The Blog

Game Change? Well, This (Political) Junkie May Have Shot Up for the Last Time

So, having just returned from what might be the thousandth political fundraiser I've attended in my (political) junkie life, I'm thinking: Why am I at this again, in 2010, of all years?
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So, having just returned from what might be the thousandth political fundraiser I've attended in my (political) junkie life, I'm thinking: Why am I at this again, in 2010, of all years?

In 2010, when we're listening to U.S. Senators: talking in the 21st-century version of the Bilbo screeds of Mississippi circa 1940; proclaiming themselves heroes, when what they've really done is sold-the-electorate-down-the-river on a states' rights version of health care reform; and then seeing, of all people, the African-American female head of the Congressional Black Caucus pat dear old Senator Bilbo from Nevada on the head, and say: don't worry Harry, we know you're not a racist. It's enough to make you give up, and buy pearls instead of palm cards.

And I didn't even wait till the second week of the New Year to start up my habit again. Last week, I spent some time helping a woman candidate figure out her message and get it out there.

I love this stuff: A lot of the time it's intellectually challenging and fun, and, sometimes, it seems really, really important.

But, at the end of a dark and dreary January day, what have I got to say for myself: I live in a state that will probably elect a 33-year-old, ho-hum banker to be the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator, doesn't have a Governor the Chicago Tribune will endorse -- even just in a primary -- and where African Americans, including two pro-choice women, are running against each other in the most important race in the City of Chicago, instead of coalescing to make sure to beat an anti-choice, old-school white man.

Forget that perennial New Year's Resolution to be "tall, skinny and blonde" -- well, skinny and blonde, anyway. I think it's time for skinny, blonde, and working on my tan, instead of working on a precinct.

OK, so now I'm going to be serious.

I have to admit that even jaded me was stunned when I returned -- from taking a holiday week respite from all this -- to my mail, to an oversized envelope with a big, bold red headline: "The amendment would be a huge step back for women's health. Help me stop it."

And whose name was in the return address box on that envelope, you ask.

Well, none other than that of Senator Barbara Boxer, the favorite whipping girl of this column all last month: The very same Senator who bargained our health rights away last month, during her meetings with Senator Bilbo of Nevada.

She starts her letter this way: "Let me thank you for staying involved in the battle for the heart and soul of our nation." Could you puke?

She continues -- more bold and an exclamation point: "Well, right now, today, we are facing the biggest threat to reproductive rights in thirty years!"

Turns out, surprise, surprise, Senator Boxer wants my money " stop the Stupak Amendment today; the Stupak Amendment [that] overturns [Roe v Wade]..."

By her own lights, and in her own words, Senator Boxer "[has] stood up again and again on the floor of the Senate to protect the [nationwide] rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. [So, (more bold)] I hope you will work to keep this pro-choice Senator in office by making a contribution today."

To steal a word from the president, the audacity of it all is just stunning; there is just no other word for it.

The audacity of Senator Boxer to ask for money to fight against something she fought for. For make no mistake: The Senate health care reform bill language that Senator Boxer agreed to is worse than what she wants our money to fight against (the House-passed, health care reform bill Stupak Amendment).

Dear readers: Remember what Senator Boxer's Senate health care bill language does: It explicitly gives each state the right to determine whether to permit health insurers, who cover abortion, to offer insurance in that state, the very thing Roe v. Wade changed, by making the right to an abortion an all-states' right.

Sadly, Senator Boxer's health care reform bill language reminds me of one of the darkest periods of American history, that ever-so-horrific American era of "states' rights." That era of the despicably and flagrantly racist U.S. Senator, and Governor of Mississippi, Theodore Bilbo.

What did Governor/Senator Bilbo do? Well, he, too, advocated for state's rights, in his case so that Mississippi could treat African Americans like second-class citizens, and that's putting it politely.

Yup, exactly what Senator Boxer's give away on the Senate health care reform bill does to America's women citizens: make them second-class citizens, by permitting the states to determine what health care women will get, but not what health care men will get.

If this is the outcome of thirty-plus years of raising money, organizing rallies, crafting messages, writing speeches, and walking precincts, in order to get women elected to high office, I say: Enough already: this junkie is quitting, game change or not.