Monday, March 15, 2010

Progressives Who Don’t Honor Their Pledge: Corporatists In Sheep’s Clothing

Last August, progressive groups including MoveOn, DFA and blogs across the country came together to raise over $430,000 for 65 members of Congress who pledged to vote against any health care bill that doesn’t have a public option.

Now every excuse made by the President and Congress for not including a public option has crumbled. MoveOn is demonstrating against Kucinich for keeping that promise, and far from supporting members of Congress who keep that pledge, the unions are threatening them with primaries.

If George Bush had tried to pass a health care bill that was the worst blow to the right to choose since the passage of the Hyde Amendment 35 years ago, liberal groups would be screaming bloody murder.

Instead, the natural fiscal constituency of progressive members of Congress — those who should be backing them up for standing for progressive values — are whipping from the right.

The veal pen groups have become the enforcement arm for sweetheart deals that Rahm Emanuel cut with AHIP and PhRMA. And college students across the country are footing the bill, because Larry Summers doesn’t want to tax rich people.

I was on Ian Masters’ show yesterday, and he asked me what I thought of Dennis Kucinich’s position on health care.

I said “I find it odd that when it’s down to Joe Lieberman’s one vote, everybody shrugs their shoulders and says ‘oh well, we just have to write the bill Joe wants, because what can you do, one vote.’ And when it’s Dennis Kucinich’s one vote, which represents what 80% of the American people want, it’s “lets crush Dennis Kucinich so we can give Joe Lieberman everything he wants.” Somehow the argument keeps switching so that the corrupt deal that the White House negotiated with the pharmaceutical companies gets passed no matter what.”

I still don’t know if they can pass this monstrosity of a bill. But if progressives stand down and do nothing while corporate America runs roughshod our institutions and our representatives, no member of Congress will ever have the political courage to stand up against corporate power again.

Call members of Congress who said they would vote against any bill that doesn’t have a public option. Tell them to keep their promise.

Tell Diana DeGette and Louise Slaughter to release the letter with the names of 41 members who said they’d vote against any bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose, because this one does.

And donate to Dennis Kucinich to send a message that the progressive left hasn’t become a completely incoherent tool of corporate America.