Monday, October 19, 2009

Democrats At War with Themselves

It isn't Republicans who are holding up Obama's "reforms!"

Debra Saunders opened her most recent column with:

If the Democrats' health care package is so great, why are President Obama and Dem congressional leaders so hungry to share the credit for its passage with a Republican?

It's not as if D.C. Dems are opposed to hogging the glory when a federal program is popular. So why did Obama feel the need to announce after the Senate Finance Committee passed a health care measure with the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, that the measure "enjoys the support of people from both parties" -- when this one bill enjoyed the support of one lone-wolf Republican?
While it was laughable for Obama to point to the vote of one RINO from Maine and claim bipartisan support for his reforms it underscored the real problem which is Obama can't get unipartisan support from within his own party. It's a battle between the remaining moderates in the Democrat party and the liberals. The libs insist on a public option which will destroy the private health care industry and the moderates refuse to support any plan which does include such a government takeover.

There's more to it of course. The massive spending and new taxes which will bankrupt small business and impose massive financial burdens on the middle class are all concerns that moderate or blue dog Democrats share. The liberals, urged on by foreign born George Soros and ("we own" this party) offshoots would be only too happy to see the middle class become a total ward of the state.

It's not just the moderate and liberal Dems who are pitted against each other, both the House and the Senate are taking courses that are at odds with each other. A collision is likely:

House, Senate Dems at odds on health care overhaul
The Associated Press
Sunday, October 18, 2009 1:55 AM

WASHINGTON -- You may think Democrats and Republicans are at odds over health care. Well, they've got nothing on House and Senate Democrats going after each other.

The intraparty disputes may prove the most grueling test of all as Congress tries to write a bill that fulfills President Barack Obama's goal of extending coverage to millions of Americans and reining in rising medical costs.

The disagreements extend well beyond whether or not to allow the government to sell insurance in competition with the private market, though fissures over the so-called public plan - preferred in the House, less so in the Senate - have drawn the most attention.

Some of the toughest fights loom over what requirements employers should have to shoulder to see that their workers are covered, and perhaps stickiest of all, how to make coverage affordable and pay for extending it to millions of uninsured.

Senators would tax high-value health insurance plans to pay for covering the uninsured, an approach supporters say would curb health costs because it would lead to employers offering less generous benefits. The more populist House would tax the highest-income people, placing the burden of caring for the neediest Americans on the backs of millionaires.

"I don't know how you split that difference," said Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. "It's not just about numbers. These are philosophical differences about how you pay for reform."

Any showdown between the House and Senate is a ways off, and will happen only if both succeed in passing their own health bills. Democratic leaders in both houses are working to finalize their legislation - a process that is itself fraught with difficulties - in time to hold floor debates within the next several weeks.

Presuming the House and Senate do pass bills, they will go to a conference committee made up of Democratic leaders and key committee chairs from both chambers. There, with plenty of input from the White House, the most powerful members of Congress will fight it out in private.
All the while, and it's spawn are spitting poison at their own team from the sidelines:

Lefty anger splits Dems -- and may sink them
By: Byron York
Washington Examiner
October 16, 2009

"Harry Reid abdicates his leadership role," reads the headline at the lefty Daily Kos Web site. "Why Joe Biden should resign," reads the headline at the Huffington Post. "Whiner in Chief," reads the headline at The Nation, referring to President Obama.

Self-styled progressives across the country are angry, not just at Obama, but at the rest of the Democratic power structure, as well. That anger is causing an ugly split inside the Washington Democratic world.
While Obama is taking hits, Democrats in Congress are getting it full force. "Reid is poison," one reader of Daily Kos writes of the Senate majority leader. "He has NO, NADA, NONE interest in any of the progressive parts of the president's agenda," another writes. "Traitorous little weasel," a third writes. "The same goes for Pelosi," writes yet another, of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It doesn't matter that the netroots activists dislike Republicans far more; the fact is, they're deeply unhappy with their own party -- the party led by what Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas calls "ineffective corporatist Dems."
There simply can't be that many people in pajamas. Mainstream, non-progressive, non-pajama Democrats are now decidedly unhappy with the performance of their leaders in Congress. The presence of unbeatable Democratic majorities -- 256 Democrats in the House and 60 in the Senate, backed up by a Democratic president -- has made rank-and-file Democrats less, rather than more, satisfied.

The problem for Obama, and for Reid and Pelosi, is that there is no one solution to the problem. Some of the unhappy Democrats are unhappy because they believe their leaders are moving too far to the center, while others are unhappy because they believe their leaders are moving too far to the Left.

The last thing Republicans in the House or Senate need to do is help Democrats win this battle amongst themselves. It's just too much fun to watch!

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