Friday, June 26, 2009

A Classic Case

Yesterday, TPM flagged a refreshingly candid quote from Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia:

On Thursday, Rockefeller admitted he expects little bipartisan support.

"There is a very small chance any Republicans will vote for this health-care plan. They were against Medicare and Medicaid [created in the 1960s]. They voted against children's health insurance.

"We have a moral choice. This is a classic case of the good guys versus the bad guys. I know it is not political for me to say that," Rockefeller added.

"But do you want to be non-partisan and get nothing? Or do you want to be partisan and end up with a good health- care plan? That is the choice."


I don't generally like when politicians use good v. bad arguments in attempts to sway public opinion on matters of policy but this strikes me as a pretty damn accurate assessment of what the political dynamics of healthcare reform really are.

The Republican Party has opposed every important link in our social safety net dating back to the New Deal. Arguably, today's GOP establishment is even more ideologically rigid than that which opposed Social Security in the '30s and Medicare and Medicaid in the '60s. They don't believe in helping working people and instead focus their efforts on making life easier for folks that are already extremely wealthy. That is the fundamental choice that their policy positions reflect even though many self-identified GOP voters are more flexible about support for programs that will reduce costs and alleviate suffering for their fellow Americans.

Here's where we are:

On one side is the moral imperative and the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people. I personally agree that we do have a moral imperative to provide affordable quality healthcare to all Americans by creating a public option plan. This, again, is supported by 72% of Americans and even 50% of Republicans.


On the other side you have the Republican establishment, lobbyists, their clients, and their lapdogs in the Democratic Party.

NPR took a photograph of the crowd at a recent Congressional hearing on healthcare and has started to identify the lobbyists currently buying access to our Senators.

Senator Landrieu still seems to be confused as to whether health insurance is a luxury or a fundamental right. She still seems unsure as to whether we should have a substantive healthcare reform bill or one that placates a GOP establishment that has been routinely punished by voters for past opposition to important expansions of the social safety net.

Does she stand with the President, her Party, and the overwhelming majority of the American people or does she stand with the insurance lobby and the restless rump of the GOP?

What side of history does she want to be on?

This is how little people like you and I can lobby the Senator:

Washington D.C.: (202) 224-5824
New Orleans: (504) 589-2427
Baton Rouge: (225) 389-0395
Shreveport: (318) 676-3085
Lake Charles: (337) 436-6650

5 comments:

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

You rock, Doc.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question:

are you sure about the Social Security issue, because I think that was passed by both parties with bipartisan support, you might want to look at the actual vote.

Anonymous said...

E, as the great saying goes "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital." ~Aaron Levenstein

Please read all the way down to the bottom of the poll, you see another question. "Who did you vote for (in the presidential election)?"

48% voted for Obama, and just 25% voted for John McCain. The remaining, 19%, did not vote. That is almost two to one for Obama.

Shouldn't an accurate poll at least try to reflect the population?

The popular vote tally in the election last November was 53 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain.

So perhaps, just maybe, your observation that the rest of America really wants this solution.

I think what Democrats and Liberals don't understand is that the conservatives in this country are not against helping people, we are against BIG government.

And I have to ask, do you really think that the Democrats are somehow less corrupted by lobbyists? That this is "social safety net" is completely selfless and there isn't any money to be made? Come on, E, come on, remember who we are talking about (Pelosi, Frank, Dodd,etc) - ya sure about that?

Don't get me started on the elected Republican officials that are in Washington, who are just figuring out they are not representing their constituents and realizing they might actually have a shelf life.

What frustrates the conservatives is that the democrats consistently fail to acknowledge that the government cannot run social programs. Our problem is that the government will not set milestones to determine if the system is working and be willing to change the system to get it back on track. Essentially, run it like a business, don't run it like a government program. Why should you and I continue to pay for programs that are not effective or successful?

What do the say the path to hell is paved with? Intentions. However it is the execution and result that matters. I don't care if the restaurant owner intended to provide me with a wonderful dining experience, but I do care about the horrible service and worse food that I'm expected to pay for.

I challenge you to name 10 social programs in the history of our government that has been started, implemented, and administrated effectively within scope and budget. I can't think of one...good luck.

MAD said...

Rockefellers's comments were idiotic. This issue accentuates differences of fundamental ideology, but it is not a litmus test for "good" and "bad".
Also, the sampling for that poll was a joke, and has been discredited. Please don't cite it as proof of anything.

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