By Jared Allen - 09/29/09 05:12 PM EDT
Filmmaker Michael Moore, known for his liberal politics, on Tuesday
threatened Blue Dog Democrats that he would work to defeat them if they
don’t support a government-run health insurance plan.
Moore told reporters and activists that his threat should not be taken lightly.
The ardent Democrat from Flint, Mich., said that if he can’t find
more liberal Democrats to defeat the centrist congressional Democrats
in primary elections, he will actively campaign for Republicans in the
2010 general elections.
“You think we’re behind you just because you’re Democrats?” Moore
said to cheers from the few dozen supporters packed into the second
floor of Public Citizen’s downtown Washington office. “We’ll find
Republicans who are smart enough to realize that the majority of
Americans want universal healthcare. That’s right. That’s absolutely
right. Don’t take this for granted.”
Moore was in Washington for the D.C. premiere of his latest film,
“Capitalism: A Love Story,” his look at the federal bailout of Wall
Street and his latest foray into documentary-based public advocacy. His
stop at Public Citizen — where he also fielded questions about
“Capitalism” — was only one part of a daylong media blitz to promote
In an online chat, Moore was asked if it was “hypocritical” to attack capitalism when he’s profited from his films.
“I share the wealth I create,” Moore said on washingtonpost.com. “My
employees have full medical benefits, there’s no deductible. I give my
employees unlimited paid sick days, and for maternity leave they are
paid for their maternity leave. How French of me.”
Moore credited his 2007 Oscar-nominated “Sicko” with helping to lay
the foundation for the current healthcare debate. Moore is an advocate
for a single-payer system that would eliminate the private health
insurance market in lieu of universal Medicare.
Asked why all but a handful of Democrats have abandoned the push for
a single-payer system, and why many are now wavering on even a public
option, Moore said that “they haven’t felt the heat from the majority.”
Hours after Moore made his campaign pledge, the Senate Finance
Committee rejected a pair of proposals to attach a public option to the
committee’s healthcare reform bill. Although many believe the approach
being taken by Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) represents what’s
politically feasible in the Senate, liberals are increasingly attacking
Baucus’s bill as the opposite of what they hoped to deliver to their
Moore said a healthcare reform bill that creates a public option was
the “minimum” acceptable to him and what he repeatedly described as the
“overwhelming majority of Americans.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stood firm on her pledge to pass
a bill with a public option. But those efforts have been hamstrung
since July by a powerful bloc of centrist Democrats — primarily the
52-member Blue Dog Coalition — intent on preventing the passage of a
public option tied to the established Medicare payment reimbursement
At a Tuesday press conference following a meeting of her leadership
team, Pelosi gave no clear indication about whether she would be
amenable to a public option that negotiates its rates independently of
Although Moore aimed his harshest rhetoric at the more centrist
Democrats on Capitol Hill, he also attacked President Barack Obama for
abandoning his past policy positions, which included support for a
single-payer system, and for what Moore said was starting negotiations
from the center.
“To President Obama: This is not the time to desert us,” Moore said.
“This is not the time to be a representative for the health insurance