@Readerreader--Obama could have followed Clinton/Kennedy and reached out to Senator Hatch for a bipartisan, incremental health care bill. Instead, he went for broke with a party line approach.
I think we should be reminded that Clinton made a disaster out of health care due to his capitulation to the Right on that matter, and what he did back then is certainly no model for other presidents who claim to espouse progressive goals to emulate.
As for Obama, he stressed his desire for "bipartisanship" on health care reform since he took office, which seemed to serve as a euphemism for running for cover and backing down every time someone like Joe Lieberman had a hissy fit and demanded that the bill give less to working class people and more to the big insurance companies. The end result of all the "compromise" is a bill that is little more than a huge giveaway to private insurance companies no matter how many more previously uninsured people end up with coverage. How are many working class people supposed to pay for the various health care packages offered by private insurers? This is an especially relevant question when you consider how these big companies set the prices themselves and they no longer have to worry about the existence of a public option to provide much needed competition and a much needed alternative to private health insurance in this country for working class people.
Everyone's biggest excuse for Obama is: "He had to compromise! Compromise is a fact of life in politics! Blah blah blah...!" Every social activist is aware of this. The question is, how much compromise is reasonable? And how much of it can one do before crossing the line and the compromise becomes blatant capitulation?
If Obama had "gone for broke" and took a true progressive stance and was as unflinching about it as the Republicans are when it comes to getting what they want, he would have had immense support from the great majority of workers in this country who wanted the public option as well as the progressive base that fought so hard to get him elected. Instead, his campaign contributors in the health care and big pharma industries politely reminded him who gave his campaign the lion's share of the donations to get him elected, along with the fear of the Republicans calling him a "socalist" and spreading outrageous lies like the "death panel" nonsense. And if we continue to compromise about issues as important to working class people as the majority's desire for universal health care, we will never have anything remotely fair or reasonable for the majority of people in this country. People who defend Obama's backpedalling on health care reform by claiming it was in the interests of "bipartisanship" and necessary compromise to do so fail to remember that before he was even elected he was compromising with the Republicans by replacing the fight for a nationwide single-payer health care system with the public option that allowed the parasitic private insurers to continue to exist, albeit with less of an advantage and less of a monopoly than they had before. Then he compromised on that when the Republicans bitched and called him a "socialist" and in response he simply suggested the expansion of Medicare to people as young as 55 years old. Then when Lieberman raised hell about that (thinking that was still too much to give those working class whiners), Obama and his Democratic cohorts in Congress compromised yet again and took the Medicare expansion out! And though I am not going to argue that what we have left after that, which is a mere shadow of what Obama initially promised to fight for, let alone what the working class actually deserve from a strictly ethical viewpoint, should be shunted completely, it's time for the progressives to start raising hell about vastly improving the bill that gets passed with the same commitment, zeal, and courage of their convictions that the Republicans did.
@bernbart--You forgot to add the left wing conspiracy crowd who hang out with Glenn Greenwald. They sound very much like the Tea Baggers.
Considering how Glenn Greenwald provides evidence to back up everything he says via extensive links in his articles and makes it clear that people with true progressive values are not on the fringe like the right-wingers and faux lefties always claim, I think your above statement is laughably specious.
Most progressives I know who have been long time liberal voters in the Democratic party are very pleased with Obama. Maybe we are just more realistic, not expecting miracles over night.
Then most of the progressives you know personally are mindless 'Obamabots' who defend and rationalize every move he makes simply because he is a Democrat and/or because he impresses you with his charm and sophistication whenever he makes public speeches. I am sorry, but the level of his capitulation on health care, his bail-out of the banks, his continuation of preemptive wars and even starting wars of that sort in three more nations than Bush did, his continuation of using deplorable policies like indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without even accusing them of crimes, his total denial of due process to anyone accused of being a "terrorist," the use of military tribunals instead of criminal courts for such prisoners, and the continuation of most of the tenets of the Patriot Act are not progressive values. Yet you say that you and most of your fellow Obamabots are pleased with what he has done because you would consider it a "miracle" if he stood up to the Republicans about the core values that make up America and actually did something other than capitulate endlessly in his first year? And to think they call socialists like me unrealistic dreamers!
I'[m] giving Obama a few years, not a year.
As I said to Joan in another response to her above article, I understand that change takes time, but if the leaders we follow do not have a true progessive bone in their bodies or even a single iota of the guts and integrity that Martin Luthor King Jr. had, they are not worthy of our unswerving support.