Implausible Deniability: Who is President Obama kidding?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

Two questions:

1. Would any of us who believed in and voted for President Obama thought that he would have allowed or even endorsed the deals struck by Senator Harry Reid to procure the votes of hold-out Democrats for the Senate’s healthcare legislation?

Exempting Nebraska from paying its share of expanded Medicaid… forever …for Senator Ben Nelson’s vote, saving Nebraska an estimated $45 million over the next 10 years.

$10 billion (with a “b”) for community health centers in Vermont for Senator Bernie Sander’s vote.

A $300 million increase in Medicaid for Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu’s vote.

Not to mention the deal President Obama, himself, struck with representatives of American pharmaceutical manufacturers earlier this year, the price of which was the failure of Senate Democrats to approve the importation of prescription drugs from Canada – this from a candidate, now President who has persistently denounced the influence of lobbyists.

2. Do any of us really believe that President Obama was, in fact, unaware of these deals being struck? …that Senator Reid made these arrangements – the first 3 I’ve listed above, among others – without the prior knowledge of key Administration insiders, including the President to whom those insiders report?


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4 responses to “Implausible Deniability: Who is President Obama kidding?

  1. The Center Square

    Obama presented himself as a patient, pragmatic candidate. I would expect him to avail himself of any legislative maneuvering necessary to reach the goal.

    Put me down as neither surprised nor dismayed.

    • Hi. “Pragmatic” is good, even essential, unless it means business as usual which apparently it does. Bribing Senators? Making deals with lobbyists? You don’t see a contradiction between Candidate Obama promising change and his behavior as President with respect to healthcare legislation? Like you, I’m not surprised, but I am dismayed and more than a little disappointed. And did you really say “patient”? When it comes to healthcare legislation, he’s been anything but. -wf

  2. The Center Square

    Well, I guess I’m not dismayed because I never heard those promises as literal. Every political candidate makes proclamations like that, and the few that honor them absolutely are quickly exiled into the political wilderness. To me, the policy being to be implemented is vastly more important than whether the proverbial skids needed a bit of grease to get it done.

    In this instance, the importance and impact of the healthcare legislation is incalculably greater than these pragmatic concessions. I think that is true whether one supports or opposes the bills. And I think that most criticisms (although I don’t know you enough to lump you in there) of the legislative process are thinly veiled criticisms of the legislation itself.

    Just my thoughts. Thanks for listening.

    • That’s interesting. Would I care about the process if I liked the result? Hmmm? Yes. In fact, it’s the other way around. If the process had integrity, I wouldn’t bother me so much that I don’t like the result.

      I believe in democracy. I’m committed to it. I’ve made a deal with the rest of the American people, you included. The deal is that, if a majority of the people, after careful consideration, make a decision, I’m on board. I’ll support it, even if it wouldn’t necessarily have been exactly what I would have done. And I expect our elected representatives to behave accordingly.

      The problem for me is that the Democrats in the Senate and the President in their dealings with each other and industry lobbyists have basically trashed the democratic process. Senate Majority Leader Reid had to blatantly bribe members of his own party to get their support, bribes which, politics aside, may actually turn out to have been unconstitutional they were that outrageous.

      You’re right. I don’t like the bill they passed, from what I know about it. But what really bothers me is that not even a majority of our elected representatives in the Senate were in favor of it for all the right reasons.


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