I guess Rahm was right

If we liberals really believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Obama intended to be FDR or LBJ or even someone to the left of Bob Dole, then Rahm Emanuel was right. But because I still haven’t gotten used to being flat-out lied to by a candidate running as a liberal (what political advantage is there in tricking people into thinking he is farther to the left than he really is?), I am still slack-jawed flabbergasted by the kind of thing David Sirota disclosed today.

You probably haven’t yet forgotten (try as you might) the immensely painful and ineptly handled health care reform saltation in the Senate last year. If so, you probably recall how the President handed over his signature domestic promise to the Senate both to formulate and to promote publicly, while he went about places like London, Strabourg, Prague, Ankara, Baghdad, Cairo, Dresden, Moscow, and so forth.

Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violent air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
Unreal

The Senate then decided to proceed as it knows best. It divided up the project into as many parcels as possible so the maximum number of Senators could get publicity and campaign contributions for their efforts. And then they all discussed with the press their particular gripes about the bill. So that a policy that had been vastly popular was slowly deflating as Senators tested which way the wind was blowing. Then Max Baucus got ahold of it and decided that he was going to be the Hero of Bipartisanship. You may recall Bipartisanship. This is what conservatives bleat for when they are out of power. They ask to be considered. They ask to have the stimulus be given to tax payers (the employed or rentiers) in the form of tax relief instead of creating jobs for the unemployed — then they vote against it. You know Bipartisanship. That’s when a policy has to be shaped so that Republican views can be included while they vote against it. And then point to the parts they insisted on to show the bill is fatally flawed. Bipartisanship. (Like Tevye singing “Tradition!”)

So Max spent the entire summer looking for Bipartisanship. He hoped to get it from Chuck Grassley. You know, the “moderate” Senator from Iowa who has voted against every Democratic sponsored bill during this Administration. But Max had a plan. He thought that he could get it by gutting the bill of a government sponsored alternative to private health insurance for those the bill forced to buy but could not be squeezed into doing so. In other words Baucus wanted to lure the lone Republican by making the health care reform a bonanza for the health insurers — it would require everyone to buy insurance but not have any sort of competition or price regulation for the oligopolistic industry whose cost has vastly exceeded any increase in any price experienced elsewhere in this enfeebled economy. What’s not for a Republican to like? But no, Grassley was not interested. Evidently he figured his future campaign contribution s tream might be imperiled by even the slightest hint of socialism. Even if he were acting righteously to turn good public policy into a slop pail for corporate greed. And so the bill, stripped of essentials, limped along to allow others like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln to show how inept Democrats are and how their signature policy initiative failed to sufficiently cater to campaign contributors.

Now that’s how we saw it as it played out. Max betraying our man Obama. The guy who, had he had time to spend in the U.S., would have been fighting tooth-and-nail for his initiative. At the time we were a little queasy about the fact that Max’s chief health care aide, Liz Fowler, had left to go to Wellpoint, the nation’s large health insurance money sink. She was involved in advising Wellpoint, as VP of public policy, how to deal with the dangers of possible congressional action to regulate the abuses that it and other insurers perpetrated on the American economy. And then, after a couple of years raking in the dough and having three martini lunches with the industry, she comes back in 2008 to advise Max on health care policy! Surely Max was out of line we thought. Surely our man of the foreign trips would disapprove. Ah, Max you stabbed us in the back!

But lo! Today we find out that Liz Fowler has been appointed by the President to become deputy director of the Office of Consumer Information and Oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She will be helping to “implement” (to put a kind term on it) the new “reform” (another euphemism).

Alas! Treachery, thy name is Obama!

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road

You should read the Sirota piece if for no other reason than to watch Bill Moyers explain what Liz Fowler did to wreck the reform.

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