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I’m Back! Did you Miss Me? November 4, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Barack Obama, Democrats, Economy, Health Care, National Politics, Obama Administration.
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relaxed_kittenIn case any of you were wondering, my kitchen table has taken a very much-needed vacation from the blogosphere.  Thanks to all of you regular readers who stuck with me and sent messages wondering if I were sick or expired.  Obviously, neither was true, but as October wore on I believed my left-wing head was going to explode.  A vacation was certainly in order.

The reason for my distress, of course, is the fact that the change I believed in seems to have turned into the same old crap dressed up like change.  The Health Care reform debate finished me off.  We want a public option, no we don’t, how about a trigger?  Well, we got Olympia Snowe, NOT!  Harry Reid says the public option is back in.  Oh, wait, he doesn’t have the votes.  Traitor Joe Lieberman is rearing his (very) ugly head.  At least the Speaker of the House supports a robust public option – oops – no she doesn’t.  She watered it down in the final bill.  Mary Landrieu supports the trigger, and Joe Lieberman will not vote to filibuster.  Oh, wait, yes he will.

WTF????

There is a growing sense of frustration – not just in me, but in many Progressives, Liberals, and Independents who supported President Obama’s election just one year ago.  While we understand that it is more difficult to govern than to electioneer, but the pace of this administration has just been too damn slow.  Instead of taking the bulls by the horns and forcing the necessary changes, the Obama administration has played their agenda carefully and pragmatically.  In doing so, they have lost momentum and support.

Take health care, for instance.  President Obama should have told Congress – “I want a bill on my desk June 1st.  It has to do x, y, and z.  It has to have a medicare for all option.  It should be deficit-neutral, but that’s not the most important thing.  Do it.”  At that time, the momentum was there.  There had been no tea parties, no disruptive town-halls, no Glenn Beck.  The Republicans were in disarray and could not have mounted a strong opposition.  Had they threatened a filibuster, the time was ripe to call their bluffs.  The American people were in a mood to want this President to succeed and would have railed against the Republicans as obstructionist.  Instead, the endless delays and efforts for bipartisanship have led to a reform bill that is so weak that it is being set up to fail.  The President seems willing to accept this garbage just to check off a “win” box next to his name.

The same is true with the economy.  Everyone KNEW that unemployment was going to be a big problem.  The administration even mentioned it in the stimulus legislation.  But instead of a huge jobs bill, we got big chunks of money going to near-broke state governments that has mostly been used to prop up the state governments.  The financial bail-outs did little to get money to regular folks like you and me, in fact, many of us are feeling more squeezed than ever.  But we are expected to celebrate a 150-point rise in the Dow.  Huh?  That doesn’t pay the heat bill.

I heard one of the talking heads on TV the other day saying that the President’s sliding approval ratings are an indication that the American people believe he is trying to do too much.  Guess again.  They are an indication that he is not doing enough.   We didn’t just send Barack Obama to the White House.  We gave him majorities in Congress to ensure that stuff gets done.  We expect more leadership from this President to get his troops in line.  I hate to say it, but you have to admire the Republican’s ability to bully everyone into position.  This guy needs that kind of “cock-sucker-ness” in his circle (maybe James Carville is available).

Last night’s election results had lessons for this President and the Democratic party that I hope they will heed.  First, New Jersey and Virginia showed that if the jobs don’t come back, this party is toast.  Second, and more important, was NY 23.  Democrats are crowing that the Republican’s “ideological purity” test didn’t seem to work.  It came close, though, and had the Conservative candidate gone through a primary with  the chosen Republican, he very well may have won a district that no Democrat had ever won before.  Huge numbers of base voters turned out to vote and very nearly swung the race the other way.  By the same token, liberal and progressive base voters stayed home in New Jersey and Virginia, and handed the win to the Republicans.  

 The message of these elections, I believe, is clear.  Ignore your base at your peril.  There SHOULD be an ideological purity test for candidates.  They can run in the general elections as being moderate to attract Independent voters, but their core principles should be shared by all of them.

Great to be back!

