Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kucinich Confronts his Speaker (again?)

When it comes to the chutzpah of standing up to the rich and mighty (and those who act on their behalf), Dennis Kucinich has a good track record of Chutzpah of the Week awards. By my records he has accumulated three of his own and one shared with 56 fellow House Democrats, who continue to do their utmost to make sure that health care reform amounts to serious reform, rather than the devaluation of yet another noun that gets used too often by the wrong people. This week he gets to claim another award as sole recipient for doing one of the things he does best, serving as the little boy in the crowd smart enough to know a naked emperor when he sees one. The emperor in his case is none other than his Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who seems to have bought into a "public option," which, according to the recent analysis by John Nichols is likely to benefit the insurance industries far more than the general public.

One thing I like about Kucinich is that, when someone tries to sell him a bill of goods, he not only recognizes what is really on the table but usually invokes some of his best rhetoric to make sure everyone is aware that he knows the score. Fortunately, John Nichols has provided us with the rhetoric Kucinich cooked up for Pelosi in this particularly miscarriage of reform. Here are the excerpts quoted in his The Beat blog post:

Is this the best we can do? Forcing people to buy private health insurance, guaranteeing at least $50 billion in new business for the insurance companies?

Is this the best we can do? Government negotiates rates which will drive up insurance costs, but the government won't negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies which will drive up pharmaceutical costs.

Is this the best we can do? Only 3 percent of Americans will go to a new public plan, while currently 33 percent of Americans are either uninsured or underinsured?

Is this the best we can do? Eliminating the state single payer option, while forcing most people to buy private insurance.

If this is the best we can do, then our best isn't good enough and we have to ask some hard questions about our political system: such as Health Care or Insurance Care? Government of the people or a government of the corporations.

Hang in there Dennis! Keep asking the hard questions, even if yours is the only voice asking them. Even if only one voice persists in promoting the proposition that a single-payer system is the only reform that deserves to be called reform, that voice has to keep going like that notorious pink bunny. After all, the polls continue to tell us that such a voice speaks for the public at large, liberated from the manipulations of the "consciousness industry." That public surely deserves more than a single voice in Congress; but, if they are stuck with only one, best that it be a forceful and courageous one!

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