Sunday :: Nov 23, 2003

The Low-Down on Moseley-Braun


by pessimist

About a week ago, Blog Lord Steve Soto asked that we pick a candidate for coverage during the campaign season. While I have no specific loyatly to any one candidate, I thought I would take the ones least likely to draw any attention - Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun.

I figure that both of these candidates are positioning themselves for a quid pro quo - a Cabinet position or something similar in trade for their endorsement (and any delegates they might accrue). This is especially evident with Moseley-Braun, as I hope I demonstrate below. I cover Al Sharpton in the next article.

Moseley Braun is not getting much press coverage, and as I went into her platform I could sort of see why. She's essentially a niche candidate, whose appeal would be mostly to liberal women. Trying to expand her field might, in my opinion, be outside her scope. But I will continue to update my coverage of her as events occur.

The most coverage Moseley-Braun has gotten of late has to do with taking on Patricia Ireland:

Presidential contender Carol Moseley Braun announced she had hired a new campaign manager, Patricia Ireland, the former president of the National Organization for Women. Moseley Braun described Ireland as "a guerrilla warrior" who will help her with fund-raising and publicity.

Last Friday [11/14], the campaign lost two top advisers -- Kevin Lampe and Kitty Kurth -- and campaign treasurer Billie Paige planned to quit yesterday [11/17] as well, Paula Xanthopoulou, manager of the campaign's Chicago operations, told the Associated Press. In addition, Braun has struggled to raise money, collecting $342,519 through Sept. 30. Her campaign had $29,278 in cash on hand.

Moseley Braun said last night at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball," that she has no plans to drop out of the race. "We're in it to win it," she said repeatedly. "We're going to stay in it through the convention." While she polled at 0 percent in a New Hampshire public opinion survey released last week, Moseley Braun said that she tied Senator John F. Kerry in the most recent national poll for Newsweek, and said she was beating Senator John Edwards "in every poll that's ever been taken anywhere in this country."

She can speak very eloquently on affirmative action:

"The global issue, of course, is what kind of civil society we want to have. Are we, as a nation, prepared to move in the direction of the noble intent of our Declaration of Independence, when it asserted that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,' or are we still comfortable with the inherent hypocrisy that kept women and blacks and other non-whites from the 'blessings of liberty'? Women could not vote until 1920, and for all intents and purposes, blacks weren't enfranchised throughout America until the 1960s. Power, control and economic opportunity have not yet 'trickled down' to fully embrace the talent, capacity and potential that the majority population (e.g., women and minorities) has to bring to bear on business.

"This is where the argument is joined regarding the fairness of affirmative action. Of course, the history makes clear that the exclusion of blacks and women was an accepted fact of life, supported by the law and all aspects of civil society.

"Affirmative action serves the interests of the whole community - not only the women or minority contractors who may get an opportunity. Businesses that are owned and operated by women and minorities are statistically more likely to in turn give opportunity to other women and minorities, and so a ripple effect takes place.

"Women and black or Asian or Hispanic or other minorities leverage their opportunity by bringing in others who might not otherwise have a chance. Lawyers, suppliers, employees, managers; the entire panoply of economic actors becomes more diverse, more creative and often more productive because of the stirring of the competitive pot that occurs when the contracting of public dollars is spread out to a population that looks like America.

"The struggle is to get to the point where the relationships exist and the confidence abides in women and minorities to lead our business community. Indeed, the paucity of both in the boardrooms makes clear that many of the 'old boys' are still more comfortable with one another than with racial or gender diversity.

"Breaking up the old boys' network, smashing the glass ceiling, opening doors, not only lets in new competitors but also new talent, new capacity and new ways of doing business. Affirmative action takes down barriers that sheltered white men from competition, by giving a boost to others who want to compete. It remains a competition. The minorities and women have to perform, but the track record has shown that they do perform, and that new businesses have sprung up because of affirmative action in contracting. On the contrary, where such efforts have been struck down, the disappearance of minority- and female-owned business speaks volumes.

"The survival of affirmative action creates hope that opportunity exists for those who have not yet had a chance to lead and that performance and talent will be rewarded. That hope keeps our society on a path toward progress and the fulfillment of the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."

So why is Carol Moseley-Braun doing so badly in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination? It might be that she is considered a single-issue candidate. She has impeccable credentials on affirmative action and women's issues. She has little traction with the male portion of the population, however.

She's weak on foreign policy issues, and seems not to have much to say about eceonomic ones, other than the ones cited here. She says little about jobs outside of affirmative action. She is outspoken in her opposition to the Oil War in Iraq and the Patriot Act, but that isn't enough to make her a viable candidate in men's minds. It might even work against her.

Take a look at her other major issue - universal health care.

We pay more as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product for health care than any other country. And Americans are no sicker than Japanese or Germans or French or Canadians, for that matter. The difference is that we don't pay for our health care in a very sensible way. The current, decentralized system of private and public insurance eats up 15 percent of the nation's gross national product.

We are wasting an awful lot of money on profit on the one hand and disconnects between the different public system on the one hand, private system on the other.

So my view is that we have tinkered with Medicare on the one hand, Medicaid on the other, CHIPs and all the various programs - all of these efforts to try to fix the employment-based system that we have. I think it's time to just say if we're going to have universal coverage, then we need to figure out a way to pay for it in a comprehensive way. And to my view, after all these years of looking at it, I've come to conclude that a single payer system is the way to go. We're wasting an awful lot of money that could be better put to provide us with a rationalized system, a single-payer system of health care for everybody.

What I've proposed is a single-payer system that will take advantage of the fact that we are already paying 15 percent of our gross domestic product on health care, de-couple it from employment so that it's not a burden on job creation, it's not a burden on small businesses, and it doesn't come out of the payroll tax, which is the most regressive tax, to begin with.

My proposal provides for universal coverage in a way that decouples or takes the payment for health care away from the payroll tax and moves it to a more elastic funding base-that is to say, an income tax base. It's a variation on single payer, but that provides for the quality of care that we enjoy in this country to be maintained, and that provides for, if you will, a reenergizing of the relationship between patients and providers.

I'm no expert by any means, but I fail to see how trading the current funding of medical programs by payroll taxes for universal care funded by income taxes is going to work, especially since Bush is bent on eliminating income taxes for those most able to pay. If any of you readers out there have an idea, please enlighten the rest of us.

What comes to my mind, and maybe to others as well, is the huge fiasco of a plan that the Clinton's promoted during the early years of Bill's first term. While Moseley-Braun's plan appears at first glance to be less complex, the devil is in the details. Once bitten twice shy, people aren't going to flock to this platform in large numbers.

So why is she still in the race? I see her trying to corner the women's vote, maybe with an eye toward being HHS Secretary or some such. She can only attain this position if she pulls in the women's vote for the eventual nominee.

Source Links
Congress ceding role, Moseley Braun says
Carol Moseley Braun Speaks Out

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pessimist :: 3:36 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!