News & Views from 465 California Street


Clint Reilly

Fantastic! Triple high fives to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Hail to Harry Reid, too.

Kudos to our Bay Area Democratic congressional delegation which has been out front on the battle for years – Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren, George Miller, Lynn Woolsey and John Garamendi.

Thank you United States Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer!

A political war as bloody and monumental as the Battle of Gettysburg has been waged and won.

It’s about time Democratic leaders ignored GOP obstructionism and rejected the fiction of “post partisanship.” Health care reform is finally here.

It should have been here long ago.

Despite being the wealthiest country on earth, our embarrassing Rube Goldberg device of a health care system is ranked 37th in the world.

We are eating up a greater percentage of our GDP on health costs than Germany, France, Great Britain or Japan – all countries that have universal care. In fact, we are the only industrialized nation without universal coverage.

The health care victory was vital for Democrats. The core message of the Democratic Party is an unremitting commitment to drive progress for the average citizen. But what is “progress” for a family if they have no health care for their children?

How can we justify workers who are on a payroll but lack health insurance? What kind of society prices health care so high for workers in their 50s that employers are incentivized to jettison them in favor of younger workers with cheaper premiums?
How can we say it’s OK for a woman with a history of past illness to be denied coverage?

These injustices have been a part of American reality for so long that we are inured to their backwardness, their primitiveness, their barbarism.

More than any single player in the health care victory, Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserves credit. Many Democrats began to head for the hills after Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in the race for Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat.

The flame of reform nearly extinguished, Pelosi correctly calculated that giving up would be a political Waterloo for both the Democratic Congress and for President Obama.

By rallying the White House and her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi displayed two qualities that will assure her a place as one of “the great House Speakers in history,” as President Obama described her on the day he signed the new law. Unlike many politicians, Pelosi has both deep convictions and steely resolve.

Like many in the Bay Area, I have known Pelosi for decades. In fact, I was her political consultant and campaign manager in the only tough race she ever had – her first campaign for Congress.

Many of the politicians I worked for may not like what I might say about them. But Pelosi is a very special person.

For Nancy, the Democratic promise of progress is a religious mission, a creed. Her political career is dedicated to making the lives of average folks better. Her genuine commitment to a greater purpose comes through to everyone she works with. And it makes her an extremely effective advocate for social justice and reform.

Too few of today’s Democrats burn with idealism. Politics is a job, not a vocation. “Democrat” is an inherited label of convenience rather than an internalized credo of beliefs that demand action.

Not so for Nancy Pelosi.

The passage of health care reform helped fill an embarrassing void in America’s promise of a better life for every citizen.

And thanks to Pelosi’s ability to deliver the victory without a single Republican vote, Democrats have reaffirmed their mission as the party of progress in America.

Comments (28)

  • Well said, Mr. Reilly! I sent your column to my Republican freinds, hoping they would get the message that there is more than one way to look at our political debate. The lack of civility coming from the right is apalling.

    Posted by: Michael L Callahan | March 30th, 2010 at 7:08 am

  • You’ve gotta be kidding…Pelosi one of the greatest speakers ever??? Have you checked her approval rating lately? It’s around 10%…Even Bush was in the twenties when he left office…I’d like to know what you’re smoking because I want some…I cannot wait until these tax and spend demos get dumped in Nov. due to this out of control spending/deficit, and then Obama gets the ax in 2012…This admin is tone deaf, every poll has the American people against this bill.

    Posted by: Ken C. | March 30th, 2010 at 7:33 am

  • Good morning Mr. Reilly,

    Enjoyed your article very much. It’s about time to be proud of our Party again and may Progress continue to flourish.

    As for the Republicans, let them bark, but I am worried about November…

    Best regards,
    M. da Silva

    Posted by: M. da Silva | March 30th, 2010 at 7:34 am

  • The Post Office. Social Security. Medicaid. Medicare. All are failing. And you have the AUDACITY to support health care reform – which ONLY covers an additional 32 million people. Obama says we do it because it is “right”. What about the other 20 million uninsured?

    You do not think it is odd that the government, in order to GRANT rights to some must erode or strip away the “rights” of others?

    Posted by: R. Savage | March 30th, 2010 at 7:36 am

  • Well Done Clint, you’re a real hero. You build your plastic image by rooting for the little man’s health care with little or no concern as to who pays for it nor how big our Government becomes. “Progress” alright… progress towards Socialism. Big goverment… The solution to all our problems. Way to go Clint, you’re in lockstep now!

