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Whither the Sacred Campaign Promise?

Posted on Jun 4, 2009

By David Sirota

Though not (yet) having children of my own, I often consider what my future offspring won’t know about and will find humorous. I fantasize that they will have no idea what gasoline-powered cars or private health insurance policies were. But I also worry they will guffaw in disbelief when I tell them politicians once knew that breaking campaign promises without explanation had consequences.

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Historically, Americans generally held campaign promises sacred. We understood that republican democracy makes us rely on pledges of future action as the metric for choosing representatives; we knew that politicians reneging on pledges without adequate reason were desecrating that democracy; and we therefore often punished promise-breakers accordingly.

I’m not idealizing halcyon days that never were—just ask George H.W. Bush, who lost re-election in 1992 after trampling his “no new taxes” guarantee. Indeed, breaking campaign pledges was one of the surest ways for politicians to hurt themselves—until 2006.

That year’s highest-profile campaign was Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Joseph Lieberman and challenger Ned Lamont—a race signaling a tectonic shift.

Lieberman had broken two key promises: (1) He was violating an explicit term-limits pledge and (2) he vowed to “help end the war in Iraq” while working to continue it. And yet he was re-elected without ever explaining his reversals.


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I’d like to think that result was merely a symptom of momentary shellshock. Perhaps an electorate so numbed by Republicans’ then-recent attacks on John Kerry’s changing positions was temporarily unable to process discussions of “flip-flopping.”

But, then, behavior by President Obama suggests a more systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

It started in December when he was asked why he was making Hillary Clinton his chief diplomat after criticizing her qualifications and promising Democratic primary voters that his views on international relations were different than hers. He responded by telling the questioner “you’re having fun” trying “to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign.” The implicit assertion was that anyone expecting him to answer for campaign statements must just be “having fun”—and certainly can’t be serious.

A few months later, in reversing a 5-year-old commitment to support ending the Cuban embargo, Obama offered no rationale for the U-turn other than saying he was “running for Senate” at a time that “seems just eons ago”—again, as if everyone should know that previous campaign promises mean nothing.

At least that was a response. After The New York Times recently reported that “the administration has no present plans to reopen negotiations on NAFTA” as “Obama vowed to do during his campaign,” there was no explanation offered whatsoever. We were left to recall Obama previously telling Fortune magazine that his NAFTA promises were too “overheated and amplified” to be taken literally.

It’s true that politicians have always broken promises, but rarely so proudly and with such impunity.

We once respected democracy by at least demanding explanations—however weak—for unfulfilled promises. Then we became a country whose scorched-earth campaigns against flip-flopping desensitized us to reversals. Now, we don’t flinch when our president appears tickled that a few poor souls still expect politicians to fulfill promises and justify broken ones.

The worst part of this devolution is the centrality of Obama, the prophet of “hope” and “change” who once said that “cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom.” If that’s true, then he has become America’s wisest man—the guy who seems to know my kids will laugh when I tell them politicians and voters once believed in democracy and took campaign promises seriously.

David Sirota is the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover” (2006) and “The Uprising” (2008). He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future. Find his blog at or e-mail him at

© 2009, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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By KDelphi, June 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdr—a very wise and good guy…he just blows me away everytime I read Joe..

garth—Yes, AARP sucks now…

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By eplebneesta, June 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

For *real* christians, they are truly sacred.
33:“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’
34:But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35:or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36:And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
37:Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

So christ says to always tell the truth.  And there’s that top top ten thing that says it, too, as well as the don’t kill thing… AH! I remember: The Ten Suggestions.

And look at 5:37 in particular.  That “so help me god” crap added to the end of the oath of office (which IS NOT in the Constitution) comes from the evil one.  This explains a lot.  ~233 yrs of satanist rule.
We should make them sign a contract to honor (is there any in DC?) their promises.  Or at least to do due diligence.  C’mon conservatives, “it’s just business.”

And, no, I’m not a christian, nor an xian.
I’m a Agnostic Quantum Deist.

E Pleb Neesta
Blessed are the cheese makers.
GOP—> Grand Old Pharisees.

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By dihey, June 10, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

If keeping campaign promises is the hallmark of democracy then Adolf Hitler was the greatest democrat of the 20th century.

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By garth, June 10, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment


Thanks for the bookmarks.  I especially like this:

“I’m back here in the States for a while, back in the Southland, Old Virginny. So I’ll answer you from a Southerner’s viewpoint and life experience in a violently anti-union state.

In the mornings while making coffee I listen to NPR. And in the evenings before this besotted old carcass craps out for the night, I watch the our Public Broadcasting systems’ history specials and retrospectives, or the History Channel (Native Virginians are obsessive about history). And I hear narrators and commentators feed the same thin witted stuff to the nation. Things like, “Race has always been the primary historical and cultural issue of American history, especially in the South.”


