Krystal Ball dismisses Rahm Emanuel's 'Medicare for All' criticism as a 'corporatist mantra'

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

I wanted to give a quick thank you this morning to the one and only Rahm Emanuel. You know, I was poking around the news on Sunday, thinking about what I wanted to talk to you all about today and I was frankly undecided. I've got a lot of thoughts on Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Cenk Uygur updates on Congressional campaign, how I will call out corporate politicians in Washington MORE being forced to resign by revenge porn; on how the media is trying to make the outcome of impeachment suspenseful when in fact we all know exactly how it's going to end, and on joe having hilariously taken credit for Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Human Rights Campaign president rips Sanders's embrace of Rogan endorsement MORE not having a super PAC because he said "people can't possibly trust you" if you do. And now, lo and behold, Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE's got a super PAC.

But Rahm, well buddy, you made my decision easy by writing an absolutely perfect anti-Medicare for all screed in the Washington Post. and by perfect, I mean deliciously wrong and completely lacking in self-awareness in every way. You know what gets me going and this was way too good to resist.

First, some context. Rahm Emanuel has a long history of opposing really any kind of health care reform.

 He's the guy who reportedly begged Obama not to pursue health care reform at all and then begged him to pursue a much more limited plan than Obamacare. Then, he spiked the public option that he now is advocating for. More on that in a moment. He's also the guy who helped write NAFYA, spiked extreme poverty by helping to end welfare and helped push through that disastrous 94 crime bill that super-charged mass incarceration and was generally an integral part of turning the Democratic party away from the working class and towards the professional class which has really worked out great for all involved. Rahm is also the guy who works for a big Wall Street firm called Centerview Partners that has a bunch of health industry clients. of course, all of this context may have been helpful for the Washington post to provide but they were too busy giving a platform to a pro-industry shill to take down the central plank of Bernie's campaign platform.

Alright, so here's the article:

"Someone needs to say it: Medicare-for-all is a pipe dream" now, let me stop right there because I don't know how closely Mr. Emanuel follows politics, but plenty of someone's have actually already said it thank you very much. Allow me to introduce you to Joe Biden, John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules Elizabeth Warren moves 'bigly' to out-trump Trump DNC goof: Bloomberg should be on debate stage MORE, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: 68 percent of Democrats say it 'makes no difference' if a candidate is a billionaire CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary Poll shows tight general election battle between Trump and top Democrats MORE, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa MORE, Steve bullock, Michael Bennett, John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperFor a healthy aging workforce policy, look to Colorado Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate Hickenlooper raised .8 million for Colorado Senate bid in fourth quarter of 2019 MORE industry ad buys during Democratic primary debates, every debate moderator ever, and also you.

But please proceed to your oh so original argument.

Here's Rahm’s first point: "I’m mystified as to why when 90% of Americans already have insurance, our presidential debates are focused so exclusively on expanding coverage rather than containing costs." Yes to those millions of Americans with no coverage, honestly why do we give a crap! that's the spirit guys! And also, did it occur to you that Medicare for all is not only about coverage but also about reducing costs. we pay way more than every single payer nation and get worse results. So there's that too.

Rahm’s next point: "Maybe you think Medicare-for-all is the way to go. if so, please explain to me exactly how we get that bill through the senate? Remember, in 2010 we had 58 democratic senators - yet we weren't even able to get a vote on a public option." Now this one is reallllly rich since Rahm himself was an integral part of why there was no vote on the public option! What's more, the "this will be hard" argument applies just as much to the public option that Rahm has now embraced as it does to Medicare for all. Remember Rahm, you had 58 Democratic senators and you couldn't pass a public option, the very thing that you are now saying we could get through a much less favorable senate. Do you think that Mitch and his gang have gotten more accommodating? the only way this gets done is through an organized grassroots uprising forcing Washington to do their bidding. Medicare for all is the kind of transformational change that can galvanize that kind of support. Medicare for choice and America and those who want it and industry shills manifestly cannot.

"The bottom line" Rahm then informs us, "is that there's simply no path to enacting Medicare-for-all in the current political environment, and promising something we can't deliver will do nothing but depress democratic turnout in years to come." well I will say since he's a key architect of NAFTA and of the Obama years where democrats lost state houses, governors mansions and congressional seats galore, Rahm is something of an expert on depressing Democratic turnout. So please proceed Rahm.

"Since we're already proposing to rewrite the tax code, decriminalize the border, give everyone free college, and eliminate the use of fossil fuels with the Green New Deal— all initiatives that will require us to expend enormous amounts of political capital — maybe we want to be strategic on at least one big-ticket item."

You see here, Rahm just couldn't resist giving up the game. His contempt-laden remarks expose that his issue isn't really with Medicare for all, it's with this new idea with some of the democratic party where they might actually attempt to address the big issues facing the country rather than collapse every single thing, even basic human rights and the very survival of the planet, into nothing but tactics and power jockeying. You can just picture the drafts folder where he's got "the Green New Deal is a pipe dream" and "canceling student debt is a pipe dream" and "ending the war on drugs is a pipe dream" op-eds all ready to send in to willing mainstream outlets.

It's all an impossible pipe dream. Better things aren't possible. That's the corporatist mantra. Everything is possible for industry and nothing is possible for the working class. Accept the status quo of struggle and rot and addiction. Well you know what Rahm, the status quo has led to massive working-class uprisings in Chile and France and Lebanon and right here at home, paved the path directly to Donald trump. So, while the world is burning if you don't mind, I think we might try actually delivering for once for the working class.