If you have "no place to go," come here!

FDL rallies support for Medicare for All! or the public option, or whatever. Something, anyway.

Valhalla's picture

I got this oddly (and in my mind, prematurely) triumphant email from Hamsher today:

They said we couldn't do it.

The proponents of the insurance industry giveaway spent $1.4 million dollars lobbying Congress every day. How could a small group of progressives beat back the machine of Big Insurance and PhRMA, who have paid off Members of Congress for decades? [answer: you didn't]

But we made phone calls. We took out ads. We got members of Congress to commit to vote against any bill that doesn't have a public option. [commitments which were ignored] We went up to the Hill and shot videos. We took polls that show the public option is popular even among Republicans in swing districts.

And it worked. We won this round.

The myth of "60 votes" in the Senate is dead, [the myth of needing 60 votes remains, only the number isn't there] Joe Lieberman has lost his control of the health care bill, the White House/Senate bill written by lobbyists for the benefit of big corporations is DOA, and the possibility of passing real health care reform is alive again.

[obligatory pitch to Send Money!]

Yesterday, we presented Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Raul Grijalva with more than 36,000 petition signatures telling him to stand strong in his commitment to real health care reform. Because of Grijalva's refusal to "go along, get along" and give PhRMA what they want, the possibility of expanding Medicare or a public option lives.

The Senate is in disarray because the House won't pass their corporate giveaway. Now that 60 votes are no longer possible, everyone is talking about passing legislation through reconciliation, where only 50 Senate votes are needed. The power of the "centrists" like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to dictate the terms of health care reform is gone.

How did we get here, against all odds? Because we knew that no matter what, the public was on our side. The public wants to do health reform right, not to pass a corrupt deal for the insurance industry.

Thanks to your support, newly energized progressives in the House are now pushing to expand Medicare or put a public option back into health care. In these final weeks, Firedoglake needs your help to continue to fight back against the corrupt deals and in favor of real reform.

[obligatory pitch to Send Money!]

Is Jane taking credit for getting Scott Brown elected to the Senate?

If (any) House progressives are pushing to expand Medicare, then why oh why are we still pushing for the useless and non-defined public option?

Could we please, please, please cut out some of the self-congratulation and replace it with a few words about what "real health care reform" would consist of? Probably not, but I just thought I'd ask.

No votes yet


Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I can't quite figure it out.

It seems to me if anyone defeated the health care bill and the 60-vote myth (which is a myth, just not the way Jane means it), it was the voters of Mass. who elected Scott Brown and scared a lot of House members (not just "progressive" ones) into finding they suddenly couldn't support the health care fail after all.

The irony is that in a way, she did contribute to the failure of the health care mess to pass, but not in a way she'd want to take credit for. By rallying people around the public option, she (and others) built a whole lot of real support for something that wasn't anything in the first place. Then, when Obama and the Senate couldn't bring themselves to pass even pretend reform, not even for the marketing value, it sparked a wave of disappointment in Obama as well as the oncoming tide of "progressive" reverse conversion stories we still suffer today. Combining a very real disappointment at the fall of a very fake public option, Democrats in Mass. stayed home or switched sides, allowing the Tea Partiers, who never supported any reform, real or fake to elect someone who will forever vote against any reform, fake or real. And scared the pants off enough members of Congress that none of them are even up to faking service to the voters anymore. Really, all the failure to pass even fake reform did was highlight just how irrelevant the current efforts of "progressives" are to the entire process.

But now Jane wants us all to support "real" reform. But there's no way to tell whether she means support for the fake reform or real reform, or whether she even cares which we support, as long as our support is real (money). It's all one giant mindf*ck to me. Perhaps those smarter than me can figure it out.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I think she's trying to take credit for defeat of the Senate's Bill.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

How did we get here, against all odds?

is that FDL rolled out an OFA tool during MA-Sen, much to the distress of a solid fraction of the community. Then, out came 'ward heeler' Rosenbaum to try and get the MA voters against corporate hcr in line to vote in the 60th vote.

Submitted by Anne on

are no more interested in transparency and accountability for their own endeavors, or in having a fully-informed community, than the media or the politicians are; I mean, where’s the advantage in that?

As a means of improving citizen-driven involvement, FDL certainly has played a role, but I often cannot keep from thinking that FDL is using their community for purposes that extend well beyond wanting to make a difference.

I don’t know; maybe I'm too much of a purist, lol.

