Paul Hogarth: Same-sex couples have largely won the battle for civil unions, but there’s something about “marriage” that makes moderates uneasy – and it’s time that we speak directly to their concerns.
Paul Hogarth: Polling in key states where hot Senate seats are in play (Illinois, Colorado and Harry Reid’s own Nevada) shows the public option is still popular, and putting it back in the health care bill would improve things. Only 34% of Nevadans liked the Senate bill that passed in December, but 56% like the public option. The gap grows to 31 points in Illinois and 37 points in Minnesota, so why not use it?
Paul Hogarth: Evan Bayh and Harold Ford Jr. have a lot in common, and not because they’re both legacies who rode into public office on their family name. Both are anti-progressive Democrats who have built their political careers on making the Left feel small and weak – egged on by a corporate media that likes to call them “centrist.”
Paul Hogarth: Every election cycle has an awful state ballot proposition, with plenty of corporate funding to fool voters. For the June primary, it’s Prop 16 – a thinly veiled power grab by PG&E to shut down competition to keeps its monopoly.
Paul Hogarth: The filibuster means that progressive legislation requires 72 Senate Democrats – but you only need 54 Republicans to ram through the most awful right-wing agenda. Why? Because “Democrats vote with Republicans significantly more often than Republicans vote with Democrats, making it much easier for Republicans to pass the kind of legislation they want.
Paul Hogarth: In the past year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have made major strides passing progressive legislation – only to see it die or lull in the Senate, with the President barely lifting a finger. Voters are getting restless, Obama’s approval ratings are down and Democrats are in trouble because they haven’t gotten much done. Now with the Senate acting like a House of Lords, it’s time for House Democrats to get a little respect – and give Obama a piece of their mind.
Paul Hogarth: many Blue Dogs are in trouble because of health care, and ironically what could save their hide is a public option. Instead, they are left selling a corporate-friendly bill hashed behind closed doors that forces Americans to buy private insurance – which will only make their constituents vote Republican. That’s why so many Blue Dogs are retiring – so they can bail and become lobbyists for the insurance industry.
Paul Hogarth: Now, the Democrats have managed to fumble Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat – losing to a right-wing Republican who once posed nude for Cosmopolitan. Evidence shows that Martha Coakley’s numbers went down after the Senate passed the health care bill. Shouldn’t the Party leaders listen to Howard Dean? At least, they owe him an apology.
Paul Hogarth: With Scott Brown now pledging to be the 41st vote to kill health care reform, Democrats cannot react by ramming through a bill before the Senate seats him. Republicans are not interested in governing; it’s time to pass a real bill through reconciliation.
Paul Hogarth: For years, civil rights groups had carefully kept the federal courts out of gay marriage fights – and the prominent lawyers in Perry filed the suit without consulting them. But with most of marriage’s legal benefits coming under federal law, it was only a matter of time before the federal courts weighed in on this issue.
Paul Hogarth: California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign.
I don’t recall how or when single-payer was taken “off the table” – except that Senator Max Baucus said it was. Without single payer, progressives focused on the public option – which although a compromise, could have held insurance companies accountable. Everyone knew it was tough and compromise would happen, but we were supposed to be part of that decision.
But with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bullying the Senate to cut a deal – any deal – just to save face, the pressure proved too much. Those who hoped Obama would use Rahm to strong-arm a liberal agenda were wrong. If the President really cares about “change,” he wouldn’t have his henchman dampen progressive spirits.