A rising chorus of discontent – more a citizens uprising – shows Middle America’s deep suspicion of President Obama’s health care reform proposal. Average citizens have voiced their disapproval at townhall meetings hosted by Sen. Arlen Specter and HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Tim Bishop, and staffers of Sen. Claire McCaskill. In a burst of passion-envy, Chris Matthews asked on Monday night’s Hardball, “Where the Hell are the people who want health care, the poor people out there…the union people? Where are they? I haven’t seen one placard, let alone one protest demonstration, for health care.”Read the whole thing at the link.
In fact, tens of thousands of people have rallied in the nation’s capital supporting the president’s health care reform plan, including the controversial public option. However, national momentum is not with them, because they are, to use Nancy Pelosi’s phrase, “Astroturf.” These demonstrations were organized by Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), a new “national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care.” Most of its component organizations have two things in common: they have no experience or expertise in health care, and virtually all received large, tax-exempt grants from far-Left billionaires like George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Like the “grassroots” movement for campaign finance reform a decade ago, the public demonstrations for health care reform are largely a Soros-financed operation.
Former Governor Howard Dean announced HCAN’s mission on the first night of the annual “America’s Future Now!” conference (formerly the “Take Back America” conference), hosted by the Campaign for America's Future in June. Dean pledged to spend up to $82 million to advance socialized medicine. HCAN rallied 15,000 people in D.C. in April, 10,000 more in June, and with state affiliates like the Maine People’s Alliance, hundreds more in state capitals in July. A searchable database of upcoming spontaneous demonstrations can be found here.
However, a closer look at its members shows it is less a “grassroots” organization than a series of interconnected left-wing pressure groups united by a collectivist ideology and, for most, a common donor.
Among the 21 members of its steering committee are ACORN, MoveOn.org, and the Center for American Progress. CAP, headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, was created with Soros’ money as a counterweight to the Heritage Foundation. In 2007 alone, Soros’ charity, the Open Society Institute (OSI), gave CAP $1.75 million in 2007 and approved additional grants totaling $1.25 million. Soros personally gave millions to MoveOn.org before the 2004 elections, and he has funded ACORN, the most notorious practitioner of election fraud in the nation.
Dean announced HCAN’s mobilization before the Campaign for America's Future, another institution that has received funding from George Soros and the Rockefeller Family Fund. CAF, an HCAN steering committee member, pushes for national health care as one means to transform the United States into a European social welfare state. Co-founder Robert Borosage previously served as director of the overtly Marxist Institute for Policy Studies, while co-founder Roger Hickey also co-founded the Economic Policy Institute. Other CAF co-founders include socialist columnist Harold Meyerson, Sixties radical Tom Hayden, socialist feminist Barbara Ehrenreich, Service Employees International Union president Andrew Stern, AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson, and Julian Bond. CAF is best known for hosting its annual “Take Back America” conferences, a gathering of D.C. “progressives” and far-Left community organizers. Code Pink activists famously booed Hillary Clinton after a tour-de-force leftist speech in 2006. An up-and-comer named Barack Obama also spoke at the ’06 event.
Advancing the welfare state by ruse is old hat to the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). The CDF Action Council is a member of the HCAN steering committee. CDF founder Marian Wright Edelman once admitted she got nowhere pushing a left-wing message until “I got the idea that children might be a very effective way to broaden the base for change.” Hiding behind “the children,” her undisguised Sixties radicalism still shines through. In her 1987 book Families in Peril, she wrote, “We must curb the fanatical military weasel.” At the time, the CDF was chaired by one Hillary Rodham Clinton. In addition to Hillary’s patronage, the CDF received a grant of more than $700,000 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York while Teresa Heinz Kerry sat on its board of trustees, and Edelman received the Heinz Award for the “Human Condition” in 1995.
Labor unions are heavily represented on the HCAN steering committee. Members include the SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Change to Win (James Hoffa’s breakaway group of seven powerful unions, which includes the SEIU’s Andrew Stern), UAW, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Even with the power of compulsory union dues, SEIU received $75,000 from the Open Society Institute in 2007, and AFT was approved for a $150,000 OSI grant.
Photo Credit: Looking at the Left, "Nancy and the Astroturfers."