Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary, scholar and commentator, called Tuesday for a “march on Washington” on Sept. 13 —“Grandparents Day” — in support of a health care bill that offers a public option.
While he said organizing was not his strength, he would be prepared to assist. “If enough people feel that’s the best way for their voices to be heard, and can’t be heard in any other way, then we march,” Reich said in a reader question-and-answer session in POLITICO’s Arena.
A group of conservatives have already announced a “tea party” movement march on Washington for Sept. 12. An opposing march the next day, if one were to materialize, could make for an interesting weekend.
Reich’s suggested march is the latest manifestation of liberal anger about signs that the Obama administration may be willing to live without a public option if it means a health care bill can become law. “Very few things happen in Washington that are in the public's interest when corporations have huge financial stakes in the game, as they obviously do with health care — unless the public is actively involved, engaged and organized,” Reich wrote. “We won't get a public option, or anything close to it, unless people who feel strongly about it make a racket.”
The “first step is to be very loud and very vocal: Write, phone, e-mail, your congressional delegation and the White House. Second step: Get others to do the same. Third step: Get voters in Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and other states where Blue Dog Dems and wavering Senate Dems live, and have them make a hell of a fuss. Fourth step: March on Washington.”
He suggested the morning of Sept. 13 because “that's a Sunday, and it's also Grandparents Day. I've just become a grandparent, and I'm worried as hell about the kind of world my little granddaughter is inheriting. “