Want Health Care? Go Door to Door or You Won't Get It

By Al Giordano

On May 26 I wrote The Summer of Shove Begins, at a time when pundits and bloggers alike were gnashing teeth over whether US President Barack Obama was overreaching in his now successful agenda to have Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor confirmed by early August and to have a health care bill ready in September.

I suggested, as I pretty much always do, that readers ignore the chattering up above and watch the ground game down below and that will decide how the story goes: “the real history will be made, this summer - as during the last two - by the unsung heroes and heroines: the organizers.”

It was a reference to Organizing for America – Obama’s grassroots political arm – and its organizers (you know who you are) who would spend the summer setting up the battle to be waged in this month of September over the problem that has eluded solution for decades in the United States: the now 46 million Americans who don’t have access to health insurance.

Labor Day weekend is here, so let’s bring the patient in for a seasonal check up.

Two days ago, Organizing for America field marshal Mitch Stewart blasted out an email titled The Real Story of August, (a title that resonates with my own May declaration of where “the real history” of the summer would be made). He wrote:

At the beginning of August, President Obama wrote to the OFA community to challenge us to work hard, break through the noise and give the American people a voice in the fight for health insurance reform.

It wasn't easy: With Congress back home, special interests and partisan attack groups went into overdrive spreading lies, and the media seemed to broadcast any story of conflict or division they could find.

But you accepted the President's challenge -- and delivered.

See it for yourself: Check out the latest photos and stories from around the country.

Our strategy for the month was simple: engage the millions of individuals who know we need change to fight the lies and tell the truth, build support for reform, and ensure that support is highly visible while members of Congress are home gauging public opinion. We continued our methodical, battle-tested approach of volunteers reaching out online and offline in every part of the country. We offered the facts, answered questions and engaged those who were ready to get involved.

Stewart provided the following numbers, as any decent community organizer does: 350 town hall meetings were held over the summer across the country with 70,000 attendees. More than 5,000 group visits to local Congressional offices were organized, along with more than 100,000 phone calls to Congress members in support of the President’s health care proposals.

Mass meetings like those held in Missouri by Senator Claire McCaskill and in Ohio by Senator Sherrod Brown have drawn thousands of health care supporters, always with a screaming but small minority of health care opponents just to keep it lively. A similar dynamic was at play last Monday in Skokie, Illinois, when US Rep. Jan Shakowsky held such a session in a 1,300 seat auditorium. A Field Hand who was there reports there were still 500 left outside waiting in line, including a few screwballs chanting “No public health care!” Various shouting matches ensued. Sounds like democracy to me.

Stewart concluded:

Our strategy is working. We are going to win this thing. Americans will finally get the health insurance reform we all need.

And he added a link to On The Ground reports from mass pro-health care rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, all in the past week. These were mainly held, notably, in Electoral College “swing states” that were in play last November and will be again in the future. As such, they also contain many “swing districts” where members of Congress of either party are vulnerable to challenge and thus more susceptible to the kind of grassroots organizing and pressure from below that is targeted at them.

It’s a two-fer for the Obama organization, as it is impacting the effort to pass national health insurance while also flexing the muscles of its political organization to keep it in shape for the 2010 midterm and 2012 presidential elections.

On Wednesday night, the President will address a joint session of Congress, mainly about health care, and that will be nationally televised. It will be the official kick-off of the fall political season in the United States.

Meanwhile, the pundits and the blogosphere alike have been more obsessed with the game up above. Every utterance by every “unnamed White House source” in the media about what kind of bill might get voted on in Congress becomes the daily bread of commentary, with the usual doses of Chicken Little feathers flying and armchair quarterbacking.

And while the polls show that the American public strongly favors national health care with a “public option,” the media and Internet cacophony over the specifics of the plan have generated considerable confusion.

