Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Full throated support

As part of the recent Democratic Presidential Debate Bernie Sanders said that we should replace Obamacare with a single-payer healthcare system, essentially Medicare for all. That would greatly simplify the current system and reduce costs with a big chunk of those reductions from eliminating paying profits to health insurance companies.

Hillary Clinton dismissed Bernie's suggestion, saying that is isn't practical. There's no way a GOP controlled House would pass such a bill.

I wrote recently about a lot of progressives hungering for someone to challenge the way gov't works for the rich and not for the majority of voters, which Bernie is championing. I've written many times about Medicare for all, including in the first month of this blog and also here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Hillary is probably right that a GOP controlled House wouldn't touch Medicare for all. But Bernie said it. In that Michigan Dem primary in March perhaps I should vote for Bernie.

Then there is this. Sigh.

Bernie was asked about his low support among African Americans and Latinos. Bernie's answer was essentially once they get to know me they'll love me. Melissa McEwen of Shakesville notes that Bernie has been around long enough and has a large enough record that is possible – and likely – that minorities do know Bernie and don't like what they see. Leaders of minority groups don't endorse on a whim, they do actual research. If Bernie has to go all the way back to marching with MLK to demonstrate his street cred, something is missing. Such a patronizing tone from Bernie is not a way to build a progressive coalition.

Then Bernie threw a snit when the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Hillary.

I'm not a fan of the HRC and stopped donating years ago. And neither Bernie nor Hillary are long-time champions of our causes (though lately Hillary is definitely now on board). But in an attempt to show he has our backs, Bernie was a bully. That isn't acceptable.

One more factor. A week ago Hillary gave a full throated cry to end the Hyde Amendment. Back in 1976 Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois put a clause in the federal budget saying Medicaid (and I think the federal gov't in general) is prevented from spending money on abortions. That phrase has been renewed in every budget since then. And signed by both GOP and Dem presidents.

That clause isn't a law that needs to be repealed. It simply needs to be left out of future budgets. Which Hillary could refuse to sign if that phrase is still there. Government shutdown? Perhaps. But better in defense of the right to an abortion than over some Tea Party dream of limited (read: oppressive to the poor) government.

Katie Klabusich, writing for The Establishment (in a worthwhile post), goes on to explain what overturning Hyde would do and how much of a big deal this is. She also discusses how the current climate of constantly chopping away at Roe has been accepted by Dems as simply the way things are.

So Hillary is coming out as a champion of the right to an abortion (which, she says, isn't a right if you can't get one) and rights of women (and, no doubt, of others).

Hillary is saying nice words here. But will she follow through once elected? Or is she saying them only to get elected? Klabusich believes Hillary's statements are for real. There is no financial advantage to these statements. She already has the endorsement of the big pro-choice organizations. In addition, these words will be a fundraising bonanza for the GOP. So, yeah, Hillary means it.

Hillary may (correctly) determine that Medicare for all isn't possible yet. She may not be calling for significant government reforms. But she's not a bully and a full throated support for several other progressive causes sounds pretty good right now, especially after all of that trashing of anyone not a white straight male by the GOP.

Hillary is looking pretty good!

If Bernie does become the Dem nominee, he will get my vote because he is way better than any of the GOP candidates. Though if it is the cantankerous Bernie and bullying Donald I may turn off my radio and stop reading newspapers in September.

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