President Barack Obama gave Senate Democrats a "pep talk" on healthcare Sunday… Obama didn't take questions from the senators or mention the two issues now dividing Senate Democrats and preventing passage of the bill: a government-run insurance plan and restrictions on federal funds for abortion.
I was hoping this would be the initiation of an arm-twisting phase from a WH pushing through the best possible version of the healthcare reform Obama staked his first term on. Maybe that is indeed happening behind the scenes. But I must say that this sounds to me as though it was more or less a speech of warmed over campaign trail vacuities, of a kind that will signal to conservadem holdouts that they're on their own come mid-terms when the watered-down corporatist-crapola they pass yields its inevitable harvest of resentment. I am beginning to fear that where healthcare is concerned the WH means to declare anything that emerges from the sausage-factory a victory, and that the WH is now hoping upcoming Jobs initiatives can provide a populist and base-energizing Plan B that will give him a Congress he can still work with after mid-terms. Maybe Reid can deliver something better out of this healthcare slog than the shit sandwich I am expecting of him. But all I am hoping for at this point are regulations against the worst most gratuitous death-dealing for-profit practices together with a structural foot in the door out of which continuing efforts toward better reform along the lines of an expansion of Medicare to more and more and more citizens will be facilitated. As you see, my inner Mouseketeer is running on fumes at this point.