ObamaCare: “We hope you guys know what you’re doing.”
posted at 5:06 pm on October 23, 2009 by Karl
From Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)
Given that the current phase of the Democrats’ attempt to take over the US healthcare system is mostly behind closed doors, most of what we hear is going to be gossip and propaganda — statements and leaks designed to manipulate other politicians and the public.
For example, on the so-called “public option,” we have been fed news stories about how the House Dems have the votes for a “robust” government-run insurance plan, only to find out that they did not, that the Dems being whipped may not have known what the “robust public option” is, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then did a public whipping to shame Dems into supporting her — and that the count leaves some 50 to 60 Dems in the air (though the number could also be as low as seven or eight).
On the Senate side, we have been fed stories about Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid warming to the idea of putting the “public option” into the merged bill going to the floor, with a state opt-out — with 57 or 58 Senators supporting it. But most accounts also have Sen. Max Baucus moving into action, and complaints from Sens. Ben Nelson, Olympia Snowe, Mary Landrieu and perhaps Evan Bayh following.
And though we have been fed stories about Obama quietly trying to shore up the public option, that does not seem to be the case, either:
On Thursday night, Reid went over to the White House for a talk with the president. The conversation centered on Reid’s desire to put Schumer’s national opt-out plan into the base bill. White House officials were not necessarily pleased, and they made that known. Everyone agrees that they didn’t embrace Reid’s new strategy. Everyone agrees that the White House wants Snowe on the bill, feels the trigger offers a safer endgame, and isn’t convinced by Reid’s math. But whether officials expressed a clear preference for the trigger, or were just worried about the potential for 60 votes, is less clear. One staffer briefed on the conversation says “the White House basically told us, ‘We hope you guys know what you’re doing.'”
If Reid’s debacle on the “doc fix” this week is any indicator, that is some audacious hope at 1600 Penn. More broadly, the White House, especially Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, have been for the “public option with trigger” for months — which is why the usual lefty suspects are protesting now, and why the story about Obama warming to the public option should have been flagged as “fishy.”
After all of the sturm and drang, it still seems quite possible that the soap opera is a Narrative in which Reid works so hard to get the public option into the bill, but is thwarted by the eeevil Rahmbo — as opposed to revealing a “silent filibuster” of ObamaCare. In the meantime, the Dems hope that a Narrative of momentum will demoralize ObamaCare’s opponents, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.