Third Way's Jon Cowan Needs To Account For Anne Kim and David Kendall

by: AdamGreen

Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 10:16

Jon CowanPicture it. Your name is Jon Cowan. You are President and Co-founder of Third Way, which claims to be a progressive think tank.

You are choosing two people to formulate smart progressive health care policy to be pushed after the progressive tidal wave year of 2008.

It's a time when President Obama has made health care his #1 domestic priority, and is publicly commited to a strong public option. It's a time when the right wing is on the ropes, with Democratic self-identification among voters standing at 150% of Republican identification -- revealing an increasingly progressive America.

It's a time when 73% of voters and 71% of rural voters agree with a strong public option. It's a time when even conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson are coming around to the public option

Jon Cowan, what do you do? What. Do. You. Do.

Well, apparently you take your funders' money and hire insurance-industry hacks. From Huff Post:

Anne Kim and David Kendall. Kendall is a former consultant for the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Association, one of the most powerful insurers in the nation. He is on the board of directors for the Wye River Group on Healthcare, which is funded to the tune of a million dollars by CIGNA, a major health insurance player.

Kim is a former corporate attorney with Hogan and Hartson, a top health care industry lobby shop, and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton. She also formerly helped write policy for the Blue Dog Coalition, which last week issued a statement of principles opposing a public option without a "trigger."

The result of Cowan's choice? A leaked memo from Kim and Kendall calling Obama's public option a "very real danger" of being "an overly intrusive public plan" and holding up fictional corporate characters Harry & Louise as real "middle-class Americas" that would be hurt if Obama has his way.

Seem like a questionable choice? Let's continue our emails from yesterday, and this time let's pose the question: "Why on earth would you hire two people in bed with the health insurance industry to formulate a progressive health care plan?? Are you actively asking people to sign up for a 'DEFUND THIRD WAY' campaign?"

Jonathan Cowan, President,

Then share your thoughts directly with:

David Kendall, Senior Fellow for Health Policy:
Anne Kim, Economic Program Director,

Or, drop them a line and say hello: 202-775-3768

In case your name actually is Jon Cowan, here's some encouraging news:

The "Right to Respond," is a standing promise on Open Left where any progressive activist, campaign, or organization we discuss in any front-page post is granted at least one front-page post in response. If we blog on the front-page about the group Third Way, for example, then Third Way will be allowed to post on the front-page in response to our piece.

Props to Matt and Chris for accurately predicting at the time of this blog's founding that Third Way would be the prototypical organization that lets down progressives. 

That said, Jon Cowan, your response here would be welcome. It would be treated seriously and respectfully. Though a word to the wise: Posting a rote 1990's-style press release that speaks past the issue at hand would be treated with the level of seriousness it deserves. We're in the era of authenticity now...

AdamGreen :: Third Way's Jon Cowan Needs To Account For Anne Kim and David Kendall

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Their group's name tells you all you need to know (4.00 / 2)
This is sickening.  I've called and written.  Thanks for staying on top of this, Adam.

I call them TURDway just to let people know what I think of them n/t (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
thank you Adam Green (4.00 / 1)
this is where Versailles influence peddling does its worse, the Corporate/Think Tank/Pundit axis of hubris.

What Else Would You Expect From This DLC/Blue Dog Group? (4.00 / 3)
If you go look at the Third Way web-site, it appears many of their people are Clintonians, which means they are essentially Republicans.  They come from the Clinton administration, and/or worked for DLC and Blue Dog politicians.  Their job is to promote Republican policies, just like Clinton did.

Look at their policies page:  one after the next tax cuts is proposed.  Everything is about the middle class:  help the middle class.  That is what Clinton did:  turned the Democratic Party away from the poor, away from working people, to become the champion of the white middle class suburban people who want to keep their big homes and SUVs.  The people they represent are Reagan Democrats, meaning Republicans.

If you want to expose this group, then go get all their funding information.  They are a non-profit, and most non-profits are required to make their tax returns available to the public.  See who supports them.  When any group promotes the interests of the insurance industry, you can bet they are getting money from the insurance industry.

In fact, I'd just publicly demand that they disclose any money received from any for-profit business, lobbying group, any insider from the Medical Industry.  But demand the tax returns for calendar year 2008 and start with that.  

Third Way Is Republican In All But Name (4.00 / 1)
Go read the Sourcewatch entries about this group Third Way.  One of their big issues was to set up a group called "Gun Safety," or something like that.  So instead of trying to protect Americans from the arms merchants who sell automatic weapons to children, this group pretends to be Democratic and to love guns.  

Then their next big policy issue was pro-war, pro-military (pro-Defense Industry) supporting more troops, let's send in our military to fight the "terrorists" everywhere we find them.  

These people are a front organization.  Just get their tax returns and list of donors, and go from there.

The Third Way (0.00 / 0)
Be careful here.  We should try to include the great mass of the middle class, along with the workers, the farmers, and the poor, in any coalition that we build.  The people that Clinton was always wooing was more the upper stratum of the middle class, the "socially liberal economically conservative" types, not the majority of the middle class.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with these statements.

what does the Third Way (4.00 / 2)
have to do with the middle class? They are a promoting a health care plan that just lost by a landslide in the last presidential election.

[ Parent ]
Sure, but 'middle class' is always a bad sign (0.00 / 0)
If people talk about helping 'the middle class', nine times out of ten they mean helping the management class and marginalising the workers. There are exceptions, like the Drum Middle Class Institute (although they're decidedly moderate) but the trend for this slogan is towards astroturf organisations.

Rhetoric about helping 'working people' or similar tends to be what progressive organisations go for.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]

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