He says, "Reform, by definition, changes relationships of forces, relationships of power. This does none of that. And, that's the root of Obama's failure or this fiasco as it is unfolding, that he set out to create some grand national consensus on health care without confronting power. And when you try to make some kind of consensus without confronting power, power always wins."
I'll add and suggest that had Obama really wanted reform to succeed he would have actually led a campaign for single-payer health care. As Republican forces and corporate and special interests opposed his campaign, he could then compromise plans for single payer health care if Republicans and corporate interests got on board.
This strategy would have made it possible for bills to escape the House and Senate that at least included plans for a public option. The middle would have been further left and more progressive. Instead, Obama staked out a left position at a point that wasn't really left at all and has now found a middle, a position for bipartisan agreement, that is more right wing and antithetical to real health care reform.
Those who were pleased to hear Obama saying the following during his press conference are now probably disappointed.
"...if you don't set deadlines in this town, things don't happen. The default position is inertia, because doing something always creates some people who are unhappy. There's always going to be some interest out there that decides: You know what? The status quo is working for me a little bit better""
Obama's new position is that even if we can't get the bill out of the Senate in August he just wants Congress to keep working and he wants the committees in the House and Senate to keep working and he wants reform on his desk so he can put his signature on it before the year is over.
It seems like inertia (which may be a concise way of describing corporate control and power in Washington) has taken control of Barack Obama.
Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader, is suggesting that he needs more time because the Senate Republicans need more time.
More time to do what? More time to make remarks about how they hope Obama's push for health care reform is his "Waterloo"?
More time to stall because GOP opposition to health care is "just plain politics"?
More time for Republicans like Roy Blunt to say Republicans won't be offering up their own solution because it will only "complicate" the push for reform? As if he or any other Republican really cares.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House wanted to pass the bill before leaving for the August recess but now she thinks the House needs time to get the bill written and time to review it.
What she is saying means there will be more time for special interests that are lobbying Congress to neutralize and gut what we are for some odd reason still calling "health care reform."
There has been plenty of time to prepare for a vote. The House could have chosen to spend time on health care instead of debating a bill to allow the carrying of concealed weapons.
What everyone needs to know at this point is that these are the politicians who have been driving this "bipartisan reform": Senators Mike Crapo (D-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R- Tennessee), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Thomas Carper (D- Delaware), Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota), Arlen Specter (R- Pennsylvania), Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), Daniel Inouye (D- Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Joe Lieberman (I- Connecticut), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Debbie Stabenow (D- Michigan) and Bob Corker (R-Tennessee).
They began steering it with the Healthy Americans Act in November 2008 and said they would "sit down with the President-elect and his advisers to discuss cost-effective health care reform ideas."