Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why We Probably Best Be Getting Psyched About The Partially Shitty Health Bill

It's 2010, stupid:
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Clinton suggested Obama wants to move health care off the table so he can turn his entire focus to the economy by January — in time for 2010 elections.

“What he focused on was how important it is to move this year. And I think there is a general sense is the clock is ticking," Wyden said. "That certainly in terms of the president being able to focus on the economy next year at the State of the Union that getting it done this year will in effect clear the tables and allow the focus to be on jobs and education and infrastructure.”
I dunno how the President helps the jobs picture without an aggressive and politically suicidal govt jobs program, but, shucks, he's surprised me before.


solidcitizen said...

Of course, because the point of governing is to be re-elected.

Remind me again why I am a Democrat.

wobblie said...

A jobs program isn't politically suicidal: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/11/11/803378/-Southernersincluding-GOPerswant-a-federal-jobs-bill

lex dexter said...

I hope I'm wrong, but no matter what the popular support is at this point, any govt jobs legislation would be subject to a whole new round of Tparties and scaremongering re: "socialism" that'd surely shit the bed and transform the "public debate," non? Isn't the disparity btw popular and congressional support for the public option a consequence of this kinda bullshit?

Surely one major objective of governing is to build hegemony, right? (It's just behind "redistributing wealth" on MY list of things to do, anyway.) In a political culture that fetishizes voting and elections as proofs positive of "democracy," it's pretty much impossible for any movement to gain legitimacy without tying itself to political parties and elections, right?

Now, OF COURSE I could give two shits about getting individual candidates re-elected, but what's the alternative? Are we to recruit a corps of political suicide-bombers to serve for one term?

[Both of these comments are merely my way of saying "fuck US style liberal democracy," and indulging a Trot-fantasy amidst my MSNBC-laden, Democratic Party-dependent life in/around politics.]

wobblie said...

The Tea Parties had little to no effect on the long-term public support for health care reform or for the public option. The polling on this is remarkably stable over the last six months. Congressional opposition to the public option has been driven by political pressure from the corporate interests who stand to lose - the tea parties have just provided a convenient fig leaf for congresscritters to appease their patrons.

We've endured 9 months of tea partiers calling anything and everything Obama does "socialism." 25% of the population will always be screaming this. That 25% isn't doing a good job changing anyone's mind.

lex dexter said...

Yr right: I didn't mean to overstate the Tea Parties' importance, which is above all symbolic. However, lemme put on my anthropology helmet and explain why ascribing "symbolic importance" to Tea Parties is not faint praise.

So let me restate: isn't a jobs program more dependent on the whims of 100 senators than it is on public opinion? And won't those precious few senators in "the middle" point to that noisy Tea Party minority, and evoke town hall declamations re: "socialism," AS IF they represented a much larger plurality, and, by extension, if patriotic "common sense" en general?

Somehow, Republicans oppose govt job creation (and healthcare) while casting themselves as the "jobs" party. This is what THEIR hegemonic project for 2010 project is all about, non? And regardless of Tea Party and town halls' actual impact in direct action/consciousness raising terms, they will continue to function as legitimizing, grass roots exemplars of this worldview, and "give cover" to Rs and Blue Dogs who are already disposed twds opposing a progressive agenda.

My cynical prediction? The GOP 2010 platform - and the conservative-populist political theater that underwrites it - will not flip the House or the Senate in 2010, but it will influence legislative debates and render politically "impossible" exactly the sorts of progressive govt interventions we need to turn around the economy.

For Ds, the only way around this gets back to Solid's point. For the White House and the Ds to both get re-elected AND usher in New Deal 2, there has to be comparable movement energy and "street heat" around progressive demands far more ambitious than what we've seen so far. But seriously, even if this amazing political groundswell were to happen, there would be all sorts of institutional obstacles (like the filibuster, most obviously).

Ultimately, I believe these structural features are to be blamed, more than a lack of intestinal fortitude on BHO or the Ds' part. But there's plenty of contempt and disappointment to go around. AND, as the Tea Parties prove - let alone labor in the New Deal - it is necessary to consider a loud, visible activist base as a requisite "structural feature" of any government project that is more than an a centrist, opportunist, politics-as-usual enterprise.