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Since I am still home for the winter holidays and don’t have to wait for 3:00pm practice, I have been able to watch The Cycle on MSNBC. The show might be a bit more Around The Horn than Rachel Maddow but I find it to be mostly entertaining and it does seem that the hosts have a good rapport with each other.
In the early portion of today’s show, however, there was an interesting exchange between co-host and Salon writer Steve Kornacki and former Pennsylvania Governor (and Philadelphia Mayor) Ed Rendell. Rendell has taken a bit of heat from the progressive wing for advocating the raising of the age in which Americans would be eligible for Medicare.
The normally subdued Kornacki got increasingly animated, as did Rendell, when discussing the merits of raising the age. Rendell stated that while he actually supports a “Medicare-for-all” single payer system (a progressive ideal), his argument went along the lines of (paraphrasing as video is not yet available).
RENDELL: What year was Medicare installed?
RENDELL: What was the life expectancy back then?
That was Rendell’s argument for raising the age. As Kornacki looked in disbelief at the former DNC chairman, Kornacki threw a counter-question at Rendell by asking him what the life expectancy for the working poor in America is now as opposed to then.
Rendell did not provide a specific answer and only stated halfheartedly that “it went up” as Kornacki tried to refute that claim saying that this is why progressives are getting riled up over the apparent possibility that Democrats will advocate for raising the age of Medicare eligibility.
Now, this is exactly why a lot of Democrats (especially on the progressive wing of the party) has had a bit of apathy when it comes to the national party. Establishment figures, such as Rendell, usually have plenty of press around them and when they start nationally advocating for issues; they tend to get their way.
Progressives have settled for extending the Bush tax cuts, embracing the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land (instead of a single payer or public option plan), postponed the ending of the War on Afghanistan, miss out on cap & trade, and had to see numerous attacks on union and worker’s rights.
President Obama will be a two-term President so he doesn’t have too much to lose when it comes to future elections. But the Democratic Party can’t continue launching stiff arms at the netroots of the party. If it wasn’t for the progressive faction of the Democratic Party, Scott Brown and Josh Mandel could very well have been members of the 113th Congress.
Yet Rendell and a likely bevy of others think that raising the Medicare age will be of no consequence to their future electoral prospects.
Video link (hopefully) coming soon.