Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You and I agree, but with different emphasis

Attention Democrats-in-betrayal: I agree with Glenn Greenwald that Obama got the bill he always wanted. Here's the thing -- he's getting the bill he promised you, too. The whole public option fight was almost entirely absent from the debate during the primaries and the general election. It was a relatively late addition to the debate, beginning in the spring of this year really.

Now, I would have preferred a bill with a PO, or better yet Medicare buy-in. But neither of those things were seriously proposed by Obama during the election, so saying you would have never voted for him if you'd known you wouldn't end up with the public option sounds, well, ridiculous.

Of course, there's plenty of reasonable criticism for the White House and especially the Senate for not trying for a more progressive bill, but here's the thing about Obama -- he's not, never has been, and never will be a President to push the frontiers of the possible. There is a lot of good -- and desperately necessary -- work that can be done within those lines. But -- and this is a comparison that will mainly work for my Ontario readers -- he's basically a Dalton McGuinty-style liberal: wonkish, generally well-meaning, but as much as anyone in politics a Good Liberal(tm), in the sense that he doesn't really hold any unconventional opinions and hasn't, apparently, since 2003.

Anybody, however, who writes things like "No better than McCain" (much less "no better than Bush") is a blithering idiot and should check out, as just one example, the different approaches Barack Obama and John McCain have taken to climate change in the last six months: Barack Obama has sent a substantial number of his cabinet officials (including Secretaries of State and Energy Clinton and Chu) to Copenhagen, while John McCain has basically returned to GOP orthodoxy on climate.

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