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By thebeerdoctor, June 10, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

re: Garth

Thanks for the encouraging words. I came across this reply by Joe Bageant to a lifetime union member, where Bageant spells out what is wrong with the labor system:

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By garth, June 10, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

This month’s AARP Bulletin (June) headlines the Health Care Reform in the article, “The Big Fix.”  On the cover, three bulleted headlines follow:

What the president wants (in bold)
What the power brokers must have (in plain text)
What you need to know (in bold)

Apparently, that’s the level of importance that the AARP gives to Americans over 60 who still get their fish-wrap, monthly editions. 
First, what who wants?  Is he president?  Is there any move to skip the first and second bullets and focus on what the people want? I guess not.
A good sign, however, is in the race for Governor of Virginia.  Deeds won the nomination.  He defeated McAuliffe of sleaze ball fame as well as the brother of Democratic Party stalwart, Moran.
I want Deeds to win.  Sends a clear and distinct message.  The message is that this country is strong enough and stable enough to withstand a complete change in the elected leaders.  That’ll do for starters.
I don’t want any Republicans to win until they have come to their senses, if they ever had any to begin with.

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By NYCartist, June 9, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Why so kind, Sirota?  I’d stress secrecy, torture and DOJ continuation, along with continuation of Bush policies such as drones (or doesn’t “unmentioned” count?). ETC.  To quote a Mr. Bush, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…”

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By KDelphi, June 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Not to be redundent, and, not trying to lose my cool here (lol,j/k) but , I am a little tired of thinking that “I told you so” is a waste of time—

Sen Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, just asked Sebilius, in a Hearing, if the “pay go” was going to apply to the health care ‘reform”.

Ah, did the Blue Dogs NOT see this coming? Because, if McCaskill didnt, I will take over her job…its got great health care benefits, I hear…
Sebilius, per usual, is waffling, but, I am stumped as to how to undertstand why Obama handed them that bat to beat his new “programs” with.
Wait a minute—-maybe he wasnt going to pass anything of substance anyway. Ohh!!! I see! Very clever…

She shouldve said, “yes it will not apply to health care like it doesnt apply to defense spending”....but, gawd, no, no cuts to the sacred death spending bill for life and health…

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By garth, June 9, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment


I always appreciate your posts.  They’re spot-on and informative.  I also appreciate the links you provide.  I loved Molly Ivins and, now, I love to read and listen to Jim Hightower. I think he represents the type of Democratic ideas that fit my ideals. (He is shown sometimes on local cable access.)  The link to his web site will be greatly appreciated.
Other than that, your acerbic wit and cool, clear writing give focus to the issue instantaneously and in a laser like fashion.
I love it.  Keep ‘em coming.

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By KDelphi, June 9, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

garth and everyone—DID I JUST HEAR OBAMA ENDORSE “PAY_GO” WITH A BUNCH OF BLUE DOGS??!! ARE YOU SHI**ING ME?! This will limit all social spending (completley) and war spending—-not at all!!

And, 5 min later Rep Lee comes out with a “Health care Equity” bill she will introduce…I love her, but, are they blind??!! How ITF wil they pass it without funds?!

JEEZ!!! In the second US Great Depression, known as US Capitalism, Obama decides that we will 1) do “health ” “care” “reform” (lolololol) 2)extend unemployment—and give the peasants $250 3)pay off the big banks, to any tune they choose and 4) not pass any social services without offsetting it with cuts to other programs, EXCLUDING WAR!!! Of course!

AAAUUGHHHH! Just to make sure I wasnt psychotic or dreaming, I mean, even THIS guy ought to KNOW BETTER, I called Rep Kucinich and Sen Sanders—yep, he’s gonna do this for Blue Dogs..neo-libs must be thrilled….

I know that youre R_E_A_L_L_Y smart Obama, so you should be able to get this on the first try—-you institute “no spending” when the OTHER party is in power, ok? Yeah, cause, like, it prevents you from DOING SHI*!

