Friday, January 15, 2016

Could Clinton's Moderate Views on Healthcare Doom Her Chances Against Sanders?

I'm thinking yeah...

Carving out stark differences in order to win may not be the way to win,
Hillary, especially if you actually agree. False choices, anyone?

A while back I let people know that my pragmatic side, which favors Hillary, was ready to give in to my human side, which favors Bernie. Now, Hillary is giving me reasons to really turn toward Bernie. Others are noticing, too:
Perhaps the most astounding mistake Clinton has made, in recent days, is the way she’s gone about competing with Sanders on the issue of health care. Sanders favors a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system. Clinton would prefer to make incremental expansions to Obamacare.
But instead of convincing voters that she’d be the more politically effective candidate in this situation, Clinton’s gone all the way 'round the bend and has decided to ramp up unnecessary fearmongering, dispatching her daughter to New Hampshire to darkly warn that Sanders is gonna take everyone’s health care away.
Hillary Clinton herself doubled down on her daughter's comments on ABC News Thursday morning, and campaign aides have done the same. Of course, this is not true. Under a single-payer system, everybody gets health care. That's the entire point, as Hillary Clinton well knows. Chelsea Clinton knows it too. As Alex Pareene points out: "Chelsea Clinton has a masters degree in public health from Columbia. She knows exactly how what she’s saying obfuscates the issue."
This is well beyond the level of vitriol that is needed in the primary. More importantly, it's stupid. The Democratic Party has been advocating for a single-payer health care system since the Truman era. Hillary Clinton herself said in 1994 that a single-payer system was all-but politically inevitable, and advocated making Medicare available to all Americans in 2008. Politicians don't win races by trying to pull the wool over their potential supporters' eyes about core policy beliefs they have held for decades.
Yes, this is a little crazy. What's more, it's not necessary. There's a path to victory for Hillary by not taking on Bernie when she could co-opt him, if not by going left of him but by going about as left of him. Win-win. She beats Bernie by being Bernie. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos gets it:
The Hillary Clinton campaign appears to be trying to erode Bernie Sanders’ support in the liberal base by being less than truthful about his healthcare reform proposals. It's a baffling and short-sighted position for her to be taking, and a strange place to try to create contrast in the base, since it's been clamoring for some kind of single payer option for years now. The latest broadside from the Clinton campaign came from daughter Chelsea, who gave a frightening—and incomplete—picture of Sanders' single-payer approach.
What's left out, of course, is that these programs would be replaced and healthcare would become universal. The argument that this could undermine Obamacare, well, Republicans sure as hell don't need Democratic permission to try to destroy that. It's ridiculous to suggest that Sanders wants to destroy government health care programs, when he's actually advocating for government-provided health insurance for everyone.
There is, however, some valid criticism of Sanders' plan, based on the 2013 legislation he introduced, and how it would get paid for. All things being equal—meaning it needs new pay-fors—it could mean higher taxes on the middle class, and those taxes would not necessarily be offset by the savings this group will see in their health insurance plans. It doesn't have to, because there are certainly sources apart from payroll taxes to pay for healthcare. The Sanders' campaign, though, needs to make good on his promise to deliver those funding ideas.
In the meantime, Clinton could do herself some good, and more importantly help advance healthcare policy, by doing something the progressive and liberal base is fully behind by not rejecting out of hand an expansion of public healthcare.
McCarter goes on to link to what may be a winning formula: Bring back the public option. Again, win-win. It cures two problems. One, a majority of Americans don't like Obamacare, mostly because people on the left wanted something more progressive. So, Hillary could run with a "repeal-and-replace Obamacare" -- which would at least get the attention of those on the right who didn't favor it for knee-jerk reasons, even if she couldn't win those voters over in any event -- and promote replacing it with something that appeals to progressives, i.e. single-payer. Who knows, maybe some people will notice it's a better system, a cheaper system, a more universal system.

Why go negative to win when you can go positive to win? C'mon Hillary, drink Bernie's milkshake. You can do it.

Because, if you don't, he'll end up drinking yours.

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