Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where is today's FDR or Bevan?

Where is today's FDR or Bevan?
The Obama administration's healthcare act is a landmark of social reform, yet no Democrat seems willing to champion it

Nicholaus Mills
The Guardian

October 3, 2010

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's campaign address at Madison Square Garden, New York, 31 October 1936. Video: YouTube

In February 1945, with the 5 July implementation of Great Britain's new National Health Services Act still months away, Aneurin Bevan, Labour's minister of health, wasted no time challenging the opposition. Bevan believed that doctors and dentists receiving a salary equivalent to $1,200 a year plus $3 per patient for participating in the National Health Service were being fairly rewarded for their services. He wasn't about to shed tears on their behalf; nor was he willing let his Conservative opponents undermine Labour's achievement. Responding to the Conservative party's RA Butler, who declared the health programme a "great danger", Bevan insisted that the diehard opponents of National Health had "poisoned" parliamentary debate and, in the wake of their defeat, were engaged in a "squalid political conspiracy..."

"...Never have today's Democrats had more need for someone with the backbone of an Aneurin Bevan. The good news is that if Democrats don't want to look to England and its post-second world war battle for national healthcare, they always have the example of President Franklin Roosevelt. Faced with criticism from a Scrooge-like Republican party during the Depression, FDR was as outspoken as Bevan on what a governing party should do during hard times.  
Speaking before an overflow crowd at Madison Square Garden on the eve of the 1936 election, Roosevelt reminded his listeners that he had kept faith with those who first elected him. For anyone who doubted the political ground on which his administration stood, Roosevelt had an answer that left no room for ambiguity:

"Your government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side."

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


WPA Posters

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.