Let me say this straight out: I worked for the Obama campaign as a volunteer, like many did. I worked nights, weekends, missed kids’ soccer and baseball games, and made more calls from my home phone to "swing states" than I make personally in a year. I contributed more money than I can afford to Obama, to congressional and Senate races and to the congressional and Senatorial campaign committees. I dragged my kids and dozens of friends into Virginia to turn it blue.
I don’t say this because I think I am special. I say it because I am among one of those who wanted to believe, and who wanted to see this Administration succeed. I worked hard…I and everyone else was supposed to be "part of it"….remember??
And frankly, I am mystified. I have never seen a White House that so quickly acts to tip it’s hand on critical issues before the negotiations have even begun, that tells rabid ultra-conservatives what it is going to do and how much it will give up in negotiations on things like the stimulus package and health reform before they even get to “go.” Which one day is for the public option, the next day is not, and the third day might be but is not sure. And which apparently, in an effort to "let Congress legislate," nevertheless left in the hands of Rahm Emanuel and other members of the "old boys club" the job of cutting deals on women’s health care and basic human rights.
So this morning, when I see that Senator Claire McCaskill, who served as a National Co-Chairperson of the Obama Campaign (and who was an early and leading supporter of President Obama when many were not) get on the MSNBC program Morning Joe and declare she was not sure the Stupak amendment was that bad, I am not only mystified, I am aghast.
We have a huge and "heavy lift" as someone today on the hill told me off the record. We have a bungled strategy on health care that left it to go on too long and until after an election that of course brought losses but is nonetheless being over-read in its meaning. And now we have a Democratic White House, House, and Congress taking away women’s reproductive rights????
Now we have a Senator who describes herself as pro-choice–in the obligatory "look-I’ve-been-a-pro-choice-candidate-for-a-long-time”– short-circuiting the plan to beat this in the Senate by conceding the point less than 48 hours after a disastrous change in health reform in the House and before Senators have even come back into the office from the weekend?
What exactly is going on here?
I know McCaskill doesn’t "speak for the White House," but in some sense she does, informally. If she was tipping the hands of the conservatives and the bishops on who would cave first, she certainly didn’t try to hide it. No code words here. She just put it all out there.
After being shown a clip of Rachel Maddow describing the amendment and its adverse effects for women, during which Maddow called the amendment a "poison pill," McCaskill said "I’m not sure it is…".
She then went on to say:
We are talking about whether or not people that get public money can buy an insurance policy that has any coverage for abortion.
That is not the majority of America…the majority is not going to be getting subsidies from the government. The vast majority of America will congtinue to get their insurance from the work place just like they do now, and I am not sure this is going to be enough to kill the bill.
Translation? Does she mean to say that the poor women who most need access to reproductive and sexual health care and who are least able to pay out of pocket for anything, who are least likely to be in jobs where "employer based insurance" is a remote reality….they should just take a hike? The people who will need to be in the exchange and who will take government subsidies don’t have the same rights as I do and others do?
Was Roe v. Wade based on income levels? Is this the message we need right now?
All I can say is: Wow. I am floored.