Anyone for a Kucinich/Dean (or Dean/Kucinich, I'm not fussy) third-party ticket in 2012?

Rahm Emanuel: Don’t Worry About the Left

The White House has its liberal wing in hand on health care, says White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

BTW, something else to notice about that article: The writer reuses a canard that got a lot of focus after Ted Kennedy died, namely that
The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s greatest regret was not cutting a deal with Richard Nixon on universal health care.

But a Kennedy historian or two have argued...
It’s False To Conclude Kennedy Would Have Ditched Public Option For Compromise

“Kennedy was sorry that they didn’t reach an agreement” and that both sides “never reached closure,” [Adam] Clymer told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. He dismissed the idea that Kennedy regretted not giving up enough: “That’s not the same thing at all.”

“He was always anxious to reach an agreement,” Clymer said, “but that didn’t mean any agreement.”

Emphasis mine.


  1. Votes. Votes. Votes.

    It's all a matter of votes. And a nearly insurmountable obstacle to pass.

    We hoped for a president who can surmount that obstacle, a super majority of 60 votes in the Senate, by bullying, craftiness, force of will, outplaying the opposition, political mastery, and even a touch of sheer magic. A transcendent ability which would change everything, bringing normalcy and intelligence and simple sanity back to the nation after eight years of Bush.

    Easier said than done.

    In all probability this is probably as good as it will get for the Democrats. In the 2010 election they will probably lose seats. They will no longer have 60 members in their Senate caucus and passing any legislation requiring spending or government involvement (unless we start another war) will be impossible.

    The Republicans have made their point. They do not like spending and they do not like government. They will filibuster any measure which requires either. Good, bad, or indifferent. It’s all “socialism” or “fascism” to them, take your pick. We have discovered a few Democrats in that caucus of 60 think the same way.

    That, in its bald basic simplicity, is the problem. Votes.

    Votes. Votes. Votes.

    Complain if you wish, but that’s how democracy works.

    In Nebraska a majority of the voters love Ben Nelson. In Oklahoma a majority of the voters adore Inhofe and Coburn. Democracy. Even liberal Democrats are bought and sold by powerful interests in those states they represent. Look at Menendez helping to kill reimportation of drugs from Canada. Why? He represents New Jersey. Home of several major pharmaceuticals. Johnson & Johnson, Merk, others.

    Menendez claims the Canadian drugs may kill us. Do Canadians cross the borders to buy drugs from us? Not that I know of. Americans do cross the border, though, to buy the same drugs far more cheaply in Canada. At least most of these Americans survive long enough to get back home without dropping like flies. Who does this situation help? Big Pharma of course. The fighting liberal Menendez is owned by these interests in his state.

    Do the voters complain? Maybe, maybe not. There a lot of jobs in Big Pharma in New Jersey. Menendez is just protecting the home turf. Does he lie about the danger of reimporting drugs? Of course he does. New Jersey Democrats may be willing to forgive him.

    So it’s all about numbers and votes. Do progressives like Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich have enough voters to bring them into the White House? Clearly not. They lack the votes. So where does that leave us? With noble idealistic gestures which split the vote with a third party? Bringing the right back into power? Bush’s eight years were about as harmful to this country as any presidency can be. Why, in this climate he didn’t create but greatly reinforced the John Birch Society is even back. They are joining their buddies among the Tea Partyers and Christian right. They will be a sponsor next year of the annual CPAC.......

    So where does that leave us?

    Screwed. We don’t have the numbers. Education can work, and we can climb within the established Democratic Party. Politics, alas, is sausage making. Ugly, stinky stuff. And it’s built into our system to work slowly, which actually has certain advantages. The filibuster works both ways.

    Yes, Obama could have fought harder for a government option, to reign in the insurance industry. But it’s all votes. Nelson and Lieberman walk their own paths. Special interests go into the sausage too. And we are surrounded now by confusion and noise. Frankly, I blame Bush and those he represents more than Obama. But Obama chose to fix the mess. No tears need be shed for him.

