-Reason #187 that you do not fuck with the teamsters!
Democratic lawmakers will not be able to count on the AFL-CIO‘s support if they drop the public insurance option from the health care reform legation, union officials said Tuesday.
The AFL-CIO’s incoming president, Richard Trumka, outlined “three absolute musts” in any overhaul package: a public option, an employer mandate and no tax on employer-provided health benefits.
Asked if the union would work against any bill that did not hit those targets, Trumka told reporters during a briefing: “That means we won’t support the bill if it doesn’t have the public option.”
We’re not seeing a partisan shift among Independents, rather a tuning out. They clearly remain unhappy with Republicans (at 16%), but are becoming disenchanted with Democrats. If the Republican message was winning the debate, Independents would be flocking to the GOP. Instead, they appear more disgusted at Democratic incompetence than policy.
So, let’s play “Let’s pretend” for a moment. Let’s say hypothetically, the Dems can’t get their shit together and we wind up with a reform bill with no public option and ends up doing more harm than good. Most of the young people and progressives who got Obama elected will be less inclined to help out in the 2010 mid terms. (Granted, there will be exceptions. If the progressive caucus holds firm and refuse to vote for a non-public option bill, they’ll be fine. And Democrats like Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who essentially double dog dared the GOP to kill Medicare and succeeded in making them scamper away like whipped puppies will become rock stars in the next cycle.) Meanwhile, the hard line GOP will come out in droves and proceed to pick off the low hanging fruit that will be the Blue Dogs. Provided any of them survive the primaries after Daily Kos and FDL fund raise like money laden demons for their opponents. Which means we could see our majority in the house tighten up and maybe, if the GOP has their mojo working, lose the senate. At which point, the GOP parties like it’s 1994 and the Dems get whacked upside the head with Fredrick Nietzsche’s Theory of Eternal Recurrence.
Or, to make things even more interesting, a bunch of said dissatisfied progressives decide to dump the Dems and start a third party. Thus robbing the Dems of a good chunk of it’s fundraising base and possibly some of it’s top tier talent.
(Seriously, if after months of assuring everyone that there would be a public option in the bill, you don’t think Howard Dean wouldn’t feel just the tiniest bit screwed if it isn’t there? And let’s not forget that Dean was the guy who came up with the fifty state strategy that got us our majority in the first place. We lose him and we lose a lot.)
That does us no favors in 2010 but it could really be a problem in 2012. Provided Obama doesn’t make any other major mistakes in his term (And as “if’s” go, that’s a big one.) He’s going to have to deal with tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people with horror stories about how their insurance companies have fucked them over. Not to mention the constant drip-drip-drip from the many headed Beck-Hannity-O’Reilly- Fox News hydra. And provided that this mythical third party is able to produce a viable (Provided being the operative word because political parties take years to fully form.) candidate, he could wind up splitting the votes with Obama, allowing the GOP to retake the White House. Best Case Scenario: It’s Mitt Romney. Worst case: Sarah Palin.
And yes, I did just throw up in my mouth when I wrote that. But we can’t discount that possibility, not for a moment.
Remember back in 2000 when we thought there was no way in hell George W. Bush would ever beat Al Gore?
That’s why we need that strong public option!
Oh, and we also need to provide affordable healthcare for the millions of uninsured Americans.
It’s right thing to do. Both morally and politically.
And sadly, if Obama can’t see that. Then the hell with him.