Friday, January 22, 2016

Is Single Payer Worth Fighting For? Or Is It Better To Just Settle For Less And Leave It At That?


When Hillary attacks Bernie's single-payer health care plan, she acknowledges-- at least when pinned down-- that it's better than her own tepid, incremental proposal... but her argument, and that of her team, is that Bernie's plan could never pass this Congress. You don't say? Nothing that helps ordinary working families that either Hillary or Bernie proposes could pass this Congress. If Bernie is the nominee, the Democrats will surely recapture the U.S. Senate but the harsh reality is that the House, thanks to a decade of DCCC corruption, grotesque mismanagement and willful pandering to conservatives by Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel, will be in GOP hands beyond this election cycle. Yesterday on the floor of the Senate, Elizabeth Warren seemed to rebuke the Clinton argument: "Anyone who shrugs and claims that change is just too hard, has crawled into bed with the billionaires."

Progressives-- which Hillary Clinton has, from time to time, publicly admitted she is not-- always face opposition from conservatives. That's the story of politics. In his book, The Progressive Revolution-- How The Best in America Came To Be, Mike Lux shows how progressives fought to overcome dogged conservative opposition to bring us... let's see... um... ok, here are a few:
the American Revolution
the Bill of Rights
public education
the emancipation of the slaves
women's suffrage
the breakup of monopolies
the abolition of child labor
food safety
rural electrification
land grant colleges
national parks
the weekend
the minimum wage
Social Security
civil rights and voting rights for minorities
clean air and water and consumer safety
Medicare and Medicaid
All "impossible" goals pushed by progressives and opposed, sometimes for decades, by conservatives. In Lux's word's "Every single one of those reforms, which are literally the reforms that made this country what it is today, was accomplished by the progressive movement standing up to the fierce opposition of conservative reactionaries who were trying to preserve their own power. American history is one long argument between progressivism and conservatism... Arthur Schlesinger Jr. described the division as one between 'public purpose and private interest.'"

Robert Reich, in noticing his old pal Bill Clinton using the "single payer is impossible politically" argument that other day, wrote that "[e]very progressive idea is a recipe for gridlock as long as big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy continue to dominate our political system. If you assume Washington is not changeable and that the vicious cycle of wealth and power dominating American politics and economics is unalterable, Hillary will make a first-class president for the system we now have. But if you believe Washington must be changed and that system can be altered for the benefit of the many and not the few, Bernie’s leadership and ideas are especially relevant because he's heading up a political movement."

And that movement includes electing progressives to Congress. For example, 2016 is the year we can end Republican domination if CA-25, where the Democrats now have a registration advantage. Replacing right-wing loon Steve Knight with progressive Lou Vince should be a priority. Instead the Democratic Establishment's DCCC is actively sabotaging his campaign. On Long Island, there is a great opportunity to finally retire Peter King and replace him with proven progressive champion (and vote-getter) DuWayne Gregory (pictured on the right). But Peter King is a close ally of Steve Israel's and Israel is preventing the DCCC from being involved in that race. And all over the country, progressives from the FDR/Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party are taking on the corrupt conservative party establishment that is interwoven into the Clinton campaign. Tim Canova is well-positioned to defeat the universally reviled Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida. Alex Law is working hard to replace the brother of New Jersey machine boss George Norcross in that state's first CD. Pat Murphy, the heroic former Iowa House Speaker is fighting off the DCCC "ex"-Republican candidate so he can win the district back from Team Blue. All over the country, the fight to make progressive ideas like single payer not impossible is being fought. With few exceptions, the Clintons are pushing the conservative candidates the DCCC has put forward, the same types who worked with the GOP to kill the public option in the first place. You can help support the progressive candidates and the progressive movement and this progressive moment in American history right here, right now. Please do.

When Bernie tells audiences night after night they we must overturn Citizens United, he knows what a struggle that is going to be. But he knows if it happens, it will happen because it is the will of the people, not because the Wall Street barons decide to give us a break. If Republicans like Cruz, Trumpf, Rubio and the rest are reactionaries-- which they are-- Hillary is the conservative in this race, the candidate of the status quo. It's why Wall Street has showered her and her campaign with millions of dollars. Yesterday was the 6th Anniversary of Citizens United. This, is part, is what Bernie said about it-- not that it's too tough or impossible or that it will provoke gridlock, but that it must be solved if we're going to maintain a democracy. "The need for real campaign finance reform," he wrote, "is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world-- a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests... We have to create a political revolution where working Americans come together to say they have had ENOUGH of the billionaire class buying our elections to enrich themselves while everyone else gets poorer. More than ever, we need a president who has a firm commitment to the American people-- and no one else. Our vision for democracy should be one in which candidates are speaking to the vast majority of our people-- working people, the middle class, low-income people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor-- and discussing with them their ideas as to how we can improve lives for all people in this country."

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