Let's Do it
Howie caught a statement about yesterday's results that's well worth reading:
Marcy Winograd, the progressive Democrat running against Blue Dog Jane Harman, could well be swept into office on the same kind of tide-- although of a more enlightened variety-- that helped Scott Brown. On the surface she blames overnight bank bailouts and mandated health insurance for what happened last night. Her perspective:
Unfortunately, the Republicans were able to craft Brown's campaign as an insurgent struggle for the working people against ever-intrusive big government. All they had to do was point their finger at overnight bank bail-outs & mandated private health insurance, then scream about corporate welfare and attacks on individual freedoms. Too many Democrats stayed home, no longer energized by the possibility of change, only deflated by the politics of appeasement. We need the Democratic leadership to keep the keys to our treasury, rather than allow the banking, health insurance, and big pharmaceutical interests to raid it under the banner of the Democratic Party. If we stand for the people, the people will stand with us. Campaigns for progressive congressional challengers offer the greatest promise for re-energizing the base and mobilizing Democrats to vote in mid-term elections.
Washington faces the danger of drawing the wrong conclusions, of believing that the current Democratic Party leadership must abandon a progressive agenda for labor rights and immigration reform and, instead, bow to the most reactionary forces in American politics. Quite the contrary. The Party must redefine itself as the voice of working people, of immigrants, of women, of the populist.
On a practical level, the Democrats need Plan B for providing quality and affordable health care. Where is the other bill? I keep waiting for it-- for the alternative that isn't 2,000 or 3,000 pages, but just a simple paragraph or sentence: Expand Medicare to begin at age 55... and require health insurance companies to drop pre-conditions.
On the economic front, now is not the time for retreat but for a strong offensive against unemployment. We need a Green New Deal, something along the lines of the WPA during the Great Depression; a new incarnation to fix our infrastructure, develop renewables, and construct mass transit. For the Democrats to bounce back, they need to put America back to work.
There are other good statements as well from Grayson, challenger Doug Tudor and others at the link.
There's a way to harness the demand for Change that is sweeping the country, a way that insures it isn't only a teabagger phenomena. It's why Blue America started Send The Democrats a Message [They Can Understand]-- and it's why Marcy Winograd and Doug Tudor are on that list. Please take a look.
What's also interesting about Winograd's statement is that Ezra Klein floated something earlier today that would probably make her very happy:
Democrats could scrap the legislation and start over in the reconciliation process. But not to re-create the whole bill. If you go that route, you admit the whole thing seemed too opaque and complex and compromised. You also admit the limitations of the reconciliation process. So you make it real simple: Medicare buy-in between 50 and 65. Medicaid expands up to 200 percent of poverty with the federal government funding the whole of the expansion. Revenue comes from a surtax on the wealthy.
And that's it. No cost controls. No delivery-system reforms. Nothing that makes the bill long or complex or unfamiliar. Medicare buy-in had more than 51 votes as recently as a month ago. The Medicaid change is simply a larger version of what's already passed both chambers. This bill would be shorter than a Danielle Steel novel. It could take effect before the 2012 election.
If health-care reform that preserves the private market is too complex and requires too many dirty deals with the existing industries, then cut both out. But get it done. Democrats have a couple of different options for passing health-care reform this year. But not passing health-care reform should not be seen as one of them.
As far as I'm concerned, if something "has to be passed" so that we can come back later and "fix" it, I'd much rather see it go this way. Let's open up medicare to a buy-in from 50+, and expand medicaid by taxing the wealthy. We'll come back and "fix" all the cost controls later (which is the only way the "fix" will ever get done.)This is aqn excellent plan. I'm all for it.
Yes we can!