The President gives his friends a smile

After making a day tour through Connecticut last week to stump for Richard Blumenthal for Senate, the President dined in Greenwich, Connecticut, home to homes that are are so large they are assigned zip codes, and the district of millionaire Representative Jim Himes, who recently wrote to Speaker Pelosi announcing that he objected to repealing the Bush tax cuts on millionaires. What better place to raise $30,000 a plate for millionaire Democrats? Barack Obama used the occasion to have a little fun at the expense of some of the people who elected him and who he expects to come to the polls to support Democrats. According to FireDogLake he said:

“OBAMA: Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there. If you get the financial reform bill passed — then, well, I don’t know about this particularly derivatives rule, I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven’t yet brought about world peace and — (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.) We have had the most productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation.”

I’m not sure I get it. Yes, I see why the Greenwich millionaires laughed. They were being assured that, no, even though a lot of you guys nearly ended global capitalism as we know it, we are not going to hold you responsible, or even prevent you from doing it again if you can make a buck off it.

What I don’t get is why the President thought it prudent to blast his constituents so publicly. It’s one thing to let your chihuahua press secretary do it. At least then you can pretend you can’t control him when he pees on your leg. Did he do it because he really is so thinned-skinned that he can’t allow his supporters to expect him to fulfill his campaign promises, or at least try to? He will allow Republicans to call him a foreigner, a Muslim, a socialist, and he will preemptively compromise with them (witness the original handling of the “stimulus” bill, taking single-payer off the table at the start, and a raft of appointments like Gates, Gregg, McChrystal, and the doddering Alan Simpson to visible positions, just to name a few). Nor does he chide (he in fact enables) the cankers within the Party, such as Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Michael Bennet, and others, when there were viable alternatives or when they deserved LBJ-style treatment. All of that is hard enough to take, but do we have to be insulted just because it’s the only venting he allows himself? Isn’t there a name for this: this resentment towards your supporters and desire to ingratiate yourself with people who are bad for you? Maybe, teenager?

Just so there’s some perspective here, what exactly are the laughable “Democrats” accused of whining about? The public option? Well, this might seem a laughable matter to the President and his giggling millionaire dinner companions. But when the President was a first term Senator running for President, he sure wanted to make us believe that a Medicare-like option available to every American would be a central part of his Health Care Reform legislation. You don’t have to read all nine pages of “BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN’S PLAN,” you can just peruse the follow paragraph from pages 5-6:

‘(2) NEW AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS. The Obama-Biden plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals purchase new affordable health care options if they are uninsured or want new health insurance. Through the Exchange, any American will have the opportunity to enroll in the new public plan or an approved private plan, and income-based sliding scale tax credits will be provided for people and families who need it. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency.Insurers would be required to justify an above-average premium increase to the Exchange. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, transparent.” [Underlining and bolding mine.]

The “new public plan” which was to set the standard for private insurance programs was thus an essential element of the entire program. And it was to be available to all Americans. That, he explained over and over, was how costs were going to be attacked in the future. Insurance companies would have to compete with the public plan. Now, let me ask you, attentive reader, did even the original program, the one before the summer of the bill was fatally infected by the dreaded IDS (Integrity Deficient Syndrome), did even that bill include such a plan? Then the bill was watered down even more and then finally the whole concept of a public plan was discarded by the filibuster-proof Democratic Senate. And who does the President ridicule? The buffoons who strutted about the Senate picking apart an already compromised bill in order to have their aging, wrinkled, cadaverous visages broadcast on TeeBee?  No, he lambasts the very schmoes who voted for him, manned telephones for him, gave him the small contributions that in total gave him an overwhelming financial advantage over McCain, and who gave him their cell phone numbers and email addresses to offer assistance at the drop of a hat. No wonder those investment bankers, insurers, hedge-fund managers and other “serious” people were chuckling. This guy may sound like FDR at times, but at heart he’s as reliable as W.

And what about that silly derivative “reg,” as the millionaires who didn’t want it say? What a laughable, contemptible, lil ole thing to get worked up about. It’s not like the failure of adequate regulation of the financial markets ever hurt anyone, right? We can’t even remember a time when fat cat plutocrats were taking wheelbarrows of cash out of their investment  banks while creating markets of unsustainable, artificial, manipulated values so that the American people would have to bail out the entire corrupt system when it inevitably crashed or watch the end of capitalism as we know it. So why bother about that kind of stuff. We can keep those kind of details quiet, just among us friends. (Laughter.)

As for world peace. Who ever expected a candidate, who promised a withdrawal from Iraq, to do anything other than keep a force of 50,000 troop able and permitted to engage in combat, after he says the combat mission is over? Evidently, the modern way to end a war is simply to say it’s over. That way you can keep fighting, and not have to worry about all those anti-war protestors. No wonder he won the Nobel Peace Prize; he invented a whole new category of Peace. And who ever expected one who promised to restore American integrity and live up to its value to do anything other than decide that those who tortured and committed other war crimes should not be prosecuted? Who can criticize a person who wanted to end domestic spying, only to increase it? Or one who promised the greatest transparency ever, to continue the litigation to keep everything hidden?

But you don’t have to pay any attention to us poor, simple-minded liberals who voted for the President. He sure doesn’t. He expects “liberals” to take what he has seen fit to dole out and shut up. We don’t count. We don’t come to $30,000-a-plate dinners. We are so dumb we wouldn’t even know how to act: Do we get to keep the plate for $30,000? (Laughter.)

Update [9/21/10]: For a searing analysis of the personality of the man behind these pathetically self-congratulatory jibes, take a look at Paul Rosenberg’s piece at Open Left.

