On March 21, my Congressman, Emanuel Cleaver II, was spit on and derided for his race as he walked toward the capitol, and I am still furious about it. The man is the founder of the Civility Caucus, fercryinoutloud, and they chose him to spit on. Talk about stuff you can’t make up…
On March 27th, he held one of his Saturday morning constituent meetings, known as Coffee with Cleaver, at the Crossroads coffeehouse. It was very well attended by supporters, and while a couple of teabaggers showed up, they didn’t hang around, choosing to get back to whichever suburb they ventured into the inner city from, because if there is one group of people that they will openly admit they hate, it is the dirty fucking hippies, and the Crossroads is absolutely lousy with ’em. Art majors, organic gardeners, loft dwellers, urban hikers…All that peacemongering and patchouli was just more than they could abide, and they split within minutes.
It’s amazing what coming home a winner will do for you. One thing is for damn sure – It isn’t August anymore, as Nancy reminded them right before the recess when she gathered the caucus for a pep talk before they headed back to their districts.
After passing the final piece of health care reform Thursday night, members of the House adjourned and headed home. They aren’t scheduled to return until April 12. It’s a “critical time to go on offense,” the speaker’s office told members in a memo obtained by TPMDC.
“Members were eager to get out of here, go back to their districts and start talking about this thing,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s spokesman Doug Thornell told TPMDC in an interview Friday.
Leadership is telling members to reach out to local chapters of the hundreds of national organizations that endorsed the health care legislation to help organize events in town. Instead of just holding a town hall, members are advised to find constituents who would be helped — a child with preexisting conditions who can now get health insurance, or a small business that will benefit from new tax credits — and host events with them showcasing how the bill reforms the health care system.
Members were given several-inch thick binders filled with statistics for how many people in their districts would benefit from each specific provision in the health care bill. Capitol Hill aides admit that one reason things went south so quickly last summer is that members were not prepared. (The Senate is partially to blame for that, since there wasn’t actually a bill to campaign on yet. The House had finished its committee work but hadn’t rallied behind a final plan, either. A delay in the Senate Finance Committee had a lot to do with the uncertainty House members faced back home.)
“Convey the immediate benefits of health reform to your constituents,” leadership recommended. “Tell your constituents how all this was done in a fiscally responsible, open, and transparent way.”
The Senate side isn’t any different, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley. “We are telling them to talk about health care as much as possible,” Manley told TPMDC.
I watched Claire McCaskill last August as she tried to explain to a group of teabaggers that she couldn’t very well read a bill that didn’t exist yet, that was still being hammered out, only to have them crow “she hasn’t read the bill!”
I knew then that we were up against an opposition that was, frankly, insane.
The only thing to do is run on the success of passing it, and repeat long and loud what it actuially does, especially the parts that will kick in come September, several weeks before the election.
Remember, Bill Krystal told the republicans during the Clinton healthcare debate that if Democrats delivered healthcare reform and universal coverage, they would lose the middle class for at least a generation.
This is the only thing that Billy the K has ever been right about. Ever.
And still, the republicans weren’t smart enough to look around when they had both chambers and the White House, and say “Hey! Why don’t WE do health care and grab the middle class for a generation or more?” (Maybe someone did and was told that they didn’t need to bother because they would always have gay marriage, and that didn’t cost a lot of money.)
Now the Democrats have done it, and the republicans appear to have peaked in January with the election of Scott “Cosmo” Brown. The Democrats seemed to come out swinging on January 20, and they still haven’t let up.
And now they are home in their districts and they got to come home winners, having just passed the largest piece of social legislation that we have seen in two generations.
Yes. Two generations have grown up and a third one has been born since the last time we tackled any reform or an expansion of federal benefits opening access to our healthcare system.
Case in point: I was a toddler when Medicare became law, and I am a grandmother now.
Every day, opposition lessens and support increases as the facts about healthcare reform penetrate the veil of lies and propaganda and facts take the place of wild hyperbole about “death panels” and “socialism.”