In a recent article, Klein defends Obama against liberals who argue that the Senate bill substantially betrays his campaign promises. Klein's analysis employs what I call "pink=blue=colors" logic, for reasons that will soon become apparent. Commenting on liberal anger, Klein says that the Senate bill is basically the same thing that Obama promised to deliver during his presidential campaign:
And there are, to be sure, some differences. The public option did not survive the Senate. The individual mandate, which Obama campaigned against, was added after key members of Congress and the administration realized that the plan wouldn't function in its absence. Drug reimportation was defeated, and a vague effort to have government pick up some catastrophic costs was never really mentioned.The campaign promises=the Senate bill=two proposals to reform healthcare. In substance, however, the Senate bill differs drastically from Obama's campaign promises. Klein's conclusion makes sense only if the heralded public option, drug reimportation, and the individual mandate are irrelevant to the structure of the Senate bill. The controversy surrounding these measures alone indicates their importance on a political level, and an abundance of research demonstrates their importance in concrete economic terms.
But the basic structure of the proposal is remarkably similar.
Liberal bloggers have not reacted kindly to Klein. TalkLeft says that Klein's analysis is the "type of silly stuff [that] does no one any good - not Obama, not Ezra, and not anyone else." Emptywheel methodically dissects Klein's sloppy analysis. And Firedoglake has compiled a side-by-side analysis of Obama's promises and the Senate bill, concluding that Klein's argument is "absurd."
See also: Obama Falsely Claims that the Senate Healthcare Bill Matches His Campaign Promises