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Obama told us so

There’s some amazement floating around (e.g. Digby, TPM) about this:

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan “triggered” into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

I’m baffled that anyone is surprised. He told us loud and clear that helping the insurance companies was his priority. When he was an Illinois’ State Senator working on that state’s attempt at expanding coverage, this was the contribution he was proud of:

“We radically changed [the health care bill] in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry.” (Obama, 2004/05/19, report from Sep. 23, 2007)

When someone tells you who they are, listen.

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Happy Birthday Hillary!

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Today is Hillary Clinton’s birthday.  How can we thank her appropriately for her inspiration and leadership?

I would like to express my wishes by saying this to you Hillary:

On behalf of my family, who is ever grateful to you and your fabulous husband, thank you Madame Secretary from the bottom of my heart.  I wish you great joy on this celebration of your birthday.  Your work as Secretary of State continues to inspire me and so many other women and girls. You are the epitome of transformational leadership and your compassion, dedication, and hard work on behalf of our country cannot be understated.

The concession speech you gave on June 7, 2008 will endure as a reminder of your courage, and your determination:

I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you – to everyone who poured your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made calls, who talked and sometimes argued with your friends and neighbors, who emailed and contributed online, who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, “See, you can be anything you want to be.”

(SNIP)

To those who are disappointed that we couldn’t go all the way – especially the young people who put so much into this campaign – it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. When you stumble, keep faith. When you’re knocked down, get right back up. And never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.

As we gather here today in this historic magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.

I met one of those 80-90 year old women you mentioned in your speech.  She stood in line with my daughter and I, shivering in the cold, telling us she had just been released from the hospital — begging them to let her go a day early just for the chance to see you.  I gave her my scarf and gloves to keep her warm and will never forget the look of pride in her eyes as she said: “I’ve waited my whole life to see this.”

You will continue to remain as the lantern that lights the way of so many women (and the men who support them of course!) seeking a world where equality is the standard that is upheld.

This photo, taken by my daughter, represents to me the metaphor of Hillary's compassion and care for all of us.

This photo, taken by my daughter, represents to me a metaphor of Hillary's compassion and care for all of us.

As I listened to the Clinton Tapes, one of the things that stood out for me in these extemporaneous reflections of Taylor Branch was the spontaneous outpouring of love and respect your husband expressed for you.  Over the years the intimate insights into his love of finding you the perfect gift reveal the deep connection you two have cultivated.  My wish for you is that you also know how much you are loved and respected throughout the world.  Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for all have have done.  God Bless you on your special day.

Happy Birthday Madame Secretary, from all of us here at The Confluence, your “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit.”

Send your best wishes to Hillary!  I’m sure she will stop by to see.

In the first few minutes of this, watching Big Dawg mouth “I love you” over and over, just tears me up every time.  Her shout out to Riverdaughter, and those of us who found a home in the sisterhood that was born here can be found at about 10 minutes.  Be ready to grab a hanky when you hear her recognize RD’s great piece.