This week, we need to make some of the last, tough choices about what the final push of this grassroots organization will look like -- where we can compete and how fiercely.Ann Marie, I don't think that letting me know I have been assigned a supporter ID with which you have been tracking me for over 3 years now was the best approach for winning over a libertarian, even a progressive one.
It's a close race, and you hold the power here. According to our records associated with this exact email address:
-- Your supporter ID is: XXXXXXX
-- Your most recent donation was: $Z
-- On this date: September 10, 2009
It looks like you gave in 2008, but haven't given yet in 2012. That may be because you gave using a different email address -- if we've got this wrong, I apologize.
Ann Marie Habershaw
Chief Operating Officer
Obama for America
But Ann Marie does raise an interesting question. What exactly was I thinking on September 10, 2009? The nub of it was in the speech on health care reform President Obama had just delivered to a joint session of Congress.
"To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage available for those without it. The public option -- the public option is only a means to that end -- and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have."Both of those points spoke directly to me, a progressive libertarian. Of course, I regarded the public option as wild talk that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton had campaigned for, and I thought we should have a serious discussion of utilization review without the death panel nonsense.
RomneyCare had been working reasonably well here in Massachusetts, although ominously the small company where I work had just changed health care plans to put in higher deductibles due to rising premium costs. I had also just returned from a vacation trip to Europe where, contrary to the single payer picture of Europe so often painted, I had learned the individual mandate approach has worked well in countries like the Netherlands. It turns out, European Union notwithstanding, that not every country in Europe has the same health care plan.
I was also expecting President Obama and the Democrats in Congress to repeal the Bush tax cuts or at least let them expire while also implementing spending cuts that would bring the federal budget back into balance. The Bowles-Simpson deficit commission was still in the future and their report had not yet been consigned to the round filing cabinet.
Finally, I was expecting a target date for drawing down our troops in Afghanistan a whole lot sooner than 2014. I agree with Clint Eastwood, they should be home today.