Health-care reform and what it took

Hillary Clinton presidential campaigning, Colorado USA - 03 Aug 2016

This puts into perspective some of the cautious remarks Hillary Clinton made about Obamacare. It wasn’t because she didn’t support change — it’s that she has a long memory. Via Newsweek:

In his biography of Hillary Clinton, A Woman in Charge, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein writes about the 1994 Reform Riders campaign, a nationwide bus tour designed to build support for President Clinton’s health-care reform agenda. The idea was to emulate the famous 1960’s Freedom Rides but the campaign was plagued with protesters. In Portland, Ore., the route was blocked by an “angry anti-Clinton mob” who had their own bus, which was covered in red tape and dragged by a tow truck with a sign reading THIS IS CLINTON CARE. A plane bearing protest signs flew overhead.

Hillary Clinton met the Reform Rider activists in Seattle where she delivered a speech on health care. The result was a mob scene. Here’s Bernstein:

By the time the caravan had reached Seattle the threat of violence was constant. All week, talk radio hosts, both in the Northwest and on national broadcasts, implored their listeners to confront the Reform Riders to “show Hillary” their feelings about her. This “call to arms,” as she described it, attracted menacing hordes, many of whom identified themselves as militia members, tax resisters and anti-abortion militants. She estimated that at least half of the 4,500 people in the audience of her Seattle speech were protesters. She agreed for the first time to wear a bulletproof vest. Rarely had she felt endangered, but this was different. During her speech, the catcalls, screaming, and heckling drowned out much of her remarks. When she left the stage and got into a limousine, hundreds of protesters surrounded the car. They were rabid with hatred. Several arrests were made by the Secret Service, which impounded two guns and a knife.

Across the country, the Reform Riders encountered demonstrators bearing signs like IT’S SOCIALISM STUPID and pro-life campaigners worried that their tax dollars would be funneled toward abortions. The protestors were “vocal, virulent, menacing, and well organized,” shouting about guns, gays, and socialized medicine. Is any of this sounding familiar? So why weren’t the Democrats ready this time?

One thought on “Health-care reform and what it took

  1. Newsweek is just an awful publication. First they victim-blame the Democrats for the problem (why weren’t they ready) – then they ignore the sexism and racism inherent in Obama/Clinton hatred – then they end it with:

    “And no matter what bill Democrats produce, those voices won’t be sated”

    bingo – so it’s not a Democrat problem is it….

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