Protecting The Coattails

by digby

CNN has learned that the White House is quietly working to draft health care legislation after allowing Congress to work on its own for months.

Multiple sources close to the process tell CNN that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday.

Who knows if this is true,there's so much garbage flying around. But if it is, the only reason to do it is to attach Obama's name to the proposals so he can more easily personally strong arm the progressive Democrats into "supporting their president."

According to Mike Viqueira on MSNBC, Obama told the progressives in congress on a conference call this morning that on health care, they need to worry about their fellow members in districts that voted with McCain in '08. I guess he figures that those conservative districts are going to be appeased by some sort of "trigger" or a plan without the public option and that those guys in tough districts will be rewarded for making that happen.

I think that's about as delusional as the teabaggers, frankly. If those McCain voters are upset about health care reform, the only thing that will appease them is total defeat. The right has got these people so worked up that talk of "triggers" is likely to result in people thinking Obama's got gun control hidden in his plan for Death Panels. Defeating the public option will be totally forgotten once the right starts demagoguing the mandates and the "welfare subsidies" and the forced abortion and god know what else. They should know by now that they will always find something.

I frankly think some of those coat tail seats were always going to go away. 2002 was the only midterm exception in modern times where the sitting president's party actually gained seats. But that's because he didn't actually win in 2000. In 2002 Bush "won" the seats that came in on Al Gore's (and Ralph Nader's) coattails. So, it's highly likely that seats will be lost this time, it's just a matter how many. Those seats that can be preserved are highly unlikely to be preserved because of some arcane policy compromise this fall that nobody understands. They'll be preserved because the Democrats are seen as succeeding or failing in a global sense.

If they think that they have a real problem in those McCain districts and they believe that they cannot afford to lose them, then they should logically scrap Health Care reform altogether. Watering it down to nothing will gain them nothing in those districts and will create a huge amount of bad feeling on the left. Or they could pass real health care reform and let the chips fall where they are going to fall anyway and at least have a chance of having it actually work.

Setting up a system that will force people by law to give large amounts of money each month to private corporations they hate, while the Republicans run against them saying they've nationalized the health care sector just doesn't seem like a good plan to me.

Of course, that's assuming they want to pass comprehensive health care at all. It's just as likely that they want to pass something that's called health care reform that just tweaks around the edges and maintains the status quo, which isn't the same thing at all. There is an awful lot of money at stake in all this.