Letter from an Emoprog

Given that the Affordable Care Act ( ACA) saw its grand rollout this week, and given that another contributor to Blogging Blue, Dustin Klein, was inspired this week to post a piece he’d written in August of 2009 about the need for universal health care,  and given that yet another Blogging Blue contributor, PJ, saw fit to accuse so-called ” Emoprogs ” of doing GOP/Fox bidding in respect to the ACA in a recent post,  and given further that I’d rather write about anything other than the goddamn government shutdown right now, I thought I’d post a piece I wrote for FightingBob.com in June of 2009 about universal health insurance. Consider it a glimpse into the soul of an Emoprog. The text is below. Enjoy.

Dear Barack,

Over the last many months I’ve received quite a number of emails from you and your staff addressing me by my first name, so I figured we must be on something of a first-name basis, hence the familiar salutation. I hope you don’t mind. I wasn’t on the conference call you held a few weeks ago with folks described by one of your staff as your best campaign and health care reform volunteers, but I did get an email about it a few days later, along with a recording of the call. I want you to know that I appreciate your intent to provide health insurance for all Americans, but one remark you made on the call was a bit mystifying.

You said we need to get health care reform done this year. You went even further saying, “If we don’t get it done this year we’re not going to get it done.” Could you explain this remark in more detail? Are you sure this is the case?  I can appreciate that the matrix of political variables at play with an issue as complex as the overhaul of the American health care system are unknown to a northern Wisconsin rube like me, which is why I’m asking for an explanation. I also think it’s possible that a lot of other people don’t quite understand what the rush is.

For several years now Democratic Party candidates for office have told us that in order to have health care reform the Democrats needed to take back the White House and the Congress. Well, we’ve done that. Moreover, poll after poll seems to show that a significant majority of the American people want to see quality, affordable health care for everyone.  So what’s the hurry? Aren’t we in the driver’s seat on this one? Is there any chance we could stretch the timeline a little, say, maybe six months? Let me tell you why I ask.

I think there may be a great deal of confusion across the land concerning the various health care reform proposals being debated, or not debated, and what the various terms in play mean. For example, even the Washington Post is confused.  In a June 6 article titled, “Single Payer Supporters Challenge Democrats” the Post describes single-payer advocates as supportive of a national program like those in Europe, when what a great many of us actually support is HR 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Medicare is, as I’m sure you’re well aware, not European, but rather a uniquely American solution to our problem. “Uniquely American solution” is a phrase, I must confess, that I borrowed from Montana Senator Max Baucus. If the Washington Post is confused you can bet a lot of other people are too.

Like the people you, and other Democratic Party leaders, have made reference to: those who’ve said they want to keep the insurance they have. Have these people had a chance to compare their current premiums and benefits against the benefits and costs of HR 676? I doubt it. Why?

Because HR 676 is having quite a bit of trouble getting any serious discussion in either Congress or the mainstream media, which is peculiar when you consider that it seems to have the support of many, many people, including upwards of 80 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. My point is that a lot of people simply don’t know what all the options are because no one has told them.

So here’s my suggestion. Let’s slow things down a bit, educate the American people about ALL the proposals available to us, and then enter the legislative process. I’m not asking you to make a decision on this right now; just think about it a little. And as long as we’re on the subject, I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the “political viability” aspect of single-payer health care, which is the most common reason I’ve heard for nearly banning it from discussion. Again, Max Baucus said it very plainly when he quipped, on a video clip aired on Bill Moyers Journal, “It can’t pass,” and,  “It’s impossible.” I, for one, am not willing to take Senator Baucus’s word on this. I’ve seen some pretty remarkable things happen in just the last year or so.

For example, when the candidates for the 2008 presidential race were emerging in early 2007, my wife became very interested in your candidacy. She wanted to send your campaign some money, sign up for emails, etc., and so she urged me to read up on your career, which I did. We talked about you back and forth for a couple of weeks until finally, one evening, in a smoothly pragmatic tone, I exclaimed, “Look, honey, I like him too, and he’d probably make a great President, but there’s just no way in hell that a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama is going to win the presidency of the United States of America. It just isn’t gonna happen.”

You see what I’m saying? I eventually yielded to my wife’s judgment and we joined the effort to get you elected. I don’t regret it at all. In fact, some of your campaign optimism even rubbed off on me. Because now, when I hear people say that we can’t pass single-payer health care in America, I say, “Yes We Can.” You should see the spark in people’s eyes when they hear that.

So in closing, Mr. President, let’s remember that America has been waiting for universal health care for almost 100 years, since way back when Teddy Roosevelt made it a plank in the Progressive Party platform of 1912. We can wait a little longer if it means we can get it right. It would be a real shame, after 100 years, to get it wrong. And when it comes to achieving what seems near impossible, well, you’re the one who raised the bar. But not to worry; there are a lot of us out here who are ready to reach high. 

