Michael Moore goes after Blue Dogs

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.

“We will organize. And we will remove you from office. Make no mistake about it,” Moore said in a speech at the liberal nonprofit Public Citizen.

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 the film.

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 constituents.

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 system.

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 Medicare rates.

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 industry.”