Thursday, September 10, 2009

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich's Comments on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show This Evening

Alaska Senator Mark Begich, once again, when realistically confronted with the compromise "public option" which most Alaska Democrats feel to be a sorry retreat from what the plurality of the people who worked, donated and volunteered for him in 2008 want - universal American health care, simply designed for the 21st century - came short of an answer that in any way will convince us that he is OUR Senator.

Thursday morning, after Wednesday's presidential speech on health care reform, Obama met with some of the "conservative" 16 Democrats who Obama doesn't feel have signed on to whatever he has planned in this regard. This evening, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called on our junior senator to represent that bunch on the meeting:

Mark claimed the meeting was "an opportunity" to "be blunt with the president," but didn't articulate what the so-called "bluntness" might have been about. Apparently, it had to do with money.

Begich claims that the president convinced him the latter's proposal is somehow convincingly "deficit-neutral," in the long term.

However, when Maddow brought up Begich's congruency with the president's supposed goals and Begich's fairly progressive 2008 campaign health care stands, Mark went into his "small business stance" and "Alaska issues" spiel. He then declared that he will not let "the issue stand or fall" on the public option.

Begich next seemingly forgot he had been convinced by Obama in this morning's meeting, that the President's postion is fiscally neutral, as he ended the MSNBC session, contradicting himself.

The next election Alaska Senator Mark Begich faces is more than five years away. The single biggest contributor to his 2008 campaign was ActBlue/BlueAmerica. They raised over $50,000 for Sen. Begich over the course of his campaign. PA helped get Sen. Begich on their list. PA helped take Mark off their list, when Sen. Begich announced, early in 2009, that he intended to flirt with and often caucus with the Bush agenda-supporting "Blue Dogs" in our Party.

Thursday, in a matter of a few hours, ActBlue/BlueAmerica raised almost half of the nearly half million dollars collected on the web for Rob Miller, who will be running against Congressman Joe Wilson in 2010. Wilson is the guy who invited a court martial and U.S. House censure for yelling "You Lie!!!" at President Obama Wednesday night.

Depending on how Mark votes on health care, when his October PAC disclosures come out, if he has recently raised more than ActBlue/BlueAmerica raised for him in 2008, from the so-called health care industry for that PAC, you can depend on Progressive Alaska encouraging an early Democratic Party challenger to Mark's 2014 bid. That isn't just PA's opinion. It's my own responsibility.

That being said, I do hope Mark finally steps up and represents the people who elected him, when this comes down to the nitty-gritty.


Anonymous said...

Phil, there's no need whatsoever to create any number of more inventive constructions like, 'if he votes a certain way', or 'if he raises some certain sum of money' in some way or other, that might delay the day you substantively call him out for his disingenuousness and duplicity.

Begich has clearly been an obstructionist to the promise of health care reform.

He doesn't deserve any more slack or coddling, he needs to be called to account.

By his every action, he invites delay and obstruction to true reform.

There is no need nor any call for delay in his censure. That censure should be absolute and immediate.

Giving him more slack only enables more of the same kind of obstructionist foot dragging that marks his true position.

He's made his bed, it's time to tuck him in and whisper good night.

Your wanting to leave on a nightlight, ( your call for wanting more time to wait and see ), is only an uncalled for attempt to coddle him some more,

...when what he needs is a little tough love,

....when what he really needs, is to be made painfully aware of what it's like should that comforting nightlight be summarily switched off.

You're not doing the debate any favors, the chance of meaningful reform any favors, and you're not doing Alaskans any favors by continuing to cut Begich slack he doesn't deserve.


Anonymous said...

Again he shut down the largest recycler in Alaska for a donation and wants missile defense fully funded.
Real progressive or Ted Jr?

He helped Ben Stevens get Elmendorf housing privatized for a donation. hmmmm

health care for all? all better show him $ome green

Anonymous said...

Math question:

Currently I run a small business, a non-profit. We have five people currently insured with good health coverage, including medical, dental and vision.

We spend about $40,000 per year on health insurance.

Who pays this once the universal health insurance by the government comes into play.

There isn't a free lunch. Do we just add the $40K to the government bill, which for now was not on the government tab? Do we add that to the $11 trillion the country is now under?

Do we add a payroll tax to cover all the newly insured, like is now deducted from payroll in the form of mdeicare/medicaid and social security deductions - the other government sponsored equality for all programs?

If so, how much of a payroll hit is an employee now going to take on their take home pay check?

