So then, because you are neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
– Jesus (Rev 3:16)
I thought I could get away with it. I thought I might be able to have a week’s vacation and not be assaulted with more atrocities from the Democrat Party. I would leave my computer behind and go to a place where I would not even have to worry about seeing a newspaper and where the only thing on television would be rented DVDs of the movies I had not seen over the last year. I would spend lots of time in the fitness center and the swimming pool.
Yes, I had forgotten. The fitness center has a television. I added another corollary to Murphy’s Law. Someone had tuned into the Keith Olbermann show. Lawrence O’Donnell was substituting. Dennis Kucinich was the guest. He hammered the Democrat Party’s health care plan and put the lie to each one of the talking points spouted by the Democrat’s talking heads from big Ed “Sissy” Schultz to Thom “Toady” Hartman. Painful as it may be to listen to Rush Limbaugh, it is mind splitting to listen to the wimps on “America Left” (the XM satellite radio station that should be renamed “America-wimpy-Democrat-talking-heads”). Listening to “America Right” is perfect when you need a laugh. But listening to “America Left” is not recommended while driving over 5 mph. Road rage, risking life and limb, even if that of only a passing tree, could be the result of listening to “America Left”.
Kucinich told O’Donnell, “The bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry, $70 billion a year, no guarantees for any controls over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance with five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases”. Pantywaist O’Donnell then asked Kucinich if he would be comfortable if his vote was the vote that defeated the bill. Kucinich reminded him that every vote counts indicating that his would clearly be a “no” vote. This is the kind of thing that makes us love the MSNBC people as much we love the Fox News people.
I went back to my room very pleased at having temporarily left the Green Party in 2004 to support Kucinich in the primary election before switching back to the Greens and working for the Nader campaign. A lot of my Green Party friends told me that the only reason Kucinich bothered to enter the race was to sucker members from the Green Party into registering as Democrats in order to vote in the Democrat primary elections. I came to believe that. To be sure, tens of thousands of Greens left the Green Party in 2004 and never bothered to rejoin after the primary election. But now, I had been vindicated. Kucinich was not that kind of a guy after all. You could trust Kucinich.
The very next night milksop Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed one of the Internet’s supreme bottom feeders, Markos Moulitsas, founder of the blog Daily Kos. This is a guy who would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle. Even the people who do ads for male enhancement products look down on Moulitsas. When O’Donnell, clearly suffering from a case of terminal diaper rash, asked Moulitsas to comment on what Kucinich had said the previous evening Moulitsas said Kucinich was practicing a “very Ralph Naderesque approach” to politics. “The fact is this is a good first step and he is elected not to run for president, which he seems to do every four years. [Kucinich] is not elected to grandstand and to give us this ideal utopian society. He is elected to represent the people of his district and he is not representing the uninsured constituents in his district by pretending to take the high ground here.”
Continuing in his spasmodic seizure, O’Donnell asked Moulitsas, who was still smacking his lips after finishing off his nightly dinner of creamed dandruff, as to whether Kucinich would get a Democrat challenger for his seat if he didn’t support health care legislation — and in the process kill it — Moulitsas replied, “Yeah, absolutely. What he is doing is undermining this reform. He is making common cause with Republicans. And I think that is a perfect excuse and a rational one for a primary challenge.” Of course it is Moulitsas and O’Donnell along with their corporate colleagues masquerading as “liberals” who are making common cause with Republicans. Just being a member of the Democrat Party is making common cause with the Republicans.
Listening to someone like Moulitsas compare what appeared to be Kucinich’s principled stand on health care with Nader’s presidential run in 2000 ought to have been enough to have forced the guy who had tuned in MSNBC on the fitness club’s TV to pitch the remote through the screen. He did not. He was either a masochist or a Democrat. Come to think of it, that’s a tautology.