Democratic pollster Joel Benenson explains in a memo:

82% of Americans say that the U.S. health care system needs either fundamental changes (55%) or needs “to be rebuilt” (27%). (CBS, Aug. 31)

So far, so good, but:

Only 31% say they “understand the health care reforms under consideration in Congress, while 67% say they find them confusing. (CBS, Aug. 31)

…an NBC poll found that initially, only 36% said that the President’s health care plan is “a good idea” while 42% say it is a bad idea. (NBC, Aug. 17).

And he outlines three “talking points” that, when explained to the public, jump that weak support for a specific plan to a clear majority of 53 percent:

Requirements on insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions;

Requiring all but the smallest employers to provide health coverage or pay a percentage of their payroll to help fund coverage for the uninsured

Tax credits to help families and individuals to help them afford coverage

The good news: If those three points are explained coherently to the public, support hardens for a specific plan. Since Congress responds to polling data, that’s important. Those three talking points are the road map to victory.

The bad news: Neither the corporate media nor the blogosphere are going to clarify any of those three points for the public. They're too obsessed with the sideshows up above to achieve any clarity or coherence on the matter.

And this leaves the whole ballgame in a different set of hands in the coming weeks: yours.

Organizing for America is, simply put, the best and only instrument through which regular everyday people can effectively inform and move public opinion to write the outcome of this battle.

What’s clear is that Organizing for America is healthy and strong as an organization. Every task that it said it would do at the beginning of the summer has been complied with. It is an organization that is walking its talk. And it exudes the same competence and trust in community organizing that characterized the Obama campaign of 2007 and 2008.

A lot of people have asked me recently what to do if they want national health care with a public option. I’ve answered that Organizing for America has the plan and specific instructions for what each individual can do. Some have responded, “but what else can I do?” Wake up. There is no “what else.” That is the path, the only one that leads to possible victory on this long elusive goal.

At this point, any health care proponent that isn’t signed up and carrying out the community organizing tasks charted by Organizing for America is self-marginalized from making history here. You can blog or post Facebook status updates until you are blue in the face and it won't change a thing.

You can argue about whether the US House Progressive Caucus and Speaker Pelosi will really vote against a plan that doesn’t include a full public option (knowing these Congressional progressives for many years, I would put very little faith in their ability to stand firm as a group when push comes to shove), or whether Senator Olympia Snow’s “trigger” option, or US Rep. James Clyburn’s watered-down “pilot program” option will or should be taken seriously, or whether the administration should be talking to one side or another about those proposals.

But none of that chatter about the political game up above means spit when it comes to determining what kind of plan can achieve passage.

It’s crystal clear to me that the White House wants a full public option, but that it is Congress that will determine whether it is attainable in September or October of 2009.

It is also evident that, through Organizing for America, the President has unleashed a gargantuan grassroots effort to push Congress and public opinion toward the best possible plan, preferably with a public option. In that, he's done more than the people shouting at him to "do more" have done.

Whether that public option can be achieved immediately (I disagree with those who opine that if it isn’t done now it will never happen, the arc of the universe bending slowly and such) depends entirely on whether enough members of Congress perceive it in their self interest to vote yea on it.

Thus, shouting at the President about what kind of plan he should discuss or not with Congress is the most futile task imaginable. If you’re for the public option, the President is already on your side to the extent that he has the votes in Congress.

And as ought to be obvious, Internet activism doesn’t move Congress. It never has. One has to go out onto the street, knock door to door, staff phone banks and such to bypass the media-fed confusion (and also to break out of your own demographic market niches), and explain those three talking points above to the people. That, and only that, has a chance of bolstering the poll numbers around a specific health care plan with a public option.

So don’t tell me - as some have - that I have to be blogging every day about this – serving only as an echo chamber for a hundred competent health care policy bloggers that are already doing it – when we all know (or should recognize) that blogging and online social networking doesn’t hold any key to victory here.

I’ll say it again, as it is the central message of this essay: If you want health care with a public option, go door to door with Organizing for America to get it. If you do not go door to door or phone bank or do data entry or other support work for such efforts, you’re not going to get it. Period. End of story: Then it will be your fault, not the president’s.

