The results in Massachusetts, Arkansas, New York, Ohio and Indiana show that Democrats are probably a lot closer to Dennis Kucinich than they are to the so-called “centrists” like Joe Lieberman whose corporatism has dictated the terms of the Senate health care bill. Raw Story spoke to Kucinich:
The 13-year congressman lamented the lack of change in economic policies, tying it to the major problems Democrats are facing.
“The minute the president appointed Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to key policy positions, and the minute that [Ben] Bernanke was named to head the Fed again, we’re looking at people who participated in the decline of the economy,” he said. “This group has done us a disservice.”Ironically Obama is citing Paul Volker this morning, who has scrapped with Summers and Geithner and been marginalized within the administration up until now.
What does Kucinich think of the health care bill?
“Health care became too complex and too riddled with concessions to insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “It’s really time to take a new direction and that direction has to be back to the American people.”
One idea Democrats are floating is to pass the Senate bill through the House, which would then allow the President to sign it into law.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “The senate bill is so totally flawed that I don’t think it can get the votes in the House to pass. I certainly wouldn’t vote for it.”
“It hits very sharply at people who gave wage concessions to get health care benefits,” he said, citing the excise tax on health care benefits. “We’re going to ask Americans to take a wage cut? Why?”
“We lost the initiative the minute that our party jumped into bed with the insurance companies. And soon they were looking at increasing taxes as a way of subsidizing insurance companies. It’s just madness.”
“We’re redistributing the wealth of the nation upwards by giving the insurance companies 30 million new customers, $50 billion a year more in revenue.”
Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias continues the “attack the character of the President’s critics” tactic that has been the hallmark of the Senate bill’s apologist. He says Raul Grijalva is flirting with the title of “history’s greatest monster” status. The reason for this? Well, Grijalva doesn’t accept the “60 vote” myth that has been used to push the false choice of “what Joe Lieberman wants or nothing.” Harry Reid, Chris Van Hollen and Kent Conrad have all now said that “sidecar reconciliation” is possible. Max Baucus has gone so far as to say “reconciliation will be part of the solution.”
The price of continuing to cling to that myth should be obvious by now: the Senate health care bill in its current form threatens to decimate the Democratic party. The general public continues to echo Kucinich’s sentiments about the bill — and the administration’s pro-corporatist approach — without respect for party. It’s only a tiny bubble of self-reinforcing pundits living in a hermetically sealed intellectual environment whose worldview has not been penetrated by that reality. It would be easier to accept the notion that they are acting in good faith if they didn’t seek to demonize those who have advanced very compelling reasons for disagreeing with the articles of faith of their worldview, which at this point only represents a teeny, tiny minority of the public.