Bill Maher interviews Bill Moyers

    I don’t know how much longer this will remain on YouTube, as HBO tends to yank things down pretty quickly, but I wanted to pass this along. It’s brilliant, sobering stuff. [Parts 2 and 3 can be found here.]

    Here’s some of what Moyers had to say on the subject of healthcare reform (transcript courtesy Glen Greenwald):

    I don’t think the problem is the Republicans . . . .The problem is the Democratic Party. This is a party that has told its progressives — who are the most outspoken champions of health care reform — to sit down and shut up. That’s what Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff at the White House, in effect told progressives who stood up as a unit in Congress and said: “no public insurance option, no health care reform.”

    And I think the reason for that is — in the time since I was there, 40 years ago, the Democratic Part has become like the Republican Party, deeply influenced by corporate money. I think Rahm Emanuel, who is a clever politician, understands that the money for Obama’s re-election will come from the health care industry, from the drug industry, from Wall Street. And so he’s a corporate Democrat who is determined that there won’t be something in this legislation that will turn off these interests. . . .

    Money in politics — you’ve had in the last 30 years, money has flooded politics… the Supreme Court saying “money is free speech.” It goes back to the efforts in the 19th Century to give corporations the right of personhood — so if you as a citizen have the right to donate to campaigns, then so do corporations. Money has flowed in such a flood into both parties that the Democratic Party gets a lot of its support from the very interests that — when the Republicans are in power — financially support the Republicans.

    You really have essentially — except for the progressives on the left of the Democratic Party – you really have two corporate parties who in their own way and their own time are serving the interests of basically a narrow set of economic interests in the country — who, as Glenn Greenwald, who is a great analyst and journalist, wrote just this week: these narrow interests seem to win, determine the outcomes, no matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter who has their hands on the levers of powers, these narrow interests determine the outcomes in Washington, even when they have to run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans. I’m sad to say that has happened to the Democratic Party.

    I’d rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a [corporate-dominated] bill . . . . the insurers are winning. Everyone already knows the White House has made a deal with the drug industry — promising not to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Europe – promising not to use the government to negotiate for better prices — that deal has been cut . . .

    There’s this fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era – Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic President because he didn’t fight the powerful interests – people say Obama should be FDR – I’d much rather see him be Theodore Roosevelt –– Teddy Roosevelt loved to fight – … I think if Obama fought instead of really finessed it so much . . . I think it would change the atmosphere.

    “And, this,” I’ll tell my daughter when she’s older, “is what a real journalist looked like.”

    I’ve been giving Obama the benefit of the doubt these past several months, but if I don’t see something from him here, I’m going third party. This is his moment, and he’s got to show us what he’s made of. If he fights, I’ll be right there with him. If he doesn’t, I’m going to start looking outside the Democratic party for solutions. This corporate bullshit has got to stop.

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      13 Comments

      1. DRich
        Posted August 30, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Goddammit, I went third party for Nadar and got a lot of shit for it. But I was right, goddammit. Deep down, I was right.

      2. Posted August 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        I was a big Nader supporter at the beginning. He was the first politician that I ever gave money to. After hearing him speak at the Michigan Theater – I think it must have been in ’91 or ’92 – I wrote a check for $20. Of course, by the time it came down to him, Gore or Bush, I’d settled on Gore. I guess you could say that I’ve flirted with third parties. When it comes down to the big votes that really count, though, I’ve always gone the practical route. This time, I think it may be different. If Obama can’t deliver change, it’s time to go elsewhere, even if it means losing the White House to a Republican for a cycle or two.

        I still respect the hell out of him, but I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for unwittingly helping George Bush Jr. into the White House.

      3. Me
        Posted August 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Moyers has not really said anything new. We have known for centuries that really every government consolidates power using the same techniques.

        DRich wrote, “Goddammit, I went third party for Nadar and got a lot of shit for it. But I was right, goddammit. Deep down, I was right.”
        Indeed you were. Even Ron Paul said so.

        Mark wrote, “I still respect the hell out of him, but I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for unwittingly helping George Bush Jr. into the White House.”

        Forgive him? Good Lord, why would you take it personally? The guy saw what a sham and a farce the political process in the US was and tried to do something about it. Then you blame him for not accomplashing it, even though you had sent your support to Gore, another “corporate party” member. You should blame yourself for not voting for Nader. Do you forgive yourself? I hate to call you out on this one, Mark, but what you say is just illogical.

      4. Posted August 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        What I’m saying is that I’m getting to the point where I’ll concede that the two parties are essentially the same. Until now, I wouldn’t have said that. I always held out the hope that the Democrats would do the right thing. And, I do feel as though Gore would have led us to a better place than Bush did. Now, though, I don’t know. Obama hasn’t moved with the swiftness that I would have expected on issues like torture and warrantless wiretaps. Still, though, I’m holding out some hope that he’ll get aggressive on healthcare. But, that hope is fading.

      5. Daniel
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        Kudos, Mark. I agree that Moyers is an excellent journalist, I would also add “statesman” to that. And I am amazed at how eloquently he can express the stories and historical facts.

        As for the subject at hand, I totally agree. Reps and Dems have been in the corporate treasury for too long. Although, we have a bad habit in the U.S. of shutting out third parties. I’m not sure if we can count on enough people to vote for a third party. Of course, my plan is to move to a different country if this keeps up, like France or New Zealand. In its present condition, the U.S. resembles a third world country more than a civilized nation, at least when compared with the afforementioned nations. Am I being too harsh, or just dispassionately honest?

