Hyde and Single Payer

Larry Levitt has an excellent tweet on trying to analyze Bernie Sander’s health care plan.

One of the issues that is being elided over by the plan is the assumption that the Hyde Amendment won’t apply.  The Hyde Amendment is a long standing restriction on federal funds for abortions.  The Stupak Amendment in the House Bill and the Nelson  Amendment in the passed PPACA enshrined Hyde into PPACA.

My company offers full coverage for elective abortion for commercial, employer sponsored coverage unless the employer specifically requests that we don’t cover it.  Most insurers offer full coverage with only normal co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for elective abortion because it is a simple and straightforward medical procedure.

Going to single payer in a universe where Hyde/Nelson applies means the vast majority of women who don’t have $500 to $1,000 in spare cash lying around lose access to affordable abortion options.

And this is where Larry Levitt’s comment comes into play.   Our political universe has a demonstrated durable anti-female sexual autonomy majority of 240+ votes in the House during the most liberal Congress in two generations.  Any Democratic House majority on current maps will have dozens of representatives from districts that are more Republican than the nation.  Better maps in 2022 will still have a marginal House seat be a Republican leaning seat.  Even deep Blue seats are not guarantees to produce pro-female sexual autonomy votes (Lipinsky, Lynch etc).

There is a political universe where Hyde would not apply to single payer.  It is a universe where the Democrats have a massive majority in the House and the Senate and the marginally decisive vote is coming from a D+3 district.  Everyone in that universe also has a goatee.

These are the types of details that have not been addressed by Sanders or other single payer advocates which will prompt significant coalition fractures among probable allies.

238 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Also not sure about how undocumented workers are treated. Another compromise in the ACA.

    Any thoughts on the numbers? I’m starting to read various analyses, but it all seems cursory so far.

  2. 2
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Very good point about the Hyde Amendment. There are so many details, and so many trip-wires, that to spend months arguing about this would be a huge distraction.

    Yes, let’s talk about it for a week or few. But let’s recognize that Democratic infighting about who’s trying to destroy ObamaCare, or who is trying to block Single Payer, won’t help us.

    I thought AL’s post re-tweeting a comment about the RNC burning up Twitter defending Bernie was telling…

    Let’s keep an eye on the prize.

    Baud – I read a blurb somewhere that said (or claimed anyway) that Bernie’s plan would cover everyone – including the 11M undocumented. From a public health standpoint, that makes sense. Politically, economically, immigration-wise, it’s a much harder sell.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Agree. It wasn’t part of the ACA for purely political reasons.

  4. 4
    p.a. says:

    Isn’t this discussion a case of meeting the enemy halfway before a blow is struk?

  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    Thank you, Richard.

  6. 6
    JerryN says:

    I suspect that Sanders knows full well that single payer couldn’t come close to even getting out of committee. I look at this as playing offense instead of constantly being on defense – instead of playing the game on the R’s turf having to defend the notion that getting more people covered is actually a good thing, move the discussion to how we get closer to the goal of universal coverage

  7. 7
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Not just Hyde. Hobby Lobby would also become statutory.

  8. 8
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I have said for years that the downside of Medicare For All is Hyde Amendment For All. Insurance companies are amoral but at least they know that unplanned babies are life-altering and expensive. Politicians have beliefs beyond the almighty dollar, and in this case that’s a detriment.

  9. 9

    @FlipYrWhig: On a pure cost grounds, contraception, family planning and elective abortions are a break even proposition with unplanned or earlier than anticipated pregnancies.

  10. 10
    magurakurin says:

    @JerryN:

    I look at this as playing offense instead of constantly being on defense

    I guess. But throwing three long bombs into the end zone and then punting is arguably a much shittier game plan than three short runs for another first down. Going on offense is one thing, augering in to the deck of the enemy carrier is another thing altogether.

  11. 11

    @JerryN: But there is a difference between Andy Reid offense of pointlessness and a Belicheck/Brady offense of a death by a thousand cuts and then a Gronk to cap things off.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @JerryN: Strategic narrative shifting? That can’t possibly be true! Any talk of single payer is clearly the work of goatee-wearing unicorns hopped up on magickal fairy dust.

  13. 13

    @Betty Cracker: Then do the homework including addressing how Hyde would interact with single payer…. a decent chunk of the Dem base wants policies that make sense, and right now single payer does not even address points of contention sufficiently to assess whether or not it make sense.

  14. 14
    japa21 says:

    I would imagine that, just like with Medicare, there would be insurance companies selling policies that would cover procedures and treatments not covered by the base single payor plan. That could include abortion coverage. Since the actual cost of most abortions is somewhat minimal, the actual premium for such a policy would also be minimal.

    Not the optimum solution, but as Richard points out, it would be a long time before the Hyde amendment would be able to be gotten rid of.

  15. 15
    magurakurin says:

    @Betty Cracker: Except Sanders is running for president and promising this to people. And they are believing that he is going to deliver it. I don’t think all the young Millennials pouring their hearts into his campaign think it is just strategic narrative shifting.

  16. 16
    gelfling545 says:

    I support most of Sanders’ ideas strongly. The unfortunate fact is that unless we manage to supply him with a legislature that is willing to enact these policies (not a very likely event) they are going nowhere.

  17. 17
    japa21 says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Here’s the thing. Until this moment, the thought of the Hyde amendment hadn’t even crossed my mind when thinking of single payer. And I am in this field, just like you are.

    And the Hyde amendment is just one of several little catches that would pop up, even without taking into account the political climate of 218-51-1.

    Single payer is one of those catch phrases that sounds good on the surface, the same as term limits, balanced budget amendment, etc. The devil is always in the details. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which details are ignored by many people on both sides.

  18. 18
    magurakurin says:

    @japa21:

    nfortunately, we live in a society in which details are ignored by many people on both sides.

    This is so sadly true. And it is this point which really has me sad about the whole Bernie Sanders thing. Not a lot of concern for detail there. Just catch words and sound bites. It isn’t comforting to me at all that they are catch words and sound bites that I identify with. Empty promises are just as empty even if they are promises of things I want.

  19. 19
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I won’t bother since I’m convinced single payer isn’t politically feasible right now. But that doesn’t mean anyone who utters the words should be scolded as a purity pony. JerryN is correct to note that shifting the narrative is important. The existence of he Hyde Amendment itself is a testament to its power, which the right well understands.

  20. 20
    Keith G says:

    @Richard Mayhew: At this point in a campaign does narrative shifting have to entail permanent, detailed truths?

    IICR this time 8 years ago, Obama claimed he was going to cover everyone with no individual mandate.

    Was he obtuse? Was he lying? Was he not doing his homework?

  21. 21
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @JerryN: when he was just an Overton Window candidate, Sanders could sort of get away with vague platitudes. It he wants to be taken seriously he has to be serious.

  22. 22
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: Shifting the narrative to “why electing me would mean re-fighting the most bitterly contentious political fight in recent memory” doesn’t seem like a particularly smart play, IMHO.

  23. 23
    Vhh says:

    If the Dems nominate a 75 Yr old socialist with handwavey plans for single payer and gutting the finance industry that employs 18% of the population and produces an even larger share of GDP, we had better hope that the GOP nominates Trump, because if Cruz–the 21st C Cromwell–gets in with a Repub Congress, the US gets to live out the Handmaid’s Tale. It would be far, far worse than even 1968, when the Left deserted the not-liberal-enough Humphrey, giving us Nixon, 6 more yrs of Vietnam, 25K more US dead, >10x that in Viet dead, Watergate, hyperinflation, and Ronald Reagan.

  24. 24
    terraformer says:

    Great discussion above. Anything that keeps liberal ideas in the discussion instead of relegated to the fringes is a good thing, IMO. It is a very slow burn, but it’s a burn nonetheless.

  25. 25
    JerryN says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Primary season is the time to see how far you can push, even when you’re a serious candidate. It’s how you energize your base. It is also consistent with Sanders’ message of a “revolution”. Also, the message that the ACA did not got far enough is key. It contrasts well with Clinton’s apparent message which I see as sort of “hey, it’s good enough, let’s focus on other things”.

  26. 26
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Shifting the narrative to “why electing me would mean re-fighting the most bitterly contentious political fight in recent memory” doesn’t seem like a particularly smart play, IMHO.

    Then Sanders has done Hillary a big solid.

    Let her show (or continue to show) her talent and grit as a strong political leader as she acknowledges the weaknesses of what we have and charts the best way forward. It is her job to answer Sander’s arguments, not his job to be silent or to make arguments that we might like better.

  27. 27
    magurakurin says:

    @Keith G: I don’t think anyone is trying to say what Sanders should do in any absolute sense. He can do whatever he wants. For me anyway, it is a matter of explaining why I don’t want him anywhere near the ballot in the general election in November.

    with all the usually disclaimers about supporting forcefully and completely whoever wins the nomination.

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: I think the answer “it sounds great but how will he do it?” serves well as a response to pretty much the entirety of the Sanders campaign. And by the same token “it sounds fine but I dunno, it’s not quite the same” is a fairly apt characterization of the entire Clinton campaign to date.

  29. 29
    ruemara says:

    It sounds like we need Hillary Clinton advising Sanders to show some level of support for women’s health with a Hyde amendment revokement and then an embracing of the ACA as a foundation with a better expansion of Medicare for All.
    Well, that’s not gonna happen.

    I know people love Sanders, but for the life of me, barring rhetoric, I don’t feel an iota of Bern. Hillary is such a clinical choice and Bernie makes me frustrated, what is a liberal to do?

  30. 30
    scav says:

    There’s shifting the narrative and there’s looking silly. A plan for a building that ignores gravity is of the latter, whereas dreams or even theories of construction in outer space are a different matter. Not everything is a contest between who has the sweetest ideals, smoothest prestentations and most professional logos. Vaporware has its place. Go wild, go on that diet, think big or rather, think thin, but walking into the store and plonking everyone’s cash on the size zero dress might make some question your sober judgement.

  31. 31
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @japa21:

    I would imagine that, just like with Medicare, there would be insurance companies selling policies that would cover procedures and treatments not covered by the base single payor plan. That could include abortion coverage.

    This is a really terrible idea. There are lots of women who are in very vulnerable/dependent positions for their health coverage, and certainly among them are women who might most need coverage for an abortion under difficult or exigent circumstances.

  32. 32
    JerryN says:

    @Richard Mayhew: To stick with the football analogy, the primaries are a full pads scrimmage where you get to test out your game plan and see what might work and what won’t. Also, given Clinton’s performance in 2008 and the fact that she still has a lot of that inner circle around, I’m not sure that Belicheck is an apt comparison.

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @magurakurin: For me there’s also the issue of how no matter how compelling the vision, the actuality will necessarily end up being watered down _because that’s how politics works_, and I don’t quite get how the lesson of 2009-10 for Berniacs seems to have become “this time it’ll totally work because of Bernie’s Political Revolution instead of Obama the backstabbing neoliberal sellout” instead of “fuck, this shit is hard even in the best of circumstances for our side.”

