For many years, in another life, I was an official in a broadcast industry union local. As you all know, unions are no stranger to a process known as collective bargaining, otherwise known as the fine art of negotiation. At contract renewal time, that process of give and take between union and management can amount to months of tedious hours of nitpicking, or it can go smoothly. The take away from that process is that there are a set of proven techniques that, if followed, usually lead to a successful outcome.
The most important thing to remember is just pure common sense. When you present a particular issue for negotiation, you always start the bargaining process by presenting your MSP or maximum supportable position. The maximum supportable position is the most that you can ask for without getting the other side of the negotiations so upset that they walk away from the bargaining table. It's the starting point that you ask for with the realization that it is going to be bargained down. A numeric example is if you want to get say $40,000 annual salary for the people you represent, you would start out by asking for $60,000. If you asked for 70,000, management would walk out. If you asked for $40,000, management assume that is your starting point and proceed to bargain down from there. That's not rocket science, it's negotiating 101.
I feel that one of the main reasons we've had problems with the Republican's and Teabaggers being able to block any health care legislation is that, from the beginning, the President and the Dems. haven't started the health care debate by demanding full European-style national health care as a maximum supportable position. The fall-back could then be single payer health care. The public option should have been absolutely not negotiable and the thing we settle for if all else fails.
President Obama was a community organizer. I'm sure he knows the rules of the road when it comes to negotiating. By originally turning the debate over to Congress and the Senate and letting the issue fester by taking what is essentially a passive role in the debates, I felt that his support was luke warm at best. By releasing his health care plan without a public option, he is starting from a rock-bottom maximum supportable position. It makes me wonder if he considers his health care campaign promises to be a liability, rather than an asset and wants to sign any law that has the words health care in it just to say that he fulfilled a campaign promise.