So the House Republicans are going to hold a vote to repeal health care reform on January 12. They will pass the bill but ultimately fail in their attempt to repeal health care reform. That's probably about as given as it gets in the world of politics. They are all busy citing a poll
that shows 50% of the American public opposed to the health care reform law, "based on what they heard" (ahh, we'll talk about that
in a bit), while 43% support it. Digging in a little, only 37% oppose it because they buy the Republican line of it being too liberal. 13% of the American people oppose the law because they think it's not liberal enough
And this is what I have got a problem with. Liberals can and should think the new law is not liberal "enough." But to oppose the law
based on that view? That is absurd. Even more so because saying that one opposes the law essentially lends their support to repealing the law, as the Republicans will attempt to do. For those who oppose
the health care law, especially those who oppose it from the liberal side, I have a question. Can you live with going back to this?
- Children and adults alike can be denied access to care and insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
- Poor and sick seniors will not have any help with the prescription drug coverage donut hole, meaning, once again, they will have to choose between taking their medications and putting food on the table.
- Insurance regulations put into place by this law - including strong medical loss ratio requirements, requirements to cover children, the requirement to enable parents to keep their young adult children on their health insurance plans, and elimination of pre-existing conditions will be history.
- An $11 billion expansion of community health centers - real publicly funded health care - will vanish.
- The law's Medicaid expansion will be eliminated.
- The establishment of common responsibility via the means of subsidies for those who need it to afford health care will cease to exist.
Among other things, that is. Make no mistake: opposition (as opposed to keeping it in place and trying to strengthen it further) to the Affordable Care Act is advocating for a return and strengthening of the Murder by Spreadsheet industry. With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act last year, we as a country took a giant, progressive step forward. There are no two ways about this.
As the Republican House threatens not just a symbolic vote on an unsuccessful repeal but at the very least starving its implementation of funding, it is fascinating to discover where many of the self-crowned "Left" groups stand. For example, Adam Green and his group "Bold Progressives" were all over President Obama's unemployment extension and tax package before it was even announced, mobilizing their members and supporters to try to block the deal (to spectacular failure, I might add). And now that health reform is in jeopardy? Not a peep from them. A deafening silence is coming from all these professional lefties that seem to know how to oppose their own friends in government and insult the President of the United States, but have no interest in defending actual liberal values. It's not just Green and his group either. Credo Action, Democracy For America, Progressive Congress (Darcy Burner's group) - none of them is pushing to create pressure on the Congress to back off from health care. Neither is any of the "big" progressive blogs (aside from an article here and there, but there is no real push to mobilize to put pressure on Congress).
As I said, the silence is deafening. These same groups went out on a frenzy about the President's fiscal commission, deriding them and their work in every way possible, and demonizing the President, ginning up phony fear and poutrage about an imagined threat to social security. But now that a real battle is at hand? Now that the Republican House is set to vote to repeal health reform in less than a week? All we hear are crickets. Now that the Republicans are threatening to screw with everything from health reform to Wall Street Reform to student loan reform to the full faith and credit of the United States? We hear nothing from these self styled venerable representatives of the "Netroots (TM)."
I don't know that you are looking for signs, but if were, to identify a faux-gressive, these are the exact signs you'd look for: indignant fools who are more interested in opposing health reform on the excuse of imperfection than preserving and advancing reform, and giddy petulant self-servers adept at the art of tearing down the most progressive president in generations but uninterested in actually fighting the far right - either from taking power or when they are in power. Why, may I ask, should anyone take them seriously when they make up threats to their third rail issues and refuse to mobilize their supporters when there are real threats to real progress?
I have stopped expecting much from this crowd, so I can't say I am disillusioned by them. But I believe that there is real danger with fauxgressive groups presenting themselves as the face of the progressive movement. They either need to get on the ball and start fighting the Republican corruption of everything from our government to our health care to our education, or get out of the way and let actual activists who understand the impact of the policies enacted in the last two years on countless real people who have been helped take over. Because governing - or even fighting - is not about rainbows and unicorns and demand ponies. It is about real lives, real progress and the very real forces that seek to roll the clock back.
Speaking of which, can you make a phone call to your member of the House
and tell them to vote to keep our health reform intact?