      6. Ryan
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        People who expect Democrats to do much of anything progressive have their heads up their asses. That goes for people who expect Republicans to do much of anything conservative, too.

        The corporate bullshit isn’t going to stop. Why wait?

      7. Steph
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        It’s unlikely that a third party could accomplish much, at least out of the gate, and people generally want immediate action. People, in this last election, wanted the Republicans out of power, and the best way to get there was with Obama. Even if we had an incredibly good third party candidate, we only would have gotten a fraction of the vote. And, worse of all, the end result would have been President McCain, with Palin standing ready should anything happen to him. That shit’s too frightening to consider. But eventually we have to sacrifice short term gains for long term change.

      8. Posted August 31, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        I’ve always been a fan of Bill Moyers, thanks for posting this. Glen Greenwald is great, too, and has recently written some very informative articles on the torture issue.

        Third party is really the only answer. But the Powers That Be are way too fond of their two-party monopoly (or “duopoly”?) to ever allow such without a really big fight.

      9. Brackinald Achery
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I sympathize with your well-earned disillusionment, Mark. Hopefully someday we’ll all eat spoonfuls of bacon grease together, living free, and whistling Yankee Doodle out of our buttholes.

      10. Bill
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Or, we could reclaim the Democratic party, and make it mean something.

        Seriously.

      11. Aardvark
        Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Watching Bill Moyer making reasoned arguments why we need universal health care, I started thinking about the opposite side of the spectrum, that person who was screaming at Dingell that the goverment wants to kill his son.

      12. dp in exile
        Posted September 2, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        This interview was fantastic, thanks for sharing, Mark.

        I’ll second the comments by “Me” on 30 August.

        Concerning the urban myth you continue to propagate as relates to Mr. Nader:

        “I still respect the hell out of him, but I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for unwittingly helping George Bush Jr. into the White House.”

        I hope you will check out Theresa Amato’s new book, “Grand Illusion”. You can order the book here: http://www.thenewpress.com/index.php?option=com_catalog&task=author&author_id=P39312

        It would be great to see you do an interview with her for your site. I think you would learn a lot talking with someone who writes so articulately concerning the real life consequences of our hodge-podge system of “representative” democracy.

        She explains in some detail the insanity of the American system of “democracy” and how the two parties work very hard to maintain a monopoly over our “choice” of candidates.

        Regarding Mr. Nader and the DNC talking points that have become an urban myth- Mr. Nader did not spoil the election of 2000.

        1. Gore lost the election on his own account. Had he won his home state (TN) then he would have won the election. Had he run anything close to an inspiring campaign, maybe the millions of Democrats who voted for Bush across the USA would have voted for Gore instead.

        2. Gore did not challenge the results in FL with any veracity and lost his own battles in the courts by trying to pick and choose what jurisdictions were recounted. Had there been a through recount of the entire state he would have won by 3 votes. Gore’s legal team lacked decisive direction from the candidate and was brow beat for it.

        3. Republican vote manipulation in FL, and nationally, was never investigated, let alone corrected: list purging, partisans in charge of administering “fair” elections, etc. You may be aware of the repeat in 2004, in OH, where Kerry lost to Bush, and didn’t have the guts to challenge the problems either.

        4. Ballots in some municipalities in FL were misleading by design.

        5. CNN exit polls showed that had Nader not been in the election, Bush would have won by a wider margin in FL. The folks that Nader turned out to vote ended up voting for Gore. Nader helped position Gore as a centrist candidate to Independent voters.

        6. The “spoiler” argument is at best simplistic. For example, using the same logic, had any of the other candidates on the ballot for President not been on the ballot, and ALL of their votes went to Gore, he could have won. No one is demonizing the other Independent and Third Party candidates who desired to express their constitutional right to run for office.

      13. Hersh
        Posted September 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        I know a number of people who are outer fringe gun nuts and they all talk about having guns, especially automatic weapons, to overturn the current type of government.

        The irony is that they oppose health care and support the hand that bites them. Beyond all of this I think they really oppose the effect that the takeover of the government by of corporate money has produced.

        I feel this loss of effective government just like they do, and agree with Moyer that we have lost control of OUR government due to corporate money influence. Corporate money appears to own the piper, which really breaks my heart. I expected Obama to be stronger than what has transpired to date. When he won and gave that speech in Grant Park, I felt like I had been “given my flag back” and freed everyone from the Right Wing that took it for their own when Bush and Cheney ran the country into the ground. No wonder people were crying with relief when he won.

        I hope Obama takes this high moral ground and goes for it. If he doesn’t I think the country will loose more than just good health care. Here’s a “for instance.” The administrator of one of the Jackson, Michigan hospital makes a million a year. The doctors, of course feel that they need more than that. This is just one example of why we pay more money for health care per person than any country in the world and get less and less for out money every day.
        I think the evidence of this gun nut undercurrent is measured by the misguided outrage Rush and that loony Michelle Bachmann can generate.
        The Republicans are now entertaining the idea that Cheney is a viable candidate for 2012 and it’s OK to visibly carry loaded guns to a meeting that Obama holds? Who is out of their minds here?

        Moyer’s recommendation would be a start to defuse this sort of lunacy, just like Obama’s election put balance back in the nation.

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