September 15, 2020 | News | No Comments
Former President Barack Obama on Monday night cautioned freshman members of the U.S. House against pushing for broadly popular, sweeping reforms by suggesting that voters will reject progressive policies due to their supposed high costs—despite evidence to the contrary.
At a meeting organized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Obama told several first-term members both that they should continue to pursue “bold” policy agendas—but also injected the familiar right-wing and centrist canard concerning the cost of such programs.
“He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas—but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” one attendee told the Washington Post.
The two ideas struck many critics as contradictory. Some slammed the former president for appearing to try to tamp down the ambition, passion, and sense of urgency many freshman including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have brought to their work—hoping to combat a climate crisis fueled by corporate greed and politicians’ complicity; a for-profit health insurance system which has left tens of millions of Americans without healthcare; and rising economic inequality.
Obama’s remarks also put him at odds with a number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, at least 10 of whom support a Green New Deal and a majority of whom have backed a Medicare for All plan, including several who have co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) bill in the Senate.
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