Obama forced to pay attention to Dennis Kucinich

(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.


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  1. Photobucket

    • TMC on March 15, 2010 at 21:07

    for sticking to his vote against this bill and for real reform.

    It was also pointed pout that absence of other Democratic House Reps that were not present at the President’s rally because they are in Republican districts and are being challenged for their “yes” votes.

    Democrats in the House Flee Obama Over Health Care

    Today, Dennis Kucinich appeared at a rally with President Obama in Cleveland, despite the fact that the White House sent MoveOn to picket and threaten him if he honors his pledge and votes against the health care bill with no public option.

    But that’s more than you can say for freshman Congressman John Boccieri, a military veteran who is on the GOP’s target list for the fall. He suddenly had to go to a dog-and-pony show in his district and watch a check being presented for a runway extension at a local airport and couldn’t appear with the President.


    Why was Boccieri suddenly so consumed with an extension of the local runway?  Well, maybe because Boccieri is in a GOP-leaning district, the top of the ticket in Ohio is a disaster for Democrats in 2010, and his well-funded GOP opponent Jim Rennacci is already up on the air with ads slamming Boccieri for voting for health care

    Kucinich does not have that problem. He can easily vote “no” for this monstrosity that’s why the White House is putting so much pressure on him.

  2. MoveOn.org does not want to look behind the curtain, behind the fake facade of Democratic politicians like Obama who are so obviously fronting for corporation.

    I got tired of reading their gatekeeper emails, so I fired them.

    • rossl on March 16, 2010 at 00:07

    I hope Kucinich does well.  If he gets the ERISA waiver, I will not be above celebrating it on Daily Kos, because it would be one of the better aspects of the health care bill.

    • rossl on March 16, 2010 at 00:35

    The print pooler attending the event caught up with Kucinich before the speech and reported the following:

       He only smiled when asked if he had spoken to the president about health care on the way here. Asked if he was reconsidering his vote, he said, “I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say.” He said he was not commenting on his current position on the bill.


    Go Dennis!  Show ’em how it’s done!

    • Arctor on March 16, 2010 at 16:49

    as a result of that poor woman’s letter! How fatous! You can just see Emmanuel’s lowest staffer pouring through letters received to find one sad one that could be used as a prop to pressure Kucinich in his own district. And who said Pbama has a “Transparency” issue; i think you can see right through him actually! Haha!

    • rossl on March 16, 2010 at 23:23

    tomorrow morning, where Kucinich will say how he’ll vote.

  3. http://prescriptions.blogs.nyt

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