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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dem Strategists See Health Reform Win

Two of the leading strategists of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Mike Lux and Robert Creamer have posts expressing optimism for the enactment of health care reform. At Open Left, Mike Lux discusses and dismisses rumours that President Obama will cave to his right flank in his September 9 speech, and then Lux says:

I have always believed, and continue to, that at the end of the day, the House will pass a fairly strong bill with a good public option, and the Senate will pass a mushed-up compromise with less coverage and a trigger or co-op or some other unworkable thing. After that, the final question will be determined by who blinks in conference committee and takes a fig leaf compromise, and who stays resolute until the end. One side will walk away with some phony rhetorical nod that will allow them to go to the media and say they forced a compromise, and one side will win the policy fight. I still believe it could be the good guys.
I’m guessing Obama understands the dynamic…I think he will give a strong speech about the need to go forward on health care, while continuing to keep his options and the negotiations process moving ahead. I believe this not because I have blind faith and trust in the President, but because I think it’s the only path open to him that actually makes political sense right now.

Robert Creamer argues at HuffPo that “…The odds are very good that President Obama will succeed in passing landmark health insurance reform legislation this fall – with a robust public health insurance option. The reason is simple: it’s the high political ground.”
Creamer cites four major reasons why Obama and the Dems can claim the high ground, including — Hallelujah somebody finally said it plain — the fact that most Americans “can’t stand the health insurance industry,” and he provides some convincing statistics to back it up (e.g. – CEO’s of the 10 largest insurers had average compensation of $4,100 per hour and Cigna’s CEO retiring with a $73 mill golden parachute this fall). Creamer is also confident that Obama will bring his ‘A’ Game on September 9th, which we have seen is pretty impressive, and Dem centrists will bend, when confronted with the grim reality of being responsible for obstructing reform and owning the consequences. Finally, Creamer believes that the progressive base is energized in a big way:

…Hundreds of thousands of Progressives have been mobilized to counter the Right. They swamped the Right at town meetings at the end of August and are now conducting a week of 2000 “Let’s Get It Done” events in the lead-up to Congress’ return…There is no longer any lack of progressive intensity. The right wing assault awakened progressive passion that has spread like the Los Angeles wildfires…As Members of Congress reconvene on the battleground for this fall’s decisive engagement over health insurance reform, they will look up the political ridge and see that the cavalry has arrived.

Creamer’s and Lux’s optimistic prognosis is a welcome antidote to the toxic speculations of chicken-little pundits of the left and fear-mongers of the right. A proverb favored by MLK comes to mind: “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there.”

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