Those are the big, left, outside and from below observations of a correspondent who has just spent half the summer in Honduras doing the ground level reporting that is made necessary because the President’s Secretary of State has botched the US response to the coup d’etat there in ways that have bought time for the coup regime.

(In the event anyone thinks I’m just just shilling for Obama when I tell you that Organizing for America offers your only path to health care with a public option, I’m really not a happy camper when it comes to his administration’s behavior on my own beat of Latin America, but one must have the wisdom to be able to recognize two different policy fronts as two different battles. If the White House or anybody else would like me to spend more time writing or firing people up about health care, my only demand is that they pull Secretary Clinton’s havoc-wreaking incompetence off of this corner of a country called América. Until then, I’m too busy cleaning up after her mess down here, and doing the supervising job that her superior seems too distracted by the health care battle to conduct.)

So what do I know about the health care debate? To look at events in the United States from outside of them, with the perspective that comes from being apart from the US media and Internet echo chambers, is what The Field has done since it began. That, and administering Chicken Little vaccine shots, which, alas, are not yet offered in any health care legislation. The booster shot I just gave some of you – I’ll repeat: Want health care? Go door to door or you’re not going to get it! – was with the small needle.

And I’ve got a big painful syringe waiting for some of the flock that just seem to be clucking for a smackdown. But for now, let’s see if the little needle works.

 

Comments

This should be crossposted

To DKOS.

 

It will be amusing, if nothing else, to see the sparks that will ensue. (But I think it would be very useful to do so, too)

@ JPM

JPM - I never post over there unless I can invest a couple hours in the discussion thread, precisely because of said sparks. Today I don't have the time. But if anyone else wants to crosspost or quote extensively and wander into that discussion, you have my permission.

Healthcare

NO CO-OP'S! NO TRIGGERS! A Little History Lesson

No Triggers! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-rosenbaum/a-trigger-for-the-public_b...

Young People. America needs your help.

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% of republicans). Basically everyone.   

According to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. And 79% of seniors support creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!! Senator Max Baucus, You better come out of committee with a strong government-run public option available on day one...

Worth more than fifty line-in-the-sand diaries:-)

I wonder why so many progressives and people on the left like to engage in fruitless 'poutrage' exercises. See this video! Get upset over what that Republican said! It gives the right too much power over their mind and also their time. So why they are doing it? There must be a psychological explanation, because it sure isn't rational.

So I really appreciate your commentary, Al. Helps keeping me sane:-)

Done!

My first diary on DKos.  I thought I probably would never do a diary, but your Journalism School pitch yesterday inspired me, Al, so I gave it a whirl.  Now, I'll see what it's like handling comments, heh.

Great post, and way to go, Ann!

Thanks, Al, for another sharp post. Agree completely the occasional healthcare blog from you (esp through the community organizing lense) most effective/best use of your valuable time.

Ann, awesome to see your comment above! Congrats on the diary! Do you want to post the link? (I'm not on DKos much, don't really know how to navigate it ;).)

- Tonya

 

Lordy, Ann

Ann - Nice work. The comments section over at your post is engaging and interesting, too. Almost thought I was here.

Thank You, Al

And, just like that, you cut through all of the FUD.

Your pep talks are the exception that proves your "you can blog...until you are blue in the face and it won't change a thing" rule.

How quickly we (myself included) the lessons learned.

Thank you, thank you, Al. I

Thank you, thank you, Al. I concur with just about everything in here. I spend probably too much time on an Internet forum wherein the consensus (from those who do nothing to change things in real life) is that Obama is a shameless whore for insurance companies and only cares about securing donors for his own re-election, so it's nice to have an antidote to such highly concentrated poutrage.

One question though (sincere, not trolling!): you say it's clear to you that the White House wants a public option. What do you make, then, of HHS Sec. Sebelius and Obama publicly walking back the public option a few weeks ago, saying it "wasn't necessary" or only a "sliver"? They, and others out of the White House, have been all over the map on this, and it's not entirely clear to me that it's any kind of Obama head-fake or strategy so much as clumsy, ill-disciplined messaging.

Little needles

Thanks Al

I have missed your little needles keeping me sane. You are so correct in your analyses.

