Slams health bill 'madness'
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Wednesday said the Massachusetts election was a "wake up call" for Democrats and that his party had better change course or it could suffer devastating losses come November.
"People elected Democrats in 2008 to change the direction," he told Raw Story in a nearly hour-long interview.
"And the same entrenched interests that George Bush could not shake, this current White House is having great difficulty in shaking. One could suggest they might be more entrenched than ever."
Kucinich staunchly defended liberalism but alleged that Democrats are not behaving like liberals.
"There's nothing liberal about the bailouts. There's nothing liberal about standing by and watching banks use public money to get their executive bonuses. There's nothing liberal about giving insurance companies carte blanche to charge anything they want for health care... Since when did that become liberal?"
"There's nothing liberal about letting coal and oil write climate change legislation,"
he added. "Are you kidding me?"
The 13-year congressman lamented the lack of change in economic policies, tying it to the major problems Democrats are facing.
"The minute the president appointed Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to key policy positions, and the minute that [Ben] Bernanke was named to head the Fed again, we're looking at people who participated in the decline of the economy," he said. "This group has done us a disservice."
"Every area of the economy is still about taking wealth from the great mass of people and putting it into the hands of a few. If you don't have a economic democracy, you don't have a political democracy."
"We have to be more defined as being on the side of the people and not on the side of interest groups that are so entrenched," said Kucinich, who is widely regarded as a champion on progressive issues.
Dems 'jumped in bed with insurance companies'
Kucinich said he's deeply disillusioned with what health reform has become, suggesting Democrats should "slow down" and "take a step back."
"Health care became too complex and too riddled with concessions to insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies," he said. "It's really time to take a new direction and that direction has to be back to the American people."
One idea Democrats are floating is to pass the Senate bill through the House, which would then allow the President to sign it into law.
"I don't think that's going to happen," he said. "The senate bill is so totally flawed that I don't think it can get the votes in the House to pass. I certainly wouldn't vote for it."
"It hits very sharply at people who gave wage concessions to get health care benefits," he said, citing the excise tax on health care benefits. "We're going to ask Americans to take a wage cut? Why?"
"We lost the initiative the minute that our party jumped into bed with the insurance companies. And soon they were looking at increasing taxes as a way of subsidizing insurance companies. It's just madness."( Collapse )