Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich has bowed to intense pressure, culminating in a jaunt onboard Air Force One with President Obama, and decided to to flip his vote on the pending health care bill to help ensure its passage.
The representative from Ohio has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the bill, calling it “a giveaway to the insurance industry”.
“The fact is that one out of every three health care dollars goes for corporate profits, stocks options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing, the cost of paperwork – this bill doesn’t change that.” he said.
Just last week, Kucinich told MSNBC’s Countdown that that even if it meant he had the deciding vote in the House, he would oppose the legislation, effectively signing its death warrant.
As recently as Sunday, Kucinich was still reiterating the same points. In an column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he wrote:
“Even with the few modest improvements in the bill, the insurance companies will still have dozens of loopholes to deny care and continue to find ways to leave Americans with the unpayable bill.”
Today, however, Kucinich announced at a Capitol news conference that he will vote yes on the latest version of the bill.
“I have doubts about the bill,” Kucinich said. “This is not the bill I wanted to support… However, after careful discussions with President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, my wife Elizabeth and close friends, I’ve decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation.”
“I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but as it is,” he added.
“I’ve had four separate meetings with the President,” Kucinich also said this morning. “When the President of the United States wants to have a conversation with you, you take that seriously.”
“We have to be very careful that the potential of President Obama’s presidency not be destroyed by this debate,” the Congressman stated.
“I got an invitation to go on Air Force One – given my previous record in not supporting the administration on many things, I thought that proper attire would include a parachute,” he added.
Watch the video:
On Monday, Kucinich stepped aboard Air Force One in Maryland at 11:13 a.m. and landed 48 minutes later in Cleveland, having discussed the health care bill with Obama.
It is anyone’s guess as to whether the conversation drew upon comments made by Obama last week indicating that he will refuse to campaign for any Democratic congressmen who fails to support health care reform. However, Kucinich cannot have been unaware of the announcement.
Neither can the Ohio Congressman have missed the soft threat Obama directed toward Kucinich at a Rally in his own district Monday.
Kucinich stated that he was not offered any favours by the president, and that Obama made no assurances that he would push for a public option after the bill passes, a provision that Kucinich has long demanded.
In addition to a barrage of pressure from his own party, Kucinich has received harsh criticism from the so called Democratic “Fifth Chief Directorate”, the Daily Kos, Huffington Post, and Democratic Underground.
The day after Kucinich appeared on Countdown, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas appeared on the same show, fiercely criticizing the Ohio representative’s threat to vote against the reform bill, adding that Kucinich should be subject to a primary challenge as a result.
“I’m going to hold people like Dennis Kucinich responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of health care.” Moulitsas stated, before personally attacking Kucinich with taunts about him using presidential campaigns to score dates.
Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen has some interesting information on Kos and his ilk that sheds some light on their consistent attacks on any liberal figures that do not offer unwavering support for the establishment left and their corporate bedfellows.
Kucinich’s turnaround highlights the fact that, although he is the closest thing the Democrats have, he is no Ron Paul. His own principles, the good of the people, and the Constitution unfortunately come in a poor second place to the special relationship between big government and corporate America.