  34. 34
    Mike J says:

    @Keith G:

    It is her job to answer Sander’s arguments, not his job to be silent or to make arguments that we might like better.

    Campaign by gish gallop.

  35. 35
    Hildebrand says:

    @Betty Cracker: Rolling it out as a specific plan invited the criticism – that’s what happens to plans. Sanders’ supporters cannot be surprised when someone says, ‘you know, that won’t work, seems far too idealistic.’ The push-back is a part of the debate. In this case, the push-back comes in the form of someone inside the health care industry who looked at the plan and sees the significant hurdles that lead to the point where we could even entertain the possibility of discussing the plan.

    Putting the plan out there was a good idea, but it does make it more ‘real’ than just talking about what might be, it has moved from potential to actual – and the most invested of Bernie’s supporters will not see this as simply moving the discussion down the road, this will be seen as what it is, a plan, a concrete plan of action.

    Frankly, that we are having the discussion, even if it involves a certain amount of hand-waving and name-calling, is a good and productive thing, as we will start to see all of the various whatnot that is involved in the whole of the issue. Getting each component piece into the conversation is a good thing – even if our discussion reveals that it will be a long time before we could possibly get there.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    @magurakurin:

    it is a matter of explaining why I don’t want him anywhere near the ballot in the general election in November

    And that goes a long way to explain why Hillary has all that she needs to win.

    Of course there is always a non-zero chance that she will fuck it up, but I would not bet my worldly possessions on it. If she does crash and burn, then her talents were wildly over stated and we need to get behind the nominee, who like most nominees will enter the general by adjusting to the realities of the new situation.

    Campaigns are about dreams and big ideas. Successful political leaders learn as they move upward in leadership.

  37. 37
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah, that’s kind of one of the major sticking points in putting health care under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It intersects with abortion politics and gun politics and “religious liberty” among many other minefields, and that’s before even getting into the Who Pays question.

  38. 38
    magurakurin says:

    @ruemara: You go with the clinical choice. Keep getting yardage, keep moving the ball down field.

    But then again, I’m not inspired by Sanders at all. I’ve been making rants like his ever since I was in the 11th grade. Back when I was drinking I made righteous rants about the evils of “the system.” I’m not impressed by Sanders stump speech at all. There’s nothing he’s saying that I haven’t been aware of for a very long time. Yeah, I know we’re fucked, the game is rigged. Not shit sherlock.

    I am impressed by the enormous amount of facts, figures and knowledge that Clinton seems to be able to draw on at any moment on seemingly any subject.

  39. 39
    Satby says:

    @magurakurin: Honestly, that concerns me too; I see my nieces and nephews all excited about Sanders, which is good, but it’s partially a result of how completely clueless about politics and political policies they are. So they believe that by electing Sanders all his promises will come to pass. Sanders knows that’s not true, but he doesn’t talk at all about how to bring the promises to fruition legislatively or what that would require.

  40. 40
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G:

    Campaigns are about dreams and big ideas.

    Rarely. What was the dream or big idea that Bush-Gore was about, or Bush-Dukakis, or Bush-Clinton, or Bush-Kerry?

  41. 41
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Satby: Sure he does: it requires a “political revolution” that involves getting a tidal wave of progressive Democrats elected everywhere. Done and done!

  42. 42
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    getting a tidal wave of progressive Democrats elected everywhere

    Has he ever put an hour of his time or a dollar of his money toward that goal?

  43. 43
    gene108 says:

    I am in the process of getting put on the kidney transplant list. When I talked to the transplant people about getting on Medicare, rather than private insurance, the said Medicare Parts A & B would cover 80% of the costs. I’d still be on the hook for 20%.

    This is single payer, at the moment, in the USA.

    I do not see how Sanders can go from this to basically making this free for me, which is what he is promising with single-payer.

    The tax increase required would be staggering.

    Also, part of the problem with major overhauls to our healthcare system is most people are insured through their employer and are (were) satisfied with their coverage. They are not looking to lose what they have in the name of social justice, let alone in the name of socialism.

  44. 44
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @FlipYrWhig: the ones he isn’t campaigning for.

  45. 45
    Satby says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah, that. Which is doubly disingenuous of him. He’s a fucking Senator, he knows how the legislative process works, he also is attempting to engage low info, sporadic, young voters. IMHO, it borders on unethical that he promises things people desperately need knowing he can’t deliver and not using his big fat bully pulpit to do some voter education, since he has their attention. I started out kind of neutral about who to support in the primary, but the more I get exposed to the Bern, the more I dislike it.

  46. 46
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Hildebrand:

    Frankly, that we are having the discussion, even if it involves a certain amount of hand-waving and name-calling, is a good and productive thing, as we will start to see all of the various whatnot that is involved in the whole of the issue.

    I agree wholeheartedly that a discussion is necessary and that criticism of any candidate’s plan is 100% legit. (As I said above, I don’t think single payer is politically feasible.) But a lot of the push-back HERE seems more about shutting opponents down than having a real debate.

    Oh well. It’s Balloon Juice, and that’s to be expected. I’m as guilty of using that tactic as anyone else.

  47. 47
    Amir Khalid says:

    @ruemara:

    I know people love Sanders, but for the life of me, barring rhetoric, I don’t feel an iota of Bern. Hillary is such a clinical choice and Bernie makes me frustrated, what is a liberal to do?

    Obama was a candidate people fell in love with. But you don’t have to do that to choose between Bernie and Hillary, and it doesn’t matter if you can’t. Their big ideas, Bernie’s and Hillary’s, are more or less where they should be. It comes down to questions like: Which one has them more completely thought out? Which one is better equipped to execute them? Who is going to do better at the president’s job in general? The emotional connection helps, but remember that it’s not strictly essential.

  48. 48
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I think that in your examples one could look back an see important proposals such as:
    Big changes in positive job growth, productivity, entrepreneurship, ownership, safety, education, world leadership, becoming compassionate or kinder and gentler, helping those who play by the rules, building bridges to new centuries, and of course better health care.

  49. 49
    magurakurin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Does he even real talk much about getting other Democrats elected? He always seems to be talking about massive demonstrations and people forcing Congress to do what is right.

    I don’t get the sense that Bernie Sanders sees his life goal as electing more Democrats. Sanders is only a nominally a Democrat. Literally, in name only so he could legally get on the New Hampshire ballot. He supports them in Congress, but what the hell else is he going to do? He’s an independent. He can vote with the Dems or the Goopers. So, Dems it is. But I imagine Bernie Sanders in his happiest of day dreams envisions a Congress filled with Democratic Socialists and not Democrats. I mean, I hope does. Otherwise he truly is just a contrarian crank.

  50. 50
    lowercase steve says:

    Eh, in the magical fantasy land where we have the votes to generate a single payer healthcare system we’d also have the votes to do away with the Hyde Amendment. The correlation between supports single-payer healthcare and supports free, open access to women’s reproductive healthcare is near 100%.

    Anyway, back on earth, I think the ACA + public option + expanding medicare eligibility + taxes/incentives to coax more and more people on the exchange can get us to single-payer through several decades of incremental change. It is a worthy goal but yeah…will take a lot of time.

  51. 51
    ruemara says:

    @Gin & Tonic: survey says… No. A Sanders supporter actually asked me why he should be bothered with that, since those down ticket guys should prove they could fundraise for themselves. Good. Lord.

    @Amir Khalid: kinda rhetorical question. Oddly, I also didn’t love Obama. I just don’t see the upperclassmen politician as a friend, I don’t get why people get so emotionally connected to them without proof of their connection to you (actions). Now, I think he’s great. Then, I knew he could be good.

  52. 52
    Mike J says:

    @Hildebrand:

    Getting each component piece into the conversation is a good thing – even if our discussion reveals that it will be a long time before we could possibly get there.

    The Republicans have had six years to work on their repeal and replace program and haven’t produced anything that remotely looks like a plan. Bernie has only been working on his repeal and replace for six months and already has more to show for it.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gin & Tonic: My honest answer is that I think he’s hoping that his candidacy will get enough people excited at the grassroots level that it will bring out more liberal voters, which would create a virtuous cycle. I kind of like that idea; it was part of Obama ’08 (and Team Clinton circa ’08 questioned it). But he doesn’t want to help the Democratic Party per se because he thinks the party’s structures have been captured by corrupt moneyed interests. So the result (if it works) is a bloc of people power outside the Democratic Party. But we’ve seen that before: DFA and OFA were both versions of that, and I don’t see what the results were. Like magurakurin said above, I feel like I’ve seen this many times, but not where it leads.

  54. 54

    @Keith G: He was either obtuse or praying for a pony, but I know there were plenty of wonks pushing back hard on his plan (hell, that was one of the major reasons why I was an undecided Dem primary voter until about a week before the primary (at that point the white working class chasing/race baiting from Clinton surrogates was getting too bad for me.) I knew that his healthcare plan did not quite add up, and the Clinton plan did but both plans were 90% similar and they both had a reasonable theory of change ( a big Dem majority in the House and Senate plus key Senate stakeholders on board)

  55. 55
    magurakurin says:

    @Satby:

    but the more I get exposed to the Bern, the more I dislike it.

    Yeah, I was in that space by around September. I’m well and truly over Bernie Sanders at this point. Whatever. Let’s do this. If he wins fine, don’t think he will, but fine. But let’s get it over with and move on to the real election.

  56. 56

    @gene108: Time to stay on ACA Bronze as you’re exposure is capped

  57. 57
    gene108 says:

    @Satby:

    I see my nieces and nephews all excited about Sanders, which is good, but it’s partially a result of how completely clueless about politics and political policies they are.

    From what I’ve seen of younger voters is they have internalized the message of “government is the problem”, not quite as Reagan intended, but rather that the government as it is, is good for nothing and cannot be trusted, even with the most basic duties such as labeling food to indicate it will not kill you, because of its GMO content.

    I think shaking up the power structure, the way Bernie talks about, sort of makes them feel that it is the only way to change things for the better.

    I don’t entirely disagree, but I do not think Bernie’s ideas, in the long-term, will lead to the result they want.

  58. 58
    Keith G says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Very informative answer – as always. Thanks

  59. 59
    scav says:

    And while dreams and the Holy Window Of Movement (which having moved, moves on) have a place in the primaries, they’re also about demonstrating one has all the chops and moves needed to get ahead in the general election.

  60. 60
    MomSense says:

    From the plan

    How Much Will It Cost and How Do We Pay For It?
    :

    A 6.2 percent income based health care premium paid by employers.
    Revenue raised: $630 billion per year

    Does anyone know if this applies to small businesses that don’t currently provide health care benefits?

  61. 61
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: I really don’t think those elections were contested on the basis of the list of dreams and big ideas, though. Bush-Gore was basically the “what to do with the budget surplus” election, whether to fund a tax cut or shore up the welfare state. The candidates had different ideas but the campaign wasn’t waged by the clash of big visions. I think the visionary aspect is more the exception than the rule. YMMV.

