A rising chorus of discontent shows Middle America’s deep suspicion of President Obama’s health care reform proposal. In a burst of passion-envy, MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews recently asked, “Where … are the people who want health care, the poor people out there…the union people? Where are they? I haven’t seen one placard, let alone one protest demonstration, for health care.”
In fact, tens of thousands have rallied in the nation’s capital supporting the president’s health care reform plan, including the controversial public option. These demonstrations were organized by Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), a new “national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care.”
Most of its component organizations have two things in common: they have no experience or expertise in health care, and virtually all received large, tax-exempt grants from far-left billionaires like George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Like the “grassroots” movement for campaign finance reform a decade ago, the public demonstrations for health care reform are largely a Soros-financed operation.
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean announced HCAN’s mission on the first night of the annual “America’s Future Now!” conference (formerly the “Take Back America” conference), hosted by the Campaign for America’s Future in June. Dean pledged to spend up to $82 million to advance socialized medicine. HCAN rallied 15,000 people in D.C. in April, 10,000 more in June, and with state affiliates like the Maine People’s Alliance, hundreds more in state capitals in July.
A closer look at its members, however, shows it is less a “grassroots” organization than a series of interconnected left-wing pressure groups united by a collectivist ideology and, for most, a common donor.
Among the 21 members of its steering committee are ACORN, MoveOn.org, and the Center for American Progress. CAP, headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, was created with Soros’s money as a counterweight to the conservative Heritage Foundation. In 2007 alone, Soros’s charity, the Open Society Institute (OSI), gave CAP $1.75 million in 2007 and approved additional grants totaling $1.25 million.
Dean announced HCAN’s mobilization before the Campaign for America’s Future, another institution that has received funding from George Soros and the Rockefeller Family Fund. CAF, an HCAN steering committee member, pushes for national health care as one means to transform the United States into a European social welfare state. Co-founder Robert Borosage previously served as director of the leftist Institute for Policy Studies; other CAF co-founders include 1960s radical Tom Hayden, socialist feminist Barbara Ehrenreich, Service Employees International Union president Andrew Stern, AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney, Jesse Jackson and Julian Bond.
CAF is best known for hosting annual Take Back America conferences, a gathering of D.C. “progressives” and far-left community organizers.
Advancing the welfare state by ruse is old hat to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). The CDF Action Council is a member of the HCAN steering committee. CDF founder Marian Wright Edelman once admitted she got nowhere pushing a left-wing message until “I got the idea that children might be a very effective way to broaden the base for change.”
In her 1987 book Families in Peril, Edelman wrote, “We must curb the fanatical military weasel.” At the time, the CDF was chaired by one Hillary Rodham Clinton. In addition to Hillary’s patronage, the CDF received a grant of more than $700,000 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York while Teresa Heinz Kerry sat on its board of trustees, and Edelman received the Heinz Award for the “Human Condition” in 1995.
Labor unions are heavily represented on the HCAN steering committee. Members include the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
The radicalism and overlapping nature of the “coalition” is perhaps best illustrated by the Center for Community Change (CCC), whose board includes a founder of Students for a Democratic Society; former congressman and current mayor of Oakland Ron Dellums, an admirer of Fidel Castro; and Marian Wright Edelman’s husband, Peter Edelman.