Which you werent gonna do anyway…this guy’s political virginity is really showing

thebeerdr—Did you see the Nation mag’s article “The Dark Side of Plan Colombia”—lol, sob, ; ( I didnt know that there waws a BRIGHT side!!

garth—saw c-span, Gingrey is just a fricking liar. He just lied. Sanders pointed it out, but, Scully, being Murdoch’s lap dog , ignored the point. Doesnt matter—-the ‘health care reform” of Blue Dogs is sure to be as bad as neo-conservatives, which, is, a huge signing statement photo-op.

garth—we did start in Peru…with neo-lib funds…
(via dandelion salad)
June 9, 2009

60 die in Peru rainforest protest

“..Clashes between police and indigenous protesters over drilling for oil and gas in rain forest…Recent free trade agreements signed with the American and Canadian governments fueled the government to go ahead with changes to domestic laws that would seek to advance mineral, logging, oil and agricultural ‘development’ into previously untouched areas of the Amazon. This touched off a over-50-day protest that has shut down parts of the Amazon.,,”
And this is the “free trade agreement” that Obama supports!! SHAME!! Gawd, I’m so angry…

The Chicago Boys are back in town, they were always around.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 9, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

re: Garth

It is dismal knowledge indeed to realize that what Washington calls health care is just another rotten insurance scam, foisted on the public without their consent. Does anybody remember how back in the early 60’s the AMA howled at the moon about Medicare? And is it not strange that our good pal Israel has a national health care service?
But in the final analysis it is the cowardly democratic party, which has thrown off any semblance of being a representative of the common people.

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By garth, June 9, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

On C-SPAN today, Republican Representative, Dr. Phil Gingrey (OB-GYN) from GA seemed to favor the adoption of somethig like Connections idea that is currently active in the MA plan.  In Connections, each insurance comapany defines its coverage.  The buying simply picks the one that best suits his, hers, or their needs.
One of the main problems is that the average U.S. citizen is still dealing with sponsors of the bait ‘n switch, we’ve got-the-lobbyists-and-lawyers-behind-us crowd that got us into this mess.

Rose Ann Demore of the CA Nurses Association said on Demcracry NOW that in a meeting the Sen. Baucus, Baucus said that the President wants quick passage of an Insurance bill.  She said that Baucus acted as if they hadn’t gotten the memo.

If all this is to make this sham for a President look good, then I say to hell with ‘em.  To hell with ‘em all.
First, you grab them by the cojones.  All the rest will be simply marching orders.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

re: Cathy

You should not be surprised by what gets emitted from NPR, sometimes known as National Pentagon Radio. Face it, this country has been on a war footing status since Harry S. Truman made this nation into a locked down national security state, (have you taken your loyalty oath lately?). So it is not in the least surprising that after all the other demons propped up to be the enemy, that the government had already decided, a long time ago, that the people, who are euphemistically called citizens, become at last the ultimate target for their endless war on everything. Funny that you mention PBS. Their latest program looks into the “dark side” of globalization, where the viewer discovers that the many of the sweat shop “labor intensive” goods, are actually not the authenticate corporate versions. In other words, the benefits from this labor exploitation are not getting into the pockets of the assigned corporate hierarchy. China of course is mentioned, since it is there, it has been said, where factories produce fake “authentic licensed product” tags by the millions. But not much will actually come of this, despite this being a PBS ominous documentary, complete with Peter Coyote narration, because if policy messed with this, Walmart would be affected. And Walmart, as the bright policy wonks in the Obama administration would say, is just too big to fail.

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By garth, June 8, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

To get back to the article, I quote,
“That year’s highest-profile campaign was Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Joseph Lieberman and challenger Ned Lamont—a race signaling a tectonic shift.

Lieberman had broken two key promises: (1) He was violating an explicit term-limits pledge and (2) he vowed to “help end the war in Iraq” while working to continue it. And yet he was re-elected without ever explaining his reversals.”
Lamont won the Democratic Primary.  Then, like all of his ilk, he took a two week vacation and let Joe Lieberman gain momentum.  Besides that, the Republican party nominated a sure “loser” to run against Lamont.
(Lamont’s grandfather or father has a Library named after him at Harvard.  Whatta guy!)
Is this what we want?  The Kerry’s and Lamonts to pose as would-be candidates only to guarantee the elections of candidates shosen by Financier Fascists and Zionists.  These dainty young, Kerry and Lamont, men who pass as party stalwarts and then show their real colors, a putrid yellow.

What seems to be escaping the deabate with respect to the economic situation is that we’ve gone through this before.  In the 1930s.  There are simple, straightforward answers to these problems. These solutions are being ignored.

As far as the mealy-mouthed traitors go like Obama, Kerry, Lamont, Lieberman, Kennedy, Dorgan, Nelson (Nebraska), the Republican Party and any others that come to mind, I’d say that their pan is to take an atomized populace and let us die off one-by-one beneath radar of the coverage of the media.  We should then follow Winston Churchill’s advice to the English in World War II during the German aerial attacks on Britain: If they come, then strap on a bomb and take few of them with you.
In the meantime, who else can we bomb, torture or keep captive in a capitalist nightmare for the worker.

