Obama Throws Progressive Democrats Under Bus, They Cheer

I made the mistake of following Buhdy over to DKos for his excellent diary, “Obama: There Is No 11th Dimension” and what a spectacle.

Right now, they are all gushing over Obama’s speech. This was predictable. Charismatic speakers have the ability to make people lose themselves and their rationality. And it was also sort of striking too to see the limits on that gushingness. Clearly, Obama has lost credibility to many.

But what I haven’t seen is an honest assessment of what just happened. Obama, after an almost 2 week buildup, finally made his big speech and, unless I missed something, delivered the same confusing, ambiguous, weaselly, mealy mouthed bullshit message he and his staff have been bungling for months.

So weak and undefined was his position on the public option, that people are trying to figure out what it means as we speak. Trying to figure out the position of the White House has been a fun game for the establishment pundit class for weeks. Like children, they are more easily amused. For me, at this point, it is just sad and pathetic.

Of course, the loyalist sense Obama’s lameness, on some level, so there’s an insane feeding frenzy on this clown who yelled “lie” when Obama said illegals won’t be covered. They would rather break out the torches for this guy’s head than deal with the fact that dear leader just threw them under the bus.

It’s really a bit scary to witness. I only mention all this is because this is how Obama conquered and neutralized the left. All of those people who would be marching in the streets if this were a Bush or McCain night, suddenly become masters of spin for Obama. I mean we’re talking 10,000 Terry McAuliffs here, all just as conniving, disingenuous, and full of shit.

Meanwhile, though I haven’t read it, I heard that Team Obama just sent out an email to all their Organize for America members announcing Obama’s new plan that included the public option. That sounds like a bold announcement. Wonder why such a bold announcment wasn’t part of the speech.

Jane Hamshire summed up what was in Obama’s speech quite concisely:

No commitment to a public plan, just open to one.

Obama is open to triggers.

Obama is open to co-ops.

I can’t wait to find out which presentation is the truth, the one before Congress and the nation tonight, or the one sent out in an email to Obama’s loyal supporters.

I first saw such a maneuver a few months back, over Iraq I think, where the president did a Saturday address and was, as usual, very cautious and useless in his rhetoric. Then, he released this fiery speech that captured some of the fight that got him elected,… on Youtube.

I wish I had written about it then. Tale of Two Obamas was my title. Now, it seems more relevant than ever. Is the White House political machine playing us like we’re idiots. This is what Bushco did. Say anything to rile their base and release it only on Fox, sort of just for that audience. It was a way to keep their base duped without having to pass the smell test to the rest of the press corp.


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  1. Obama is very good at saying things in a manner that allows people to hear what they want to hear. However, if you focus on the substance of that speech, it’s hard not to be disappointed. I can’t say that the speech surprised me but, nevertheless, I was very disappointed in it.

  2. He couched this in terms of personal responsibility:

    It’s your fault you don’t have health care, so you will be forced to pay an insurance company.

    Yes, the liberals are being played like fools.

  3. As a progressive, I just needed to hear he hadn’t yet thrown the public option off the table.

    I have no illusions about the paltry deal Americans will get on this reform.  It was particularly hurtful to hear him speak of “illegal immigrants” as though they were nothing, nothing at all — especially as comprehensive immigration reform is coming up soon.

    That kind of rhetoric will make our job as citizens with real Democratic values even harder — just as his rhetoric on torture of “retribution” and “revenge” has made our job harder.

    But to me, the big thing is breaking the monopoly the insurance companies have on healthcare.

    Even a ridiculously small wedge as a P.O. that will only cover a fraction of the people is still a foot in the door of breaking that monopoly.

    And the Progressive Caucus and we DFHs have had to scream ourselves bloody to get even that.

    I’ll continue to scream till the bill is signed – with a public option on the exchange.

    • robodd on September 10, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Obama will go down in history as an insignificant president, who made major missteps from the very beginning and whose very philosophy of life–stick to the safe middle–eventually caused the nation serious harm.

  4. …on Charlie Rose:  David Brooks, Al Hunt, Joe Califano, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, and Rich Lowry, all said that they heard in Obama’s speech that the P.O. is over, dead and gone. Brooks, Hunt and Califano were the strongest on this, with McCotter (R, Mich) and Lowry (National Review) a tad more equivocating.

    So, the main stream verdict on what he says looks to be in.

    Good piece here, Toque.

  5. The more our corporatist President finger wagged Progressives, the louder he conceded his weakness in not being able to roll us.

    So instead he’s trying to low ball us.

    Obama’s opening PO bid:

    – limited to 5% enrollment (self employed people who don’t already have insurance)

    – 4 years to implementation (exchanges are hard!)

    – Regional trigger (a trial balloon that gives him something to bargain away).

    – Possibility of coop instead (fluff).

    But remember: this isn’t the end of the negotiating process. It’s only the start.  

    We’ve earned our seat at the table.  Now it’s time to get the most we can out of it.

  6. You’re totally harshing my buzz, man. I wanted to Rah Rah and Fuck Yeah and kick the party of Dumb Brutes and Rich People when they’re down, and now…well, now I can’t do that! So totally not fair, man. Not cool at all.

    I mean, you’re taking it all serious and stuff. Like totally. What can we really do by bitching on a blog? A fucking blog?!? Oh the horror, the horror-we’s been Sold Out Again Yo, just like I always promised y’all! Word!

