Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama."
Congressman John Conyers

Black Agenda Report and After Downing Street are reporting on Rep. Conyers' extraordinary words. Conyers is an old progressive lion with more than 40 years of service in the House. Sadly, he has been shackled by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, who prevented him from following through on his promise to pursue impeachment against Bush and Cheney.

Hopefully, he will come out of the doldrums and more forcefully speak out against the Obama health care plan, which according to Conyers may undo the Obama administration altogether.

"Conyers suggested that it was very likely Congress would not pass any healthcare bill this year. The Blue Dogs and Republicans don't want anything, he said, and the Progressives are 'saying this is a piece of crap and we're not voting for it.' If you add up all the Blue Dogs and Republicans and Progressives, Conyers said, you get 'more than 218 to sink this bill!'

Or, Congressman Conyers continued, 'suppose we happen to pass it? Big deal. That's what Rahm Emanuel wants -- pass anything just to say we did.' A weak plan, Conyers said, would not help things: 'It's going to fail.'

In either case, Conyers concluded, whether we get no bill or a weak bill, 'they'll blame Barack Obama. Heads he loses, tails he loses.' So, Conyers said, 'we've got to tell Obama now, or he'll be a one term president.'

Unlike Conyers, I don't pretend to know if health care will undo the Obama administration, but I do know that the Obama proposal may actually make health care worse in this country. Check out my colleague Bruce Dixon here. Bruce points out that a limited public option will not be available until 2013 and will only cover 10 million people at most. We will not have universal coverage.

The possible instead of the perfect may be worse than nothing at all. Let's demand what we want and demand that Obama fight for it.