Good News, Bad News

SuperObamaGood News
I thought President Obama's speech last night was excellent, almost masterful. But it was just a speech, I want to see action now.

Thankfully, the first minor actions have actually already happened - the administration is practicing message discipline and they have used their organizing savvy to put pressure on Congress.

For message discipline, they first needed a message, which they have finally created:
We need to bring stability and security to Americans who already have health insurance, guarantee affordable coverage for those who don't, and rein in the cost of health care.
Second, they needed to hammer it home. I heard both David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett repeat the "stability and security" line. I expect it to be repeated often from now on. However, the true test of success will be how many congressional Democrats start repeating it. I'm crossing my fingers!

Another minor action is using Organizing for America effectively. I'm on the emailing list, but I haven't seen anything impressive from OFA up til now. They have set up a write your congressional representatives page that is engaging, offers specific details and is easy to use. Glad to see them start to roll up their sleeves.

LINK: The White House has released the full text of Ted Kennedy's letter.

UPDATE: In comments, I said I'd wait until the floor votes and especially the conference committee to pass final judgment on Obama's efforts. Well, I don't know if I can still do that. Okay, I can't. Robert Reich destroys any unjustified hope I had. Shame on me. However, that's not to say it's time to give up. Reich ends on a realistically hopeful note:
But, again, the race has just begun. Your input is still important -- in fact, more important now than before.
The more you can make your voices heard, the more likely it is that the race will be won by the public rather than the private interests.
Thomas Starr KingBad News
The statue of Thomas Starr King, one of two in the U.S. Capitol representing California, will be replaced by a statue of President Ronald Reagan. Starr King was a Unitarian minister who was instrumental in keeping California from seceding during the Civil War.


Ryan said...

An actual, solid committment to a public option would have been nice, too. As it is, for all his impressive rhetoric, he's leaving himself the option of compromising this thing to death and still declaring "victory." Without a solid public option, this thing could end up being a pretty massive giveaway to the health insurance industry, just as it already is for big pharma since Obama negotiated away bulk purchasing power to bring down drug costs. Force everyone to get coverage by law, make the private sector take all these new people, then have the government pick up the check, or most of the check, for the formerly uninsured. It would be much cheaper and better to have a real public option. We've already been too willing to compromise away single-payer. Without standing firm for the public option, what we have here is a giveaway to the same industry that got us into this mess.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Agreed on the main points, but I would wait for the floor votes and conference committee for Obama to show his hand. A real public option - meaning everybody could opt in - would be better, but I'm okay with the plan laid out in the House. What concerns me more is the 4 years that will pass before the Exchange, and its public option, is started. See "When in Doubt" post for more details.

On your mandated give-away to industry, Rachel Maddow asked Axelrod exactly this question, and he responded like he had never heard of this critique before. He sputtered out every focus group tested phrase he could think of. I think he's in over his head. His quote from the Afghan escalation post "MSM," was pure tripe:

“There is a unanimity of opinion about what our objective is, and the objective is to disable and destroy Al Qaeda and remove that threat to our national security,” said David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser. “Obviously, there are a variety of opinions about how best to achieve that objective, and it’s valuable and important to hear those views.”