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Paste — It’s What’s For Dinner!



Commenter Justin Runia brings our attention to this penetrating insight from Walker Bragman, the H.A. Goodman for people who want fewer YouTube plugs:

Former Obama aide and Hillary Clinton booster Jim Messina sent out a tweet soliciting donations for a former Obama staffer who is currently facing a serious health issue, and potential bankruptcy  [note: nothing the the funding appeal suggests potential bankruptcy] under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Yes I am outraged that Jim Messina is asking for help for a sick friend. Wait, what?

Well, Messina, a former aide to Montana Senator Max Baucus, served as Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Operations under President Obama where he became the unofficial enforcer for the neoliberal elements within the administration. He was a key player in ensuring the Affordable Care Act included neither a single-payer plan or even a public option.

I see. Jim Messina was a “key player” in “ensuring” that Congress did not enact single payer or a public option. (By the way, one perennial feature of this particular brand of derp is to treat “single payer” and any “public option” as similar.) Again, let’s review the right end of the Democratic Senate caucus. Remember, each and every one of these votes was necessary to pass anything:

Max Baucus D Mont.
Evan Bayh D Ind.
Robert C. Byrd D W.Va
Kent Conrad D N.D.
Byron L. Dorgan D N.D.
Kay Hagan D N.C.
Tim Johnson D S.D.
Mary L. Landrieu D La.
Joseph I. Lieberman ID Conn.
Blanche Lincoln D Ark.
Claire McCaskill D Mo.
Ben Nelson D Neb.
Mark Pryor D Ark.
John D. Rockefeller IV D W.Va.
Jon Tester D Mont.
Jim Webb D Va.

Yes, clearly each and every one of these senators was totally a viable vote for singlepayerorevenapublicoption. But Jim Messina stopped them. How did he do this?

As The Nation reported back in 2011, Messina used his influence to place his old boss at the center of the health care debate, helping to secure his “gang of six” senators to write the legislation which would eventually become the Affordable Care Act. In retrospect, this move was widely viewed as a misstep as it slowed the process down, and opened it up to the influence of industry. And yet, while this was going on, Messina took on the role of bully-boy to shield Baucus from progressive critics and scuttle efforts to reform the bill by groups like Health Care for America Now (HCAN).

So Jim Messina stopped single payer by allowing the chair of the Senate Finance Committee to have substantial influence over the content of legislation, which he would not have had otherwise. And then he “scuttled” attempts to “reform” the bill into something Max Baucus and his allies didn’t support, which they would all then vote for. How could this have happened, you ask? Well, Jim Messina could have called Kenny Loggins and collaborated on a single, “Single Payer, Or Even A Public Option (Or Bern It Down),” which totally would have forced the senators who opposed single payer (or even a public option) to vote for single payer (or even a public option). But He. Didn’t. Even. Try.

Or let’s say Kenny was unavailable. Messina could have just put a single-payer proposal on the table and done this:

Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.

It is unpossible for this to have failed! Alas, neoliberals like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama will never have the keen parliamentary acumen of Young Master Bragman, so the Bayh-Liberman-Baucus Single Payer And Nationalize The Banks While We’re At It Act that was within our grasp was never realized.

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