Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Healthcare Lite": Does The White House Have a Fallback Position?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House has prepared a scaled-down healthcare reform package that would accomplish far less than the Obama administration's current proposal. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, however, says that this is not true.

Klein chides the Wall Street Journal for pushing the idea that the White House is considering "health-care lite." Klein, however, concedes that since August, the White House has debated the merits of a lighter reform package.

According to Klein, Rahm Emanuel pushed the idea of aiming low, believing that comprehensive reform either could not pass or that it would cost Democrats votes in the midterm elections. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Emanuel pushed a smaller package, but the article states that he did not design the alternative policy. Klein says that Emanuel pushed the idea again after Scott Brown won the Massachusetts senate race. According to Klein, however, advocates of the comprehensive plan won the debate on each occasion.

The Wall Street Journal article relies on anonymous sources. Klein's does too, but Klein's sources are from within the White House, while the Wall Street Journal does not cite White House sources -- even anonymously -- a factor that for Klein raises suspicion of attempted "sabotage."

Query: Dana Milbank's recent Washington Post article that reads like a personal marketing statement for Rahm Emanuel also states that Emanuel pushed a much smaller reform package. According to Milbank/Emanuel, President Obama's failure to listen to Emanuel was a terrible mistake. Could the Wall Street Journal article represent a last-ditch effort by Emanuel's people to bring attention to healthcare lite?

Update: Klein says that the Wall Street Journal has now updated the article without saying so; the new version drops a quote from an anonymous, senior White House official. But the clever Klein made a screen-capture of the original article.

6 comments:

Matt P. said...

What? This is what I get this morning? So disappointed. Looking forward to your defense of Paterson. LOL.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: Should I feel insulted? I wrote a draft response on the Paterson thing, but there are so few facts in the NYT article, that I ended up not posting it. My initial thoughts: bad politically; unless Paterson contacted a judge or prosecutor or cop - then probably no illegality.

Matt P. said...

I never mean to insult Darren. I honestly had no opinion on Paterson but noted defending him (perhaps justly) was a theme of yours. With this latest revelation though I have a much dimmer view of him. I'll be sure to try and get my licks in depending on what you write. If you write anything at all.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: I do not pick sides lightly. My defense of Paterson earlier was less a defense of him, and more a critique of mucky journalism. At that time, the rumors of rumors centered around alleged infedility -- which I think you agree is unhelpful discourse. This article raises greater concerns, but it does not let the NYT off the hook. A 3-part series on a sitting governor looks like a concerted effort to kick him out -- despite the seriousness of the latest allegation. Is that the role of the press? I am reminded of the same effort with Howard Dean.

As for the latest allegations, they are politically bad, but, as I said, might not be illegal. At this point, I need more info to comment. But stick around. I have never avoided an issue because it looks tough to others.

Matt P. said...

Put a fork in him...

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: If that's the case, then why waste time writing the essay?

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