Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, September 07, 2009

“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We Need a Fighter.”

While Obama is talking to millions of students tomorrow, this is the speech that needs to be broadcast into the White House. And beamed in again and again — an endless loop.

This speech by Bill Moyers is about five minutes long. The video and written text are both at this link. (H/T to Port Book and News of Port Angeles, WA for having excerpts from this speech posted on their daily chalkboard.)

America is “the greatest show on earth. Forget what you learned in civics about the Founding Fathers — we're the children of Barnum and Bailey, our founding con men. Their freak show was the forerunner of today's talk radio...”

“So here we are, wallowing in our dysfunction. Governed — if you listen to the rabble rousers — by a black nationalist from Kenya smuggled into the United States to kill Sarah Palin's baby. And yes, I could almost buy their belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, only I think he shipped them to Washington, where they've been recycled as lobbyists and trained in the alchemy of money laundering, which turns an old-fashioned bribe into a First Amendment right…”

“Poor Obama. He came to town preaching the religion of nice. But every time he bows politely, the harder the Republicans kick him. No one's ever conquered Washington politics by constantly saying ‘pretty please’ to the guys trying to cut your throat…”

“This health care thing could have been the crossing of the Delaware, the turning point in the next American Revolution — the moment we put the mercenaries to rout, as General Washington did the Hessians at Trenton. We could have stamped our victory ‘Made in the USA.’ We could have said to the world, ‘Look what we did!’…”

“Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. We thought we heard you say during the campaign last year that you want a government run insurance plan alongside private insurance — mostly premium-based, with subsidies for low-and-moderate income people. Open to all individuals and employees who want to join and with everyone free to choose the doctors we want. We thought you said Uncle Sam would sign on as our tough, cost-minded negotiator standing up to the cartel of drug and insurance companies and Wall Street investors…”

“Josh Marshall…is the founder of the website talkingpointsmemo.com…He's
offered the simplest and most accurate description yet of a public insurance plan — one that essentially asks people: would you like the option — the voluntary option — of buying into Medicare before you're 65? Check it out, Mr. President…”

“This health care thing is make or break for your leadership, but for us, it's life and death. No more Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We need a fighter.”

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Blogger Lew Scannon said...

As we had seen in the previous administration, not only do Republicans not play nice, they don't even play fair. Lying comes as natural to them as apples falling from the tree in Autumn.

September 7, 2009 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Trying to get a satisfactory compromise with the GOP is like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. Such a thing does not exist.

It's time to kick their ass like they have been kicking ours, and time for the president to successfully demonstrate that the crap their talkers spew does not represent the majority when it comes to what Americans believe. That is, after all, what we elected him to do.

September 7, 2009 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

A superb piece of op. ed. by Bill Moyers, it is great to know that are still journalists like him out there, almost comforting.

This year so far has shown to me what the republicans are all about, and I don't like it one bit.

September 7, 2009 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Moyers said it excellently. I hope Obama reads it.

Obama needs to re-examine his assumptions and alter his approach immediately. I wish he'd bring Krugman or Moyers into his administration to help him do both.

September 8, 2009 at 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

I'm with Snave: it's time to kick their asses. Initially I was all for doing it civilly because, well, that's the right way to do it. But these guys are absolutely unbending, so fuck 'em.

September 8, 2009 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Hi Tom-I do believe there was alot of as kicking the last 8 years.
But I am sure you are aware of that.
Why is the lft so hell bent on passing government run healthcare as if Obama's whole presidency depended on it?
Is it really about us or about him?
Sure let's cover the uninsured and please leave mine and the rest of the 85% who like their coverage.
Why is that suh a difficult concept to undertand?
And in case you haven't noticed most of the town halls were filled with seniors all well knowing that their care will be rationed and to say that it won't be is an outright lie.
1800 pages of lies.

September 8, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: I'm afraid "fair" and "nice" have to be tossed aside. It's too bad it's come to this, but look what "nice" has gotten Obama so far.

Snave: It's definitely time for an ass-kicking. I keep hoping Obama is using some sort of Rope-A-Dope strategy on the wingtards. If that's the case, he can start swinging back any time.

Holte: That really was a great speech. It's too bad more people didn't hear it, since it was on PBS.

SW: Obama definitely needs to make some changes in his strategy. I keep reading about how Rahm Emmanuel is such a ruthless armtwister. If that's true, this is the time for him to get out there and do what he has to do.

Carlos: Yup, we're way past the time for civility. It hasn't worked.

Lisa: Uh oh, you tracked me down :) I assume you're the same Lisa from the late "Bring It On!" site. You're welcome to comment here, but unlike "Bring It On!" -- other liberals comment here, so you might get yourself embroiled in some arguments. I don't know how Bring It On! deteriorated into that final state, where the posts were all liberal and the commenters were all conservative. Anyway...

