Monday, July 13, 2009
Congressman, we need to talk for a minute
You know, this is kind of disconcerting. Our friend Jane Hamsher, as you know, really believes, as I do, that you need to TAKE THE PLEDGE and refuse to vote for any bill that does NOT contain a public option for healthcare. She points out some of the bills on which you have not voted as you had indicated you would; while I understand that compromise is occasionally necessary, it is not ALWAYS necessary, not when the Democrats have the majorities they do in each House.
I also understand the term used often by our hero Ted Kennedy, that "the perfect is the enemy of the good". However, in this case, I'd like to turn that spin around and say that, in the instance of the public option, half-assed and inadequate is the enemy of the necessary and the acceptable.
Look, I KNOW you know this, and that you have had your name on a bill with public option from the day you arrived. We know that in your heart, you know that taking the pledge is the right thing to do here. However, as Jane pointed out, you said this before on the war and then voted on the final vote, FOR the supplemental.
I know that, as a member of leadership, you are pushed to whip folks into making a vote for a cobbled-together bill. This, however, makes it even MORE crucial that you take this stand; it tells leadership that NO BILL will pass without a public option. Because any bill WITHOUT a public option is worthless and meaningless.
As one of your friends and supporters for 30 years, I also give you this very real reason to TAKE THE PLEDGE: if you vote for a bill WITHOUT public option, you will give Mayor Herenton the one thing he does not have right now.
A SERIOUS, VALID POLICY-BASED CAMPAIGN ISSUE. I can hear him right now stumping in New Chicago and Greenlaw, in Binghamton and Bethel Grove, telling everyone there how you sold them out on the most important issue that we face, showing how you really don't know the community as much as you claim.
You and I both know this can happen, and WILL happen if you don't vote for a bill with public option.
Look, let me help give you some cover on this. Right now, I am going to ask my readers to take a minute to call your office in DC at (202) 225-3265 or here in Memphis at (901) 544-4131 so that we can get it on record that your constituents are besieging your office and that you HAVE to TAKE THE PLEDGE. If you get enough calls, as others have received, the leadership will have no choice but to understand.
We ARE trying to pin you down and make you commit. If you and enough of your colleagues do so, there will be no chance that the Blue Dogs and the Goopers can stop public option, and we'll be on the way to making healthcare work in America.
If not, well, let's just say that I'd rather have to call Congressman Cohen's office than Congressman Herenton's office, but if you back down on public option, I may be stuck with the latter instead of the former.
UPDATE: when you make that phone call, do us all a favor and go here to provide some information on the fabulous WHIP TOOL!