Hillary Clinton; The Campaign Crisis and Elizabeth Edwards’ Choice

Elizabeth Edwards – Morning Joe – Full Interview 4/2/08

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Democrats are divided.  Progressives once certain that they would support the Party nominee, are now, no longer sure that they can.  People on the Left for the first time in their lives are looking to the “Right.”  Staunch Liberals state they will vote Republican in 2008 if the candidate of their choice is not the Party’s nominee.  Many Democrats say they will not vote at all.  Much damage has been done.  The political process has become a play for power or an attempt to create chaos.

Persons devout to the Grand Old Party purposely become “Democrats for a Day” just to alter the outcome in primary elections.  Some individuals wear elephant and flag pins on their lapel; yet, they cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.  These Conservatives think if the Senator from New York is selected to represent the Progressives in the general election, Republicans will be assured a win.

Prior to the primaries, Hillary Clinton was defined as polarizing.  However, the former First Lady felt certain she could and had changed her image.  Perhaps, for a time, this was thought to be true.  Senator Clinton showed herself strong.  She was a formidable force in Congress.  Military leaders learned to trust that she could indeed be a hawk.  

Women were elated.  The thought that they might be able to elect someone they relate to, suited those who frequently felt oppressed in a male dominated culture just fine.

Persons of color, grateful for what seemed to be a more secure life, when husband Bill was President turned to candidate Hillary Clinton for reassurance.  People, early on, believed the former First Lady was their last and best hope.  As the Presidential aspirant often mused, “It did take a Clinton to clean (up) after the first Bush, and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush.”  In January 2008, the Editors from the esteemed New York Times offered their endorsements.  The prominent periodical proposed the Primary Choice: [was] Hillary Clinton

Yet, more recently, after weeks and weeks, months and months of mean and malicious statements from the candidate, her husband, and the entire Clinton Clan, some within the Progressive Party no longer think Senator Clinton sincere or suitable.  Indeed, some say she would not be a superb Commander-In-Chief.  Hillary may be too intent on conquest.

Many, among those who lean left, look, and see what they think wrong.  This week, a top House Democrat denounced Clinton campaign tactics.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, of South Carolina and the highest ranking black in Congress, also said he has heard speculation that Clinton is staying in the race only to try to derail Obama and pave the way for her to make another White House run in 2012.

“I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this.  But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win” in November, Clyburn told Reuters in an interview.

Race is not the only issue that separates, or segregates supporters.  Patriotism, patronage, and parishes are also seen as partitions.  In this recent round of debates, candidate[s] and correspondents made it known if a flag pin was not worn on a man’s lapel, the gentleman would be classified as un-American.  This standard apparently, does not apply to women who condemn the chaps.  Guilt by association was also a reason to denounce and divide the electorate.  Political advertisements delivered in Pennsylvania were full of venom directed at victims of circumstance.  Any person who was casually, or closely connected to one candidate, was castigated, as though they were the Presidential hopeful, himself.  The electorate was encouraged to take sides.  

Americans witnessed what one woman and her advocates will do for a win.  The stakes are high; the slams and damnation higher.  Condemnation for the smallest slight caused a “bitter” feud.  One candidate was intentionally crippled.  Barack Obama was forced to defend a concept.  Even a quote from the scriptures could not save a man who is not only of the Christian faith, but Christian in his actions.

The man of faith spoke of how the sacred passages in the Bible speak of the need to “cling” to what is good.  Yet, in a climate of constant criticism from the Clinton Camp, Democrats seem to only cling to a fight.

Such brutal battles have spurred the Editors of The New York Times to question their own earlier call.  The current stance of those in charge of the illustrious publication is New York Senator Clinton is not a superior choice for President.  She has adopted The Low Road to Victory.  Those charged to inform the broader community write . . .

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work.  It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party, and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self-interest should push her in that direction.  Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race.  . . .

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11.  A Clinton television ad – torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook – evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden.  “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy, and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning.  She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

The Washington Post also asked readers to call into question the posture of the Presidential candidate.  Former contributors to the Clinton campaign offered testimonials and expressed trepidation for what Hillary Clinton and husband Bill think best.