I know let’s start in Peru.

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By Folktruther, June 8, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Anaricissie, sometimes you drive me up the wall.  Where do you get this stuff that Obama was upfront in his campaign.  You assume that everyone is like you and actually reads what the candidate says, understands the implications, and can place it meaningfully in a historical context.  Let’s be serious.

The American general person is not much interested in politics, does not understand how it affects him, is fucused on personal and trivial concerns, only marginally takes in a small fraction of what is said, doesn’t understand inconsistencies and is influeced by shiny trivia like a magpie.  He is miseducated, misinformed and misentertained from childhood to identify with authorized power, insofar as he has any political ideology at all.

When he goes to the polls he votes for the party his parents did, the personality he likes, or the policies that are being used to bullshit him.

Obama can tell the truth on selected occasions in forums and ways that no one will pay any attention to it.  When people did pay attention he was for Hope n Change.  His campaign was so good it was the advertising agencies award as the best advertising campaign of 2008.

It was a con job, as all mainstream advertising campaigns are.  And it conned me, you and Sirota as well as tens of milliions of the American people.  Did you think Obama would sell out this badly so quickly?  I didn’t.  To that extent I was conned.  I’ll bet you were too, although of course to a lesser extent than the general person. Do you find this much to cheer about?  I doubt it.

We are routinely being conned by the American power system to a greater or lesser extent.  That is why the American people must develop their own media and own ideology, to resist the very effective truth techniques of perception management.  this is necessary to restore the distrust of the American people in their religious, political and intellectual leaders.

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By garth, June 8, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, I was so in tune with what you are saying that I started to type in ‘KDelphi’ at the login field. 
I became unnerved by what I heard on the NPR news (I agree with Cathy.)  Thank you, BeerDoctor for your reference to Mark Twain’s ‘stretcher’.  I think stories like that clear the air a little and give pause for thought.
So now, ‘unkie drunkie’ Ted Kennedy wants to weigh in on the debate.  He says the bill will include mandatory charges.  Well, I say beware of anything a Democrat from Massachusets supports.  (I used to be a Democrat.  Now I am a radical.) 
In the early 70s, the Democrats, led by Dukakis, supported a ‘No Fault’ change to the auto insurance policy.  The state insurance adjusters set the rates.  Sometimes they’d lower rates; sometimes they’d raise them.  The insurance bills, however,  always crept up.
When they passed No Fault insurance, though, bills quadrupled.  I am not exaggerating. It is verifiable.
It’s like when they ruled that people could renew their driver’s license for “life” for $100.  It was usually around $30 or $40 bucks a year.  The next year, it was ruled ‘Unconstitutional’ by the MA Supreme Court, but no one saw a refund.  They used the laws to rip off every licensee of $60. 
If you think that’s not much.  Well, think of the reprobates and the their relatives that that money went to.
With Health Insurance, the multiplier effect soars.
The Health Insurance will be guaranteed a mandatory payment, and what do they have to provide—Nada or next to it.
Chomsky talked about the “atomized” American people, how things like this abomination can pass with barely a debate.  I think that reaction to this scam, Kenndy’s Sympathy and ass-kissers aside, might turn out to be more than their reptilian minds could’ve forseen.

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By Cathy, June 8, 2009 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

I need to clarify what I have been supporting thus far.  I have been supporting the Medicare for All, the Kucinich bill.  I was alarmed by a story this morning on NPR which talked only about what Washington wants, not what the people want—Senator Kenndy’s mandates for businesses to carry insurance (talk about the loss of jobs and outsourcing that will create), and then the taxing of insurance benefits.  PBS has covered health care and the single payer option extensive.  NPR never talks about it.  Not good, because I believe that more people tune in to NPR in the morning and in the evening for their news.  You never hear NPR talk about the insurance company and pharma profits and their role in health care. 

All the crack-pot plans coming out of Congress so far is intended to keep the profit in medicine and screw the people.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 8, 2009 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

This health care boondogle reminds me of something I read in the late Studs Terkel book, The Great Divide, where a house painter informs Studs: “if I break my leg, I lose my house”. Which points to the fact that ordinary accidents, equipment mishaps etc., have been enlarged to approach catastrophic economic concern, due to our insurance industry driven “health care system”.
Of course those who object to anyone being critical of the greed driven profit motive of entities such as Humana, will always fall back on the “frivolous law suits” which drive up costs. Of course that is what Mark Twain would qualify as a genuine “stretcher”, since all those law suits, frivolous or other wise, count for less than 3% of the increase in medical costs.
Then we get to that other big boogie in this operation: the Pharmaceutical Industry. I notice that while President Obama claims that everyone is at the table, I’ve never heard him mention Dr. Sydney Wolfe of Public Citizen Health Group, who still continue to uncover the dangerous and often worthless drugs, being pumped through the pimped out FDA pipe line. No, this self anointed protector of the American people, does not consider it part of his of pay grade. His job is to make sure the latest miracles wrought from the laboratories of the giant pharmaceutical companies, are simply made more “affordable”, whatever that means.

