2:42 AM on October 21, 2009


"I'm not a member of any organized party. I'm a Democrat." -- Will Rogers
posted by kirkaracha at 6:33 AM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone else hear the bit on NPR this morning about the law that allows insurance companies to collude and fix prices?

Seriously. What the fuck?
posted by odinsdream at 6:44 AM on October 21, 2009


It seems to me Nevada would be considered a blue state now. (Although I suppose it's clearly not too firmly either, since prior to 2008 Republicans were doing well there. But it had a big shift last year).

Purple state at best, and even that's pushing it. Not blue by any means. Unless Clark County is supposed to represent all of Nevada. Reid has money aplenty but he will have a hard time holding onto his seat. Most recent polling shows that either of his two unknown Republican challengers, neither of whom has ever held national elected office, would beat him by at least five points if the election were today.

I'm not sure what Reid being from a red state has to do with Democratic fecklessness, though.
posted by blucevalo at 6:56 AM on October 21, 2009


You are correct, though, in that Bush barely won Nevada in 2000 and 2004.
posted by blucevalo at 7:00 AM on October 21, 2009


The polls referenced above put self-identified Republicans at about 20%. That's close to the percentage that identified as Ross Perot supporters at his height (19%) in the 1992 presidential election. Make of that what you will.

The only thing that gives the Republicans any credibility is our ridiculously binary party system, otherwise, a more moderate and sane group of conservatives would have chased them out long ago--probably the ones who are now Blue Dog Democrats.

Interesting times; the Republicans are in such disarray that it's hard to see what will make them cohere again. Racism, homophobia and sexism just don't get as many votes as they used to (although still too many for my taste) and that's trending downward. As long as we're in a financial crisis, their role in making it happen/making it worse is uncomfortably obvious to too many voters (along with their lack of ANY ideas to fix it).
posted by emjaybee at 9:12 AM on October 21, 2009


Interesting times; the Republicans are in such disarray that it's hard to see what will make them cohere again. Racism, homophobia and sexism just don't get as many votes as they used to (although still too many for my taste) and that's trending downward.

The big problem, of course, is that for many of the 20% that's still left in the GOP, racism, homophobia, and/or sexism are core conservative values. If Republican politicians abandon those positions to reach out to moderates, they risk losing what's left of their base.
posted by EarBucket at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2009




the last time the GOP was this low was in 1983 -- and they actually had a leader (Reagan) at the time to pull them out of it. I don't see how they turn this around with no leadership.
posted by empath at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2009


I actually see a lot of parallels between Reagan and Obama, honestly. Reagan was able to capitalize on a deep disillusionment with the Democratic party caused by an economic meltdown on Jimmy Carter's watch. He came in offering (yes!) change and hope and presided over a re-alignment of American politics that only the bottomless incompetence of the Bush administration was able to end.

Bill Clinton was, in many ways, an anomaly--he succeeded through a combination of personal charisma and emphasizing pragmatism over idealism, helped hugely by Ross Perot's siphoning large numbers of voters away from the GOP. It's hard to imagine any of those factors coming out of the woodwork for the Republicans any time soon. If anything, I think the next big third party candidate will be a Tea Party type who draws in the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh crowd that thinks the Republican party is insufficiently insane.
posted by EarBucket at 11:04 AM on October 21, 2009



It seems to me Nevada would be considered a blue state now. (Although I suppose it's clearly not too firmly either, since prior to 2008 Republicans were doing well there. But it had a big shift last year).

Purple state at best, and even that's pushing it. Not blue by any means.


Well, Obama won by over 100,000 votes in '08 - that's more than the total population of most of the counties in Nevada put together - it has gotten a bit bluer in certain areas but the state has been a basket case since the right wing policies and politicians that had taken over in the last 10-20 years are now falling apart like all demagogues do. It's more purple if you count 'libertarians' as 'republicans' but they don't vote for Reid anyway.

Health care reform will have a strong public option if it's even slightly serious. But only single-payer health care will actually cover everyone and not allow insurance companies to deny care to those who need it and can't afford it. The real solution is truly absent thanks to lobbyists.
posted by peppito at 11:08 AM on October 21, 2009


If Republican politicians abandon those positions to reach out to moderates, they risk losing what's left of their base.

Maybe it's time they got a clue and recognized that they need a new base.


I don't see how they turn this around with no leadership.

Hey, that's not fair! They have Michael Steele and his "Whassup, Homie!" blog.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 AM on October 21, 2009


So, all along, that crazy old coot Harry Reid has playing eleven-dimensional canasta?

People have a hard time distinguishing politics from policy. Dude is playing it close to the vest which is the right move here. It doesn't make the base happy, because they want to be told it is going well.

But seriously, in terms of the procedure, which is what the Sen. Majority Leader is in charge of, what exactly has Reid gotten wrong.

Too much focus on atmospherics and not enough on nuts and bolts here.

What is it that all you Reid haters want from him and, more importantly, how would that help the process over what he's doing now. I'm a big fan of "don't shoot 'til you see the whites of their eyes."
posted by Ironmouth at 11:36 AM on October 21, 2009


Reid says today that it is (essentially) all up to him weather the PO will make it to the Senate floor. Which, in a strange way, makes me think the PO will be in the Senate bill. I have grave reservations about Reid on many issues, but foremost he is a politician and right now PO is the politically smart thing to do. If he is focusing all the responsibility on himself he is also gearing up to actually do something significant rather than spreading the blame around.
posted by edgeways at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If he is focusing all the responsibility on himself he is also gearing up to actually do something significant rather than spreading the blame around.

Yup. If he didn't think a public option would be in the final bill, he'd be explaining how a sixty-seat majority didn't really mean they could do anything without bending over backwards for the Republicans. That's a very encouraging sign.
posted by EarBucket at 12:46 PM on October 21, 2009


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