Picture 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, email@example.com
Then share your thoughts directly with:
David Kendall, Senior Fellow for Health Policy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Kim, Economic Program Director, email@example.com
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...