Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos and an influential leader of the Web-based political left, said Sunday that Democrats are facing huge defeats in the 2010 elections because the Obama administration has alienated the Democratic Party's liberal political base with its escalating involvement in Afghanistan, and its failure to push for universal healthcare.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Moulitsas offered a bleak scenario for House and Senate races next year.
MR.GREGORY: Markos Moulitsas, I want to start with you. You heard David Axelrod say this is in keeping with the president's principles; it is in keeping, this compromise on health care, with the way the president campaigned on this. And this is the bill, essentially, the reform that Americans deserve. What do you say?
MR. MARKOS MOULITSAS: Yeah, I don't think this is a reform bill. I mean, I think it's very clear, this is not insurance or healthcare reform. What it is, it's allowing more people, 30 million people, to buy into the existing broken system. It's very important to keep in mind that healthcare insurance is not the same as health care. Insurance, not the same as care. If you go up to Massachusetts, they have a, a mandate as well, and last year 21 percent of people in Massachusetts could not get health care because they could not afford it. Even though they had insurance, the premiums--not the premiums, the deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket expenses were too high. So really, this isn't reform. It's expanding the system, it's almost rewarding the existing system. Now, what is important about this is that it actually puts the federal government, puts America on the place to say health care is a right, it's not a privilege to just those who are--who can afford it or who are lucky enough to have a good job that has good benefits. But as far as reform goes, I think this is a long battle that we have ahead of us.
MR. MOULITSAS: Well, you can't talk about health care and Afghanistan being distractions. They're the reasons that Obama won the White House and Democrats won control of Congress, including big, massive support from independents. Independents knew what they were voting for when they voted for Obama and the Democrats. I think the problem with Obama's numbers and, and Congress' numbers is that people voted for a Congress and a president that was going to take on entrenched interests. Now, Republicans had jumped off the Obama bandwagon from day one. They were never on board. Independents have sort of been unhappy because I think independents really want results, and we haven't seen a lot of results. We've seen a lot of bickering, and most of it has been internally within the Democratic Party, and I think that's why they're turning off. And a lot of Democrats are becoming disenchanted.
MR. GREGORY: ...What does the president need to address to keep his own party in line? Should there be personnel changes in the White House? What do you think the left is going to demand?
MR. MOULITSAS: Well, 2006 is going to be a base year. It's going to be a base election.
MR. GREGORY: 2010, you mean.
MR. MOULITSAS: I mean 2010.
MR. GREGORY: Yeah.
MR. MOULITSAS: And according to my own polling, we use an independent pollster, 86 percent of Republicans plan on turning out or are likely to turn out. Only 56 percent of Democrats are--similarly believe they're going to turn out or likely to turn out. Only 32 percent of African-Americans, only 41 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds. We have numbers like that, we're going to get killed in 2010. So the Democrats have to start paying attention to the base, have to start probably picking some fights. I mean, maybe regulatory reform could be a way to do that.
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