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Message to Democrats: want to commit political suicide? Just say no to reconciliation and health care reform

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Democrats in Congress, primarily U.S. senators, have developed very serious sensory system problems; they don't have a vision for America; they do not seem to hear what the American people have been saying; and they don't have the taste for fighting the powerful lobbyists and special interests groups that want to dismantle the American democratic process.

After months and months of debate, disagreement and vacillation, the once very promising health care reform legislation is at the brink of collapse. This much is certain; if the Senate Democrats fail to pass this legislation, critical to the future welfare of millions of Americans, then they will, in effect, be committing political suicide. This will be their final act of betrayal of the American people and the people will respond by throwing many of them out of office later this year.

Passing effective health care legislation should have been a slam dunk; this was the perfect time to finally get it done after many decades during which all attempts failed. President Harry Truman, during his tenure as president in the late 1940's and early 1950's, visualized a universal-type of health care system for Americans.

His feelings on this issue were typified by this statement: "Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And the time has now arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and to help them get that protection." A wonderful thought but it went nowhere.

Decades later no reform legislation has been enacted but there has never been an opportunity as promising as the one that is present today. In the elections of 2008 the American people swept the Democrats into office and one of the many issues of importance to them was health care for all Americans. President Obama sensed this and included it in his agenda. So the Democratic Party was presented with a clear mandate to finally get it done.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has taken that mandate and nearly debated it to death. Democrats have now lost their supposed 60 vote majority, one that existed in name only because of Blue Dogs and other conservatives in the party, and there is no chance whatsoever that they can override a certain filibuster by Republicans if they use the usual legislative process.

But all is not lost and the Senate Democrats still have an ace in the hole; that is, if they can use a part of their sensory systems to actually see it. It is called the Reconciliation Process, a term that by now should be familiar to the many Americans who are concerned about health reform. I won't spend time explaining details of this process but it is a method by which legislation that involves budgetary matters can be passed with a majority vote of 51.

This can be done, it must be done; but the way forward is still blocked by that small but powerful group of Democrats who remain under the tight control of those special interest groups who feed their campaign war chests. It's not just the traitors to the Democrat cause, Senators Landrieu, Lincoln, and Lieberman, but there are others who have joined them. The Democratic Party of 2010 can go down in history as enacting the most important legislation since the Social Security Act in 1935, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Medicare in 1965. If it fails it will ever be remembered as one of the most inept and corrupt legislative bodies ever.

One thing really boggles the mind. It is common knowledge that every industrialized nation in the world has some type of universal health care system. These countries seem to have one thing in common when it comes to health care: they all seem to sincerely want to provide care for their fellow citizens. When asked why Canadians continue to strongly support their national health care system, an official of that government said, "Because we care for our fellow Canadians." And the same sentiment prevails in other countries.

Why is the attitude toward health care for everyone so different in America? I think it is now evident that the problem is not with the people of America. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans favor it, including a strong public option; they have empathy toward their fellow citizens. But the selfish, greedy, self-serving side of America, the Republicans, too many Democrats, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and many other major corporations will do everything in their power to kill any form of universal health care. That is their nature; they care for nothing except the accumulation of more wealth. And they use the corporate-controlled media to continuously broadcast negative messages about the dangers of government managed health care.

While this exercise in low-grade politics continues, the American people are watching. They are closely watching senators that they put into power to do what is right for America proving that they are simply not up to the job. And they are also watching just how President Obama has been leading this effort to bring health care reform to fruition. And what they are seeing, they simply do not like. And that is a very ominous sign for Democrats.

So where do Democrats go from here? Well, I believe that they have two distinct choices; the first choice is to get together and, collectively, shape an effective package of legislation that meets the requirements of the Reconciliation Process. If they assemble their courage and resist any attempts by those who want to kill health reform, they will become heroes to their constituents.

Their second choice is to continue on the present path that will lead to a compete collapse of heath reform; they can continue to argue, debate, vacillate and let the Blue Dog Democrats and other conservative minded Democrats destroy this attempt at reform. If they do not have the courage and conviction to follow the mandate and the distinct wishes of the people of America then they will have committed political suicide.

One last chance; the Democrats and President Obama must clearly understand that they must use reconciliation to bypass the dreaded filibuster or they will feel the wrath of America descend upon their party

Michael Payne


Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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The Democratic party has become corporate represen... by Philip Pease on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 1:27:20 PM
You are, of course, completely correct.But it has ... by TomK on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 2:49:26 PM
PUT UP OR SHUT UP!... by daveys on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 6:10:15 PM
I'm quite sure the damage has already been done. T... by Perry Logan on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 at 6:07:27 AM