  2. We, the people, have done our part to make things happen politically. We have elected a Democrat to the White House, and there is a Democratic majority in both houses. The fact that the Democrats will not conduct the people's business as we wish is telling. The majority of people in this country want meaningful health care reform, not another handout to another lobby, in this case the insurance companies. We also want an end to the wars in the Middle East, instead they expand the wars. We also demand a return of our civil liberties. As far as I know we are still being monitored just as we were during the Bush administration. Little to nothing has changed and has, in fact, gotten worse and there is no excuse for it except that the Democrats will not do the work we sent them to do.

    We need an antiwar movement, as there was during the 60s-70s, to push these Democrats into ending the war and restoring civil liberties. Do you think there would even be civil rights legislation on the books were it not for all the protests? They had to be forced into passing that legislation! We need to push those fuckers to enact meaningful health care reform, and quit spending all our money on war and instead invest in our countries' infrastructure.

    We need more Senators like Al Franken who won't put up with the Senates nonsense. We need more congressmen like Super K.

  3. Unfortunately, it appears the Teabaggers are the only ones today going out onto the streets. Yes, we can let the Democratic Party know it can lose its progressive base by demonstrating, going out onto the streets. Reminding Obama, in his ivory tower, as well as the right, that our opinions matter. And that we desperately need the "change" and reforms you, Liberality, point out.

    But what about Ben Nelson?

    What about Joe Lieberman?

    What about the solid Republican filibuster?

    What about the built-in intransigence no amount of demonstrating can change?

    It does seem as if the gods are playing with us, doesn't it? So close, yet so far. Just a matter of a few votes. And what could have been won't be. Our Congress, a regular Tower of Babble.

  4. Ahh, the gentleladies and gentlemen will have to forgive me if I don't join them in that conversation---but, yes, thank you, I'll have a drink...don't mind if I do.

    As I said before politics goes way above my head.

    For one thing, I never really got all the partisan bickering. My ignorance in those things is quite embarrassing. I mean, imagine that, I always thought there was only one political party in America. The line between the supposedly two parties has always seemed to my politically unenlightened eyes, like a tenuous one, at best. A line that congressmen cross rather easily back and forth, depending on which way the wind is shifting, or depending on what part they have been brought to perform at the time in any given Congressional Play.

    Who's best to be the good cop, this time around? And who gets to be the bad cop? The curtain rise, the curtain falls, and if everything goes according to the script, in the end everything falls into place as it was staged.

    H. J. Res. 114, the authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, under President G.W.Bush, is a good example.

    So is H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, under President B.H.Obama.

    More often than not, however, it will happen that things don't go according to the script---the Tower of Babble part.

    And there are glitches in the machine.

    Oh, I don't know, sir. Some trivial things, that get in the way, like, say, the will of the people.

    That's where the franc-tireurs come in.

    The public option was never intended to be part of the final script, none of the bill founders really wanted the public option---least of all the Obama administration! What an inconvenience that it did survive the process in the end. This is when you call your hit man. That's what Senator Lieberman (Mr.Obama's "brother," sir) is for. And what a sharp-shooter he makes. Everything is now back in order. And the vote will take place. And the votes will be in. And the votes will be counted. And the original bill written behind closed door will be passed as it was originally intended---Mandatory insurance for all (the Insurance Industry had been lobbying for it for decades) and NO public option!

    "Applaud friends, the comedy is over."

  5. Like any smug and self sure drunk at the bar, I object to the Bartender's opinions. For, after all, being drunk I know best. Know all. And can not be refuted. Though unlike other drunks I promise not to start a fight in defense of my opinions. And I will attempt to keep my voice low.

    One party, is it, with a left and a right? But basically the same?

    Well, yes. Though one could say two parties reflecting current American values and popular beliefs. That our "political culture" brings the two together. For there is a far right and, well, a moderate left (moderate compared to the left in those countries in Europe, elsewhere, which have a true left) in the United States. Its current heroes being the likes of Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Anthony Wiener, etc. I would not put these and others in the same pot as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman. And, yes, I would say there are pols out there I admire, as innocent as that may be.

