The story that hasn't been told enough is that the rising cost of private insurance is hurting corporate America. It's been a terrible strategic mistake. Progressives could have a powerful ally in the fight against Big Insurance/PhRMA: Corporate America itself.
Consider that even Wal-Mart, which spends far less than its peers just to offer it's employees a junk insurance package, spent an average of $3,500 a year per employee on health insurance in 2002. The way to beat UnitedHealth Care and Blue Blue Cross is by offering Wal-Mart a public plan that is cheaper, yet offers better benefits: Medicare for Anyone Who Wants It.
Allowing any person, business or local/state agency to buy into Medicare is not single-payer, because it allows private insurance to continue to operate. But unlike the other falsely-advertised "robust public options," Medicare for Anyone Who Wants It will actually lead to a public plan that covers at least 164 million Americans and will control cost. It makes real the false rhetoric for the public option.
The subtitle of this diary is "We Must Come Together On This Now"
The decision by liberal activist organizations and blogs to bypass the Medicare for All endeavor, would be slightly less troubling if it weren't dumped in favor of redirecting focus and energy on an undefined/mythical "strong public option."
No such strong public option exists in any version of the current bills, nor has one been offered by any member through amendment.
Indeed the only "strong/robust public option" is a plan that allows everyone to buy into Medicare. Yet no organization or top blog has demanded this be defined as the "robust public option."
For activists to fail to demand any one, including even the Progressive Caucus, to define buying into Medicare as the "public option" is terrible mistake that has, in part, led to our current predicament where even the best possible bill being debated in Congress is in reality a health insurance industry bailout and Big PhRMA giveaway.
WE MUST ACT NOW TO FIX THIS PROBLEM.
Before the Iowa caucus I cited the potential of a reverse Wilder effect there. For those who don't know, back in 1989 Doug Wilder, a black candidate for Virginia governor was leading by 9 points in the polls, but ended up winning by only 0.5%. Prior to him in 1982 Tom Bradley, the popular black Los Angeles Mayor (a city that was still majority white at the time, by the way), was leading polls in the California governors race en route to a narrow defeat. In both instances, a sizable number people were telling the pollsters one thing over the phone, and doing another in the voting booth.
Such is the nature of some people in a country that has gone far in making blatantly racist statements unacceptable (well...sort of), but still has very far to go on dealing with prejudice sentiments.
My belief last week was that there was a real potential for a REVERSE Wilder effect in the Iowa caucus. And tonights results provide validation.
Iowa and New Hampshire always going first is a problem. But a national primary is far from the solution. Indeed the larger concerns of all voters should be primary front-loading. A candidate who doesn't win one of the first four primaries that all occur in the first 4 weeks of the campaign will have absolutely no shot because a ridiculous percentage of delegates and big states all vote on February 5. This situation is made worse with a single primary voting day.
A national primary provides absolutely NO CHANCE for any candidate that hasn't raised $100 million and hasn't already been anointed by the media as a front runner. And putting the big states up front would create the same problem. Winning in a state with expensive media markets like California or New York would require raising similar high sums of money. The more money required to raise, the more difficult it becomes for $50 donations - average people - to have an impact.
Simply, it's good for the process to have a limited number of small to medium sized states vote first. But more states and big states need to weigh in early too. The solution is a longer primary process primarily from February-May.
Here's what a good calendar would look like:
Sometime ago, likely in 2005 or 2006, Barack appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. My sister TiVoed it and I went to her house to watch it. When he walked on the stage I thought to myself: this man has the stature that the American people are looking for in a president. He exuded positive energy. He was confident yet approachable. He was calm despite carrying a heavy weight of history and sudden stardom. That's a man I'd like to see in the White House during tough times, I thought.
Then a discussion transpired that completely changed the way I would see Barack Obama. I can't remember the conversation or question that led to the comment, but I would forever remember the statement itself. When discussing how he sees politics/governing, Barack said that almost always neither side is right and the solution is somewhere in the middle.
The shine had diminished, and I began seeing him as I should all political leaders with a critical eye.
Viewing Barack's policies and actions over the past year through the guise of that statement is why I, a 25-year old black man, have struggled to pitch my tent in the Obama camp, unlike many of my peers.
Don't believe the media hype or even Kos. The reality is it is still February of 2007 and Iowa is 11 months away.
