16 December 2009

Good advice on the health-bill quagmire

From blogger Annette, commenting here:

.....calm down and get off the roller coaster.. There is no reason to sit and watch everything that is happening and fly off the handle like this. That's why they call it sausage making.. it is messy and nasty and it takes a while to get it done.

This is just the Senate version.. Remember we have the House version and then we have to reconcile the 2.. then they have to vote on the 2 bills that are put together.. Then you can get angry over what is or isn't in the bill.. We have nothing to be angry about right now. NOTHING.. Quit watching Ed Schultz.. Quit watching all the rest of them.. I did and feel much better for it.....

Just relax a little.. and quit believing everything you hear.. Please.

I and a lot of other people have gotten too wrapped up in following every detail of this arcane process as if whatever was happening at the moment represented the final version. It doesn't. There's still a long way to go.

Yes, it is frustrating and sometimes infuriating, but it is not good to be infuriated for a prolonged period of time. It wastes energy and can lead to cynicism, the ultimate killer of effective action.

And, yes, Lieberman is a slime-bucket and a textbook example of the harmful influence of big money on the political system. But telling him that is not going to accomplish anything. Whatever pressure we can exert needs to be directed at those whose actions can actually be influenced in a positive way.

I for one am simply going to stop worrying about it for a while. I never intended this blog to be dominated by politics to the extent that it has been since the 2008 primary season, and I'm going to make a determined effort to get it back in balance. Politics is not the only interesting or important subject.

Update (17 Dec., 6:15 PM): For those who do desire to keep following the health-reform story blow-by-blow, I recommend Liberal Values for the best blogger coverage of it from a liberal perspective. Ron Chusid neither goes wildly up and down like an emotional yo-yo from one day to the next, nor blathers cynically about dark forces having doomed the whole effort from the start; he focuses on the facts and on reporting and analyzing the views of those with actual power in the struggle (my only caveat would be that he's a bit too allergic to criticism of Obama). He is, moreover, a doctor, and thus has much more relevant knowledge of many of the issues than most of us do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is bullshit advice! Wait until they shuffle the deck? By then it is too late.

It's the process and the crap ass president with his hidden agendas.

a recovering demoholic

16 December, 2009 07:58  
Blogger Sue said...

Annette has a way of getting us back to reality! She was thoroughly pissed at me last night but we have both calmed down LOL! I try not to jump to conclusions on what will be in the final bill but yesterday with LIEbermann it was too overwhelming. We do have a LONG way to go!

16 December, 2009 08:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anonymous: Well, you're entitled to your opinion. There are a lot of serious things going on in the world and if I obsessed over all of them I'd be a wreck. You want to do it for me?

Sue: I'm certainly not trying to denigrate anyone else's concern or preferred strategy (though I do think some people confuse fretting with a strategy). I think Annette had a useful perspective, including (mostly) to me personally.

16 December, 2009 08:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Infidel753 -- "...a lot of serious things going on in the world ... obsessed...."

Which few are you concerned with? We've been betrayed! This post seems to be an attempt to convince people to let the ObaMao administration off the hook.

It's sort of like the advice Kevin Jennings, the safe schools czar, might tell a school kid. "Spit or swallow. It's no big deal."

still a recovering demoholic

16 December, 2009 09:14  
Blogger Sue said...

Me too Infidel, I always feel like Annette is speaking directly to me, especially when I rant!

16 December, 2009 09:24  
Anonymous phuckpolitics said...

I think people should stop blaming Lieberman and start blaming Obama. He screwed this whole thing up the minute he made that secret deal with the Pharmaceutical industry.

16 December, 2009 09:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anonymous: It sounds like you think you get to decide what everyone else should blog about. Doesn't work that way. As for the rest of your comment, WFT are you talking about?

Sue: At least if you rant I can tell what you mean by it. Some of the trolls these days.....

PP: I haven't been impressed with Obama through most of this. He always seems to have pressured Reid and the Senate Democrats to compromise for the sake of bipartisanship. It's the Blew Dogs he should have been pressuring.

16 December, 2009 11:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Infidel753 -- "It sounds like you think you get to decide what everyone else should blog about."

Quite the contrary. I am actually glad to see what comes up in defense of this sad excuse for a progressive administration and the crap they try to stuff down our throats. (ergo, the Jennings snipe which is more evidence of who they are).

I just don't buy the excuses: "... h(w)e'll fix it later...." and "... other persons fault...." and "... relax, this won't hurt as much as...."

I ask, in view of the failure that is this Health Scare mess, what issues would you prefer us to be distracted by?

From an MSM source among those I despise: NBC -- "Public Sours on Health Reform"

Troll? I have been a registered Democrat for almost a half century, and am still a recovering demoholic.

16 December, 2009 12:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Quite the contrary.

Bull. I say I'm not going to obsess about this any more, you object. I'll write the next 500 posts about duck-billed platypuses if I feel like it. Get your own blog and do your own obsessing.


