My best to Paradox, and my hopes and prayers that he feels better. Let me offer a few short thoughts on matters of the day.
Before the president goes out and finally throws down the gauntlet demanding a vote on health care reform from a badly-divided and no longer fearful-of-him Congress, shouldn't you have the votes lined up first? Yes, it was comforting to see Obama get a little tough with the rhetoric yesterday, but his tone showed a man who still does not know how to lead and demand things of Congress. For some reason, some lunatics in the White House thought it would be smart politics to accept some GOP ideas at the last minute as if that was supposed to . . . . . accomplish what, exactly? The GOP will still never vote for any Obama initiative; the conservative House Dems have seized on using abortion as the excuse to not vote for the bill (and keep collecting industry money in the process); and now the progressives, who have seen this administration take them for granted and toss aside the public option now say the bill is objectionable as well.
This is easily the most schizophrenic legislative strategy I've seen from a White House in a long time. Simply put, you decide early on whether you are going large on health care (the true believers and progressive choice), or going small and incremental (the Rahm Emanuel and get-something-done option). You don't do both. If you are going large, then you work from your base outward, and not against it. You have a disciplined and aggressive messaging machine and a Truth Squad operation that battles the GOP and the media sloppiness every day. And you never negotiate away a public option or Medicare-for-all unless you really have to, in order to get a good policy bill at the very end.
Or if you are going the Rahm, piecemeal, go small-and-build approach, then you work from the middle outward and don't count on your base but rather the naive "new kind of politics" bullshit that works in a campaign but is lethal in governance. Doing this avoids allowing the DINOs like Stupak to kill it on red state issues. Either way, make a choice and stick with it, building your timing around that choice.
And yet this White House has done neither, and fourteen months into its tenure is forced to do crazy shit like this, looking weak and appealing to both ends of the party, when your strategy from the outset should have been built on one or the other.
No public option. No consumer protection agency to stop Wall Street from abusing Main Street. No accountability for Bush administration lawbreaking. Yet the progressives are supposed to get in line behind a supposedly Democratic administration. Good luck with that.