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Ed Schultz to Obama: ‘Your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout’

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, December 18, 2009 9:36 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Progressive radio’s most popular talker seems a little fed up with President Obama after this week’s health care concessions.

“Right now, Mr. President,” declared Ed Schultz on his 6 pm MSNBC show, “Your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout, a corporate sellout, at that. I know it’s tough audio, but I’m your buddy Ed. I’ve got to tell you this. I don’t think anybody else is.”

Schultz’s words echo the flurry of liberal criticisms aimed at Obama and the Democratic leadership this week, following their jettisoning of the popular public option and the Medicare buy-in provision for those 55 and up from the legislation.

“You aren’t listening to the very people who put you in office, Mr. President,” Schultz, who is typically a vigorous supporter of Obama, continued. “This isn’t about your legacy. It’s about the people in America who need health care now.”

The current bill is projected to cover roughly an additional 30 million Americans, largely through federal subsidies and mandates that individuals purchase insurance. Progressives argue that without an expansion of government-run options, the legislation fails to fix the core problems in the system.

Schultz also reflected the sentiment put forth by Arianna Huffington and other progressives — that this bill is effectively a bailout for insurance companies.

“Mr. President, I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not,” he said, “but you have carved out the most important elements of reform. The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry. They get a bunch of new customers.”

“The base is restless,” Schultz continued. “They are wandering in the wilderness, Mr. President. They are looking for your GPS coordinates.”

Schultz has in recent days voiced concerns as to whether the current bill is worth passing. “So much for change we can believe in,” he said.

Despite the widespread criticism of the bill, there are numerous respected progressive writers — including Paul Krugman of the New York Times — urging its passage despite the flaws, arguing that failure would be much worse.

This video is from Thursday’s Ed Show, courtesy of MSNBC.com.

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