Was Democrats’ Health Care Strategy Written In Federal Prison?
On August 31, I headed to the health care town hall meeting of my congressional representative, Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). I suspected that she planned to stack the meeting with paid organizers, after she vowed on Real Time with Bill Maher to bring “millions” of people into the streets to support the so-called “public option.” So I brought a video camera.
A friend and I took turns filming protesters on both sides of the issue. We caught an organizer from the group Health Care for America Now (HCAN) instructing followers to block dissenting views: “So if they stand up and start asking questions, and you’re in that area, simply stand up, and start chanting... ‘Health care now! Health care now!'”
My experience at Rep. Schakowsky’s town hall meeting that night convinced me to challenge her in the 2010 election. I had already stood up to Rep. Barney Frank at Harvard University, when I asked him about his role in the financial crisis. I could not simply watch thugs drown out the people of my own community back home, and do nothing.
The HCAN video became a YouTube sensation, the “smoking gun” in the controversy over which side of the debate was “Astroturfing”—i.e. creating a false image of grass roots support. I have since discovered that the video contains clues about how the entire nationwide health care campaign was planned and executed by congressional Democrats and the White House.
It turns out that the organizer in the video is John Gaudette, the Illinois director of HCAN. Gaudette also works for a left-wing group linked to ACORN called Citizen Action/Illinois. Rep. Schakowsky sits on the Policy Council of the group, which suggests that she may have known about or even coordinated the suppression of her own constituents’ views by HCAN.
The plot thickens.
Rep. Schakowsky’s husband, Robert Creamer, used to be the leader of Citizen Action/Illinois. He also founded its predecessor, Illinois Public Action, in which Ms. Schakowsky served as Program Director. He runs a political consulting firm, the Strategic Consulting Group, which lists ACORN and the SEIU among its clients and which made $541,000 working for disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
Creamer resigned from Citizen Action/Illinois after the FBI began investigating him for bank fraud and tax evasion at Illinois Public Action. He was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to five months in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, plus eleven months of house arrest.
While in prison—or “forced sabbatical,” he called it—Creamer wrote a lengthy political manual, Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win (Seven Locks Press, 2007).
The book was endorsed by leading Democrats and their allies, including SEIU boss Andy Stern—the most frequent visitor thus far to the Obama White House—and chief Obama strategist David Axelrod, who noted that Creamer’s tome “provides a blueprint for future victories.”
In the book, Creamer draws lessons from decades of experience on the radical left, including the teachings of arch-radical Saul Alinsky, and several episodes from Rep. Schakowsky’s political career. He also lays out a “Progressive Agenda for Structural Change,” which includes a ten-point plan for foisting universal health care on the American people in 2009:
- “We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.”
- “We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.”
- “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry and focusing on the failure of private health insurance.”
- “We need to systematically forge relationships with large sectors of the business/employer community.”
- “We need to convince political leaders that they owe their elections, at least in part, to the groundswell of support of [sic] universal health care, and that they face political peril if they fail to deliver on universal health care in 2009.”
- “We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.”
- “Over the next two years, we must design and organize a massive national field program.”
- “We must focus especially on the mobilization of the labor movement and the faith community.”
- “We must systematically leverage the connections and resources of a massive array of institutions and organizations of all types.”
- “To be successful, we must put in place commitments for hundreds of millions of dollars to be used to finance paid communications and mobilization once the battle is joined.”
Creamer adds: “To win we must not just generate understanding, but emotion—fear, revulsion, anger, disgust.”
Democrats have followed Creamer’s plan to the letter. They have claimed our health care system is in crisis despite polls showing the overwhelming majority of Americans are happy with the care they receive. They have—with the help of President Obama—circulated false horror stories about Americans dying for lack of health care and health insurance.
They have targeted the health insurance industry, with Rep. Schakowsky herself promising to “put the private insurance industry out of business,” though it is a top employer in Illinois.
Democrats have cut deals with the pharmaceutical industry and the American Medical Association, among others. They have brought in the President himself to tell wavering “Blue Dog” Democrats that their re-election chances depend on passing health care reform. They have bused in SEIU members to town hall meetings, and used rabbis and pastors to back health care reform from the pulpit.
They have used a complex, interconnected web of organizations—including HCAN and Organizing For America, the former Obama campaign arm—to whip up support and silence opposition. And they have benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to convince the public to support bills that their representatives have never read themselves.
Creamer wrote his plan in 2006, explicitly proposing that it be carried out in 2009, once a “progressive Democrat is elected President” and once Democrats could count on 60 votes in the Senate. It is curious that Creamer, sitting in prison, could have predicted the details and the timing of President Obama’s legislative agenda so precisely.
The likeliest explanation is that Creamer helped design the Democrats’ health care strategy. That would explain why President Obama made health care an obsession in 2009, when it was only one among many issues he raised on the campaign trail in 2008. It would explain the role of several overlapping left-wing groups, including Creamer’s own Citizen Action/Illinois.
It would explain why HCAN was particularly aggressive at Rep. Schakowsky’s own town hall meeting. And Creamer’s involvement would also explain his high profile after being released from prison. He worked for the Obama campaign, training volunteers at “Camp Obama.” He has continued his work at the Strategic Consulting Group, leading “many of the country’s most significant issue campaigns,” he claims. He was also at the White House state dinner last month—together with Stern, Axelrod, and other cronies—despite the fact that ex-convicts are usually barred from such events.
Creamer’s broader aim, as laid out in his book, is the “democratization of wealth” in America and “progressive control of governments around the world.” As he recently wrote on his blog at the Huffington Post: “If we succeed in winning health insurance reform we will have breached the gates of the status quo. We will demonstrate that fundamental change is possible. Into that breach will flow a wave of progressive change.”
It is a radical agenda, making use of Rep. Schakowsky’s public profile, a network of far-left organizations, and Creamer’s old friends in the White House. It began in federal prison, and has unfolded exactly as intended, over the protests of thousands of ordinary Americans across the nation. It will not end with health care. It will continue until Mr. Creamer’s Alinskyite dream of radical change is realized—or until voters stand up and put a stop to it in 2010.