Tuesday, January 26


A small but passionate group of people who open emails from MoveOn.org assembled in midday today on Third Avenue in support of health care reform.

The site chosen was the street outside of Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s district office. The Congresswoman did stop to address the crowd briefly before she left for Washington, expressing her desire to get health care reform done. The most concrete thing we learned is that she’ll go along with Speaker Pelosi.

What I got out of some discussion among the rally-ers is that there’s some dissension over what is to be done about health care reform. Some said “pass the Senate bill.” Others (not just me) said “pass a good bill.” Some thought the Senate bill could be passed and fixed later. Many of us thought that would not happen.

Mostly I think we all agreed that we are frustrated. Some are angry. I expressed my impatience with the futile efforts at bipartisanship with the obstructionist Republicans. “If the President reaches out to the GOP again tomorrow night, I will puke!” I said. But this one woman, the only one I encountered today with this sentiment exclaimed, “Oh, I hope the President does reach out to them. I hope that he keeps on reaching out to them and maybe one day they’ll see that they need to agree.”

I was incredulous. “We don’t have a coalition! We are the majority! Screw bipartisanship! Let them filibuster! Stand up to the bullies! Stop cowering in the corner asking their permission!”
But I was just warming to my themes. I became quite animated in my remarks while the Representative was exchanging thoughts with the group.

“We need more LBJ and less Gandhi!” I cried, tapping my long-ago acting training, projecting over the sound of traffic. That one drew a hearty laugh.

“On the subject of bipartisanship, please tell your fellow Democrats, you can’t cha cha with someone who is trying to trip you!” Ah, the Congresswoman liked that one and said so.

I wish I could remember everything I said. Much of it things I’ve probably said in this blog. I especially would love to know which of my statements drew the only applause from the crowd. I’m proud of that.

One woman did say she wished I’d run for office. “I would never ever get elected,” I said. Nor would I want to frankly.

Many seemed to think there were only two options when it came to reform: walk away or pass the Senate bill, as is. Both disastrous, I said, urging them here to read Dr. Dean’s third, better way. (Summarized and blogged earlier.)

Rep. Maloney’s off-the-cuff remarks.

The rally was short but I said a lot. It was enormously therapeutic. Now if it were only useful.

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