More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show.  Clinton’s lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally. . . .

Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton’s early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories.  Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March.  The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.

“I think she is destroying the Democratic Party,” said New York lawyer Daniel Berger, who had backed Clinton with the maximum allowable donation of $2,300.  “That there’s no way for her to win this election except by destroying [Obama], I just don’t like it.  So in my own little way, I’m trying to send her a message.”

The message came in the form of a $2,300 contribution to Obama.

Donors are not the only ones who have made the leap.  Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón served as an ambassador to Chile during Bill Clinton’s presidency, considered himself a close friend of Sen. Clinton, and became a “Hill-raiser” by bringing in about $500,000 for her presidential bid.

Yet, while many express distress and a desire to distance themselves from the Clinton Camp, a few think Hillary or her Health Care plan makes her the best choice.  For months now, Americans have anxiously awaited word of an endorsement from the popular, populace, and once Presidential candidate, John Edwards and his beloved wife, Elizabeth.  In interviews, Elizabeth Edwards expresses the Clinton Health Care Plan is her preferred “Choice.”  Once heard, I personally felt a need to pen a letter to the lovely Elizabeth Edwards, a person I sincerely hold in high esteem.

Dear Reader, I invite your review, reflections, and perchance you may wish to write a correspondence of your own.  Your communiqué may be to me, to Senator Clinton, to the Edwards family, I know not.  I only trust that whatever we wish to say, it is vital we honor the words of a great philosopher.

Be Kind.

For everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

~ Plato

I desire to write with reverence.  My wish is that my words will be received as intended.  Benevolence, I believe is beautiful.  Empathy, I think, essential if we are ever to be universally insured or ensure that we care for our fellow man, woman, and child.

Dearest Elizabeth Edwards . . .

I hope you, your children, and John, are well.  I know all too well how cancer can devastate a family.  Weeks ago, I heard you speak of how the financial strain on a family without adequate medical coverage can lead to bankruptcy and death.  Sadly, for too many, the lack of a comprehensive health care plan is the cause of economic, emotional, and perhaps physical heartbreak.  Your words prompt me to write.

Now, as the nation turns to you and your neighborhood, as the primary in North Carolina approaches, I feel a need to share my distress.  

Last August, in 2007, I attended the breakout session your husband John held at the Yearly Kos Convention.  While I was fortunate to speak with him for a moment as he exited the room, I was among those who did not have an opportunity to offer a formal question.  As John proposed, I submitted my query in electronic mail.  The issue on my mind, then and now is the same subject you discussed, Health Care.

Elizabeth, I recall when you spoke of how Hillary Clinton’s plan was as John’s.  At the time, you expressed much angst that the New York Senator delayed to present a proposal and then copied John’s program.  While I have no argument with those contentions; nor do I quarrel with the notion that Barack Obama’s plan is deficient, I think an endorsement of Senator Clinton’s her Health Care Choice program is troublesome.  I recall the words of your husband John.  In November 2007, as a Presidential challenger john Edwards declared . . .

“Senator Clinton’s plan, which came out in September, is very similar to the plan I announced in February.  But I haven’t seen any specifics about how her mandate would work or how she would enforce the mandate.

Time has not helped to enlighten the electorate.  Hillary Clinton is consistently evasive.  The former First Lady, who failed to secure a workable system near two decades ago, walks a fine line, for she has reason to fear if she slips the people may not place her into the Oval Office.

In Health Debate, Clinton Remains Vague on Penalties

By Kevin Sack

New York Times

February 1, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton inched closer Sunday to explaining how she would enforce her proposal that everyone have health insurance, but declined to specify – as she has throughout the campaign – how she would penalize those who refuse.

Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate, last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.”  When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”

The former First Lady has shown herself to be extremely disingenuous in the past, and the present.  The future unfolds; and many individuals demonstrate that they do not feel there is reason to believe that her words will be less mendacious.  Stories of how deceitful she can be fill the airwaves and the periodicals.  The press, those who were close political affiliates of the Clinton’s, while polite, hint at how Hillary treats those who go against her.  In very hushed tones, event organizers shared stories with me.  While I was a strong Clinton supporter and active contributor in the 1990s, recent revelations, comments made by the Clinton’s, and the harsh rhetoric Hillary espoused leaves me beyond disillusioned.

The public, I believe has infinite reason to distrust the Presidential aspirant.  I have no faith that she will follow through with worthy programs.  As I assess her record in the Senate, I realize there is reason to doubt.  We need only consider the change in her policy position on Iraq.  When Senator Clinton thought she could safely say she would not commit to exit Iraq until after her first term, that was her stance.  Only the threat that she might lose votes was the catalyst for other considerations.

Elizabeth, I think few, if any, can question the Clinton campaign is divisive.  While some think this strategy is fine, I believe as your husband John voiced.  We must be united and work together as one.

It is apparent to me; Hillary Clinton is flexible only when it suits her needs.  I recall John wrote and spoke of how he hoped his health care proposal would, over time, give way to a Single Payer, Not For Profit Plan.  Barack Obama has expressed a similar sentiment.  Each, your husband, and Presidential hopeful Obama, has addressed the notion that their plans were but starting points.

When I did chat with your husband, I thanked him for his mention of how Hillary Clinton was indebted to Insurers and Pharmaceuticals.  Elizabeth, months ago your husband gave us reason to believe that Hillary Clinton is well connected to those who profit off of our physical and financial loss when we are most in need.  As a professional, well educated, white woman, who learned through experience that many Faculty Lecturer’s, at major Universities, are among the uninsured, I invite you to ponder the veracity, a position does not tell the full tale.  The quality of a candidate is not necessarily evident in a Health Care plan.

Please, please, please consider Barack Obama has a life history of bringing people together for a common cause.  Senator Obama uses his expertise as a community organizer to unite us, citizens of the United States of America.  [You may have read the cover story, A New Hope, in the March 20, 2008, Rolling Stone.]  Presidential aspirant, Obama is eager, and has demonstrated he does care about the American people.  Barack Obama has helped many common folk understand that we the people make a difference.  Change comes when the average American is part of the solution.  

Senator Clinton may believe without Lyndon Johnson the Civil Rights Act 1964 would not have come into being.  I recall those years.  People were out on the streets in protest.  The community concluded it was time for a change.  The President merely signed the papers.  

Personally, I prefer to support a President who believes and acts on the democratic principle that he represents me, and not her personal interests.  

Elizabeth, I hope you and your husband John will be as profoundly reflective as I believe you both to be.  America needs a person in the White House who is truly connected to the American experience.  Barack Obama’s mother, ill with ovarian cancer, feared her financial obligation to pay for health care.  Cancer can be the cause of bankruptcy even when people are insured.  The issue is complex.  A ten-point plan cannot begin to relate to the real life circumstances of millions; nor can a candidate who thinks more of her win than a unified Party.

I invite an endorsement for Barack Obama.  I can only hope you will consider my heartfelt plea.  Please extend this request to your husband John.

I thank you for your time, and for reading this reflection.  Please take good care of you.  I wish you and your family the best.

Sincerely . . .

Betsy L. Angert

References and Remedies . . .

Clinton and Obama Offer Universal Health Care Plans; No Insurance

Clinton Obama Cleveland Ohio Debate – Health Care Battle

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Senators Clinton and Obama, bicker as you might, neither of you have proposed Universal Health Care plans.  Those who support you [plural] state a semantic argument attests to your authenticity.  Many espouse “universal” means “to affect, relate to, or include the whole.”  Granted, all Americans will be changed by your plans.  However, not everyone will be insured if either proposal is implemented.  

Indeed, every United States citizen can connect to the need for coverage.  Universally, we recognize we are in quite a predicament.  Whatever options are offered, the entire electorate will be forced to consider a personal response.  Universality, or an appeal to the aggregate, perhaps better defines what each of you have designed or delivered.

