Mike Ross announced that he has the votes to shake down the House and keep health care from getting out of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  As he told the Arkansas Times:

As for a public option, Ross said the Blue Dogs want to “take on the insurance companies” by threatening them with a public option if the cross certain “triggers,” such as continuing to exclude or penalize Americans with pre-existing conditions. 

“We want to take on the insurance companies more than others in our party,” he said.

Ross is demanding triggers.  Because he and the Blue Dogs want to "take on the insurance companies." 

Right.    

Mike Stark  has been looking for Ross all week, and has been asking those in leadership — like  Charles Rangel — what they intended to do about a Democrat threatening to tank health care.  Rangel claimed he didn’t know who Ross was. 

Mike finally caught up with Ross when he was outside the Capitol, being interviewed by Dana Bash of CNN.  From the outset, let me say that I don’t want Mike interrupting an interview and apologize to her that it happened.  But I’m putting up the tapes in full because I think people need to see them. 

(Part I and Part II)

Dana Bash has access.  She can get an interview with the guy who is threatening to hold up passage of a meaningful public plan.  But during her interview, Ross is never confronted with hard questions about the consequences of his actions.  He’s allowed to spew Blue Dog nonsense about triggers virtually unchallenged, and stands there quite impressed with himself. 

Bash is extremely deferential to Ross during the interview, and you can see how terribly pleased with himself he is over what he’s doing.  After the interview is over, she attempts to shield him from Mike’s very real questions — which he acknowledges he wouldn’t have to ask if journalists were asking them. 

It’s hard to communicate to people just how cocooned Capitol Hill is from the concerns of the real world.  The place is swarming with lobbyists all wanting their piece of the pie, and the atmosphere is of power brokers wheeling and dealing for billions of dollars. 

Charles Rangel & lobbyist

I snapped this photo of Charles Rangel talking to a lobbyist for medical equipment manufacturers in the back of the room during the Ways & Means hearing.  Real world consequences for average people just don’t have a presence there. 

Mike’s anger is real — people worked hard to elect Democrats and this is what happens.  Mike Ross wants to "slow things down," the same thing the Republicans are calling for, which is conveniently what the insurance industry wants.   They want time to hammer people in their districts during August with billions in advertising and hire Dick Armey to picket their events. 

And Ross doesn’t have to think about the 14,000 Americans who will lose their insurance every day while he and his fellow Blue Dogs blackmails the taxpayers, because nobody is asking him. 

As Nyceve says:

Just to put a fine point on it, over three weeks in America:  * 143,250 people will lose their health insurance coverage  * 53,507 people will file for bankruptcy because they can’t pay their medical bills  * 1,265 people will die because they lack coverage   

Mike Stark asked a US Congressman on the street in Washington DC the questions that anyone should be able to ask of him, just as Glenn Greenwald and I did in Denver at the AT&T Blue Dog party — and with much the same results.  Ross was silent.  He wouldn’t respond to Mike.  Instead, he allowed access to a reporter who constructs health care stories around Mitch McConnell’s talking points.

Mike has conducted over 60 video interviews this week with members of Congress asking the questions that "journalists" won’t ask.   We’re working to get them all up.