Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Eric Massa Is On SnS Blue

Image credit: Massa For Congress

This is an example of why I supported this guy, from an e-mail he sent to supporters yesterday:

Today I urge you, as I urged those 500+ people in Honeoye Falls - we must come together and unite around a single payer, universal health care system. No longer can we stand to live in a country, where your economic status is the determining factor in the quality of health care that you receive. No longer can we stand to live in a country where innocent children are shut out of the system and prevented from receiving the care they need to live long and healthy lives. This is not the America that we envision for ourselves. We deserve better! Even in this heated political climate, my support for a single payer system remains steadfast[.]

[link provided in e-mail]

I haven't weighed in with my own opinions on health care. Largely, that's because it's a complicated issue, both economically, scientifically, and politically. That seems like a strange attitude given the habit some people have of shouting down their opponents when they don't know what they're talking about. I suppose you could call it an eccentricity of mine.

Still, I've been in favor of the single-payer system. It seems like the best compromise between a truly unrestricted health care market, which is working about like you would expect that to now, and a completely government-controlled system. I'm not going to go into why right now, because that's a topic for a series of posts, not just one.

I support a public option for health care insurance as the best alternative that's actually being discussed by the people who can make something happen. It's definitely a less desirable alternative, but it could serve to keep health insurance companies honest.

Meanwhile, Eric Massa has had the good sense and courage to support single-payer. During the last two congressional election seasons, there has been a lot of support for the idea that we should support anyone who calls himself a Democrat, because there are just so many places where no one will vote for a progressive. Massa represents what has traditionally been a conservative district. While he has sometimes gone against progressive values, as he did in the case of the carbon offsets bill, he has generally supported progressive values. He's done it much better than some representatives, and many Senators from far more progressive constituencies.

Congressmen like Massa give the lie to the idea that the way to get our country's progressive values reflected in legislation is to elect anyone who is a Democrat, no matter how little his or her values represent us. What we've seen in those last two congresses is legislation that has been only superficially different from what the Republicans would have passed. The "conservative Democrats" have been as much of an obstacle to progress as the Republicans they, in many cases, used to be. At this point, who is really excited that we spent so much time and money electing Chris Carney, James Webb, or Heath Shuler? None of them has done ordinary Americans a lick of good, and they never will. It's not in their natures.

So, while all those big blogs will continue to support anything with a "Democrat" sticker plastered on it, around here things will be a bit more restrictive. Around here, we don't support candidates who just talk about change. We support candidates who will actually try to achieve it.

Call it an eccentricity of mine.

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