President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has developed a mythical status. So it might be difficult to imagine FDR getting stern criticism from both sides of the aisle. But at one point in his presidency, this was indeed the case. When he signed the cornerstone of the New Deal–Social Security–into law, The Right Wing called him communist. The Left Wing, of the opinion that it did not do enough, accused FDR of being a cop-out.
President Barack Obama is currently facing the same critiques FDR faced in the 1940’s . “This is socialism,” screams the right wing. “It doesn’t go far enough,” says the left wing. President Obama has received criticism from both sides of the aisle since the passage of The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). The president has been the target not just of mere civil criticism; he’s been the victim of egregious invective:
The magnitude, intensity, and obsession of rightist hatred of the president is unprecedented in the history of American politics because it has poisoned the ability of Republican leaders in Congress to work in good faith with a twice-elected American president … No American president should ever have to defend his Christianity and Americanism.
Bedowsky, Brent “The GOP’s Obama Problem” The Hill (2 April 13)
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president who attempted to promulgate national health insurance. His cousin FDR tried twice and failed both times. Truman tried passing a single universal comprehensive health care plan. Obama’s mere suggestion of such a Truman-like system unleashed the right wing attack dogs barking their favorite word: “Communist! Communist!” President Truman while fighting the Cold War against the Soviets, introduced the single universal comprehensive health plan. The Clinton Administration also tried a form of Universal Health Insurance and failed.
This battle was 100 years in the making. Our most revered presidents failed to pass this historic piece of legislation: TR, FDR, and Truman. President Obama, cognizant of the need for health care reform and the government’s responsibility to protect American lives, achieved a remarkable legislative victory by signing The Affordable Health Care Act into law.
The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) has been overlooked and overshadowed by the propagation of egregious lies, i.e., Obama is going to appoint death panels and kill Grandma.
I think most Americans believe in the that health care is a right associated with the right to life. I doubt there are many people out there who believe that we ought to let a person die of treatable cancer because the 3 part- time jobs he works does not offer insurance to part-time employees (although at a Republican Presidential Debate in Texas, when the candidates were asked whether a man without insurance should be left to die, a number of people yelled, “Let him die!”)
This is not how we treat our fellow citizens. We do not allow a mother to die to because her insurance company claims that her breast cancer is a pre-existing condition. Finally we elected a president with the courage and fortitude to battle a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry with billions of dollars to spend on lobbying efforts, commercials, and public relations.
Yet your President stood up to these organizations of iniquity and said, “No, I represent the American people not you. And we are going to stop you from allowing more Americans to die just so you can continue to hand out billion dollar parachutes to people whose job it is to figure out how to get out of paying the medical treatment of a dying American.”
The insurance companies could not intimidate or “buy off” President Obama. And of course they threatened him: they poured money into the Scott Brown Campaign in Massacusetts hoping to take away the Democratic super-majority. If we kept that super-majority, it would have forced these nefarious insurance companies to actually take a lesson in what capitalism is really all about: competition (How is it that America’s fascist movement, known as The Tea Party thinks that a competitive market economy is socialism? But, then again, look at the source). Insurance would have had to compete across state lines; they would have had to compete with a government program. The cost of health care would have dropped precipitously.
Despite Brown’s election, President Obama still pulled it off. He was able to end the corrupt business practices of health insurance companies: no more pre-existing condition refusals; an increase in preventative medicine; now kids can remain on their parents plan until after college; and 30 million more people are insured. In the long-run people will live longer healthier lives.
But this could of course all be a Pyrrhic victory now that The Koch Brothers’ in-house corporate attorney put our democratic-republic on its back with Citizens United.
(To be continued)
By Paul J Adams Jr