Friday, August 21, 2009

How the Fuck Did We Get Here?

It's mid August, actual health care reform is on the ropes after the Obama administration said it's willing to deal on the public option. But hold on everyone, Rahm Emanuel has shocking revelation:
“The Republican leadership,” Mr. Emanuel said, “has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama’s health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day.”
Really? The opposition party is actively opposing the president's plans? You didn't see that one coming?

The fact that the administration sees this as new information tells you all you need to know about how poorly they've handled the health care fight. And honestly when you stand back and take a look at the strategy they've used so far, I'm still fairly stunned:
  • Legislative Strategy: Bend over backwards to include the few less insane "moderate"Republicans and corporate whore Democrats at every press conference, meeting or policy session even though their votes aren't needed to pass the bill.
  • Policy Strategy: Don't make any specific demands of the bill, let congress and (therefore powerful chairman/insurance company shills like Max Baucus) wield disproportionate amounts of power to craft the legislation as they see fit.
  • PR Strategy: Whatever you do, DON'T DEMONIZE THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY! This message was coming out of the White House since day one. Who cares that they're extremely unpopular leeches and would oppose any meaningful reform? We want them to be at the table for some reason, rather than being a living case study of why real reform is necessary.
  • PR Strategy that Ruins Policy: Get Big Pharma on board by promising them that we won't change their ability to fleece us on drug costs.
  • Good Strategy: Say that you want everyone to work through the recess to avoid extending the debate and avoid the whole rowdy townhall fiasco.
  • Bad Execution of Good Strategy: Continue to stroke the egos of the Blue Dogs and Douche Caucus members before the recess and refuse to pressure them, even though they are the only ones who want to "slow things down".
  • Smart Step: Townhall Meetings led by Obama.
  • Dumb Step that Nullifies Smart Step: Don't advocate any firm principles at these town halls, muddling the message and essentially encouraging the Douche Caucus to screw with the bill even more.
  • If All Else Fails, Cave Some More: Say you're willing to get drop the public option, even though it's only remaining part of the bill that would lower costs and keep the insurance companies honest.
I'd like to believe the article about the shift in strategy from the White House, but I'm not getting my hopes up. It's just important to realize that we didn't get to this point on health care because of crazy people at townhall meetings. We got here thanks to a crappy strategy, and hopefully the Administration can learn from that going forward.

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