Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Party over principle

When push comes to shove, the party almost always beats principle, as any casual observer of politics can tell you. Yielding to intense pressure from liberal bloggers and Democratic leaders, including President Obama himself – I'll leave it to readers to decide who yields more influence in Washington – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today announced he will be voting for the Senate healthcare bill, despite its lacking the much-ballyhooed “public option” so dear to the heart of progressive activists.

This shouldn't be that surprising. While certainly one of the more free-thinking members of the Democratic caucus – and one of the few members of Congress to oppose all wars, not just those launched by Republicans – Kucinich, when all is said and done, is still a good party member. After all, despite the heaps of scorn heaped upon the man by smug partisans like Markos Moulitsas for his supposedly ego-maniacal runs for president, both in 2004 and 2008 he ultimately endorsed his party's pro-war nominee, even though his views more closely align with those of the anti-war Ralph Nader, as I noted in this interview (by contrast, Republican iconoclast Ron Paul urged his supporters to vote for Nader or a number of other third-party candidates).

As for the healthcare bill he's now endorsing, here's how Kucinich explained his opposition to the legislation last week on Democracy Now:
I think that we have to ask ourselves why we would have a circumstance where, you know, a week or two before a vote would come, that it would be said that this is going to come down to a single member of Congress, who stands for healthcare for all, Medicare for all, who stands for a public option, who stands to protect right of states, to pursue it, and yet, we should sweep all that aside in favor of a bill that gives the insurance companies a lock on health insurance in America, privatizes the health insurance—$70 billion-a-year subsidy to the insurance industry. 
I mean, I have a responsibility to take a stand here on behalf of those who want a public option. There’s about thirty-four members of the Senate, at least, who have signed on to saying they support a public option. If I were to just concede right now and say, “Well, you know, whatever you want. All this pressure’s building. Just forget about it,” actually weakens every last-minute bit of negotiations that would try to improve the bill. So I think that it’s really critical to take this stand, because without it, there’s no real control over premiums. Without it, we have nothing in the bill except the privatization of our healthcare system. 
Something obviously changed since Kucinich said this to Amy Goodman. It wasn't the bill.


  1. Anonymous8:24 AM

    That's right.

    Very reminiscent of his feigned attempts at impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    "Here are my articles of impeachment that I plan to file and pursue.

    "Oh, what's that Johnny Conyers? You don't like this? What's that Nancy Pelosi? I shouldn't do this? What's that Harry Reid? You'll banish me from the party?

    "Oh, never mind then. I never wanted impeachment anyway. I just wanted to gull more Dembots into pursuing change from within because they see me as the hope for such change."

  2. Yes we can!

    By the way, does Obama's pursuit of a public option displace OJ's search for the "real killers" as the ultimate sham?

  3. Indy,

    Inspired by your comparison... OJ only killed, what, two people? A drone strike on some Afghan sheep herders kills more than that. And while OJ was guilty as fuck, I'm guessing he didn't think killing some innocent people would boost his approval ratings -- can you say the same of Obama?

    On a related note: how much you wanna bet that after the inauguration Obama's national security advisor showed him the "special" Xbox in the White House war room, complete with a 20 foot screen showing swarthy foreigners jumping into the back of a late-80s Land Rover. "I'll show you change you can believe in, fuckers!" the new president undoubtedly said as he unloaded a drone attack, spilling Mountain Dew on himself in the process.

  4. Charles, how dare you sully the reputation of a Nobel Prize-winner. Obama's merely (reluctantly) continuing the bipartisan tradition of escalating admittedly hopeless military quagmires for political advantage. Somewhere (very warm) LBJ and Nixon are fist-bumping each other.

    Since our elected representatives are eager to hump the war machine for political points, what recourse do the Afghans have? I have some suggestions for Afghans to gain the sympathy of American voters/pundits:

    1. Hand-cuffing themselves to Israeli tourists.

    2. Disguising themselves as polar bears.

    3. Wearing t-shirts that read "too bad I'm not an American fetus", "pretend that we were crippled by an earthquake instead of your bombs" and "think of me as an old stem cell".

    4.Seduce enough pro-war politicians into having affairs.

    5. Audition for American Idol.

    6. Since you opened the door to dark humor [which I'm about to kick off its hinges], the next time we drop a freedom bomb on a wedding party Afghanis should spell out "yes we can" with severed limbs.

  5. I feel like I should offer to donate my diseased kidneys to the CEO of Aetna, on the condition that s/he be forced to eat them raw on live national TV while the First Family looks on approvingly. But it's just because Indy already used up all the really good ideas. :o

  6. mx_xeno,

    That's a brutal but compelling image you conjure up there. I'm forwarding it to my contact at Fox.

  7. Damn. If I'm going on FOX, I'll have to see if I still own a miniskirt that actually zips all the way up. Be right back.

  8. Charles and Ms. Xeno, your unserious remarks are exactly why we need blogger ethics panels.

  9. Indy, it's worse than you think. I don't even watch basketball. :p