Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Progressive Group(s)

I have posted two Progressive groups for this blog because both these groups have united together in an effort to highlight the importance of affordable heath care for ALL Americans.
Democracy For America (DFA) founded by Howard Dean (D) in 2004 is a grassroots progressive political action community working (as is stated on their website) to:
"Change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up. [DFA] provide campaign training, organising resources, and media exposure so their members have the power to support progressive issues and candidates up and down the ballot."
Likewise the mission of Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC):
"Works to elect bold progressive candidates to federal office and to help those candidates and their campaigns save money, work harder and win more often. We also advocate for bold leadership on the most important and pressing causes."
The link that I have posted below is from an article by CBS news that concerns an ad funded by DFA and PCCC members targeting moderate democrats such as Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont) for not supporting or including in his heath care bill a "public insurance option" a public option that he had previously been in favour of.
Baucus who is running the health care deliberations in a key Senate committee has already taking 1.7 million dollars in political contributions from the health care sector for the 2010 election cycle.
The ad that will air in Baucas's hometown of Montana as well as in Washington DC takes the case of Montana resident and family man Bing Perrine who has accumulated a $100,000 debt due to medical care for his congenial heart condition. Perrine states in the ad that if he had the option to buy into a public health insurance plan he wouldn't have been in so much debt and he poses the question to Baucus which is: "When you take millions of dollars from health and insurance interests that oppose reform and oppose giving families like mine the choice of a public option. I have to ask, whose side are you on?."
In my view this is a prime example of what DFA and PCCC want to avoid within government, that being, politicians like Max Baucus who talk the talk about affordable health care, but in reality they are not taking it seriously and therefore are surely not that interested in the welfare of working class Americans who are in desperate need for a liberal health care bill.


  1. It was interesting to see Blanche Lincoln's (Arkansas Senator) name at the bottom of the CBS article and also on the front page of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee website. The PCCC accuses her of being,

    '... one of the worst corporate Democrats in Washington. She joined Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson in attempting to kill the public health insurance option after taking millions from health and insurance interests.'

    Not suprising since after studying her, she turned out as one of the most Conservative Democrats in terms of Republican ideology on the graph that Cherie posted a few weeks ago.
    Especially the Democracy For America website is very appealing to liberal voters who are unhappy with politicians; it is navigable and very current with many links to social networking sites and places where online communities can be formed to socialise and arrange plans for action with other unhappy liberals. DFA appears extremely organised as a group for change, with links to 'Training' and an updated donation counter that tracks money raised for their causes. This feature is also mentioned in the CBS article you posted, demonstrating a uniquely American tendancy to part with ones money in the hope that politics can be resolved,

    '...some liberal voters are handing their money over to left-wing groups out of dissatisfaction with the Democratic party establishment.'

    Left Wing groups are therefore a very important componant of politics because they regain a sense of liberal trust within voters who otherwise may have resorted to instead supporting republican. Whilst Left Wing Groups present the media and public with a very 'progressive' and grass roots message, DFA demonstrates thier ability to work together with people in a very community engaging way. This in my view makes them seem less 'radical' and threatening as the far right groups we have looked at.

  2. Very pleased that Jules picked two progressive groups as they are currently so engaged with the health care issue. It appears that the big vote (on Sunday) will either make, or break, the latest attempt to address some of the issues which have resulted in such unequal health provision within US society.

    These two organisations are very similar in their progressive ethos (query: why haven't they merged?) and also reflect how Obama's moderate approach to reform has disaffected Democrats on the left as much as Republicans on the conservative right. However, given the relatively small numbers of the former compared to the latter (reflected in the membership numbers of leftist groups generally), and also the more moderate views shared by the majority of Democrats, the Obama adminsitration is bound to remain in the moderate middle-ground.

    For me, the healthcare issue is a perfect vehicle by which to examine the impulses in American life that have created a political spectrum which is much more conservative than in Europe. The collectivism which is required to support such initiatives as major healthcare reform is antithetical to American ideological individualism.

    Individualism is a fluid term but most Americans (and that includes many from materially disadvantaged groups) associate it with the 'freedom' of self-determinism and rejection of government 'control' and 'interference' in the decisions which affect their lives. Progressive movements are engaged with the opposite... supporting political initiatives and laws which regulate the behaviour of business and society - particularly economically. The progressive tendency to disassociate from ideological concepts (unlike liberals) means they address issues from a more contemporary, social perspective. They are also more inclined toward support for the worker - an alignment with socialism.

    I also noticed that many progressive politicians tend to be aligned with the Greens at the moment - and also that DFA is based in Vermont - the home of the leading progressive group in the USA (Vermont Progressive Party). The latter has several representatives in the state government of this the most leftist state in the USA.

    I'll be watching the outcome of tomorrow with interest as, although the current plan is nothing like universal healthcare as we understand it, if passed, it will compel Americans to be insured medically one way or another - and also compel healthcare companies to continue to provide coverage when people get sick (they have a nasty habit of dropping people who actually claim). The collectivism/regulation in this plan is progressive but that is why it remains an ideological problem for many Americans.


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