  62. 62
    Amir Khalid says:

    @ruemara:
    To me, it’s not at all rhetorical to ask which candidate’s thinking is more complete, or which one has the more realistic chance of executing their agenda. Those strike me as things one can assess with some objectivity.

  63. 63
    Keith G says:

    @gene108: You have gotten to an idea that points to a mistake that established politicians can easily make.

    They do not really understand the genesis of the opposition’s support. I think what you state is probably valid and if so, Hillary can address that and make inroads.

    It is hard to have spent so much of her recent history wrapped in the establishment and then need to pivot. This is partially what weakened her on 2008. I would have thought that paying particular attention to youthful voters would have been high on the checklist. For her campaign to seem so flat footed at times is head scratching.

  64. 64
    Satby says:

    One of the big problems in this country is how completely disengaged most citizens are from the entire political process. They don’t vote or even see how any of the sausage making relates to their lives, which is the intended outcome of 40+ years of disinformation put out by conservative think tanks and media. People reading this blog are really politically motivated, so discussing policy and tactics are things we do. In the outside world, people aren’t as focused, don’t really get the details, and aren’t likely or able to invest the time to get up to speed with all the nuances of the Sanders vs Clinton plans on anything. We slag on the Republicans for the B.S. promises they make and how they mislead their voters to the detriment of the country, it’s fair to slag on a putative Democratic candidate for the same thing.

  65. 65
    Satby says:

    @gene108: I agree. The alienation from the idea that government can be a force for good and improve lives is pretty widespread in the younger people I know. And that includes my kids to a degree, who certainly learned different from me, but I’m up against an entire society here.

  66. 66
    JerryN says:

    I just took a look at the HRC website and, as I suspected, the healthcare section is mostly about maintaining the status quo and tweaking things around the edges. While defending the ACA and Planned Parenthood are important, there’s really no plan to even try to move things forward. The handful of concrete things that are mentioned (“Lower out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles”, “Reduce the cost of prescription drugs”, “Transform our health care system to reward value and quality”) offer no plan for how to attain them

    I know that there probably isn’t going to be much room for movement with a Republican controlled House (and maybe Senate), but some kind of positive vision would be nice.

  67. 67
    WarMunchkin says:

    I think this is a great point that Sanders and other single-payer policy folks have to answer. Single payer can’t happen even with a Dem Congress, but there’s nothing stopping us from building a roadmap to single payer if we are even in agreement that single payer health care should be a long term goal of the Democratic Party. (And that doesn’t appear to be the case.)

    I don’t agree with the jokers on here who constantly try to infantilize supporters of single payer. Very few people believe that this stuff is going to get passed and certainly nobody who has been engaged between 2008-2010 has faith in anything more than incremental legislation. And if we are going to be pragmatic about what passes Congress, nothing will, so in one sense, why bother even proposing anything? And that just makes a primary pointless.

    The problem is is that – because this is a primary – this debate is necessarily reduced to single payer now versus single payer never, and that’s fucking bizarre because it’s a legislatively moot argument. We should have more debates that hammer this point into the ground.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Why are we back on health care again 2.5 years after the launch of the exchanges? Can we please have a debate about some other important political issue, like maybe economic stimulus or climate change or diversity and racial climate?

  69. 69
    Satby says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    this debate is necessarily reduced to single payer now versus single payer never, and that’s fucking bizarre

    I seriously don’t see a single person making that argument. Most of the people pointing out the airy nature of the current proposal have reiterated that they support a single payer system at some point (like I have) but want to have a discussion and plan that actually includes some acknowledgement of the hurdles getting there.

  70. 70
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @FlipYrWhig: On the other hand, Bernie would never have been made a Committee Chair (Veterans Affairs) if he wasn’t a Democrat in other than name.

    I agree that if he wants to have a meaningful legacy for the things he advocates, he needs to do more than give speeches for himself. He needs to get more Democrats elected to see more of the things he advocates enacted. I hope he does that.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  71. 71
    Satby says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And this.
    So many other pressing problems facing us, we can’t focus on additional critical issues?@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: and this:

    Yes, let’s talk about it for a week or few. But let’s recognize that Democratic infighting about who’s trying to destroy ObamaCare, or who is trying to block Single Payer, won’t help us.

    I thought AL’s post re-tweeting a comment about the RNC burning up Twitter defending Bernie was telling…

    Let’s keep an eye on the prize.

  72. 72
    magurakurin says:

    @WarMunchkin: who is ifantilizing single payer? I am saying Bernie Sanders is full of shit. If he was talking about revisiting a public option on the exchanges or maybe lowering the Medicare buy in, I would take him more seriously about trying to find a roadmap to single payer. But doing it in a single stroke is fantasy. Read Paul Krugmans latest.

  73. 73
    Cacti says:

    Richard is wrong.

    If we all clap hard enough, everything Bernie promises will come true, right after Tinkerbell comes back to life.

  74. 74
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Satby: I’d go even further though – when you’re wrapped up in playing 11-D chess and using phrases like “politically feasible”, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of the fact that there are regular people affected. For instance, while our administration was patting their backs, talking about achieving a politically viable stimulus bill and mouthing off about the Summer of Recovery, people were still losing their jobs. I remember being in a Post Office in a heavily Democratic county in ’09 – there was a TV or radio on with Obama saying something along the “Summer of Recovery” line and the whole office started laughing.

    I know, certainly more so than the Hamsher brigade, that it’s a difficult job he’s had dealing with the clown car, but it’s a lot more complicated and personal for me than saying “hey, that’s the best he could do” and punching a couple hippies on my way to a progressive pragmatism rally.

    There’s a tendency to say that the disengagement is entirely the fault of these entitled WATBs who want Sanders to give them everything on a silver platter without being Serious and understanding the policy maneuvering in place – but frankly, that’s a two way street that neither Sanders now nor Obama then did a good job about explaining. In 2008, Obama spoke to people’s dreams and yes, we got burned quite a bit by the reality of legislation. Lots of people are naive about Sanders, but that’s not something we should be hating on them for.

  75. 75
    mike in dc says:

    Bill Clinton arguably created the Sanders phenomenon. The left wing of the party’s memories of the Clinton administration are not exactly warm and fuzzy–welfare reform is one glaring example of a low point–and his wife has inherited that mistrust. It is well and good to call some of Sanders proposals out as impractical and talk about “who can best get things done”, but an argument can be made that this line of reasoning buys into the DLC/3rd Way/neoliberal/corporatist shtick, and ultimately undermines a progressive political agenda by constantly forcing liberal voters to “settle”. I am anything but a purity troll, but I do think this is at the root of the split here.

  76. 76
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Can we please have a debate about some other important political issue, like maybe economic stimulus or climate change or diversity and racial climate?

    There are tens of millions of Americans that either do not have health insurance or have a policy that is of dubious helpfulness to them.

    Things are better, but to not acknowledge a serious issue vexing so many is to contribute to ideological environment that allows the level of Sander’s support to grow.

    Edit @WarMunchkin: And this.

  77. 77
    Cacti says:

    @Satby:

    I thought AL’s post re-tweeting a comment about the RNC burning up Twitter defending Bernie was telling…

    Let’s keep an eye on the prize.

    Chuck Todd has become a big Bernie booster.

    Yes, the same Chuck Todd who says it’s not his job to report facts.

  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    In 2008, Obama spoke to people’s dreams and yes, we got burned quite a bit by the reality of legislation. Lots of people are naive about Sanders, but that’s not something we should be hating on them for.

    I think that’s the exact reason why I’m “hating on” pro-Sanders naivete. WE JUST SAW THIS. The candidate who inspired young people and disaffected people got elected and then ran into a buzzsaw that included his own party. That was 8 years ago. It also happened with the Dean campaign a scant 4 years before that. It is bound to happen again in the event of a Sanders presidency. This time it’s different because “political revolution”? That’s absurd. It’s not different. It will have all of the same problems and be at least as dispiriting. Then what? Blame the millionaires and billionaires and pout for 4 years?

  79. 79
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: Which is why the much smarter course of action is “how do we improve Obamacare” and not “fuck Obamacare, let’s start all over and _this_ time we’ll make everyone who already has insurance through work _also_ have to change their policy because it’ll be better that way.”

  80. 80
    JerryN says:

    @Satby: We’re talking about this because the Clinton campaign chose to go on the attack over it. Sanders has had single payer as part of his platform from the get-go but it wasn’t a focus until they trotted out Chelsea to spout some very misleading crap.

  81. 81
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JerryN: It’s a mite rough on the poor guy to make him explain how to accomplish the things he says he wants. What about POLITICAL REVOLUTION don’t they understand?

  82. 82
    msdc says:

    @FlipYrWhig: This. I do not understand why Sanders wants to expend what little political capital he would have refighting a recent battle with a much more hostile Congress.

    I mean, if you want to dream up a pie-in-the-sky plan as a means of moving the window, why not do it on something new like climate change, where you might actually be able to change the terms of discussion?

  83. 83
    Keith G says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I knew Obama’s Hope and Chang-y Schtick had no chance as a political, policy plan. I figured he knew that it was a high energy inspirational goal that would provide forward thrust. I though that Obama would use it and then quickly adjust to the sharp-elbowed reality that he was walking into.

    He did, eventually.

    Sanders is addressing a policy weakness in a way that it becomes a “high energy inspirational goal that would provide forward thrust”. It is working for him just as it has worked for others. Still, I do not think that it will provide that much help for him beyond the first two contests.

  84. 84
    Botsplainer says:

    @JerryN:

    Single payer is going to require decades for a transition that doesn’t spin the country into a catastrophic depression. The lack of acknowledgement on the part of Sanders and his camp tells me everything I need to know about the seriousness of his campaign.

    That used vegetable oil powered diesel VW belching french fry smoke in front of you in the Portland traffic jam? The one that has about 30 bumper stickers supporting progressive causes on the trunk and rear bumper?

    That’s the Sanders campaign, and about all the substance it has to offer.

  85. 85
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Keith G: I think I’d get cynical after “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” and “Yes We Can” both resulted in activist frustration. Like Homer Simpson says about his patent medicine business, “After years of disappointment with get-rich-quick schemes, I know I’m gonna get rich with this scheme…and quick!”

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Botsplainer: An energy plan involving a dramatic scaling-up of biodiesel would be a lot more feasible than POLITICAL REVOLUTION is.

  87. 87
    JerryN says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Dude, I was responding to the “Why are we talking about this now?” question, or was that not clear???

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JerryN: Fine, but it’s not like it’s an underhanded tactic or something.

