The main thing about passage of a ho hum health care bill (I’m not one who thinks it brings the apocalypse) is that it highlights the quote that is my headline. Glenn Greenwald put it like this (emphasis in original throughout):
What’s not debatable is that this [health bill negotiation] process highlighted — and worsened — the virtually complete powerlessness of the Left and progressives generally in Washington. If you were in Washington negotiating a bill, would you take seriously the threats of progressive House members in the future that they will withhold support for a Party-endorsed bill if their demands for improvements are not met? Of course not. No rational person would.
Regardless what you think of the bill itself, will anyone on the left attempt to open the ‘why are the left and progressives completely powerless’ Pandora’s Box? Because, until we do, the powerlessness will continue. It won’t get worse, of course, because it can’t get any worse. As Greenwald highlighted in a column btw ridiculing the WaPost’s Ezra Klein,
. . . this bill was negotiated using the standard, secret, sleazy Beltway lobbyist/industry practices that candidate Obama frequently condemned and vowed to defeat. And these industries extracted such huge benefits as a result of these secret deals — a bill shaped to their liking and profit objectives — that they are essentially in favor of it. . . .
The way this bill has been shaped is the ultimate expression — and bolstering — of how Washington has long worked.
While that was happening, progresssives and leftists were pressuring and extracting promises from dozens of ostensibly leftist, public-option-supporting Congresspeople. And what happened with that?
For almost a full year, scores of progressive House members vowed — publicly and unequivocally — that they would never support a health care bill without a robust public option. They collectively accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars based on this pledge. Up until a few weeks ago, many progressive opinion leaders — such as Moulitsas, Howard Dean, Keith Olbermann and many others — were insisting that the Senate bill was worse than the status quo and should be defeated. But now? All of those progressives House members are doing exactly what they swore they would never do — vote for a health care bill with no public option — and virtually every progressive opinion leader is not only now supportive of the bill, but vehemently so. In other words, exactly what Rahm [Emanuel] said would happen — ignore the progressives, we don’t need to give them anything because they’ll get into line — is exactly what happened.
Any pipsqueak pwoggies gonna ask for their money back? Okay, enough, let’s let the serious soul-searching on the left and among progressives begin. NOT.
AFL-CIO: House Approves Historic Health Care Reform (". . . what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calls a ‘momentous step toward comprehensive health care.’")
BarbinMD (Daily Kos): It Took Too Long ("It took too long, but we’ve finally won the first battle in the fight of Ted Kennedy’s life. A matter of right, not a privilege, indeed.")
Noam Chomsky: Health bill sustains the system’s core ills [but] Despite its flaws, I’d have ‘held my nose’ to pass reform, renowned intellectual tells Raw Story [Chomsky says the key charm point for him is that the bill will really stop insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.]
Paul Krugman: Five-Year Plan (". . . health reform — imperfect, compromised, but real — has happened")
Dennis Kucinich: How key Democrats voted on health care bill ("Kucinich says that what moved him wasn’t any special deal for Cleveland, but concern for the impact of a defeat of health care to the Obama presidency.")
Matt Yglesias: Perspective ("Now that it’s done, Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents.")
Yup, there’s yer pwoggie-land for you. Flat on its back again with hosannas for the steamroller.