Monday, December 14, 2009

The Daily Strike-12/14/09-Oy Vey

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. It's officially Lieberman-bashing day in the liberal blogosphere, and seeing other people rail on him certainly has made me feel slightly better. Let's get to the day in politics.

HEALTH CARE: The Democratic caucus has just finished meeting at the Capitol, and it looks like progressives will emerge deeply disappointed. According to early reports from the meeting room, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) has jettisoned both the public option and the Medicare buy-in to assure the votes of all 60 Democratic Senators. After making these ultimate concessions, the one remaining obstacle should be coming up with an abortion compromise that placates Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). They've given up way too much for this NOT to get 60 votes, so they better have assurances from every Senator that they will vote to at least end a filibuster on this bill.

I still will conclude tonight that if I were in Congress, I would support the Senate bill. There is too much good in there to let this whole effort die. But before I officially come to that conclusion, let me bash Joe Lieberman a bit more.

Many sources today uncovered a quote from Lieberman THREE MONTHS AGO saying that he would support a Medicare buy-in for those between 55-64. He now claims that his opposition now is because such a program would be duplicative. There are already enough subsidies in the bill, he says. This is obviously total bull. Lieberman had one objective during this health care debate: to make life miserable for the liberals who he thinks kicked him out of the party. As many bloggers have brought up today, this is not a game. The result of Lieberman's antics will be disastrous for the country. Plus, what does it say about our country and our democracy that one self-absorbed Senator can super cede the will of a substantial majority. I've tried very hard to be fair to people on this blog, but Lieberman is an egomanical jerk.

The Democrats must have decided that they would have to sacrifice more to get the support of Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) than Lieberman. The White House basically told Reid today to give Lieberman what he wanted to get the bill done. This makes all of us extremely angry, but at this point, there's not much alternative. As Ezra Klein explains here, if we use the reconciliation process, we'd be losing more than we will by heeding Lieberman's demands. Let's just cut our losses and get this thing done.

House progressives, and possibly some Senate liberals, will scoff at this deal and threaten to withhold support. At the end of the day, liberal Democrats aren't going to hold this bill hostage. They won't sink to that level.

The political consequences of this cave-in could be dire for Democrats. This will certainly dispirit the base during next year's election. I think the Democrats need to make an effective case to their supporters that the roadblocks to progress have been Republicans and conservative Democrats. That's going to be a very difficult case to make.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President today hosted a bunch of Wall Street bankers seeking to "urge" them to increase lending to small businesses and middle-class families. By all accounts, the meeting went well. The President spoke afterwards about how bankers have a responsibility to give back to the taxpayers that bailed them out. He also urged them to support financial regulation reform, which passed the House last week. See my earlier entry about due skepticism towards these types of meetings.

THE HOUSE: Nothing much going on in the House today, just a few suspension bills, none of any significance.

That's it for now. We'll have more on the health care situation tomorrow. Leave comments!

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