(10 am. Co-incident with Dennis’ presser. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Well..well.well. Guess who Barack Obama is finally paying attention to? Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Only not necessarily in a good way.
First, Obama chose the State of Ohio as his staged photo-op site for his last public Health Care Rally (apart from D.C. speeches), and guess who was onboard Air-Force 1? Dennis Kucinich. I’ll bet Kucinich hasn’t even been invited on Air Force 1 perhaps more than 2 or 3 times in his entire career.
But, then Obama put a plant in the audience to yell out “Vote Yes” right on cue, when Obama called out Congressman Kucinich’s name.
The goal was to make it appear that RahmobombaMonopolyCare is just so overwhelmingly popular with the little people that Kucinich would have no choice but to drop his principled objections to the Corporate bailout bill, or otherwise face mutiny by his own district, and by his own supporters.
Well done bit of stage craft by Obama (he’s slick), but the fact remains that progressives do not like this shabby excuse for “reform”, once they are told what is in it (IRS forced mandates and enslavement to the Insurance Monopoly), and what is not going to be in it (cost control, competition, medicare expansion, public choice).
Here is the excerpt from the New York Times:
Mr. Obama is trying to use his presidential muscle and powers of persuasion to bring several Ohio Democrats around to voting for the health care bill.
One is Representative John Boccieri, a freshman who voted no last year when the House passed a bill that faltered in the Senate; his district is a short 15-minute drive from here, and yet he did not show up for Monday’s rally. Another is Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, whose district includes Strongsville.
He caught a ride to Cleveland with Mr. Obama aboard Air Force One, but has said he is noncommittal about the bill that the Senate ultimately passed, which is now back before the House.
“Vote yes!” someone in the hall shouted when Mr. Obama introduced Mr. Kucinich.
“Did you hear that, Dennis?” Mr. Obama asked. “I was talking to Dennis Kucinich on the way over here,” the president said. “I said: ‘You know what? It’s been such a long time since we’ve made government on the side of ordinary working folk, where we did something for them.’ ”
White House officials said Mr. Obama will spend the rest of the week working to bring votes like Mr. Kucinich’s around, through private meetings and telephone calls.
Unlike moderate Democrats who oppose Mr. Obama’s plan as too liberal and costly, Mr. Kucinich is opposed because he regards it as too conservative; he favors a single payer, government-run Medicare-for-all plan. In Strongsville on Monday, Mr. Obama made his pitch to the congressman publicly, in front of Mr. Kucinich’s constituents, with a working-class appeal that the congressman might find hard to resist.
Now there is one sliver of news in all of this that caught my attention. That is the statement:
“Obama will spend the rest of the week working to bring votes like Mr. Kucinich’s around, through private meetings and telephone calls“.
I imagine that this means that Obama and Rahm Emanuel will be privately making various threats to Dennis Kucinich, and not making any good faith concessions to the genuine concerns that Kucinich has with the bill itself. This seems to be the modus operandi with Obama: always pressure the “left” to give up and comply with GOP-Lite policies, while not once ever attempting to pressure the Joe Liebermans, the Blanche Lincolns, etc. to move the other way, towards the progressive position.
But Kucinich has Obama now right where he wants him.
His vote has to be earned now, or Obama has to go find other votes somewhere else.
This is exactly the function that a progressive Congressman should be performing. It would be interesting to see if Kucinich’s hold out worried Obama so much that he had to make a significant concession somewhere.
But I’m sure Obama will instead just issue threats (and then drop some bombs on Pakistan civilians and children), but Dennis Kucinich is playing out the process correctly here, when no one else will.