You certainly speak the language. I don't care if you've been a registered stegosaurus molester for 50 years, you're talking like a loon. Take Annette's advice and a few deep breaths, try to calm down, and don't come back until you can be civil.

16 December, 2009 13:50  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

"Lieberman is a slime-bucket and a textbook example of the harmful influence of big money on the political system. But telling him that is not going to accomplish anything. '

Ohhh, but there are times when a scale model statue of the Milan Cathedral can make a great impression and, although I would never condone such acts ... at least in public, images of an unrelenting asshole with a broken nose can be very satisfying indeed.

Now, if Lieberman were to walk in front of a bus ....

Never mind. I wouldn't want to wish such misfortune upon a bus.

16 December, 2009 14:00  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Anon: If you don't have the courage to come out of the closet, you really should just keep your damn mouth shut.

Sue et al: I think every one's been flipping and a flopping over this. I want to understand but I feel so betrayed - not just by Obama but by these wet noodle Dems and,of course, the yeller dawgs.

16 December, 2009 14:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

(O)ct(o)pus: Or maybe we could arrange for a very large, love-starved member of your species to mistake him for a coconut.....

Leslie: Considering how many blogs there are in existence which aren't focusing on his chosen topic, he's gonna be a real busy guy if he wants to pester them all like this.

I certainly understand the disappointment. For me there have been many -- Rick Warren, DADT, the slow going on re-regulating Wall Street, the general push to make nice with Republicans which has stymied our hopes for real change. I'm just tired of focusing on it so much.

16 December, 2009 15:10  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Since everyone want's to chat some on this ...heh,heh,heh,heh,heh ...May I?

I think deep down many of us suspected long ago where this health care reform was going to go looking at all that is at stake as far as the money to be made off all the new mandatory law's that will force ten's of million's to buy ...just a matter of who they are going to buy from is what this is all about ...certainly not people and what they want...never is ...and as long as we have this current cesspool of practice's in Washington ...frankly ..never will. None of this was very difficult to see coming... any street hustler kid could read this.

Mr.Infidel ... I can understand totally ... why? ..because it's a mess ... and only time will tell the truth, if anyone cant determine or see it now.

Anonymous ...you certainly talk alot of shit for a fictional incognito character. Kind of remind me of another fictional character on Mr.Boh's site ...who I couldnt return comment to because Mr.Boh thought my comment's were too politically incorrect or my language or some other pop culture crap(which is his right) wasnt acceptable, and lesson for me to stay the Hell away from his pop culture site as well ... by the name "Ghostrider", (some little redhead suburbia energy drink looking bad ass MF, probably inbred and christian)who I invited to come to my site since he's a bully and want's to pick a fight. Bullies are no stranger to me ...I had to deal with them in the street's to stay afloat and locked up to keep my asshole from getting greased. So ... your alway's welcome to visit my site and talk all the shit you want ....boy!

Mr.Infidel ...thank you Sir ...if you allow this .....

17 December, 2009 10:35  
Blogger Karen said...

What it all boils down to is: "It's the economy, stupid!"

17 December, 2009 19:00  
Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

Truth be told, the more I think of this so-called health reform bill, the more octopissed I get. It seems the insurance companies bought the senate vote and got everything they wished for ... and more. The American people got another monkey on their back in the form of mandatory insurance premiums under penalty of law (read: fines) ... without any major benefits or concessions.

American corporations now control our legislature. Forget healthcare reform, forget banking reform, forget alternative energy, forget repairs to our infrastructure ... forget everything!

Most especially, forget elections. These merely serve as window dressing for a gerry-rigged system.

17 December, 2009 20:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

American corporations now control our legislature.

Not so. As I noted in the post, a good bill, with a public option, passed the House. One would have passed the Senate were it not for the undemocratic procedural rule requiring the 60-vote super-majority. Only that! If it weren't for that one Senate rule, something very much like what we want would have gotten through the Senate as well as the House.

forget everything!

They have gotten a lot done. The re-funding of stem-cell research alone will eventually prevent more death and suffering than the health-care reform could.

Most especially, forget elections. These merely serve as window dressing for a gerry-rigged system.

Do you really think 2000-2008 would have been no different if Gore had been President?

Cynicism is far more annoying to me than honest conservatism. All this stuff is simply not fact-based. The Democrats have not failed us on this. The House did its job. Senate Democrats would have, were they not hamstrung by an impossible procedural rule and the fact that Obama kept putting pressure on progressives to compromise with the Blue Dogs rather than vice versa.

Put the blame where it belongs: On the Senate rules and on Obama personally, not on the Democrats as a whole.