Have you Hillary Clinton or you Barack Obama introduced an actual Universal Health Care plan?  No.  Constituents concerns will be integrated into the agenda.  However, the proposals you have presented to the public, do Not guarantee that life for those who currently are without health insurance will be any better than it is now.  The only certainty Americans have is that some of what is will be altered, just slightly.  

Insurers will still control costs.  Pharmaceuticals can continue to profit, and the poor persons in Middle America will remain insecure, underinsured, and yes, even uninsured.  As one who for most of my adult life has not had insurance, I can assure you, that if a person lives paycheck-to-paycheck, they cannot afford insurance at any price!

I could recount the times that I lay writhing in pain, slipping in and out of consciousness; yet, unwilling to call for help for I feared the cost.  I might share the stories of how or when I went without treatment for the financial expense seemed far greater than the physical toll on my body.  I might mention my fear of an accident, or an age related concern that I need to attend to.  Preventative medicine, pooh-pooh.  I am among many who hope that my mind will control the matter.

I am among millions who still feel the repercussions of decisions made in the 1990’s.  You may remember then, the headlines screamed of the impending crisis.  Employers Winning Wide Leeway to Cut Medical Insurance Benefits.  People cringed.  The then President stepped in.  I am certain Senator Clinton you recall the day.  Bill Clinton appointed his wife to head a panel, which promised to better circumstances.  

Yet, fight as you say you did Hillary Clinton your combative energies did not cure what ails society.  What was, is.  Circumstances convened more than a decade ago continue unchecked.  So long ago, Americans read of a reality they lived.  Today, this phenomenon is normal.

A rapidly growing number of victims of cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses are discovering that under recent court interpretations of a law that was originally intended to protect employees’ benefits, their insurance coverage can evaporate when they need it most.

The recent [1992] Federal court rulings have given employers that now act as their own insurers wide leeway to cut back on existing coverage — or to skimp on coverage in the first place.  These “self-insured” employers, a large majority of companies from giant corporations to an increasing number of smaller businesses, have been exempted from state insurance laws governing what ailments insurance companies must cover. . .

At the same time, a Supreme Court decision has made it much harder for patients under all kinds of health insurance plans to sue to get benefits they say have been unfairly denied . . .

In effect, the court rulings and the health plans that take advantage of them are another manifestation of a system of private health insurance in which the sick are increasingly separated from the well.

Americans have no assurance that this situation will improve.  Actually, there is ample evidence to indicate it will not.  The prospects for business are grim.  The economy suffers, as do the people.

The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable since the time of our July [2007] report.  Strains in financial markets, which first became evident late last summer, have persisted; and pressures on bank capital and the continued poor functioning of markets for securitized credit have led to tighter credit conditions for many households and businesses.

Slowing job creation is yet another potential drag on household spending. . .

The risks to this outlook remain to the downside.  The risks include the possibilities that the housing market or labor market may deteriorate more than is currently anticipated and that credit conditions may tighten substantially further.

Lest we forget, illness is the cause for one half of all personal bankruptcies.  Most of those who are infirm realized they cannot cover the debt.  These persons have health insurance.  A Harvard University study, conducted in 2005 revealed the inadequacy of many private insurance plans.  Doctors and lawyers examined the current crisis and offered, many policies offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

“Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine.  “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, described what many of us know but do not wish to discuss.  

“Our study is fairly shocking.  We found that, too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain.”

Certainly, Senators Clinton and Obama you have not touched on this tender taboo in your “debate” rhetoric.  Businesses bleed.  Benefits hemorrhage; and Americans lose Health Care coverage, financial stability, or their lives.  The “Universal” not health care for all plans you each offer exacerbate or ignore what is.  Employment is provisional.  Company provided Health Insurance is more and more a luxury.  When institutions do offer the option, an individual is expected to pay a large part of the expense.  As Americans assess the plans put forth, if they bother to, your [plural] proposed policies do not offer much relief.  Sadly, for countless of the under or uninsured voters, such as I, we have been down so long, now a discussion looks like up.  In truth, talk is cheap.

