Messina is sometimes criticized by progressives for his management of the health care battle. Progressives like myself believe strongly that the Affordable Care Act would be better if it had included a Public Option. So, by the way, does Messina.Howie P.S.: "Perfect" is a pretty high performance standard to maintain.
I personally would have preferred if the White House would have fought more forcefully for the public option.
But having been deeply involved in the health care battle working with Americans United for Change and Health Care for America Now (HCAN), I'm not sure we could have gotten a Public Option no matter what the president did or did not do. The Senate filibuster, the health insurance lobby, and Senator Lieberman were our chief obstacles. The administration and Senate leadership had negotiated a deal with progressive Senators to include a Medicare buy-in for people from 55 to 65 years of age -- which would have been a huge advance. But then the insurance industry told Lieberman -- who had favored the plan -- to drop it. And that was that.
I think Messina and others, like David Axelrod, would agree that there were mistakes made in the campaign. One of those was allowing the battle to go on for so long -- indulging Senator Baucus' attempt to get bipartisan compromise over so many months that it amplified our opponent's ability to dominate the air waves. By the way, I don't know that Messina could have personally done a lot more to get Baucus off of the bipartisan program more quickly -- notwithstanding their close relationship -- though I suspect he tried. MORE...