  89. 89
    gvg says:

    I really agree that we should be talking about some other issue. We did health care. It was hard. we aren’t going to do another revolution right away, we need to fix the flaws as we learn them. I think we should be telling the GOP to go suck eggs on the repeal and replace and NOT try for big revolutions that just leave lots of openings for worse.
    Manipulating the hold out states into the exchanges ought to be a big priority. Repeal hyde is worth talking about if Bernie wants to move the window.
    He isn’t trying to get other Dems elected means no matter what his plan was, he wasn’t serious.
    Repeal welfare “reform”. Clinton ought to propose that actually.
    Get the courts and other appointments filled.
    Pass laws that get Citizens United out even if it means a Constitutional amendment.
    Improvements in gun control.
    More money for actual mental health.
    I could go on.
    Criminal justice reform.
    Any good ideas to prevent gerrymandering? I actually feel that is the source of many of our problems and quality of government.
    Bernie has managed to upset me with his cluelessness.

  90. 90
    piratedan7 says:

    to be fair, all of this is moot until/unless we flip the House and the Senate. Pretty much what we went through with Obama’s first two years, in regards to the compromises made on the ACA and the stimulus package. What still galls me to this day is how much more we could have seen done if the poniless hadn’t stayed home during the midterms in 2010. Also, major props to Nancy Smash for getting done what needed to get done and for Harry Reid managing to get the legislation thru the Senate, mostly unscathed despite the Turtle and his tactics.

  91. 91
    Botsplainer says:

    @piratedan7:

    It wasn’t just about the ponies staying home. It was about the paid among the ponies snarling from keyboards instead of showing up to town halls and providing an activist counterweight to what was showing up and grabbing airtime and crushing blue dog dems in places like North Carolina.

    I remember very clearly the joy that was expressed with regard to the purges and how much purity would result.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gvg:

    Manipulating the hold out states into the exchanges ought to be a big priority.

    Absolutely. This would be a great debate question or interview question. And it even dovetails with the Clinton criticism of Sanders while allowing him to frame a better answer. “Senator Sanders, your plan for improving the American health care system relies on empowering state governments. Many states have yet to endorse the Medicaid expansion or to set up their own health insurance exchanges, even when both would seem to be good for their budgets and to increase their autonomy. How would you encourage the holdouts to get on board with Obamacare, and what steps would you take to move states from Obamacare to something more universal still?” Because the thing about leaving things up to states is that some states are run by assholes and the voters who elect them are OK with it being that way.

  93. 93
    Eric U. says:

    I am definitely of the opinion we should fix the ACA. Maybe change the backup plan to Medicare instead of medicaid. Of course, even this is predicated on changing control in the house/senate

  94. 94
  95. 95
    Hildebrand says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    For instance, while our administration was patting their backs, talking about achieving a politically viable stimulus bill and mouthing off about the Summer of Recovery, people were still losing their jobs.

    Perhaps I am remembering this differently, but I seem to recall that we barely had the votes for the stimulus bill that was passed – and that any more was simply never going to happen with certain Democrats still in office and holding the whole damn thing hostage. Likewise, I certainly don’t remember Obama crowing about the stimulus – happy, yes, hopeful, yes, acknowledging that it wasn’t good enough, absolutely yes, any more than that, I don’t think so.

    In 2008, Obama spoke to people’s dreams and yes, we got burned quite a bit by the reality of legislation.

    He was also damned pragmatic about how hard it was going to be, and how long it was going to take – amazing that that bit never seemed to sink in as far as hope and change did, its almost like people tuned out on the reality after they heard the idealism. My question is – whose fault is that?

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @piratedan7: @Botsplainer: Well, if any segment of the populace is to blame for staying home in 2010 it’s not disaffected lefties but the (much bigger) group of people who like Obama the person, and want to vote for him, but don’t really know much about state or district-level politics and aren’t going to stand in line to pull the lever for Mike Arcuri or Zack Space or Tom Perriello (names taken from this Wikipedia article about the 2010 elections).

  97. 97
    El Caganer says:

    Maybe I’ve missed something in this thread, but I thought the goal was affordable universal health care and that single payer was a means to it. There are other ways of achieving that goal – if I’m not mistaken, don’t some of the western European countries have insurance-based systems that offer universal coverage and are much cheaper than ours? My old commie heart likes single payer, but let’s get universal health care done first; if that means building outward from the current framework of Obamacare, so be it.

  98. 98
    Cacti says:

    Setting aside snark for a moment, it’s not even really accurate to call Bernie’s proposed plan Medicare for all.

    Medicare has deductibles and co-pays. Berniecare says it will do away with both.

  99. 99
    Kropadope says:

    @Satby:

    Sanders knows that’s not true, but he doesn’t talk at all about how to bring the promises to fruition legislatively or what that would require.

    Not only is this false, but the whole attitude of “his supporters don’t understand the political process” is severely condescending.

  100. 100
    JerryN says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah, but the attack reinforced some of my concerns about the Clinton campaign. Two related things in particular – first, it was more hamfisted than it needed to be to serve the purpose of highlighting the holes in Sanders’ agenda which leads to the second, that it harkens back to a weakness from 2008 in how to respond to the race tightening up. As I recall, the response to Obama in 2008 was at best ineffective and probably detrimental to her cause. I was hoping that would have been a lesson learned.

  101. 101
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    Where does Bernie talk about his plan to make the legislative part of his agenda happen? Can you link to the relevant page on his website?

  102. 102
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Caganer: I think if I were Bernie Sanders I’d make much more of a point about my championship of community health centers and issue a plan for how to scale that up. IMHO we need more public hospitals and other non-profit-seeking, non-religiously-affiliated health providers. Insurance companies suck but I’m personally much more concerned about health _access_ for primary care, preventive health, and emergency services. It could be a network allied with the CDC and NIH. Not my area of expertise at all but I’d like to hear a lot more about anything in that direction.

    And with that I have to check out for a while.

  103. 103
    Cacti says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Where does Bernie talk about his plan to make the legislative part of his agenda happen? Can you link to the relevant page on his website?

    You mean you don’t think “Revolution!” counts as a plan to turn ideas into legislative reality?

    Yeah, me neither. It just feels like a slogan from a campus radical who never grew up.

  104. 104
    Botsplainer says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Oh, granted – they stayed home in droves, having not been activated by activists, many of those activists in paid positions. And in the meantime, blue dogs were holding townhall meetings on healthcare, the coverage of which was dominated by screaming bigots ranting about death panels and socialism with no pushback from within the audience.

    This happened all while the pure among us smugly spoke of how great things would be once the blue dogs could be disposed with and the contradictions heightened.

  105. 105
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: I don’t know about his webpage, but he talks about it in interviews. And honestly, what do you think his prospective “revolution” entails? Massive participation at the ballot box, to gain as many seats and offices as possible. He, just like Obama, is out there saying he can’t do it alone. The doomsayers are, once again, ignoring this and accusing the candidate at hand with false accusations of “he thinks he can get the leftiest agenda ever through a 70% Republican Congress.” It wasn’t true in 08 and it isn’t true now.

    They’re even already on to raising awareness of how important it is to vote in midterms. I get videos and articles making the case for voting in every single election from the Sanders campaign’s Facebook page all the time, this being the most recent.

  106. 106
    Botsplainer says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    A whole lot of years ago I remember reading in the law school library something in an early insurance treatise about moral hazard being inherent in “for profit” provision of health insurance contracts and health care in general. I wish to shit I could remember what that volume was.

  107. 107
    ruemara says:

    @Satby: I agree and I say this as someone people considered very liberal even before I worked in government, every school age person should spend a month shadowing local officials and watchingg, writing and discussing the process.

    I learned so much about how even supposedly all liberal councils disagree, how the law works, the structure of municipalities and that things change based on who shows up and when. Which is why the arc of justice takes so damned long to bend so damned little. Evil shows up every time, with dupes.

  108. 108
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    So Bernie is talking about it. Good for him then. But what is he doing about getting more Democrats elected to Congress, particularly as compared to Hillary? Not very much, as I understand. But you are in America, unlike me, and maybe you volunteer for Bernie and know a bit more about the situation on the ground.

  109. 109
    rikyrah says:

    This was an interesting read – the entire thread.

  110. 110
    The Other Bob says:

    Last year in Michigan our Governor (yes, that guy) signed a bill into law that outlaws abortion coverage unless someone purchases a rider. I think this applies to all coverage, public or private. Opponents of this law have likened it to “rape insurance”.

    I wonder if this is commonplace across the country?

  111. 111
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Kropadope: he hasn’t campaigned or raised a dime for a single Democrat. It’s a very narrow revolution to elect one person.

  112. 112
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: Raising awareness regarding issues and excitement for the election, both of which Bernie is doing, I would say helps get more people out voting. I can’t say for sure that it will work, but I can’t say for sure that anything will work. Goodness knows that whatever the Democratic Party’s elite fundraisers and campaign strategists did during the last couple midterms didn’t work, so I don’t understand all this deference to the political power structure as far as what helps elect Democrats.

  113. 113
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    Can you respond to Bobby Thomson’s comment at #111? If true, it’s damning.

  114. 114
    Kropadope says:

    @Bobby Thomson: He didn’t have the national profile to do that sort of fundraising before and his army of small donors on their own can’t help every candidate. But the money people and the strategists of the DNC aren’t exactly getting it done either, so maybe a less centralized, less money-oriented approach might actually help. Who knows? But continuing to go back to traditional methods of party-building while those methods continue to fail us is insanity.

    And as often as I see this claim, I’m still not really sure it’s true. Again, he hasn’t had a really high profile over his career, so any previous campaigning he did for others may well have flown under the radar. Any attempts to research this, when performed through google or other services is obviously swamped by references to current presidential election.

  115. 115
    MomSense says:

    @El Caganer:

    Yes, universal coverage should be the goal. Not all countries with universal coverage have single payer. Switzerland is a great example of this. Even countries with single payer have supplemental insurance plans so that people with more money can get better care.

    We are so close to universal coverage now–if we could close the Medicaid Gap. Dealing with the psychopathic non expansion governors and legislatures would bring us really close and would save lives! This is what burns me about this farce of a plan from Sanders. There is nothing strategic about this narrative. Get all the people contributing to his campaign, attending his rallies, tweeting for him to call their state legislators and governors offices to expand Medicaid now!

    If the goal is to help poor people and working poor people, closing the medicaid gap is the cheapest, easiest, and most likely to succeed way of doing it.

  116. 116
    msdc says:

    @Kropadope: “Raising awareness” is the credo of pinkwashing charities, not groups that actually work to achieve the change they say they want.

  117. 117
    the Conster says:

    @rikyrah:

    Agreed. Makes me appreciate the kind of thought and effort that President Obama has had to put in from the very beginning by hiring the right people, having no drama, organizing in the caucus states, campaigning flawlessly, fielding the most vile and ridiculous criticisms, etc etc etc, then transition in to actually presiding over a body of preening self-aggrandizing idiots. To have enjoyed the kind of success he’s had – so of course everyone thinks because the black guy did it, how hard can it be? Not realizing what it really takes from the head, heart and soul. He’s extraordinary. The ACA was a monumental undertaking. It’s a great start.

    All I know is, that when the general campaign starts, he’s going to need to get out there on behalf of the Dem candidate, big time.

  118. 118
    Kropadope says:

    @msdc: And picking out two words while ignoring the rest of the comment is the credo of trolls.

  119. 119
    MomSense says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It’s true. I was complaining about this last week when the fundraising totals were announced for the 4th quarter. I was complaining about it yesterday or whenever as well.

    Campaigns don’t win themselves. I need call and walk lists and cell phones at a minimum. Having an organizer who can teach people how to do identification, persuasion, and GOTV voter contact is important as well. The Koch brothers spend money on statewide and municipal elections. Our best chance at raising money for Democratic candidates is during the primary season of the Presidential election.

    I can’t even believe this is not a bigger issue among Democratic voters. Ok–I need to take a walk and cool down.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: Isn’t there a fundamental disconnect, though, between the idea that it’s at heart a left-of-center GOTV campaign and, on the other hand, that it’s a campaign to get Bernie Sanders elected President? I think as a person he’d be a fine president. I think as a gadfly he’d have more impact than he would as President. But we as a nation don’t pay that much attention to non-presidential politicians, and there’s the rub: you sort of need a campaign for office to make the consciousness-raising part stick. Occupy didn’t stick. BLM feels like it’s not really sticking either.

    BTW, my wistful wish would be for Obama’s post-presidential role to be as head of the DNC. Probably too much of a step down for it to happen, though.

  121. 121
    MomSense says:

    @Kropadope:

    We are not talking about before. Q4 of 2015 Clinton raised 38 million for her campaign and 18 million for down ticket Democratic candidates. Sanders raised 33 million for his campaign and zero for Democratic candidates. His fundraising ability is on par with Clinton. He is attracting even bigger crowds. He definitely has the draw and the ability but he chooses not to and I cannot understand how he hopes to become the leader of the Democratic Party let alone get any of his proposals through Congress if he is so unwilling to help now when it matters.

  122. 122
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    Bernie’s profile should be high enough now to make it worth his while, and that of any Democrat seeking Congressional office, to hold events with Candidate X and say, “Support me and support Candidate X. We need more Democrats in Congress to make things happen.” Momsense #119 says he’s not doing that. Why not?

  123. 123
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Cacti: you are wrong

    We need an appropriately shaded Lantern held by a leader who leads

  124. 124
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Isn’t there a fundamental disconnect, though, between the idea that it’s at heart a left-of-center GOTV campaign and, on the other hand, that it’s a campaign to get Bernie Sanders elected President?

    Depends, do you expect that the people whom Bernie is trying to turn out are going to show up, vote for Bernie, then leave the rest of the ballot blank or marked with Republicans? Somehow I don’t think so.

    But we as a nation don’t pay that much attention to non-presidential politicians, and there’s the rub: you sort of need a campaign for office to make the consciousness-raising part stick.

    Which, fortunately, is precisely what Sanders is doing, using the excitement surrounding his campaign, at least in part, to explain that every office is important. This is a less exciting message than the big ideas that always dominate Presidential campaigns and gains little traction in the MSM. Fortunately, we have the internet to help reduce the MSM’s role as gatekeeper for information.

  125. 125
    Kropadope says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    We need an appropriately shaded Lantern held by a leader who leads

    The Green Clinton?

  126. 126
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Bernie’s profile should be high enough now to make it worth his while, and that of any Democrat seeking Congressional office, to hold events with Candidate X and say, “Support me and support Candidate X.

    Two things, he has his own uphill race to run. Also, elected Democrats by and large lined up behind Hillary before the campaign started and before Sanders announced, it’s not exactly like he can just show up at a candidate’s rally uninvited.

  127. 127
    vhh says:

    @Mike J: That is true. But even if Bernie works out all the details and wins the White House, the odds of him having remotely enough votes in Congress to pass his plan are small to zero—and since he is not doing anything about the downticket races (he’s not even a member of the Democratic Party, remember), that situation is not likely to change. The GOP, on the other hand, has more than enough votes in Congress to repeal ACA and replace it with their actual replacement plan–which is nothing. All they need is a GOP president in place to NOT veto it. Then they turn Medicaid into unregulated block grants for the states, and stick it to the poors. The rest of us then get to wait in crowded ERs when we get heart attacks. The top 5% are fine because they can buy concierge health care, which they can easily afford given their expanding tax cuts.

  128. 128
    Cacti says:

    @MomSense:

    We are not talking about before. Q4 of 2015 Clinton raised 38 million for her campaign and 18 million for down ticket Democratic candidates. Sanders raised 33 million for his campaign and zero for Democratic candidates. His fundraising ability is on par with Clinton. He is attracting even bigger crowds. He definitely has the draw and the ability but he chooses not to and I cannot understand how he hopes to become the leader of the Democratic Party let alone get any of his proposals through Congress if he is so unwilling to help now when it matters.

    The charitable explanation for the above is that Bernie’s campaign gained a lot more traction than even he thought it would, and that raising money for Congressional races had never really crossed his mind when he decided to run.

    The less charitable one is that Bernie’s marriage to the Democratic Party is one of convenience, and he cares little about its prospects outside of what it can do for him.

  129. 129
    Kropadope says:

    @vhh:

    That is true. But even if Bernie works out all the details and winds the White House, the odds of him having remotely enough votes in Congress to pass his plan are small to zero—and since he is not doing anything about the downticket races (he’s not even a member of the Democratic Party, remember), that situation is not likely to change.

    Good thing Bernie has a history of working with both parties to effect changes big and small. Politics, after all, is the art of the possible.

  130. 130
    chopper says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    “but i can’t do this alone. i need a progressive congress! you guys go and take care of all that.”

  131. 131
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    You mean he didn’t think ahead and try to reach out to Congressional Democrats early on? Hmm.

  132. 132
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: You don’t know that.

  133. 133
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    do you expect that the people whom Bernie is trying to turn out are going to show up, vote for Bernie, then leave the rest of the ballot blank or marked with Republicans? Somehow I don’t think so.

    that isn’t much of a formula for taking back congress, is it?

  134. 134
    MomSense says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Does not bode well for getting single payer through Congress.

  135. 135
    JerryN says:

    @Amir Khalid: My understanding is that most of the down ticket fundraising at this point in the cycle is actually contributions to the DNC. The Sanders campaign claims that the DNC has not invited Sanders to appear at any of their fundraisers. Also, Sanders does almost no $X per plate dinner type of events. He holds public rallies and I’m pretty sure that local politicians are invited on stage, but there is no direct fundraising at these rallies so you can’t point to some specific amount raised for candidate Smith at the rally.

  136. 136
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    Do you know whether he did or not?

  137. 137
    Kropadope says:

    @chopper: Like I said, he has his own hill to climb and no one, probably least of all Sanders, expected him to get this level of traction. He’ll damn near certainly be out there campaigning for other Democrats is he should get nominated, Also, the fixation on the Presidential candidates’ roles in this is a little odd, it’s not like the candidates you want Sanders to support so bad are idle non-participants.

  138. 138
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: No, but I didn’t make an assertion either way. You did, so you’re the one with the responsibility of proof as far as I’m concerned.

  139. 139
  140. 140
    Goblue72 says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Your milquetoast incremental centrist bullshit is exhausting.

    What all you centrists fail to grok is a growing groundswell utterly over the defensive posturing of Democrats for the last 40 years.

    The 43 percent of Iowa Democratic likely caucus goers identify as socialist. That’s more than identify as capitalist. The times are changing.

    And I have news for you bub – most policy proposals from ANY Presidential candidate are NOT a roadmap to how they plan to get it through Congress. They are by and large value statements intended as signals to voters.

  141. 141
    Keith G says:

    @chopper:

    that isn’t much of a formula for taking back congress, is it?

    You mean the Congress that Obama lost?

    Yeah, that’s an over-simplification, but still….

  142. 142
    Kropadope says:

    @Cacti:

    The less charitable one is that Bernie’s marriage to the Democratic Party is one of convenience, and he cares little about its prospects outside of what it can do for him.

    Let me put this another way. Bernie’s campaign is focused on exciting turnout among voters. Hillary’s campaign’s primary strategy seems to be around Democratic power-brokers. Which approach do you think has a better chance of prompting sweeping electoral change?

  143. 143
    Kropadope says:

    @Goblue72:

    And I have news for you bub – most policy proposals from ANY Presidential candidate are NOT a roadmap to how they plan to get it through Congress. They are by and large value statements intended as signals to voters.

    Repeated for emphasis. Also worth noting is that Hillary doesn’t exactly have a particularly distinguished history of shepherding legislation through Congress.

  144. 144
    Eolirin says:

    @Kropadope: It’s not deference to power structure, it’s a desire to see an actual plan that involves actual steps being taken. Energizing people to go out and vote is helpful, but it’s literally the least a candidate can do. There needs to be ground level organization, fundraising and recruitment for down ballot candidates, the establishment of persistent GOTV organization that caters to the entire party not just one candidate, active participation in boosting local candidates, support for logistical and legal problems around voting access and navigating voter restrictions, data analysis to know where to focus resources, etc, etc. Bernie seems content to let all that be the DNC and local democratic party organizations’ problem. He doesn’t get to base his campaign on revolution without getting called out on how he isn’t doing the actual work to make that happen.

    But it really doesn’t matter that much, because honestly, he isn’t going to get the numbers he needs this decade. Significantly progressive policy agenda is pretty much a nonstarter legislatively, and will be for whoever wins the nomination. It’ll be a political miracle to even retake the house, let alone with the sort of support you need to pass progressive rather than slightly left of center incremental stuff. So it’s really more about who does a better job establishing and maintaining forward momentum and who makes better executive branch appointments. The differences in their domestic policy agendas are irrelevant.

  145. 145
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    He’ll damn near certainly be out there campaigning for other Democrats is he should get nominated

    that’s waaaay too late to start giving a shit about downticket races. this sort of stuff is why people call sanders supporters ‘politically naive’.

    if you actually wish to see any of sanders’ big promises come anywhere close to fruition, your and bernie’s hair should be on fire right now over the state of down ticket races.

  146. 146
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JerryN:
    Then I’m curious as to how the sum of $18 million for Q4/2015 that MomSense cites #121 can be attributed to Hillary.

  147. 147
    Keith G says:

    @Goblue72: I don’t disagree with the target of your(edit) optimism, but

    The 43 percent of Iowa Democratic likely caucus goers identify as socialist. That’s more than identify as capitalist. The times are changing

    Iowa voters who are likely to participate in the caucuses are not a representative sample of Democratic voters across the US. Are time changing enough in Pennsylvania and Virginia? I do not think you are completely off base, just that you are over-selling what exists.

  148. 148
    vhh says:

    @Kropadope: Don’t count on the GOP making any deals. The wilder branches of the wingnut noise machine are already cranking up the “Sanders is a Commie” smear, which scares people born before 1970 or so–the prime GOP voting demographic. As we have seen in the campaign against Kerry and during the Obama admin, it doesn’t matter if it is true or not. There was also already an attempt at the “Bernie’s an Israeli citizen” slander which got knocked back hard by Bernie himself, but if the going gets hard, expect more of that (and worse–the GOP may love them some Israel, but they don’t much care for actual Jewish people). Mind you, as a Yankee-bred scientist who has voted Democratic since I became eligible to vote in 1968, I find a lot to like in Bernie’s direct approach. But the nomination of Quixotic lefties by the Dems has led to one right wing president after another. The Dems who have succeeded–Clinton and Obama—have been pragmatic zigzaggers.

