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In my diary yesterday, I advocated passing the Senate bill and moving forward.  I tend to agree with Ron Wyden, Jay Rockefeller, Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, and President Obama that even passing incremental reform will be a great improvement.

I support single payer.  I think that putting profits before patients is morally wrong and an unacceptable business practice.  I think that government of, by, and for the people should regulate our healthcare system to a much greater extent, in order to rein in costs and provide better value to the American taxpayer.

I also agree with Markos and others that the mandates should be removed.  President Obama campaigned on this in 2008, saying that, "The problem isn't that people don't want insurance.  It's that they can't afford it."  Subsidies and mandates, without a public option are simply a giveaway to the for-profit insurance companies.

But I am not giving up on the Democratic Party.  I am still here to elect more and better Democrats.  And I find it deeply cynical and even morally reprehensible for us to turn our backs on the Democratic Party when it is the Republicans who are fundamentally responsible for blocking reform.

So what does this mean for 2010?  What now?

I'm not giving up.

First, we need to focus on the US Senate.  It's clear that the GOP strategy, for a couple decades, has been to buy Senate seats in small (mostly square-shaped) states, and to run the country through tyranny of the minority.

We need to continue a 50-state strategy, and focus not only on the House, but more importantly, on getting 60+ votes in the Senate.

Second, we need to continue bringing more of the excluded voices back into the Democratic Party.  We have to stop kicking sand in the faces of the LGBT community, civil libertarians, civil rights advocates, educators, and others.

Third, we need to keep our attention focused like a laser beam on the do-nothing, know-nothing obstructionism of the Republican Party.  We cannot allow internecine struggles with Ben Nelson or Blanche Lincoln to distract us from the fact that Bob Corker, John Thune, and John Cornyn are just outright lying for the purpose of scaring people.

I'm astonished that an online community, claiming to be dedicated to electing more and better Democrats, spends so much time engaged in political cannibalism.

Don't like Evan Bayh?  Fine!  But let's organize to find another Sherrod Brown or Al Franken.  Continue working from the left, and don't attack the middle.  Attack the right.

A few examples of how this might play out in 2010...

  1.  Roxanne Conlin v. Chuck Grassley in the Iowa US Senate race.  Conlin is an attorney who has built her reputation by fighting special interests.  Her calling card is as an advocate for women and workers.  Chuck Grassley used to be seen as a moderate, but he's been spending most of 2009 attacking "death panels" that don't really exist.  His Tea Party base has scared him far to the right.  Grassley is an easy target, and is also ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
  1.  John McCain (R-AZ).  A credible challenger is still waiting to be identified, but there are several possibilities.  Markos has suggested that the best way to win in Arizona is to look at McCain v. McCain - the maverick versus the teabagger.  For all the talk of McCain's bipartisan centrism, the fact is that John McCain is a man who has never worked in the private sector and has spent his whole life suckling on the government teat.  McCain claims to be pro-family but abandoned his former beauty queen wife for another beauty queen when his first wife was injured in a car accident.  After returning from a POW camp in Vietnam, McCain callously left his wife behind.  McCain claims to oppose pork barrel spending but has been a total failure during his time in the Senate when it comes to enacting any real reforms.  He's a whiner, a complainer, and a ne'er do well.  What significant legislation can John McCain point to that has served this country or the people of Arizona?
  1.  Richard Burr (R-NC).  Burr's favorability ratings are extremely low.  Organizing for America drove a tremendous amount of new energy into the North Carolina Democratic Party, and this energy is just waiting to be tapped by the right candidate.  Attorney Ken Lewis, Sec. of State Elaine Marshall, and former state senator Cal Cunningham have all announced their candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Why aren't we spending our energy addressing the real problem of Republican obstructionism?

Originally posted to Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:32 AM PST.


