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Are Liberal Netroots Groups Helping Obama Fail?

By       Message Jeff Cohen       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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I've started deleting them as spam.

I'm not talking about the enlarge-your-penis emails or "You've Won the Lottery" notices.

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I'm talking about the increasingly-urgent emails coming for weeks from liberal Netroots groups calling for a "public option" for healthcare "" a government insurance plan citizens could choose to PAY FOR instead of private insurance.

Never has so much passion been so misdirected. If what these liberal groups ultimately wanted out of President Obama and corporate-funded Democrats in Congress was a topnotch public plan to compete with the first-rate private plans, the wrong way to get it was to make that THE demand.

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Especially of a President whose instinct is toward conciliation and splitting the difference with big business and the rightwing.

Sure, Obama was a community organizer once. That was decades ago when Russia was still our mortal enemy, Nelson Mandela was still an official State Department terrorist threat and the White House was still funding Islamist fanatics in Afghanistan.

For the last dozen years Obama has been a politician "" and a consummate compromiser at that. Have we failed to notice?

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Activists must recognize the surest way to get a strong public option that could compete with the Cadillac of health plans. We needed to mobilize millions of Netroots people, almost every union and 150 members of Congress to endorse a maximum demand: National health insurance . . . enhanced Medicare for All. In other words, a cost-effective single-payer system of publicly-financed, privately-delivered healthcare that ends private health insurance (and its waste, bureaucracy, ads, sales commissions, lavish executive salaries, profiteering).

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Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he was an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group FAIR.org in 1986.

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