I don't need a candidate to hope for me, I need one to fight for me.

4 minute read Published:

After 8 years of Bush’s destruction of America and Congress’s complicity in ripping up the Constitution, what keeps me up at night is not whether a Democrat knows how to compromise. After reading up on the campaign contributions and policy positions of our leading Democratic contenders, I’m losing sleep over the fact that Barack Obama has received the 2nd highest level of contributions from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, his healthcare coverage plan is receiving pretty low marks, and he has a somewhat mixed history with energy industries. The two biggest fears I have for the world my future child will reside in are 1) that we will have unstoppable global warming, and 2) that we will not have access to decent health care. And on these two fronts, Barack Obama is, so far, not really fighting that hard for us.

If he wins the nomination, I will vote for him. I have already pulled a Nader and I’m not about to do it again. But let this be clear - we did not learn from the triangulation years of the Clinton Administration if this guy is allowed to win our nomination with no challenge.

Just being a “nice guy” doesn’t cut it. News Flash: all politicians are nice guys/gals; that’s how they win the popularity contests we hold to determine our leadership. Huckabee also seems like a “nice guy”, until he takes away your right to choose and imposes equal time for Creationism in science class. Bush was also considered a “nice guy” to have a beer with, until he invaded Iraq unprovoked, gave tax cuts to the rich, and didn’t fund “No Child Left Behind”. So sorry, the “nice guy” stuff will just not work with me.

I’m very troubled that Obama seems to use right-wing talking points when speaking about matters that concern me so much, like Social Security. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that words do matter, they frame an argument, and when you use the opposition’s language, you buy into that frame. When Obama uses Republican language against us, it actually hurts our cause because he keeps echoing false memes that reinforce wrong-headed ideas.

I think we can all agree that global climate change is some pretty scary shit. But Obama seems to want to have his cake and eat it, too. On the one hand, his issue page on climate change seems to trumpet the very concerns I have, and that is reassuring. On the other hand, if you just do your research, you’ll find that Obama “reintroduced the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007”, a bill that would promote the liquefaction of coal for use as a diesel fuel. It seems to me that if you’re really scared shitless about climate change, you don’t sponsor a bill that would further it. After much uproar, Obama seems to have erased his coal liquefaction support from his platform, but he still sponsors nuclear and ethanol legislation, and takes contributions from these industries. He seems to emphasize “energy independence” more than global warming, and this trend is very worrisome.

I’ve been pretty strongly supportive of Universal Single-Payer Healthcare and used to be a Kucinich purist, but I was won over to the Edwards plan because I think it would make a reasonable transition over to a Medicare-for-All type of system. What I most appreciate about Edwards is his tough stance on corporate greed, because that’s what is really causing the health insurance industry to metastasize. Why can’t Obama be that tough in his language? Is it maybe because he’s already beholden to those interests? This is what I read about his work in the Illinois Senate on the “Health Care Justice Act”:

By the time the legislation passed the Senate, in May 2004, Obama had written three successful amendments, at least one of which made key changes favorable to insurers.

Most significant, universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy - the proposed commission, renamed the Adequate Health Care Task Force, was charged only with studying how to expand healthcare access. In the same amendment, Obama also sought to give insurers a voice in how the task force developed its plan.

Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry’s concerns into consideration.

See a pattern here? Obama says one thing publically, but privately he takes the money and does the deals. This is not what I want after 8 years of criminal Bush, and previous to that, 8 years of triangulating Clinton. I feel so weary right now, I can’t imagine having to protest and lobby against my own Democratic candidate to do the right thing, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’m going to have to do. Wouldn’t it just be easier to nominate Edwards, a principled individual who is not taking money from lobbyists and making compromises we don’t need?

Some interesting links for further reading:

Sourcewatch: Barack Obama/Campaign Financing

Sourcewatch: John Edwards

The Money Web

[Crossposted at DailyKos]