Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pelosi and Reid should resign as leaders in Congress

Pelosi and Reid should each resign as leaders in Congress--particularly if this monstrosity passes. It does nothing to cut costs in how medical services are delivered and paid for--but it does put Medicare on a collision course with a watered-down public option that looks like a weak expansion over time of Medicaid. And it does not even come close to helping insure most Americans for another 4 to 10 years--and does it through mandates that require people to pay the same inefficient, greedy insurance companies who bankrupt more and more Americans every year when they deny or limit coverage that should otherwise be provided to Americans simply based upon their being...Americans.

Plus, if this stupid (Stupak) amendment passes, sorry Ezra, that is not worth staying the course to vote for the monstrosity. (See below that the Stupid-Stupak Amendment did pass. Oy.)

All the cajoling and ridiculous level of compromise and delay has resulted in no Republican votes in the House, and not even a guarantee of a vote from the insurance company laden Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in the Senate.

If Pelosi and Reid were real leaders, they would let the Weiner Amendment go to the floor of the House and the Senate, and push for that vote. If you're going to be called "socialist" and have to deal with obstreperous bullshit like this stuff* the Women's Caucus went through in the past 24 hours, then go for the gusto of what is really needed and what any sensible person should want: Medicare for All. And yes, like any other insurance policy, it should include a small stipend that pays for an abortion if a woman wants one.

And this is how a real leader gets that done: By telling every Democrat who votes against Medicare for All that he or she is immediately stipped of committee leadership or seniority, that each will get a primary challenge and will get no money from the DNC. And in the Senate, you just amend the rules to get rid of the filibuster.

Reid and Pelosi: You have failed. You need to resign regardless of whether the health insurance monstrosity passes. And Obama, you better start taking Krugman's calls and tell your friends like Valerie Jarrett or Rahm Emmanuel, and certainly Geithner and Summers, who all wouldn't know a labor union member if they fell on one, to get the hell out of the way. You've got a nation to save, and to maintain.

*Yes, it's a legal parlimentary maneuver. The request was for unanimous consent. The objection makes it less than unanimous. So there would have to be a vote or the person speaking must stop speaking. The reason we haven't seen what the Republicans have now done is that the tradition in Congress is that congresspeople be allowed to speak. No non-racist Democrat in recent decades (or more) ever thought of doing something like what Republicans have just done. See? Republicans don't believe in tradition. They don't believe in decorum. And you think they would not be ending the filibuster if the Dems acted like the Republicans are now acting? It is to laugh.


ADDENDUM: Pete DeFazio, mostly one of the good guys (D-OR), is trying to sell us on this monstosity, saying it ends pre-existing condition denials--without telling us that the insurers get to charge whatever they want. He also tells us it ends insurers' anti-trust exemptions--as if years long anti-trust suits do anyone but us lawyers any good. Yeah, we see how our lives have been changed by the successful anti-trust suit against Microsoft and before that AT&T, for two examples. The problem is that DeFazio, again a great guy in so many ways, has his head so far up the ass of the Congressional building that he confuses his rhetoric with the reality of the situation. This is not reform we are debating anymore. This is deform. This is a cruel hoax for those of us who thought we were going to improve access of people to affordable, government-sponsored and supported health insurance. You know, just like most civilized countries.

ADDENDUM #2: The monstrosity passed this evening. Anything AARP and the AMA want is bad for America. Democrats will rue this vote unless something drastic changes in the "conferencing" on this bill. If not substantially changed, people will wonder a year from now what the hell this so-called reform changed for them, if anything. Going along with this bill is blindness to the pain people are suffering. These politicians really think they can fool people with statements like "making history" when this will change nobody's lives for the better--unless of course you are in the private insurance business. This is Phase II of the Big Business Bailout more than anything else it is purported to be. Shameful, Obama. Shameful, Pelosi. Shameful, Reid. And worse for these three corporate marinated careerists, it is politically tone deaf. Tom Foley anyone?

ADDENDUM #3: Kucinich gets it. He voted against the monstrosity. No surprise there. He also voted against the Stupid-Stupak Amendment.



At November 19, 2009 at 5:10:00 PM PST, Blogger MSS said...

Both the main health-care reform bill and the Stupak amendment make abundantly clear that the problem is not the leaders, but the rank-and-file. The Democratic Party is deeply divided over these issues.

You appear to have in mind British parties when you suggest that the leaders should tell their rank-and-file members that "he or she is immediately stripped of committee leadership or seniority, that each will get a primary challenge and will get no money from the DNC."

I wish it were possible, but that's not how US parties operate. Individual members, with their own district campaigns to run and their own interest-group funders, simply do not have incentives so closely aligned with their parties that they could ever select leaders who would wield the kind of discipline you (and I) might like to see.

I wish it were different. But the constitutional structure of the US really is our destiny, in terms of politics.

At November 19, 2009 at 11:43:00 PM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...


What I propose is precisely what FDR and LBJ did to recalcitrant Democrats. Nothing has changed but the lack of will. One look at the constituency in Arkansas for example, and one can find another Democrat who will run for the public option and things of that nature, and beat Bert Stupid and Blanche Lincoln to a pulp once they lose institutional support money. And the primary victor Democrat will have a better than even chance of beating a Republican in each race.

Tom Gore of Oklahoma was sent packing by a primary run financed by national Democrats when he refused to vote for New Deal legislation. LBJ got enough Southern Dems scared they either hightailed it out of the party, or they voted for Civil Rights legislation--or at least stopped a filibuster. And fence sitters elsewhere got LBJ's message loud and clear and got off the fence and voted for black people's rights when everyone was saying it's destiny and we have to wait.

Enabling Ben and Bill Nelson, Bert Stupid, Blanche Lincoln and the like is the big mistake the national party is making. These people are not moderates. They do not speak for people. They speak for lobbyists for corporations and their political feet are made of very soft clay. Yet, Peolsi and Reid allow them to wag the dog of the party.


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