Clive Crook is just so confused:
When Max Baucus declared that the president wasn’t helping him, sirens should have gone off in the White House–and some advisers should have been fired on the spot.
Obama could fix this problem so easily. I say that because I don’t think he has strayed as far left as Brooks does. It’s as much about messaging as policy. But he has to start disappointing the party’s liberals. He has to pick a fight or two, and takes sides with the centrists. In choosing the party’s liberals over the party’s moderates, he is repudiating one of the most brilliant campaigns ever seen. I simply don’t understand it.
Crook seems like a fairly smart guy, so why amnesia strikes him here is beyond me. PIcking a fight with the party’s liberals? How about, say, state secrets? Or military commissions? Or releasing the Abu Gharib photos? Or refusing to use the Swedish model to get us out of the fiscal crisis? Or pushing hard on card check? Or a bigger fiscal stimulus? Or advocating for single payer? Put another way: what hasn’t Obama picked a fight with liberals on?
But worse than that is Crook’s inability to understand why in the world Obama has pushed so hard for health care reform. Maybe because, you know, it’s good for the country? That we’ll be bankrupted if we don’t somehow reduce costs? That every other developed country has been able to achieve universal care and better health outcomes with a lower costs than the United States? The party’s “moderates” loudly proclaim that they want to reduce costs, and then fight provisions to reduce costs, like the public option. They say they want health care reform, and then try to delay it. There just isn’t a credible position there.
Everything for the Beltway press is about tactics and politics, not policy. Best for the country? That’s so jejeune, especially if it’s a mildly progressive idea. And now even someone like Crook, who isn’t from the Beltway punditocracy, has picked up on it. Nauseating.