    When it comes to the left, the true left, which can be found in Europe, it may help if we remember there are scandals there too. That whole parties are ousted from office because of malfeasance. This happened to the Socialists in Spain under Felipe Gonzalez not too many years ago. Scandals exist wherever power exists. The root cause being human nature.

    (I’m not being too loud am I? I know a drunk can be cocksure of his opinions. Nor do I want to take up too much time here at the bar in order to allow others to be heard. Though I know my opinions are better than theirs.)

    As for Obama being bought by the insurance industry, I don’t know. The signs are not good. He cut a deal and has stuck with it. This deal may have been entered into originally in order to make healthcare “reform” more possible, by neutralizing a major opponent. But it can then be justly asked, why make concessions to an opponent which needs to be regulated, which is why healthcare “reform” is needed in the first place? Or was the deal a concession to basic political reality? A lack of optimism that without the concession no reform could be made at all?

    And of course, there is Obama’s ties with Wall Street. A most disturbing phenomenon. Are Geithner and Summers like computer hackers who serve time and then come out to show the feds how to catch the hackers? Is that wishful thinking?

    At the moment there is a great deal of lack of clarity confounded by a huge hangover from the Bush days. A royal mess he and his cronies made. The Republicans are not even part of the current debate. That should be apparent to anyone who watches them on the Senate floor. Perhaps they have actually drifted away from their defining corporate identity into a purer rightwing Christian dogmatism, making them the party which actually splintered away. Corporate interests are truly fully imbedded into the American political system. And the Democrats uphold them. But there are genuine progressives among the Demos. We elected them. We get what we deserve. Even if we suffer from the choices the boobs in other districts made.

    Ah, yes, it’s getting bright in here. My brilliance has a certain solid feel. One natural to brilliance itself, of course, not booze.

  6. The gentleman does me too much honor arguing with the like of me. mistake... I apologize...I see now that the gentleman was only arguing with himself.

    Ahh, it's OK, sir. I don't mind. People often do at the bar. They come here and repeat to themselves the same stories... over and over... Some of them even do manage over time to convince themselves...of the stories they tell themselves... May I pour the gentleman another drink?

    As I said, sir, what do I know of politics?

    I was merely talking about theater.

    Coriolanus, sir...

    Is the gentleman familiar with the play?

    "You have deserved nobly of your country, and you have not deserved nobly....You have been a scourge to her enemies; you have been a rod to her friends. You have not indeed loved the common people."
    (Shakespeare, Coriolanus, II, 3)

    The arrogance of power, sir.

    A thing both G.W.Bush and B.H.Obama have in common. They---or their handlers---think they know better, sir. Bush's neoconservatives knew the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was right for America. And the Obama administration knew (despite Obama's campaign promises) that Mandatory health insurance with no public option is what's right for America now.

    In one case, as in the other, there have been no real debate. Very conveniently to the Obama's administration, the debate around health care has been mostly non-substantive and nonsensical, thanks to the Tea Parties (instead of talking reform, the progressive ended up defending Obama against absurdities irrelevant to the real issues at stake) and the debate around the PNAC inspired invasion of Iraq, under Bush, was hidden behind 911 and the trumped-up charges that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons and was a close ally of Al-Qaeda.

    What Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush have in common, sir, is that they both lied to the people.

    It is doubtful whether Bush---or his handlers---ever were sincere in their alleged beliefs that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

    And it is doubtful whether Obama---or his handlers---ever were sincere about the public option.

    But, the gentleman is brilliant, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are powerful scarecrows. Use them right, and all those unruly lefties will run back into the fold. What choice do they have?

  7. Uh, regarding your last paragraph, there is a basis in reality for pointing out the difference. That's just the way those folks (Palin/Bachman) are. And they represent a large following. As for the more subtle means of subterfuge, which is your point, it may or may not be true that Obama has been bought and sold.

    Palin, Bachman, Glen Beck and the like - they're all entertaining and the MSM surely exploits them. Keep the viewers interested and glued: the advertising dollars will mount up. We all know this. But let's not go overboard in conspiratorial concepts of mass manipulation. I frankly don't think the MSM gives a damn about lefties and how they react to Palin Beck. In fact, if there were a profit they would gladly give Kucinich his own primetime hour.

