In a speech to the National Press Club, Sen. Kennedy said
“We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose.”
At first, this seems hopeful, as though at least one Democrat gets what progressives have been asking for for a long time. I remain reluctant to believe this message will stick around for another 3 years because I’m not sure he really means it now.
But it is interesting to see how the Democrats adopt Nader’s reasoning without giving Nader credit; Democrats losing because they become just like Republicans—how many Leftists were quick to chide Nader for citing this just a few months ago, essentially hiding behind the lame over-literal argument that the Democrats are not exactly like Republicans? Democrats don’t need to be duplicates to be offensively similar.
Around election time, the Democrats pay more attention to campaign funders and they march to the corporate right. And for some reason I don’t completely understand, corporations in the US aren’t clamoring to outsource the cost of health care to the American taxpayer in the form of a universal single-payer national health care program.
Kennedy went on (in the words of the DN! headline):
“He called on Medicare to be gradually expanded to cover all citizens […]”
Maybe the weasel word is “gradually”, but Kennedy had a chance to take a step in the right direction and I don’t see any evidence that he did.
During President George W. Bush’s first term, Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 676—a single-payer universal health care plan that expands Medicare to cover all Americans. It was called “United States National Health Insurance Act” (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act). USNHI covered all medically necessary health care and served as Rep. Kucinich’s health care plan for his presidential campaign (although for some reason he was reluctant to list the details of the bill number on his speaking tours and in debates). Kennedy did not support the bill in any speech or remark I can find.