Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why They Continue to Call It "Obamacare", I Don't Know.

A lot of people lately have asked me why I'm so pissed off about President Obama's handling of health care reform. It's a fair question. I'll answer the best I can.

Health care reform is an issue President Obama unilaterally decided to prioritize - over jobs creation, over EFCA, over climate change, over DADT, over financial regulation. We willingly joined the fight, knowing it was difficult, but confident in the belief that our President had a keen awareness of the challenges before him and a strategy to - as OFA so likes to put it - "Get It Done".

Nearly a year later - after defending health care reform at hundreds of town halls, asked to organize countless phone banks and make thousands of calls to lawmakers, told to wait patiently as the White House courted President Olympia Snowe and President Joe Lieberman, made to swallow the worst setback for reproductive rights in a generation thanks to Bart Stupak, watched helplessly as the public option was dropped and taxes on healthcare benefits were imposed on middle class Americans, we finally come within days of passing health care reform (craptacular, watered-down health care reform, but reform none the less) only to have President Obama abandon the fight he chose for us.

All it took was the loss of a single Senate election to make Congress and the White House implode. Because, apparently, Republicans now have a 41 seat majority. All hail President Brown.

It was predictable as nightfall that Democratic leadership would take exactly the wrong message from Coakley's defeat in Massachusetts. Look, there's a lot of reasons Coakely lost - she ran a bad campaign, there were rivalries inside the state party that sapped support and GOTV, not to mention a motivated Republican base.

But mostly, believe it or not, the people of Massachusetts are still voting for change.

That's right. Change. The thing that candidate Obama ran on and voters believed he failed to deliver as President Obama.

People still want it. They're hungry for it. It's not just that they don't see it happening fast enough, it's that they don't see the man they elected fighting for it.

Republican leadership, as venal and evil as they are, aren't stupid, and know how to exploit this desire by offering up false gods that the people will flock to, just as they did for the real deal in 2008.

In Obama, independents and swing voters now see someone who's more interested in compromise and capitulation than competent, decisive action. This may be an unfair assessment of his first year in office - I don't doubt President Obama has prevented this country from sliding into another Great Depression - but it's a narrative our Storyteller-And-Chief allowed to take hold.

So yeah, I'm pissed. As activists, volunteers, and citizens, we upheld our end of the contract. The White House and President Obama? Not so much.

Why the teabaggers even bother to call health care reform "Obamacare" anymore baffles me. Unless, of course, they're referring to 2010.

Because, as things stand now, Obama has pretty much taken "care" of Congress' willingness to govern, and our electoral chances in November.

No comments:

Post a Comment