18 December, 2009 06:30  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

There are a lot hysterical commentators out there, TV, radio, newspapers, blogs and even my next door neighbor thinks he has got it figured out. I've decided the whole world of opinion is a lot smarter than me because I haven't got it figured out. I have emailed my representatives even called the White House and left a message for the President, telling all concerned where I stand. The souffle is in the oven, let's see if falls flat or it's a round of applause for the chef.

18 December, 2009 06:51  
Anonymous rita said...

Ah politics...
what is interesting to me is so many people seem to know what is going on nationally, but have no interest in or gets involved in politics at a local level.
Must be some of that cynicism at work down at this level, too.

Personally, I don't have much time to slog through the ends & outs of national politics. I try to approach it ideologically & work from there, an overall view I guess. I'm not cynical because I don't claim to know everything and I have faith in humankind's ability to move forward. This is why I read your views & value your opinion because you do have the ability to see an overall picture & you are rational(for the most part:).

Just my 2 cents...& letting you know I'm still around.

18 December, 2009 08:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Holte Ender: There is definitely more heat than light being generated at the moment. This and this may be of some interest.

Rita: Welcome back! I'm afraid it's a fact of life these days that the national government has a rather strong impact on people's lives, often more so than local politics does. That's probably why people tend to focus on the former even though their chances of influencing the latter would be better.

18 December, 2009 08:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really disagree with the statement that "we have nothing to be angry about" so far. In fact, I find it offensive, almost as much as Axelrod's and other Obama's apologists attacks on people like Dean who point out the absurdity of this legislation as it has developed over the course of this year.

And I tend to think -- yes, call it cynicism -- that with "progressives" like these, who needs Republicans?

Real progressives in this country are always told to wait and to compromise away every little bit of ground they seem to gain -- or hope to gain. This was understandable during the Repubs' governance, but it is much less so now, especially since these outrageous compromises fly in the face of Obama's campaign promises.

When you perpetually take two steps back after one tiny step forward, it's hard to call it progress. And no, this is not some abstract ideological purity dispute, but matters of grave consequences for real people's lives.

As the bill stands now (and as the trend has shown us so far), we are about to legalize a massive transfer of new customers to the private insurance business, subsidized by taxpayers' money, without any cost controls imposed on the health care delivery or reimbursement system. How the hell is this a reform?

18 December, 2009 15:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

And I tend to think -- yes, call it cynicism -- that with "progressives" like these, who needs Republicans?

I'm going to keep repeating this over and over until it sinks in:

The House passed a good bill, with a public option. Most of the Democrats in the Senate supported the same. It's only because of the 60-vote super-majority requirement that they've had to make all these concessions. That is, the vast majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress are on the right side on this. If the Senate did not have a super-majority requirement, the Senate as well as the House would already have enacted bills pretty close to what we wanted.

The Democratic party as a whole has not failed us. The problem is the Senate rules and the fact that Obama was putting pressure on the liberals to make concessions to the hold-outs instead of vice versa. Only those things! There is no grounds for cynicism. None.

Annette's point is that the final legislation will be some combination of the House and Senate version, not just the Senate version by itself, although everybody is talking as though that's the final thing we're going to get. It's too early to be angry because we don't yet know what the final, combined bill will look like.

Real progressives in this country are always told to wait and to compromise away every little bit of ground

And who is telling them that? Just Obama and a few Blue Dogs. Not Democrats in general. Not Congress in general.

How the hell is this a reform?

Did you look at the two links in my comment above?

18 December, 2009 17:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Infidel, I looked at both links and more, and I see nothing there convincing me that we will move beyond a massive giveaway to the insurance cartel. The regulation changes in the insurance bill, as it stands now and from what we know about it now, do not reform the system, which is fundamentally broken, but merely add on to it.

I hope to be proven wrong, but forgive me if I do not hold my breath.

BTW, I did not say I'm blaming Democrats as a whole. I am pissed at Obama specifically, though this too may change, as more information comes to light. Axelrod is calling Howard Dean "insane," and Rahm Emanuel publicly brushes off liberals, telling all "not to worry about the left." These two men are among the closest Obama people and I highly doubt they would issue such statements without their boss's approval. What does it tell us about the progressive agenda of this president?

The only hope we still have left, apart from Bernie Sanders and the House Dems, is in the labor movement and the pressure it has started to exert on our lawmakers in the last couple of days. Will see where that goes.

BTW, I also agree with PhuckP and Trumka of SEIU that blaming Lieberman, while fun, is pointless.

18 December, 2009 19:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Robert Reich's most recent blog post reflects my sentiments as well.

18 December, 2009 19:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I did not say I'm blaming Democrats as a whole. I am pissed at Obama specifically

Then we agree on the main point. My concern is that we will soon have whole herds of idiots threatening to vote third-party in 2010 or stay home because they're disappointed in the health reform (and Afghanistan), resulting in penalizing Congressional Democrats (most of whom have, in fact, worked for what we wanted) and the Republicans making major gains in both Houses. And if you think it's hard to get anything done now, just wait until that happens, if it does.

