Friends, it’s time to take up a collection so we can seek a cure for a tragic disease. The disease is PTS – Political Timidity Syndrome – and it seems to be epidemic among Democrats in congress.
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The latest to show the tell-tale symptoms of this heart breaking scourge is Hillary Clinton. The New York senator and Democratic contender for the presidency, has announced that she’s going to take on the issue that affects a majority of America’s families, small businesses, corporate competitiveness, and our nation’s very notion of the common good: health care. Good for her! This is a big issue, a winning issue, a defining issue that calls for America’s boldest thinking and most principled politics.
But – uh-oh – suddenly Clinton was struck by PTS, and boldness shriveled to meekness. Rather than propose and fight for a straightforward plan of universal care that would rally the public, a plan that would work and even be less costly than the corporatized system of privatized profiteering we now have – Hillary succumbed to PTS. She is cautiously suggesting a minimalist, incremental, convoluted approach that would subsidize insurance policies only for low-income children who are not now covered.
It’s an approach that still will leave some 40 million Americans without health care, that will do nothing about the low-quality and high-cost of America’s system, and that will dump additional billions of our tax dollars into the pockets of the insurance giants. Explaining her business-as-usual timidity, Clinton says she can only “do what the political reality permits me to do… what the body politic will bear.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… Hey, the political reality is that two-thirds of Americans believe it is the government’s responsibility to assure health care for everyone! What the body politic will not bear are PTS Democrats who lack the political gutsiness to stand equivocally with the people to demand health care for all.
“Wounds Salved, Clinton Returns to Health Care,” The New York Times, June 10, 2006.