April 1, 2007

Will the Real Democrat Please Stand Up!

By In Essays

Last month, the Democratic contenders for president appeared at a forum on health care. Only one contender favors a single payer universal health care plan and has already co-sponsored a bill on it.
Can you guess which one?

The Contenders

Hillary Clinton. Despite her tough talk about the inequities in our current health care system, her plan for universal health care is similar to the Republican versions being pushed by Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, i.e, allow insurance companies to remain in control of the system but tinker with it around the edges and impose a few government regulations.

You’d think after getting her ass kicked by Republicans and insurance lobbyists the first time around with her effort at health care reform, she’d wise up and support a single payer universal health care bill. Instead, she’s still trying to play both ends against the middle by appeasing insurance companies and supporting a Republican-lite approach while she pretends to be formulating a plan to help average Americans.

This is why progressives aren’t crazy about Hillary– she acts too much like a Republican. And ironically, this is the same reason why Republicans despise her– she’s just as corrupt and power-driven as they are. Perhaps once a “Goldwater Girl,” always a Goldwater Girl! If you think I’m being too harsh on her, ask yourself this question: During Bill and Hillary’s two terms in office, what major piece of liberal legislation did they pass through Congress? Can’t think of any? That’s because there weren’t any! Moreover, as they stood around “triangulating” away their liberal principles on the advice of Dick “Mr. Sleaze” Morris, Newt Gingrich took charge of the Congress and pushed the country further to the right.

If Hillary Clinton were a real Democrat, she would tell the insurance companies to shove it and support a single payer universal health care plan to cover all Americans. But that ain’t gonna happen– unless there’s an overwhelming grassroots mandate. And then she’ll say she always supported it.

Barack Obama. From what I can determine, Obama’s health care ideas are similar to Hillary’s, only not as well thought out. Just trust me because I’m cooler than Hillary, Obama seems to be saying. And the mainstream media have been quick to reinforce this image as they promote him like the latest flavor of Coca Cola. But why are they so enthralled by him? Because he’s multi-racial? Because he’s well spoken and “clean,” as Joe “Foot-in-Mouth” Biden said? Or is there another, more insidious reason?

Call me cynical, but I’m immediately distrustful of anyone the mainstream media promote– especially when it comes to politicians. It’s almost as if they’re hedging their bets on Obama because he’s a “safe” candidate– not racially, as some have said, but politically. In other words, he has already assured the powers that be that he will tow the corporate line (like Hillary) and not attempt to change the system like an Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson. Or even like a Howard Dean, who the Big Money interests and mainstream media sabotaged when he ran for president because he was developing a populist power base over the Internet and challenging their power. AAAARRR!

John Edwards. For all his populist talk about the rich and poor, you’d think he’d be in favor of a single payer universal health care plan, but he isn’t. In fact, Edwards’ ideas on health care are also similar to Hillary’s, only he wants to get the job done faster. Some voters like him because he admitted his mistake on voting to give Bush carte blanche in Iraq, but did he ever reveal why his partner, John Kerry, threw in the towel so fast after the 2004 election? And has he ever spoken out about how that election was stolen? The fact that he hasn’t is a key to his character.

Chris Dodd. Unfortunately, Dodd has been a politician for so long, he doesn’t even have an actual belief system other than compromise and accommodation. A winner of the “Golden Leash Award” in 1998 for taking special interest money, he was part of the Democratic team that was responsible for crafting HAVA in 2002 and allowing Diebold and the Republican party to steal the 2004 presidential election. His ideas on a comprehensive health care plan? Check his Web site and you’ll find nothing but platitudes and boilerplate. And, of course, no mentions of single payer universal health care.

Bill Richardson. Similar to Dodd in that he’s been around politics a long time and doesn’t support single payer universal health care, but he’s more likeable because he looks like Lou Costello. “Hey, Abbott!” Also, to his credit, he has posted some specific health care ideas on his Web site that could actually improve the current system.

Mike Gravel. Who? I’m happy to report that the 77-year-old former Democratic Senator sounds like an old-fashioned populist on most issues and is in favor of a “national, universal, non-profit health care system.” The trouble is, he’s been out of politics for decades, he has no base or funding, and no one takes him seriously. But who knows? Maybe he’ll become a household name if he can get into the Democratic primary debates or appear on SNL.

Dennis Kucinich. Well, if you haven’t already guessed, Kucinich is the only real Democrat in the race who favors a single payer universal health care plan for all Americans and has co-sponsored a bill (with John Conyers) to back up his views. It is called H.R. 676, and you can find out more about it at his Web site: click here.

Of course, Kucinich has always been a real democrat and a true populist. From his latest bill on single payer universal health care, to his plan to get out of Iraq, to his call for the U.S. to withdraw from NAFTA and GATT, Kucinich has a solid record of promoting the cause of the average citizen over the military/industrial complex and the corporate elite.

Too bad Hillary and Obama and Edwards, the top contenders, aren’t leading the charge for the only system that will actually contain costs and guarantee all Americans affordable health care.

So don’t be fooled when you hear the top contenders say they want “universal” coverage. It sounds good, but their plans are just Republican-lite. Go for the real thing! Go for what every other industrialized country in the world has! Go for HR 676!

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