A few days ago, I came up with a plan for helping health care reform get through the Senate Finance Committee. It involved superheroes! Now I give you my latest internet project: Captain Ineffective.
The general idea is to make the nonfunctional Gang of Six process by which Max Baucus is trying to move a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee more of a joke. Hopefully by the end of the August recess, the rest of the Democrats in the Senate will have an appropriately mocking attitude towards the whole enterprise and be ready to make Baucus work with Schumer and Rockefeller to get a bill through.
Here is example #3,482 that Max Baucus is acting as an agent of the White House. This one ought to even convince you, Neil.
There is a Captain Ineffective, alright. And his name is Barack Obama.
Y'know, I had significant worries about Obama prior to the election, but he's proving to be far worse than my worst case scenarios.
He's managing to hit the sweet spot of both destroying the left for a generation in political terms while simultaneously selling out the public interest for a generation in policy terms.
Obama is doing for the left what Eisenhower did for the right - destroying the system from the inside out.
David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan have a President they can support. The left doesn't.
I think this is great!
On the other hand, Petey, there's the conference call a while back where the President was talking down the Senate Finance package and saying that he'd fix things in conference committee.
We've gotten health care reform through 4 of the 5 relevant committees at this point. It's a lot further along than things have gotten before. I'm not pessimistic about our situation.
"We've gotten health care reform through 4 of the 5 relevant committees at this point. It's a lot further along than things have gotten before. I'm not pessimistic about our situation."
I've thought all year long that a bill will pass, and I still think that is highly likely. That's not what "our situation" is about.
The issue is what that bill will be. And I think the final bill will be 85% Senate Finance Committee trash, with 15% thrown in from the other four committees so the WH can claim to the left that it got them a better bill than big, bad Max Baucus wanted.
"On the other hand, Petey, there's the conference call a while back where the President was talking down the Senate Finance package and saying that he'd fix things in conference committee."
It's called good cop / bad cop.
Or put another way, you are being treated as if you had no understanding of politics whatsoever.
The WH wants the left to blame the Senate Finance Committee rather than the WH for the piece of garbage that will emerge. This works for everyone, since Baucus and Conrad aren't hurt by the enmity of the left, while the WH would be.
The left will be thrown some minor scraps in the Conference Committee, but the WH is planning to essentially make the Senate Finance Committee version into law.
The only leverage the left has over the WH would be a willingness to scuttle a bill from the left in the House if they don't get better language. That would make the WH write the final bill in a better way. But I think the WH has thoroughly neutered the left in such a way to make organizing such an effort next to impossible.
Everything we've seen so far this summer from the WH has been about bashing the left while keeping plausible deniability about their bashing of the left, and they seem to be doing quite an effective job of it.
Hey Neil, Ezra linked to captainineffective today, congrats.
On a completely unrelated note, did you ever come across this Atlantic article from a couple years back? Philosophy graduate becomes successful management consultant for a few years, then looks back in wonder at the foolishness of it all. It's pretty funny.
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