Wednesday, December 16, 2009

White House Official Lays Ultimate Slam on Howard Dean: "He's Irrelevant" The Left is Mostly Baffled

Via Memeorandum
Ooh burn, such a low blow against the champion of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Savannah Guthrie reveals the anger over health care debate is not reserved for Joe Lieberman but for Howard Dean who in recent days has called for the death of widely despised health care bill.

Mika Brzezinski I won’t name names, but I heard it from several people in the Administration: Howard Dean, very not pleased, with Dr. Dean speaking out about health care reform and this plan.

Savannah Guthrie: Yeah, very irritated. Yes, isn’t it fascinating they don’t seem to be too angry at Lieberman, they’re reserving their fervor for Howard Dean, but actually, one senior official who I talked to this morning paid the highest insult which was to call him irrelevant to the entire health care debate. You know he kind of had his moment in the sun in the last week when this Medicare expansion looked like it was going to be the thing that broke the logjam between the progressives in the party and the moderates, but, of course, because of Lieberman, the Medicare expansion is gone, and now Dean is having what one official called “a tantrum.”

And they think it’s just not helpful, but they say he’s irrelevant because, bottom line is, even though he was meeting yesterday with all the Democrats, a lot of liberals did blow off steam, there’s a lot of frustration, they’re annoyed that the public option is gone, that then they compromised to do the Medicare extension, now it’s gone. At the end of the day, the moderates are holding sway over this bill, but at the end of the day the President’s been able to hold them in line and they think progressives will be with them.

Dean hasn't been shy in his criticism of the current health care bill
"This is a bigger bailout for the insurance industry than AIG," former Democratic National Committee chairman and medical doctor Howard Dean told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today. "A very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all, until 2014, if the bill works. "This is an insurance company's dream, this bill," Dean continued. "This is the Washington scramble, and I think it's ill-advised."
Obviously his call to kill the bill has the White House enraged.  Dean's statements reflect the thinking of much of the left wing blogosphere who are baffled by the attitude towards both Dean and Lieberman:
 Joe Lieberman, who held a legislative gun to President Obama's head and threatened to kill all of health care reform, endangering the Democrats' prospects for holding on to control of Congress in the next election and endangering the President's chances at being re-elected, got personally thanked by President Obama yesterday. Thanked for trying to kill health care reform, thanked for shilling for the insurance industry. Howard Dean, who is simply advocating for the President's own campaign promise, is now being dissed by the White House.
Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake explains in a piece written for Politico; it's all about those secret deals the White House made:

These deals were memorialized by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in the Finance Committee bill, and the Senate has busied itself delivering upon those deals ever since.
And what are senators planning to call a “win”?
• A removal of the ban on annual limits that Reid slipped in at the last minute, in violation of the president’s promise in his September address to Congress;
• an exemption from antitrust law for insurance companies, which will reduce competition;
taxes that start up in January but benefits that don’t start until 2014; and
• a tax on middle-class insurance plans that is designed to cut back insurance benefits, reduce coverage and increase co-pays and deductibles.
That reduction in benefits is a feature, not a bug — it’s how they’re going to “bend the cost curve.”
The tax on middle-class health insurance plans is extremely unpopular, whereas Sen. Byron Dorgan’s drug reimportation bill is very popular. And the North Dakota Democrat’s bill would “bend the cost curve” more than the middle-class insurance tax would. It would save the government $19 billion over the next 10 years, and it would save consumers $100 billion.
As majority leader, Reid has turned the Senate into little more than a rubber stamp for the executive branch. He’s not a leader — he’s a man looking for an excuse.
And Lieberman is the perfect excuse.
 Lieberman was personally thanked for his support of the bill after the Medicare buy-in and the beloved public option were removed.  He did the dirty work Obama, Reid and most of the left refused to do, kill the public option the base had grown to love.  Dean, however, will only serve as a catalyst to fuel the growing anger that health care reform is more about behind the scenes deals and less about the promise of government medicine the progressives hoped Obama would deliver.  I would argue there is still plenty of that in the bill though clearly its not enough to please the left.  Interesting though the left hates a good deal about the bill that are often criticized by the right.

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