You see the amazing thing that is continuously being neglected in these discussions about the 2008 presidential campaign is the potential impact of the netroots. It's being ignored for good reason, there is no real netroots darling in the race right now. The ability of the netroots as displayed in the Clark and Dean '04 campaigns, coupled with the overestimation of the amount of money it will take to win this thing is why I believe Gore could probably wait until July/August and Clark could probably wait until late April/early May.
The media will dismiss anyone who fails to raise $100 million by January but the truth (as anyone who has actually run a political campaign will tell you) is that it doesn't take anywhere near that much money to win this thing. The small states can be won by a talented group of organizers, and a strong message and a few million dollars, and victories in the small states will translate into votes in the large states on Feb. 5.
No one wants to see Barack Obama run a great campaign more than me. Yet, I can't stop being disappointed by him. I'm really hoping he has more to offer in this campaign, which is set to officially begin in a few hours, than he has so far, because we need more.
The man mystifies people, and I understand why. He has incredible demeanor, he's good looking and he delivered an unforgettable speech. But for me - a young person with lots of student loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck, watching friends go to war, balancing the challenges of a disabled parent, every time I hear him speak, I find myself thinking, "Where's the beef?"
This is the best oratator in the party and the most charismatic politician since definitely Clinton possibly the Kennedys and THAT was his first major speech as a top-tier presidential contender? How disappointing.
Whoever the heck is in Obama's ear get the heck out of it, because if this is what the Obama for President campaign is going to be about, I and a lot of other voters are going to start listening a lot more about the "Two Americas" and the "New Mexico Comeback."
That speech was a bomb - not just for Obama, but for any candidate.
A very important call for action that absolutely must be answered:
Attorneys may be needed throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, ANY Attorney, law student, paralegal, etc., regardless of bar status, should send an e-mail that includes your name, phone number and e-mail address to: email@example.com. I have no further details. THANK YOU!
We all know that with Tester winning in Montana (whoohoo) it all comes down to how the votes are counted in Virginia.
DON'T LET THOSE BASTARDS STEAL THIS THING FROM US AGAIN!
I generally send out an email explaining my votes in California to my less politically astute friends and family. I forgot this election, but a case of insomnia had me up ready to send out the blast in time. Here are my simplified recommendations with my explanations below the flip:
Governor: PHIL ANGELIDAS
US Senator: COLLEN FERNALD
Lt. Governor: JOHN GARAMENDI
Secretary of State: DEBRA BOWEN
Controller: JOE DUNN
Treasurer: BILL LOCKYER
Attorney General: JERRY BROWN
Insurance Commissioner: JOHN KRAFT
Board of Equalization (4th District): JUDY CHU
Superintendent of Public Instruction: NO VOTE
Prop 81: NO
Prop 82: NO
House races I can't vote in:
CA-36: MARCY WINOGRAD
CA-11: JERRY MCNEARNEY
Byrd's decision to support Alito more than any other has me finally seeing clearly. You see I've been a fool.
A fool for actually believing in Robert Byrd and the rest of his mostly white, mostly male friends in the United States Senate and the media.
A fool to have relied on them to reject a man not only far outside of the judicial mainstream, but a racist who is blatantly hostile to civil rights and so proudly proclaims membership in a racist organization.
A fool to have actually believed that African-Americans had an advocate in this fight, the Senate Democrats. (I must have forgotten about the 2000 Electoral College.)
The clock has already been turned back.
It must have been.
This can't be 21st century America.
I must be living in 1955.
The Alito hearing has me ashamed: ashamed of the Democratic Senators who have failed to go all out to stop his nomination, ashamed of the organizations whose sole purpose is to defend freedom AT THIS VERY MOMENT, and ashamed of the activists who have failed to require any accountability from either group.
Everyone, from me and other members of the Kos community to Senators Leahy and Reid, must be blamed for reversing centuries of work toward justice when Samuel Alito is sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. By allowing this nomination to go through we are spitting on the millions of courageous individuals who without reservation stood up for racial and economic equality while facing threats far greater than losing the next election, death threats directed not just to themselves, but to their spouses and to their children...their children. We all, each and everyone one of us, soil the graves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of the unpopular, whose dying wish was simply for good people to continue the fight, to continue to do what is right.