Alan Grayson (D-FL) is my hero. Seriously, he tells it like it is, without fear of the insurance companies, and certainly not without fear of the Republican lie machine:
"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.
"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all." [. . .]
"Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die whose lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology." [. . .]
"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. [. . .] America does care about health care in America. And if you're against it, then get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. [. . .] America understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why.
"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry. In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.
"But that's not what America wants; America wants solutions to its problems, and that begins with health care."
Just to look up the first thing that comes to mind: according to transcripts, and ABC's blog agrees, McCain is simply wrong about Kissinger - he does support high-level talks without preconditions. Now, I don't care about errors like "Kennedy was out of the hospital before the debate started" or the Eisenhower letters thing, but if there are other significant points like Kissinger's stance on which McCain was simply and directly wrong, it matters.
Eight years ago, a man ran for President who claimed he was different, not a typical Republican. He called himself a reformer. He admitted that his Party, the Republican Party, had been wrong about things from time to time. He promised to work with Democrats and said he’d been doing that for a long time.
That candidate was George W. Bush. Remember that? Remember the promise to reach across the aisle? To change the tone? To restore honor and dignity to the White House?
We saw how that story ends. A record number of home foreclosures. Home values, tumbling. And the disturbing news that the crisis you’ve been facing on Main Street is now hitting Wall Street, taking down Lehman Brothers and threatening other financial institutions.
We’ve seen eight straight months of job losses. Nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance. Average incomes down, while the price of everything -- from gas to groceries -- has skyrocketed. A military stretched thin from two wars and multiple deployments.
A nation more polarized than I’ve ever seen in my career. And a culture in Washington where the very few wealthy and powerful have a seat at the table and everybody else is on the menu.
Eight years later, we have another Republican nominee who’s telling us the exact same thing:
This time it will be different, it really will. This time he’s going to put country before party, to change the tone, reach across the aisle, change the Republican Party, change the way Washington works.
We’ve seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original.
If you haven't watched the speech, for whatever reason, and you don't want to watch it now, for whatever reason, please: just read it. I won't even ask you to keep an open mind - just to click the link and push the down arrow when you hit the bottom of the screen, and whatever you think of him afterwards is fair game. But read it.
I remember - sometime last year - reading a blogger talking about Barack Obama who said that Obama was too kind, too positive, too unwilling to be harsh. I remember the fellow talked about Kennedy and others, said that they were certainly not the plaster saints that Obama seemed to be imitating, and that his refusal to use aggressive tactics would most likely sink his campaign.
In the months since, it's become clear that it's quite the opposite.
Today - yesterday, now - he gave a speech in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church. C-SPAN has the full speech on video - actually, with probably about ten minutes of extra material extending on either end.
It's a good speech, a really good speech. Omitting the thank-yous at the beginning, a transcript (not quite the same as the one that's been floating around the net - I think he slipped from the script a bit...):
( The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho... )
It's two a.m., and I'm really stupid right now, so I'm not going to make any big announcements. I'm not even a member of the Democratic Party, and on top of that, I can see where the scoffing is coming from. But, you know, I heard you ought to be willing to let politics break your heart, and I can't help but think maybe I will.