I Know It’s Gauche to Quote Oneself, But…
Posted on December 22nd, 2009 at 9:03 pm by Steve

…I just can’t resist. This is something I wrote right here on this here blog-o-thingy waaaaaaaay back in October of 2008:

the Democratic Party is happy to use the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteers to elect their candidate; don’t expect the Democrats to return the favor, when those thousands of people are demanding mortgage relief, welfare payments, and health care. The Democrats have demonstrated, time and time again, that they are firmly on the side of the corporate masters, and against the people.

I’m hopeful that, with so many people getting experience in organizing their fellow citizens during the Obama campaign, we’ll find it easier to work together to bring about greater economic and social justice. The big difference will be that, instead of working with the support of the Democratic party, we’ll be “out in the cold,” working against the entire corporate-political juggernaut. If you think it’s hard to fight the Republicans with the Democrats on your side, wait until they’ve ganged up on you!

Indeed. Even though Obama campaigned on a promise of a “public option” for healthcare coverage, the new Democratic bill contains no provision for a public option, no early Medicare buy-in, no cost controls on doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers, or insurance companies. Worst of all, Obama actually told the Washington Post this week, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

In other words: we were sold a bill of goods. Obama’s campaign website promised “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan,” but now he denies ever having made such a promise. And the entire Democratic establishment is now turning on anyone who criticizes the bill; Glenn Greenwald takes note of what he calls the swarm of White House operatives, media professionals, and bloggers who deride

the bill’s progressive critics as insane [David Axelrod], crazy [Five-Thirty-Eight’s Nate Silver], childish [Time’s Joe Klein], idiotic and drugged-out, [CNBC “reporter” John Harwood] Naderite, purist [TPM’s Josh Marshall] liars [Ezra Klein] who — we now learn today — are the equivalent of “global warming denialists.” [Nate Silver again]

It’s like 2003 all over again, except the mud being slung is blue instead of red.

Obama also promised to run the most transparent administration in American history. He said that all of his healthcare negotiations would be televised on C-SPAN. Instead, he met in secret with pharmaceutical company executives and promised them there would be no cost controls on prescription drugs and no plan to allow the reimportation of medicines from abroad. In fact, this new bill even extends the patent protection on prescription drugs to 12 years, with an additional 12 years offered any time a change is made to the drug.

While the so-called “left” sees betrayal and a complete evisceration of real healthcare reform, the health insurance industry (and their investors) see a major windfall. Here are their stock prices since October 27, 2009 (the date that Holy Joe Lieberman pledged to filibuster any bill that included a public option):

The Huffington Post’s Shahien Nasiripour has all the details, including this summary of the numbers:

  • Coventry Health Care, Inc. is up 31.6 percent;
  • CIGNA Corp. is up 29.1 percent;
  • Aetna Inc. is up 27.1 percent;
  • WellPoint, Inc. is up 26.6 percent;
  • UnitedHealth Group Inc. is up 20.5 percent;
  • And Humana Inc. is up 13.6 percent.

I don’t post this to be cynical; I post this to remind myself and those few who might read this that national electoral politics are not the main avenue by which we can transform our lives and our world. No president, no matter how well-intentioned, can wrest control of the state from the hands of Wall Street and their symbionts in the Pentagon.