Greenwald's most recent column seeks to debunk a narrative that portrays President Obama as the liberal "victim" of "centrist" Democrats in Congress who refuse to endorse more progressive healthcare reform measures, like the public plan. Greenwald argues that the proposed "compromise" legislation actually reflects the position the White House has always held on the subject of reform:
As was painfully predictable all along, the final bill will not have any form of public option, nor will it include the wildly popular expansion of Medicare coverage. Obama supporters are eager to depict the White House as nothing more than a helpless victim in all of this -- the President so deeply wanted a more progressive bill but was sadly thwarted in his noble efforts by those inhumane, corrupt Congressional "centrists." Right. The evidence was overwhelming from the start that the White House was not only indifferent, but opposed, to the provisions most important to progressives. The administration is getting the bill which they, more or less, wanted from the start -- the one that is a huge boon to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry.Apparently, Russ Feingold agrees with Greenwald's assessment of the White House position. And as I argued yesterday, I agree that liberals must hold the White House accountable on this issue:
Perhaps the chickens are indeed roosting -- at least according to several stories that appeared yesterday on many leading political blogs, including TPM, Huffington Post and Politico. According to these reports, Emanuel personally visited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and demanded that he give Senator Joe Lieberman exactly what he wants regarding healthcare reform. Lieberman opposes a public plan and a buy-in option for Medicare. Lieberman has repeatedly vowed to filibuster any proposed healthcare reform legislation that contains either of these proposals. The recent reports which claim that Emanuel has told Reid to cater to Lieberman -- a claim the White House denies -- confirms the July statements of Maxine Waters.What do you think?
Some careful readers will also remember that the White House intervened and allowed Lieberman to maintain his leadership positions on Senate committees, despite the fact that he ran as an Independent in 2006 and endorsed John McCain for president in 2008 during a speech he delivered at the Republican National Convention. Lieberman has threatened to kill the most important legislation that Congress has proposed in decades, and the White House continues to protect him politically and to cater to his interests.