    But as i said, the Christian right is a reality. As well as entertaining they're powerful. Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity have their fans. And they pretty much have forty Senators in the Congress. In 2010 there may be more. And Bush helped lay the groundwork for their present power.

    The lefties are screwed because we are in a minority. It all comes down to votes. And no matter how sensible we are, no matter how progressive our desires and ideas may be, the American people, in their majesty, have not elected representatives to the Congress which will enact these sensible changes, reforms, and beneficial measures which run against the American orthodoxy.

    But to return to your basic thrust, is Obama corrupt? I don't know. He may, in fact, have unloosed a double whopper today, claiming victory in healthcare reform and climate change in Copenhagen. But we'll see.

    Now I will say goodnight. And good evening. I'm going off into a corner to do some serous drinking. Booze is a fine cushion against the horrors of the world.

  8. Actually, let me take that back.

    Never drink to mourn. Only to celebrate.

    I learned that a long time ago. The morning (choosing the former) is always worse.

    Words of sage, ones I whispered into the ear of my companion at the bar. Oh, how wise we are when we are drunk!!!

  9. Is Obama "corrupt," sir? Has he been "bought and sold"?

    Surely, the gentleman can't be serious. What, a bright intelligent man such as the gentleman giving credence to such nonsense?!

    Forgive me, the fault is mine. Did I say that "Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush both have in common, that they lied to the people"? I am so sorry, sir, I didn't mean to upset the gentleman so. I am no congressman, sir. Were I a diplomat, I am sure I could have found words more palatable to the gentleman's sensibility, like "it would appear that President Obama didn't quite follow through on his promise to campaign for a public option as most people who voted for him had been lead to hope." The plain truth of the matter is that he just simply didn't, sir. Other promises, with regard to how the whole thing was to be handled, have been broken too.

    Now, the gentleman is free, of course, to ascribe such failings to some real or imagined "corruption" of the President or his being "bought and sold" by wall street or the insurance industry. Personally, I don't. The gentleman is free of course to carry on this conversation with himself. Insofar as I am concerned, it does appear to me that reality is more prosaic than that. But what do I know?

    All I talked about is the "arrogance of power." The gentleman really ought to read Corolianus, it's a fascinating play, sir. One of Shakespeare's least frequently performed---the play has been annoying to an equal degree those who believe in the masses, and those who despise them.

    It is quite obvious, judging by the way the health care debate (or lack thereof) was handled, that the Obama administration feels that they do know better than the rest of us mere plebeians.

    As perhaps they do---who am I to judge, sir?

    For all I know, maybe Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama---or their handlers---did and do know better.

    Maybe the PNAC architects were brilliant strategists and the invasion of Iraq was a brilliant move for America and the free world (the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was passed by congress with Democrats voting 58% in favor in the Senate).

    And perhaps, Mr. Obama is right and the public option was all wrong for America. Maybe the Insurance Industry is "too big to fail," and the Public Option could possibly have been too much of a destabilizing factor to the industry under the current weakened economy.

    But this is not what the people was told, sir.

    Just like in the controversy that lead this country into the invasion of Iraq, any real substantive informed debate has been confiscated. And it was no just confiscated by the opposition to the Health Care reform, but by the administration too: the public option was buried on day one.

    The gentleman will forgive me, if I repeat myself:

    The public option was never intended to be part of the final script, none of the bill founders really wanted the public option---least of all the Obama administration! What an inconvenience that it did survive the process in the end. This is when you call your hit man. That's what Senator Lieberman (Mr.Obama's "brother," sir) is for. And what a sharp-shooter he makes. Everything is now back in order. And the vote will take place. And the votes will be in. And the votes will be counted. And the original bill written behind closed door will be passed as it was originally intended---Mandatory insurance for all (the Insurance Industry had been lobbying for it for decades) and NO public option!

    "Applaud friends, the comedy is over."

  10. Just woke up. God, how long did I snooze in that corner? Now for a raw egg or two and I'll be ready to drink again.....

