Sunday, September 06, 2009

Obama and the Blue Dogs are Miscalculating

Obama and the Blue Dog Democrats believe that an incremental approach to health care reform is the best we can hope for. Both the president and conservative Democrats seem to believe that it will serve them best to appease the opponents of a public option in health care reform, in order to protect the re-election chances of moderate Democrats in districts that tend to vote Republican. Nothing could be further from the truth, as McJoan and a host of others point out in this brilliant post at the Daily Kos.

I agree with the post's premise that, in fact, Blue Dogs and moderate Democrats are the ones who stand to lose the most if they refuse to support real reform of our disastrous health care system. Take away the votes of those Democrats they can usually rely on, and their re-election is in doubt. Who needs people like Ben Nelson, Max Baucus and Kent Conrad, just to single out a few, if they cannot even stand for the most basic principles of fairness and social justice, health care for all, without a profit motive? All other countries in the world have managed to do it.

I have already written the White House to the effect that if the president caves in on the public option (or, better yet, Medicare for all who want it) I will actively campaign against him both in the 2012 primaries (because there will be a progressive opponent running against him). If on the other hand he were to run for re-election unopposed, I will either abstain from helping his re-election campaign or even help his Republican opponent, no matter how offensive s/he will be (and chances are, it will rate very high on the "offensive" scale). If that seems like a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, it isn't: We need to send a definitive message to Democrats who will chose to run on a platform of "change we can believe in" or similar campaign inducements that betrayal of one's promises has consequences, and that neither the vote nor the patience of progressive can be taken for granted.

If anyone wants to try to convince me that this is the wrong approach, please try.

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