As part of the newest geezer club -isn't it just a bit presumptuous to assume that the generation lagging behind the boomer class gets to pay for your social security and new health care benefits when your age group is no longer in the working class?

Is the boomer generation going to work into your 80's??? To pay for all this government equality for all programs???

If not, where is the money going to come from in the next twenty years, when the largest employee age class leaves the work force?

Fill in with illegal immigrants?

Fill in with increased legal immigrants?

A younger generation would like to know who covers your generations tab to us???

Blue_in_AK said...

I haven't been satisfied at all with Mark's positions on the health care issue. I wrote him requesting his opinion on the public option (stating that I, in fact, am in favor of single payer), and what I received back was a form letter laying out the goals of health care reform -- i.e., coverage for pre-existing conditions, no dropping of coverage when you get sick, etc. -- but completely avoiding my question.

I sent another e-mail asking him to please respond to my question -- what is his position on a public option -- and have heard nothing back.

I was not impressed by his appearance on Rachel's show.

Anonymous said...

Math Answer:

Permanent War, Militarism, National Security State

GScott said...

I don't see what's so bad about what he said. Says his vote won't go or not-go because of public option, or no— so long as the goals are met. And says the President's plan acheives his concerns about the deficit. In other words, he's an aye. What's the problem? Would you want him to fall on his sword-- and kill the whole bill-- if it doesn't include the public option?

Another thing. Begich, like Young and Murkowski, don't serve the people who voted for him, or the people who donated money to his campaign! He's charged with representing the whole state. Just as we cry foul when Don Young or other right-wingers behave as though that is their constituency, we shouldn't be upset when someone we helped to elect turns around and represents more than just us. Honestly, who give a rats ass that you helped him raise money? You're off base on that count. Why would that require him to agree with you, or do what you want? Isn't what you're doing here, just as bad as when Big Oil threatens their support when a senator won't vote their way?

I want Begich to be more progressive, but I also want to see him remain in the Senate. And in Alaska, get real, that requires some give and take with the conservative majority. That's no betrayal--that's just smart politics.

The senator who is really letting us down is Lisa Murkowski. She's talking all the same talk as Begich when it comes to the goals, but unlike Begich, she's using her actual vote to obstruct passage of the bill. THAT's betrayal!

Scott, no nickname, just Scott said...


You lost me with that lede sentence.

It is way too long.

The bad writing obscures whatever point you'd like to make.



clark said...

the bottom line is the president and our bought and paid for congress are trying to sell us what amounts to a bailout of big insurance. not what we need. we need to completely eliminate for-profit health care.
obama chided progressives by saying he wanted to remind us that our goal has always been to cover the 40 million uninsured. that was a sleight of hand.
try to see what's happening here objectivey -- the insurance industry, is accepting reform measures [like not being able to drop people when they get sick] in exchange for making the purchase of insurance mandatory. the details aren't finalized yet, but that's where it seems to be heading.
a commenter at huffpo said that clamoring for the public option and not getting it 'is like the american people begging for scraps at their own table -- and it says a lot about how far we've fallen that our corporate overlords won't give us anything'.

clark said...

and g. scott, it is a lot worse to be betrayed by someone of your own party whom you supported and helped to elect. we would have expected lisa to do the wrong thing.

jim said...

There are two entities:

1. Health insurance

2. Health uninsurance.

The way we're heading, in 10 years most Americans will belong to group 2. America will be, basically, an uninsured country. From our perspective as Alaskans, we could call it the Palin/ Murkowski/ Begich health proposal.

Philip Munger said...

As for the long sentences, I'm no Hemmingway, that's for sure. I was pretty exhausted last night from a 14-hour work day.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it, Phil. This is an excellent post.

I come to this blog because of your stand on Begich. I no longer visit other "progressive" Alaskan blogs taking a weaker stand.

As far being off base with the expectation Begich needs to vote as the people who supported and voted for him believed he would--you're not off base. We supported and voted for Begich because we expected him to take certain stands. If he's not taking those stands, we have every right to let him know we won't support him in the future.

The problem is, Begich probably won't be very threatened by this. He takes our votes and support for granted, calculating we won't support other Dems in the primary because we won't want to weaken our incumbent for the general; he knows we won't vote Republican in the general. He's most likely right. So what are we going to do about it?

I also get form letters or nonresponses from his office. Most of the time, the form letters contain the obligatory "importance of national security" cliches. Begich is Ted Stevens without the seniority, brains, or education.


Anonymous said...