Well, did you all watch? Do you agree with the “MSM” that she won–not because she won, but because expectations for her were so low, and she managed to fill the air with words while smiling the whole fucking time? No matter that she flat didn’t answer questions, talked about a mysterious General “McClellan,” and couldn’t/wouldn’t come out and say that no, she isn’t for civil rights for gays and lesbians. And for all those hard-working teachers and the like out there: your reward will be in heaven. Just ignore how shitty your life is now.
I watched the debate at the 20th Century Theatre last night, along with a few hundred other Democrats. At least two of the local snooze stations were there, and when I came home to see the coverage, I learned that Republicans were right across the street in Oakley having their own watch party.
How did I not know this at the time? There were only about thirty people there.
Do you think the news mentioned this basic fact–that hundreds turned out on the left, and dozens on the right? Not a word. Oh, they showed pictures that told the story, sure, but there were intermingled, so if you don’t know the interior of either place, you wouldn’t know who had the big turnout. Yeah, it was the Democrats. About 10 times the number of people were there. Good reporting, folks. Heckuva job.
It was nice being around a large group of “like-minded” people last night. I use the scare quotes knowing full well that the like-mindedness is largely a myth–a hopeful one, but a myth nonetheless. My political views are much further left than the Dems, and I even felt sympathy for the Nader supporter standing outside the theatre telling us “Open up the debates! Don’t let Obama steal the progressive vote!” Well, he’s stealing mine, but circumstances are simply too dire for anything but a pragmatic vote.
I voted for Nader in 2000, thinking that (A) someone as stupid as George W. Bush could never actually be elected; and (B) we need to break the two-party hegemony. Naive? Yes. I was 20; I apologize. I have nothing but admiration for Ralph Nader, but I think he’s a more powerful force for change outside of formal politics. Take Al Gore as an example: Since losing the election* his cultural capital has risen dramatically. He can potentially do more for environmentalism outside the White House than he ever could’ve inside. So I couldn’t vote for Nader again, but I still wish my vote was going to a genuinely more progressive ticket.
That said, I like Obama. I like Biden. As individuals, I think they’re a good force for change. I’m monumentally disappointed in the Democratic Party, overall, but the thought of another four years of the same conservative garbage makes me ill. This doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, so let me speak to some specifics.
Health care. Since primary season began, my top issue has been health care. I supported Clinton in the primary mainly because her position on universal health care was stronger, and I believed (and still do) that she had the experience and knowledge to really do something about our crumbling health care system. Obama’s position–without mandates for adults–is weaker, but is still so much better than the McCain plan that it’s hardly fair to even compare the two.
McCain wants to do for health care what the conservatives have done for banking. And we see how that’s worked for them.
Taxing health insurance benefits from an employer as income. Giving Americans a $5,000 check–wait, scratch that–giving insurance companies a $5,000 check in your name, forcing you to buy an independent policy if you lose your job or your employer drops health insurance coverage.
Do you know that one visit to a psychiatrist to deal with anxiety issues will cause an insurance company to deem you uninsurable? It happened to my boss’s husband. Their 4-year-old daughter is uninsurable because she was born with–and has already has surgery to fix–a cleft palate. They both own their own businesses. They have no health insurance. They can’t afford to offer employer health insurance benefits, and they can’t afford to pay for an individual family policy–which wouldn’t even cover all of them, because of pre-existing conditions.
Yeah, a tax break should help. Let’s open up the health insurance market.
Health insurance and health care are too connected in America to really talk about them independently. You can be denied health care if you don’t have health insurance. That’s legal in America. If you try to get health insurance but have received some kind of health care in the past, you can be denied coverage. That’s legal in America. If you have health insurance but become ill and receive some kind of health care, your health insurance company can significantly raise your premium or entirely drop your coverage. That’s legal in America.
So, what’s the Republican plan, again? Regulate insurance companies, forbid them from discriminating against the seriously and kinda-sorta-maybe ill? Create real competition, by allowing Americans to buy into a government policy if they choose?
Tax your current benefits and give money to the insurance companies?
*Is it fair to say that Al Gore lost the election? If the Court hadn’t intervened, he probably would have won. But he didn’t win his home state of Tennessee. He should’ve done that, at the very least. Still, it’s tough to say, with certainty, that he lost.