Thursday, June 25, 2009

And the dominoes start to fall...

From TPMDC: "Speaking moments ago to a large and animated crowd of union organizers and health reform advocates in a brewing house just North of the Capitol, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) said he supports a public insurance option."

Well, of course he does. I think this just proves that Specter is not exactly a man of conviction--he's clearly interested in presenting a moderate front, but he's willing to become a conventional liberal if it's necessary to hold his seat. I guess the only question is: does he revert back to his original form after re-election? My guess is yes, so I support Joe Sestak to primary him.

At this point, there are only two questions about the public plan that matter. Number (1) is: do Democratic leaders in the Senate have the werewithal to put it in? Number (2) is: will Democrats that oppose it (just Lieberman and Landrieu, so far as I know) filibuster the bill? I somehow doubt (2), while (1) remains to be seen. Lieberman won't gain anything from opposing such an option--apart from burnishing his independent credentials--and I suspect he could be bought off by something like an Obama promise of support for his re-election. Landrieu might be harder, as the objection might be a bit more ideological. But will she filibuster the bill if it contains one thing she doesn't like, as opposed to just not voting for it? And with Specter signed on and Ben Nelson officially undecided, being the lone Democrat to filibuster would be a real--and foolhardy--act of political courage, of the sort I've never observed from her.

At this point, I'm not sure that the public plan is as good as it could be, as it's entirely free of taxpayer subsidy and doesn't have access to Medicare-negotiated pricing. In essence, because of the compromises that have been made, it's just going to be a non-profit health insurer that happens to be run by the government. I can understand why conservatives oppose it, but given their issue stances and ideology, I guess I don't see why they fear it, if government can't run anything efficiently.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.