I don't see why anyone is surprised by Obama's behavior. It was always obvious te me that he was not ideologically committed to the left the way Hillary is, and that nominating him for President was losing an opportunity for real change.

The only hope we still have left, apart from Bernie Sanders and the House Dems, is in the labor movement and the pressure it has started to exert on our lawmakers in the last couple of days.

I wish the labor movement had gotten more strongly involved before this. They know how to play hardball even if Obama doesn't.

If the Senate can't get to 60 without the Blew Dogs, it can't get there without liberals either. Since Obama will apparently yield to any demand to get to the magic 60, it's about time we started putting forward some demands too.

19 December, 2009 03:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

PS Axelrod backed off the "insane" comment.

19 December, 2009 03:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we do agree on the main point, as I see it (and more), Infidel, I just do not feel comfortable with being told not to get angry about the bill as it stands now (though I understand the realpolitik and the fact that this is not a done deal yet).

But what we see happening is just outrageous, IMO. Our lawmakers are compromising our lives away for the privilege of scoring a (cheap and ultimately self-defeating, if nothing changes) political victory. If nothing changes in this so-called reform, we are essentially talking about a corporate takeover of our government, done on the backs of American citizens. Combine it with the banks' bailout and the transformation is almost complete. Welcome to CSA -- Corporate States of America.

For the first time, I agree with teabaggers in their anger, although they have it backwards, moaning about the government's takeover of the private sector, while the reality is the other way around.

Yeah, I saw Axelrod backing off his insane comment about Dean. Funny thing is, I heard Axelrod and Gibbs and others criticize Dean before I heard Dean himself, and thought they must have had some merit in their criticisms. Then I listened to Dean -- and was stunned and outraged by those criticisms. His stance is well-reasoned, calm, and imminently rational. He does not advocate "killing the bill" and going home, but revising is ASAP and pushing it through reconcilliation, if necessary, without giving our lives away in the endless process of unconscionable compromises. It makes complete sense to me.

BTW, I wouldn't be surprised by Obama's stance here if he didn't promise. (Yeah, I know. I go, "But he promised!" at home, and my husband laughs. And laughs some more.)

19 December, 2009 08:05  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'm all in favor of improving the Senate bill if possible (as I said above, it's time for the reformists to start playing hardball the same way Lieberman has), and I expect this to happen when it's combined with the House version, if not before. I'm simply sick and tired of those who do want to see it killed. It's simply not true that it won't improve anything.

And most of the left-wing blogosphere is completely missing the point. They are bitching at the Democrats for not getting a better bill instead of talking about the Senate rules which made it impossible to do so -- and will continue to obstruct reform in other areas if they aren't changed.

19 December, 2009 09:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm simply sick and tired of those who do want to see it killed. It's simply not true that it won't improve anything.

I hear you, Infidel. Personally, I am torn on the latter, because, if not changed -- and there is a real possibility of that -- the bill will be disastrous for many working and middle-class American families.

The progressive anger is absolutely necessary as it shows our lawmakers that we are not going to take it quietly and that they have to at least hear us.

What really pisses me off is the blatant arrogance of the White House, as shown in the Axelrod's and Emanuel's comments. They demonize Dean, who is rational AND right, while kowtowing to Repubs and d-bags like Lieberman and Nelson. It makes me sick, literally, as I developed a splitting headache after watching Dean's comments last night and realizing what a hatchet job Axelrod et al. have done on him.

If the White House expects us to swallow that unpalatable joke of a bill, they should at least show some understanding and compassion for our position, rather than deride and dismiss it in their seemingly endless arrogance.

BTW, did I really say Dean's comments were imminently rational? LOL. I think I wanted to say inherently. Well, serves me right for commenting under headache-y duress.

So off I go to try to cure the damn thing.

Let's hope this disaster of a bill will be less disgusting in its final form.

19 December, 2009 10:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thing and I'll shut up:

Anger is not cynicism. Anger is an expression of hope that our fight may still bring a positive change.

Cynicism would be accepting the status quo without expressing our objections.

19 December, 2009 11:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, that's pretty much my point. Part of the reason I object to cynicism is that it turns into an excuse for inaction. What I mean by a cynic would be, for example, the kind of person who thinks that all events are controlled by powers behind the scenes who always end up winning no matter what we do, or that there's no real difference between the two parties, etc. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that nothing we do can have any effect on the real outcome, so there's no point in trying. It's the people who are reacting like that (or blaming Congress rather than Obama and the Senate rules) who are my real targets here, not you. I think you have a more nuanced view of the problem.

I hope that there will be pressure to improve the Senate version of the bill. Anger may help that to happen, so long as it doesn't get in the way of effective strategy.

19 December, 2009 14:43  

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