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By KDelphi, June 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

The “public opotion” is a total scam.

But most people are “happy with their insurance”
so why should Obaam care?
Today CNN had the cajones to say that “maybe the election of 2012 has begun” (AAAUUGHH!) ‘IT NEVER STOPPED! Obama has been campaigning since he was born!

I fail to see what “more info” had “become avilable”, since Obama was in the Senate, on health care, NAFTA, etc. Except perhaps that “what other choice do liberals have”??

Although, Anarcissie has a very good point. People projected onto Obama what they had been longing for for , maybe 16 yrs…

Mary—How should we “hold him accountable” if everytime someone tries, his supporters will settle for so much less? YOu guys get to decide for all of us. My guess is , that, most Dems are just not in that much trouble yet and are pretty comfortable.

I heard Bill Ayers today tell people, again, that it was ‘up to them”—well, why not just put Rev Wright or Bill Ayers in the WH? Because they know that it is a beauty contest.

garth and thebeerdr (and me—j/k ) are right again… this “public option” (although “not publically funded”—wtf does that mean??) is for suckers. I can just see them trying to raise taxes in Ohio to Massachusetts levels!! LOL! And, the Mass plan does not cover alot of people, anyway. Its a human right. Thats all that should have to be said,. Does Obama believe in human rights? We will see…

Leave it alone, if thats the best you can do.

There are a bunch of good articles here, by doctors, and they all back single payer.

Heres the lousy Massachusetts plan:
The Massachusetts Model: Massive Spending On Nonbenefit Costs

by Merton Bernstein
Health Affairs Blog
June 2nd, 2009
Massachusetts provides subsidized coverage to individuals and families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level. Only nine other states have equally generous limits. With state budgets now stressed by falling income and property tax revenues and increased outlays caused by growing unemployment, it is dubious that other states could afford to match Massachusetts’ level of subsidies even if they wanted to. Nevertheless, the House reportedly is fashioning a Massachusetts-like measure with subsidies available up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

The Massachusetts “reform” that congressional committee chairs seem about to advocate will neither provide universal coverage nor rein in costs. Nor will the toothless “pledge” by the “health care industry” to save two trillion dollars “voluntarily.” Announced by President Obama on a Monday, the pledge had been disowned by hospital, insurer, pharmacy, and doctor participants by Thursday.

Cathy—If you like Sen Sanders plan, you want a Socialist. HIs plan would be state-based, and is not nearly as comprehensive as HR 676 (Conyers, Kucnich, etc), but, it beats Massachusetts model.

Recognizing that millions of Americans lack access to adequate and affordable health care, Senator Sanders is a strong supporter of a single payer health insurance program.  As a step on the road to achieving this, he has introduced legislation (S. 2031) that would allow 5 states to design universal coverage programs.  Based on their success, he believes that this would result in a national single-payer program.

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By garth, June 7, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Here’s good article on why Single-payer is the best option.  It was written by a doctor.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, answered my question as to why the rush.  Companies feel the burden and are jettisoning their health insurance perks for employees.  Some companies have already dropped it and told their employees that they’re on their own.

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By Cathy, June 7, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

It is possible, finally, that Obama is getting “religion” on health care.  We have a really, really good chance now of getting our voices heard. 

Here is the NYT article.  Overnight on HuffPo there were over 3600 responses and check out the comments after the NYT article—good read.  There are all kinds of campaigns, and discussions being kicked off today—in addition to the ones already out there on the front lines of this. 

No. 1:  Obama is going to have to be convinced that employment and health care are two separate animals that no longer belong together, period.  That’s the first thing.  Before the election Keith Olbermann did an excellent Special Comment on this point and what employer-based healthcare was doing to jobs, small business creation (that little engine of job growth), innovation and entrepreneurship, stifling the ability of Americans to be all they can be. 

As far as being wed to bipartisanship because of Rahm Emmanuel’s fear that someone will come in and try to reverse the plan, pure BS.  Again, there’s a great commentary on this point in the comment section in the NYT.  Gingrich already tried this with Medicare in his “Contract on America”.  Well, you know where that went. 

I always felt that no matter what Obama’s stance was or was not on health care, that if he was true to his word and listened to the people, that he could be persuaded to do what the people want.  And he used to be adamantly for single-payer.  Until last night, however, I had lost all hope.  Now there is a little more than glimmer of hope on this issue again.