Sincerely, Steve June 21, 2009



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24 thoughts on “Letter from an Emoprog

  1. Emo Progressive

    Emo Progressive (or “emoprog”) is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

    Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as “selling out” liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

    Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, “not progressive enough” or “just like a Republican” no matter what policy achievements are made.

    Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress’ role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply “use the bully pulpit” and “fight” in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

    Emoprogs have a strong affinity for 3rd party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be “Obamab…

    Wear it like a badge dude.

    1. You can’t even be bothered to list the source attribution for the quote you just lifted (stole). Cast the first stone, Mikey. Look out that it doesn’t ricochet.

    2. Hear! Hear! I don’t know you mikey but you nailed it. Now our Windmill will blow some vituperous sh*t your way, so duck!

    3. So Mikey, you supported President Obama bombing Syria?

      Please explain why I should be thrilled that President Obama

      1. refuses to close military bases around the world and bring our troops home.

      “Bipartisan strategy takes shape to close overseas bases”


      2. refuses to prosecute anyone on Wall Street for crashing the economy in 2008.


      3. refuses to change the schedule on marijuana so we can tax it and put the drug cartels out of business.


      None of these are lefty issues. They ALL enjoy broad bi-partisan support. The reason President Obama, and the Democrats, and the Republicans refuse to move on any of them is because the OLIGARCHS don’t want him too. The corporate media uses “bright shiny objects” to keep right and left from unifying on issues upon which they agree.

      And you want folks to take it?

      I sent President Obama $200 in 2008 and another $100 in 2012. Please, explain why I should be silent, especially on those issues with which I think it’s so damn obvious that he’s selling out America to the 1%.

      Young people don’t see any difference between the two parties. What should I tell them? Tell me what do you think are the major differences between Democrats and Republicans.

  2. I’m feel you, on this Steve. But I have to say that getting a black president elected is a non sequitur relating to getting universal health care passed. Getting universal health care passed in America is more like mandating that everybody drive electric vehicles. Whether or not I believe that the ACA has a chance to be better overall doesn’t matter, I know. But you’re not going to get a European style, socialistic healthcare plan in this country in your or President Obama’s lifetime and the president knows that better than you do.

    1. And by failing to demand it, either by your choice in voting or by your blinkered perpetual obeisance to a party line or personality, you become part of the problem the obstacle to change and growth and new possibilities, Cat.

    2. Cat Kin,

      A month before I wrote that piece Russ Feingold held a listening session in my home county. A number of us attended in support of a single payer system, and Russ was candid when he said it didn’t have a chance to pass the Senate. But he finished by saying ” Of course, if we can’t even talk about it it’s pretty hard to build support for it.”

      So I thought that since physicians were getting arrested at Max Baucus’ hearings as they demanded that we at least talk about single payer, the least I could do is write something up, hence the piece.

      Obama should have demanded that we at least talk about single payer, and then perhaps we’d have had the public option so many people in this country wanted. And if we’d gotten the public option perhaps words like ” Obamabot ” and ” Emoprog ” would have been absent from our vocabulary.

      There’s a lesson in all this for Democrats but a lot of you folks seem determined to leave it unlearned, preferring instead to attack people who are only pointing out the obvious.

      1. That Clinton signed the actual repeal of Glass+Steagall can not be denied, but in doing so he knew the act had already been neutered in increments after The Federal Reserve had sacrificed the Savings and Loans in the US to save the banking system in the mid 80s.
        –Wondered if anyone would call me out on that–

        But the Japanese had pretty well taken over the world economy, having the six largest banks in the world by far and were buying up the USA in a firesale.

        Paul Volker had jacked up the prime interest rate to 22% by Carter’s term and half the S&Ls went under while the country headed into a deep recession.

        –Imagine what would have happened to our economy if Bernanke had done that–

        So Clinton, under fire as a dirty tax and spend liberal, decided to free the American banks to get as large as they were able…across state lines and with investment and mortgage privileges–most of which they had already wrangled away from congress.

        1. I see that you are unable to just admit that you were wrong and therefore the rest of the apologetics spoken for the Big Dog, somehowleading to excusing Barry and attributing courage to him in your erroneous comment here are plain BS.

          While I point out your mistake, even then you begin excusing of poor old Bill for taking down the last of the New Deal banking regulation and you’ve attempted to minimize the deed as if it had been pretty much been a done deal already, so he carried little responsibility. What, Clinton needed to save face for after POTUS full corporate employment? Wrong again, el rucio.

