Until now, Kucinich has been a principled progressive. You may not agree with his principles, but at least like Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, he has principles and votes that way.
That contrasts Kucinich with the bulk of the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party, who have succumbed to power politics. Win one for the Won has replaced any semblance of principle as to the details of health care reform:
[O]n Monday, President Obama paid a personal visit to a senior citizens center in Mr. Kucinich’s district and gave Mr. Kucinich a lift on Air Force One to a health care rally in Strongsville, Ohio.The unprincipled progressives, such as Markos Moulitsas, have threatened Kucinich with retribution by supporting a primary challenger if Kucinich doesn't support Obamacare.
At the rally, someone in the crowd shouted, “Vote yes!”
Mr. Obama turned and asked Mr. Kucinich if he had heard the shout..
Of the over 50 progressive Congressmen who pledged not to support any bill without a public option, Kucinich stands almost alone in openly holding to that principle.
Obama, Pelosi and Reid have succeeded in uniting principled conservatives and principled progressives against Obamacare, although for different reasons.
We know that there are many principled conservatives who are sticking to their principles; at 10 a.m. this morning we will find out if there are any principled progressives left.
Update: Kucinich stands small, announces he will vote for Obamacare. Kucinich justified his about face on the ground that Obamacare is an incremental step forward. Kucinich explained his prior votes against health care bills as based on principle. Kucinich said the President's visit to his district was decisive, and underscored "the urgency."
Kucinich said he is making a decision not on the bill as he would like to see it, but as it is. Kucinich said he does "not detract" from his prior criticisms. The bill is not a step towards anything he has supported in the end. "However, after careful discussions" with Obama and Pelosi, he will vote yes.
Just two days ago Kucinich wrote an op-ed for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in which he excoriated Obamacare:
Unfortunately, the president's plan, as it currently stands, leaves patients financially vulnerable to insurance companies. It requires all Americans to buy private health insurance policies, while failing to ensure those policies do what they are supposed to do -- protect people from financial catastrophe caused by injury or illness....Kucinich now will vote for a bill which is worse, in his own words just two days ago, than the House bill he voted against.
Unfortunately, if the president's plan becomes law without substantive change, you would still be only a major illness or injury away from personal bankruptcy, except the federal government will have required you to buy a private health insurance policy....
[T]he version of the bill that reached the House floor was considerably watered down. It had a severely weakened public option and the employee-retirement waiver had been stripped. It no longer constituted an incremental step forward that would provide relief to my constituents, so I could not support it. The version of the bill that passed the Senate was even worse.
Obama has succeeded in destroying the last principled progressive.
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