David “Spoony” Atkins:
Here we go again.
We now know that the Obama Administration traded away the public option in order to gain support from the hospital industry for the Affordable Care Act. And we know that it traded away, among other things, the importation of cheaper drugs to PhRMA in order to secure their support for the bill.
Some of these details were known long ago, of course. Good policy was scuttled in order to secure industry support. The question is why it was done, and whether it could have been done any other way.
The Affordable Care Act barely squeaked through with a minimum number of votes as it was. Had either PhRMA or the hospital industry come out against the bill to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in ads against those who considered voting for it, it would never have had a prayer of passing. The blessing of PhRMA and the hospitals was a necessary condition for the passage of any bill, which is part of why single-payer was never on the table in the first place.
Replacing Barack Obama with a “stronger progressive” won’t solve this problem, because the problem lies with the system, not with the person in the Oval Office.
The power to defeat PhRMA and the hospitals won’t come from the top down. It will come in two ways: 1) from the bottom up via progressives rolling them over state by state; and more importantly 2) through campaign finance reform that prevents them from threatening the careers of every politician in Washington if they don’t get their way.
What we do about that is up to us. It’s not entirely clear what the strategies for success will be, but the strategies for failure are obvious: waiting for a progressive savior who will never come because the structures of politics no longer allow it, and assuming that decentralized and disorganized angry people power will magically bring about change.
It’s going to be a long, hard slog. And it’s going to take organizing on a variety of fronts, chief among them campaign finance reform, that don’t seem to immediately impact the problem. But if one wants to cure a disease, it’s important to treat the underlying problems, not just the symptoms. But no one is going to save us from this morass but ourselves.
Been there, done that, Dave.
We organized. We saw the value of the internet and formed online communities. We blogged, we donated, some of us went to Yearly Kos/Netroots. Then one day a small clique of online activists decided they were smarter than everyone else and that democracy was too inefficient to accomplish their goals. They decided that Obama was The One, and that those evil Clintons and their low-information supporters needed to be purged from the Democratic party.
You were one of those online activists, Dave. So was your blog-mate Digby. We were the people you screwed over.
So fuck off, Dave.
p.s. You guys sold us out during the heath care reform debate too – you decided that single payer wasn’t doable so you put all your effort into the public option – just like Obama told you to do. He fucked you over the same way you fucked us over.
With a track record like yours, I’d be too embarrassed to be giving anyone advice. Especially to the people who were right all along.