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Posts Tagged ‘Edward M. Kennedy’

OMG! Wake-Up Calls and Queasy Stomachs

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Two posts that should be read in full—“A Wake-Up Call” by Robert Kuttner on what the Massachusetts special election for senator tells us about the Rahm Emanuel White House’s wrong priorities—and another by a reader at Talking Points Memo who was calling voters in Massachusetts to vote for Martha Coakley and found too many presumed Democrats who are planning to vote for the Republican—to fill the seat once occupied by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

From “A Wake-Up Call” by Robert Kuttner:

How could the health care issue have turned from a reform that was going to make Barack Obama ten feet tall into a poison pill for Democratic senators? Whether or not Martha Coakley squeaks through in Massachusetts on Tuesday, the health bill has already done incalculable political damage and will likely do more. . . . The measure is so unpopular that Republican State Senator Scott Brown has built his entire surge against Coakley around his promise to be the 41st senator to block the bill—this in Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts. He must be pretty confident that the bill has become politically radioactive, and he’s right. . . .

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Scenes from a Health Reform Phone Bank

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

happyphone2The setting: The living room of a volunteer’s apartment in Manhattan.

The action: A night of phoning voters, mostly Obama supporters, in Florida, Indiana, and Virginia. Many wrong or disconnected numbers, or no one home (so we leave messages).

“Hello, my name is —. I’m a grassroots volunteer with Organizing for America and we’re helping President Obama pass health care reform this year. We’re not asking for money, but would just like to ask your opinion, please . . .”

The question we ask is, Do you support health care reform with a strong public option? We don’t assume people know exactly what the public option is, but help them along (“as you probably know . . .”) and briefly compare it to expanding Medicare for people under 65. It’s just an additional option at a lower cost than private plans. If you’re happy with what you’ve got, there’s no need to change . . .

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“No Way” Rockefeller Will Support Baucus Plan

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

20070201_rnn_m97_103.jpgSenator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) announced this afternoon that “there is no way” he could support the health care reform plan drafted by Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and his “(Bipartisan) Gang of Six” to be presented tomorrow, Weds. Sept. 16. Senator Rockefeller said in a conference call with reporters:

The way it is right now, now we have an amendment process coming up next week. I’ll have many, many, many amendments and we will see what happens on that. But now, there is no way that I can vote for the Senate package. For a lot of reasons. Obviously the lack of a public option is one of them. So that I want to be very clear about.

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Senator Kennedy’s Letter to President Obama

Friday, September 11th, 2009

LNW_Obama-Kennedy-250x193Below is the text of the letter from Senator Edward M. Kennedy referenced by the President in tonight’s address to a Joint Session of Congress.

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

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Obama, Keep Public Option

Friday, August 21st, 2009

“The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not

the entirety of healthcare reform. This is just one sliver of it . . .”

—President Obama in Grand Junction, Colo., Aug. 15, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama
Gerald Herbert/AP

Gerald Herbert/AP

Dear President Obama:

I campaigned for you and have volunteered on Organizing for America phone banks here in New York City, calling voters to urge their senators to support a strong public option. But I refuse to give another minute of my time if there’s no public option. This is non-negotiable. We should have a single-payer, Medicare-for-all bill. To surrender the public option would be suicidal. Democrats should prepare for revolt if the administration and Congress back down.

It is distressing in the extreme to hear you backpedaling from insisting on a public option. And it’s sickening that the White House made a secret deal with drug companies to limit cost-savings in exchange for their support. (What I’ve heard is that Emanuel and Baucus made a deal with Big Pharma and Insurance in exchange for a promise to guarantee campaign money for Democrats not Republicans in 2010.) From an administration that promised transparency, this is betrayal; it makes us sick—and no co-ops will cure us.

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Senators, a Vote for AmeriCorps Expansion Is a Vote for America’s Wetland Conservation Corps

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

LNW_AWCCThere is a good, bipartisan bill up for a vote tonight (3/26) or Friday on a generous expansion of funding for AmeriCorps, the national and community service program launched by President Clinton. The bill has been strongly supported by President Obama and by Senator Edward Kennedy, a co-sponsor. The bill would give about $6 billion over the next five years and allow more than a tripling of membership. The House approved the measure by 321 to 105 last week. Senate sponsors are Democrats Kennedy and Barbara Mikulski, and Republicans Orrin Hatch and Mike Enzi. Senators, we salute you.

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Tribute and Prayers for Senator Kennedy

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

“I feel change in the air. . . . It is time again for a new generation of leadership.”

Senator Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama on Jan. 28 in an appearance  with Caroline Kennedy and Rep. Patrick Kennedy at American University,  Washington, D.C. Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/New York Times.

Senator Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama on Jan. 28 in an appearance with Caroline Kennedy and Rep. Patrick Kennedy at American University, Washington, D.C. Photograph by Brendan Smialowski/New York Times.

It was reported Tuesday that Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was hospitalized on Saturday after a seizure, has been diagnosed with malignant glioma, a brain tumor for which the prognosis is rarely favorable. First elected to the Senate in 1962 when his older brother John was president, Ted Kennedy has long been the Democratic party’s most stalwart promoter and prolific legislator for civil rights, education, labor, housing and social security—a one-man holder-together of the social safety net.

We’re praying for his recovery and for his family at this painful, uncertain time, and we hope the nation will pause to recognize the many good causes he has worked for all his life. He was born into privilege but has devoted his career to passing laws that make life a little easier for the general public—for mothers and children, for factory workers and immigrants, and especially on behalf of the less (and least) fortunate. May God send us more senators like him!—a hundred more!

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