Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.
The nation's senior Black congressman fears Barack Obama is in danger of becoming a one-term president. Obama's health care proposal is “crap,” says Detroit's John Conyers, and Obama loses whether it passes or fails.
Conyers: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health care.”
Congressman John Conyers says Barack Obama’s stance on health care has been wrong, and it’s going to cost the president “big time.” It might even cost Obama his second term in the White House.
Conyers gave that assessment at Washington’s Busboys and Poets restaurant, bookstore and bar, where the Progressive Democrats of America were celebrating their fifth anniversary. Conyers is the Congressional Black Caucus’s longest serving member, having represented Detroit since 1964, when Obama was a three-year-old. He’s also one of the most consistently progressive members of the House, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and author of single payer health care bill H.R. 676 – legislation the White House has done its best to smother. Obama once gave lip service to single payer health care, but as president has staked his reputation on a mishmash of corporate schemes and deals-with-the-devil masquerading as health care reform – a thoroughly confused and conflicted legislative concoction that Conyers describes, simply, as “crap.”
Conyers suggests that, at the end of the legislative process, progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health carebecause the bill will be simply too bad for advocates of real reform to support.
Busboys and Poets is a favored gathering place for progressives of all races. On the January night last year when Obama won the South Carolina primary, the place was noisier and more boisterous than anybody’s sports bar – so many deliriously hopeful faces, such soaring expectations. Now, John Conyers was telling many of the same people: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
“We’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The president and his supporters often throw around the old cliché about not letting the “perfect become the enemy of the good.” That’s their way of defending the fatal compromises Obama keeps making with the right-wing before the fight has even begun. Whether because of lack of gumption or lack of real commitment on Obama’s part, this refusal to confront Power is what has brought us to the current health care debacle in Congress. It’s not a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good, but that the health care legislation shaped by the White House and its allies in Congress is just no damn good.
As disappointed as Conyers is with Obama, he still feels compelled to blame someone else for Obama’s health care fiasco. It’s White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s fault, says the congressman. Emanuel wants to pass any kind of health care bill, “anything just to say we did” pass something.
Whether the villainous Rahm Emanuel is to blame or it’s Obama’s own fault, the president will pay a steep political price, says Conyers. If he passes a “weak bill,” Obama loses, and if no bill passes, he loses. Conyers says he’s speaking out in such stark terms because, “we’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The truth is, Obama killed the prospects for real health care reform when, no sooner than he had taken the oath of office, he began threatening to cut Medicare and attempting to marginalize single payer advocates like John Conyers. What begins badly, usually ends badly.
Oscar Grant was murdered by a transit cop on a Bay Area subway platform before hundreds of witnesses. To enable his killer to go free, he had to be murdered again and again in the media and the courts. This book, coming in January, tells the story of these multiple murders.
Teach For America Rap: A Scab is a Scab is a Scab
What do you call cheap "replacement workers" summoned by management? From the HBO series "Treme".
Actor, rapper & human rights activist Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def graphically demonstrates a little of what Uncle Sam's untried, un-accused, unsentenced but permanently incarcerated prisoners at Guantanamo Bay & elsewhere undergo every day... not for the faint of heart. From the Guardian, where you can find much more real journalistic coverage of the NSA and more.
A warning to current & future Facebook "friends" and "likes":
Please know that being our “friend” or “liking” us on Facebook does not guarantee that you'll see Black Agenda Report's posts in your news feed. Facebook arbitrarily limits the reach of persons and business to 15% of “friends” and “likes”. The only way to be sure you receive weekly updates from Black Agenda Report is to sign up for our weekly email alerts on the left side of this page.
Was the US and NATO's Libyan intervention a humanitarian campaign to protect Libyans against Muammar Gaddafi’s threats of mass violence and genocide, or was it a cynically “rehearsed military expedition” to force regime change and wield Western authority in the region? Far from being an action to save lives, NATO’s “indiscriminate” bombing of civilian targets and cities such as Sirte (Gaddafi’s birthplace) resulted in genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and civil war..
The year that saw an African American run for the presidency as a viable contender also witnessed a truly remarkable silence. While millions of words written about the political ascent of one black man, there was virtually nothing about the descent of black leadership into well-nigh total ineffectiveness. Barack Obama’s personal itinerary was mapped in the minutest detail. The larger itinerary of African Americans was mostly ignored.