Monday, June 22, 2009

ATTN: Democrats - Don't F*ck This Up!

I hope everyone enjoyed the first official weekend of summer, and to all the dad's out there, a happy belated Father's Day to you!  I just spent the weekend up at my dad's place and also visited some more of my family in L.A.  It's always nice to take some time to relax and appreciate the blessing that it is to have friends and family in our lives who are safe and healthy.  For this reason, and especially when we encounter times in our lives when we aren't fortunate enough to be able to say this, the issue of having quality healthcare for ourselves and our loved ones is one that everybody can relate to.

For decades now we have known that healthcare in this country is a problem.  Yes, we have some of the best doctors and technology in the world at our disposal, but too often these resources are only available to the fortunate among us who have great health coverage.  Even still, often times the access to such resources for those with insurance still results in a burdensome healthcare bill that severely cripples a family's finances.  Others with no healthcare put off seeing a doctor until their condition has gotten worse, resulting in a lower quality of life for that person, lower productivity for their employer, a higher cost to treat that patient, and if the condition is life threatening this delay only lowers the patient's odds of survival.

For decades now we have also been told the following by Democrats: "Give us a Democratic majority in Congress/put us in the White House, and we will finally be able to achieve affordable, universal healthcare for every American" . . . "Healthcare in this wealthiest country in the world should be a right, not a privilege" . . . and so on.  The Clinton administration tried to deliver on these promises in 1993, yet ultimately failed.  Though, Clinton had to deal with a much different political climate in that day--a more conservative country still deeply entrenched in the Gordon Gecko "greed is good" philosophy of the Reagan era.  Clinton's second term faced a Republican congress, and so once again began the campaign promises for another decade: "Give us back Congress and we will fight for universal healthcare."

Well Democrats, we listened this time.  As healthcare prices skyrocketed over the last many years, and Americans watched grossly exaggerated Reaganomics and neo-conservative hubris crash & burn, we got it.  First we backhanded the Republicans in congress in 2006 in an attempt to put the brakes on George W's crazy train, and when that wasn't enough we kicked the crap out of John "get off my lawn!" McCain and widened your majorities in both chambers of Congress.  Simply put, my dear Democrats,

Now I'm pretty sure the House Dems can get this done, and it's really going to come down to the Senate Dems. Maaayyybe there's one or two of you who can justify not voting for a public option because of your constituencies... though I really doubt it considering that 72% of the American people support a public healthcare plan.  72-FREAKING-%!!!  
... 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed ... with half of those who call themselves Republicans saying they would support a public plan, along with nearly three-fourths of independents and almost nine in 10 Democrats.
Now some of you know I don't have a whole lot of tolerance for Blue Dogs much of the time, but I really do understand the binds that some of them find themselves in.  But let's get something straight here.  Blue Dogs glowingly refer to themselves as "centrist" Democrats, meaning they are supposedly where the middle of the country is at on most issues even if that means they're to the right of the Democratic base.  Well I've often called bullshit on this argument as being a false premise in that the country is not more to the right on many issues, but at no other time has it been more easy for me to do so than now.  Democratic Senators, if you don't support a strong public option for healthcare you are not a Democrat, you are not a Blue Dog, you are a freaking rightwing Republican!  Public, universal healthcare is not just a goal for the Democratic base, but 72% of the American people.  You do not get to call yourself a centrist if you desire to fling yourself into the 20% minority that is opposed to public healthcare.  The party isn't run by the DLC anymore (They should really be called the D-LLC, as in limited liability corporation, ha-ha... no?). 

This isn't 1993 anymore.  And if the Democrats act like it is, and pull the same Republican-lite crap that they did back then at a time when the public is now demanding strong, structural change, they will have failed the American people.  If this happens, once again the Dems will start losing elections because people won't be able to tell the difference between the party that's supposed to fight for the little guy and the party that stands for business interests.  They'll scratch their heads like it's 1994, and then tell us, "Send us back to Congress so we can fight for real healthcare reform!"

More on the polling in the chart above, at

UPDATE 6/23:

Thank you, Mr. President.  Now will the Senate follow the president's lead?


blakey said...

i agree, there is no reason for the dems to exist if they cant do this. did you see the poll that has half of republicans supporting public option? if obama cant get this through, at the start of his presidency with a bill that has 75% approval, he will never get anything done. ever.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Yes, that's the same poll I cited (see quoted paragraph). Obama definitely needs to take the lead on this and not let the Senate F it up. The biggest obstacle will be getting the Senate to go along with it, as there are a lot of whores for the insurance lobby in both parties.

If I remember correctly blakey, you're from LA. Senator Boxer is for a public option, where as Senator Feinstein has yet to decide and has been less than an advocate for it when she gets her stupid face on TV. Take a couple minutes to write her an email urging her to support a public option. We also need to put pressure on our own Indiana Blue Dog, Evan Bayh.

blakey said...

well, feinstein is the wife of a rich banker, what did you expect! i sent her an email already, but from what i hear the senators regard email as spam. phone calls are apparently more effective, if at all.

i continue to advocate abolishing the senate, or at least changing the rules immensely. 41 senators who could represent only 22% of the pop can block the will of 59 who represent the other 78%? urban america will always be under represented in a system that give equal voice to wyoming and califorina. that is tyranny of the minority. and 6 years terms hardly provides for much accountability to the voters. most deliberative, more like most corrupt.

Bill said...

phone calls and letters are preferred over emails

ShamRockNRoll said...

Thanks bill, I had heard conflicting opinions on that regarding paper & electronic mail. I often call, but I'll start writing snail mail more often too.

...Abolish the senate hmm? Can't say I agree with you there Blakey, though I understand your points. The thing is, the filibuster isn't really as powerful as the Senate leads us to believe. I think on tough legislation they often use it as an excuse as to why they can't just push it through, when in fact they could... or could make someone actually stand there and filibuster instead of the lazy way they do it now.

blakey said...

did you guys know that you are represented in congress by a blue dog? "Joe Donnelly" who voted for FISA and a blank check for the iraq war? i looked at his record and it seems to be "ok" other than that, but did you guys put any pressure on him in 08?

Bill said...

That all happened when I was studying abroad. Not that I'm trying to make excuses or anything...

ShamRockNRoll said...

I wasn't around for those things either. I don't agree with all of his votes, but Joe is a good guy and a good friend of the ND College Dems.