Obama: Pushing Health Care Reform or Patronizing?

crossposted at BlogHer.com

President Barack Obama fired up his base today…or was he just patting us on the head?

The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America held a conference (via email, phone, web video and in person) with volunteers and supporters of the Obama Administration and campaign to rally for health care reform. Marlene H. Phillips writes at the Huffington Post,

“On Thursday afternoon, when President Barack Obama entered a room of 50 volunteers, with thousands watching via webcast, he was greeted with the campaign cry of ‘Yes We Can.’

The President smiled, then removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. The symbolism was clear; that catchy phrase helped get us here, but now we need to work for it.”

And it felt like a rally, which was a welcome change in the national battle over reform. But during the 90 or so minutes supporters hooted and hollered and discussed health care, one line from the President stood out to me more than any other:

“…We’re going to get this done. One way, or another.”

One way or another…which I can take to mean as “with our without the public option” OR “with or without those pesky Republicans.”

Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller took the latter from it, “Before a crowd of loyal Democrats this afternoon, President Obama said his party would pass health care reform with or without Republicans.”

But after all this time and all this compromise and effort to get the GOP on board, color me skeptical. When I heard the President speaking of getting it done “one way or another” I immediately thought “by giving up more to make the Blue Dog Dems and the Right happy…”

But perhaps, just perhaps, those lefty brethren of mine made enough noise this past week to make sure the White House and Dems stayed on track with their message and keeping the public option. Digby writes,

“The bottom line is that, until progressives rallied behind the public option this week, the air was out of the balloon. The base of supporters are energizing this debate, and they will reward any lawmaker that reflects their values and actually seeks to follow through on their promises. They now represent the last, best hope for real health care reform. And they won’t cotton to being kicked around, dragged through the mud, or played as pawns any longer. 2012 lies in the balance.”

If the air was out of the balloon is was certainly inflated again today, as twitter, facebook, and blogs buzzed with “YES WE CAN!” and chants of “FIRED UP! READY TO GO!”

I remarked on BlogHer Chatter and Twitter while watching the OFA event that this is exactly what some of us advised White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to do to get health care reform front and center again in the news: make it like the campaign, get the grassroots moving. Perhaps, just perhaps, she listened.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog
BlogHer is non-partisan but our bloggers (including me!) aren’t! See more of our coverage in News & Politics.


  1. The “one way or another” comment….

    Just goes to show you how everything is colored by our views, beliefs, experiences.

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly; I am certain though that it is our respective perspectives which causes us to not be able to effectively talk to or to really hear each other.

    Hope you are feeling better!

  2. Well one way or another could be read many different ways by many different people. Me, I am going the with the pesky, fearmongering, republicans. As far as the public option, I don’t realy believe any of this will be decided by the public. It will be up to Obama to overcome the medical politico’s to get reform done one way or antoher.

  3. HOLLA!

  4. You know what really pisses me off? What REALLY makes me angry? The fact that I went into this whole fucking election with an open heart and mind…ready and willing to give Barack Obama a fair shake, to give him a chance to REALLY bridge the fucking gap. Instead? I look at him and think of a dictator. It doesn’t matter to him what I think. I’m just a “pesky Republican” right? Never mind the fact that our government fucks up every program they get their hands on (government, not particular party), now I’m just supposed to blindly trust Obama and HIS administration?

    For fucks sake, it took him six months to pick a dog for his family, but we’re supposed to just jump on board this health care reform cruise, with or without life jackets?

    Why the fucking fuck does Obama and the Left think they can just barrel through this because it’s what THEY want? What about what ALL Americans want? What about that?

    I truly, honestly believed that Obama could have been the best president ever. He is encouraging and empowering and smart. But now, I’m wondering if only when he wants his plans put into place…

    I’m totally pissed. Totally.

    The Democrats expect, DEMAND, Republicans to be open minded, but they can’t do the same. So much for bridging the gap. The motto should be “Yes We Can, Because We Won’t Stop Until We Get Our Way” It’s like a politician’s temper tantrum, really….

  5. The other day, I received an interesting and very instructive e-mail from my brother Jeff who lives in France. He asked me to share it with the readers of my blog. I think I will share it with you also.

    “As an American who has been living in Europe for most of the last 20 years, one who has visited doctors numerous times in four different countries, whose two children were brought into this world in European hospitals (France and England), who has himself spent a week in a public British hospital, and who underwent an operation in a private British clinic, I think I can say a thing or two about health care in Europe.

    “Our out of pocket expenses for the births? Zero, even though in France my wife spent 5 days in the hospital after the birth, which is standard, by the way.

    “During the three years we lived in England, we never once paid for medicine for our children. Children get drugs for free in the UK. Visits to the GP are free for everybody.

    “My expenses for the week in the NHS hospital? Zero.

    “The cost of the operation in the private clinic? Zero, it was covered by my work insurance, as was the post-op physical therapy I needed.

    “In Western Europe you would never be forced to sell your home in order to pay for your medical bills, as happens all too often in America when catastrophic illness strikes and the insurance company decides that your condition was ‘pre-existing’.

    “The quality of the care? Mostly good. French hospitals are excellent, even the food is decent. The food at the NHS hospital was beyond awful, but then again most English food is pretty bad (though they do have great Indian food). At night, they were understaffed, but I am guessing that, apart from that place where Dr. House works, most American hospitals are understaffed at night, too.

    “In short, in the US, you pay more, get less, and die younger than we do in Europe. What part of that don’t you understand?

    “My fellow Americans, you have nothing to fear except those who would use fear to keep you enslaved to the myth of the might of the American health care system.”

    Jeff Degan

    What can I tell you? The guy is a Communist. Not only does he live in France, he actually likes it there. An eternal shame to our family’s good name. Let us boil down his seven paragraphs to their juicy essentials, shall we?


    Here is (Excuse me, I meant to say, “Here was“) a golden opportunity for real reform and the idiotic Americans are screaming about socialism. Is it any wonder that we have become the laughingstock of the Western world?


    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

    PS – I love English food!

  6. I love Tom. And his brother.

  7. I am married to a Canadian whose mother would not be alive if she were not a Canadian. She was run over by a bulldozed while crossing the street. She spent a year in a coma because of a severe closed head injury. She was a divorced, single parent. She still has her house. Heck, SHE”S ALIVE. In the states she would not have recieved the treatment she did unless her kids, who were teenagers at the time, got together, got some good attorneys, & sued. & we all know the settlement wouldn’t have been dished out in time to even pay for her funeral.

    I am sick of feeling like I cannot go seek treatment for health problems I have or I’ll be labeled as being high maintenance. I am sick. Period. I have to pay thousands of dollars a year to know that if I do get sick I can still get treatment as long as I max out our credit cards.

    I agree with what I’ve heard many say; if you are happy with the insurance you have you obviously have never been sick.

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