  149. 149
    Kropadope says:

    @chopper: I’m still not convinced what anyone else is doing is any better for those people. The DNC can’t get Democrats elected, I fail to see why that makes it Bernie’s problem.

  150. 150
    Kropadope says:

    @vhh:

    Don’t count on the GOP making any deals. The wilder branches of the wingnut noise machine are already cranking up the “Sanders [insert Democratic nominee] is a Commie” smear

    Fixed for accuracy.

  151. 151
    Kropadope says:

    @vhh:

    But the nomination of Quixotic lefties by the Dems has led to one right wing president after another.

    Example? I hope you’re not talking about Carter, Dukakis, Gore, or Kerry.

    The Dems who have succeeded–Clinton and Obama—have been pragmatic zigzaggers.

    Bernie is very much like Obama, in that he is a pragmatist who nevertheless still has big ideas, but is being slandered by Hillary Clinton, the MSM, and Republicans as being a “Quixotic lefty.”

  152. 152
    Eolirin says:

    @Kropadope: It makes it Bernie’s problem because his entire campaign revolves around it happening. It isn’t going to and he doesn’t have a credible fallback plan. That’s good for creating disillusionment, not momentum. It’s fine when an incrementalist does incremental policy because it’s all they can do. People expect it when that’s what they’re pitching. Revolutionaries that are forced into incrementalist approaches get destroyed by their supporters.

    If you think democrats are less prone to this than republicans you’re mistaken. Bernie will get turned on really damn fast when the reality of politics comes crashing down on the idealistic rhetoric.

    And I like him a lot. I’d be super happy to support him in the general. I just think he’s not playing the game all that well, right now, if his long term objective is actually enacting these policies rather than getting himself elected.

  153. 153
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    I fail to see why that makes it Bernie’s problem.

    this is a big part of the problem right here.

  154. 154
    chopper says:

    @Eolirin:

    this. if president bern walks into the WH facing anything other than very strong friendly majorities in congress then basically none of his big policy promises will go anywhere. he’ll get gornisht. which will do more damage to his movement than any primary loss to clinton ever could.

  155. 155
    JerryN says:

    @Amir Khalid: Easy. Google “Hillary Victory Funds” or just check out this story.

  156. 156
    Kropadope says:

    @Eolirin:

    It’s fine when an incrementalist does incremental policy because it’s all they can do. People expect it when that’s what they’re pitching. Revolutionaries that are forced into incrementalist approaches get destroyed by their supporters.

    So, one of Bernie’s supporters is here, lauding his tendency as a consistent legislator, one who is good at fighting for the incremental changes that he can possibly make, often with people who don’t agree with him very much. Yet, you argue that his supporters would be disillusioned by just such a thing. The cognitive dissonance astounds.

  157. 157
    Keith G says:

    I guess for me the point is that six months ago I heard people saying (paraphrased) “Hillary is going to win, but I want the issues to be debated. I want her to have to work for it.”

    Now I hear voices saying (paraphrased) “Sanders is being deceptive or irrational. He’s attacking Obama and he shouldn’t. He needs to shape up.”

    What’s changed is that the Sander’s campaign has found traction (for a bit) and has made a race of it (in two states). And now some are wondering if Hillary has, in the words of Ryan Cooper, a glass jaw.

    But I tend to agree with Damon Linker, in the same publication, that Bernie Sanders won’t be president.

  158. 158
    Kropadope says:

    @chopper: This is the Democrats’ problem and a lot of the most powerful Democrats right now are trying to shut Bernie out. This is not Bernie’s fault, this is the money people’s fault, full-stop.

  159. 159
    Cacti says:

    @Kropadope:

    Let me put this another way. Bernie’s campaign is focused on exciting turnout among voters. Hillary’s campaign’s primary strategy seems to be around Democratic power-brokers. Which approach do you think has a better chance of prompting sweeping electoral change?

    Let me put this another way. Federal political offices require significant organization and financial resources to win. Getting those requires dollars, not “revolution”. Clinton has raised 18 million for Dem Congressional races, Sanders not one red cent.

  160. 160
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JerryN:
    And this is part of what Bernie willingly gave up by choosing to rely solely on small donors?

  161. 161
    Eolirin says:

    @Kropadope: Except Bernie is actually running on an idealistic policy platform in a way that Obama. Obama ran on idealistic politically transcendent rhetoric around moderate incremental policy agenda. Sanders is running revolutionary burn down the power structures rhetoric around idealistic policy agenda. Obama was wildly successful on achieving his stated policy goals even as he caused massive disappointment on the rhetoric side. Bernie is posed to disappoint on both.

    I can’t see how that ends up being a long term good thing unless there’s a tremendous effort to build long term on the ground organization on the back of it.

  162. 162
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    bernie isn’t campaigning on ‘incremental change’. he’s campaigning on the opposite of ‘incremental change’. his supporters are being drawn in by promises of big, huge policies and massive revolutionary changes to our system.

  163. 163
    Kropadope says:

    @chopper:

    his supporters are being drawn in by promises of big, huge policies and massive revolutionary changes to our system.

    And they stay for history of competent legislating.

    ETA: And again and again and again with the condescending bullshit. You know who I think are naïve? Clinton supporters. These are people who barely pay attention who are supporting her because they know her name.

  164. 164
    Eolirin says:

    @Kropadope: I’m not talking about you. You follow politics very closely. The average supporter is not going to. Just like the average Obama supporter didn’t and got burned on hope and change. Favorability drop off was massive. The bulk of any candidates support comes from marginally engaged people. They won’t be expecting what you’re expecting.

  165. 165
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    it may not be bernie’s fault, but not having anything close to the congress he needs to fulfill all the stuff he’s promising sure as shit is gonna be his problem. massive shifts in congress don’t just up and happen.

  166. 166
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    riiiiiiight.

  167. 167
    JerryN says:

    @Amir Khalid: I suspect that the animosity between the DNC and the Sanders camp also plays a role. The DNC under Wasserman Schultz has given the impression of acting as an arm of the Clinton campaign.

  168. 168
    Eolirin says:

    @chopper: This, exactly. I have very few other issues with him. But this worries me.

  169. 169
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: Cognitive dissonance also comes from your taking your support for Bernie Sanders, hard-nosed pragmatist with a plan, as representative of the larger trends in support for Bernie Sanders, which I daresay are not much like that at all. He’s not running that way and the people who turn out to see him aren’t expecting him to do that. He’s running as the guy who isn’t beholden to anyone and who will scourge the “millionaires and billionaires” who make a better politics impossible. I don’t happen to think that it’s millionaires and billionaires who make a better politics impossible. I think Republicans are authoritarians and dicks and respond to the candidate who seems like the most authoritarian dick they can find. And if the millionaires and billionaires all supported Democrats and the Republican Party was all funded by small-dollar donations and populist fervor, it would still be a horrifying collection of terrible, hate-fueled people.

  170. 170
    chopper says:

    @Kropadope:

    And again and again and again with the condescending bullshit

    yeah, “the cognitive dissonance astounds”, amirite?

  171. 171
    Cacti says:

    @chopper:

    bernie isn’t campaigning on ‘incremental change’. he’s campaigning on the opposite of ‘incremental change’. his supporters are being drawn in by promises of big, huge policies and massive revolutionary changes to our system.

    This. Bernie is campaigning on “revolution” and promises of: Tuition free college, $15 an hour minimum wage, and universal healthcare with 0 deductibles and co-pays…

    And can realistically deliver on none of the above.

  172. 172
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope:

    And they stay for history of competent legislating.

    Come ON. Poll Bernie supporters about his history of anything and see what you hear. Virtually all of his support is from people who like that he’s feisty and think Hillary Clinton is stodgy or yesterday’s news, and/or too “corporate,” and/or too hawkish.

  173. 173

    @Goblue72: Show me how to build a majority in the House and the Senate where the marginally decisive seat is not coming from a District that is at least 2 points Republican leaning compared to the nation…

    Remember, we live in a reality where the 218th seat in the House is R+4 and the the 60th seat in the Senate is R+7.

    To get PPACA passed needed Senate votes from Alaska R+13, Montana (R+7) x2, Nebraska (R+13), South Dakota (R+9) , North Dakota (R+10) x2, Arkansas (R+9) x2, Louisiana (R+10) and West Virginia (R+8) x2.

    That block of Democratic seats is an unnatural block brought on by inertia against realignments (Arkansas, West Virginia etc), superb political skill, Republican foot in the mouth problems, beneficiaries of being the out party during a massive financial crisis, and beneficiaries of being the out party during a clusterfuck of a war.

    Once I can be told a convincing story to get a very large 58 seats or more Democratic majority that have a number of marginal seats occupied by Democrats who are intensely vulnerable to a snapback to neutral conditions much less hostile conditions that they saw in 2010 and 2014 willing to refight healthcare reform instead of everything else, I’ll listen to grand dreams that are poorly planned (as me and people like me will fill in the details)

    But charging into windmills is not my idea of fun.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    and ending carbon emissions, and breaking up the big banks.

    gonna need a whooooole lot of senate amendments.

  176. 176
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cacti: And these are all great things to want, and a plan to redistribute from rich to poor could get many of them. There is an important role for politicians who lead movements to make demands of power. Hillary Clinton isn’t one of those. This is the “Overton Window” sort of thing. I think US politics could always use more frequent reminders of the presence of liberals. I’m just not particularly convinced that there are so many untapped liberal voters that we’re ready to end up with a party or a President that isn’t pretty much in line with Obama ’08-’10. And the Bernie Sanders campaign is at least in part driven by people who feel like Obama ’08-’10 was a letdown.

  177. 177
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Bernie Sanders, hard-nosed pragmatist with a plan, as representative of the larger trends in support for Bernie Sanders, which I daresay are not much like that at all.

    Yeah, because I totally wasn’t tipped off on this by other Bernie supporters. I know his Facebook page doesn’t contain daily posts about his successes in office. Mostly we just sit around and wait for the unicorns to show up.

  178. 178
    Cacti says:

    @chopper:

    and ending carbon emissions, and breaking up the big banks.

    gonna need a whooooole lot of senate amendments.

    No less than Bernie himself supported a 2012 primary against Obama for failing to live up to the expectations of the left.

    How vicious would the emotional backlash against Sanders be when he signed not a single one of his grand promises into law after 4-years?

  179. 179
    Arclite says:

    @magurakurin: Throwing long bombs into the endzone forces the defense to cover deep thus thinning them and making those short runs easier. In political terms we might say he’s moving the Overton window.