For those saying that when

For those saying that when it comes to the whole push for health care reform Obama needs to do more, I can only think of a weight training analogy.

Imagine someone working out with very little intensity doing leg extensions with an almost non existent poundage. While leg extensions have their place in weight training they're not in the same universe as Squatting.

Suddenly the dude doing leg extensions sees someone next to him Squatting his way to the twentieth rep with 400 pounds and says "you really need to learn how to train hard".

That's what this seems like to me. When the Paul Krugman's of the world, as well as most of the left blogosphere, scream that Obama's not working hard enough for reform, or being tough enough, you feel like saying, hey you schmuck, Obama (as Al said above) with just Organizing For America alone has "done more than the people shouting at him to "do more" have done."

So seriously, those who are doing leg extensions as their sole leg movement really need to stop lecturing those of us who are squatting.

This is the other part of my challenge as an OFA organizer

I concur with Greg H. that our folks have been very confused by the inconsistent messaging and hints that seem to undermine what they understood to be their marching orders. 

Those chicken little immunizations

Have been sorely missed. I've followed your south of the border postings, and clearly understand the priority, but that did not keep me from wanting a big hypodermic with a dose of chicken little virus... not so much for me, I've been doing my thing with OFA this summer, but for all the histronics that seem to be dominating the progressive blogs and such. I've comforted myself many a night remembering the primaries, and then the election, and my own sojourns to Nevada to knock on doors; the ground game is what it's about; thank you for never getting off track!

@Tonya

Here's where the DKos article is- http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/9/5/777543/-Its-the-Polls,-StupidITPS-from-The-Field.  It's expired from the main page, so has progressed into the past now.  That was a very interesting adventure.

Thanks for the nice words about it, Al.  You made my day!

Good to see you back on this

Good to see you back on this beat again, Al. I hope you've stockpiled a LOT of Chicken Little vaccine because it's a pandemic out there! This, despite the fact that most everything that's happened could have been predicted months in advance by an observant person.

If Chicken Little is this Bad Over Healthcare

Wait until the next issue comes up: immigration. The xenophobes will be in complete toddler meltdown over that. Effective immigration reform will of necessity fast-tracking at least some long waiting legal and illegal immigrants into citizenship during a time of economic hardship.

We Have to Do This Ourselves.

I've been here since before Iowa. That said, I know enough to know OFA's instructions to "Tell Your Stories" to recalcitrant Reps (like Feinstein) this summer was an efficient exercise only in wasting their Field Rep's time.  For ex: DiFi's 'stack' of stories is no more compelling to her than those she receives from, say Veterans. It is less so (given her campaign for 2010 is near). It is not a bigger 'stack' than Nelson's from Foster Families, & so on - it's a Sophie's Choice & a poor strategy to offer.  I don't agree we've been given, by OFA, 'what we need to know' & what we need to tell our reps. I expect to be led more wisely.

So, I go door to door myself. I write letters to all Blue Dogs regularly & use OFA's phone bank. I know the larger reasons reform matters & fiscal impacts on jobs & @ the local level. That is what will 'sell' real reform.

OFA is either not as smart as it once was, or doesn't believe we are smart & have effective ideas to offer as it once did. Some of us who got here b/c we think things through are trying to do a better job than OFA is.

 

 

Thanks, I needed that!

I've been cutting back on my online media consumption to avoid the negativity, but I needed a little push to propel me into action.

Always Appreciated

The analysis of OFA was sorely needed.  We need Obama, and Obama needs us to take this message to the People.  Al's work and coverage in Honduras has been invaluable to my learning about the work of Authentic Journalism in places I basically know little about.

In one great article, you have confirmed how to get the health reform plan we need.  When I opened "The Field" today and saw the OFA "Standing Together For Health Insurance Reform",  well, I started to cry.  OFA has stepped up to the plate.  We must step up, stand together and get this done.

Thanks again, Al.

