Across the street from the White House, there is bipartisan agreement.
Unfortunately for President Obama, the bipartisan agreement is outside Blair House where today's health care summit is taking place, and the agreement is among liberal and conservative protestors arguing for different reason that the Democrats' current health care reform proposal isn't the correct prescription. Conservatives argue that it’s too much government intrusion and socialism. Liberals argue that the various leading Democratic proposals don't go far enough.
Most of the roughly one hundred protestors standing at the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania Ave, NW, are conservative.
Among some of the signs, from the Right: “This Summit Is a Sham,” “No! No! No More Secret Deals That Steal! No Obamacare No Unconstitutional Takeover Health Trap!.” “Slowbama Down,” and “No No No Hell No.”
Many chanted: “Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!”
From the Left: “Medicare for All” and “Support HR 676 National Health Care Act.”
A group advocating single payer has unfurled a large poster claiming to be the “Private Health Insurers’ Quilt of Shame,” with stories of various individuals who have struggled with insurance companies.
“Medicare for all! Medicare for all!” chanted one dark-haired woman, standing with another woman holding a sign advocating health insurance for immigrants.
“Why don’t you shut up!” yelled Susan Winton of Wykoff, NJ, a retired importer who said she’s part of the tea party movement.
“Medicare for all!” continued the woman.
“Are you a citizen?” Wykoff asked the woman.
“Medicare for all!” she continued, ignoring Wykoff.
“She knows three words of English,” Wykoff said to a fellow tea partier, Donald Woodbridge, a laid-off mechanical engineer from Amenia, NY.
Woodbridge, in Spanish, asked the woman if she speaks Spanish.
The Medicare-for-all protestor, Dr. Zunaira Khalid, continued to ignore them. She speaks plenty of English and isn’t Latina, it turns out. She’s an anesthesiologist and US citizen from Fairfax County, VA, the daughter of an Afghani mother and a Pakistani father. She told ABC News she’s with the group HealthCare Now, which advocates for a single-payer system.
Wykoff said she opposes President Obama’s bill because it’s “too much government. Medicare is broken. Medicaid is broken. Social Security is broken.”
“It’s unconstitutional,” said Woodbridge.
Roughly two dozen antiabortion protestors, with red tape saying “LIFE” on their mouths, staged a silent protest as close to the Blair House doors as they could get.
On the other side of the scrum, Joan Stallard, an activist with Code Pink, stood on the corner with a hospital gown over her winter clothes, holding a sign reading “Don’t Leave Us Uncovered.”
The sad thing is that I think that is a fairly decent cross section except for those who just want everyone to shut up and pass the damn thing so they don't have to hear about it anymore. And I suspect that group represents about 80% of the public.
Update: Please note that the above article wasn't written by me, but is rather a wire report. I excerpted it not because I was making the point that single payer advocates are equivalent to the teabaggers --- indeed, I thought the article made it very clear that the single payer advocate was a decent,normal person and the teabaggers were racist kooks. My only additional point was that there are very few people of any ilk who are invested enough to demonstrate at this point, beyond wishing it were over.
For the record, I don't consider single payer people to be teabaggers. I can't imagine why anyone would.