This Was A Big Win
By Tom Hayden
Progressives For Obama: March 24, 2010
This is not the time for progressives to mourn the defeat of single-payer or
the public option, it is the time to cheer the health care victory as an
important victory and prepare to stop the right-wing in their tracks and
discredit their religion of market fundamentalism. It's the time to push
further against that same fundamentalism by demanding such reforms as
regulation of Wall Street and a rollback of the Supreme Court decision on
campaign finance - all before the November election.
We did not achieve what was politically-impossible, Medicare for All.
Insurance companies and Big Pharma will benefit from the health care
legislation, but the Machiavellians always get their pound of flesh in
exchange for conceding reform. We added new health protections for millions
of Americans, opened possibilities for further health reforms, and avoided
the beginning of the end of the Obama era, which frankly is what the unified
right-wing is still trying to bring about.
It is the nature of social movements to fragment and decline when they
achieve victories which fall short of their hopes and dreams. It is the
nature of counter-movements to become more dangerous and unified when they
feel threatened with decline.
There is plenty of analysis of how the public came out ahead in this final
package despite all its flaws and chicanery. Let me add one fundamental
point no one has mentioned:
Passage of a trillion-dollar health care package means a trillion dollars
not available to the Pentagon for their long war.
In his book making the case for the US as a modern Goliath, the conservative
political philosopher Michael Mandelbaum wrote of his fear that Sixties
social programs will undermine the appetite and resources for empire, which
he described as an American "world government." [MM, The Case for Goliath:
How America Acts as the World's Government for the 21st Century, Public
"Democracy [will] favor butter over guns", Mandelbaum worried. As programs
like health care expand and social security cutbacks are fought, "it will
become increasingly difficult for the foreign policy elite to persuade the
wider public to support the kinds of policies that, collectively, make up
the American role as the world's government. Foreign policy will be
relegated to the back burner", he groused.
We have no moral right or even competence to be "the world's government", of
course. The more we invest in our domestic needs - health care, schools and
universities, environmental restoration, green jobs - the more unsustainable
become trillion-dollar wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and
beyond. The seeds of an alternative foreign policy lie in building an
alternative domestic one. #
[Tom Hayden, a former California state senator, is the author, most
recently, of The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama (Paradigm).
Senator Tom Hayden, the Nation Institute's Carey McWilliams Fellow, has
played an active role in American politics and history for over three
decades, beginning with the student, civil rights and antiwar movements of
[Hayden was elected to the California State Legislature in 1982,
where he served for ten years in the Assembly before being
elected to the State Senate in 1992, where he served eight years.]
From: "Sid Shniad" <email@example.com>
Obama 'humiliated' Netanyahu at meeting
Jason Koutsoukis Herald Correspondent
Sydney Morning Herald: March 26, 2010
JERUSALEM: The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, returned to
Israel last night after an apparently disastrous meeting with the US
President, Barack Obama, in Washington.
According to leaked accounts reported in the Israeli media, Mr Obama
humiliated Mr Netanyahu by leaving the meeting early.
''I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the
girls,'' Mr Obama reportedly said, adding that Mr Netanyahu should consult
his aides about goodwill gestures Israel was prepared to make towards the
Palestinians before renewed peace talks. '''I'm still around,'' he said.
''Let me know if there is anything new.''
The talks were shrouded in an unusual news blackout, with no statement
issued after the meeting and no official photographs released. US officials
said the two met alone for about 90 minutes. Mr Netanyahu then huddled with
staff separately for 90 minutes before requesting a second meeting with Mr
When the President returned, Mr Netanyahu is said to have made a
counter-offer which Mr Obama did not accept.
In an Israeli TV interview before leaving for Israel, Mr Netanyahu said he
had made progress in his meeting with Mr Obama. "I think we are finding the
golden mean between the traditional policy of all the Israeli governments,
and our desire to find a way to renew the peace process. I think we made
Relations between Israel and the US were shaken this month when, during a
visit by the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, Israel announced plans to build
1600 Jewish homes on Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.
One congressman who met Mr Netanyahu after his White House meeting said:
''It was awful. Netanyahu looked excessively concerned and upset. He waved
around those pages, eager to persuade us that because of the complicated
approval process for issuing construction permits in Jerusalem, one could
never know in advance when a decision would be published on the issue.''
Writing in the Israeli Maariv, columnist Ben Caspit said there was no
humiliation exercise the Americans did not try on Mr Netanyahu. ''Bibi
received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of
Equatorial Guinea,'' Caspit wrote.
Yedioth Ahronoth said the White House ambushed Mr Netanyahu. ''Everything
was scrupulously planned, most likely, and the Israeli Premier, perhaps the
most sought-after personage in the Oval Office in the past two decades, was
received like the last of the wazirs from Lower Senegal.''
The consensus among Israeli commentators is that the US will continue to
exert more pressure on Israel to move swiftly towards the creation of a
''The US is abandoning us and effectively turning into Europe,'' Caspit
wrote. ''From now on, we are completely alone. The entire world, from one
end to another, talks about a Palestinian state inside territory similar to
''Obama wants to know whether Netanyahu is there. In explicit words, in
writing, not with hints, not with a 'maybe,' not with a 'yes, but'. A simple
question that requires a simple answer.''
US and Israeli officials are working on a document dubbed ''the blueprint,''
which covers all issues, including Jerusalem, that need to be resolved to
let talks go forward.
Mr Netanyahu will try to sell it to his cabinet while the US Middle East
envoy, George Mitchell, will take it to Arab and Palestinian officials for
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