Saturday, November 02, 2019

Predictable Criticism

Former Democratic senator Carol Mosely-Braun of  Illinois was never indicted. She was never formally charged with a crime, in a fairly similar manner to Donald J. Trump never having been charged with a crime.

In 1988, the corrupt Illinois senator was defeated for re-election and when asked by a local newspaper whether she'd ever run for office again, responded "Read my lips. Not. Never. Nein. Nyet."

It should have been left at that, but it didn't. Politico's Ryan Lizza went to Mosely-Braun for a comment about Elizabeth Warren's advocacy of Medicare for All. At one of her events in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts senator had been asked about the criticism of rival Pete Buttigieg that Medicare for All is, as a constituent put it, "unattainable." Warren responded

You don’t get what you don’t fight for. In fact, can I just make a pitch on that? People said to the abolitionists: ‘You’ll never get it done.’ They said it to the suffragettes: ‘You’ll never get that passed.’ Right? They said it to the foot soldiers in the civil rights movement. They said it to the union organizers. They said it to the LGBT community. We’re on the right side of history on this one.

This is obvious on its face. Yet

Some Democrats I talked to found the comparisons that Warren used to be jarring.“I have the highest respect for Sen. Warren but she’s wrong about this,” said former Sen. Carol Mosley Braun, the first female African American in the Senate. “Abolition and suffrage did not occasion a tax increase. People weren’t giving something up — except maybe some of their privilege.”

She added, “To compare the health care debate to the liberation of black people or giving women the right to vote is just wrong.”

No, no, it's just right because it's accurate. Matt Stoller proposes "re-centering history around financial power as a core battlefield, in contravention to Braun's interpretation of history. History matters!"

Mosley Braun's complaint that Medicare for All would "occasion a tax increase" hints at the central problem of Lizza's piece. He quotes Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's secretary of Health and Human Services; Cecilia Muñoz, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council; and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the deputy chief of staff in the Obama White House.  He seems impressed that these three Obama-era veterans would criticize health care reform which would take us where the Affordable Care Act promised, but failed: to universal health care.

"I think the Medicare for All positions our candidates are taking are absurd,” Lizza was told by DeParle, who added "You can win the Electoral College, but then you are going to be opposed by the [American Medical Association], the [American Hospital Association], and the AARP. And those are the good guys!"

It's revealing that one of the individuals who helped craft the ACA would refer to the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association as "good guys."  It helps explain the creation of a health care program which met the approval of most of the health care industry but largely failed to deliver. Perhaps it's unsurprising, though, because

While DeParle has an obvious conflict of interest, Sebelius and Munoz also have a conflict of interest, determined not to let anything erode the legacy of the president they served, who failed to provide effective and affordable health care for poor people and the middle class. Though earnest, Sanders and Warren will continue to find that there are forces in the Democratic Party (as well as in the industry) wary of candidates determined to succeed where they failed.

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