Note: This diary is intended to put political pressure on Obama to come out strongly for the Public Option in his speech on Wednesday. It is also intended to pressure the Obama team to shift to more effective strategies and tactics. It is not intended as a personal attack on Obama
11th dimensional chess players don’t have to scramble to throw together a last minute make or break speech before a joint session of Congress to save their Health Care plan….as their base jumps ship.
NewsFlash: Obama is mortal, and not a supergenius who is smarter than everyone on the planet. Obama does NOT “Got This.” Bulletin! There is no such thing as 11th dimensional chess.
The Obama team, by any realistic political metric, has indeed “Blown This.”
Even if they DO (somehow) end up being able to pass a bill with a robust Public Option, politically speaking, strategically speaking, tactically speaking…they blew it.
They blew it for one reason and one reason only. They tried to be calm and reasonable and fair. They tried The Obama PostPartisan Experiment…and it blew up in their faces.
It WAS a Noble Experiment…but it failed.
And now we get yet another trial balloon to gauge reaction to the latest attempt to kill the Public Option. When the reaction is CLEARLY already taking place to the way the White House is
bungling handling Health Care.
OVERALL: – 10 (From 49 to 39)
DEMOCRATS: – 17 (From 84 to 67)
INDEPENDENTS: – 12 (From 48 to 36)
REPUBLICANS: No Change (From 4 to 4)
In this often tumultous summer, the Democratic Party brand name has taken a bit of a beating with Independents. But the real hemorrhaging has been with their Democratic base, and it has been a fairly recent convention: more than half of that seventeen point dip has occurred in the last three weeks.
The Republicans and the Lobbyists just plain beat them, politically. Because the Republicans and lobbyists have no intention of being calm and reasonable and fair. In fact they have repeatedly and consistently spat upon every calm and reasonable and fair effort advanced.
The Republicans and the Lobbyists are out for blood. They have inflamed their Base into screaming for blood. And now are claiming that the small numbers of screamers prove that they won the battle for public opinion.
In contrast Rahm Emanuel has attempted to rally his base in this critical fight…..by spitting on them. Repeatedly.
The Obama team has alienated and discouraged their Base. And the polls show it.
But what is worse, they drew on the severely depleted reservoir of Hope that America still had after the Bush years. They instilled and insisted on Hope. They traded on it. And now they are destroying it.
Record numbers of young people and the politically uninvolved came out to vote for Obama because they believed in HIM. They believed him when he said he would bring Change, they believed him when he asked them to Hope.
And now as they see Obama being defeated by the Machine he pledged to defeat….they are losing Hope.
Through all of the disappointments of the early months of the administration people tried and tried to keep Hope alive after every disappointment on the issues that are important to the Base. As issue after issue was shunted aside or thrown under the bus in the attempt to woo the Republicans who were spitting on Obama’s open hand, The Base was gradually but steadily and increasingly told to STFU.
Because…”He’s GOT this.”
Because….All of the issues had to wait for one thing, one Holy Grail, on Saving Grace…..Health Care Reform.
And the symbol of Hope and Change for the Base in the Health Care Program was…..The Public Option.
Real Change. A real challenge to the status quo, a symbol of real fighting back against the Powers That Be, a direct dismantling of the hegemony of Corporate America over Main St America.
The Public Option, Obama told us himself, was something that MUST be included.
The Public Option thus became the Symbol of Hope amidst all of the disappointments.
And now the Public Option is being thrown under the bus too.
And that could….that IS having a devastating effect on the Hopes of the Base….and all of the voters that came out to vote for Change.
This is NOT about one issue, this is about the future of the Party, this is about all of those people who were roused from their apathy to vote for Change….and are now seeing exactly the same old thing.
It’s complicated but when you boil it down, in American politics, you have two political tribes — the fear and resentment tribe and the inspiration and progress tribe. I think it’s obvious which are which — it’s no accident that the last two Democratic presidents both ran with “hope” as their slogans. People respond to the parties based largely on their own temperament and sense of belonging in that particular tribe. (I had a relative who told me that she didn’t really think too much about politics, she just felt that if she voted for a Democrat it would feel like she was a cat having her fur brushed backwards.)
