Under the leadership of the 2008 Marketer of the Year, the Democratic Party has returned to the Clintonian task of deepening the medical insurance crisis in the United States. At present, the atrocity known as the Republican Party stands to the left of the Democrats on the issue. The Republicans favor doing nothing to combat the nation’s heavy reliance on over-priced, under-performing, waste-promoting “private medical insurance.” The Democrats? They want to make purchasing that defective product legally mandatory, and to use existing Medicare spending to help finance their attempted bailout of a yet another hopelessly broken, death-dealing capitalist industry.
Meanwhile, for those of you still laboring under the delusion that anything inside the Democratic Party is decent, consider the latest courageous action of Democrat Dennis Kucinich:
Dennis Kucinich, who had been one of the few voices of opposition to the faulty healthcare “reform,” announced today that he intend to vote “Yes” on the healthcare bill currently under consideration in the US House of Representatives. The announcement came after a high-pressure visit from President Barack Obama to the Cleveland district Kucinich represents.
Kucinich [had previously] railed against the House bill, claiming that it “…would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care.” This critique was backed up by a “No” vote in November 2009. In House deliberations, however, Kucinich had already moved off his single-payer position, first searching for a “robust” public option and then attempting to create a clause that would allow states to pursue single-payer programs. Today Kucinich went a step further, cowering to the will of a White House bankrolled by big pharma and the private health insurance lobby.
Kucinich called it “a detour” and claimed that all of his previous criticisms of the bill still stood. The healthcare bill had become, he proposed, a contest between the presidency and its far-right critics. More correctly, Kucinich caved to pressure from pro-Obama groups, such as Moveon.org who recently collected more than $1 million to pressure House Democrats who had voted no on the original bill. The extent of the pressure campaign was brought home when Obama appeared in Kucinich’s voting district this week and summoned him to a meeting on Airforce One. There, the terms of Kucinich’s sell-out were determined.
The one powerful voice that has been remarkably absent from the whole spectacular public discussion of healthcare reform is that of the private health insurance lobby. Why so quiet? Because they wrote significant portions of the bill currently under consideration in the House. Because they have purchased the support of Demcoratic and Republican representatives by spending an average of $609,000 a day on lobbying during the first six months of 2009. And, because Obama’s healthcare proposal will open up new opportunities to harvest taxpayer money by providing clunker healthcare plans to the uninsured. Kucinich knows this yet he will still provide his name to this damaging scheme.
Most of all, Kucinich’s betrayal points to the burning need for political activity, both electoral and social movement based, independent of the Democrats and Republicans.
If only the Democratic Party were merely a detour. Instead, they are just another off-ramp to the market-totalitarian wastelands, albeit one with mislabeled signs.