    P. Kelly

    Posted by: P. Kelly | March 30th, 2010 at 8:20 am

  • Just wiped my ass with your “Progress” message. They’re equally disposable.

    Posted by: Rich | March 30th, 2010 at 8:20 am

  • While you glow in the healthcare victory, achieved by means that put Saddam Hussein’s deception of making the world believe he had WDMs to shame, let’s examine some of your claims.

    You claim we are eating up a greater percentage of our GDP on health costs than Germany, France,
    Great Brittain or Japan – all countries that have universal care. Please, point out which part of the $950 billion projected cost of the bill will lower, not increase, our health cost. I believe this requires some mathematical gymnastics yet undiscovered.
    In fact, the bill is laden with additional cost burdens and yet unfunded mandates.

    Forgive me, but I can’t give credit to politicians who are running roughshot over the will of the majority of constituents by using devious means, smoke and mirrors, yes outright lies and intimidation to achieve their goal. The Pelosi Congress has a 16% approval rating.

    This bill is full of hooks and crooks, not even its most ardent supporters know yet what’s really in it. Ms. Pelosi famously crowed that we have to vote for it to know what’s in it. The President made selling points that were found patently false.
    Businesses are beginning to count their losses, and yet many of the provisions don’t even kick in for several years.
    The Constitution has been brushed aside, I don’t know what precedence that sets for future steamrollers from the left or the right.

    Your last paragraph is the most troublesome. A one-party rule is just a small step away from a full dictatorship. You may call that progress, I call it demise. I came here from Germany to escape that very specter.

    Erich K

    Posted by: Erich K. | March 30th, 2010 at 8:48 am

  • Having sold health insurance from 1962 to 1985, I have another perspective. One year I would attempt to get people to purchase health insurance and they would say NO. A year later they would call me to buy the insurance. They had been told they had a health problem by their doctor, and now they wanted the insurance to pay the bill.
    This is similar to a person wanting to purchase fire insurance on their house, after the fire has started!
    Why do so many come from Canada, and other countries to the United States for health care, if the health care in the United States is so bad?

    Posted by: Roy S | March 30th, 2010 at 8:51 am

  • Clint,
    The President promised health coverage for “every American.” 16 million are still uninsured.
    He lied………… most presidents lie. Progress?
    I am a subject……..and no longer a citizen. Perhaps November will restore my citizenship.
    Hank R

    Posted by: Hank R. | March 30th, 2010 at 8:51 am

  • YES!

    Posted by: melinda maginn | March 30th, 2010 at 9:28 am

  • spoken like a true demographic Clint i find it funny that all of the insurance lobbyists supported this bill and that by the time it is all said and done there will be even more workers needing insurance. what is funny[not] is that these workers that were employed would have been some of those paying for this insurance. speaking of paying, i am sure that the insurance companies are going to love raising the rates on those that already do have insurance. great job you bought and paid for politicians lol
    Nancy cares? from what i can see all Nancy cares about is her bad make up job and making sure all the people that own her get their bang for the buck. like i have always said show me an honest politician and i will show you…………… wait never mind there is no such thing as an honest politician. lol we will be watching you and the rest of those caring democrats come election time. the people that don’t follow blindly are starting to become aware and the time for pitchforks and torches is coming soon.

    signed rob p., a very concerned for our children citizen and veteran that is sadly watching this country go down the proverbial tubes of selling out.

    Posted by: Rob P. | March 30th, 2010 at 9:32 am

  • Is this the same Nancy Pelosi who said “We have to past this bill in order to see what’s in it”??? One of the great house speakers in history–give me a break. I would put her dowe there with that good old boy, Jim Wright.

    Posted by: Stan Sutfin | March 30th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

  • You are such a blow heart! I actually spent the weekend at a tennis tournament with a woman and our daughter’s competing. This women is from Moscow and lives here in the bay area today. We got to talking about Obama Care and I didn’t have to say much to get a reaction. She said to me, “I don’t understand how this country did not see as an example how Russia took a country, rich in natural resources and opportunity and destroy it in 70 years. I don’t understand that when you try to give something to someone for free it only makes something worse than it was before. The people don’t want it.” She said in Russia growing up she said that if you were sick you would go see a doctor, sometimes a not very good one, but a doctor. Okay, that was a minor problem, but if you had something serious, heaven forbid (that is my interpretation) you better have a very good relationship with the right doctor and some extra cash.”

