THE BLOG
09/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Public Option is Barack Obama's Litmus Test

There are many, many reports out now that the Obama administration has already made a deal with the health care industry, and corporate controlled Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, on a health insurance package that does not include the public option.

A provision that removes the public option from the bill is a poison pill that is intended to kill any real reform and keep the health care system exactly as it is now (except even more profitable by pushing more government subsidized Americans into the private insurance industry's coffers).

So, the battle that is being played out now is not between Republicans and Democrats. It's not even between conservative Democrats and progressive ones. Or between the White House and Congress. No, the battle is instead between moneyed interests and the people.

If conservatives knew what was going on, they might be enraged to find out that all of their representatives are already bought and paid for. The only question for them now is whether they are going to take a bigger piece of the lobbyist pie or the Democrats are by better capitulating to corporate demands. That's the real battle. And in that battle, real conservatives should actually be on our side in demanding that their representatives work for them rather than the corporate lobbyists.

So, the public option is not Obama's litmus test on how liberal he is. It is not his litmus test on this particular issue of health care reform. No, it is his litmus test as to whether he is bought and paid for.

That's heavy language, but it is absolutely true. I supported Barack Obama but I did not farm out my brain or my judgment to him. And it is now fairly clear that he does not intend to do as he says. He will not actually fight for the public option. He is not interested in real health care reform. He is interested in politics and the appearances of political victories. He is interested in bragging rights and appeasement of the system. He is interested in grabbing a bigger piece of the corporate lobbyist pie for himself and his party. He is interested in maintaining the status quo while pretending to do the exact opposite.

It is fairly clear, but not perfectly clear. Maybe he will have a change of heart or mind and reverse direction. But we're going to find out either way. If he jettisons the public option as it appears he is ready to do, then he never meant a word of all that talk about change and taking on lobbyists. He was a pawn of the system all along and we were the rubes who believed his pretty words.

Or he can prove that he is a strong and brave fighter who was outplaying and outsmarting us all. That appearances are not what they appeared to be and that he had a plan all along to bring about real change. Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't it be great if we could believe in any of our leaders just once?

He has all of these options in front of him. And that is why this is his litmus test. Will he continue to bend to the lobbyists time and time again? Will he prove to be a real leader who can bring real change? Most importantly, is he actually going to try or was it all a front? That's what we're going to find out soon. And that's why this is his real litmus test, not of policy but of character.

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