Twitter is on fire, and Joe Lieberman merely the kindle. The Netroots left -- a variegated slice of the Democratic base -- is livid about health care reform. The fire has been slow burning for months, expressing itself in frustration, firstly, with the congressional leadership, and secondly, with the White House. For the most part, though, the left was willing to sustain a modicum of support for HCR -- even in a very watered down form for them. No longer.
Says Markos Moutlisas: @markos Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate.
AmericaBlog John Aravosis: @aravosis When it still feels like Bush is in the White House and Gingrich the Congress, I don't call that 'change'
Moutlisas: @markos Bye bye, Reid. You weren't a bad MINORITY leader.
Atrois: @Atrios 2010 gonna be grim
@HunterDK Breaking News: Senate agrees to drop healthcare reform from#HCR bill. Will be replaced with picture of Calvin peeing on you.
Notice, firstly, that blame is laid at the feet of Harry Reid, for the most part. (This mistrust isn't new, but the failure to produce any meaningful sort of public option in health care is probably the last straw.) Even if it was pressure from the White House that caused Reid to choose to try and accommodate Max Baucus's preferences first, it was Reid who refused to fight back.
Notice, secondly, that the left is angry. Not frustrated. Angry. It's true that the Obama base is different than (though overlaps with) the Democratic base, and that the Obama White House is more concerned with tending to the Obama base than the Democratic base, which they view as a kluge of interest groups and habits left over from the Clinton administration. Still, the White House knows it has to figure out how to get base Democrats back into a zone of enthusiasm. (Obama's numbers among Democrats have been dropping for about six weeks now.) Democrats may take their cues from the mood of these progressive elites. And if elites really are over health care -- if they don't consider the passage of a bill full of insurance reforms a good bill worth celebrating -- then it may well be true that Democrats tune out the White House whistle-blowing.
BTW: in a way, the Lieberman obstinacy vindicates the White House's plan to try and keep Olympia Snowe on board, pushing a trigger instead of insisting that Reid push a public option. If Snowe had gotten on board earlier, progressives might have gotten a better bill because she'd have been invested in the bill's succeess.
BTW*@ -- as smarter people than I have noticed, Lieberman's opposition to a Medicare buy-in was -- while a reversal of position on its own -- he campaigned on this in 2000! -- not the only source of opposition to the idea in the Democratic Senate. Even Al Franken, the liberal Democrat from Minnesota, wasn't too hot on the idea.