  180. 180
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Richard Mayhew: The plan has as its underlying assumption that there are possible D votes being left on the table because no one is energizing them to turn out. And that these squandered votes are more liberal than the D’s who _do_ turn out, but they’re turned off by mushy centrism and conventional wisdom. BUT WE JUST WENT THROUGH THIS: 2006, and then 2008. And the result was a Democratic majority that relied on moderates. And the result of that was policy that was inflected by the preferences and rationalizations of moderates. Why would things be different under the Bernie Sanders banner? I don’t follow. Where are all the missing liberals supposed to come from? I keep saying this lately, but in the course of my daily life I don’t think I meet that many people who are actually liberals in their hearts but don’t realize it and don’t vote.

  181. 181
    Kropadope says:

    @Cacti:

    No less than Bernie himself supported a 2012 primary against Obama for failing to live up to the expectations of the left.

    I put this in the same category with “Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling.

    Yes, Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling….to make a political point. What he didn’t do is hold the debt ceiling as a hostage to reap concessions.

    Yes, Sanders said Obama should be primaried from the left….to make a political point. There was a strain of thought, not one I necessarily agree with, that Obama gave up too much to the Republicans and at the very least could use a leftward shove, even if would still be the preferable nominee. Sanders claims to have campaigned for Obama’s reelection in 2012. So that’s at least one Democratic he campaigned for.

  182. 182
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    And the result was a Democratic majority that relied on moderates. And the result of that was policy that was inflected by the preferences and rationalizations of moderates. Why would things be different under the Bernie Sanders banner?

    It probably wouldn’t be. But it wouldn’t be for Clinton either. And from what I’ve seen, Sanders has been more effective overall at moving the ball.

  183. 183
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: You’re still describing a universe of very high-engagement, high-information supporters. I don’t think Hillary Clinton supporters particularly know anything about what she has or hasn’t done, either, I’ll hasten to say. I bet 80% of how things line up so far is symbolic: “tough lady who’s been around and seems prepared” vs. “guy who knows we’re getting screwed and is properly pissed off about it.”

  184. 184
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: That’s you, fine, but I really don’t think that lines up with the larger thematics of the race. Sanders wouldn’t be being lionized as “anti-establishment” if your angle were prevalent.

  185. 185
    Cacti says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Where are all the missing liberals supposed to come from? I keep saying this lately, but in the course of my daily life I don’t think I meet that many people who are actually liberals in their hearts but don’t realize it and don’t vote.

    I would often shake my head at the group who would hail the genius of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, while simultaneously cursing the very existence of the Blue Dog Caucus. Dean’s strategy succeeded in getting a bunch of blue dogs elected in pink districts based on Cook PVI.

    Dems can have a Congressional majority, or they can be ideologically pure. Electoral results have shown us that it won’t be both. At least not at this point in time anyway.

  186. 186
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig: One can be “anti-establishment,” while still being able to be pragmatic and taking half-loaves when necessary. He is pragmatic and does take half loves when necessary. And if you need proof of his anti-establishment cred, look at the D establishment arraying against him.

  187. 187
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cacti: Yeah, I think what happened is that people unified the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party DFA Dean with the Fifty State Strategy DNC Dean. And Rahm Emanuel is a bad person but it’s not obvious to me that it’s wrong to identify a short list of key races and pour money and recruited candidates into them, rather than running a bunch of relatively-equally-funded candidates in places like Mississippi and Arkansas in the spirit of party-building. Either one might have merit, but the former was trashed (for being corporate and conservative) and the latter was praised (for being populist), even though, as you point out, a lot of the Class of 2006 Dems were center-right. If you can expand the map AND move the median leftward at the same time, you are an organizing genius who just fixed American politics. I don’t have a lot of faith in that happening sooner than decades from now. I’d be happy to be wrong. Getting more young people and people of color to vote regularly would be a remarkable achievement. How long ago was Rock The Vote? How close are we to that goal, that many years on?

  188. 188
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: I’m sure you’re right but I’m also sure that an infinitesimal proportion of the Sanders phenomenon has anything to do with that.

  189. 189
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You’re still describing a universe of very high-engagement, high-information supporters.

    Well, outside that universe there’s still a lot of love for Bernie and I would imagine any supporter unfamiliar with Bernie’s record, if told about his legislative history of small ball, would likely understand that’s what needs to be done. In fact, one of the most recent Bernie supporters I met was telling me how he like Deval Patrick. Nothing to do with his broader agenda, but rather because of one little thing he did. Deval stepped in during a strike to help this man’s union. Small by the standards of our national politics, but it makes a real difference in people’s lives. The reason I supported Obama was because of his success doing small and an occasional big thing, also.

  190. 190
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Well, even in your nightmare scenario, the purity-pony-bedwetters won’t give up on Bernie at least until after he’s elected, presumably with at least some measure of coattails. So let’s wait until that battle arrives to fight it, please.

    ETA: Besides, I couldn’t care less about what emoprogs will do after Bernie is elected. If Hillary is elected, guess what, she’ll have the same problem. What I want is to dispel the myth, and it is a myth, of Hillary being the more pragmatic one, better able to move the ball.

  191. 191
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:

    And if you need proof of his anti-establishment cred, look at the D establishment arraying against him.

    President Bernie will need Congressional Democrats on his side if he is to execute any part of his agenda that requires legislative action, and most of it will. So candidate Bernie needs to start making more friends and influencing more people now — regardless of what Hillary does.

  192. 192
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: Sanders’s agenda matches up well with the D caucus in Congress and I think they would be generally receptive to his agenda or getting as close as possible. This is another case where Obama had the same problem as Sanders, not much support from elected Democrats, although the scale is much different this time. Still, when all was said and done, the elected Democrats lined up behind the Democratic nominee and were just as reliable of allies as you could ever expect Democrats to be.

  193. 193
    msdc says:

    @Kropadope: Maybe if your arguments for Sanders’s party building activities amounted to more than wishful thinking, they wouldn’t be quite so easy to encapsulate.

  194. 194
    Kropadope says:

    @msdc: All anyone’s anything for party-building amounts to is wishful thinking. Look at Debbie Wasserman Schultz, raised to chairwoman of the DNC due to her status as a prolific fundraiser, yet the Democrats’ results with her in charge have been less than spectacular (to be charitable) and in the last few months she has been becoming a near-constant embarrassment.

    It takes more than a few $100,000 /plate fundraisers to build a party. Citizens United, if anything, is helping prove that the advantages of money have a limit. I don’t know if an internet-based individual-engagement strategy will work, but trying something new is better than continuing with an approach that has clearly been failing.

  195. 195
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    Are you assuming that Democratic party support will be Bernie’s for the asking? He’s very new to the party. Hillary, like Obama and Bill before her, has had to work at courting it, and they’ve all been Democrats for many years.

  196. 196
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: He has caucused with them for years and his policy agenda doesn’t differ that much from most of them. If the Democrats would spurn a president Bernie out of spite for him not having done X number of fundraisers or not being Hillary Clinton, well they deserve to get voted out, every last one of them, I don’t care what the alternative is.

    That said, I don’t expect that will happen. Bernie, if nominated, will be their nominee and the Democrats will be held responsible for our Government’s performance while he’s in charge. Self preservation dictates that they will work with him.

  197. 197
    Betty Cracker says:

    Wildly O/T, but if anyone ever makes a movie that calls for an actor to play Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I hope Edie Falco gets the part!

  198. 198
  199. 199
    jl says:

    @Betty Cracker: No, it has to by you, BC. No one else can give it the proper subtext.

  200. 200
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: They’ll work with him the way the Class of 2008 worked with Obama, which had distinct high points and some very frustrating low points (Stupak comes to mind, along with the stimulus bill). I don’t think you and I are that far apart when it comes to what a Pres. Sanders administration would look like. But I’m confident, more so than you are I take it, that if Pres. Sanders’s first two years end up like Pres. Obama’s first two years — which IMHO is the upper limit of the possible in early 21st century late-capitalist America — the same people who griped about ineffectual all-talk incrementalist Obama will gripe about ineffectual all-talk incrementalist Sanders, or find a new Rahm Emanuel or Debbie Wasserman Schultz to blame. And I think that if Pres. Hillary Clinton’s first two years end up like Pres. Obama’s first two years the Berniacs will raise a hue and cry about how terrible she is and if only Bernie had been elected the land would flow with milk and honey. (I also think a goodly number of the Obama ’08 people would have been absolutely insufferable if Hillary had prevailed, and the media right along with them, although it might have been interesting to see what Sen.-not-Pres. Obama could have contributed to the #BLM moment.)

  201. 201
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:

    Bernie, if nominated, will be their nominee and the Democrats will be held responsible for our Government’s performance while he’s in charge. Self preservation dictates that they will work with him.

    Am I to take that as a yes?

  202. 202
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Here’s the rub, Betty. There are plenty of European countries that chose to regulate insurance companies and have a hybrid approach that are doing just fine.

    It’s a little aggravating that the conversation hasn’t expanded much beyond the buzz word category. Afforable, universal healthcare, IMO, provides a wider and more fruitful basis for debate. Especially since we have a horrific mishmash of a healthcare system.

  203. 203
    msdc says:

    @Kropadope:

    All anyone’s anything for party-building amounts to is wishful thinking.

    I know this is meant to sound like world-weary cynicism, but it just amounts to yet another dodge. It takes more than a few rallies to build a party, too, but Sanders has yet to engage in that work for other candidates down the ticket. And since Democratic majorities of the size we had in 2009-10 will be absolutely necessary (and probably not even sufficient) to enact any part of his ambitious agenda, that speaks to a fundamental lack of seriousness in his campaign.

    That was more forgivable when he was running as a longshot with no goal other than to pull Clinton leftward – a fine cause and a realistic goal – but now that he’s running like someone who could actually win the nomination, he also needs to start running like someone with a real plan for governance. Otherwise he’s still just the protest candidate, and the thing about protest candidates is they tend to make poor front-runners, and worse nominees.

  204. 204
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t think you and I are that far apart when it comes to what a Pres. Sanders administration would look like

    They’ll work with him the way the Class of 2008 worked with Obama

    It’s more than I dare to hope for that a Sanders administration would be half as good as Obama’s.

    And I think that if Pres. Hillary Clinton’s first two years end up like Pres. Obama’s first two years the Berniacs will raise a hue and cry about how terrible she is and if only Bernie had been elected the land would flow with milk and honey.

    I think we dodged a bullet with her, but again, if her administration went half as well as Obama’s, I’d be happy with that. Though my primary reaction in this case will be relief.

  205. 205
    msdc says:

    @Kropadope: Then again, anyone who writes this

    If the Democrats would spurn a president Bernie out of spite for him not having done X number of fundraisers or not being Hillary Clinton, well they deserve to get voted out, every last one of them, I don’t care what the alternative is.

    clearly isn’t all that interested in advancing progressive politics in the first place.

  206. 206
    Kropadope says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yes, then. But I think it’s a pretty well-grounded assumption.