Health Care and OFA

YAY, Al! It's so good to see that you're taking up the cudgel on our behalf here at home. As a former FO for OFA I agree wholeheartedly that we need to get out there and kick some ass. Please keep these essays coming, Al. Thanks again!

More information regarding Organizing for America

Jeremy Bird "debunks" myth regarding OFA's involvement in healthcare protester lockouts at senators' offices.

http://sophiaelena.com/organizingforamerica.html

and Sophia Elena's video of Senator Feinstein's lockout of healthcare protesters as she get's ushered up to the senator's office with a group sent by Organizing for America.

http://sophiaelena.com/senatordiannefeinstein.html

For more videos regarding Organizing for America, Jeremy Bird, SEIU, Acorn, Healthcare Protesters, Tea Party, Tea Baggers, visit

http://www.sophiaelena.com/media.html

Door to door/ person to person

After our regular Tuesday night OFA phone bank this week, 41  out of 53 people said they support the Presidents principles for Health Insurance Reform. Our team SW Cheshire for Change has been phoning regularly, talking to people about this issue. After a phone discussion, one gentleman said to me that he was unhappy with the way the President was not getting his message out there, and I said, Well, that is what I am doing right now on the phone with you. We are locals working in our community, talking one on one. And he said “Oh I hadn’t thought about it that way. Well if you guys are out there phoning, then I’m feeling a lot better about that.”

We have also been clipboarding on streetcorners, talking to regular people and getting the message out there.

further thoughts on Healthcare Reform and Social Networking

I'm working on a piece about the experience of being one of two Democrats in a vast family network of Republicans, and had some thoughts about the futility or not of FB status statements, etc.

About a third of my FB "friends" are family -- sibs, nieces, nephews, cousins... of those most are family on my side (as differentiated from family on my X's side, who definitely share my political bent) and with one or two exceptions, are Republican (and unfortunately have an obstructionist bent) to the core; yet we are still family, and I believe in family, although I am considered one of those misguided family members that "we love anyway." We long ago learned to avoid political discourse at family events. When I am able to "innocuously" post a status, such as the one that flew around FB the other day, I am under no illusion that I am "organizing" to pass healthcare reform. Rather, what I hope to do is insert a bit of common sense and reality into the discussion which I know is going on, but of which I am not a part. For that segment of my world, I see FB as being a benign form of "staying in your face" ... but I don't confuse it with organizing and advocating for health care... rather a little stealth prodding.

 

Social networking?

This terminology has always perplexed me.  Seems what's called "social networking" should really be called Anti-social Networking as people sit silently, often alone, typing furiously to people they've never met.

Sure, some great uses from a lot of this new media such as sharing information with folks through the globe in real time,  but it's mostly just a tool.  By far the more important and effective way to communicate is through face-to-face interactions.  What Al's always talking about with the door to door and physically talking with people in person, is truly social networking, and for those who have done it for years, they know that's where you can really sway people and get them to either change their opinions or at least get them thinking about it.

This is a huge fight but we are winning

The hysterics at DKOS right now are a little crazy. The funny thing is now people are saying, "Obama ran such a great campaign but doesn't know how to run the White House." In fact, during most of the General Election campaign DKOS was full of the, "OMG Obama is losing" diaries.

 

That is why I only pay attention to a few blogs. This one, Ezra Klein, and Andrew Sullivan. We had really good news today that the blogosphere decried, Sen. Ben Nelson said he supported a public option with a trigger. This means a public option trigger is almost guaranteed to have 60 votes in the Senate. That is our low bar. During reconciliation we have a good chance to reinsert a decent public option with no trigger and send it back to the Senate for the necessary 50 votes. This is pretty much what Rahm Emanuel said would happen a few months ago. It is all coming together. I feel very optimistic about health care.

So far the president has lost control of this debate...

I devoutly hope that Al is right about the strength of the ground game for health care reform pursued by Organizing for America, because it seems obvious that Obama's aerial game -- framing the debate so that the benefits of reform and the disaster of doing nothing are clear -- hasn't worked, if indeed he's had such a game at all.  Here we have the most inspirational speaker as president since John F. Kennedy, and the Republican effort to whip up outrage on the basis of lies has dominated the air waves.  Notwithstanding the corporate media's obsession with the daily ruckus, this dominance of the debate by the right-wing wasn't foreordained.