    It feels like shit. Shit! What can possibly make it feel better…Oh! I know! Let’s shit on the people who feel gooood!! Let’s transfer it all and, like, project and stuff! It brings no joy, but it must, yes must be done, for the sake of…something.

    Hang on-it’s my precinct captain calling…What? Huh? Some dude talkin’ shit? Oh hell no. It’s on, man! We ain’t takin no shit, nuh-uh, no more! Recognize, you whores! Legitimize, you bores! Validate my fucking righteous anger! Do it now! Now, or we’ll sit your ass down in front of the screen and Make You Watch the President Talk!

    OMG, is he lying?!? Shit, let’s point it out IN ALL CAPS SO EVERYONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT WE MEAN. Let there be NO ROOM for interpretation! We’re doing God’s Work, after all, and everyone knows contradictions are for the Devil!!

    That’s right, son-don’t you forget it. This is how it fucking is, because I said so, and ALL THESE PEOPLE AGREE WITH ME. Can’t you see us tearing our hair? Can’t you feel us wring our own necks in righteous rage? Can’t you sense the humor and absurdity being sucked right out of our raging souls by that bastard on the TV?

    Cause if you can’t, well…we’re gonna sneer at you. It’ll be withering. You’ll feel so dumb and childish and worthless that you won’t want to do anything at all! Eat that bowl of condescension, dude. Eat it raw, or no pudding for you. How can you have any ponies if you don’t eat your shit?

    Your parents slaved over this shit, son. We know what’s best for you, and you better appreciate it-no, fuck that, we’re gonna MAKE you appreciate it, because no one’s appreciated us. No one’s even acknowledged the days and weeks and months and years we’ve spent screaming into the unknowing, unfeeling void.

    Other people gave up and fucked off, but did we ever falter? NO. We FREAKED THE FUCK OUT, and continued to, long long long after the Great Eye had looked beyond to focus on other, worthier things. It was our perogative, son. Our right.

    So don’t give me that bong-shattering bollocks about “nuh-uh” and “whatevs” and “nyah nyah we TOLD YOU SO” and “everything sucks worse than it’s ever sucked before.”

    We are HIGH on GLORY and TRANSCENDENCE right now, and downers are for losers. LOSERS, I say. Now pass me that mojo and let’s go bitch-slap some Naderites. Hell yes! Go! Fight! Stomp the buggers! Twist some Republican titties! Kick a Christian in the balls! Olbermann said so, and you know what that means.

    Time to give ’em a bath. Wash behind the ears. Git ’em soap flakes in the cracks. Lather-rinse-repeat. Don’t make me come down there. I’m going to scrub this sense of humor into you until your skin runs red with the rashes of the cynical, until it wrinkles raw with the ruthless scabs of compromise.

    And you’ll learn to LIKE it. Trust me, I speak from eminent experience. It’s all true. Except when it isn’t.

    • Inky99 on September 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Like Terry McAuliffe or Tom Daschle.

    Fuck him.   I’m done with him.  

    This whole mess is about making even more money for the insurance companies.  We are completely irrelevant to the equation.

    How can we milk poor people even more?   That’s all any of them give a shit about.

    Meanwhile, I saw an article today that I’m trying to find now so I can write about it, which stressed that all those hundreds of billions we gave to the banks?   It’s just gone.  Nobody knows where it went.  There were no records.  The banks were not required to keep any records as to what they did with it.

    It was just given away, gone.  POOF!

    Nice work if you can get it.

    The biggest theft in the history of mankind.   And we let it happen, all of us.  

    • jamess on September 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    It was a very moving and powerful speech —

    but it also, was one that “discounted the importance of the Public Option”

    as only a means to an ends,

    with other possible ways to get there.


    Competition is Good,

    and the only way to keep them honest

    and hold insurance companies accountable —

    But we don’t really need it,

    because it isn’t the be-all, end-all …


    Or did I mis-under-estimate,

    the mixed messages, because I was cheering, so often?

    And having Progressives “equated” with the Teabaggers crowd,

    as just another special interest group

    is simply too insulting, and revealing, to be ignored.  

    (Who’s side is Obama on, anyways? … No One’s? … the Blue Dogs’? … Rahm and the DLC?)

    Obama may have shone some of the fire of FDR last nite,

    but he was certainly standing on a different mountain than FDR —

    the Centrist one.

    If he’s not careful, he end up building, Bridges to Nowhere,

    since there is no bridging the Progressives and the Wingers,

    that I can see,

    at least not with a Bridge that actually goes somewhere!

    With Solutions, that lead to meaningful change.

    • Arctor on September 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    How can any progressive be pleased with Obama’s version of Healthcare We Can Believe In? The PO is totally lame and waiting four years means healthcare reform in Obama’s eight year term is finished, so he and Dave and Rahm can send the bag over to K Street and collect their futures now! As Keith Olbermann set it up, We’ll find out whether he’s for the people or the corporations! Any doubts now, Keith?

    Oh but yes, he was partisan and threw his Orange/Progressive apologists a lot of red meat and Joe Wilson contributed much to that discussion. Not to belabor the point but over at Orange I don’t see any Rec Diaries about Healthcare only about what a partisan victory for us last night was: We really beat up on the right-wing morons, huh? So what if our children and grandchildren will be sucking wind forever: Obama, what a guy!

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