I know we’re just hours away from the nail-biting climax of the Copenhagen conference at which the fate of humanity hangs in the balance (or not), but a Daily Kos post explaining why efforts to reform health insurance in the U.S. have amounted to nothing has fallen into my “must read” category. One paragraph should be enough to whet your appetite for outrage/resignation:
So here’s what you have to understand. If the health insurance and financial industries really felt scared by any particular politician or political party, or their lobbying efforts were inadequate, they could throw them out of power in a heartbeat. With a wave of their hand and a few billion dollars or so in our direction, the pharma companies and Goldman Sachs could absolutely destroy the Democratic Party in 2010 and beyond. The only reason they don’t do so is that it’s cheaper and easier to buy a few key Democrats off instead, and intimidate the rest. Plus, they don’t have to run the risk of a right-wing populist backlash, either.
If you read just one blog post about the challenge that health insurance reform poses, whether you support or oppose what your party of choice is doing at the moment, whether you think you understand the politics at work, make it this one.
If you want to win, you will ORGANIZE. You will organize in the same way the Right has done for the last 40 years, and you will spend money on persuasion, where it really matters. You will, in short, make the politicians as afraid of you as they are of them. The Right has built vast networks of think tanks, newspapers, periodicals, cable news channels, and political advocacy organizations to spread their finely tuned, well-honed messages. Their politicians may fail them, and their actual policies may be deeply unpopular, but their message machine nearly always works its magic to get them what they want, even when Democrats are in power.
Replace “health care” with “climate change” and the argument remains dead on. As this story from Copenhagen points out, it’s only the U.S. that the hacked CRU emails story has any traction. The one piece of good news from Denmark so far is that everybody else is smart enough to recognize a distraction when they see it.
One of Denmark’s leading businessmen and philanthropists, speaking privately at a reception here earlier this week, voiced a sentiment about the hacked e-mail controversy shared widely among attendees from around the world at this global climate conference.
“How can a few e-mails — which were stolen after all — have such an influence upon what Americans believe about global warming? The science is so consistent and deep. It is astonishing this is possible in the richest nation in the world.”
Astonishing? Not if you first read the piece about health insurance politics.