    Now Clint, is that the kind of health care that free enterprise would give. She said to me as well, that they had a plumbing problem recently and her husband looked up in the yellow pages and called many plumbers and got what he wanted, price / service, and they came over and did the work and he was thrilled! Not by the work so much , but by the whole process… he had choices… and her expression was as she said with a laugh, “All he had to do was pay money for it and they all came wanting his business. The CONSUMER WAS IN CHARGE!!! You are wanting the government in charge. What happened to, “power to the people”? Power to the people is where the people have the power to get help and use resources to make there own decisions.

    You and the rest of the intellectual know-it-all’s are so full of pride (as in pride comes before the fall) that you can’t see how arrogant you sound and idiotic at the same time. You are all sounding boards to one another, when you need a tuning fork. You are constantly trying to intellectualize with an academic prose how smart, compassionate and experienced you are about subjects of such. Try talking to people who also have a masters or Ph.D. who lived in it. As for the MA election, talk about people who have lived it for a very short time. They said NO!! to Obamacare and the Dem’s and all the people that you named ignored the voice of the people. You have an ideology deficiency. You have been hearing the same crap from your constituents for so long that you can’t smell the stench anymore.

    This November is going to be a major blow to the Dem’s. Before Obama. people went along with the bickering between parties, but now with Obama in office with No transparency, swearing to uphold the Constitution and is not, in fact trying to change that too, the devaluing the dollar and collapse the economics stability of our monetary system. It doesn’t look good for the dems. We see with all the advisors that Obama has that we never knew what was in place. If God is still on the throne Obama and the Dem’s will be gone this November. Personally, I am more motivated to get involved than ever before.

    Start reading the book, The 5000 year Leap. You will see another historical point of view of what our Founders had in mind.

    Brian K

    Posted by: Brian K. | March 30th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  • I hardly call it “Progress” to burden future generations with (how many?) Trillion Dollar debts. I read your column this a.m. and cannot help but wonder whatever you are on, I hope none of it gets into any of my food or drink!!! Are you merely angling for a ride on that Pelosi A.F. plane that she has used $2.5 million in taxpayer money for to fund her personal trips since becoming Speaker?

    Jeff Miller’s “Health Care Woes” letter also in the Times today makes a helluva lot more sense than your wooing of Obama/Pelosi/and their Gang. I’ll bet a cookie you never read the 2700 pages of that Health Care Bill.

    In case you don’t recognize it, the majority of “We The People” do not agree that this health care bill is what is needed. And we note that Pelosi and her crew have excluded themselves from it also. THAT TELLS THE REAL STORY.

    Ms Beth P

    Posted by: Beth P. | March 30th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

  • I’m a Democrat, and “I burn with idealism;” but I disagree with your analysis. The health bill simply gives the insurance companies 32 more million customers. It’s really funny that Obama and Pelosi berate the greedy insurance companies, then they do this.

    We need universal single-payer system for all citizens as has been advocated by my congressman, Pete Stark, and others.

    It’s not fair to make companies provide insurance for workers. I taught in public schools for years and my district (though some do) did not pay for my insurance. It’s costing active teachers in Hayward over $1,600 a month. (spouse, one child)

    Ernest A

    Posted by: Ernest A. | March 30th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

  • I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much ill informed rhetoric circulating around any topic ever. First, lets separate the politics from the policy.

    For a year the White House got its ass handed to it politically in the health care debate. Health care proponents did an awful job of selling the bill and were not even able to counter flat out lies like the death panel nonsense Sarah Palin was touting. There was a complete absence of leadership from the President and when Scott Brown won the Senate seat in Massachusetts the White House and 99% of Congress ran up the white flag and looked for a better issue to run on in November. The 1% was Nancy Pelosi. She refused to let healthcare die, and pardon the pun, she gave it CPR, revived it and she took it to the finish line. Clint, you are spot on. When they write the history of this bill they will call it the Pelosi healtcare reform not the Obama reform.

    The policy is murkier than the politics. The final bill feels a bit like kissing your sister. Its hard to like it, even though it represents significant progress and is a huge step in the right direction.