Best chance for a REAL 60th Senator?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:32:56 AM PST

    •  Please include Billy Kennedy in your next post (0+ / 0-)

      We here in the 5th district of NC are going to take it to Virginia Foxx. We know the odds, but we have a well organized campaign and a good candidate. Our plan is to run against her as well as corrupt politicians from both parties. It's an anti-incumbent year, and we plan to get rid of one of theirs.

      "The individual mandate is 'just one part of the bill' - its not worth losing everything else in the bill just to get it through." BruceMcF

      by irmaly on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:19:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll have to talk about the House another time (0+ / 0-)

        It's a much more complicated, comprehensive issue than I can address in a single diary.

        I'd love to keep working with you on the new "Southern Strategy" in the Democratic party, and figure out how we can bring successes from NC and VA to places like Alabama and Tennessee.

        (Virginia Foxx is a tremendously irresponsible representative and seems to be either very stupid or very uneducated.  In any case, she is a "Bush coattails" House member, and Bush doesn't have any coattails anymore.

        "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

        by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:48:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't bother today... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, Greg in TN, kayfromsouth, majii, zapus

    ...this place has (mostly) jumped the shark.

    One could easily swamp some of these diaries for redstate posts, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

  •  Doesn't McCain have a teabagger... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LibrErica, majii

    ...challenging him in the primary too?

    I'm about at the point where I'd start advocating at least some dirty baseball - if not the knockdown pitch, then definitely something to back them off the plate. What kind of support could we give said teabagger? Could the right amount or right kind of encouragement get him/her to consider a third-party run if he/she doesn't beat McCain in the primary?

    And don't we have even one solid Democrat who's willing to challenge him there?

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:37:29 AM PST

  •  By the way, I agree with you... (8+ / 0-)

    ...that we need to go on the offensive here.

    Why are we getting beat on health care? Because we don't have enough Democrats. If we'd managed to get Jim Martin and Ronnie Musgrove into the Senate, we'd have a public option by now.

    Playing defense in 2010 isn't going to help us. We don't just want to limit our losses in the Senate; we need more Democratic Senators. That does mean defending our seats - like the open seats in IL and DE and people like Gillibrand in NY - but it also means looking at who we can pick off.

    Doesn't Missouri have an unpopular Republican too, and Robin Carnahan running for the seat?

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:41:31 AM PST

  •  From Obama's 9/9 speech to Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majii, James Allen

    And it's a plan that incorporates ideas from senators and congressmen, from Democrats and Republicans -- and yes, from some of my opponents in both the primary and general election.


    While he was saying the word "primary" he looked directly at Hillary because this bill would include mandates just as her plan had.  

    I believe Obama was wrong for attacking Hillary's support of mandates and exploiting fears about them.  People who can state it better than I can have argued that mandates are necessary as far as the ban on exclusion due to preexisting conditions.  The public option version of the bill had mandates-- people would just get to pay lower premiums and it would be more cost-efficient.  

    Instead of eliminating the mandates, penalties should be softened (which they have been), and there should be more choices, such as allowing more companies to compete in a state for the customer's (forced) business and thereby have lower premiums.

    Speaking of "political cannibalism"-- by framing mandates as a giant present to the insurance industry, progressives are providing the right-wing with talking points.  We can say they will use that line, but we shouldn't use it on ourselves.

    Still, since we can't seem to get much done if corporations feel threatened, Democrats should focus on social issues.  Get the base to turn out by doing as you say-- focusing on LGBT issues and other issues where we aren't touching the precious money being looked after so well by Lincoln/Nelson/Landrieu/Conrad.

    "Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame." ~ Bertrand Russell

    by samantha in oregon on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:46:59 AM PST

    •  thanks. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irmaly, samantha in oregon, majii

      I still think mandates are a very bad idea.  What's happening in Massachusetts illustrates why.

      But the idea of universal coverage must come with some kind of price to be paid by healthcare consumers.  We shouldn't expect a free ride.

      I still think that you can't have mandates without a public option.

      That's my "bottom line" boundary.

