One year ago at the Netroots Nation conference in Austin, Texas the mood of the crowd was one of excitement and elation over the possibility of a Barack Obama presidency. (I concur I was there and the mood was full of promise.)A year later, with that possibility achieved, a sense of cynicism has begun to creep in. On Saturday morning, one of the president's closest advisers, Valerie Jarrett addressed the Netroots Nation conference in Pittsburgh. And while attendees were largely supportive throughout the question and answer session, the reception was warm at best. The defining moment, in fact, came when Jarrett was hissed and heckled.
The big mistake that the Obama administration made was they did not have continual public congressional hearings documenting the greed, the fraud, the $250 billion in billing fraud and abuse alone that the GAO years ago has documented. They didn’t document the $350 billion of waste, the overhead of Aetna and UnitedHealthcare and other health insurance companies with their massive executive salaries and bureaucracies. They did not document the deaths, the injuries, the sickness that hundreds of thousands of Americans go through every year because they can’t afford healthcare. And by not doing that, by playing this behind-the-scenes game with these executives from the big health-industrial complex, they were vulnerable to the split in their own party in the House, with the Blue Dog Democrats emboldened by an apparently wavering and indecisive President Obama, and they made sure that they were placed on the defensive. Well, the significance is that Obama is being undermined by his own party in Congress, because the Blue Dogs are getting far more money from these corporations and campaign contributions than the so-called liberals in the Democratic Party.But, you see, I say “undermined”—I’m not quite sure that Obama is objecting to this. He has set the whole atmosphere of catering to these giant corporations. He has made every mistake that the Clintons made in 1993, ’94 with their health insurance plan, except that he’s leaving Michelle Obama out of it. He’s made every mistake.
Per another New York Times Op-Ed - this one by Paul Krugman:
President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex. So much, then, for Mr. Obama’s dream of moving beyond divisive politics. The truth is that the factors that made politics so ugly in the Clinton years — the paranoia of a significant minority of Americans and the cynical willingness of leading Republicans to cater to that paranoia — are as strong as ever.In fact, the situation may be even worse than it was in the 1990s because the collapse of the Bush administration has left the G.O.P. with no real leaders other than Rush Limbaugh. So far, at least, the Obama administration’s response to the outpouring of hate on the right has had a deer-in-the-headlights quality. It’s as if officials still can’t wrap their minds around the fact that things like this can happen to people who aren’t named Clinton, as if they keep expecting the nonsense to just go away.