Updates from Gwendolyn Mink RSS
11:28:56 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Chris Matthews: “It was astounding. I forgot that he was Black for an hour. So profound was the seduction tonight.”
11:26:58 pm on January 27, 2010 |
The MSNBC folks said “there was a lot in the speech to make the base happy.” ???
11:20:36 pm on January 27, 2010 |
He’s playing the martyr, as if he actually has taken courageous stands as President. He’s blaming people for not understanding that politics is messy, not taking responsibility himself for creating a mess.
11:15:00 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Equal pay; good. But women’s wage inequality is less about earning less than men in the same jobs than it is about being in jobs that are devalued because mostly women do them.
11:14:08 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Will he file a brief for same sex marriage in the California case? Will he fight for repeal of DOMA?
11:08:25 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Is spending for veterans exempted from the budget freeze?
11:05:48 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Has he taken responsibility for anything negative in this speech?
10:58:25 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Beware of political nationalism.
10:56:19 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Clinton redux. with a bit o’ Jimmy Carter mixed in.
10:49:32 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Self-righteous proclamations will not fix bad legislation. What is the “plan we proposed”? Funny that he’s actually claiming authorship after pussyfooting around all important issues for so long. What’s the “it” in “let’s get it done”? The Senate Bill? The boondoggle for private insurance?
10:43:48 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Proposed child care tax credit is not refundable, so is of less value as earned income declines and for families that do not owe taxes.
10:42:36 pm on January 27, 2010 |
If you’re female, even if you earn a college degree you will earn only a couple thousand dollars more than a white man with only a high school diploma.
10:39:50 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Good that job creation is on his radar; but job quality & job conditions have to be part of the package. Will he say anything about workers, unions, labor rights?
10:29:28 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Beware of economic nationalism.
10:28:31 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Help small businesses, fine. But the majority of workers are employed in small businesses, where many labor protections do not apply — for example, family and medical leave. What is he going to do for workers in all businesses, including small businesses? Will he mention the Employee Free Choice Act? Paid Family Leave? Strenghtened anti-discrimination laws? Living wages?
10:25:03 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Grand causal credit-claiming without causal evidence. I suppose presidents always boast in SOTU speeches, but some reflection and self-criticism — eg, re the incompleteness of the stimulus package — would move us in more productive directions.
10:19:02 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Aspirational oratory woven from platitudes. Let’s hear what you’re going to actually commit to and do.
10:05:20 pm on January 27, 2010 |
Frustrated by paeans to the middle class… Remembering the days when Dems actually talked about workers and the poor… …At a Democracy journal forum on the future of the Democrats convened the morning after Obama’s election, the main message conveyed was that Obama must stick to his “narrative” about the middle class. One panelist observed that moderates gave Obama his victory, showing that his message of moderation made sense to lots of people (“he out-moderated the Clintons,” said one panelist). Another panelist suggested that the First Hundred Days be dedicated to the Middle Class. That means choosing the right issues, yet another panelist agreed, noting that “Obama didn’t really talk about the minimum wage during the campaign because middle class people aren’t affected by the minimum wage, they’re not minimum wage workers. So he shouldn’t focus on those sorts of issues now.” The panelists, by the way, were described and/or self-described as part of the progressive community.
Who exactly is the Middle Class that moderate politicians aim to please? The political middle — as in “centrists”?….Or as in the statistical mean? People who earn less than $250,000/year, as the president once suggested? People who earn between $30,000 and $75,000/year, as Charles Schumer implied when he identified the “middle quintile” in his 2007 paean to the Middle Class, Positively American?
At this political juncture, it’s useful to remember what Schumer wrote in his book. He exerts enormous, centralized power over the Democratic message as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Candidate Obama promoted Schumer’s version of the Democratic message as he courted Middle Class support over the course of his campaign.