      I'm fine with mandates, but not without a public option to provide choice and competition.

      I might be ok if we set a 90% medical loss ratio (Rockefeller amendment) and/or got rid of the antitrust exemption (Sen. Judiciary amendment).

      But mandates without some checks on the unbridled profiteering of the insurance industry is just not smart policy.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:07:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's true -- if you have a Republican senator.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LibrErica, Benintn, majii, James Allen

    he or she is not voting for change no way no how. Get rid of them.

    If I had a hammer...

    by gooners on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:52:32 AM PST

  •  Best prep for 2010 election: BUY ALCOHOL (0+ / 0-)

    It's gonna be a long night for us.

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 10:53:39 AM PST

  •  I see the value in what your are suggesting, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, Benintn

    I've felt like this all along.  The only option in not soldiering on is a republican resurgence in 2011 and 2012.  I'm disappointed and heart-broken, but if it were left up to me, I'd make the republicans/conservatives earn every seat the gain. They wouldn't get any seat without a fight, and I'd make them pay a heavy price for their obstructionism.

    I see this as not only politics but a war for America's future.

    •  --every seat they gain.--- (0+ / 0-)
    •  Here's the case for 2010 (0+ / 0-)

      The Republican Party has voted in favor of a second Great Depression.  They've voted repeatedly to cut taxes for the wealthy.  They are voting in favor of the status quo on healthcare - a status quo that's unsustainable.  The Republicans have determined a strategy that will be adversarial, not collaborative.  They talk about important legislation as if it's a game, not a responsibility.

      We need more Democrats in the Senate in order to promote a progressive agenda and get the change we need.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Wed Dec 16, 2009 at 11:46:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my sentiments exactly... (0+ / 0-)

    ...your commentary mirrors my feelings completely. Like you, my preference would be single payer. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen with the current Congress. Like you, the Senate health care bill, while nowhere close to what my preference would be, is, in fact, better than nothing. Like you, when people like Tom Harkin and Jay Rockefeller say that the current bill, even with the compromises, is worth voting for, in the hopes that improvements can be made in the future...that makes sense to me, too.

    And, finally, like you, my instincts tell me that the best thing to do now is to...continue the fight and start working as hard as we can to try to bring about the changes needed to get the 60 votes needed to get a single-payer, universal health care system enacted for once and for all.

    Thanks for being a voice of reason for those of us who are every bit as much of a progressive as anyone else, but who, like you, know that at least incremental health care reforms are better than none at all.

  •  Your thumbnail about Roxanne Conlin is inaccurate (0+ / 0-)

    I'm running against Roxanne in the primary.

    Her law practice is based on class action, personal injury and discrimination cases.  All areas where people need representation.

    However, she does not represent workers, and she does not represent small companies. Actually she joyfully bankrupts defendants with her scorched earth litigation tactics.  Vengeful justice evens the score, but at a cost.  This race is about creating jobs, not breaking companies.

    Roxanne also has considerable baggage, including a criminal record.  Go to the Iowa Supreme Court's website and search the trial court records.  Roxanne has always done whatever she has wanted, and that includes ignoring the terms of her probation.  How many other prosecutors have their probation revoked?

    Roxanne and her husband live in a 9,000 sq. foot mansion and own over 1,100 apartments. Check out Conlin Property Management.  My campaign has and so have the Republicans.  

    Roxanne started out this race by declaring she would not accept any money from lobbyists.  Then three weeks later, she made an exception for state lobbyists.  This last week it was revealed that her biggest supporter, Jerry Crawford, is a registered federal lobbyist for Monsanto.  So now CERTAIN federal lobbyists are exempt.  Feels like deja vu.  Roxanne says one thing and does another.  

    Last note, Google "Taxanne."

    Consider supporting a real progressive, not a fake who says what her high priced advisors tell her to say.

    Tom Fiegen

    Fiegen for U.S. Senate
    P.O. Box 279
    Clarence, Iowa 52216

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