Saturday, October 24, 2009

What Do Progressives Want?

What progressives want is the same thing the President wants: to build power for a majority in Congress and the country that will support our issues, and will perceive us as powerful; and to win the best possible health reform.

So far the President has played a pretty smart game. He kept the insurance industry at bay long enough that even the mainstream pundits are willing to say publicly that the industry has no credibility.

But it’s time to cut the cord.

Progressives need to play a smarter hand.

It’s important to sit in at insurance companies. But here’s the thing: 1. Insurance companies have no shame. They really don’t. 2. Even Republicans were willing to throw them under the train back in February. 3. They don’t vote.

Here are some people who vote: Senators Mary Landrieu, Louisiana; Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut; Evan Bayh, Indiana; Ben Nelson. Nebraska

Take Mary Landrieu. She says she won’t support a public option because it would force the country to go bankrupt.

Now Mary Landrieu is not a stupid person. She knows that the CBO says a strong public option saves more money than negotiated rates or no public option.

She’s been elected twice in a Republican state, including in 2008 when Obama got only 40% of the vote.

Is she in the pocket of the insurance industry? The Center for Responsive Politics says she gets virtually no money from health interests, and raises half her money in-state. She’s the 47th least wealthy person in the Senate.

Does Louisiana need health reform? Here’s some information about Louisiana:

Second highest rate of female poverty in the US
Highest rate of black poverty
63% white
4th highest rate of uninsured for ages 0–64 (22%), 3rd highest for ages 19-64
One of the highest recipients in the country of federal Medicaid funds, one of the lowest in per capita Medicaid spending
35% of population live in primary care shortage area, 3rd highest % of population who didn’t see a doctor in the last year because of cost (18%)

In 2008 Obama lost to McCain, but Landrieu won among the same demographics that voted for Obama:
Younger people
African Americans
Among the 9% of voters who said health care was their most important issue, Landrieu got the widest issue-based margin over her opponent: 72% voted for her.

Why can’t a populist organizing campaign rile up some voters in New Orleans and environs to communicate with Senator Landrieu? And in Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana and Nebraska; and the holdouts in the House. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have signalled they're ready to play. Are we paying attention?

No comments:

Post a Comment