I'm not speaking for "the left" or anybody else, but I personally want the public option because it's the right thing to do. Republicans have pushed the stakes higher and higher, to the point where the public option will make or break Obama. I like Obama and want his career to go well and all that, but more importantly we need to fix this health care fiasco. Millions of Americans (including the insured) have a Sword of Damocles hanging over their head. Nothing like paying thousands and thousands of dollars in premiums only to have your HMO find some technical reason why you're not covered for that $500,000 operation you need.

September 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

I have no problem with arguing Tom as you probably already know. Actually I tracked you down a long time ago just ever commented.
I understand wanting the public option but we have to realize that all the other government programs are on the verges of bankruptcy. At least you can fight an insurance company but you can't fight City Hall.
I think many good doctors will opt out and we may not see as many talented people going into the medical field having to answer to alot of red tape.
I think they should charge the insurance companies to cover the uninsured adn yes the cost will be past onto us but don't think the so called "public" option will cost any less.

September 8, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lisa: I don't see any of these problems with the public option. The insurance lobby is against it because it'll mean competition for private insurance carriers, so they're throwing out all these scare tactics.

UPS hasn't been driven out of business by the post office. Prep schools haven't gone under because of the public school system. I doubt if doctors will opt out or be driven out of the field; I think the HMOs have been a bigger nightmare for doctors than any government bureaucrat could ever be.

September 8, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Lisa, I've got to hand it to you. You packed more misinformation into less space than I've seen done in some time.

Under the various bills in development, no one who likes their current health coverage will have to change it. If employers decide to stop offering health care benefits, they will just be following a trend that's been growing and accelerating for the past 15 to 20 years, and that won't be the fault of health care reform. Of course, Republicans will tell you the only reason employers will eliminate health benefits from here on out is because of Obama's health care reform. If you want to believe their self-serving propaganda, go ahead.

Just remember this. If you're signed up with Gouge & Fleece LLC for health insurance through your employer, and your employer ends health benefits, you can stay with Gouge & Fleece on your own if you want to.

As for it being easier to fight an insurance company than city hall, what planet would that be on? One reason commercial health insurance costs so much is because of the army of high-priced lawyers the companies employ and retain. Insurers pay all those lawyers because the lawyers write the gotcha clauses and fine-print tricks and traps that yield the companies big net savings. And that's on top of the lawyers' invaluable services when screwed over customers take the companies to court. A favorite strategy, BTW, is delaying cases for years, until the complainant dies or runs out of money.

September 8, 2009 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Shall we jump on her now Tom?

Lisa - 85% are not satisfied with their health care they only endure it. I had some of the best health care around but even as good as it was I had to fight the insurance company to get what was promised.
The public option is just that and option.
We are the only industrialized nation on earth that doesn't cover their citizens all citizens. And we spend twice what any other nation does.
The system as it is right now can not stand. The demographics in this country will hit a tipping point in 2016. Nothing will change that.
The insurance you now have and love will soon be unaffordable. Michigan Blue Cross just raised their rates by 22%. The state Tom and I live in, Wa. just raised their rates 17%. Some states have a near monopoly of only one or two insurance companies and they watch each others rates so no competition, more like collusion.
This is about profits verses non profits. As for rationing we already have that now with the for profit insurance companies. The death panels already exist in the insurance companies with people who get paid for denying claims. That's their job.
Now do you get the picture?

September 9, 2009 at 12:58 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Good luck trying to talk to the wingnuts, ladies and gents. You'd have more success with sides of barns.

September 9, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Well one would have to wonder why they need to retain lawyers.
Of course they have to protect themselves against the mal-practice lawyers who give out their business cards in hospital emergency rooms. Every businees needs lawyers even more so when you have ambulance chasers around every corner.Do you know that even in this economy the Mal-practice business has increased 1400%? Yes that's fourteen hundred percent.
But we cannot touch those people can we now.

First it was the doctors and now it's the insurance companies but it's never the malpractice bottom feeders.
Democrats need villains and victims meanwhile Pelosi with her Cheshire cat grin knows it's all about them and unionizing the healthcare system/can't wait for those strikes that's even if the hopsitals can survive under that system. You know something like the car companies.
Amaizing how this is all about us yet it's all about them and how all their cronies are in place to benefit from "The Public Option"
Pelosi the millionare cannot wait.
I am sure cap and trade will help them operate all that life saving equipment as well.
It's going to be such a Eutopian Society I can hardly wait.

September 9, 2009 at 8:53 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Excellent comeback, Demeur. But I think Randal nailed it. None are so blind as wingnuts and fanatics of the free market religion when they're confronted with facts and logic.

September 9, 2009 at 11:57 AM  

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