The Bottom Line on Health Care

(I've recently spoken with several early Obama supporters who echo iowademocrat's sentiments. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

(crossposted from IowaDemocrat)
 
From the very beginning of the Obama caucus campaign continuing through the general election, I gave more money, more time, and stuck my neck out further than I ever had before for a Presidential candidate, and I've worked hard for quite a few.
 
I will not invest my energy in a cause that has no bottom line, no goals which the president will not compromise, nor any clear cut progress toward true reform.
 
I respect Barack Obama for the great things he HAS done, but I refuse to work for his version of health care reform when he has no clear goal other than to pass something – anything – that may get through Congress, regardless of content.
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New PAC vows to hold Democratic incumbents accountable

That’s the mission of the Accountability Now PAC:

“We need members of Congress to leave the bubble of Washington, D.C. and stand with their constituents,” said Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake.com and co-founder of Accountability Now. “We need members of Congress to ask the tough questions about continued Wall Street bailouts that reward the donor class, two wars without seeming end, the ceaseless assault on our civil liberties, and other issues that separate the citizenry from the DC cocoon.”

“Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care,” said Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com and co-founder of Accountability Now. “Accountability Now believes that members of Congress in both parties need to hear from their constituents, and that nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.”

“Accountability Now PAC will recruit, coordinate, and support primary challenges against vulnerable Congressional incumbents who have become more responsive to corporate America than to their constituents,” said Accountability Now’s new Executive Director, Jeff Hauser. “By empowering the grassroots, Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on – such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.”

In 2007, grassroots activists banded together to oust Al Wynn out of office, and it shook House Democrats to their core. Similarly, we learned in 2006 how even a primary challenge that does not win could change behavior, as Jane Harman has been more accountable to the concerns of her constituents after a tough primary race against Marcy Winograd.

Out of these recent lessons, diverse and politically powerful groups have decided to support Accountability Now’s efforts, such as MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), DailyKos, ColorOfChange.org, and Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC.

On principle, I agree with the goals of this PAC. Like some guy once said, “the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. […] We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats […]”

However, I won’t get excited about the Accountability Now PAC until I learn more about the criteria it will use to determine which Democratic incumbents are “bad enough” to be primaried, and which primary challengers are “good enough” to be endorsed.

To my knowledge, Democracy for America was the only organization in the Accountability Now PAC that helped Ed Fallon in last year’s primary in Iowa’s third district (a D+1 district represented by Blue Dog Leonard Boswell).

How would someone thinking about a primary challenge know whether he or she is likely to get full support, like Donna Edwards in MD-04, or almost nothing, like Fallon?

Speaking of Democracy for America, it’s not too late to RSVP for their training academy in Des Moines on February 28 and March 1. Come meet noneed4thneed while you learn to be a more effective grassroots activist.

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Two diaries I recommend reading

If you visit Daily Kos, you know that it would practically be a full-time job to read all of the diaries and comments posted there.

As you can see from this post by “jotter,” who keeps track of the “high-impact” diaries at that community blog, there were 1,876 diaries posted on the site just during the week of December 8-14.

I can’t even keep up with all of the diaries about John Edwards at Daily Kos. Many days I rely on the “Edwards Evening News” crew, who summarize the stories of the day and link to many of the good diaries. (Here is a link to all the back issues of the Edwards Evening News Roundup.)

While it’s impossible for me to cite every diary worth reading, I want to call your attention to two from the past week that I found particularly moving. The year we stole a Christmas tree by “chuckles1” was the fourth most-recommended diary out of the 1,876 posted. It inspired “karateexplosions” to write The Timeline of My Decision, which became the highest-impact diary of the week, recommended by more than 750 Kossacks.

I encourage you to click the links and read those diaries. They are compelling first-person accounts of how quickly middle-class Americans can find themselves living in poverty.

Many of our presidential candidates talk about this fine line between a middle-class lifestyle and life below the poverty line. For instance, Hillary Clinton’s “trap door” ad deals with that kind of economic insecurity, and she used the trap door metaphor in the Des Moines Register-sponsored debate last week.

But ultimately, I feel John Edwards is the candidate best able to address the issues that contribute to this problem. Not only has he drafted a plan to end poverty within 30 years, a wide-ranging plan to address hunger and food insecurity and a Rural Recovery Act, his own parents occasionally had trouble making ends meet. Chuckles1 noted in a comment below his diary,

I’ve heard John Edwards talk about this before, that look on your fathers face when he realizes there isn’t enough money. The guilt, the pain.

AND, not having done anything wrong, having worked hard, tried to get ahead, just to be left behind.

I don’t mean to suggest that other candidates in our field feel less compassion for struggling families. But I think Edwards would invest more of the president’s political capital into dealing with poverty. Karateexplosions likes all of our candidates,

But my primary vote goes to Edwards and his message of hope.  I never wanted my children to have to see That Look.  But now that they have, I want to work for an American future that means my children’s children will never have to see That Look.

 

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