If the Democrats fail to pass real changes in the health care system this year -- rather than a sham that mimics and mocks reform -- they will have nobody to blame but themselves. Or at least nobody to blame but other Democrats, notably those in the White House who have never been committed to this most venerable and fundamental aspect of party policy.All this dubious history was no secret when Obama appointed the combative Chicagoan to run his shop. Although few Democrats trusted Emanuel to hold true to principle, many hoped that he would get things done -- and that those things would reflect the progressive outlook of his boss rather than the attitude of accommodation he picked up on Capitol Hill.
Instead and perhaps inevitably, his narrow pragmatism is shaping the Obama administration's approach to reform. As long as some kind of bill passes, Emanuel won't worry when the corporate powers override the public interest once again. He will congratulate himself on a job well done. His Blue Dogs will boast of frustrating that liberal Obama. Everyone will get a nice check from the insurance lobbyists.
But the president's promise will be soiled, and the nation's future will be dimmed.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Joe Conason takes on Rhambo