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The Death of American Populism

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The Death of American Populism - by Stephen Lendman

Ideologically it believes governments must provide for the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It opposes concentrated wealth, demagogy, and despotism, and supports democracy, human and civil rights, and social justice - an ideology the 19th century People's Party and 20th century Progressive Party endorsed without majorities.

Until recently, faint echoes remained, sadly silenced after Senator Bernie Sanders and sole House populist capitulated.

Former Kucinich for president consultant, David Swanson, said "he gave in to the power of a false narrative, and that he ought to have said so....I think the corporate media has instilled in people the idea that presidents should make laws and the current president is trying to make a law that can reasonably be called 'healthcare reform' or at least 'health insurance reform.' " I don't excuse Kucinich flipping....I just want to find the right explanation for it."

The web site singlepayeraction.org, ("everybody in. nobody out.") called the Democrats (like Republicans) "a corporate party, rotting from the core."

SPA called Kucinich's "flameout....spectacular" in support of a bill he and progressive Democrats strongly opposed until they flipped, including Congressman Danny Davis, representing this writer's 7th Illinois District.

Kucinich said "I've taken a detour supporting this bill." For SPA, it's one "that will condemn millions of Americans to ongoing suffering and death" because insurers make money by denying care, why real reform requires their removal and assuring everyone of universal single-payer coverage. Everyone in. Nobody out. What your senator and House representative get, you get. What congressional Democrats won't enact.

On March 17, Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced the following:

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"I have carried the banner of national health care in two presidential campaigns, in party platform meeting, and as co-author of HR 676, Medicare for All. I have worked to expand the health care debate beyond the current for-profit system, to include a public option and an amendment to free the states to pursue single payer."

On November 7, 2009, despite enormous pressure, he voted against HR 3962: Affordable Health Care for America Act," asking "Is this the best we can do" in a prepared text titled, "Why I Voted No," saying:

"We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care." Passing "legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry (exacerbates) the very source of the problem....Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution."

On March 17, he reversed himself, saying:

"....after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Elizabeth my wife and close friends, I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.

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As this bill passes, I will renew my effort to help those state organizations which are aimed at stirring a single payer movement....I have taken a detour through supporting this bill, but I know the destination I will continue to lead, for as long as it takes, whatever it takes to an America where health care will be firmly established as a civil right."

He later said that not supporting the bill "would destroy Obama's presidency," a nonsensical view given Bill Clinton's success despite his health care program failure and efforts to impeach him. He survived, served two terms, and left office with a 68% approval rating, matching Franklin Roosevelt at the end of his presidency.

On Democracy Now (March 18), Ralph Nader referred to "the latest chapter of corporate Democrats crushing progressive forces both inside their party and against third parties." It's nothing new. It happens every time reform is proposed.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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