Mandates that require a citizen with an uncertain salary to provide for their personal insurance needs will leave many in a legal predicament.  For the millions who struggle to survive lower rates bring them no hope.

As prices for fuel, food, and shelter rise, those who could not afford to go to the movie theatre, buy clothing, dine away from home, or vacation certainly will not find the funds to purchase medical insurance,  Gainfully, employed citizens who cannot afford to purchase beyond the basics will not be able to pay for coverage.  The tens of millions who fear a minor fall, for they know, even one Emergency Room visit can break the bank will not be moved to purchase what remains out of reach.  Please Senators, before you begin your ascent to the Oval Office reflect on what is real for most Americans.

[O]f the 47 million uninsured people in the United States, 7.3 million come from families with incomes of $75,000 or more, and an additional 6.9 million earn between $50,000 and $75,000, according to 2006 census estimates.

Some of those with moderate or high incomes may have been shut out of the insurance market because of age or pre-existing health conditions.  Researchers believe a majority are self-employed or among the growing number of Americans whose employers do not offer affordable insurance.  Their only insurance options may be high-priced individual policies.

Those comfortably covered love to discuss the individuals who waste their dollars or do not pay for what they believe they do not, or will not need.  In a recent New York Times report readers were introduced to a twenty-three year old lovely who believed she paid her way through taxes.  She smiled and spoke of the free medical clinics available to her.  Ms. Coons mused,

“I’m young and in pretty good shape,” Ms. Coons said one recent afternoon, on her way to the treadmill at the Fitness Factory in Midtown Atlanta.  “I looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  But the only thing I could see myself really needing it for are prescriptions and dental  . . .

She continued, “The insurance premium was more than what I would pay for my prescriptions, so I just decided not to deal with it.”

Times journalists asked Americans to consider the circumstances of those who use the system and do not pay premiums.  Fraud was implied, or a “free ride” was defined and accounted for.

Many free riders are assumed to be young and at little risk of major illness, but they do consume health care.  A recent analysis by the New America Foundation, a Washington policy group, found that 16 percent of the patients who received uncompensated medical care in 2004 had family incomes of at least four times the federal poverty level (which would currently be $41,600 for an individual and $84,800 for a family of four).

They accounted for $5.8 billion of the estimated $41.4 billion in uncompensated care that year.

However, what was not discussed was the ounce of prevention and the pounds paid for a hopeful cure.  Ms. Coons might have been me years ago.  She may not have stated or contemplated an illness, or unexpected injury.  I too appeared fit.  An interviewer might have seen me on the way to the pool.  He may inquire of my Health Insurance plan, or lack there of.  I, possibly would not have explained that I severely injured my back long ago, and then, due to the damage lost my job.  At the time, my employer feared medical charges I might incur, and now I must swim daily to remain physically stable.

In embarrassment, in my youth, I could have, would have, given a glib response.  For decades, I did not wish to speak with strangers of the bulimia I battled.  The preexisting condition that I paid for dearly, helped to affirm medical coverage was not available to me.

I know not of Ms. Coons.  I can only speak for myself.  Bulimia or other “disorders” do not burden my life today.  I do not imbibe any alcoholic beverages.  I never did.  Drugs do not deliver me from depression or dismay.  Prescription and street fare were not my medications of choice.  I have no addictions to strain my budget.  I am but one of millions who scrimps, wishes to save, finds it futile, and fears the veracity.

[T]here is also a shift to the privately insured.  Hospitals and doctors raise their fees to compensate for the losses they incur by treating uninsured and underinsured patients, and insurers pass those increases along to consumers.  A 2005 study found that the shift added 8.5 percent to the average premium.

Presidential aspirants, please ponder what the pundits have not.  Numbers on paper may look lovely.  Economists can scribble statistics on scratch paper.  Power Point presentations can graph the details in glorious color.  Experts can pen impressive essays, and America trusts that you, the candidates can eloquently deliver the text.  Yet, as you may know . . .

