Your Leaders

by digby

Here's a voice of the people for you:

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Wednesday that he is "frankly not terribly interested" in what the major health care reform coalition thinks and is pushing ahead with a proposal the group rejects.

"I am unaware that HCAN has any votes on the floor of the United States Senate," said Conrad when told that the coalition Health Care for America Now opposed his plan to create regional health care co-ops instead of allowing consumers to have access to a public plan option.

"They have no votes on the floor of the United States Senate. And I am dealing with votes in the finance committee and the floor of the United States Senate. I am frankly not terribly interested in what these myriad groups all think. I am interested in what people who vote think," he said, flailing his arms and knocking a Politico reporter's recorder to the marble floor.

"I don't even respond to that kind of thing. I think it is just chatter. What matters is results, legislative results at the end of the day," he said.

But aren't the "myriad groups" he's referring to the base of the Democratic Party? Shouldn't he give some weight to their position?

Conrad wasn't having it. "What is it that they want to get? Are they interested in the name of something or are they interested in getting a result that delivers on what is behind the name? I am interested in actually achieving a result. Not a label, but an alternative to the delivery model of for-profit insurance companies," he said. "The great thing about democracy is we get to debate. It's healthy. It's good to have a debate."

He's obviously interested in what Republican voters think. They are the control group. And never let it be said that your Democratic leaders are elites who would prefer to listen to health industry lobbyists (who you can bet are pounding down the doors and crowding the hallways) than their own constituents. They figure we'll take whatever scraps they feed us and be thankful for them.

You know what is so amazing about that? Apparently, they think that eight years is ancient history? After all, it was only that long ago that a large enough chunk of the left found a voice in Ralph Nader that it effectively gave an election to the Republicans. That shit does happen.

They can play games with health care and pretend that the details don't matter and that nobody will figure out that they're selling out the people on behalf of their owners once again and health care reform turns into yet another bail out for big business. But you can bet that the right will be right there "explaining" why things didn't work out. (And the left will probably be demobilized if not actively looking elsewhere for leadership.)

Let's be clear here. Conrad's brilliant idea for "health care co-ops" is meaningless. There are already a bunch of non-profits in the marketplace and it's done absolutely nothing to control costs. The only thing that will (short of single payer which was written out of the debate by the presidential candidates) is for millions of people to sign up for a public plan that has the clout to influence pricing and efficiency. Anything short of that is a gift to the insurance companies who are undoubtedly ecstatic that Conrad has put this "compromise" on the table.

The only people who are engaged in the details of the health care debate on the merits are liberal interest groups and the activists. The great stressed out middle is too confused to believe anything will ever change and the right and the Medical Industrial Complex (for various reasons) are determined to defeat reform by any means possible. Why do the Democrats think it's a good idea to dismiss and deride their only allies in a situation like this? Is it too cynical to entertain the thought that they are actively courting failure?