Monday, August 24, 2009

I am very pleased to read this

Senator Bingaman (D-NM) had a town hall meeting in Albuquerque today. I was at work but I read about it tonight at Daily Kos.

Here's the kicker:
So, the Senator set the table for our highlight moment. The remaining questions we'd carefully prepared and agreed upon had all been asked by other groups. Several of us whispered, wouldn't it be interesting to get a vote from the 200 participants on the public option, after such a thorough discussion? We wordsmithed the question. Our moderator wasn't sure -- we hadn't approved this as a group. So, we polled the table. It was thumbs up, even from our thoughtful skeptic.

We got our turn. The gentleman who asked the question for us was very clear: "Senator Bingaman, would you be willing to ask for a show of hands in this room of those who support a ROBUST public option, available IMMEDIATELY?"


Easily 90+% of the participants raised their hands! No kidding. He then asked who opposed a public option. Less than 10% of the participants raised their hands.

This was not your average town hall meeting. It had lots of organization. Only those willing to discuss seriously were allowed. They showed up two hours early, were divided into groups that worked on questions, issues, and statements, hammering out something they could agree on. It was very different from the usual, and obviously no heckling loudmouths had a seat at these working tables. But folks of any view were welcome to participate.

What I was looking for, hoping for is this:
But Bingaman said repeatedly that he favored the public option, and left no doubt about this. But he's skeptical that there are 60 votes for this. Fortunately, our group was prepared for this -- we asked if he'd support going the reconciliation route if there was no other way to get past "bipartisan" stonewalling or if there weren't 60 votes for true reform. "Yes", Bingaman said. It was an unhappy yes, because he had reservations about resorting to this. But -- a clear and unmistakable YES on using reconciliation if necessary.
When someone called me last evening on behalf of the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) gearing up to get some money out of me to help elect and keep Democrats in the Senate - most unfortunate timing after my screed here, oh, and this one - I cut him short and said that until Senator Bingaman distances himself from the shenanigans of the Gang of Six I was not going to give a penny and that I was very distressed and disappointed in what I was seeing. I concluded that it would be good for the call to end right there and hung up, not giving him a chance to respond. I was in no mood for donation pitches.

That's for some context.

Here is a section of his position on health care reform from his official website:
Much attention has been given to whether the bill we send to the president should have a “public option.” I strongly support a public option. The most critical elements of such a plan are that it would be established and overseen by the federal government, and made available to all Americans. The primary purpose of the public plan is to ensure that there is at least one option for Americans that is affordable and would provide meaningful care. By leveraging competition, a public plan would also safeguard against unscrupulous insurances practices. You can learn how the public option fits into health care reform elsewhere on my website.

I am pleased to read that Jeff Bingaman is favoring a public option. I want him to do more than just favor it; I want him to fight for it. I want him to help put pressure where it can make a difference in the Senate so there WILL be 60 votes.

So, Senator Bingaman, are you listening? I would love to vote for you, even donate, but you need to earn that support and I just told you how.

Read it all in flitedocnm's post here.

FYI: The bolded portions were included in an e-mail to Senator Bingaman that I sent off just now, explaining where I am coming from and what I hope for.

--the BB

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Still hoping for the best!