If We Were Smart...
...in the summer of 2008, we'd be seeing this sight, Dennis Kucinich stepping off Air Force One a couple of hundred times a year.
Health Care Reform would be actual health care reform and not this craven, "Let's not piss off the HMOs, Big Pharma, the GOP and the Tea Party" mashup that we're seeing now. We probably wouldn't be in Iraq or Afghanistan and NAFTA, the USA PATRIOT Act and DADT would be historical relics of a bygone age when Americans were less enlightened.
Then, post-literate, post-Constitutional Tea Partyers would be able to make a slightly more plausible case that our President is a Socialist intent on taking over one sixth of our economy. A President Dennis Kucinich wouldn't necessarily get a single payer health reform bill through Congress on account of the obvious corruption on Capitol Hill but at least, unlike the pro-corporate centrist we have in there now, he wouldn't have started from a compromised position and be willing to leave out even a public option.
But because of our stupidity and narrow views of what "presidential" ought to be and not be, Dennis Kucinich is not the President of the United States. The lead picture was taken two days ago as he stepped off Air Force One in Cleveland courtesy of the man who actually is the President.
But we may have the next best thing to a Kucinich administration at least as far as health care goes. It's called HR 4789, a bill introduced on the floor of the house by Congressman Alan Grayson. As stated here recently, HR 4789 would extend Medicare benefits to those under 65 who want it. It's the closest thing we have to not only a public option but to an honest-to-God single payer system.
Yet to read the scorecards in the news, HR 4789 isn't even mentioned either here or in the article written by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius despite the fact that the Grayson bill, at last count, has 66 cosponsors.
All we're hearing about are Tea Partyers carrying badly-spelled signs featuring childish cartoons of the President as if this Dick Armey of zombies is actually providing a valid and thoughtful counterargument to the President's tepid health care reform proposals. And we're hearing an awful lot about Nancy Pelosi's complicated and risky tactic involving a Fix It bill, which essentially is selling the American people a jalopy with insubstantial assurances to fix it immediately so as not to violate a lemon law.
We're hearing about the SEIU taking Markos Moulitsas' lead and threatening to primary Democrats who refuse to support the Senate version of the bill, despite the bill having no public option and no real way of controlling costs other than the paper projections of Obama's so-called "exchange."
It's getting ugly out there, folks, and is proving to be more divisive than us going to war in Iraq under false pretenses, immigration and perhaps even the bailout. If anything, health care reform is more likely to lead to a second civil war than anything else. At last count, at least 34 states have already ratified or are considering ratifying laws that would allow those states to opt out of any mandate that doesn't contain a valid public option.
If Dennis Kucinich was president instead of Barack Obama, we'd probably be more divided than we already are and the Tea Party would probably be literally foaming at their gaping mouths. But at least we liberals and progressives wouldn't have begun this arm wrestling match from a severely handicapped position, with the hair on our wrists already touching the table at the start.