          The chief architects of deregulation in the 1990s included Sen. Phil Gramm, President Bill Clinton and Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. That deregulation cost millions of Americans their jobs and millions more their life savings. But the parties behind it did just fine…[snip]…Larry Summers has made millions from Wall Street banks. Bill Clinton made tens of millions “advising” two investment funds belonging to billionaire Ron Burkle. Exactly how much isn’t known, but a very public falling out involved Burkle’s alleged “stiffing” of Clinton on a final $20-$25 million payment. Clinton went on to serve as an advisor of Teneo Capital until February 2012.

          We’ve seen what happens when blind party loyalty allows wholesale trampling of democratic principles, but requiring sunshine and transparaency today makes us overly emotional losers. Just exactly what does it make party loyalists who fail to mind their party leaders and call them out when necessary to protect the rights of we the people?

  3. Steve,

    Enjoyed reading your letter and my take on the demonization of the farther, “left,” wing of the small, “d,” democratic thinkers, since I became aware of the derogatorily intentioned term, emoprog, (years ago) was that it was nothing more than projection by those using the term, themselves being in full denial of their own inadequacies in actual pursuit of traditional “d,” values and needing to blame someone beside themselves for their own capitulations to political mediocrity and continuation of a wholly unsatisfactory status quo they knew they had caved in to. Rinse, repeat, as we’ve seen here at BBlue.

    Thank dog that I am accused of considered being alive enough to still have emotions, to still be able to feel, to have compassion, to love or to care enough to fight for values which I see being undermined by those who proclaim to be doing just the opposite of what they are actually doing. Anyone with a lick-of-spit tiny brain cell knows that being emotional doesn’t automatically equate to being angry, uniformed or automatically biased against a certain POTUS. The fact that a guilty party happens to be a sitting President is not an excuse to acquiesce to obvious and repeated DINO or PINO* action and policy while lying to a gullible electoral base who refuse to see the facts before them, continues.

    The false premise that being emotional automatically leads to being angry and was the only possible response someone might feel when their emotions were high, blew the whole demoization and blaming concept out of the water shortly after it was started and the people who came up with the concept of emoprog have been desperately refining their definition of those they project their own faults onto, ever since.

    (*Progressive in Name Only)

    1. NQ,

      Thanks. From what I’ve read in some of your comments we have a lot in common when it comes to the big D party. My wife and I attempted to find a niche in the party for several years and finally got tired of being treated like pariahs just because we thought the average citizen should hold EVERY politician accountable to the people who elected them. Dave Obey ran an ironclad top down operation up here and would brook no disagreement from anyone. He had a lot of devotees on the ground who kept order and encouraged compliance through a variety of tactics.

      We left before he could demand that we all start selling flowers at the airport. 🙂

      1. There are some fine Democratic party rank and file here with whom I worked during the Walker recall effort. However the leadership was near orgasmic when OFA actually sent them life-size cardboard cutouts of Barry and Michelle, and they were giddy about how inspirational the life-less pair appeared to them in the office. Weren’t we fortunate to actually be able too touch the (photographic) hem of her skirt or kiss the imperial ring locally, so grassroots and all, step in we’ll take your picture standing next to cardboard (slight reflexive puking recalling the behavior I witnessed).

        Some real work in, on and about traditional democratic values gets done in small coalitions around here whenever we are far away from official links to the party.

  4. Steve,

    Feels weird to say it, but it looks like we agree on this whole “emoprog” thing, at least more than on the singers. I think it is ridiculous that by being disappointed in modern political parties and actually standing up for what you believe you deserve a derogatory label from your alleged allies. Obviously we aren’t going to turn into a European socialist country any time soon, but it is sad that even the progressive end of the American political spectrum is afraid to talk about the government taking on a larger role or the limitations of the private sector when it comes to the ability to provide health care in an affordable and equitable manner. I just don’t see it as progressive to repackage right wing ideas from 20 years ago and if that makes me “emoprog” I think it says a lot more about the person throwing around the word as an insult than it says about me.

    1. Don’t mind digruntled whines, Paul. But we either make repairs and move the bus on or we push it in the ditch and never get there.

  5. Steve, I submit a saying by Alexander Pope I used to soothe my frustration with constant corrections of my errant children. I also apply it of late with some adult posters.

    “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

    I concede that with repeat offenders, I felt I was becoming a divinity. 😉

  6. Duane,

    Spent some of the weekend reading Marshall Ganz’ critique of Obama’s first two years in office. Ganz was the architect of Obama’s ground operation during the 2008 election. It’s a really, really good read.


    Obama went from ” Yes We Can ” to ” On second thought, we don’t have the votes ”

    Another Pope quote: ” Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. “

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