In the last couple of elections Hospitals/health care and insurance have ranked among the top industries donating to Mr. Cooper. His biggest individual contributors have been organizations like Vanderbilt and HCA. I believe that he serves those special interests and if he plays any role beyond a ceremonial one for the Obama campaign on health care, then working families are going to be in trouble in what could be a limousine-liberal administration.
I have been beating up on the Clinton campaign pretty hard lately because I haven't been crazy about the kind of campaign they have been running. And I will admit that my heart has been won by the enthusiasm of all those young and passionate Obama supporters.
But there are still certain things that make me really, really nervous about Obama. At the top of that list is the health care debate, where I think he's just wrong about the importance of universality, and where he's employed Harry and Louise-style tactics to argue against Clinton's plan. My concerns shifted into overdrive, though, when I noticed that the Obama campaign is now using Rep. Jim Cooper as a spokesperson/surrogate on health care. I was part of the Clinton White House team on the health care reform issue in 1993/94, and no Democrat did more to destroy our chances in that fight than Jim Cooper ....
Cooper, a leader of conservative Dems on the health care issue, instead of working with us, came out early and said universality was unimportant, and came out with a bill that did almost nothing in terms of covering the uninsured. He quickly became the leading spokesman on the Dem side for the insurance industry position, and undercut us at every possible opportunity, basically ending any hopes we had for a unified Democratic Party position ....
It is such a huge mistake for Obama to use a guy like this to defend their position on health care. The signal it sends to reporters, organizations, and activists like myself who know something about the old health care battles is that Obama truly doesn't care about comprehensive health care reform or universal coverage.
Monday, February 18, 2008
This first-hand account confirms all of my red flags about about the location of Congressman Jim Cooper's loyalties in the health care debate and it justifies my concerns about the influence Mr. Cooper will have over health care policy in an Obama administration given his prominent place in the latter's campaign: