The title is a quote from Amy Klobuchar about Elizabeth Warren’s embrace of Medicare for All. I’ve already commented on the debate back and forth between moderates and liberals on Medicare for All. I also commented on my problem with Mayor Pete’s consultant’ed change from more progressive to more moderate to help him fit in a lane that can better get him to the nomination. But here I want to discuss the plan versus pipe dream thing that Klobuchar seems to be going after.
There’s part of me that is attracted to the idea of having a candidate who runs on the very popular issues and leaving alone the unpopular ideas. So, I think Amy Klobuchar’s pitch is that she will focus on a more moderate upgrade to the healthcare system, which she believes can get passed. Without saying it explicitly (or maybe she has), she thinks Medicare for All is too left-wing, extreme, or unpopular to be able to get passed.
Here’s my problem. Any Democratic healthcare plan, from the most moderate to the most liberal, will get demonized by the Right and will face many hurdles to getting passed in the House and Senate. I guess Klobuchar’s theory is that she builds this “Blue Wall” in the midwest, takes the Senate and gets some Republicans on board. Except. Klobuchar hasn’t shown any ability to generate enthusiasm that might help her sweep to a landslide victory. The close races that might help the Dems get to a majority in the Senate aren’t in the midwest (except maybe Joni Ernst). Klobuchar’s “Blue Wall” doesn’t help in Colorado, Maine, Alabama, Arizona, or North Carolina. Call me skeptical that Klobuchar can pull off the win and get some coattails. So, I’m not sure this makes Klobuchar a better candidate than Warren in getting two Democratic houses to help her pass legislation.
Which brings me to my bigger point. And, yeah, I’m a Warren supporter, so her arguments speak to me more than a moderate’s like Klobuchar does. Still, I’m pretty sure I know what Warren wants when she becomes President. She wants healthcare coverage for all Americans. She thinks Medicare for all is the best way to get that. She’s not negotiating with herself in advance. Do I know whether Klobuchar wants Medicare for all and just doesn’t think she can get it, so she’s settling in advance? Or does Klobuchar not think Medicare for all is a good idea, so she’s setting forth the best plan she thinks can pass in a moderate to conservative Congress. I think if those are my choices, I’m happier with Warren. She’s leaving herself open to negotiate by asking for the maximum. She’s also telling me what she thinks is the best way forward. For me, that’s the better candidate to fight for the issue.