Kuttner on Obama, Coakley, and health care reform

From Robert Kuttner in Huffington Post:

How could the health care issue have turned from a reform that was going to make Barack Obama ten feet tall into a poison pill for Democratic senators? Whether or not Martha Coakley squeaks through in Massachusetts on Tuesday, the health bill has already done incalculable political damage and will likely do more. Polls show that the public now opposes it by margins averaging ten to fifteen points, and widening. It is hard to know which will be the worse political defeat — losing the bill and looking weak, or passing it and leaving it as a piñata for Republicans to attack between now and November….

As a resident of Massachusetts, in the last two days I’ve gotten robo calls from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Martha Coakley, and Angela Menino, the wife of Boston’s mayor — everyone but the sainted Ted Kennedy. In Obama’s call, he advised me that he needed Martha Coakley in the Senate, “because I’m fighting to curb the abuses of a health insurance industry that routinely denies care.” Let’s see, would that be the same insurance industry that Rahm was cutting inside deals with all spring and summer? The same insurance industry that spent tens of millions on TV spots backing Obama’s bill as sensible reform?

If voters are wondering which side this guy is on, he has given them good reason.

Regardless of what happens in Massachusetts tomorrow, Democrats need to do some serious soul-searching about how it got to the point where we were fighting, tooth and nail, for Ted Kennedy’s seat in liberal Massachusetts. And hopefully we can stop with the platitudes about needing to be more bipartisan and needing to move more to the middle. Been there, done that, isn’t working, and actually seems to be hurting.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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