Glenn Greenwald in Salon:
It is difficult to dispute that there is rising progressive anger over what the administration appears to be doing in the health care realm. Consider the remarkable, blog-based fund-raising campaign to embolden progressive House members who vowed a NO vote on any health care bill lacking a public option even if that’s the bill returned from conference reconciliation. If those House progressives adhere to their pledge, that would be an enormous impediment to the White House’s plans — and Kevin Drum astutely notes that the purpose of the fund-raising effort is to force the notoriously hapless, impotent and capitulating House progressives to adhere to their clear commitment (as The Hill put it yesterday: “House liberals have a history of getting rolled”). In just a few days, that campaign has raised more than $300,000. From what I can recall, that is the most prolific single-issue Internet fund-raising since the fundraising bonanza fueled by anger over the 2008 vote by Democrats (revealingly including Obama) to legalize Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program and retroactively immunize telecom lawbreakers.
If one were to analyze matters from a purely utilitarian perspective, one could find ways to justify the White House’s attempt to write a health care plan that accommodates the desires of the pharmaceutical and drug industries [mandates (i.e., 50 million forced new customers) plus government subsidies to pay their premiums plus no meaningful cost controls (i.e., no public option)]. All other things being equal, it’s better — from the White House’s political perspective — that those industries not spend vast sums of money trying to defeat Obama’s health care proposal, that they not pour their resources into the GOP’s 2010 midterm effort, that they not unleash their fully army of lobbyists and strategists to sabotage the Democratic Party. That’s the same calculating mindset that leads the White House to loyally serve the interests of the banking industry that caused the financial crisis (we don’t want to make enemies out of of Goldman Sachs or turn investment bankers into GOP funders). Indeed, that’s the same mindset that leads the White House to avoid any fights with the Right — and/or with the intelligence community and permanent military establishment — over Terrorism policies (there’s no political benefit to subjecting ourselves to accusations of being Soft on Terror and there’s plenty of reasons to cling to those executive powers of secrecy, detention and war-making).
In essence, this is the mindset of Rahm Emanuel, and its precepts are as toxic as they are familiar: The only calculation that matters is maximizing political power.
[H/t: Jyotsna Uppal]