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.
At the same time, senior Senate aides from both sides of the aisle report that while Lieberman has always been unpredictable and difficult to work with, it’s a trait that became magnified after he lost his primary challenge to Ned Lamont in 2006.
When Barack Obama backed a Senate health reform plan that differed radically from prior proposals, he ignored the lessons he learned as a young organizer on Chicago’s South Side. Obama once knew that it’s wrong to bypass the community’s agenda to strike a backroom deal, regardless of its superior terms. Obama also understood that failing to consult with the community disempowers the base, and discourages people from participating in future organizing campaigns.
If the health care outcome shows that the U.S. Senate will not allow progressive change even with a 60-vote Democratic caucus, then what argument can the Obama team make to infrequent voters in 2010? If electing Obama and strong Democratic congressional majorities in 2008 did not bring real Change, why even bother voting?
But now the dust is starting to settle, and the Congressional vision for health care in the U.S. is emerging. Instead of being “progressive,” it will amount to a massive, corporate-inspired attack on American workers, the elderly, and the poor.
Senator Joe Lieberman continues to threaten filibuster of the Senate health reform bill even in the face of the recent Harvard study showing that 45 thousand Americans die each year because of lack of sufficient health care.
Many citizens of immigrant-sending countries have better access to health care at home than they would in the US, but that also doesn’t mean that they will flood the borders if the US health care system significantly improves.
Bachmann doesn’t point out that 9.5 million of uninsured noncitizens that she cites includes both legal and undocumented immigrants.
Now is the time for the President to begin twisting arms and knocking heads. To control long-term costs, he’ll also have to take away some of the goodies that have been promised to the health-industrial complex, and maybe even cross Big Labor.
John McCain has reinvented himself. And, the first decision of the born-again McCain was to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. We now see he is capable of acting quickly – and recklessly – while possibly putting the safety and security of the country in the hands of a political novice. There’s not enough […]