MoveOn pushes Sen. Stabenow on public option

MoveOn.org protesters outside Sen. Debbie Stabenow's office in East Lansing

MoveOn.org protesters outside Sen. Debbie Stabenow's office in East Lansing

By the time I got there, halfway through the rainy lunch hour protest, there were almost as many reporters as protesters outside Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office in East Lansing. MoveOn.org had urged its area members to lobby the senator to demand a robust public option in exchange for her vote on the upcoming health-care reform bill.

No doubt many of the progressives who belong to MoveOn would prefer a single-payer plan, but the next best choice is a public option strong enough to function as a goad to keep insurance companies from continued gouging. There is growing concern in liberal circles that President Obama and the Dems have already bargained away true health-care reform for limited health-insurance reform. The MoveOn folks want to keep the pressure on Dems not to weaken a public option or allow for a “trigger” that would, at best, delay its implementation.

The problem for MoveOn and other progressives who want to see real health-care reform is that it is much harder for them to generate the passion compared to the Tea Baggers. At best, MoveOn was able to muster 60 wonderfully well informed and civil people at Stabenow’s East Lansing office, and that doesn’t generate the media attention that the birthers and deathers can produce when they scream and yell.

Sad but true, bad behavior makes great video. Listening to policy wonks explain the virtues of the public option makes most people snore.

However, the size of the protest could also have been limited by the location of Debbie’s office, tucked away as it is, far from public view. What not put your office on Michigan Avenue, Senator Stabenow? It would make it easy for people to find you and boost the local economy at the same time.


The Tea Baggers at the Capitol last April 15 – now that’s a protest

Bonnie Bucqueroux retired from Michigan State University's School of Journalism to experiment with online publications, including Lansing Online News. She is also co-president (with Susan Masten) of Lansing Area NOW.

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