Thursday, December 17, 2009

If only the Tsar knew!

Glenn Greenwald speculates that the crappy healthcarereform bill coming out of the Senate is the result neither of ineptitude nor of bad circumstances. Rather, Greenwald believes that the current bill, which has neither the popular public option nor the popular Medicare expansion, but does have the unpopular mandate and the unpopular drug reimportation ban and the unpopular antitrust exemption, is just what Obama has been aiming at all along. The idea, per Greenwald, is to make the bill as corporate-friendly as possible in order to ensure that corporate money continues to flow into the Democratic Party's coffers.

In this version of events, Joe Lieberman is not acting on his own to make the bill as unpleasant to liberals as possible. Instead, Lieberman is simply doing what Obama wants him to do: stripping out the parts of the bill that the health-care industry doesn't like, while keeping in the parts that the industry does like. Greenwald notes that Lieberman has received no criticism from the White House for doing this. Rather, the White House has reserved its criticism for Howard Dean, who has pointed out just how corporate-friendly the bill has become and who has publicly called for the defeat of the bill.

This is politics the DLC way: a big wet sloppy kiss for corporate interests and a flip of the bird to the party's liberal base. These are the principles that Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, has espoused throughout his political career, and presumably that's why Obama made him Chief of Staff in the first place.

If this is what's really going on, then Obama is a DLC Democrat, and always has been. Those who defend Obama, saying that he was helpless to influence events, and that it was all Rahm's fault, or all Joe's fault, are in denial. It's no use crying, "If only the Tsar knew!" because, as always, the Tsar has known, and approved, all along.

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