Today I listened on CSPAN Radio to part of a town hall meeting conducted by Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia.  One hostile questioner after another asked him questions scripted by the Republicans, which basically alleged that Obama's plan would bankrupt the nation and nationalize health care.  Warner kept focusing on concrete changes that were necessary, like universal insurance.  He explained, for example, that under the existing system, the uninsured go to emergency rooms which won't turn them away and that that requires every American to pay about an additional $1,000 per year in unnecessary insurance costs -- and that that has to change.  For that little peek at the reality of why reform is urgently needed, Warner was loudly booed, as if the crowd wanted uninsured people to go right on using emergency rooms as if they were ordinary health clinics and didn't care if that cost each of them a thousand dollars a year.  When you think about it, this was a truly frightening moment in our politics:  One of the two major parties has deliberately "drugged the public mind" (Lincoln's great phrase) with lies, and has encouraged their partisans to shout down the truth.  Warner was trying to reason with them, but the crowd was into serious denial -- laced with a hostility I have rarely heard in forty years of observing American politics.

There is a larger problem now than what's in the final health care legislation which will, given the Democratic majority, finally pass, and whether the electoral prospects for Democrats in 2010 will be weakened if the President cannot manage to persuade a majority that the health care law he signs is a good thing.  The problem is that because the President has thus far lost control of the public debate on this issue, this will encourage the Republicans to drown him out with aggressive lying and hysterical demagogy whenever he shifts to an important new issue.

More important than health care is whether, in American democracy, government can finallly be used to reflect the will of the majority and solve public problems that private interests have created and exacerbated.  That is what the Republicans are really attacking, and on the evidence of what's happened this summer, it's not apparent that they won't succeed -- absent far stronger leadership and language from this president.

 

A good resource

For an excellent discussion of Obama's and Congress's approach to health care reform, I recommend the blog by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post.  He's smart, progressive, writes well, knows the players, and knows the details.  

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/

My diary at Kos

Moderators please feel free to exclude this post, if not appropriate.

I just created a diary at Kos, arguing that we should be working to put "teeth" into a trigger, rather than ONLY opposing it altogether.

Diary is here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/9/7/778216/-Dont-fight-the-trigger:-m...

I'd be interested in feedback from people here.

Health Care debate is making me sick

I want to go door-to-door but I'm soooo tired.   Between the chicken littles at sites like Daily Kos and FireDogLake, Rethugs, racists and now this Van Jones nonsense, who has the energy?   I guess that's what the right-wing counts on.   Wearing us down bit by bit.

This post (welcome back to the northern hemisphere) is so helpful Al!  I've missed your voice on the Health Care debate.  I've donated money to MoveOn, OFA and I've updated my status on Facebook to bring awareness but I know it's not enough.  I've got to get out there.   It's really no different than the campaign.   Between Rev Wright, lipstick on pigs, bowling, 3am calls, Ayers, etc. - I was feeling the same exact way, but I hung in there.   The President needs me and I want to be there again.   I know he's accomplished a lot thus far (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/9/5/23251/07576), despite what the naysayers lament.   I've got to be there to help with one of the largest initiatives.

Fired Up, Ready to Go!

The president is ready for this to come to an end.  Axelrod said that we're in the 7th or 8th inning now.  Feels like it.  I continue to feel that although the debate of the summer has been difficult, it is necessary.  Many people have skin in this game, either to get a bill or to defeat it.  This is bigger than the president...he's involved enough of the supporters and the opposition to make this bigger than him.  I think it'll be really hard for the handful of Conservative Democratic Senators who are standing in the way to continue to do so once it's time to bring the actual bill, which will more than likely have a public option, to the floor.

Here's the president this afternoon at an AFL-CIO labor day event in Ohio

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/09/07/HP/R/22778/Pres+Obama+Tells...

