It didn't take Blue Dog Jim Cooper too long to betray President Obama. What, eight days or so. Barack Obama started using Cooper last February for health care during the primary and Mike Lux issued a huge warning.
My concerns shifted into overdrive, though, when I noticed that the Obama campaign is now using Rep. Jim Cooper as a spokesperson/surrogate on health care.
I was part of the Clinton White House team on the health care reform issue in 1993/94, and no Democrat did more to destroy our chances in that fight than Jim Cooper. We had laid down a marker very early that we thought universal coverage was the most essential element to getting a good package, saying we were to happy to negotiate over the details but that universality was our bottom line.
Cooper, a leader of conservative Dems on the health care issue, instead of working with us, came out early and said universality was unimportant, and came out with a bill that did almost nothing in terms of covering the uninsured. He quickly became the leading spokesman on the Dem side for the insurance industry position, and undercut us at every possible opportunity, basically ending any hopes we had for a unified Democratic Party position. I was never so delighted to see a Democrat lose as when he went down in the 1994 GOP tide. Unfortunately, he came back, like a bad penny.
It is such a huge mistake for Obama to use a guy like this to defend their position on health care...read on
How did he betray President Obama you ask?
Special "F. You" Note: To Blue Dog Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), who back in December extracted from the Obama team the promise of the convening of a "fiscal responsibility summit," which he wanted to be included in the stimulus. Instead, Obama agreed two weeks in advance of the stimulus vote to convene such a summit in February, and I said Obama should have waited to see that Cooper and the Blue Dogs pony up on the stimulus before agreeing.
Well, Obama didn't wait, and Cooper (and five other Blue Dogs) didn't show. What a surprise.
There's still time to disinvite them, of course. Think that'll happen?
Jim Cooper voted against the stimulus plan.