Neither campaign has provided enough detail about its plan to enable more than guesswork about how it might influence consumers . . . They have not detailed what kind of subsidies would be needed or who would be entitled to them.  Mrs. Clinton has not fully explained how she would make everyone comply with her plan or exactly how she would cap the amount a family would have to spend on premiums.

Each candidate would raise the money needed to subsidize premiums by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for high earners, taxing businesses that do not insure their workers and reducing costs through electronic record keeping, preventive medicine and chronic disease management.

But there is little certainty about how much those initiatives might save, or when. . . .  There are also questions about whether the new savings and tax increases would be enough to subsidize insurance for all who need help.

Both candidates are backed by teams of prominent economists from top universities and policy groups.  But with little real-world precedent to guide them, their assessments are necessarily an amalgam of statistical modeling and back-of-the-envelope calculation.

“In a campaign, people put out proposals that aren’t highly specified, that don’t have enough detail to model them effectively,” said E. Richard Brown, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an Obama adviser.  “These numbers are based on a lot of assumptions.”

In speeches, debates and dueling advertisements, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have brandished projections that even their originators acknowledge are tenuous.

Senators Clinton and Obama, when your own authoritative advisors admit the claims are unsubstantiated, formulas are fragile, and the numbers are shaky, there is reason for concern. Stalwart as you each may be, this character trait may not be a strength in times such as these.  Lives are at stake.  Illness and injuries occur in every moment.  Accidents are not preventable.  People bleed as the two of you argue over the specifics of inadequate agendas.  

If you truly wish to insure every American, be honest with yourselves and us [the citizens of the United States].  The only genuine Universal Health Care Plan is a Single Payer, Not For Profit program.

Your passionate pleas, your tears, and talk do not comfort a citizenry or a system sick and in dire need of help.  Please, feel our pain and protect us.  We, the people need a President that cares.  Provide the preventive, practical, and profound programs.  Do not continue to play with language.  We the people languish, as either of you smile and say, “My plan provides Universal Health Insurance.”  I could just cry, but I worry.  What if I were to weep endlessly?  Dehydration might send me to the hospital.  I cannot afford to see a physician, let alone the premiums you [plural] wish to charge me.

Universal Woes; Wounds, Worry, and the Source of Scars . . .

Kucinich Calls for Censure, Conversation, and Change

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Dennis Kucinich Urges Conversation about Impeachment

In 2004, I had no doubt.  I voted for Dennis Kucinich.  By that time, I felt justified in thinking President George W. Bush must be impeached.  The President had violated many laws.  However, hordes of voters disagreed, or did not care.  Congress clearly rejected and continues to reject my belief; at least they act as they do.  Nothing has been done to prosecute the President  and his pals.  Even today, Progressives have questioned my conviction.  They say, “This “man” and his clan have not committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  As much as I believe they have, I cannot convince Congress or citizens en mass to take action.  Censure is not assured.

Therefore, I must communicate and cajole.  Yet, I am not expectant.  Change is a challenge. 

I accept I need to carefully consider my vote in each of the upcoming elections.  Actually, I always have.

My own attention to the issues caused me to cast a ballot for Kucinich in 2004.  I am not surprised that Representative Kucinich is speaking out, stating we must indict this insolent Executive officer.  Congressman Kucinich has always quietly though consistently been an advocate for truth, justice, and what I believe is the American way.  Kucinich cares about the people!

It is for this reason that in the last Presidential election, I cast my ballot for principles; popularity is not my preference.  Most of my friends and neighbors mused, “The man is not electable.”  We need to take back the House, the Senate, and the White House.  Vote for Kerry.  Assuredly, he will guarantee us [we the people] a win.

Perhaps it is just I; nevertheless, I do not choose to work with an associate in hopes my image will be improved.  Credentials may be impressive; however, they are not enough.  I do not gravitate to a perceived strength.  I want substance!  If a candidate or colleague says, ‘Trust me.  I will protect you.’  That, for me, is not enough.

