Afternoon Quick Hits - Ensign and Phony Health Care Reform
by Deacon Blues
Several items for you to review and comment on as we head into what may be an interesting weekend:
It turns out that Fox News was tipped off by Doug Hampton of his desire to go public over John Ensign’s destruction of Hamptons' marriage and family. It also turns out that Ensign’s GOP Senate colleagues knew over a year ago about Ensign’s affair with his own staffer. Fox took that information and instead of reporting it like a news organization would, they sat on the story like any good right wing propaganda outlet would and tipped off Ensign so he could get ahead of the story and spin it as an extortion attempt by Hampton,
which has since been walked back. as late as today without any specific proof. (By the way, see how Ensign's office smears Hampton late on a Friday afternoon without offering any real proof and hiding behind the attorneys, allowing the smear to sit there over the weekend.)
As for Ensign’s allegedly moral GOP peers in the Senate, who knew about Ensign’s hypocrisy and still castigated gays and Democrats over family values last year and still refuse to comment on the matter now (for obvious reasons), well, this only confirms what we already knew about House and Senate Republicans.
Health Care Reform – Or Not
Historians will look back at the alleged health care reform debate during Obama’s first year, and immediately see that Obama’s willingness to let Congress take the wheel and drive the policy car was the death knell for any actual reform. Obama’s people, especially Rahm Emanuel learned all the wrong lessons from the Clinton effort in 1993-1994, deciding that success could be achieved by stating support for broad goals and then letting Congress invest itself by figuring out the details. Wrong. As long as we have our current system of congressional campaign finance, letting Congress take the wheel in figuring out the details is a recipe for letting the industries control things to their benefit.
Obama could have come out early with essential principles and then challenged Congress to show him how alternate ideas achieved the same outcomes. An effective and hard-nosed political operation would then clearly shoot down those alternatives one-by-one with facts that showed how business-as-usual from the usual industry-bought suspects in Congress were in fact phony reform. Instead, Obama has let the alleged moderates in both houses, many of whom are against real reform and some of whom already killed the 1993-1994 effort, take the lead in drafting a package that will not have a public option but will require many or all families to pay insurance companies. In other words, this will end up as corporate welfare again for HMOs and insurers, and probably still will not cover everyone. Moreover, the White House naively assumed that hospitals and other stakeholders would not look the president in the face and lie to him about their support, when in fact each of the industries will, in the absence of a bully pulpit from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to hammer the issue, look to delay and knock down the effort brick by brick.
As usual, in the absence of a strong push from the White House, the corporate media will help their friends in the other industries build a false narrative that the bipartisan solution will get us there. In addition, as the Beltway whores rush to protect the industries against a national public option with state or regional alternatives, no one asks how states can afford any significant expansion of Medicaid in this budget-cutting environment when they would have to pony up half the tab.