Category Archives: Government

Found: A Candidate Who Says “Affordable health care is a right.”

I’m happy to say that, thanks to Elizabeth Wilner of Cook Political, I’ve finally found a candidate willing to say that access to healthcare is a right! His name is Doug Gansler. You can watch him say “Affordable care is a right” in the campaign ad below:

Doug Gansler: the first honorary Framologist! Photo Credit: mdfriendofhillary via Compfight cc
Doug Gansler: the first honorary Framologist!
Photo Credit: mdfriendofhillary via Compfight cc

The attorney general (D) of Maryland, Mr. Gansler is running for governor. The primary election will take place on June 24. Marylanders should check out the Baltimore Sun’s election guide.

Wilner’s article reports on a conference of pollsters. She says that because about equal numbers of Americans like “keep and fix” as “repeal and replace,” Republican candidates are likely to change from talk of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to talk of fixing it.

She notes that talk of fixing would give Republican candidates “a simpler line than Democrats, who continue to grapple with how to support the ACA—or at least, counter Republican attacks—in their ads….” She says that Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) names three lines that Democratic candidates have taken:

  • Negative = positive: “[My Republican opponent] would deny coverage for preexisting conditions and/or let insurers charge women more for healthcare or mammograms.”
  • Partial pro: “[Democratic incumbent] held insurers accountable and/or ensured coverage of preexisting conditions and affordable access for women.”
  • Yay PPACA!: “helping the President pass healthcare reform”

Wilner found only four candidates nationwide that have cheered the Patient Protection Act in their advertising.

She correctly notes that Democratic candidates don’t have much time “to repair the negative impression people have about the law before Election Day.”

Here’s an example I’ve noticed in my state. Before the primary election, Republican candidates for all levels of office declared their opposition to “Obamacare” in TV ads.

And the Democratic candidates? I saw no ads from them on television at all. They seem to have let their opponents rule the airwaves and frame the healthcare reform debate their way for months. Will they learn from Doug Gansler?

No matter the primary outcome, for his fine framing of the healthcare reform issue and standing up to the bullies, Doug Gansler is now the first honorary Framologist. Congratulations!

Smaller Government = Wimpy Government

Like a traffic cop, government should be strong, caring, and responsible enough to protect our rights and safety.
Like a traffic cop, government should be strong, caring, and responsible enough to protect our rights and safety.
Photo Credit: RobertFrancis via Compfight cc

Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist famously said that he wants the federal government to be small enough to drown in a bathtub. If we take this metaphor seriously, then he wants a wimpy government–one he could easily overpower.

If he got his way, Uncle Sam would be wimpy in specific ways, especially:

  • Too weak to protect Americans from abuse and neglect by Big Business (because of deregulation of business) and
  • Too weak to help Americans suffering poverty and hardship (because of slashing the social welfare system).

What if supporters of industry regulation and social welfare argued like this?

My opponent says he wants smaller government. What he means is he wants a wimpy government:

  • a government too weak to stop oil companies from drilling in dangerous ways in dangerous places,
  • a government too weak to protect us when employers fail to pay overtime and discriminate against employees,
  • a government too weak to say no when state and local governments try to make it harder for citizens to vote,
  • a government too weak to punish car companies when they sell us cars with dangerous defects,
  • a government too weak to extend a helping hand when we suffer unemployment and poverty,
  • a government too weak to insist that businesses, communities, and individuals leave America cleaner, safer, and healthier than we found it through environmental regulations,
  • etc.

That’s unacceptable! I believe America is greatest when the government is our strong ally and protector:

  • Strong, caring and responsible enough to protect our rights when they’re violated;
  • Strong, caring and responsible enough to insist that Big Business consider not just shareholder value but also the wellbeing of its workers, communities, and the natural world that makes life and commerce possible;
  • Strong, caring and responsible enough to tell Big Oil, “Sorry, it’s too dangerous to drill there.”
  • Strong, caring and responsible enough to tell Big Finance, “Sorry, what you’re asking for could lead to another crash like in 2008. We can’t have that.”


Whatever you may think of these specific examples, the construction “a government too weak/wimpy to…” do something that Americans deeply value is powerful. It exposes what the vision of “smaller government” could mean.

And opposing this vision of wimpy government with a vision of strong, caring, responsible government also is powerful. That is what progressives want. We should proudly say so.

What say you?

P.S. I’ve never been able to square the drown-in-a-bathtub image with a strong military.