I do not wish for a mate so that he might complete me.  I am whole already, me, myself, and I.

I do not purchase shoes knowing they look spectacular; yet, they hurt my feet.  A dress, a pair of pants, or a purse must be more than pretty.  Trends do not excite me.

Having a beer with a likable guy or gal does not appeal to me.  You may recall, for quite a few voters Bush seemed a likable drinking bud.  Actually, I do not drink.  I have been told that drinking either dulls the senses or intensifies what is within.  I desire authenticity in a Presidential applicant, in my associates, and in my allies.  If a President or pal states they are compassionate, I do not what that to be a character trait they only display when with a select few.

Early in 2007, Tom Vilsack captured my attention, for admittedly I fear America is not ready for a reserved, yet real gem such as Kucinich.  I was considering giving the former Governor from Iowa a chance.  I did accept that if Vilsack left the scene for any reason I could and would willingly commit to Kucinich.  Now, again I experience as I did in 04, the mainstream media and even the so-called Progressives would focus on a supposed winner.  Flashes in pans, stars, and the well heeled are popular in political forums.

I have never believed in winning.  The oft-promoted concept of win:win for me is trite.  It is a mere attempt to lessen the blow of a loss for anyone or everyone.  I believe in growth, reciprocal reverence, and shared visions.  I have no desire to be victorious.  Nor do I take pleasure in a conquest.  It is my belief if there is a winner, there must also be a loser.  I trust that we can all grow greater together.

When I say I want no war, I am not intending to fund what I claim to condemn.  I do not believe the world can wait.  Lives are lost; limbs are crushed.  Eyes are missing and the pain is plentiful.  For me, Dennis Kucinich takes a thorough and thoughtful perspective on this war.

The Kucinich Plan for Iraq
Submitted by Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich unveils comprehensive exit plan to bring troops home, stabilize Iraq
Dennis J Kucinich
Monday, January 8, 2007

In November of 2006, after an October upsurge in violence in Iraq, the American people moved decisively to reject Republican rule, principally because of the conduct of the war.  Democratic leaders well understand we regained control of the Congress because of the situation in Iraq.  However, two months later, the Congress is still searching for a plan around which it can unite to hasten the end of US involvement in Iraq and the return home of 140,000 US troops.

There is a compelling need for a new direction in Iraq, one that recognizes the plight of the people of Iraq, the false and illegal basis of the United States war against Iraq, the realities on the ground which make a military resolution of the conflict unrealistic and the urgent responsibility of the United States, which caused the chaos, to use the process of diplomacy and international law to achieve stability in Iraq, a process which will establish peace and stability in Iraq allow our troops to return home with dignity.

The Administration is preparing to escalate the conflict.  They intend to increase troop numbers to unprecedented levels, without establishing an ending date for the so-called troop surge.  By definition, this escalation means a continuation of the occupation, more troop and civilian casualties, more anger toward the US, more support for the insurgency, more instability in Iraq and in the region, and prolonged civil war at a time when there is a general agreement in the world community that the solution in Iraq must be political not military.  Iraq is now a training ground for insurgents who practice against our troops.

What is needed is a comprehensive political process.  And the decision is not President Bush’s alone to make.

Congress, as a coequal branch of government has a responsibility to assist in the initiation of this process.  Congress, under Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution has the war-making power.  Congress appropriates funds for the war.  Congress does not dispense with its obligation to the American people simply by opposing a troop surge in Iraq.

There are 140,000 troops remaining in Iraq right now.  What about them?  When will they come home?  Why would we leave those troops in Iraq when we have the money to bring them home?  Soon the President will ask for more money for the war.  Why would Congress appropriate more money to keep the troops in Iraq through the end of President Bush’s term, at a total cost of upwards of two trillion dollars and thousands of more troop casualties, when military experts say there is no military solution?  Our soldiers stand for us in the field, we must to stand for them in our legislature by bringing them home.

It is simply not credible to maintain that one opposes the war and yet continues to fund it.  This contradiction runs as a deep fault line through our politics, undermining public trust in the political process and in those elected to represent the people.  If you oppose the war, then do not vote to fund it.

