Making the right moves – Clinton takes steps to the White House

Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite to succeed Barack Obama as President. Despite historically high unfavorable ratings and being the ultimate insider in the year of the outsider, the prize remains hers for the taking. The electorate dislikes Donald Trump even more and the vagaries of the electoral college in recent years bespeak a pro-Democratic bias.

But the road to the White House will not be smooth for Clinton. Trump the Insult Reality Show Politician ran roughshod over the Republican field and is now training all his fire on “Crooked Hillary.” Meanwhile, she has yet to dispatch the still-dangerous, albeit mortally wounded, Bernie Sanders.

Wednesday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell suggested to Bernie that Clinton’s approval ratings are down because she is “fighting a war on two fronts.”  An unimpressed Sanders retorted “please don’t moan to me about Hillary’s problems.”  Simply put, it doesn’t appear that Clinton’s ankle-biter will be going away any time soon.

So what can Clinton do?  Ironically, she should employ the same weapon – a truly populist platform – to slay both dragons.  As I wrote here a couple of weeks ago, Clinton “should emphasiz[e] her support for broad-based social programs and call for a massive jobs bill.”  I added “she could argue in favor of a public option and allowing the government to negotiate directly with drug companies.”  I also urged her to “eschew nuance” in favor of plain speaking and “to embrace a true progressive as a running mate.”

Moving left may seem counter-intuitive to those raised on the notion that November winners run to the base during the primaries and the center after clinching the nomination.  But the prevailing sentiment among the left and right is that Wall Street and Washington have rigged the game against the little guy and gal.  Clinton must demonstrate clearly and forcefully that she gets this message and will break ranks with the D.C. fixers and Wall Street insiders with whom she has been cozy.

To her credit, she appears to be listening to my advice.  Over the past week Clinton has argued for three progressive initiatives and floated picking a very progressive vice-Presidential running mate.

Monday, Clinton proposed amending Obamacare to include a public option, as I recommended, allowing people to buy in to medicare when they reach the age of 50 or 55 years old.  Tuesday, Clinton called for childcare costs to be capped at no more than 10% of family earnings and higher wages to childcare workers.

Thursday, Clinton endorsed a letter that Elizabeth Warren, John Conyers, and Bernie Sanders among many other Congress members sent to Fed Chair Janet Yellen.  The signatories urged Yellen to seek diversity in the makeup of regional fed boards.

Through a spokesperson Clinton went even further, however, in calling for an end to the practice of appointing bankers to regional boards of directors.  In this regard, Clinton adopted the position Bernie Sanders laid out late last year when he wrote for the New York Times “we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions.”

Beyond these welcome moves left, the Huffington Post is reporting Clinton’s campaign team is considering asking Elizabeth Warren to join the ticket.  Warren’s selection would be problematic since her resignation from the Senate would mean the Republican governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker would appoint her temporary replacement.  But except for Bernie Sanders, no Vice Presidential choice would demonstrate as strong a commitment to populist governance.

Democrats should react with optimism to Clinton’s announced support for progressive domestic initiatives this week coupled with an indication that Elizabeth Warren may run as her Vice President.  These actions signify the former Secretary’s recognition that victory in November will come if she can persuade a majority of voters that her administration will consistently fight for poor, working, and middle-class Americans.

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6 Responses to Making the right moves – Clinton takes steps to the White House

  1. John says:

    She’s going to need Warren in the Senate to get her SCOTUS nominees through.

  2. Pat says:

    Agree with John-getting a Senate majority is critical, meaning the Dems would need to pick up 5 seats if Warren is VP. Not an easy thing to do.

  3. Shade says:

    “Allowing” people to buy in to Medicare when they reach the age of 50-55 years sounds good, but unless Hillary plans to also offer heavy government subsidizes with this coverage (similar to what often comes with Obamacare), her proposal is no bargain. Let’s examine what Medicare costs those seniors that do not qualify for subsidies:

    Start with $411/mo for Medicare Hospital Part A. This is the price seniors without 40 “work credits” pay. (Most seniors at age 65 pay nothing because they or their spouses have the necessary credits, but it requires a heavy government expenditure to do this (and the program is already deemed by many to be financially unsustainable). Also keep in mind that Medicare Part A has a rather high $1288 deductible, though in its favor the hospital (but not the doctors) is then covered for up to 60 days at no additional charge. Thus the moment you are “admitted” to the hospital you owe $1288 (but most first get rooked by a few days in “observation status”, a “virtual” hospital admission status that falls under Part B where you pay 20%, after which time you may get truly “admitted” and thus you also pay the $1288!)

    Back to the unsubsidized monthly costs of Medicare. Add in the unsubsidized price of Medicare Part B (doctor’s) coverage. Most seniors (by statute) pay 1/4 of the government’s true cost, paying “only” $121.80/mo. Unsubsidized, the Part B premium is $488/mo! And this monthly premium gets you only 80% on covered services. It DOES NOT include vision or dental.

    Then there is the monthly premium for Medicare Part D (drug) coverage paid to insurance companies in the private sector. Most seniors pay approaching $40/mo for this coverage, but to do this the government subsidizes the insurance companies to the tune of approx $80 billion/year! Is Hillary offering to extend these same prescription drug subsidies to those in this lower age bracket?

    Then there is the price of Medi-gap coverage, an separate insurance again purchased from insurance companies in the private sector. Medi-gap, at various prices, covers to varying degrees some or all of what Medicare doesn’t fully cover. Without Medi-gap coverage, a serious or prolonged medical incident could easily leave you bankrupted, even though you have Medicare.

    And you should also probably purchase a vision & dental plan. If you don’t, you are likely to end up paying the undiscounted (torture) “rack” rate to providers when you need these services. One thing the insurance companies do well is getting medical providers to work for less money (though you have to line the insurance company’s pockets to get this privilege).

    And then there is long-term care insurance. My wife & I started our policies in our mid-50s; we each pay $350/mo (increasing each year with inflation and with actual plan expenditures). Unfortunately there is no guarantee the coverage limits we chose will suffice when we need it, but buying virtually unlimited coverage was prohibitively priced.

    Get the picture? Hillary’s trial balloon at this point is all bluster & no substance. Her plan isn’t necessarily offering a better deal than what most people in their 50s already have, either through an employer or through Obamacare. Try again Hillary, or at least tell us more about how you would make you plan affordable to those in their 50s, and how you would fund doing that. While Hillary’s proposal sounds good to the untrained ear, her simplistic trial balloon is not fooling me!

  4. halginsberg says:

    Medicare expenses would be greatly reduced if the Executive Branch were free to negotiate prices with drug companies. Sanders and Clinton both support changing the law to permit this. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/upshot/the-real-reason-medicare-is-a-lousy-drug-negotiator-it-cant-say-no.html

  5. Pingback: The Morning Show May 16 – 20 | Halitics

  6. Gabby says:

    Omg! Hal, the Hillary Hater, actually giving her props?! Hal, you must of taken a pretty hard hit on the noggin! Lol!

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