How desperate is Barack Obama to get the final votes he needs to pass ObamaCare? The Associated Press reports today that the White House has reversed itself on backroom deals and business as usual in Washington. They will no longer object to sweetheart deals intended to buy votes:
Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days. …
Clinching support, though, might require Obama to back away from his insistence that senators purge the legislation of a number of lawmakers’ special deals.
Taking a new position, Axelrod said the White House only objects to state-specific arrangements, such as an increase in Medicaid funding for Nebraska, ridiculed as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” That’s being cut, but provisions that could affect more than one state are OK, Axelrod said.
That means deals sought by senators from Montana and Connecticut would be fine — even though Gibbs last week singled them out as items Obama wanted removed. There was resistance, however, from two committee chairman, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and the White House has apparently backed down.
In case you want to play The Price is Right with Bob Baracker, here are the new rules. Single state deals are verboten, so no Cornhusker Kickback for you. If two states get together to demand special deals, well, come on down!
Is this what Obama meant by Hope and Change, and by changing the way Washington works? Obama has instead become exactly what he campaigned against. If he can’t propose programs that actually garner majority support, Obama seems more than willing to buy support in the same tried-and-true methods of pork-barrel politics.
This may be nothing new in DC, but it’s at least somewhat notable that the Associated Press decided to report on it.