    Six AM: getting the kinks out of mind and body, preparing for the day. A nice peaceful time in the bar when only a few seasoned drunks are quietly propped at the bar, awaiting the full day. Why, some may not even move from their seats, except for an occasional trip to the can.

    But as I was saying - and please, don't turn on the jukebox, not yet at least. It's too early. Not with this hangover. But this is what I think. Or, at least it is a possibility for I have no inside knowledge. And can not read our president's mind.....

    Universal healthcare was dead from the beginning.

    It runs against the American grain.

    There never were more than twenty or thirty votes in the Senate for universal care. Ie, expanding Medicare for all. With luck there may have been forty.

    We have a unique Capitalist Orthodoxy here in the United States which was refined by Ronald Reagan during his presidency. Bush offered its latest incarnation. The dream hasn't died.

    Facing the reality of a lack of votes the Congress attempted to insert a limited public option. Which, yes, the White House desired. Obama often supported such an option. He either meant it or he lied. He in fact claimed that Medicare for all would actually be the best way to go, acknowledging, though, that there would be a lack of necessary will in the Congress. That he said. He meant it or he created an unnecessary and dangerous charade. One which would have popped Machiavelli’s eyes out.

    Votes. It all comes down to votes. In the Senate there is a small minority of Democrats, just enough to derail the whole thing, who can block any progressive measure by sustaining the Republican filibuster.

    As I see it now that has been the central pivotal reality this drama has circled on. Votes. And fundamental American attitudes. Progressives may see expanding Medicare for all as sensible and the best way to go, but there are regions in this country which profess government is bad. Read Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas” for more on that.

    Now, having consumed two raw eggs, please let me have a beer. And let's think about more important things. Like who will win the Super Bowl. (Just kidding.)

    And may all you drunks, even if you're not drunk yet, have a fine day. Do I know anything? Naw, of course not. Maybe the Machiavellian schemes which have been offered here are true. Right on the mark, and no arguments about it. Just please give me some conclusive evidence, for relying on the circumstantial can lead to many scenarios. And can be read in many ways: some of which merely reflect our own temperaments. Basic attitudes. But hey, that’s all of us, isn’t it? Even facing stone hard facts.

    By the way, I’m a big boy now. I know dark and strange things happen in the world. And can admit, begore, that I may be wrong. Even about our charismatic president - who is losing much support. But if the fix is in please offer something concrete and, at the risk of sounding like an Enlightenment philosoph, I will gladly agree. For I do not wish to be wrong, but prefer to be right, and to know the truth. Whatever it is. (Ol’ Johnny the Locke would be proud of such sentiments!)

    Conspiracy theorists believe the world walks on a tightrope, never tripping or falling. They make the mistake of believing the world makes sense, because two and two always equals four. Problem is, picking the numbers, being overly conclusive, and not admitting the illogical affects history more than the logical. If only a malignant deus ex machina ran the show, it would all be so much more simple. And understandable.

    Now, considering the size of my hangover, that is truly living dangerously. Is the sun bright outside? Oy vey!

  11. "A malignant deus ex machina" running the show?


    Really, now...

    [The bartender hands quinty a beer]

    I see the gentleman is continuing that conversation he was carrying with himself last night about "dark and strange things," and the President being "corrupted" or "bought and sold."

    I wouldn't know anything about that, sir. "Conspiracy theories" are way above my paygrade. I was merely talking about politics as usual, sir, Clintonian triangulation, that kind of things---not that "corruption" or being "bought and sold" do not have their place too in politics as usual.

    There are people---senator Russ Feingold, sir---saying, "this bill appears to be the legislation that the president wanted in the first place."

    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel instructed Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to cut a deal with Lieberman for his vote, even if it meant jettisoning Medicare expansion and a public option---along with cost controls, lifetime benefit caps and drug re-importation. And Reid did. No conspiracy theory there, sir.

    People---Obama's base, sir---are wondering Why did the White House came down so hard on former six terms Vermont governor, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, for daring to say out loud what many were thinking silently, yet never ever called out sitting senators Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), or, for that matter, Sen. Joe Lieberman for their incessant obstruction?

