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Can Barack Obama Stop Health Care Bill’s Sweetheart Deals?

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Over the past few months the Barack Obama administration has not only had to deal with Republican opposition to the Health Care Reform Bill, more importantly it also has had to factor in the current trend in Congress, specifically, centrist Democrats and Independents who have held health care legislation hostage in order to receive preferential treatment for their constituents. It started with Mary Landrieu (D-LA), then Joe Lieberman took his turn, and most recently Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska joined in. Although we will not know the price Democrats will pay in terms of seats for some time; for the time being its safe to say that Republicans will use the Democratic deal-making trend to reinforce negative attitudes about health care reform.

It's a two-edged sword, but an argument Republicans can probably win in the court of public opinion. The reason is that for some reason, every time a Democrat threatened to block health care it was in front of a camera, and the news spread like wild fire. The fact that many Republicans are in bed with large health insurance companies has been pushed to the back of everyone's mind.

Much of the blame for the backlash can be placed on the shoulders of Mary Landrieu. The product of a long line of Louisiana Dixiecrats, Mary Landrieu is an expert at playing a soft version of the race card.  Intuitively knowing  the subtle nuances involved, she masterfully worked with black Democratic leaders in Louisiana, from former Representative William Jefferson to former Mayor of New Orleans Marc Morial; now head of the National Urban League, and survived to tell about it, all the while deftly reassuring her mostly white moderate constituents that she had their interests at heart. Now Landrieu has taken her Louisiana style of politics to the big leagues. If the Obama administration staffers do not keep an eye on Landrieu they will not know what hit them in 2012. Louisiana politicians are known for not looking at the big picture, they are more into the here and now, the result of a poor Louisiana economy which has helped breed politicians who usually think three moves in advance when everyone else is thinking seven.

It's safe to say Chicago politics are much more advanced than New Orleans' tired system of sweetheart deals that have kept the city from growing economically; but the Obama administration should still take note of their dealings with Landrieu for future reference. Louisiana politicians are well known for going to the well once, taking a step back and bragging about their handiwork, and then going to the well one more time for good measure.

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About Clifford Bryan

  • Clifford, you’re right about Lousisiana politics — it’s business as usual. And no, Barack Obama cannot stop the sweetheart deals. That’s how things are done in Washington. As I pointed out in my piece Health Care: Main Street is out of Touch with Washington I have pointed out Joe Lieberman’s status in Connecticut and the state’s relationship to the insurance industry. Too many members of Congress are getting paid off with money that WE pay in health insurance premiums. Unless there’s a political revolution, nothing will change.

  • Clifford Bryan

    You are right Silas. If politicians can not put their constituents interests ahead of insurance lobbyist then we should vote them out.

  • Arch Conservative

    The title of this article assumes that Obama sees the sweetheart deals as negative and has the desire to stop them.

    I submit that he doesn’t give a damn how the health care bill affects people as long as it provides him the opportunity for political grandstanding so that he may go on TV and give some more useless speeches while millions of morons act like he ‘s done a good thing for the nation.

  • Heloise

    I was going to cogitate and write something about health care. But the truth of it is all may be moot until the two bills are one. What’s more it will take years before the public uses the system, if it is confirmed, anyway.

    For that reason it is of no interest to me. But my family is also from NOLA and they went through Katrina. I really understood New Orleans and its political woes after being in Paris because I saw the political DNA in action, or should I say “inaction?”

    The wheels do not turn in NOLA without money to grease them. And at that it still moves at a grind.

  • Once again, Arch is spot on:
    I submit that he doesn’t give a damn how the health care bill affects people as long as it provides him the opportunity for political grandstanding so that he may go on TV and give some more useless speeches while millions of morons act like he ‘s done a good thing for the nation.

    Obama is capable of far better than he’s achieved in his first year. My high hopes are dashed and I see nothing to indicate that Obama is going to reinvent the Oval Office. So long as Rahm Emmanuel is in charge of the Administration, we are in for more of nothing.

  • Arch Conservative

    C’mon Silas. Did you honestly believe anything good was going to come from Obama being in office?

    “Yes we can” “change we can believe” an Oprah Christmas special?

    It was obvious a long time ago and even more so now to anyone who isn’t a slave to the mainstream corporate media that Obama is nothing but an empty narcissistic megalomaniac. If Obama cared about this nation even one tenth as much as he cares about his own image and the publicity he gets I’d say you’d have just cause for a little optimism Silas but as he does not, you’d be better off facing up to the truth and abandoning him completely. It’s not that those around him, or even th3e system itself, is impeding his manifest destiny to be one our greatest leaders of all time, but rather it’s just another case of an ordinary man who happened to be in the right place at the right time when the right people were buying souls in exchange for the adulation and noteriaty of the oval office.

    I often think of how difficult it must be for the average person, raising children, trying to keep their job, pay the mortgage etc etc….to stay abreast of all the latest political/social goings on. Not just to be aware of them but to be aware of the ones that really matter and seek the truth. I sometimes think our daily lives excuse us from the ignorance but then other times I feel that it’s not really that difficult for one to see what’s really going on if they just open there eyes and ears and mind a little. I’m quickly losing sympathy and compassion for my fellow citizens that bitch, moan, and then proceed to do exactly what they were doing before in terms of supporting our broken, corrupt two party system and our pop culture that dumbens and deadens the soul.

    While I’m not exactly single handedly starting a revolution at least I’m talking about it which is more than can be said for most people. We should all be talking about it. Every day.