Powers said that a White House desperate for a political win has wheeled and dealed away the guts of the bill.
For 3 days former Democrat Party chairman Howard Dean has been saying the same thing, but I thought, “Who listens to him?”
A lot of people, apparently. Also, Andy Stern, powerful president of the SEIU, and this WH’s most frequent visitor, is expressing his discontent.
Now this afternoon comes this Politico article indicating Obama and the Dems have a real problem on their hands:
In a stunning reversal of fortune for President Barack Obama, top progressives are attacking the health-reform plan moving through the Senate as “hollow,” “unsupportable” and a sellout to corporate interests.
Republicans, after plotting for months to sink the signature legislation of Obama’s first year, suddenly think that Democrats might wind up doing it for them….
Most dangerously for WH chances of assembling 60 Senate votes, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean launched a 3rd day of attacks on the emerging bill, arguing in a Washington Post op-ed that it meets none of his benchmarks for “real reform.”
“[A]s it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America,” Dean wrote, then took to the airwaves to amplify his case.
Ed Schultz, an influential liberal radio host, declared on his “Ed Show” on MSNBC: “The base is restless. They are wandering in the wilderness, Mr. President…. They want to know, where are you?… Right now, Mr. President, your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout – a corporate sellout, out that…. The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry – they get a bunch of new customers.”
Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, wrote on his Twitter feed: “Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate.” And “Kos” blogged: “You pass a s—–y program now that further bankrupts our nation, and we won’t be talking about ‘fixing’ it in a few years, but whether it should even exist.”
With polls showing erosion in both Obama’s popularity and in support for health reform, the WH mobilized to try to tamp down the rebellion from such essential allies….
Liberals contend that the bill has been watered down so much that Congress should kill it and start over. The WH warns that health reform could be doomed for the rest of this presidency, and probably beyond, if it falters now.
The attack from the left comes at a delicate juncture when a delay of more than a couple of days could sink any remaining chance that the Senate can pass it by Christmas. Senate Democrats are circulating a possible schedule that would have them taking the final vote on Christmas Day.
Right now, Democrats are at least 2 votes shy of the 60 they need to pass the bill….
But Obama’s problem now is on the left. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann told viewers Wednesday night that the Senate version has become “unsupportable… a hollow shell of a bill”: “This is not health, this is not care, this is certainly not reform.”
Pulling back the curtain on WH efforts to rein in Dean, [senior adviser David] Axelrod said the former governor “got on the phone with Nancy-Ann DeParle, our point person on the health care issue, [who] went through point by point.
“She explained why he was wrong,” Axelrod continued. “And he simply didn’t want to hear that critique. I saw his piece in The Post this morning, and it is predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions.”
Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, said on “Morning Joe” that business lobbyists “are winning” on a host of Washington issues, including health reform….
Asked if she would enthusiastically support Obama for reelection, Huffington replied: “This is not really the question…. Depends on the alternative…. The American middle class was let down…. Can you really say this WH is on the side of the American people?”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused the Democrats Thursday of abandoning the goal of true reform to the political imperative of simply passing any bill they can label health reform.
“It’s now an effort by a political party to protect itself. They’re in a political panic, quite frankly,” Graham told reporters. “Nobody really cares what it is anymore as long as they can get it passed, signed, and claim a political victory. That is going to do a lot of damage to long-term health care reform efforts. And I would urge them not to do this. They’re walking off a cliff.”
Peggy Noonan, the columnist and former Reagan speechwriter, told Axelrod on “Morning Joe”: “On the issue of health care, you are losing the left, you are losing the right, you are losing the center. That looks to me like a political disaster.”