Maybe because it includes a massive expansion of medicaid, provides subsidies for millions of low- and middle-income families to gain health coverage, prohibits insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions or gender, sets standards for health insurance coverage so no one will have to face the prospect of losing their home over medical bills, creates a public option for those who don't have access to job-based coverage, requires employers to provide coverage or pay to help subsidize the uninsured, and begins a process of transforming the delivery system to focus on quality of care over quantity of procedures. An estimated 31 million individuals would gain coverage under the law--the largest expansion of health coverage in U.S. history. Sure it is flawed, but for the tens of millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans it is a lifeline. How could anyone who is aware of the health care crisis in this country and has any understanding of US history not see this as a major step forward?
Call him whatever you want. You should at least acknowledge and correct the errors in your post. If you don't even know what position he has, it's kind of hard to accept your judgment on his character, or much of anything else about San Francisco politics.
Uh. Aaron Peskin is not currently on the Board of Supervisors; he was term limited out in January. He is currently the chair of the San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee. He is most certainly not a Republican, and would be considered a progressive Democratic just about anywhere in the country. I believe it was Brown that suggested the Governor speak, not Peskin, but could be wrong on that front. Still, Peskin let it happen, which wasn't the smartest move he's ever made.
Polling data shows Jews voting 70 to 80 percent Democratic. I would be very interested to see how much of this can be explained by demographic factors (geography and education) versus other factors.
I come from a Jewish Republican family. We did not live in an urban area. My father became a Democrat in the mid 1980's as the Christian right became more prominent in the Republican party. My father voted for Obama this year, his first vote for a Democratic presidential candidate. Like many Jewish Republicans, he is a social liberal and economic conservative. Obama welcomed Republican supporters and, as you argue, Palin scared him.
I'm less convinced of the theological explanation. Orthodox Jews are more conservative, as are fundamentalist Christians. If anything, the New Testament lends itself to a much more liberal view of the world than the Old Testament. I suspect it has much more to do with Jews experience in the diaspora, where building tolerance was necessary for survival. Jews outsider status encouraged a culture of independent thought. This experience shaped Jewish religious practices and beliefs in Europe, Latin America and the United States. Alternatively, it helps to account for why Jews in Israel have trended to the right.
Your final point is spot on. The decline of antisemitism in the US, the movement to the right in Israel and the increased prosperity of the Jewish community may have led greater numbers of Jews into the Republican Party, if it had not become so intolerant and heavily identified with the Christian right.
There in no question that the campaign is doing an impressive effort to reach voters, but these numbers are likely overstated. People who are most easily reached by polls are the same as those who are most easily reached by the campaign.
The impact of unions goes well beyond their own membership.
Unions have a direct impact on wages and benefits for for workers who are not in unions. In industries with high levels of unionization, non-union employers typically raise wages in order to compete for skilled workers or simply to prevent unionization.
As importantly, unions have a strong impact on politics--which was the central point Berger was making in her speech. Union members are more likely to vote for progressive candidates and to support collective solutions to societal problems than their non-union counterparts. It is not just that with more people in unions more people would have access to health care, it's that stronger unions would create greater political power to achieve universal health care. The same holds for childcare.
In terms of immigration reform, your comment is out of date. Both labor federations, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, support pathways to legalization. They recognize that the problem is not immigrant workers, but a legal status that keeps those workers from being able to enforce their rights.
The environmental record of labor is a mixed bag. While the United Auto Workers have fought emissions standards on cars, there is long history of unions fighting for environmental regulations as a health and safety issue for their members. Unions are now supporting legislation to deal with climate change, and supporting major investments in alternative energy. The Teamsters led a march in Oakland, CA last month for Good Jobs and Clean Air, as part of a campaign in the west coast ports to reduce diesel pollution and improve truck drivers wages and working conditions.
This is not to say that unions are perfect, nothing is. It is to say that we can't stand up to corporate power without organized people, and even as weak as they have become in the United States, unions are still the largest and most effective form of institutional organized power for working people. Revitalization of the labor movement is central to revitalization of our country has a whole.
Thanks Todd. You are absolutely right. EFCA is that important. The anti-EFCA campaign is fierce. It will take a serious concerted push to get it passed. It is vital that people outside of organized labor understand the stakes, not just for union members, but for all of us.
It wasn't about 4 delegates. It was about establishing that the votes in Michigan and Florida did not have full legitimacy. The vast majority of the members of the RBC, including Clinton supporters, were very open and clear that those elections did not accurately represent the will of the voters.
This removes the "popular vote" argument being run by the Clinton campaign. The reason Ickes did not want to allocate the unpledged delegates from MI to Obama was that the campaign wanted to use a popular vote count that included the votes for Clinton but did not include any of those who voted unpledged for Obama. The popular vote argument was always highly problematic, leaving out the votes from caucus states. That argument is now gone.