It looks like the vote is coming down finally. Ezra Klein is saying the vote should come down at 9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific. You can watch the streaming video of the vote on C-Span. I'm totally exhausted and let's face it---the whole country is exhausted. Obama gave a good speech yesterday and hit the republicans as he should. You can read the entire transcript here.
In what the New York Times called "an extraordinary session," President Obama began his speech by quoting Abraham Lincoln. "I am not bound to win, but I'm bound to be true," he said. "I'm not bound to succeed, but I'm bound to live up to what light I have."
"You have a chance to make good on the promises you made," Obama told the House members. "This is one of those moments. This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself: 'Doggone it, this is exactly why I came here. This is why I got into politics. This is why I got into public service. This is why I made these sacrifices.'" Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz described Obama's address as "the most emotional speech I've ever seen him give."
I agree with Digby though. These "mission accomplished" speeches are a bit much.
Can I just say once again how much I hate these little "Mission Accomplished" press conferences? I realize that it's human to want to celebrate the (apparent) end of a hard fought battle and that they all loved to be stroked by each other in public, but it's unseemly.
Instead of telling each other how wonderful they all are, perhaps they could spend time time explaining why the bill is important and thanking the American people for their forbearance. They can give each other big smooches and hearty pats on the back when the cameras stop rolling.
If the President had started out the process as forcefully as he has been lobbying now, the bill would have been finished before the dog days of last summer. Glenn Greenwald's take here is understandable. He wants the bill to pass too, but with tepid support and is miffed at the politics of it all.
As liberals, we have fought hard for what we believe in, but building a powerful liberal/progressive coalition in Congress is going to take time. And we need a strong ground game to go along with them. Many of us are somewhat disappointed in the final bill, but it does have some important changes that have been discussed endlessly already and I won't rehash them all now.
Remember, conservatives have been actively building their movement since Barry Goldwater and then it continued with the rise of Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Having the backing of billions of dollars from overzealous corporations and wealthy families that the left doesn't have access to has been a major obstacle for progressive change and will continue to be one. And we know all about the right wing noise machine that is allowed to permeate our airwaves while traditional journalism goes out of business, which will slowly turn all news into opinions.
The liberal blogosphere is still in its infancy. Kudos to the many interest groups that have been fighting the good fight for decades, but I think bloggers can build "Movement Progressivism " better in the long run because it encompasses all of our special interests and combines them.
Both on substance and politics, better to pass it than not. It does not do the important work of sowing the seeds of the insurance industry's destruction, leaving the skimmers in place, and only takes baby steps towards moving them to the regulated public utility model. It also doesn't get rid of their anti-trust exemption, leaving the effective monopolies in place.
This leaves us open to continued abuses by the industry and fails to do the most important cost-cutting measure, cutting out the paper pushers who serve no useful purpose in the economy. But there is good in the bill, too, and one has to be a bit Hopey that over time demands by the public will make the bad and unpopular stuff less bad and less unpopular.
As it pertains to the politics of it all, the President needs this bill to pass. If it does then I believe the MSM will hail it as a great achievement on his part.
I'll have a lot more on this after I get some much needed rest.