In a recent video message, Princeton University professor and civil rights icon Cornel West questioned Obama’s backbone, asking “how deep is your love for poor and working people?” So far, he said, Obama has amounted to little more than a “colorful care taker of an empire in decline and a culture in decay.”
This rings true for healthcare reform. In theory, the Democrats’ support for reform indicates a priority for Americans who cannot afford basic necessities like health care. But they have played dead on all legislation that is not guaranteed by a 60-vote supermajority. The minute Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, for example, the media, GOP establishment, and many Democrats proclaimed the bill dead.
Some Democrats have demanded that their party discover a fighting spirit. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, for one, said over the weekend that Dems should call the Republicans’ bluff and make them filibuster. “Here we have a chance to do something historic,” he said. “And if means some of us are going to lose because of that, so be it. At least you will have lost your office fighting for something and accomplishing something.”
If Republicans are determined to resist expanding health care, make them take ownership for killing reform. Otherwise, all the public sees is Democrats bailing on working and poor Americans because the going got tough.
Here’s West’s message: