In essence, this reinforces all of the worst dynamics of Washington. The insurance industry gets the biggest bonanza imaginable in the form of tens of millions of coerced new customers without any competition or other price controls. Progressive opinion-makers, as always, signaled that they can and should be ignored (don't worry about us -- we're announcing in advance that we'll support whatever you feed us no matter how little it contains of what we want and will never exercise raw political power to get what we want; make sure those other people are happy but ignore us). Most of this was negotiated and effectuated in complete secrecy, in the sleazy sewers populated by lobbyists, industry insiders, and their wholly-owned pawns in the Congress. And highly unpopular, industry-serving legislation is passed off as "centrist," the noblest Beltway value.Digby's quite nice on this too. The key here is the middle section of the paragraph: Obama can directly and coercively give the taxpayer's money first to the "F" in FIRE (finance) and now to the I (insurance) because of the pathetic psychological state of progressives - so pathetic that it's hard to even know if they are progressives or not, or if they know. Would these people respond if exposed and pounded on by a thousand Greenwalds and 10000 Digbys? How much more failure is it going to take? My only disagreement with Greenwald is that he doesn't sufficiently stress the apparent causal power of a mass mental break.
It's true that Obama is more to blame than Lieberman, but why is Lieberman able to act like one of the regional tyrants that could blackmail the emperor as the western Roman empire disintegrated (e.g. throughout all of the 400s). This is a sign that Obama has already lost most of his authority, if he ever had it in the first place. It's also more evidence for Fire Dog Lake's important claim for the practical failure of the Rahm Emmanuel strategy of crippling the left and even the center so they can cut deals with the right. They have achieved almost nothing this way - unless what they want is in fact FIRE corporatism instead of government.
There are a lot of parallels with Clinton, of course, but it reminds me more of Tip O'Neill's disastrous accommodation of a not-yet-strong Ronald Reagan during the recession of the early 1980s, when instead of fighting him on the air traffic controllers and tax cuts, he found lots of local advantages in caving in. The Dems haven't ever really recovered on the level of strategy or of ideology, and that was almost 30 years ago. And of course O'Neill was still running scared from the McGovern debacle, which they never analyzed correctly - as is Obama in his desire to be Nixon rather than McGovern (or Carter) in Afghanistan . . .
I like FDL's virtual whip project but am not sure how to scale up opposition to a DC that is completely off the rails and selling itself to the highest bidder as quickly and totally as it possibly can. (This view is compatible with Nick Silver's good rationalist analysis of progressive failure.) Obama's vaunted Internet strategy was built to campaign the masses and not to rule the brokers in the capitol. A starting point would be for Obama to engage in a public slicing and dicing of his enemies in a major national address - really hang them by their heels from the telephone poles on the road to Woody's Creek, as Hunter S. Thompson used to say - but he's already lost the spirit to rule in the midst of all his orthodox calculations of compromise, to say nothing of implementing any actual renovative ideas.