Checking the exit polls of the Democrat Party and then checking the exit polls of CNN shows that the reason that Al Gore lost in 2000 was because 250,000 registered Democrats voted for George Bush! Who could blame them? Who would have possibly wanted a repeat of the disgraceful Clinton years? Clinton had already killed a million innocent Iraqi men, women and children with bombs and sanctions. With his so called “welfare reform” he threw tens of thousands of single mothers into the streets and forced tens of thousands of others into the slavery of Wal-Mart like jobs thereby destroying the women’s movement.
Other Democrats put forth the same nonsense about Ralph Nader and his 2000 campaign. Somehow or other Democrats have the impression that they “own” votes and that Nader “took” 500 votes the Democrat party “owned”. A strange game these Democrats play! A game for chumps! They keep asking, even ten years later, “What if Nader had not run”. The Democrats refuse to ask the other “what if” questions, namely; “What if the Libertarian candidate had not run”; “What if the Natural Law candidate had not run”; “What if the Reform Party candidate had not run”. Each of those candidates drew 500 votes which might have gone to Gore. But the biggest “what if” question the Democrats refuse to ask is: “what if 250,000 registered Democrats in Florida had not voted for Bush”? The Democrats do not want any other candidates other than the corporate owned candidates to win.
Moreover, a Democrat Party exit poll showed that 25% of Nader’s votes came from Republicans, 38% from Democrats, and the rest were nonvoters who would have only voted for him. In other words, more than sixty percent of Ralph’s voters would NOT have voted for Gore.
Oh yeah, then there were a couple of little other items — Katherine Harris removing 80,000 eligible voters from the voting rolls and the Supreme Court ending the recount. And the Democrat Party said nothing about any of this! Furthermore, every one of those judges was approved at a time when the Democrat Party held the majority in Congress! If the Democrat Party actually thought Ralph Nader spoiled the 2000 election it would have taken steps to prevent it from happening again. It would’ve introduced IRV voting — that prevents the spoiler effect.
Any 12-year-old with a modem knows that Nader had absolutely nothing to do with Gore’s loss but then some people still think that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That’s what happens when you have nothing upon which to rely but the talking points of the corporate party. The Democrat Party has no one to blame for Gore’s loss but itself. Gore destroyed the Kyoto protocols and couldn’t even win his home state of Tennessee or the home state of Slick Willie.
The Democrat Party is just another voice of the corporate elite that is trying to control America. It does not want us to have any choices other than the corporate candidates and it will do its best to slander and malign even men like Ralph Nader who has done more for this nation in the past 40 years than any 30 presidents in the last 200 years!
For the last ten years Democrats and corporate media pundits have been smearing Ralph Nader — seemingly oblivious to the facts — looking for a scapegoat for the failures of their own party and its candidates.
It is not the job of third-party or Independent candidates to make sure either of the two major parties wins. That would be like asking a new start-up to make sure Microsoft or Apple has more market share. Moreover, there are 100 million people in this country who do not vote. There are plenty of nonvoters for all candidates to attract.
At what point do we stop relying on a party to be an opposition party and start asking what else needs to be done to put some spine into Washington politics?
No, believing the corporate owned Democrat Party or its henchmen like Moulitsas and O’Donnell about Nader causing Gore’s loss is as insane as believing Iran is building nuclear weapons. Most Democrats are suffering from “Battered Left Syndrome”. It’s time for them to leave the abusive relationship with the Democrat Party. But just like the battered wife who says “he really loves me” or “I can change him if I just stay with him a little longer”, the battered Democrat voter will inevitably learn the same fatal lesson learned by the battered wife.
The Democrat Party is part of the problem. It voted for or failed to stop the Iraq war resolution turning Bush into a wartime president. It voted for or failed to stop the Patriot Act. It voted for or failed to stop John Ashcroft. It voted for or failed to stop Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. It voted for or failed to stop the Medicare fiasco. It lost the 2002 midterm elections, contrary to historical tradition. For the last three years it has controlled Congress and continues to fund illegal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines and Palestine.