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  1. Accountability Autumn Follows “Recovery” Summer

    We are at the end of Recovery Summer and beginning of Accountability Autumn. Our incumbent congressman, Jim Himes, is running for re-election in a tough economic and political climate for incumbents with his voting record. Across the country, incumbents such as Himes are downplaying their votes for the stimulus, Obamacare, and record deficits. While Congressman Himes may be vulnerable this year, the 2010 election may also be a great opportunity for him if he is able to survive. That is because 2010 will be as bad as it gets for Himes in terms of accountability. If he can get a majority of voters to accept the status quo, then he will be practically invulnerable in future elections. Generally, incumbents face their toughest re-election battle after their freshman term. In this case, Himes’ first term ends amidst 10% unemployment and two out of three voters in his district under the belief that Washington is on the wrong track. If he can overcome those odds, then he can do anything –- set aside his campaign season moderation and vote how he pleases in the future. If Himes can win this election, then Accountability Autumn may become as big a failure as Recovery Summer. So the question before the voters is whether or not the status quo is good enough? Because there may not be another chance at an Accountability Autumn like this one.

  2. Chris Demuth, the New Canaan, Connecticut hedge fund manager, has evidently developed an automated drive-by contribution-solicitation program for his Republican hero Den Debicella. Debicella was first elected state senator in 2006, having been the campaign manager of the previous Republican office-holder for several campaigns before that. Debicella’s full-time job is Assistant Vice President of Marketing at The Hartford. His political clout in the capital of the home state of The Hartford, however, has evidently not helped his own career, so he has decided to run against squishy Democrat Jim Himes.

    Among the campaign “ideas” of this minor state polito and insurance salesman is to convert all “stimulus” money to tax breaks. This evidently has Mr Demuth’s heart aflutter. But it wasn’t too long ago, in fact it was during this very Administration, that Mr Debicella and fellow Republican state representative John Harkins were issuing press releases pounding their chests about a $3,459 grant to Franklin Elementary School in Stratford to purchase a new heated transport cabinet for the school lunchroom. That money came from the Democratic stimulus bill voted against by almost all the Republicans in the House — a group Mr Debicella wants to join. But this is now. Then he was proudly defending his little turf in Stratford.

    “With the recession putting the squeeze on municipalities and local school districts throughout Connecticut, most boards of education, including Stratford’s, are having to make do with less. At a time when even small equipment purchases like this one are being put on hold to save money, this grant for the Franklin Elementary School cafeteria is especially welcome,” said Representative Harkins.

    I won’t go further in attacking this small-minded anti-choice, duplicitous campaigner unless Mr Demuth wants to come back and debate it. Mr Demuth comes from a very blood-red reactionary background and is presumably able to discuss as well as activate spam-bots. His namesake (is that your father Chris?) is the D.C. Searle senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He was credited with being one of the very important forces behind the right wing neo-con deception that involved us in Iraq under false pretenses. I’m sure the younger Chris fully supports that kind of deceptive war-making, that costs blood and immense treasure. Not enough to actually fight, mind you, but to make sure others do. After all in one of the many drive-by e-posts that the younger Demuth has been spending his summer vacation putting up all over the Fairfield County, Connecticut local papers is one where he compares the position of Debicella and Himes on the issue of “American Exceptionalism.” That’s AEI-speak for militarism of the Donald Rumsfeld-Dougas Feith-Dick Cheney variety. Remember those guys? That’s who the Demuths are waxing nostalgic for. When I see Chris’s posts about “American Exceptionalism” all I can think of is, Isn’t this an Exceptional Country? In most countries someone like Chris Demuth the senior would be retired in disgrace. Here he gets a stipend at a tax-exempt “think” tank.

    Chris, if you want to debate, you are welcome. If you are going to spam, you will be removed.

    • jacksmith
    • September 20th, 2010

    I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy.

    Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    It’s over. Tell congress to get the healthcare Merchants of death and injury out of the American peoples lives for good. 2010 is about THE PUBLIC OPTION!

    And that CORRUPT! UNDEMOCRATIC! filibuster must GO! NOW!

    Alan Grayson Honors The Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV9TRoYMtjs&feature=player_embedded

    Alan Grayson on Healthcare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPpQ2MNaSDo&feature=player_embedded

    Ron Sparks HealthCareReform http://youtu.be/kqlBFRJh4Cw

    John Garamendi – The Public Option http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyBTEke68aQ&feature=player_embedded

    I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

    There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

    But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES 🙂

    It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

    But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!

    YOU MUST NOT ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

    Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

    47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of you are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

    Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

    Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

    So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. You MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂

  3. I must say I am somewhat fascinated by Chris Demuth’s poitico-bot, and by that I mean whatever program he is using to put pre-digested comments attacking Jim Himes on every site he (or it) finds. (I felt the need to specify what I was talking about lest the reading think by bot I meant Dan Debicella.) To see how this thing works you can take a look at his comment to the Greenwich Times article the lavish Greenwich dinner the President attended last week. His comment was triggered, evidently, by the mention that Jim Himes was not in attendance. And though nothing is made of it, Demuth delivers himself of his usual screed, one version of which we were treated to here, twice. Among the items in Demuth’s bill of particulars is that Himes voted for the stimulus. This evidently was wholesale larceny of the sort a headge-fund manager with time on his hands just fumes over. That Dan Debicella took credit last year for a small part of the money going to a local school and now opposes the whole thing is only an example of political hypocrisy for the purpose of self-promotion. That, in the Demuth Book of Virtues, is considered Character.

    If you look at the article you can also marvel at the wonderful soirée it was where the President unloaded his bitterness against liberals and the increasing ranks of the poor. All the right people were there; not one evidently in need of a public option or a derivative regulation.

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