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By rbrooks, June 7, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Lieberman had broken two key promises: (1) He was violating an explicit term-limits pledge and (2) he vowed to “help end the war in Iraq” while working to continue it. And yet he was re-elected without ever explaining his reversals.”

Yup. And one reason Holy Joe was elected was that Barack Obama went up to Connecticut to campaign pragmatically, or whatever the hell that was, for the establishment’s schmuck - against the progressive candidate.

I got all excited during the primary and convinced myself I was working for No More Clintons, No More DLC. I bought the pitch, uncritically, right through the election. There’s a Hope Obama sticker on my car.

Silly me. If I had chosen to look back at that CT Senate election and believe my lying eyes, I could have saved myself a boatload of money and a lot of wear and tear on shoe leather and tonsils.

We elected the corporate spokesman for Business as Usual. He gives great speeches and does what he’s there to do: make us forget that so much of what he actually does works to further entrench and empower the corporate/military establishment.

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By garth, June 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

GM is going to introduce its new car:  the Obamobile.  It only runs in reverse and goes from zero to Bush in the flick of an eye.

I stole the last phrase.  I’ve learned something from the Wall Street example.

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By garth, June 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Cathy’s absolutely right.  According to Dr. Himmelstein of Harvard and Dr. Wolf of Case Western Reserve, if Obama and the congress pass a health insurance bill anything like the one that passed in Massachusetts a few years ago, we are screwed.  The Mass insurance plan is busting the budget here.  If a national plan is passed, it will sink us.  That’ll be four major hits:  the Wall Street ripoff, the Af-Pak wars and Iraq occupation, Medicare Drug Plan Part D, and now an insurance plan that will, in essence, give the companies a way out of offering health insurance, except, I suppose, for the elite.  It will place the yoke of finding an “affordable”  health insurance plan on each person in the country. (Here’s where the BeerDoctor has them in a corner.  What do they mean by affordable?) 
They’ll make it mandatory, or else pay a hefty fine.  In Mass, I think the fine is $1000.
Obama says he wants the bill passed by August.  Baucus says that it’s too late to start talking about single payer, as if it’s news to him.  This rush to pass this piece of crap is beyond me.  (It’s like they want the leg irons on us as soon as possible so they can leave a sinking ship.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if these un-American bastards were scoping out the real estate Kashmir.)
I’d like to say, ‘to hell with’em.’  Shitcan the whole friggin’ bill.  If that passes, we’ll probably won’t get another chance at a decent one until all these fascists are dead and gone and they can be replaced with true U.S. citizens: ones who will uphold the Constitution, who’ll keep their resposibilities, and do their duty.  We do not need shirkers.
If only there were a way to say, ‘to hell with them all.’  Ignore them.  Don’t pay taxes.  Let them die on the vine, dry up and blow away.  And in the meantime, Citizen Councils could come together to find a better way ourselves.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

re: Cathy

When President Obama announces that when it comes to health care “everyone is at the table”. This is the same neoliberal drivel that has been spewing out of the so-called progressive democrats for decades. You have to love the perversion of language, where “affordable” is deemed good enough. What exactly is meant by affordable? Now that everything is charged to the patient, it is easy to learn of financial horror stories where a person faints in a public place, is swept up by ambulance to hospital to run some tests (only to discover medical science is not sure what exactly caused the incident) and then be stuck with a bill costing thousands of dollars.
In the work force this happens time and again: temporary employer requires the possibly injured employee to be checked out medically, in order to cover the employer’s insurance needs.
No, very few will say that this country needs a National Health Service, not based upon the greed driven motives of the so-called market place. But to state this, protests from the entrenched will complain about the cost; complaints by the very same people who who see nothing wrong with wasting trillions on banks and totally insane wars.

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By Cathy, June 6, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Here is Obama selling us out on health care.  Another weekly address full of slick drival.  Here’s the article:

Here is a commercial addressed to Obama on single-payer:

And what is the bum’s rush.  Baucus supposedly said in a private discussion with Bernie Sanders and

These wonderful insurance mandates—which is something that he talked about in the debates—will destroy what is left of this country.  He doesn’t get it.  If he wants to create millions of jobs, he just figured out a way lose a few million more.  What is wrong with Obama? 

I know that Baucus ranks No. 1 in being bought and paid for by insurance, banks and pharma.  How much was Obama bought for—the so-called man of the people?  I would love to see these figures.

Here’s another interesting interview with Ezra Klein and Bernie Sanders.  In it is an interesting tidbit from Baucus:

“Tell me about yesterday’s meeting with Max Baucus. How did it come about? How did it go?

