Howard Dean, A Leader We Can Believe In

Leadership We Can Believe In

Here’s the situation:

The best-intentioned leaders of health care reform have now joined forces with those whose intentions have been questionable at best. Members from both groups are now on the same page, pushing the latest bullshit compromise-that-isn’t-compromise-at-all health care bill, which will do little-to-nothing to create real competition or reduce the costs of health care for the American people.

Yes, both the best-intentioned leaders of health care reform and those whose intentions have been questionable have come together to declare in one voice that the one who’s doing the most to block what they call “health care reform” (though it is not) is…

wait for it…

Governor Howard Dean.

Laughable? Sure is. But it’s true nonetheless.

Governor Dean has argued that too many lines have been crossed, that what the Democrats are standing for is no longer reform at all, and that the bill currently being proposed in the Senate should be killed so that what little that’s good in it can be passed through budget reconciliation.

Among those whose intentions were good is Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has forcefully come out against Dean, calling him “irresponsible.”

Among those whose intentions have been questionable, the Obama administration’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has forcefully come out against Dean, calling him “irrational.”

(Why these people didn’t come out forcefully against Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) – i.e., why they didn’t call him “irresponsible” and “irrational” back when they should have stopped him from wrecking health care reform – is a question that needs to be set aside for now.)

Senator Rockefeller, Howard Dean isn’t irresponsible.

Robert Gibbs, Howard Dean isn’t irrational.

And we all know that Howard Dean isn’t irrelevant, either.

All the compromises are gone. Health care reform was allowed to slip away in stages (the robust public option: gone; the strong public option: gone; the weak public option with an opt-out for states: gone).

Even the consolation prize was thrown out with the trash (the weak Medicare buy-in: gone).

What we’re left with is regulation of the insurance industry, achieved at the price of taxpayers having to pay off the insurance companies.

Yes, taxpayers (you) will help reduce the costs of health care for families (you), as little-to-nothing is done to bring down costs for the American people (you).

Nate Silver and Bob Cesca – among others – praise the Senate’s final crappy solution because of all the subsidies being offered to families (you), as if those subsidies aren’t being paid by the taxpayers (you).

Click the image to see Nate Silver’s Analysis

Congratulations, American people! You’re bailing out an industry that has done nothing but profit off you as it has found ways to cut you off when you get sick and could care less about whether or not you die (pdf).

And you’re being forced to do it, as purchasing the products of private insurance companies – to the great joy of insurance company executives – will now be mandated by this health care “reform.”

As Howard Dean has said: the bill now represents “a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG.”

So, let’s return to asking why people like Senator Rockefeller and the White House are now calling Howard Dean “irresponsible” and “irrational.”

In fairness to Senator Rockefeller, he most likely is supporting this joke – dubbed LieberCare – for the same reason he supported the creation of a public option: he believes that there is a health care crisis and that people need help.

Firedoglake: It’s LieberCare!

But for him to say that “[Howard Dean] should know better” and that “[Howard Dean] should be ashamed of himself” is laughable.

Senator Rockefeller, you were a leading advocate for real health care reform who A) had a majority of Senators supporting the creation of a public option, B) had a bill that passed in the House of Representatives that included a public option, C) had the majority of the American people supporting a public option (pdf), D) had the President of the United States making public statements supporting a public option.

And still you failed to get a public option.

You, Senator Rockefeller, should have known better. You should have fough harder. You should have fought more effectively.

And you should have won.

Now, you should be ashamed of yourself.

So we have Rockefeller and the White House on the same side, attacking Howard Dean, trying to protect a piece of shit bill that can only be laughingly called “reform.”

And, of course, there’s another big reason why everyone with a “D” after his or her name is now defending this joke of a reform bill so forcefully: they’re incumbents, and incumbents must protect themselves for election years ’10 and ’12.

I’d say that Progressives must now stand up against their failed leadership, but the truth is that all Americans who want real health care reform must now stand up against their failed leadership and embrace Howard Dean’s solution: reconciliation.

By the way, it’s not too soon to start supporting Governor Dean for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party for 2012.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]

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