If you have money which can be used to bring the troops home or to prosecute the war, do not say you want to bring the troops home while you appropriate money in a supplemental to keep them in Iraq fighting a war that cannot be won militarily.  This is why the Administration should be notified now that Congress will not approve of the appropriations request of up to $160 billion in the spring for the purposes of continuing the occupation and the war.  Continuing to fund the war is not a plan.  It would represent the continuation of disaster.

The US sent our troops into Iraq without a clear mission.  We created a financial, military, and moral dilemma for our nation and now we are talking about the Iraq war as our problem.  The Iraqis are forgotten.  Their country has been destroyed: 650,000 casualties, [based on the Lancet Report which surveyed casualties from March of 2003 to July of 2006] the shredding of the social fabric of the nation, civil war, lack of access to food, shelter, electricity, clean drinking water and health care because this Administration, with the active participation of the Congress, authorized a war without reason, without conscience, without international law.

The current combat is not all that troubles me.  Much that is occurring in present day America and throughout the globe causes great distress.  I want us to embrace every aspect of life completely.  Reform for me is not wise if it is random.  I have no desire to change for the sake of change.  My interest is in encouraging equality for all.  May we live for the Seventh Generation.  As I assess the Kucinich agenda, I believe this Representative has our shared health in mind.  Kucinich states . . .

I want to inspire America to take a new path, a different direction.

I envision an America which has the capacity to reconnect with the heart of the world; an America which proceeds in the world optimistically and courageously.  An America which understands that the world is interdependent, that it is inter-connected, and that what we do today impacts future generations.

I want to break the shackles of fear which have deprived our citizens of rights.  We need to change the way this country values humanity, so that instead of fear and lies, we can live our lives based on principles of peace and hope.  We need to regain the trust of the American people and we need to have a government which trusts the American people.

It’s time for America to resume its glorious journey; time to reject shrinking jobs and wages, disappearing savings and rights; time to reject the detour towards fear and greed.  It’s time to look out upon the world for friends, not enemies; time to counter the control of corporations over our politics, our economy, our resources, and mass media.

It’s time for those who have much to help those who have little, by maintaining a progressive tax structure.  It’s time to tell the world that we wish to be their partner in peace, not their leader in war.  Most of all, it is time for America to again be the land where dreams come true, because the government is on the side of its people.

Ten Key Issues

  • Universal Health Care
  • International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in
  • Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO
  • Repeal of the “Patriot Act”
  • Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College
  • Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65
  • Right-to-Choose, Privacy and Civil Rights
  • Balance Between Workers and Corporations
  • Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy
  • Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms

  • As much as I believe there is a need to arraign this Administration, I fear that will not be possible.  Those that can take action have delayed and deferred their responsibility to the people.  Our nation is suffering.  Much in America needs our attention.  I ask, “If not now, when?”  I can only hope that by 2008, America will be courageous.  Citizens will not choose a candidate for their charisma and panache.  A bankroll will not impress and thirty-second commercials will not sway a savvy voter.  I invite you to travel to Congressman Kucinich’s site.  Read what is more than rhetoric; then decide.  As Hillary proposed, I would like to begin a genuine conversation.

    Furthering the future . . .

  • Bush challenges hundreds of laws, President cites powers of his office.  By Charlie Savage.  Boston Globe. April 30, 2006
  • pdf Bush challenges hundreds of laws, President cites powers of his office.  By Charlie Savage.  Boston Globe. April 30, 2006
  • The Beer Test, Presidential personalities. By Jonah Goldberg.  National Review. February 21, 2007
  • Dennis Kucinich for President 2008 Channel.
  • Kucinich for President 2008
  • Issues
  • The World Can’t Wait
  • The Kucinich Plan for Iraq
  • Universal Health Care
  • International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in
  • Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO
  • Repeal of the “Patriot Act”
  • Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College
  • Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65
  • Right-to-Choose, Privacy and Civil Rights
  • Balance Between Workers and Corporations
  • Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy
  • Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms