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Obama Is Not Progressive

Originally written for the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii Blog, July 17, 2011

Thinking or hoping otherwise will not make this statement any less true. Barack Obama is not progressive. For my part, I never believed he was and one only need look at his time in office thus far for evidence.

Let’s start with health care, if only because the issue is at, or near, the top of my priority list. While it’s true there are some good things in the Affordable Health Care Act, like extending to 26 the age under which parents can choose to continue to cover their children, or eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition, there’s no denying that when it’s all said and done, it is little more than a massive handout to health insurance companies.

While on the campaign trail, Obama said he’d prefer a single-payer-type system of health care if he had his choice, but when the debate on health care reform was in full swing in 2009, he denied making any such statement. And while there was some lip service from the White House paid to a “public option” to compete with private insurance, no such option was remotely considered seriously, despite polls which consistently showed a majority of Americans supported such an option.

Economy Environment General Topics Health Care Impeachment National Issues

Strong, Well-Crafted Words from Bill Maher

I came across an article today that one which I feel the need to comment. Bill Maher, talk show host and progressive guest blogger on, put to words much better than I could, the things I’ve been thinking and feeling at least since the health care debate started heating up this summer, if not since Obama took office.

Its also been my major complaint with the Democratic Party since they took back control of the U.S. House in 2006; right off the bat, House leadership proclaimed impeachment was ‘off the table.’

General Topics Health Care National Issues

Astroturf Activists

This is an absolutely brilliant term for the outspoken and occasionally violent movement that’s begun to spring up in opposition to health care reform. It, of course, refers to ‘grassroots’ activists by making a conscious distinction between the organized tea parties, angry mobs at town hall meetings (astroturf organizing), and true grassroots movements.

Mainstream media has begun to pick up on the differences. I’ve seen both CNN and MSNBC make references to astroturf organizing and while I doubt FOX News would call it that, I have to admit to not knowing for sure, seeing as watching a minute of FOX News creates a growing desire in me to stick sharp, pointy objects in my eyes and ears.

General Topics Health Care

Only Single-Payer Can Save Us

Here’s some statistics for you to chew on:

  • Currently, health care costs account for approximately 20 percent of our GDP. It is estimated that by 2025 that number will increase to 25 percent. By 2040, it will be 34 percent.
  • By 2040, the number of uninsured will jump from 42 million today to 76 million.
  • From 1996 to 2006, the cost of health care in this country has doubled.
  • Today there are more than 1,300 insurance companies operating in the US.
  • A recent study found that insured families are paying a “hidden tax of more than $1,000” a year to help cover the cost of treating the uninsured.

These are stark figures and they only begin to paint a picture of just how much trouble we’re in with our current health care system.

Among the industrialized world, patients in the US pay more for their health care than any other. Among the industrialized world, the US is home to more uninsured than any other. And, according to studies conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Commonwealth Fund, not only do we pay more for health care than any other first world country, but that high cost doesn’t necessarily translate to better care.

Health Care Impeachment

a letter to barack’s campaign


I received, a few minutes ago, an email from the campaign, in response (I’m assuming) to a request I send several months ago about where Senator Obama stands on a couple of very specific issues. I asked about single-payer health care, not health care in general. I asked about impeachment of the President and the Vice-President. These are example of just two issues I am curious about. If I wanted sound bites, or talking points, I know the website provides those.

In the months since I requested this information, I’ve been paying attention to what Senator Obama says and does (and what he doesn’t say or do). He’s clearly against a single-payer health care system, clearly against the idea impeachment. Fine.

However, as a concerned citizen and registered voter, I’d like to know why Senator Obama is against a single-payer health care system and in what way he think his system is better? I’d also like to know why this Presidential candidate hasn’t spoken to impeachment? Does he not believe this President and this administration have committed illegal acts: lying to Congress, wiretapping without warrants, violations of the Hatch Act, etc. Aren’t these issues that at least suggest the necessity of a level of investigation that only impeachment proceedings raise?

I think these are important questions that should be addressed by every candidate, particularly a top party-nomination contender. If Senator Obama is the fair, straight talker he claims to be, these should be simple questions to answer. Of course, if the Senator is worried his comments and position on these topics might ‘get out’ then I can understand his silence, though cannot respect it.

Thank you for your consideration.