But rather than caving in to liberals’ complaints and allowing Democrats on Capitol Hill to take the lead – as Obama did to his peril over the past two years – he has pushed back with the full force of his office. In private persuasion and in public talk, the White House has delivered to disgruntled liberals a message summed up by Vice President Biden in a private session with lawmakers on Wednesday: Take it or leave it.
The Village loves nothing more than hippie-punching. But here’s the kicker.
This is a hopeful sign that Obama has learned the lessons of the health-care debate, when he acceded too easily to the wishes of Hill Democrats, allowing them to slow the legislation and engage in a protracted debate on the public option. Months of delay gave Republicans time to make their case against “socialism” and prevented action on more pressing issues, such as job creation. Democrats paid for that with 63 seats.
Right. It was public option that was the problem — not the months and months the White House wasted trying to use the Max Baucus bipartisan kabuki act with the GOP as a fig leaf for getting the corporate-friendly deal it wanted all along.
But Milbank isn’t only wrong on the history, he’s wrong on the politics. Removing the public option made the health care bill less popular, not more. Just like the Obama/GOP tax cut deal is making him less popular, not more.
Bill Black sums it up well.
Here’s a hint. When Dana Milbank writes a column stating that you (Obama) have never done anything in your life that made him proud until you (A) capitulated on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and (B) attacked liberals for opposing your capitulation that means you have fouled up so profoundly that you have brought joy to folks like Milbank that have never respected you and want you to fail.