    Labeling "conspiracy theorists" those who do not share one's political orthodoxies is not particularly unusual in politics---while not always very conducive to constructive dialogue, it can be rather expedient in its efficiency.

    "Call your dog a name and drown it." Isn't it how the saying goes, sir?

    Is Howard Dean a "rational person"? The White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, made a point of wondering about it on national TV---and we all remember the infamous "Dean scream" during the 2004 presidential primary, now, don't we, sir?

    An open letter to the president posted on Daily Kos from a self-described "former Obamabot" expressed deep regret at having "been bamboozled, hoodwinked. Sold a shiny bill of goods."

    I don't know. If you ask me, sir, I don't think labeling the author of that letter a "conspiracy theorist" is going to gather much mileage to the President's cause with his base.

    But what do I know?

    America is a modern Republic and things have changed a lot since the Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans.

    Plutarch, a late 1st Century conspiracy theorist, had this to say about it:

    The Senate did favor the rich against the people, who did complain of the sore oppression of usurers, of whom they borrowed money. For those that had little, were yet spoiled of that little they had by their creditors, for lack of ability to pay the usury: who offered their goods to be sold to them that would give most. And such as had nothing left, their bodies were laid hold on, and they were made their bondmen... The Senate would give no care to them, but made as though they had forgotten their former promise, and suffered them to be made slaves and bondmen to their creditors, and besides, to be turned out of all that ever they had: they fell then even to flat rebellion and mutiny, and to stir up dangerous tumults within the city.

    Ours are different times now.

  12. I beg the bartender’s pardon. For i truly misunderestimated (beer belch) the reasoning behind his argument. Thinking it was based on much narrower grounds. Serves me right for not taking his broader perspective and conclusions into account.

    But I’ll take that beer though, assuming it’s on the house? Thanks.

    Well, swatting back and forth, my turn now with the paddle.

    What’s surprising about Rahm Emanuel telling Harry Reid to cut a deal with Lieberman? After all, it’s not unreasonable that the White House was attempting to salvage the bill.

    I can’t tell you what the White House has in its craw regarding Dean, who I admire and like a great deal. But their vehemence may have been another expression of hoping to save the bill, which Dean might have brought down. After all, it would only take one vote in the Senate. And why is Feingold voting for it?

    But this is just conjecture on my part. I really don’t know what’s going on. And I’ll be more careful about accusing others about making groundless assumptions out of air. I apologize for that.

    Apparently, the bartender believes Obama has more power to influence the Senate than I. Were I king for a day I would decree single payer for one and all. Let the leachlike insurance companies sink or swim. (And that would be doing them a favor.) At this time in American history, though, that apparently is not in the cards. Though some of the Republicans in the Senate represent sparsely populated states they nevertheless reflect broad national attitudes. Those are not likely to change any time soon. And, yes, rare is the Democrat who will challenge them.

    Now, where’s a good restaurant around here for dinner?

  13. "Though some of the Republicans in the Senate represent sparsely populated states they nevertheless reflect broad national attitudes."

    True enough.

    On the other hand:

    "The American people overwhelmingly support a public option because the verdict has been that the insurance companies’ protection of their own self-interest conflicts with the interests of the American people. This is not a dogma of the left but a centrist view held by most."
    ---A former Obamabot's letter to the President

    What Obama's critics reproach him is that he refused to fight for this. He refused to take a stand when the people that elected him expected him to do so.

    And their feeling is that his mind was made from day one:

    "Since your election, you may have intellectually convinced yourself that the public option is only a "sliver" of the answer to the problem. ran on the platform and repeatedly distinguished yourself from your competitors on that score."

    Obama is not omnipotent and he can't always control Congressional outcomes---but the lack of any such efforts is extremely telling about what the White House really wanted here.

  14. Well, you may very well be right.

    Even though, according to some polls, the American people favor various progressive causes (depending upon how they are worded by the pollsters) the reps in the Senate and the House do not.

