Read the papers or watch cable news these days, and you would think Obama is on a fast train to oblivion, and the Republican lie machine has succeeded in smashing health care reform to smithereens. All the usual sources, like Chris Matthews, have abandoned their supposed new awareness, and returned to being robot vendors of corporate spin, and all you hear is that it's over for the public option, and Democrats are going down with the ship.
As usual, a pack of lies. Let me explain to you where we are now, and what is going to happen next:
Yesterday, Henry Waxman and Nancy Pelosi revealed that they have enough votes in the House, where there is no filibuster, to deliver what 76% of the American people want- a health care reform bill with a public option. Republicans and the gutless, corrupt blue dogs can postpone it for five weeks and call that a victory, but the votes are there.
Now, regardless of what the Senate does, that means that we are going to see two different bills go to a conference committee to reconcile them. This is a venue that the blue dogs cannot control, and it is going to determine what is in the final bill.
Let me divert my comments a little at this point, to talk about FDR. Although he has a reputation today as a hard core liberal, this was not true when he took office. FDR was actually a centrist, and spent the early part of his term, including the famous "first hundred days" enacting a series of bills that were tailored to gain the approval of business and banking. The compromises he was forced to make, naturally, rendered most of his actions inadequate to address the real problems. As the 1936 elections approached, Roosevelt was faced with steeply declining popularity. At that point, he had to face up to the fact that he could not serve the American public and sate the greed of the rich at the same time. He had to make a choice, and he chose to stand with the people. It is once he made that choice that he began to support social security, real economic stimulus, savings insurance, and the other things for which he is still ranked as one of the greatest of American presidents.
Obama is about to face his Roosevelt moment. If he really wants to be a great president, if he really wants to deliver groundbreaking legislation to the American people, here is what he will do:
He will call the three miserable blue dog Senators who are collaborating with the insurance companies and the Republicans, and here is what he will tell them: If you prevent the Senate from passing a health care bill with a public option, we are going to go to that conference committee and put it in anyway, regardless of the screams and moans of the Republicans and the Chris Matthews' of this world. And then, I will see to it that you corrupt politicians, having sold your souls to the insurance companies, will never, ever get one cent or one second of help from the national party, for the rest of your lives. So, this is your choice. We are going to have a public option. All you have to decide is whether you want to stay in the Senate.
That's hardball. That's what it will take to get this legislation passed, and that's all it will take. This victory is Obama's if he wants it. And you know what? He does. Obama knows everything I have said here; he figured it all out long before me, as usual. And this is what we are going to get.