On MSNBC today, I talked about the “professional left” with fellow Robert Gibbs-irritants Glenn Greenwald and Dylan Ratigan.

Gibbs, with his contempt for the “Canadian health care system,” is merely reflecting the attitude of a White House that marched into the health care debate committed to giving corporate “stakeholders” everything they wanted in exchange for campaign donations to Democrats.

From August of 2009:

Just as it was during the bank bailout, the goal of the White House was clear:  more important than saving the financial system was keeping the financial institutions happy and stop them from financing Republicans.

rahmemanuel1113.thumbnail.jpgWho would think that way?  Whose primary objective would be to keep anyone from funding a GOP ascendancy, to sell out health care reform worth billions for a hundred fifty million in pro-reform advertising?  Who would think to ask PhRMA to run ads in the districts of vulnerable freshmen, as well as Blue Dog Mike Ross, who is anything BUT vulnerable?  Certainly not some policy wonk.

But ask yourself –  would consider it a victory to use the “public plan” as little more than a political pawn with which to threaten stakeholders and force them to stay at the table, with no thought as to the emotional and moral consequences suffered by the people who had pinned their hope on having one?

Someone who had worked as the head of the DCCC.  Who remembered the 54 seat swing to the GOP in 1994 after the failure to pass health care reform.  Someone whose sole goal was a “political victory,” so the White House could be 14-0 not “13-1.”

Someone like Rahm Emanuel

Rahm’s genius strategy paid off last night in Connecticut, which saw 20% turnout in a hotly contested Democratic primary (down from 43% in 2006). If that keeps up, November is looking awfully grim for the Democrats The White House is in la-la land if they think this is happening because a few cable TV hosts and a couple of bloggers are being mean to them.

Obama failed in his promise to stand up to corporate America, and it’s not just liberals who are upset. Tossing progressives a few bones and telling them to be happy about it while handing the government over to JP Morgan, PhRMA and AT&T is just not going to get it done.