Public Option the True Test of President Obama’s Game


This has seemed like a bad week for healthcare reform.  Congressional Blue Dogs are doing their damnedest to kill the public option, and the White House seeming to backtrack on their support of it.  While expressing strong support for it, Gibbs has consistently refused to draw a line in the sand on the public option, and this week, inched back a little.

If this were any other politician, I’d be throwing my hands up in disgust, because this is how these backslides start.  The obvious interpretation is that the White House is innoculating itself from the public option’s defeat.

In Barack Obama’s case, though, this isn’t so obvious.  I’ve spoken before about his unique political MO, likening it to the “rope-a-dope.”  In this case, I hope, he’s being more of a chess player.  Since I’m more of a Gnip-Gnop player, I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

It is important to note that my confidence in the President, to this point, is based on past performance, not magical thinking.  He’s a progressive in triangulator’s clothing.  I’ve been sure he was blowing it before, only to be proven wrong.

This time may be different, however.  He was right to determine that momentum was key to passing strong reform.  Already, this week, one poll is being used deceptively to claim support for a public option is slipping.  The spineless sellout Blue Dogs think they’re in the driver’s seat.  Opponents of the public option continue to pound the public with lies.  Now, it seems like the White House is sounding the retreat.

If Barack Obama is the chess player I think he is, he’s got a plan to rescue the public option from the Blue Dogs.  If I’m right, it will involve Rahm Emanuel and some blunt conversations about mid-term elections.

I don’t think that Barack Obama is a bad enough politician to take the disastrous hit of no public option when he’s got airtight majorities in both houses of Congress.  On the other hand, he likes for it to look like the other guy’s idea.

Either way, I hope the President knows that defying his base, and 76% of Americans, is not an option.  Time to use that powder.

Updated Follow Friday Recommendations and How To Guide

When I first did this, I intended to add some commentary as I went along.  Being a columnist for 3 websites and a White House reporter AND a dad is actually pretty time-consuming, as it turns out, so I sometimes don’t get back to things.

I’m going to re-publish my list, and begin to make some comments.  Before I do, though, please understand that this is not a list of who I like, and why.  There are great follows whom I personally can’t stand.  So, don’t take it personally if you’re not on the list, or if I don’t put a comment there.  This list is about who is on my radar as a good follow, by the criteria I set out at Mediaite.  Also, the comments are a work in progress.

About my radar: It ain’t all that good.  If you’re not tweeting @TommyXtopher, then you’re leaving it up to chance that I’ll even see what you said.  I read all of my @tweets.

This is also an excellent way to get on my radar if you’re someone I don’t follow.  Lots of tweeps automatically follow-back, which is fine, but I don’t.  I have a hard enough time keeping track of the 190 or so people that I follow now.  I am easy enough to lobby, though.  Strike up a conversation, or just come out and demand the follow.  I’ll give it a shot.

Keep in mind, too, that some of my best friends aren’t on the list, mainly because they just don’t tweet enough.  Brian Simpson is an excellent example of this.
For Mediaite readers who followed my link here, these are my secret weapons, the Tweeps who help my Twitter experience be all it can be. There’s a good mixture here, people from both sides of the aisle, above, and below it, too. Continue reading

In other news…

….a double dog dare from Representative Weiner-D-NY:

Billie’s Quickies

bllieddoseGirls totally rocked this week!

Several years ago I had the pleasure of being a booker for fantastic band The Gun & Doll Show in San Francisco.  It was only for a short time, but while I worked with the terrific group, we had the opportunity to help promote the documentary “Girls Rock!” It was a blast, and the young girls took to that stage and played to that audience like Rock-n-Roll veterans.

So, after the weirdest news month I’ve seen since the primaries last year, I thought I’d end the week with a little inspiration, a shot of reality, and a whole lot of AWESOME from two girls who ROCKED this week – one played guitar, the other fed the hungry.