Baucus, after the arrest of nurses in his committee hearings, indicated a willingness to sit down and talk to single-payer advocates. His office didn’t follow up on that so I chattered with him and decided to be the intermediary. So we arranged for some of the leading single-payer proponents—Dave Himmelstein at Harvard, Marcia Angell also at Harvard—and we picked a time and a place. And the meeting was cordial.

Baucus began by talking about a trip to Canada and saying he left impressed by what he’d seen. People in Canada seemed to be doing a very good job. He also indicated that he regretted having said that single payer is off the table. But he felt that at this point the process was so advanced and the timetable so tight that he didn’t think he could schedule anything.”

Why is the timetable so tight? 

So here we have healthcare reform:  There are heroes, goats and liars here.  Do enough research and it’s not hard to figure out who fits what adjective.

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By garth, June 6, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

The Barack Obama who was a state senator of Illinois was for Single-payer and for ending the war in Iraq.
Now, after more than 1 million dead, 4 to 5 million Iraqis dislocated, the Sunnis decimated, invasion of the Kurdish province by the Turks, and its infra structure including antiquities destroyed, the war is over.  It’s an occupation, and according to Jeremy Scahill the occupiers will be our paid mercenaries.  They will police the 14 military bases that dot the Euphrates river and strategic points as well as protect the U.S. Emabassy in the Green Zone.
Now, he is for the “Good War” and against single payer.  Give us back the Obama who was senator of Illinois not the one from Illinois.  Based on speeches and actions, they are not the same man.
He also supports illegal eaves-dropping by the government and abetted by the phone companies.  He is building new torture cells in Bagram AFB.
But all we need to know about Obama is what Brian Williams of NBC news reported (as shown last night on the Bill Moyers’ Show).  “Obama is so awe-inspiring that grown men and women break into tears when they come into [the cone of] his presence.”
It also proves one old rule.  It is better to have rich friends than it is to have poor ones.
Maybe after a few more years of this Obama Administration, the grown men and women will have something for real to cry about.

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By taikan, June 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

George H.W. Bush being held to account by the right wing of his own party for breaking his campaign pledge (“Read my lips.  No more taxes.”) was the exception, not the rule.  That’s why the joke asking how one can tell when a politician is lying (answer - when is lips are moving) already was old when David Sirota was born. 

Simply put, the history of campaign promises is synonymous with the history of broken campaign promises.  That doesn’t make it right, but it does mean that anyone who truly believes that a politician is going to do (or even try to do) everything he/she promised to do during a campaign is naive.

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By MaryT63, June 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
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Obama, on the campaign trail, repeatedly said ‘get involved, hold your leaders (including himself) accountable for their actions’.  He begged people to get involved.  Now that he is elected, hold him accountable.  He said he would end the war in Iraq and move troops into Afghanistan.  He is doing what he said.  He said he would look into NAFTA and maybe open up negotiations again. 
For a guy coming into an economy meltdown (great recession), wall street crash, car industry letdown, world economy on the blink, setting up his governmental staff, how is he able to take care of all his campaign promises in 4 months, 17 days.
I say give Obama a break.

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By purucker1, June 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
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I think what upsets Mr. Sirota most is the intolerable arrogance displayed by this President. Although reading his books, it was evident that he had little regard for others as long as he looked good. An opportunist of the finest, a true member of todays leading class.His eloquence and good looks make him the ideal Mephistopheles to fool the world.We gave him the opportunity, but we can also take it away.
Four years is a short time….

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By hippie4ever, June 5, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

We may expect virtue from politicians but we ourselves are not virtuous. People lie, cheat and steal all the time—it’s why we have courts, polygraphs and anti-theft devices on merchandise. On the job, people often lie on their resumes and dissemble to the boss rather than tell the truth, which could get them fired. In relationships, we lie to protect the feelings of our partner but mainly to insulate ourselves from the karma of our bad actions.

So I expect the same faults from our politicians that we the people have in spades. On the other hand, the POLITICAL SYSTEM is a GROSS ENABLER, and our vices become magnified within our lawmakers. I am referring to lobbying, of course, a thinly-veiled euphamism for bribery…

It’s one thing to have sticky fingers within a store, and quite another to have Cayman bank accounts containing huge deposits from lobbyists who have just purchased votes within Congress.

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By samosamo, June 5, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

By KISS, June 5 at 8:41 am
““This proves that our great “Experiment in Democracy” is an abject failure.”“

This ‘abject failure’ is more to do with ‘american exceptionalism’, consumerism, blindly following the ‘pursuit of happiness’ and the major portion of people being turned into empty useless MSM zombies which destroyed the ability to maintain the most important part of maintaining a democracy, ETERNAL VIGILANCE.