Obama brought out a huge number of people, particularly idealistic young people and African Americans, because of idealism. Although we political junkies were all impressed with his “cool” and his brains, that wasn’t the main thing most people found attractive about him. What they saw was that he was the inspirational, living proof of progress and it was a powerful symbol and message.
All successful presidents find ways to keep their own tribe happy while appropriating enough of the other sides’ heuristic identifiers to appeal to a few who would normally go with other tribe. But they have to make sure that their own followers maintain their identification with them as well. So Democrats have to keep hope alive. Obama is flirting with failure on that count and I think it’s dangerous. His success, and the party’s future, depends upon maintaining an enthusiastic base of young and idealistic people long enough for their attraction to Obama to gel into long term political commitment. Because Democrats depend upon inspiration and optimism, it’s imperative that they deliver progress. Cynicism, anger and fear either demobilize the base or send some of them to a third party or even the other side. It’s a danger that Democrats don’t seem ever see and I don’t understand why, especially after what happened in 2000. We’ve seen that it can be fatal.
That same old thing being the “Spineless Dems” who “Don’t stand for anything” and are “soft” doing exactly what they have always done….exactly what leads potential Dem voters to retreat into apathy and allows the Republicans to win.
They are caving.
We were promised Change…and we are getting the same old thing….caving.
Business as usual. The Dems acting as a branch of The One Party Corporate Political Machine that cares more about the Lobbyists and the Ruling Class than the average working American.
The Dems acting AGAINST the interests of working Americans and in the interest of the Special Interests.
Exactly the opposite of Change.
The Democrats, and particularly the Rahm Emanuel Wing of the Democratic Party are KILLING the Hope that Obama worked so hard to instill.
And there is at this time, only one way to restore that Hope, to keep that Hope….and all of the new and young voter’s enthusiasm alive.
Obama must INSIST on the Public Option is his speech to Congress.
Or he will lose a good portion of his base.
And a good portion of his base will ….just give up on politics all together.
The young voters will go back to their political apathy, another generations dreams dashed. The people who never vote, but came out to vote for the Change and Hope Obama offered will once again feel betrayed and crawl back to their non voting holes. The citizen activism that so marked the 08 election will turn into cynicism.
And That will NOT be the fault of the Voters.
Cynicism, anger and fear either demobilize the base or send some of them to a third party or even the other side. It’s a danger that Democrats don’t seem ever see and I don’t understand why, especially after what happened in 2000. We’ve seen that it can be fatal.
That happens. It happens not because the voters fail The Party, but because The Party fails the voters.
Blame “the Naderites” all you want, if The Party doesn’t fail them, they don’t vote for Nader. You can’t argue with the voters. it is up to YOU to please them, not up to them to please the Party. If you kill the Hope of the voters, kill the Hope of your Base…they WILL go away. Most will simply join the 50% of America that does not vote.
And that is THE only hope for Republicans.
At this point, The Public Option IS Hope.
All of our Hopes for real Change are pinned to it.
If there was ever anything worth fighting for, this is it. If there was ever a reason to change political tactics in the middle of the stream this is it. If ever there was a pressing need to come up with a new approach, new strategies….THIS is it.
If there was ever a time to abandon a failed political philosophy, the vain attempt at bi-partisanship, this is it.
I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be President of the United States of America.
BARACK OBAMA, speech, Nov. 10, 2007
Pardon my French, Mr President, but tough shit.
It is NOT up to you. it is the ‘reality on the ground.’
America IS divided. It IS Red and Blue and we ARE pitted against each other.
And until you defeat the people who are pulling out every stop, lie, and dirty trick to defeat YOU…
There is no Hope.
And the first step in defeating them is passing Health Care Reform WITH the Public Option. Right now that is THE Symbol of Hope.
Anonymous Source Rahm said he was “surprised” that the people who donated, knocked on doors and voted for Obama were making the Public Option a line in the sand. Well THIS is why we are doing that Rahm. Becuase the Public option is…and try to get this through your head….THE Symbol of Hope. Right here, right now.
And if you kill that Hope, we are ALL in trouble.
The Public Option is one of the last strands of Hope we have left.
I Hope you will do the right thing, Mr. President.
White House Comments: 202-456-1111