I guess I have an aversion to that level of self-congratulation when it is accompanied by “Send Money,” and to heaping that congratulation upon themselves when victory is not only not assured, but not defined.

In any event, it makes me glad I removed myself from their mailing list.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

what color the sky is on Jane's world.

I honestly have no idea what she is talking about.

The Senate is in disarray because the House won't pass their corporate giveaway. Now that 60 votes are no longer possible, everyone is talking about passing legislation through reconciliation, where only 50 Senate votes are needed. The power of the "centrists" like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to dictate the terms of health care reform is gone.


What makes her think the President is going to let Anthony Weiner and Bernie Sanders dictate the terms of health care reform? Didn't the Health Industrial Complex spend $20 million on Obama? They're going to keep wanting their money's worth. I seriously doubt Obama is suddenly going to embrace Medicare for All now.

And for her to take credit for the current state of things is mindblowing. She is an agent of the status quo, nothing more.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I seriously doubt Obama is suddenly going to embrace Medicare for All now.

Ronald Reagan signed the bill for sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

but FDL won't get us there, the kind of stuff ntoddpax is talking about really could.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

So, I call this progressive spin on steroids. FDL does great work, as does Jane H. at times, but when she is wrong she is REALLY wrong and she enables the regressives. And she did in a whopping way with HCR. The Dem party was weak and the public option compromise helped bring it down even farther.

This is about a political imagination of a progressive leader that was strong and willful alongside a very limited moral imagination -- limited vision -- on this issue. Political convictions eclipsing moral sensibility. And a naivete that craven crony corporate capitalism would make room for the pragmatic progressives. And she called us the naive idealistic ones?

Strategy losing sight of the true goal. No eyes on the true prize to the point of demonizing fellow progressives with their eyes on the true prize as her enemies rather than in the same movement with universal health care as the ultimate goal. My way or the highway! Insisting to take the universal healthcare movement from A to a pathetic B, when 45,000 people are presently dying prematurely each year and people are going bankrupt every sixty seconds, and when you look at how every other industrial nation has universal health care, it is time to take it from a pathetic A .... on to Z --- everybody in, nobody out -- WHY NOT -- IF NOT NOW WHEN WHEN THE CORPS HAVE PROVEN CRAVEN AND THEY CAN BE FIRED -- though incredibly xenophobic Americans would rather have a strangling plan for themselves because they are so hell-bent and paranoid that poorer, ethnic, immigrant, non-Christian, non-Fox loving, whoever else Americans could have beneficial comprehensive coverage, also. Soldiers in America's War on Empathy.

HR676 is a solid, simple, clear, sane, fiscally conservative (that is the killer, it is a friend to break the deficit, obama et al.) and the obstacles to it -- citizen apathy and/or xenophobia, Republican and Democratic leadership's amorality and craven cronyism with corporatists and craven media, progressive hubris and gamesmanship more than statesmanship and team-working, and ..... an obsolescent yet embedded insurance system surviving on sheer obscene bribery, with little positives to give, but taking 30 cents of every health care dollar and steadily eroding health care for EVERYONE! Except for maybe the Rolls Royce plan Congress people enjoy and will til they die.

Jane H. and her trojan pony public option and all its promoters are NOT on the right side of history imho. They detoured and broke the march for single payer expanded medicare for all universal health care. Their plan was shortsighted. It was divisive.

I give them tremendous credit for their political imagination and efforts in a Rovian-like success of promoting and establishing the buzzwords "public option" into the public discourse thanks to corporate media and corporatists and their enablers cooperating since the trojan pony public option faux-movement they recognized with their political astuteness did not just water down the expanding Medicare movement, it thwarted it. It eclipsed it totally. It downright contradicted its essence. Universal health care for all. The trojan pony public option ... was touted as a compromise.It was a red herring.

And since the public option was of a rhetorical "cotton candy" subsistency, and not a real workable structure that a Congressperson or Prez or activists could actually assert and citizens could understand and wrap their minds and hearts around like the workable awesome structure like HR676 that was IGNORED OR MALIGNED by these people as not feasible ... even though it would bring $350-$400 billion a year to sustain universal health care. And it is still there waiting. But still, with the cotton candy dissolution of the public option, surprise, THEY STILL WILL NOT PROMOTE A BILL THAT IS SITTING THERE WAITING TO HELP THIS NATION RECOVER. Geeeesssssshhhhh!!!

