After reading one of the wrecked list diaries about Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com joining forces with Grover Norquist to call for the resignation of Rahm Emmanuel, a poster pointed me to a twitter by Ms. Hampher calling for Bernie Sanders to kill the bill or lose his seat.
I've got to tell you. Until this week, I didn't know much about Ms. Hamsher. I knew that a diarist blogged here and got donations through FDL. I signed up several months ago on FDL because of that diarist's involvement in health care reform.
I've stopped reading that diarist's diaries and un-followed her on Twitter because of the call-outs and the targeting of Democrats in order to force them to bend one way or another. Not because I didn't appreciate the diarist's efforts...she was the one who reminded me to wake up every day and call Ms. McCaskill for support. Not because I don't think reps feet shouldn't be held to the fire, but because that's just not a method I'm comfortable with. Not because I don't support the public option... I do. But only because single-payer was not an option. Single-payer was my first choice and I avidly supported the Mad As Hell Docs on their pursuit of medicare for all. I stopped because the diarist's diaries made me feel uncomfortable. I've marched on Washington for choice, carried a baby miles to demonstrate against wars, was a Tsongas state delegate, spent election night in elation in Arkansas, caucused with the Teamsters in Iowa for Gephardt and saw Hillary in her first speech there, supported her until Obama won the nomination, but some of the people targeted in those diaries weren't bad representatives, not even horrid, they just happened to have a different take on health care reform. I wasn't comfortable with voting on the "worst of the worst" and I wasn't comfortable with the way posters there demonized those who didn't agree with them. Personal choice.
After much reading (especially of all the bills put on line) and much soul-searching, I decided that after Clinton's failed attempt at health care reform, that if we let this opportunity pass, we might not get another chance for decades. I listened to Weiner, to Dean, to ALL the pundits as they played the chords that struck a note with me. I read diaries on Kos, I followed links. I watched Ed, Rachel, and C-Span. In the end, I decided that this bill, flawed as it was, needed to pass. I tuned out the cries of "you're not a progressive if you don't want to kill the bill" and "this pos bill can't pass", because I'd made an informed decision and I was willing to live with the fallout. Simple for me, because that's how I do things. I investigate, I decide, I listen for game-changers, but for the most part, am pretty comfortable once I've made a decision.
On Monday, I had a long drive to be with my family. Or, I guess, I had a long sit, as my partner drove. I read Deoliver47's post about 'Ms. Hamsher' and it rather annoyed me. I've lived for most of my life amongst those people who now go by "tea baggers" (their own moniker) and I knew that no matter what happened in politics, I could never accept an alliance with such hate-filled individuals and I couldn't understand a progressive that might advocate such a move. Then I read a diary that said Ms. Hamsher had gone on Faux and Friends to appeal to their audience to 'kill the bill'. It wasn't much of a diary (sorry diarist!), so I checked the Fox site itself and damned if it wasn't true. Not only had she gone on Faux, she'd not even asserted herself to decry what the party of "no" had done to decimate the hcr bill. She talked about how the bill would increase costs to the middle class and would effect your current coverage and "causes it to be worse"; it sounded like right-wing talking points.
So, despite my struggle to remain objective, I was getting a lil subjective. When I logged on tonight, the first diary I saw was about Ms. Hamsher joining forces with Grover Norquist to force Rahm Emmanuel to resign. Grover Norquist? Really? I'm sure readers here know who Norquist is...founder, supported by President Reagan, of American's For Tax Reform; opposition of President Clinton's attempt at health care reform; Contra and North supporter; co-author, with Messr. Gingrich, of the "Contract with America; Abramoff aficionado; supporter and promoter of President G. W. Bush. Need I say more? That sort of perked my ears.
But it wasn't until a poster noted that Ms. Hamsher had tweeted about Senator Bernie Sanders losing his seat unless he killed the bill.
VT Voters to Bernie Sanders: Stand up for what’s right, or risk losing your seat: We thought Bernie... http://bit.ly/... #publicoption
Losing his seat. The only self-professed socialist in the political spectrum. Losing his seat because he wasn't progressive enough? Bernie Sanders, promoter of single-payer health care? That guy who passionately argued for, and offered an amendment that would provide health care and dental coverage for every American? I almost couldn't believe it. But I clicked the linky, and sure enough...there it was, in all its glory.
We sent this e-mail to Vermonters yesterday:
The Senate is trying to force a dangerous health care bill to passage by Christmas. Some of our strongest allies — statesmen who touted the progressive line aggressively at first — have definitively turned their backs on us. Bernie Sanders is the latest "progressive" to fall in line as a supporter."
If you’re from Vermont, sign our petition to Bernie Sanders: You were elected based on your progressive values. Kill the Senate bill.
And Sanders knows he’s screwing up. To help the good people of Vermont stomach the bitter medicine of this Senate bill, Sanders secured additional health care funding to establish dozens of clinics across the state. According to a press release from Dec. 19th, these clinics would be "open to everyone, [...] care for patients covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance as well as those who have no insurance."
While this is of undeniable value to the people of Vermont, it’s no excuse for supporting this legislative monstrosity. Sanders needs to spend less time trying to cover up his mistakes with pork for Vermonters and invest his energy in fighting for true reform that will reach all Americans instead.
We want to let Senator Sanders know that he’s headed down a path with ramifications so serious that they are likely to threaten his seat.
At that point I went from attempting objectivity to downright subjectivity. Not only was she rallying Senator Sanders constituents against him, she was attempting to rally all of us against Senator Sanders. Really. Senator Bernie Sanders. The one who said:
"The day will come, although I recognize it’s not today, when the U.S. Congress will have to vote to stand up to ... all those who profit every single year off of human sickness," Sanders said. "That day will come."
The only way to provide comprehensive, cost effective health care is single payer. I'm trying now to intro a bill now, but it will lose. May get 5-10 votes. But it's important to get that debate on the floor.
It's not the greatest step forward for health care in history... it's a bill that does good things. It begins to address insurance reform...
you know, Senator Sanders, who got this inserted into the senate bill:
Without fanfare, the good Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has continued to work behind the scenes to champion community health centers--something he has done for years. These non-profit, community-based facilities provide primary healthcare, dental care, mental health services, and low-cost prescription drugs on a sliding scale. As amendments were added in recent days to win over the Liebermans and Nelsons of the "greatest [undemocratic] deliberative body" in the world, Sanders made sure that a $10 billion increase in funding for the health centers was included.
"This is not gonna solve all the problems of the world," Senator Sanders told me yesterday. "But expanding access to high quality primary health care, and low-cost prescription drugs, and mental health counseling, and dental care--which is a big issue--this is a very significant step forward. If you walk into a health clinic and you have no insurance at all they will treat you on a sliding scale basis. So, that's affordable healthcare."
I may not know Ms. Hamsher...she may have some heartfelt need to be doing the things she's been doing. But Senator Sanders? Bernie? Him I know. And that is prolly all I DO need to know.
Updated to add link and quote from Ms. Hamsher's tweet. And to wish all a Merry Holiday...with lots of pie! I'm off to spend Jul night with min barnbarn! Glad Jul, Feliz Navidad, Happy Holidays.