Saturday, August 19, 2017

DCCC & Kings Landing Consultants Are Instructing Candidates How To Deceive Democratic Primary Voters On Healthcare


I know it's hard to imagine but there was a time when the DCCC used to give their candidates my contact info and tell them to talk with me about progressive issues. That was almost a decade ago. Today they tell their candidates to avoid me at all costs-- or else! And many of their candidates do... but not all. I have decent and professional relationships with some of the DCCC candidates and this week one, a centrist guy who feels his district will respond to centrism better than to a progressive approach, sent me a note about one of his primary opponents sending out a notice embracing Medicare-For-All." I wrote him back and told him that that's the Blue America standard and wondered why he sent something that we would admire about his opponent.

That's when it got interesting. He said the DCCC is now instructing their candidates to thwart progressives by pretending to be for Medicare-For-All to help them defeat progressive primary opponents who are for Medicare-For-All. This is what he sent me, in confidence:
Short version is this: As you know, "Medicare for All" is language that can either refer to Medicare as a public option or Medicare as a vehicle for single payer. It's intentionally confusing (my DC consultants advised me to use this language, and I told them I wanted to be very clear about where I stood). The language below (including talking about Medicare for All in the context of "access to health care for all" and "improving on the successes of the ACA") sounds consistent with the public option version of Medicare For All and not a single payer approach.
He was referring to his opponent's notice. On a follow up phone call he went on and on about the DCCC and their associated consultants are telling their candidates to say whatever it takes to trick Democratic primary voters. Admirably, he refuses but he's one of the few who is refusing. So now, I guess, we have to ask candidates for fuller explanations about why they're for Medicare-For-All and if they will pledge to co-sponsor John Conyers' Medicare-For-All legislation, H.R. 676, as 116 House Democrats have, the most recent being the just-elected Jimmy Gomez, who won a special election in Los Angeles this summer, beating a conservative "ex"-Republican.

First sign of trouble is when a candidate starts hemming and hawing and seem unable to give a public yes or no answer. As Kaniela Ing, Hawaii's most progressive state legislator, told us a week or so ago, "The consultant class is obsessed with having candidates try to sound like America's most popular politician while somehow not upsetting their donors. Unfortunately for them, authenticity matters, and voters are smarter than they think. A silver tsunami of aging boomers is approaching, and single-payer, Medicare-for-all is America's only sensible and sustainable healthcare solution. Anything short will continue to allow big-pharma, corporate hospitals, and insurance companies to exploit the sick and their cash-strapped families into paying way too much for needed services. This in turn could have devastating effects for our overall economy. Democrats know that healthcare is a human right. If you want to reach Republicans, add that Medicare is the most efficient system we got, and that Medicare-for-all will save taxpayers $17 trillion. We have facts on our side and shouldn't run from them. Voters in both parties recognize that the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and corporate hospitals have too much power. The People's trust will go to the party or set of candidates willing to take them on."

No one has to twist Kaniela's arm to get him to say he's for Medicare-For-All, for single payer, for Conyers' H.R. 676. That's what he's about. Similarly, David Gill, a progressive candidate in Illinois' 13th district and an emergency room doctor for nearly 3 decades, has been aggressively working on this issue for 25 years. "I think the most important part of my ability to appeal to people across the political spectrum, even those who disagree with one or more of my progressive positions, is the fact that I am genuine. I simply say what I believe-- I don't try to tailor my talk or be particularly nuanced. I've been a physician for 29 years and I've been a member of Physicians for a National Health Program for 25 years, and I'm sick and tired of watching the vast majority of Americans get ripped off by a for-profit private health insurance industry that doesn't provide them with one iota of health care or actually give a damn about their well-being. I use that type of language while also incorporating the terms 'single payer' and 'improved Medicare for all', and I make it clear that I'm running because I ACTUALLY CARE about their well-being. The same caring instinct that drove me into a career in medicine is what drives my desire to be a leader in Congress. Each candidate has a unique set of circumstances, but I think that demonstrating a passion is ultimately even more important than the particular words that we put forth."