In Positively American, Schumer assigned the following characteristics to the Middle Class. According to Schumer, a middle class person is:
*a homeowner with a mortgage
*a property taxpayer
*someone whose wife works because she “has to” (I guess the iconic middle class person is a man)
*has an income between $30,000 and $75,000 per year
*is a “regular” person
The Middle Class, then, does not include poor people. Later in the book Schumer adds some normative qualities to the Middle Class, most important among them that the Middle Class represents “homogenization,” as compared to folks who are “group-identified” (I think that means women and people of color).
If the Democratic Party is going to make the Middle Class its defining cause, we need to agree on some common definitions about who’s in and who’s out — both of the class itself and of the bounty of power.
Does being for the Middle Class mean being for or against unions? For or against free trade agreements? For or against Paid Family and Maternity Leave? For or against affirmative action? For or against including transgendered people in the expansion of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual/gender identity/orientation? For or against more war in Afghanistan?
09:05:40 pm on September 9, 2009 |
It is so intellectually dishonest to cloak himself in Kennedy’s mantle of social justice, when there is little justice in this plan. If he would stop being so grandiose the conversation might be more productive. This speech says that health care reform has been defeated. What remains possible, maybe, is some regulation of health insurance practices. What has been placed on the table tonight will have to be overturned if we are ever to meet our moral obligation to provide health care as a fundamental right (Kennedy’s words). It’s so much harder to undo partial and stratified policies so we really should either insist on much more comprehensive measures or insist on redefining the President’s goals.
08:49:31 pm on September 9, 2009 |
Paying for this private insurance boondoggle with Medicare savings sounds pretty scary to me.
08:48:28 pm on September 9, 2009 |
This is just more stratification in a health system badly distorted by ability to pay. Ask anyone who has struggled as a Medicaid beneficiary what it’s like to be marked as unequal in the health care system because of poverty. Medicaid provides needed benefits, but it also provides stigma and permits physicians to refuse healing.
08:34:23 pm on September 9, 2009 |
The new, more shrivelled, public option will be one among many private insurance options in the bargain-hunters’ bazaar. So — uninsured individuals will be forced to purchase insurance, and private, for-profit insurance gets the windfall.
Sadly, to justify his narrowed vision, he misrepresents the movement for universal health coverage. He says: “I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it.” …Actually, ending insurance abuse has been only one piece of the struggle. Winning Medicare for all, a la Dingell, or some other form of single payer has been another key piece, which he simply defines out of history.
08:11:20 pm on September 9, 2009 |
The sentence following the one Andy quotes reads: “These are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle-class Americans.” …A familiar, gratuitous put-down of families that need welfare. If the uninsured were “primarily people on welfare” — would the issue be less important, the cry for universal solutions less compelling?
07:34:38 pm on September 9, 2009 |
You’re right on all counts, Sam. But I wouldn’t lament the “end of the health reform era” — if that’s what Obama is claiming as his legacy — because it is inconceivable that the feints Andy describes could ever be the first steps toward comprehensive reform. The idea that we should settle for the shards of this year’s health care debate because the good stuff will come later is not supported by history. Contrary to centrist solipcism, no major social policy has been accomplished piecemeal in the U.S. Not the hallmarks of universal social provision, certainly — Social Security and Medicare. These policies have been perfected over time — exclusions eliminated, benefits increased, etc — but they did not become the policies their beneficiaries love by accretion.
06:52:06 pm on September 9, 2009 |
Re the pre-speech excerpts: I don’t know whether the WH released the most banal portions of the speech or the most important ones. The promise of a health insurance bazaar for bargain-hunters who don’t have insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare is certainly less than a public option. If that turns out to be the headline, the public option will continue to hold the gaze of progressive Democrats, which is a pity. The public option that currently exists in legislative proposals is anemic, partial, patchwork, and grossly under-inclusive. Within the terms of the current, cramped debate, the quality of the public option should be the terrain of struggle. Just because something is called a public option doesn’t mean it actually serves the public or is an option. Kind of like “change you can believe in” is not necessarily change you want to believe in.
We’ll see what he says in the speech.