Archive for August 23rd, 2009

by JC

After last week’s tepid performance by Montana Senator Max Baucus during and after President Obama’s town hall in Belgrade, it seems that Montana Democrats have had it with his waffling ways.

According to Montana Maven:

It has been one week since 8 Montana Democratic Central Committees delivered their resolutions for single payer or a strong public option in a health care bill to President Obama and Senator Baucus at the Belgrade Town Hall Meeting in Montana on August 14…

Many chairs of the committees, like myself, had been frustrated much like our founding brothers because “our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury and neglect”. Yes we had all received the same form letter from the Baucus office even when we asked very specific questions. So we began to look for other ways to get Max’s attention. The letters to the President did the trick.

Seems like going to the top got Baucus’ attention, and he convened a conference call, wherein he got an earful:

…three days after the town meeting, the Chairs of the Central Committees were asked to a conference call with Senator Baucus. No one could remember anything like this every happening before.

The meeting was pretty raucous. Max came on to urge party unity, but county chairs, like myself, demanded substance for our support.

Time and time again we reminded the Senator that basically “when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to reform health care bonds,” principle and people must take precedence over process and politics. While Max emphasized Medicare costs or doctors’ costs that must be reined in, most chairs pointed to insurance company overhead as the culprit. While Max emphasized the needed 60 votes that had to include Republicans, we asked him to abandon that idea.

So it seems that some of Montana’s finest Dems have finally figured out that they’ve been getting played by max, and decided to get tough with him, and formed the “Alliance of Montana County Democratic Central Committees.” They put together a “Unified Statement… on Health Care Reform:”

We the Coalition of the United Montana Democratic Central Committees have established a position in support of a strong public option as part of any health care reform. The broader goal of a strong public option is to provide a high-quality, affordable insurance option to all Americans, and provide a means of cost containment. Although many central committees initially preferred a single payer plan, we all concluded that a strong public option was a feasible compromise that could meet these goals and provide Americans with a choice. In order to achieve these goals, a strong public option must contain the following core concepts:

• National Coverage
• Available to all Americans
• Portability, which includes maintaining coverage even if one loses his or her job
• No exclusions for preexisting conditions, denial of coverage if one gets ill, or develops catastrophic costs
• Publicly run and administered with full transparency and accountability to congress
• Emphasis on prevention, and primary care, and a reduction in administrative costs
• No triggers

By unifying our position, and our voices we hope to let the public, the media, and our representatives know where we solidly stand on this critical issue. We would like to encourage Senator Tester, and Representative Rehberg to support a strong public option, and private insurance reform, and to assure them that our Coalition is firmly behind them.

It seems that the tactic has gotten Baucus’ attention. In a press release the Coalition put out today, Max was quoted as saying last week: “I want a public option too!”

U.S. Senator Max Baucus has finally broken his silence regarding his personal position on including a public option in health care reform legislation. Last Monday night (8/17), in an unprecedented conference call to Montana Democratic central committee chairs, the powerful leader of the Senate Finance Committee told his strongest supporters that he supported a public option. While discussing the obstacles to getting a public option through the Senate, he assured his forty listeners, “I want a public option too!”

Great work, Montana Maven!

by JC

Nothing like the dog days of summer (and a couple of cracked ribs) to stir one into stitching some ideas together about the state of our fledgling Obama presidency, the mood of the country, and some policy points.

First off, the cracked ribs.

Lesson learned: never turn your back on your lawn mower as you are pulling it out of some thick weeds you are chopping through. You might miss the fact that you have just dropped the blade into the dirt where some enterprising yellow jackets have set up shop, and, you know, they might not appreciate their home being mulched.

If there had been some YouTubes around, I’d probably be on top of the list of whacky sights. Needless to say, I was swarmed, ran off with hat and arms flailing helplessly–hopelessly–at the cloud of angry beasts, and promptly tripped and fell. Just like the protagonist in a ‘B’ movie does as he is chased by evil-doers, and we all groan because it is so predictable.

Except I knocked the wind out of myself as I hit the ground and broke a few ribs, and was rendered into a pincushion for hot, burning needles of pain as the yellow jackets drove their message home. But the YouTube spectacle didn’t end there.
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