Saturday, January 23, 2010

Time For A Reboot Of Populism.exe

President Obama's weekly address focuses heavily on the SCOTUS decision giving American corporations free reign to advocate directly for candidates in primary and general elections.  Greg Sargent sees a strategy here:
* The fight Obama needs? The President devotes his whole weekly address to slamming the SCOTUS decision, saying it will make it easier for special interests and corporations to stomp all over the public interest. He vows to make it a “priority” to develop a “forceful, bipartisan response.”

The White House seems to see in the SCOTUS decision a chance to mount a clean, easy-to-understand populist crusade that might enable Obama to reboot, as he might put it. By Obama’s own admission, a year’s worth of sometimes-sordid backroom negotiating over health care has left his administration looking like part of the problem — as if it’s been subsumed by the D.C. insider culture and its insular and corrupted governing practices.

So perhaps White House advisers hope this fight will enable him to achieve separation from that culture and reclaim his reformer mantle.
It's possible. But not while health care hangs out there like the ultimate pink elephant in the room.  I'm glad that on economic issues he's finally coming around (he has no choice with Helicopter Ben's nomination on the rocks and Timmy in trouble as well) but until he convinces America that government intervention in health insurance is something we need, the rest is meaningless.

The Republicans will correctly be able to say "Yeah, Obama's changing the subject.  How's that insider deal on health care going, Mr. Populist?"

Fix health care.  Now.

Last Dance, Last Chance

News this morning that this weekend, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are working to save health care reform and most likely the Democratic party.  Steve Benen reads the tea leaves:

Politico reports that there will apparently be some talks this weekend that may save health care reform (and save the Democratic Party, and save the lives of uninsured Americans, and save countless families from bankruptcy).
Struggling to salvage health reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have begun considering a list of changes to the Senate bill in hopes of making it acceptable to liberal House members, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The changes could be included in separate legislation that, if passed, would pave the way for House approval of the Senate bill -- a move that would preserve President Barack Obama's vision of a sweeping health reform plan. [...]
The changes are being worked on this weekend with plans for Pelosi to present them to her caucus next week, according to sources familiar with the situation. But, sources stressed, neither Reid nor Pelosi know if this strategy can win the support of their members, but they are attempting it because it is the quickest path to passage.
As recently as last week, in the midst of lengthy discussions at the White House, a wide variety of changes were agreed upon by House and Senate negotiators. The idea, of course, was to craft a final bill to be approved by both chambers. Voters in Massachusetts have since made this approach impossible.

But if Reid and Pelosi can package those already-discussed improvements, and agree to approve them through reconciliation after the House passes the Senate bill, then there's still hope that a fiasco for the ages can be avoided.
It's the plan I've been talking about for weeks:  the House passes the Senate Bill in exchange for the Senate passing improvements in reconciliation.  The alternative...a scaled-down so-called "Republican health care reform plan"...will be a disaster for the country and for the Democrats.  This has got to go through right now or it's basically over for the Dems.  They know it.

Do they have the courage to do it?

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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