So, this opportunity would be awesome and historical and Jane H. could help redeem her role in this chapter of health care history by yes celebrating the maybe rejection of a watered down bill (but with every apparent win for sanity and morality a fresh hell crops up to shock and awe and cruelly roll us back even farther) ... anyway, JH could embrace the reality of her recent history and not brag that her advocacy of a watered down trojan pony of a public option was something courageous, incisive and noble. If she could now bring herself and her army to endorse and fight their hearts out for single payer Medicare for All which kicks the predatory and obsolescent mega-corps to the curb, that burned her and Progressive Congresspeople.... HELLO??. But she cannot go there. I don't know if my ego would let me go there, either, if I were her and had led the public option crusade. Denial is a bitch to break out of or into.

So tonight Obama's ego will push him to rationalize his watered down sell out administration. That he is doing his best, pragmatically speaking. So tired of faux-reform posturing as if it is a movement of passion and integrity.

You compromise by getting down with dogs, you get up with fleas and you spread them to the whole country and world.

And then you spin it and deny it. Oy vey.

Submitted by lambert on

Glad to see that one start to propagate ;-) Be sure to use it everywhere you can....

sporkovat's picture
Submitted by sporkovat on

here is one of my favorites, from July 22nd.

Jane Hamsher July 22nd, 2009 at 11:56 am
In response to sporkovat @ 34 (show text)
You. Have. No. Plan.

Your plan is to sit here and complain in our comment section. Unless we are a great deal more powerful than I ever expected, you are committed to failure, and you want to drag everyone else down with you.

Have a safe trip.

so, implicitly the choice is between not having a plan and tenaciously sticking to a stupid plan?

nice to see LL again - are you retired from FDL?

Submitted by lambert on

... of having Jason Rosenbaum pollute the discourse for money, and instituting a single payer news black out as a matter of editorial policy? That plan?

sporkovat's picture
Submitted by sporkovat on

having the legions of firepups badger their congresscritters without ever having a credible "or else" clause, besides maybe a pouty threat not to donate that $25 again.

the canny pols had to weigh this against what the (D) leadership and the corporate and lobbyist donors might do to them should they let the team down in the clutch.

then, in Mass we saw why there could be no "or else I withold my vote" clause - because that notion got a nasty scolding from B-list front pagers over there.

in exchange, for what exactly I have no idea, FDL leadership maintained tight message discipline throughout the summer, Public Option all the time, 62.3% of Americans supposedly support this wonkish nebulosity, and remember 42,000 Americans are dying a year because of the awful Insurance Cartel!

yeah, lets go back over that plan with with Jane someday, ok?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

This process is a classic example of reflexivity: one’s judgment of what is possible leads to one’s choice of action, which impacts a later judgment of what’s possible, which impacts one’s choice of a similar action as before, and so one goes round and round in a deflationary cycle that ends with action defending a PO-based reform that is only a shadow of what one started out to support.

Well put!

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Vintage vitriol... well put.

Spork, I am so happy to see you and once again enjoy your wit, smarts and great spirit! :) Miss you and those sharing your sensibility back in Dodge. Corrente has been a joy though I have been scattered in my attendance. But appreciate the enlightenment and wit of generous host and peers!

Just as I wear the black arm band every day since last May ever waiting for Obama to be a minimally moral man re torture and habeas corpus ... (but instead having more and more shock and awe over further amoral sell outs) i await Jane's epiphany to reality. Yes, I had the same naive trust that JH, despite her horrifying shoot from the hip cruel snipings at those of us who don't drink the "Jane Hamsher Juice" ... more faux-organic than regular kool-aid ... would wake up and smell the morality and reality. Get who the real bad guys are. But she is on her own "pragmatic progressive exceptionalism" island.

And when she was so up close and personal on that one thread being so irrationally rude and faux-righteous in castigating open and willing single payer advocates who would not line up fast enuf apparently and ask "how high?" when she was suddenly ordering us to "jump" -- it was an opportunity to work together and my Charlie Brown hope with her was up high ... and she couldn't restrain herself from punishing ... it was stunning and I wanted reality to be different.. please, Jane, don't let this be who you are, though I had seen it exercised before but not at me but commenters I cared about and I swallowed it grimly ... but with this occasion, she was crazymaking, and obnoxious to those in an immediate exchange with her, those of us single payers who were there for community organization and bonding and ... WTF?... she lashed out and was declaring a negative inventory of those who were being OPEN ... (I always imagined though she might have a gavel next to her laptop and slammed it down whenever she answered any commenters taking issue with any of her blog assertions)

There is a bell jar over FDL. Some FDLers recognize it and negotiate it and good for them if they hold on to their dignity and make use of FDL's incredible usefulness, I especially miss people like you .. and those book salons, thought I would lurk but don't ... But my exit was an emotional and moral outrage at not just her philosophical close-mindedness but her personal level irrational assault on the human dignity of fellow commenters, especially one friend now here, that day. I had been encouraging Jane and fellow single payers to bond together. As I declared on a later thread, she seriously reminded me suddenly of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi or the mad Queen in Alice in Wonderland. And before that moment I had had faith that Jane had some personal and philosophical openness and enough good will to begin working with single payers.