Found: A Democrat with Balls October 1, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Democrats, Health Care, Health Insurance, National Politics, Politics, Public Health, Public Option.
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graysonI fell in love Tuesday.  Completely, utterly, and helplessly in love.  And don’t worry about any implications this may have for Mr. Kitchen Table; you see, he fell in love, too.

And WHO is this object of our affections?  Florida Congressman Alan Grayson – a Democrat that actually is acting like a Democrat.  Imagine!

In case you didn’t know, Grayson stood up on the House floor on Tuesday and described the “Republican Health Care Plan”.  (See the video HERE)

“The Republican health care plan,” Grayson explained, “is ‘Don’t get Sick’.  If you have health insurance – don’t get sick.  If you don’t have insurance – don’t get sick.  If you’re already sick – don’t get sick.”

Then, noting that even Republicans understand that “Don’t get Sick” might be unrealistic, Grayson went on to explain part two of the plan.  “And if you do get sick – Die Quickly”

I literally stood up and cheered when I saw these clips running on the cable news shows.  Of course, if there is one thing that the Republicans don’t understand, it’s satire  – and if there were another, it would be irony.   Just as Jonathan Swift didn’t mean for the Irish peasants to eat their children, Rep. Grayson certainly doesn’t think that Republicans want citizens to die.  Saying so, however, proves a point that the opposition is bringing nothing to the table. 

And because the Republicans do not understand Congressman Grayson’s satirical skewering of their non-plans, they immediately began calls for Grayson to apologize.  Still smarting from the rebuke to Congressman Joe “You lie” Wilson, House Republicans stated that Grayson’s remarks were an affront to the dignity of the chamber and he should apologize.   The two offenses do not even compare – what Wilson did was so outside the pale and unprecedented, it required an apology to the President, the Congress, and to the American people.  But even if you make the stretch that this is the same as that – here’s the part that shows that they don’t understand irony, either. 

Several times over the summer, House Republicans got up on the floor to say that the Democratic health care reform would cause you to die.  Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), said in July: “Last week, Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: drop dead.”   Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a doctor, reviewed the public health insurance option in July and diagnosed that it is “gonna kill people.”  And let’s not forget Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who suggested on the House floor that Congress “make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”

We also had Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), note: “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine…I would hate to think that among five women, one of ’em is gonna die because we go to socialized care” and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) who said, “They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.”    All these were harmful lies stated openly on the house floor.  No apologies were ever offered.  THAT is the ironic part.

But what made fall more deeply in love with Rep. Grayson, was his response to those asking him to apologize.  Grayson again stood up and said he would apologize – to the dead.  “According to this study…44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance.  That is more than ten times the number of Americans who died in the war in Iraq, it’s more than ten times the number of Americans that died in 9/11.”  I actually stood up and cheered.  Mr. Kitchen table immediately turned to me and said that we need to send that guy some money. 

I set out to find out a little more about my new love interest.  Turns out, he’s a freshman Congressman from a heavily Republican area (Orlando, Florida).  He managed to win his seat through a massive outreach campaign to the African-American and Hispanic communities.  He was a prosecutor in Florida whom made a name for himself suing Defense contractors for fraud and war profiteering.  Since coming to congress, he has sponsored, co-sponsored, or supported paid family leave, auditing the Federal Reserve, requiring employers provide 1 week paid vacation per ear, de-funding corrupt defense contractors, and to provide collective bargaining rights to public safety officers – among many others. 

This is the kind of Democrat I thought I was voting for when I pulled the lever for Barack Obama last November.  I wanted someone fearless, someone who would fight the good fight unabashedly and with conviction.  In the past few months I began top believe that they didn’t exist anymore.  I’m pleased to know that I am somewhat wrong.

I say somewhat because for every Alan Grayson out there, there are three Max Baucuses;  lily-livered shills of some major corporation.  We gave the Democrats the Presidency, the House, the Senate, and they still are foisting this piece of shit health care bill on us. The “50-State strategy” to win the White House and congressional control saddled us with Democrats that are too afraid of losing to stand up and do the right thing.  Let’s go out and find more Alan Graysons.

(see Jon Stewart skewer the Dems HERE)

 

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), who said in July: “Last week, Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: drop dead.”