Goal ThermometerThe newest Blue America candidate-- we're endorsing him officially tomorrow-- is Derrick Crowe for the TX-21 seat currently occupied by Science denier and anti-healthcare fanatic Lamar Smith. Derrick told us, simply "I support Medicare For All in virtually every speech, in front of every audience. It's in our literature and is one of our main platform planks. Democrats shouldn't shy away from it for any reason. Most Americans think our country should make sure everyone has health care coverage, and among those under 30, a stunning 89 percent support that statement, with 66 percent of those young people saying they want a single national government program. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have a positive reaction to the term, 'Medicare For All.' If Republicans want to try to attack you for supporting Medicare For All in public, hand them a microphone, because we'll take their seats. Beyond the polling, it's just simply time for America to get back into a leadership role on health care. We spend more money on health care and have worse outcomes than virtually any other well-developed nation. Of the 35 countries in the OECD, we rank 27th in life expectancy, despite spending the most on health care-- so for those worried about the cost of a single-payer system, I'd challenge them to prove the value of a private system. Tell me why we should die earlier so insurance CEOs and pharma bosses can get richer off our misery."

And Derrick is eager to co-sponsor H.R. 676. His top primary opponent is "ex"-Republican Joseph Kopser, who a year ago was happy to have himself described as a "Reagan Republican" and who sits on the board of the Texas Association of Business, which the Texas Tribune describes as "the most powerful conservative business lobby on the state." Kopser uses the misleading DCCC/Beltway consultant misdirections, talking about how he supports "health care for all," but carefully skirting anything about "single payer" or Medicare-For-All.

Geoffrey Petzel, the progressive Chicagoland candidate running for the IL-06 seat occupied by TrumpCare-backer Pete Roskam, said that "Personally I agree with Our Revolution. Dems who don't publicly support single payer should get a primary challenge. I strongly support single payer, have since I ran in 2011, and proudly show my battle scars for taking that stance. Because I support single payer I was not endorsed by local media in 2011. In a bigger picture, Dems lack of vocal support for single payer is my biggest personal issue with the party. Just the other day I had a serious discussion about running as an independent instead of a Democrat because the party isn't pushing progressive policy positions like they should. The reason I'm not running as an independent, other than the prohibitive ballot requirements in Illinois, is that I believe we need to re-set the Democratic party and place it back on a track that supports progressive ideas proudly and loudly. [Democrats who] fear to proudly promote single payer makes me believe they're not real progressive and represent the status quo we have been served by the DCCC over and over again."

Little on-topic bonus, this morning: remember a couple months ago I warned you about longtime corporate shill and Blue Dog wretch Elen Tauscher trying to worm her corrupt right-wing ass back into California Democratic politics? It didn't take long. This week she was on the attack-- against Elizabeth Warren. She could hardly wait to croak out the same old corporate shill tune to The Hill, which reported that Tauscher, a surrogate for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who is leading the Fight Back California super PAC aimed at winning back seven House seats for Blue Dog-type characters in the Golden State, said "We can't win the House back with progressives running in swing states." Democrats will never take back the House with people who lost it originally calling the shots. (And of course, her crooked website asks for contributions for herself, not for any candidates-- always the mark of a criminally-minded conservative.)

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At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why, it's as though the BA slate is a completely different party from the democraps and the DCCC.

How much more plain does it need to get?

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Leigh said...

That's why it should be referred to as UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE not Medicare for all.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger D.R. said...

Regarding: "The newest Blue America candidate-- we're endorsing him officially tomorrow-- is Derrick Crowe for the TX-21 seat currently occupied by Science denier and anti-healthcare fanatic Lamar Smith."

This seems to me an example of a sad tendency you yourselves are always condemning---national Democratic organizations imposing their will,and their candidates, on local progressive Democrats.

Derrick Crowe is little known to most local Democrats and has a minimal record in TX-21, which stretches from Austin down to San Antonio. The leading candidate in the Democratic primary is Elliott McFadden, who has already been endorsed by hundreds of prominent local progressives and has a record of substantial progressive activism in the community. Elliott is a former director of the Travis County Democratic Party, well known one of the most progressive and politically successful in Texas. He led the campaign to pass millions in bonds to fund affordable housing projects by the City of Austin; and he also directed the campaign which created the Central Texas Health District to provide medical care for low income families. He has been a fixture of progressive politics, stoutly opposed the Iraq War, and was involved in efforts to overturn partisan gerrymandering by the reactionary Texas Legislature. He is the choice of many leading progressives who have been on the front lines fighting for change. You should check him out. You'll be impressed.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger P. Ode said...

"I'm not really a progressive, but I do play one on TV."


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