Yes, she is a compelling leader in many ways. But such profound gracelessness and competitive we're right and you're wrong ... is toxic patriarchal not partnership leadership. Too bad. Would hope a woman leader would respect the importance of nurturing a community more and welcome those in even if they don't echo the leader's total take. And FDLers have to decide if this is okay with them and so be it. It is a gret forum and brain trust .. and her media accessibility can help the movement except when there is the seduction of celebrity or human result of cronyism and hubris, or when a wrong-headed strategy manages to eclipse a more wholesome plan, like her trojan pony public option ... (I think air america was dividing up sadly from shallow knee-jerk political cronyism that it used to hate with Repubs.)

But when good people do nothing and do not give truth to power, as I know some like you do, then they are part of the problem and are passive hostages themselves not part of the solution. Followers are never whole people Scott Peck says, and some character defects in leaders should not be silently endured imho. Jane didn't only lose me that day but others. And I wrote Jane personally, hoping once again that she would explore it and reach back but she did not...and that was my own presumptive naivete, vanity, whatever It hurt to leave. It and you guys gave me so much. I had to leave just out of my own personal code, I guess.

She evokes great loyalty. I give her that. But i wonder about those followers of her zero tolerance line that they don't call her on her power and control lapses. Authoritarian following just doesn't happen on the left, apparently.

Spork, I do miss hearing your take on issues. Glad you are on this campus!


sporkovat's picture
Submitted by sporkovat on

... and thanks for the narrative about yr departure - you had a fine string of diaries going for awhile.

the Seminal seems the only place to get a counternarrative going there - realworld had one that blew up to like 600 comments. the mainpage is much more group-thinky.

makes me miss Chrity Hardin Smith - whatever happened with her? was there a putsch?

part of my purpose there was to draw some ire away from folks like you, who could pursue some of the same directions in response to posts while they banged on me with pots and pans , hammer and tongs.

ps were you around when she went on a sarcastic tangent about Dennis Perrin?

sporkovat November 30th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

In response to Jane Hamsher @ 243 (hide text)
I don’t know. Maybe Dennis Perrin does?

Dennis Perrin has some good recipes for Egg Nogg. have a soothing cup, and good night.

was this the toxic thread you were referring to?

that is the nadir right there - pure nasty.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

The toxic Jane link.


It took a while to google this and find it. The action seriously gets going around comment 120 I think but there was a tension throughout and stuff at the end was added later not all in one sustained exchange, late in the thread reactions.

But your link share certainly explains some of the defensive-offensive attitude that was going to flash out from Jane in my linked one. Oy vey. Thanks.

I think I was so invested in wanting some kind of higher ground for single payers at FDL and Jane had asked a couple single payers including me to do a project for her that I thought was also a good sign for joining forces... and then all that anti-Naderite rhetoric sweeps out, I mean she has trouble reining in that contempt. Even during an occasion whereby she was stumping for contributions and volunteer work for single payer candidate Tasini and the single payers were perfect to enter stage left. And I had my pollyanna hopes up. I think I blogged a plea in June asking for FDL to help the single payer community there. Finally I saw this ray of hope.

I am ashamed I haven't shown up for Tasini yet as a NYC volunteer. I was so impressed with him and signed up. But end of year and beginning of this one I had a few health issues, one was sustained flu, one was a carpal tunnel type problem with my right hand. It is slowly getting better .. and some serious work stress and training still going on. But I hope to get on board soon. Good we are talking about it.

Gotta go, but to be continued. Obama bummed me out tonight. Covering all the bases he was, but the one about not wanting to punish the banks. Why not? Lip service to the poor people whose letters he exploited, but short but SOLID assurance to the banksters. GRrrrrrrr. Easy shot at the SCOTUS.