So when another compaign kicks into high gear, pay attention to who the candidate sides with and cozies up to and HOW and WHO finances his/her run for an elected office and I put this this way because as iconistic as the presidency is, those creeps in the senate and the house of representatives have a lot more to do with the oversight, investigation, regulations, financing and passage of laws that at the moment are totally controlled and influenced(bribed) by the lobbyists, and the us poor ole people are just used as a facade to get someone elected just so they can cash in on that lobby money.

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By Anarcissie, June 5, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

My strong impression is that Obama was pretty up-front about what he believed in and intended to do, although often in the small print.  Most of the business about Obama being the peace candidate or the poor man’s candidate was not a matter of his lying to the people but the people, some of the people, choosing not to believe what he said.  For instance, he said he would “end” the war in Iraq (which Bush was already doing) and ramp up the war in Afghanistan and possibly extend it to Pakistan—and that is just what he seems to be doing today.  That his explicit statements to this effect were construed to be evidence that Obama was a peace candidate is astonishing, but there it is.  There were real peace candidates in both primaries, but people chose not to vote for them, preferring fables to facts.  Nothing new about that. 

So now David Sirota thinks Obama is a con man—but in fact, the person who conned David Sirota was David Sirota.

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By George Luce, June 5, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While Purple Girl rages with barely cogent claims that broken promises are a way of life in American politics, I agree with Sirota’s position that we must not accept such behavior as acceptable and normal. It’s also true that every politician’s first and most sacred responsibility is to get elected, but can’t we have just a tiny bit of honor and fortitude in the process?

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By Paul_GA, June 5, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

And the second duty of a politician, Beerdoctor, is to get RE-elected, as long as no term limit stands in the way.

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By Purple Girl, June 5, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Rush,Newt and BillO Thank You for Writing their scripts for tomorrow- How much do they pay you for your Speech writing and misrepresentation.
Are you Flippin’ Joking? Breaking campaign promises is New? What do you attribute to Reagans Re-election? Clintons?
Broken Campaign promise is not only the long standing Joke, but the damn punch line. Now you dare claim this is unprecedented. who the Hell do you work for? Or what Planet are you From? Or what Drugs are You On? Or What finally woke you Up Rip Van Winkle?
You are not so naive as to think that all competing candidates are granted full disclosure or intell while on the campaign trial do you. Ya think things may have come to light once he became Commander in Chief- unbeknownst to him as a candidate. Hell he was also handed a financial meltdown those in ‘the Know’ had no clue how to address- ya think he got a few surprises too? Working his way throught the Clusterf*ck known as Wall Street? Found out just within the last 5 months what covert operations had taken place over the last several decades which can not be waved away with a magic wand or even a speech- aka the covert operation which seized power for the Shah of Iran in away from the Democratically elected officials in ‘53.It’s long been suspected- he just admitted to having seen the Proof.
It’s not just that shit Changed, but extenuating circumstances and information has been revealed.
And by the Way do you think the majority of the Electorate are as naive as you. We realize the fact that once in office more infromation is available and our nations situation and status is not caught in some kind of inertia.
it is only the ‘gotcha’ media who still holds statements on the Campaign trail as full fledged promises- We in the Intellegent electorate see them as Goals for a direction. Hell any Human who is not trying to be an asshole KNOWS that even your average person can make a ‘promise’ but when unforeseen realities occur, we are sometimes forced to break them. Obviously You are not a parent- because parents know that ‘promises’ can not always be met- so we avoid making them. Obama is no doubt a parent- he parsed his words and goals out with care.That’s not the ‘slipperyness’ of a Politican, that the Realitic words of a wise parent.
Just Wait Mr. Sirota, you will learn quickly not to make ‘Promises’, just set goals,with conditions, when you become a parent.
Word of Warning- never promise a trip to the Zoo Tomorrow without adding a disclaimer. And Never Ever promise your kid a Car when they turn 16- You’ll Will Regret it.

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By KISS, June 5, 2009 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

David where were you when the Supreme court, long ago, determined that politicians cannot be held liable for lying during a campaign? So far Obama has broken every one of his campaign promises. This proves that our great “Experiment in Democracy” is an abject failure.
As in ” Cool Hand Luke” “We have a failure to communicate” Let the ropes and pitch forks come to the ready..

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By thebeerdoctor, June 5, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Mr. Sirota seems to be having trouble handling the “overheated rhetoric” that came flying out of the candidate’s mouth. Barack Obama has fully embedded Winston Churchill’s maxim that the first duty of a politician is to get elected. Perhaps in this 21st century, that is the only duty that matters at all.

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