More dangerous than the Republican Party, it has destroyed the labor movement by its failure to repeal the Taft-Hartley act over the last 60 years and even now the Democrat Congress has removed the teeth from the Employee Free Choice Act. Although it may have been the Republicans under Ronald Reagan which gave us neoliberal economics, it took the Democrats under Clinton to destroy American jobs with NAFTA and repeal the Glass–Steagall Act which resulted in the collapse of the American economy. And as we have witnessed over the last year, there is merely a cosmetic difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration although Obama’s death toll is beginning to make Bush look like a schoolyard bully. To paraphrase HL Mencken, if there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country, Obama would have courted their vote by promising them free missionaries, fattened at the taxpayer’s expense. Of course there would have been no missionaries served up, just a few desiccated prayer books.
No, believing Markos Moulitsas when he says Nader caused Gore’s loss is as insane as believing Glenn Beck when he says that “social justice” is code for Communism and Nazism.
The perverse Lawrence O’Donnell would not stop hammering Dennis Kucinich by merely trotting out the despicable Markos Moulitsas. No, that would not be nearly enough for a gym sock-sniffing skid mark like O’Donnell. On the next night O’Donnell spoke with the dying Natoma Canfield, the 50-year-old cleaning woman and cancer survivor from Ohio, who had to drop her insurance due to skyrocketing premiums. Ms. Canfield is back in the hospital after living more than a decade cancer-free. She has been diagnosed with leukemia. O’Donnell, with all the concern of a barracuda, asked if she too would condemn Kucinich. To her credit, she merely suggested that the Democrat’s bill might be a good first step. Of course it will not and she will die if the Democrat’s bill is passed because it will not cover her for four years. Her condition will not permit her to live that long and God only knows the disastrous amount she will be charged for her treatment.
Along with the hundreds of thousands Obama will have killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines and Palestine over the next three years he will also have murdered 150,000 Americans who will die because of the back room deal he cut with big Pharma and the healthcare insurance companies.
On the next night O’Donnell tried again with Michael Moore. Michael Moore of course is the guy that Democrats love but progressives love to hate ever since he stabbed Ralph Nader in the back in 2004 (no, there is no such thing as a “progressive Democrat”; that would be oxymoronic). He completely supported Nader back in 2000 but then suddenly turned 180° and threw his massive weight behind the Butcher of Belgrade, General Wesley Clark, the first military commander to bomb Yugoslavia since Hermann Göring. Nice job Michael. But at least, to his credit Moore would not condemn what was, up until the next day, the principled stand of the congressman from Ohio.
It has been a busy year for the Democrats. They have destroyed the hopes of the antiwar movement, preempted universal single-payer health care, continued the Bush neoliberal economic policy of bank bailouts, botched the stimulus program and dealt a death blow to the environmental movement in its attempts to deal squarely with global warming. But from big Ed “Sissy” Schultz, Thom “Toady” Hartmann and the rest of the “settle-for-the-crumbs-from-the-corporate-table-Democrat” talk show hosts, no one would ever know that the Obama administration was destroying people by the hundreds of thousands and turning health-care reform into a boondoggle of corporate welfare transferring wealth to the richest corporate interests in the country.
They urge on us the politics of the practical. This is what we must expect from a political party that tells us we must be content to settle for the crumbs from the corporate table whether the issue is fortifying the position of American workers by strengthening the labor movement or defining healthcare and education as human rights to be protected and guaranteed by government. After all, we must practice “practical politics” not some “ideal utopian society”. If single-payer healthcare, tuition free education for every American and worker’s rights are what the Democrats consider to be part of an “ideal utopian society” we must shudder at their idea of the “practical”.
The Darling of the Democrats
Even Alan Grayson, the darling of the Democrats, does not understand the Democrat party’s existing legislation. He believes that it will cover 30 million people. That’s simply not true. He believes it will save lives. That’s not true. The bill will not take effect for four years. If he wants to save lives, he should introduce a bill that will go into existence in 3 to 6 months. It can be funded by taxing the rich and by the huge sums of money we would save by the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, and Afghanistan and the money we would save by cutting off funds to Israel. But neither Alan Grayson nor any Democrat would want to propose such legislation. Alan Grayson is considered to be the Democrat with guts. Perhaps if he had a bit more knowledge as a bit more guts then progressives would feel more comfortable with him.