The Power of Zealotry

Most of this country wants to deal with the issues that are dragging us down into the tar pits: expensive wars, Mafia-like health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, a Wall Street that has been secretly taxing the wealthy and powerful all over the world through various mechanisms (hence making them feel insecure, and encouraging the affluent to feel even less generous to the working class surrounding them), DADT, intelligence services that seem to be able to break laws with impunity, etc.

And there are those who are fearful of the change that has already occurred, and therefore apoplectic about the prospect of additional change.  (Never mind that most of it would be ultimately beneficial for them.)  They are like Christian Scientists who believe prayer is the appropriate response to anthrax exposure, instead of Cipro.  The Fox News/Drudge/Malkin/Beck -oSphere is a powerful machine that creates a parallel narrative for seemingly reasonable conservatives to buy into.

Having met quite a few conservatives since moving to the South, it is amazing how many of them are intelligent, largely compassionate people.  It is only once they turn to politics that "teh crazy" comes out.  And that is largely because they were born and raised in a conservative family, that has weaned them on the "culture of cruelty" since birth.

I'd compare it to Mormonism or Scientology.  Both religions/practices seem to produce positive results in the lives of most practitioners, but they also are incredibly crazy if you look at the actual tenets.

Anyway, the simplicity and fervor of these beliefs empower them to feel completely justified in attempting to drown out the factual side of the debate.  The most important part about winning this battle is to mobilize all the non-zealots, because EVERYONE (except those working for the insurance industry) stands to benefit from health care reform, even those with good insurance right now.

 

Exhaustion as strategy

Charisse, you hit the nail on the head.

When the right is out of power, they emulate peevish children who attempt to nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag their parents until they are so exhausted that they accede to the little darlings' demands.

When you feel as if you just want to give up, that's when you have to remember who is the grown-up, and that what peevish children want isn't generally what's best for them, and dig in your heels and refuse to buckle.

Be "Forceful" Mr. President

The Republicans who drag their feet and work with you, who are sworn to work AGAINST you, CAN and SHOULD be rendered “irrelevant.”  It will take some “forceful” leadership on your part to get it done.

Great Post, Al. Welcome Back!

Your voice about the Health Care debate has been missed, but the timing of your return is good. I posted a diary (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/19/769308/-Health-Care-Reform:-Miss...) on KOS on August 19th partly out of frustration with all the whining and to outline what I thought was ACTUALLY going on. 9 responses, immediately disappeared from the Diary list, but I got it off my chest.

One thing people don't realize (although you do) is that they are being played not just by the MSM but also by sites like Huffington, KOS and TPM. Keith and Rachel have long since fallen into this trap, breathlessly reporting every nuanced policy "shift" and have consequently done less actual reporting than they might otherwise have done. A good speech Wednesday should help get everyone on board so we can get this thing done.

a great diary at DKos

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/9/7/778281/-Mr.-President,-Ive-Go...

Charisse, if you are feeling worn down, be sure to read FemLaw's diary linked above. She is a field organizer with OFA.

@ Laura M.

Thanks for the link. FemLaw's post stated what I've been saying to folks lately,  We've got his back, and he has ours.

Hosting a small TeeVee get together to watch Pres. Obama and listen to the call with David Plouffe, Campaign Manager and OFA Pep Talk Man.

I'll post after the whole Wed. night lineup.

"I love you.  Bye bye!"

(Pres. Obama end line in Labor Day speech to the AFL-CIO.  I concur.)

 

 

@Laura M. Poyneer

Thanks for the link Laura!  I needed this.  I've got to stay strong.   Now we've got the speech to school children distraction.  That's all it is - another distraction.   Where are the sensible Republicans?   Why don't so-called "christian" conservatives care that 14,000 fellow citizens are losing their health care each day?

 

Anyway, thanks for the boost guys!  I really needed it!

@Allan Brauer

You're right Allan!   They're just like children.   I wish I could put them all on time out.   Positive reinforcement doesn't seem to work.    President Obama can't work with people who only want to see him fail.

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About Al Giordano

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Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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