Saturday, May 16, 2009

I am a political strategist

Dear Mr Plouffe,
I donated and thanks for your efforts. I just want to warn you that I think your compromising has undermined the effort to achieve anything meaningful on health care reform. By dropping single-payer at the start, you lost a very effective argument against private insurance, but you also made the "public option" your only bargaining chip. Now that is getting weakened and it looks like we're going to get very little change out of the reform effort. I think you need to stop fighting for the welter-weight public option to be given a chance and let the whole effort fall on its face so that you can start over with single-payer pitted against the public insurance profiteers. How do you set this up so that Dems don't look like ineffective losers? Well, it's hard since they started themselves down that road, but make sure the Republicans and AHIP lobbyists are seen to have a hand in organizing the reform. That way, when it falls flat they have egg on their faces. If something still comes out of the effort, it's going to be a lipstick-on-pig reform that Americans should be outraged about. When some worthless reform comes out that reduces the rate of increase of health care costs from 6% to 5% annually, I'm going to think "that's what happens when you let Republicans and the industry that profits the most from the status quo take control of reform." Then I'm going to think "now I want Democrats to follow public opinion and enact a single-payer system to finance universal health coverage for all Americans, freeing our businesses and households from an onerous financial cost, while steamrolling Republicans who are offering absolutely nothing (except opposition and foot-dragging) in the face of a dire need for change.

On Sat, May 16, 2009 at 1:03 PM, David Plouffe, wrote:
Organizing for America
Hamish --

We knew healthcare reform would face fierce opposition -- and it's begun. As we speak, the same people behind the notorious "swiftboat" ads of 2004 are already pumping millions of dollars into deceptive television ads. Their plan is simple: torpedo healthcare reform before it sees the light of day by scaring the public and distorting the President's approach.

We need the resources to take them head on with an urgent, grassroots campaign to pass real healthcare reform in 2009.

When the swiftboaters flood the airwaves with distortions, we'll flood the streets with volunteers armed with facts. When they send lobbyists to tell Congress to back down, we'll send millions of calls, letters, and stories from real Americans asking them to stand up.

Please donate $5 or more by midnight Sunday to fight back against these phony attacks and take our message of reform to the American people.

Donate $5 or more by midnight Sunday

The swiftboaters are once again trying to sell the American people short. As during the election, we deserve a serious conversation -- not fear-mongering and deceit. You and I see the importance of healthcare reform every day. We can't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to face one of America's greatest challenges head on.

Passing real healthcare reform will be the toughest, most important challenge we've faced together since electing Barack Obama President.

But it's also a big reason we fought so hard to get here. I know that by working together, and speaking with one, determined voice, we can prevail over the cynics and defenders of the status quo. America's families are counting on us to do just that.

Donate $5 or more to defend healthcare reform today:

Thank you,

David Plouffe

Please donate

Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Monetary contributions to the Democratic National Committee are not tax-deductible.

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"I am wedded to the notion that everyone in America should have access to a doctor when they need it and that this should be done fairly and at reasonable cost."
--PBS Reporter T.R. Reid

Friday, May 15, 2009

Republicans: The Party of "NO".

When I was a kid, just becoming politically aware sometime in the 80s, I had a very basic understanding of politics. It seemed Democrats had some good ideas, but it was always the Republicans who shot them down. To me, the Republicans were the party of "NO". While I now have a more nuanced understanding of national politics (Democrats are actually quite often more concerned with their own careers than making good policy and sometimes neither party makes any sense), I'm dismayed to see the Republicans pretty much just saying "NO" to health care reform without any sort of proposal for the situation we're drowning in. High costs, gaps in coverage, well-known inefficiencies are all hobbling healthcare coverage and the economy. You would expect Republicans to try and fix this, since it adversely effects small business, and is forcing us to spend more public money on health care for the uninsured. But with a reform-minded president and Democratic caucus, they are simply agin' it, without trying to shape the reform to Republican ideals. (Without any proposals to increase coverage, you wonder if Republican ideals actually are for less coverage). To make matters worse, they are playing dirty: using a stall-and-deflect strategy to cripple reform efforts and pull the teeth out of any final product from the process. In addition, they are doing it with a strategy based on fear. They're not saying "it ain't broke so don't fix it." They're saying "something scary and unknown about change; we should just stick with what we've got since there's no telling what will happen if we try to reform." See the story here:

Also, for the record, here are the tenets of the "public option" portion of Obama's reform proposal -one of the most contentious parts of the debate since they decided to shoot low and keep the best option (single-payer) "off the table"


The choice of a public health insurance plan is crucial to real health care reform. But right now, it's being smeared by conservatives and insurance-industry front groups. Here's what you really need to know:

1. Choice, choice, choice. If the public health insurance option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don't—or don't have any—you can get the public insurance plan.2

2. It will be high-quality coverage with a choice of doctors. Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they're not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you'll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.3

3. We'll all save a bunch of money. The public health insurance option won't have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it'll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.4

4. It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public health insurance option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.5

5. And it's a key part of universal health care. No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public health insurance plan will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.6

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Boulder on Wednesday, Seattle on the weekend (the weather, that is)

The tough thing about snow is that, even though you want it, you still need it to clear out so you can go have your adventures in the mountains. April's massive upslope storm in Boulder was great for filling in the routes (North Face of Longs skied several times), but there hasn't been a clear weekend for skiing them. A lot of folks are griping about every weekend in April (and the first one in May) being rainy/snowy. Still, I had one chance and made the most of it. I was in NY, looking at the weather forecast for the weekend back in CO. Thursday looked pretty good, before a system came in over the weekend. I called my buddy Jason, who is currently unemployed and game for anything, and we hatched a plan to ski Shit for Brains. I had spotted a line to gaper's left of S4B that would go with all the snow blessings of late, making west-facing lines like this possible:
Jason drove my truck to the airport, met me at 11am and we headed straight up to Loveland Pass. I changed in the parking lot and we headed out to the line, me savoring the adventure I was about to drop into with only a line drawn on a picture as a guide, and Jason puckering at the exposed sections of steep snow and rock scrambling just before S4B. Jason also descended the S4B by himself, which made me extra proud of my little billy goat pal. The next day, rain and snow came to the mountains. Without Jason motivating to get his butt in gear, get my gear to the airport and coordinate for a DIA to S4B commute, it would not have happened. It was a great day out, made possible by commitment, planning and thorough execution