Perhaps Grayson was well intended with his recent “public option” bill. But as soon as it was analyzed PNHP’s (Physicians for a National Healthcare Program) Senior Health Policy Fellow Don McCanne, M.D. violently opposed the bill. Here’s what he said on March 13th when the bill was proposed:
At any rate, the Grayson proposal seems to be the true public option, run by the government that progressives have been fighting for. So what could be wrong with it?”
The greatest concern of all is that it still does not fix our outrageously expensive, administratively wasteful, highly inequitable, fragmented method of financing health care. It merely provides another expensive option in our very sick system of paying for health care. Providing yet one more option that people can’t afford really hasn’t moved the process.
Although Medicare is a very popular program, it is highly flawed. It has an oppressive central bureaucracy. It fails to use more efficient financing systems such as global budgeting for hospitals and negotiation to obtain greater value in health care purchasing. There are serious questions about whether Medicare funds are being distributed equitably and in a manner to promote greater efficiency. Its benefit package is relatively poor, covering only about half of health care costs for our seniors. Most Medicare beneficiaries feel that they essentially are forced either to purchase Medigap plans, which provide the worst value of all private health plans, or to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, which waste too many tax and premium dollars. It would be both much less expensive for all of us and better for Medicare beneficiaries if the extra benefits of these private plans were rolled into the traditional Medicare program. Part D should be stripped of its private market administrative and profit excesses and also be rolled into the traditional program. Medicare also has failed to introduce beneficial innovative programs such as the British NICE system, which would improve both quality and value in our health care.
When we advocate for an improved Medicare for all, we really aren’t advocating for Medicare with a few tweaks. We are advocating for replacing Medicare with a single payer national health program that covers everyone, which we can still call Medicare, just as the Canadians do. Adding another buy-in program to the two buy-in programs that already exist in our highly dysfunctional system will do virtually nothing to fix these flaws we now have. It does nothing to slow the growth in our national health expenditures, and the high premiums for a package of mediocre benefits will do little to reduce the numbers of uninsured.
For those who say that a Medicare buy-in is an incremental step towards health care utopia, explain precisely how that is going to work. Explain each problem that it solves. Explain how it is going to morph into a universal or near universal system in which each individual is paying the full actuarial value of the coverage. It won’t happen.
Playing with a Medicare buy-in is an unnecessary diversion at a time that we need to get serious about reform. We need to fix Medicare and expand it to cover everyone. Nothing less will do.
It is clear that Grayson simply realizes that given the impenetrable depths of Democrat cowardice, even someone who simply gives the appearance of courage becomes a hero to the courage-starved people who mindlessly vote each year for the ghost of FDR. If Grayson had any real courage, he would leave the Democrat Party along with Kucinich but we have just learned a powerful lesson about the courage of Dennis Kucinich. On March 15th he pledged that he would not vote for the Democrat health care bill. On March 17th he had changed his mind. A little whisper in his ear from Rahm Emanuel’s alter ego, Barack Obama, was all it took. “You will lose your job if you don’t do what you’re told.”
The Last Laugh
But it turns out that the Democrats and Dennis Kucinich have had the last laugh. Just when we thought we could actually trust Dennis Kucinich to take a principled stand against the Democrat’s horrendous healthcare bill, only two days after he told us that there is no way he will vote for this egregious piece of legislation, he changed his mind and announced that, after all, his principles mean nothing compared to helping the Obama agenda succeed. Dennis Kucinich is a Democrat. Alan Grayson is a Democrat. Their only function in the Democrat Party is to keep those suffering from “Battered Left Syndrome” from leaving. Kucinich and Grayson perpetuate the myth that the Democratic Party can be changed from within if only we give it a little more time.
In the final analysis Markos Moulitsas could not have been more wrong in comparing Dennis Kucinich with Ralph Nader. Nader does not back away from a principled position. Nader is not a Democrat; Kucinich is; that makes all the difference.