Thanks for all the TLC you gave me at FDL and now here. :) Later



sporkovat's picture
Submitted by sporkovat on

. . . it was all huggy for awhile there, wasn't it, until JH lashed out at dcblogger for saying:

It appears to me that you have finally come to terms with the fact that the Democratic leadersheep plan to pass a bail out for insurance parasites.

and things devolved from there. ech!

the ultimately cynical view would be that it was a setup, with JH and PW ready bash FDL SP advocates for their weak fundraising mojo.

which, as selise pointed out very late in the thread, may have had something to do with most of the SP movement steering way clear of FDL as a known PO Roach Motel. (my gloss on selise's more nuanced post.)


the site is swamped with "Naderite" tendencies now, though. I hope they have fun with each other.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Thanks for being around and helping me review the situation after time has passed. It was weird in the hallway post FDL. So glad to be here.

You, selise, lets and sturdy others are strong voices over there and it was motivating and still is I am sure from you truth to power folks. I think operating from Seminal's left field was satisfying in its continuity and the special support I was getting but when invited closer in to help by the Queen Bee whom I had had hope for and had a vision of communicating single payer with, wanting that kind of progressive bipartisanship, though I think I was way too much a feeler for the FDL regulars, and Jane is all about ACTION ACTION ACTION ... and good at dealing with the trees more than observing the bird's eye forest view ... but a genius with the structuring of fund raising, etc., and ass-kicking of recruits .. and then seeing there was so little good will to actually work with from her to all SP persons after all ... a pre-decision...and how confusing was that to me... and, wanting a "llve and let live" acceptance and orbit of mutual respect but instead getting knee jerk contempt and impatience... WTF??? so I walked.

Not a thick enough hide, or I needed to process my disappointment and also register my protest. Again, there was solid support from many in that forum for each other and me in defiance of the Jane Juice sipping clique. Jane is who she is. I wanted her to be an expansive, inclusive person and a visionary .. assumed she was as overseer of that awesome and populated site. She wields and wielded power. Was hoping she could wield it for the universal health care cause full throttle without the Washingtonian mimicking gamesmanship. Wanted her to have more faith in it and people's willingness with nurturing leadership to embrace universal health care now and fight the cutthroat profiteers. But if our own advocate progressive leaders like the Jane Hs can't envision its reality, how can they lead into fulfilling its reality? Anyway, FDL -- It's an amazing site and many people do get to be honest and earnest. But the bell jar is there, too, imho, at least now for me.

But your voluntary persona you labeled as pots and pans banger .. wow... you did fulfill that noble role with style, my friend. You role modeled bravery and honesty and bluntness. You did create space for honesty and differing perspectives for others.

Again, to be continued. Glad you are on this campus, too! :)

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

lib and val, I did a double-take on this e-mail too. When I hit the request for funds, I asked myself why I'd want to give any money to an organization that would only use it to try to resurrect a bill like HR 3692 which I had earlier called for killing, just because it had that pitiful PO. I think Jane needs to come back to Medicare for All and quit fooling around with pre-compromises.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Serious as an untreated heart attack.

"Public option," as a shiny distraction from real healthcare reform, is a killer.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I believe the “yes buts” must confront some inconvenient truths immediately. The “political feasibility” rationale for doing nothing to assist the single-payer movement was never a good one or, at minimum, after two decades of constant use, has become an embarrassment and must be discarded. It is foolish to argue that even the tiniest “public option” will constitute a victory that can be built on later. If the “yes buts” see these truths, then unity within the universal coverage movement should be possible. And if unity comes to the universal coverage movement for the first time in 40 years, single-payer can’t be far behind.

The political "yes buts". "Too cool for school", too cool for heeding true decency and morality. Gamesmanship uber alles, even what they give lip service to it as their ULTIMATE goal. If they can't help the cause, instead of getting out of the way, they posture for easy, cynical power, and leech off it for power helped by enabling inside players.

And their colossal and unbelievable denial of their own responsibility in obstructing real progress in the universal health care goal. There sure is an "I" (as in ego) in Denial. Don't-Even-Notice-I-Am-Lying.

Watching Obama right now. talk is cheap. I look at all those politicians sitting there filling the small tv screen and Obama spouting so confidently and I feel so much disgust with them. Hypocrisy thy name is Obama and Congress. Obama has the nerve to bring up his change promise. Yeah, Obama, quote hard luck stories from people who write you. I don't believe you are sincere in really helping them. I wish I did but you have proven a self-serving say anything bait and switch political hack.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

I did a double-take on this e-mail too.

me too.

Submitted by Anne on

Thanks for distilling it down to the truth.