How serious is the discontent on the left? Jane Hamsher, founder of the
progressive blog http://firedoglake.com/ and a harsh critic of the White House
strategy on health care, said Obama and his team have negotiated themselves into
an untenable corner and should not expect the left to bail them out.
"I think it was always coming, and I think they were foolish not to see it
coming," she said of the disenchantment expressed by some on the left. "He
campaigned on a public plan, and people are really attached to it."
The deals the White House has made with drug companies and other
health-industry stakeholders, she added, "have neutered their ability to pass
any kind of meaningful health care reform. . . . There is no natural
constituency for that bill. Blue Dogs don't want it. Republicans don't want it.
Progressives don't want it."
Obama seems to regard the flare-up on the left as less serious. He
coined the phrase of the week in describing the state of play in health-care
politics when he said that in August, Washington often gets "wee-weed up" over
some change in the landscape. He urged everyone to calm down.
The test will come in the fall, when Democrats are presented with a
concrete set of proposals and the bells ring for a vote. That will be when it
becomes clear if there is a real rupture between Obama and his progressive
Saturday, August 22, 2009
From reporter Dan Balz of the WaPo, on Obama's growing problems with progressives: