The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Senate Democrats Against The Public Option Aren’t Caving They Just Don’t Belive In Real Universal Healthcare

Chris at Americablog wonders why some Senate Democrats are caving on healthcare when 72% want a public option and 85% think the system needs to be fundamentally changed. He thinks it’s because such Dems are spineless.  That fundamentally misunderstands the situation.  To vote against something that 72% of the population wants indicates a Congress member isn’t a panderer to public opinion.  What it indicates instead is that they either:

  • actually don’t believe in a public option, let alone real universal healthcare a la single payor; or,
  • are being paid enough by insurers and other folks who want the current healthcare gravy train to continue that they are willing to vote against what the majority of their constituents want.

Personally, I’d go with both.  They don’t believe in universal healthcare, and they know that their real constituents aren’t the people who vote for them but the people who fund their campaigns and make sure they, their friends and their families are taken care of.  And no, they don’t think that’s you, the voter and taxpayer.

They don’t believe they won’t be reelected if they vote against a public option.  And given re-election rates of Senators, who are the people causing the most problem, they’re probably right, aren’t they?  Their calculation is that voters are sheep and won’t make them pay any real price for killing a good healthcare plan.

I’d say they’re right.  So given that they probably don’t believe in universal healthcare, that they don’t personally need it since they have good healthcare, that they get paid to vote against it and that they’ll pay no price for voting against it, why shouldn’t they kill it?

Seems like a brain dead calculation to me.  I’m sure it does to Diane Feinstein too.  As another entitled aristocrat once said “let them eat cake”.


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  1. *standing on chair clapping*

    thank you ian

  2. senecal

    Ian, you’re right, except for one thing. Politicians are opportunisits above all, and do sometimes sense a coming thing (big public opinion numbers) and decide to ride the wave. Politicians never create the wave (i.e. actually lead on an issue) but occasionally jump in front of an existing one and take credit for it. Big money doesn’t guarantee their next election — they can’t duck every issue the electorate is behind.

    on the other hand, big money maybe can guarantee their next defeat.

    Well, I tried.

  3. Ian Welsh

    I’m not completely pessimistic. If they do it under reconciliation, they only need 50 and that’s probably doable, as long as they get over their bipartisanship fetish and are willing to twist arms, hard.

  4. jacksmith


    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

  5. +100. I’m really tired of the “spineless” formulation. The simplest explanation for Democratic behavior is that they are doing what they prefer to do. No other cause need be invoked. Occam’s razor and all that.

  6. gtash

    I think if we have a representative democracy or republic, then politicans who simply ignore the will of the people are worse than spineless, worse than incompetent. They simply are not ‘representing’ faithfully. Is that some form of treason I wonder?

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