    Let's briefly look at brother Stupak, for example. A Democrat, who is threatening to derail the entire healthcare reform process over abortion. He has approx forty Democrats on his side, so-called "right to lifers." Dissatisfy them, and they may derail the entire process.

    That hurdle is coming up once again.

    Stupak represents the prevailing attitudes in his district. So do the other forty or so Democrats.

    Stupak could get nowhere in Berkeley or the Silk Stocking District of Manhattan. (If it still exists?) The will of the American majority is not represented in the Congress. We are a republic and interests vary greatly from region to region in this land. The Senate gives much power to sparsely populated states.

    If the electorate voted for Obama expecting miracles then who is to blame? The Democratic political machine and Obama himself for presenting the best possible face to the electorate in the 2008 election?

    Or we, the electorate, for being fools who voted for him in the primaries and again in the general?

    Obama may or may not be a conventional (or unconventional) fake. One offering far more than he could deliver. (That’s nicely known as “bad faith,” according to Sartre.) Or he may have been hit right smack on the face with the realities of governing. Having bitten off more than he can chew. (Please forgive the cliché, but I have been drinking all day long and it’s getting late, and am quite tired.)

    I too wish Obama had fought more for a more progressive healthcare system. Or simply for any genuine system at all: such as single payer, which may be the most sensible among our choices. Though in some other countries non profit private insurance companies appear to work quite well. Heavily regulated, of course, by the government. Which would be anathema here in the United States.

    Repeatedly, Obama and some members of Congress have claimed we need an "American” form of national healthcare. That does not mean Medicare for all. At least not now. If a majority of the American people believe government can solve problems the private sector cannot solve then we need more representatives in the Congress who think that way. At the moment we do not have such a super majority. While a majority of the American people are underrepresented in the Senate. Nor do they appear to have much faith in government.

  15. Votes, it’s all about votes. Let me repeat that again. If we wish to understand our government we must understand what it takes to get votes. Perhaps you are better at that than me. Currently I’m on the sidelines, with an attitude of wait and see: our national healthcare problems are only symptomatic of our larger national problems. And in those larger problems that is where the actual final race will be. I see little light on that horizon. We are far behind the rest of the industrialized world in some vital aspects. The current healthcare angst the country is going through reflects that failure. The left was crushed here long ago.

    You must be tired by now? I know I am. Nor do I think these squabbles are necessarily vital or important. They approach, don’t you agree, a mere quibble?

    Surely our egos aren’t involved? No, I’m drunk, tired, ready to poop out. My ego surely is inflamed. My words are irresponsible. Truth is hard to grasp. Drunken surety is my flame. Perhaps when I wake in the morning that will strike me as sad?

    Brother, we are on the same side. Maybe. Some lame brain on another site informed me I wouldn’t be in “the revolution” because we disagreed on some leftwing detail or another. I can’t even remember.

    The “revolution.”

    From the left?

    Well, let’s hope. But I have little faith in revolutions. And the problems we have here can’t be solved by revolutions. Tell that Sarah Palin.

    Ah well, brother, let’s not fight. I think we may basically be on the same side. We are engaging in a quibble because larger important forces are at work. You may not feel like a spectator but I do. This is a drama I have not made a final comprehensive conclusion on. I hope you can respect that, as I respect your point of view. For, clearly, you may very well be right.


    More booze!

    One more drink, and then that’s it.

  16. The gentleman's predicament is one I can relate to. Truly I do, sir---it comes with the job.

    While bar-tending obviously involves preparing and serving drinks, it's often no more than a secondary aspect of the job. A bartender needs to keep in mind that his or her job is to make guests feel appreciated and to cater to their needs.

    Don't violate the trust being placed in you. While on duty, place the best interests of The Wulfshead ahead of your own. Few bartenders, if any, are able to perform competently while advancing a hidden agenda.

    Don't let the social environment distract you from your professional responsibilities, that's what I always say, sir.

    But between what we say and what we do there is a word. And it is in this world that we live. As does Mr. Obama---the gentleman is right about that.

    In any case, as I have told Mr. Varkentine [toast], I just got off-duty and was on my way out.

    Be well and take care, sir.