  207. 207
    Kropadope says:

    @msdc: If the scenario I described, which you excerpted, comes to pass, it would be proof positive that the Democrats have no interest in advancing progressive politics. Fortunately, like I said, I don’t expect that will happen.

  208. 208
    msdc says:

    @Kropadope: Then why get so worked up about it? Hypothetical purity-pony scenarios don’t make the case for a Sanders nomination.

    They also aren’t exactly evidence that he’s building up the party.

  209. 209
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kropadope:
    See msdc #203.

  210. 210
    TriassicSands says:

    In 2009, Obama was right that a single payer system would never pass the US Congress. However, we only make progress on these difficult issues by proposing and failing again and again. Obama should have presented the Congress with a single payer option so that the country could compare the two plans — single payer versus the PPACA. By doing that the president would have raised the visibility of the single payer system and moved it forward just a little bit. The way Obama did it, single payer remained a fringe proposal about which the vast majority of Americans are woefully ignorant.

    The PPACA may or may not have been the best we could hope for (I think improvements were possible) in 2009-2010, but it is nothing like what we need for the future. By continuing to tie our health care insurance to for profit companies and employers, we retain huge barriers to having a good to excellent health care system. Is the PPACA an improvement over what we had when Obama was elected? Absolutely. Was it a model for what we should aspire to? Absolutely not. If we’re ever going to get to a single payer system we need to begin to seriously discuss alternatives. Will those alternatives be fully fleshed out? Of course not.

    One of the PPACA’s worst features is that it further committed the US health care system to elements that need to be eliminated from the system — for profit insurance companies and employer-provided insurance. Unfortunately, there was no easy way to make the transition from the mess we have now to the system we need. However, we have to start talking about the system we should be aspiring to and Sanders’ plan can get the conversation started.

  211. 211

    I think it’s important to get these things on the table, rather than blast them for being unrealistic. If we don’t ask for more than we expect to get, we will get less.

    Who here believes that Clinton is going to turn on her personal friends and financial backers and move in any substantial way to reign in abuses in any part of the financial services industry? If so, why?

  212. 212
    Brachiator says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Obama should have presented the Congress with a single payer option so that the country could compare the two plans — single payer versus the PPACA. By doing that the president would have raised the visibility of the single payer system and moved it forward just a little bit.

    Obama was trying to actually implement a health care plan that would help people who did not have or could not afford health insurance. He achieved this goal.

    What you propose is the president engaging in public debate about health care options. You seem to be implying that getting a single payer plan, maybe, some time in the future, is more important than doing something concrete that would help people right now. Was that your intention?

  213. 213
    Betty Cracker says:

    @pamelabrown53: I’m skeptical that private insurance companies uniquely add value to the care delivery process; instead, they remove value in the form of shareholder profits. That said, a hybrid approach is probably the best path toward universal coverage. I’m not against that nor wedded to a “single payer or bust” strategy. My sole point is that we shouldn’t automatically shout down people who bring up single payer or preemptively squash that conversation. Ask them how we get there? Yes. Demand details on vague plans? Sure. Point out unrealistic scenarios? By all means. But sometimes it seems like we’re treating them like an idiotic, childish enemy. That’s not a smart strategy, IMO. It restricts our choices.

  214. 214
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Raven on the Hill:

    Who here believes that Clinton is going to turn on her personal friends and financial backers and move in any substantial way to reign in abuses in any part of the financial services industry? If so, why?

    Do you believe that Hillary intends to go back on her campaign promises about regulating Wall Street? If so, why?

  215. 215
    the Conster says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Obama was flatly told by Senators Lieberman and Nelson that a public option would not even be considered. Stop fucking blaming Obama for dealing with reality.

  216. 216

    @Amir Khalid: She may make some gestures if elected, but I expect they will largely be be gestures. She may propose a very good bill which Congress will either reject entirely or water down to nothing. (It is easy to be for a bill you know won’t pass.) Or she may propose something toothless that does pass. But it is hard for me to see how she will deliver on this.

    The why is simple: (1) Because Wall Street is paying for her campaign, she’s gotten huge speaker’s fees from various Wall Streeters and “You have to dance with them what brung you.” (2) Because she has long supported the financial services industry. (3) Because she has proposed to continue Obama’s policies, and Obama’s banking policies are very weak.

    I have answered your question, now do you answer mine.

  217. 217

    I remind everyone yet again that the system worked out in the ACA is “better than what we had before, but that’s like saying having a tent and a place to pitch it is better than sleeping on the streets.”

  218. 218
    Brachiator says:

    @Raven on the Hill:

    Who here believes that Clinton is going to turn on her personal friends and financial backers and move in any substantial way to reign in abuses in any part of the financial services industry? If so, why?

    If she’s smart, she will. And she does seem to be a smart person.

    I am not a strong Clinton supporter, but I am tired of Bernie. Just because he is upright, honest and pure does not mean that he understands the issues or has an answer to the problem. My favorite politician in this regard remains FDR, who put Joe Kennedy in charge of the SEC because “it takes a crook to catch a crook.”

    Sanders, on the other hand, keeps beating the dead horse childish fantasy that one must be elevated above Big Money in order to be able to regulate the financial industry. But the bottom line is that I don’t get a sense that he understands anything about Wall Street. He just knows that it is bad.

    Just as insipidly, he keeps going on and on about the wonderfulness of single payer plans without giving any indication that he knows how these plans have been implemented and revised in the countries with universal health care. It is simply not sufficient to keep honking about what other countries do.

  219. 219
    JerryN says:

    @Amir Khalid: (As we drift further from the original topic.) I believe that a President H. Clinton will be advised by much the same crew that was responsible for Obama’s financial policy so I would expect little more than cosmetic differences in policy from what we’ve had for the last 7+ years.

  220. 220
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Raven on the Hill:
    So you believe that, being so beholden to it, Hillary will only feint at regulating Wall Street. For my part, I think it remains to be seen what she will do. That Bill signed the Glass-Steagal (do I have that spelling right? I’m getting a red squiggle.) repeal during his presidency is often held against her by Bernistas. But Hill ain’t Bill, and even Bill has to some extent repudiated certain of his presidential actions that contradict her current stands.

  221. 221
    Brachiator says:

    @JerryN:

    I believe that a President H. Clinton will be advised by much the same crew that was responsible for Obama’s financial policy

    Do we have any idea who Sanders’ financial policy advisors are?

  222. 222
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Obama should have presented the Congress with a single payer option so that the country could compare the two plans — single payer versus the PPACA

    Congressional Democrats didn’t want such a thing, not even as an option, and a hell of a lot of them didn’t even want the “public option.” It bothered them, a lot. Push harder and maybe the whole thing blows up. Which, by the way, is exactly what happened under Bill Clinton, repeatedly, as the Dems in Congress decided they weren’t in the mood for being pushed around by this johnny-come-lately. And also, by the way, the Democrats who grudgingly went along with the ACA, grousing all the way, got little for sticking out their necks, because a lot of them were out of a job in 2010. They sure weren’t rewarded for good behavior. There’s an easy and scary lesson in that: make your best effort to deal with this important public issue, piss off everyone in sight, and before long get ready to move back home. And the lesson isn’t “go even further out on a limb next time,” is it?

  223. 223
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Amir Khalid: Steagall

  224. 224
    Amir Khalid says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Thanx.

  225. 225
    JerryN says:

    @Brachiator: According to “The Hill”, they say he’s being advised by Krugman and Stiglitz. However, I’m pretty sure that Krugman is not part of his team.Sanders has mentioned Stiglitz and Robert Reich as people that he would want in his administration.

  226. 226
    Betty Cracker says:

    @JerryN: Yeah, I’d be surprised if Krugman was on Team Bernie since he’s been surprisingly (to me, anyway) pro-HRC so far. I’ll admit that carries some weight for me, that Krugman thinks HRC’s economic platform is sound.

  227. 227
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Krugman was critical of Bernie’s health-care plan; he said Bernie’s numbers didn’t quite add up. That doesn’t sound like he’s on Team Bernie.

  228. 228
    Brachiator says:

    @JerryN:

    According to “The Hill”, they say he’s being advised by Krugman and Stiglitz.

    I’m pretty sure that K-Thug rolls with HRC’s crew.

    Reich has written some very positive articles about Sanders’ proposals.

  229. 229
    Satby says:

    @Kropadope: I wish you would READ what I wrote about the Bernie supporters I personally know. They’re related to me, and I am fully cognizant of just how naive they are about politics. It’s not condescending to recount the facts about people in my own circle.

    I try to provide some education, like sending them Krugman’s column; when I ask if they’ve read any of it the answer is “oh Aunt Shery, they’re always so long”. Well alrighty then.

  230. 230
    Satby says:

    @msdc: Susan G is the first reaction I had to the “raising awareness” comment.

  231. 231
    Satby says:

    @Kropadope: Remind me what President Dean thought of that strategy.

  232. 232
    JerryN says:

    @Brachiator: Yeah, I never thought that the Krug was in Sanders’ camp and I have no clue where “The Hill” same up with their story but they’re allegedly a reputable news source for this sort of info.

    I haven’t been able to find anything definitive about Stiglitz, but it’s at least plausible that he’s in Bernie’s contact list since he has advised Sanders on Fed-related legislation in the Senate.

  233. 233
    Satby says:

    @Raven on the Hill: and you know, I’m one of the people who now has insurance thanks to the ACA, as an IT contractor for a good chunk of my adult life and a service worker before that, most of my adulthood was spent uninsured. This is not a theoretical discussion for me at all. I’d like the ACA expanded to cover everyone, and I would like to see some energy spent on combating the kinds of abuses that led to Flint being poisoned. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here.

  234. 234
    J R in WV says:

    @gene108:

    You need a Medicare Supplemental policy. I don’t know if APA provides those or not. When my Dad was being treated for leukemia his supplemental policy covered all his medications. IIRC it was Bankers Life. Since you can’t be excluded for a pre-existing condition you should be able to get a supplemental policy.

    Or as Mr. Mayhew suggests, an APA Bronze policy… perhaps in addition to Medicare, which is only about $150.month deducted from your Social Security. He wasn’t specific about that.

  235. 235
    ellennelle says:

    seems we’d have to assume either the environment that supports universal healthcare a la sanders will also support ditching the hyde rule, or that this problem will be worked out in the sausage factory.

    is this where we sue again to have the right to our own bodies???

  236. 236
    cynb says:

    I have never heard of 1 commercial insurance policy that would cover elective abortion unless there were extenuating circumstances, eg life of mother or child. Heck, most wouldn’t even cover birth control until ACA tried to push that envelope. I think the whole premise here is questionable.

  237. 237
    NR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: What happened to “Pass it now and we’ll fix it later?” I guess fixing it is totally out the window now? Why am I not surprised?

  238. 238
    NR says:

    @the Conster: Actually Obama killed the public option in a secret backroom deal with the hospitals and the insurance companies. This was documented in the New York Times. Nelson and Lieberman were just convienet scapegoats. The fix was in.

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