UPDATE: Bredesen's suggestion in the WSJ that he runs with the big boys can be added to the litany of hyperrealistic Bredesen postures on power relationships.
We cannot expect a politician who embraces and teases up the terrain on which political battles are fought to also be a change agent when it comes to medical coverage and care at a national level. We would be forced to continue to watch him in bed with the wealthy from afar rather than up close.
- Bredesen brought the Oilers (now Titans) to Nashville with stadium incentives like raiding $4 million in annual Metro Water funds through 2026 insisting these kinds of deals have to be made.
- Bredesen encouraged the Oilers owner to hire a local PR firm whose partner was also a former Bredesen staffer, despite the appearance of impropriety, insisting these kinds of deals have to be made.
- Bredesen brought Nissan to Middle Tennessee in sweet deal for the automaker immune from criticism insisting that these kinds of deals have to be made.
- Bredesen opened a Tennessee trade office in China in spite of the latter's ugly human rights history, of the toxic products streaming out of that country, and of the beginning of a recession that would strap the state in the coming year, insisting that these kinds of deals have to be made.
UPDATE: Foretaste things to come in a Bredesen HHS department: pharmaceuticals allowed to choose money to strip from budgets that would pay for comparative studies of effective medical treatments in order to hold down costs. Bredesen in an Obama administration would very well save the medical lobby some shoe leather in Congress.
UPDATE: Moveon.org sent out a mass e-mail today opposing Bredesen for HHS. No love lost here, either:
We need someone who's going to support visionary progressive health care reform; someone with a track record of standing up to the insurance and pharmaceutical giants at the heart of our health care crisis; someone who is 100 percent committed to giving every single American the choice of a public health insurance plan so we're not at the mercy of the private insurance companies (just as Obama promised).The also have a petition you can sign requesting that he position go to a progressive.
Obama is reportedly considering several governors and a few senators. Many of these folks would be great, but at least one would be a bad choice for health care reform: Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen made his fortune acquiring and running HMOs. As governor, he gutted Tennessee's public health insurance program, causing more than 320,000 people to lose their health insurance. And Bredesen let the private insurance industry pay for his multi-million dollar redecoration of the governor's mansion.
UPDATE: Ken Whitehouse describes Moveon.org's rejection of Bredesen's candidacy as "devastating blow" to Bredesen's chances.