Who's Your Daddy?

by digby

So, Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd are saying that health care with a public option won't pass because the Blue Dogs don't want it and liberals won't accept this political reality and need to stop being such silly utopians. In other words, liberals need to eat shit because there is a conservative majority.

Except, of course, that isn't really true, is it? The Republicans have taken themselves out of the game and within the Democratic Party, liberals have the majority. The Progressive Caucus is twice as large as the Blue Dogs and we have at least 45 Senators on record for the public plan in the Senate. If they want to block legislation they can do it. If the White House needs somebody to eat shit, there's a far better political reason for it to be the Blue Dogs and the corporate lackeys in the Senate than the progressives.

All Obama has to do is tell the Blue Dogs that he won't work for them in 2010 if they don't support him. They're toast if there's no health care reform anyway, because Dems are going to suffer big losses with Obama's failure and they will be the ones who lose their seats. It's not like the Republicans are going to go easy on Blue Dogs in swing districts out of the goodness of their hearts.

It's the New Blue Dogs who are tied to Obama's coat tails, not the liberals who are in safe seats. And according to Charlie Cook, there are about 20 of them who stand to lose, which leaves the Dems comfortably in the majority. The liberals have the power to do this.

I don't expect the villagers to be able to see that the game has changed, because they live in an alternate universe where time stood still somewhere around 1997. But one would hope that Obama understands that he needs liberals to stick on this one. If he pushes them too far, he loses it all.

Jack Cafferty, of all people, put it rather starkly today, when he wondered if Obama was "tough enough":

Americans are going to see how Obama governs when it comes to a divisive issue like health care reform. Even though there are many critics, will he push through on the public option, which is probably the best way to compete with the insurance industry and bring costs down.

And it's not just about health care either. Some suggest the President's beginning to appear weak and wishy washy on a range of issues, whether it's gays in the military or immigration reform or going around apologizing to other countries. At times the president appears to be ineffective at even leading his own party as the Democrats continue to wander around like a gaggle of unruly children. Mr Obama ought to call a meeting of the Democratic leadership and say "I'm the boss and if you don't like it, there are ways of making your life miserable, especially when it comes time for your re-election."

I don't often agree with Cafferty, and the president is not a dictator. But he is the leader of his party and in a situation where the issue boils down to whether or not the Democrats can hold 60 votes for cloture, there is no excuse for bargaining away the store and telling the progressives in the House that they have to cave rather than the minority Blue Dogs.

Unless, of course, that's what he wants to do, in which case we have much bigger problems. We'll know soon enough.