    The public option would have represented a real sea change in how this country does healthcare by offering the people a true alternative to for profit health care provision. If you;re like me and you believe there is no place for the profit motive when dealing with the sick and dying, its very disappointing that the public option didn’t make the cut and all we are getting is insurance reform to curb the worst excesses of certain for profit entities.

    That said its a definite step in the right direction and by breaking the logjam, this legislation will make future reforms easier to accomplish.

    Anecdotal story. A friend of mine was transferred to London several years ago by his company. While there he was diagnosed with a very late stage cancer. He had private insurance and access to the UK’s national health service. After getting some expert advice he decided to undergo treatment in the NHS because it was better than the private care available to him. Not only that, when he returned to the US he could not get healthcare because he had a pre existing condition. He lived in abject fear of a relapse until this bill was signed last week, and now he has coverage again.

    Its a good thing, and public health care is a good thing too and nothing to be afraid of.

    Posted by: Matt Regan | March 30th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

  • Unfortunately, I thought I was purchasing a newspaper that was giving me a balanced approach to what is occurring in the world today. However, when I read your article (Progress) on page 4 of the paper today, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t on page 10. The opinion page is usually where one can find a lop-sided, extremely biased opinion on a topic. What you have provided is something I expect on a blog page. It’s a journalistic embarrassment. You are praising a group of people that have no respect for their constituents, a group of people who have no idea of what’s in a bill that they decided to pass to provide 20 million people with healthcare at the expense of 230 million people. Clint, it seems pretty idiotic and illogical to me that someone would vote into law a 2,700 page bill when those voting for it do not have a clue as to what’s in it!! Just as idiotic and illogical as a journalist praising such a decision. Clint, as a businessman, would you sign a contract without knowing what’s in it?? I doubt that you would, however that speaks to the inconsistency of your thought process, and maybe a question concerning your character.

    I was under the mistaken belief that a newspaper was supposed to be fair and unbiased in its approach to delivering the news. In my opinion that would involve giving both sides of the argument. Realizing that your readers have enough smarts to figure out the truth, I would think that a newspaper would be more interested in providing all the facts and allowing its readers to decide for themselves what to believe. However, maybe you feel that you have some divine knowledge that the rest of us do not have.

    I’ve probably read more of that bill than most people (1,100 pages), and I find what you wrote to be absolutely nauseating. If it were on the Opinion page you would not be receiving this because that’s where a biased piece belongs. I wonder, Clint, how much of the bill you read. It’s extremely hard for me to believe that you really put a journalistic effort into finding out how this bill was going to have an effect on our entire society and supply a balanced approach to your readers. There was a time when journalists thought it was their duty to give both sides of an issue to arrive at the truth. Sadly, we live in a world today where people like you have an opinion and push that biased opinion on others that do not take the time out to find the truth. The dictionary definition of this is called propaganda!! The truth is the government took a healthcare agenda that had overwhelming support of the people and turned it into a unsustainable fiasco, with a undercurrent of painful consequences for everyone.

    Unfortunately, the Contra Costa Times have not taken into consideration that they have people within their customer base that will take the time out to find the whole story/truth, and as a result finds such journalism an insult to their intelligence. I thought I had two newspapers that I valued and trusted to give me a unbiased view of the news, it appears that I will now have only one.



    Posted by: Solomon | March 30th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

  • Hi Clint, Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your columns (in the Contra Costa Times). Mary

    Posted by: Mary | March 30th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  • Mr. Reilly, your Mercury News article titled “Progress” in which you present lavish praise for the health care bill, Obama, Pelosi, and Reed is quite unbelievable.

    Health care and Obama’s ratings are overall unfavorable. See link:

    And Pelosi and Reed’s approval ratings are 11% and 8% respectively. Historically low! See link:

    Can you see how out of touch you are with reality and the American people? But you do continue to reaffirm the left wing agenda that plagues our news organizations and media today.

    Very sad!!

    Rich N

    Posted by: Rich N. | March 30th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  • GREAT ARTICLE…One small step for the little guy… Let’s hope the Democrats and our President continue to show some backbone, and fight the good fight, instead of being wimps.

    For the last 25 years, Democrats have let Republicans get away with perpetuating the lottery myth that “we all have the freedom of being rich and famous.” It’s time to stop the wealthy & privileged from externalizing their costs of doing business on to the rest of us.

    Posted by: Alan | March 30th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  • Your article is so predictable like everything else from the democratic position for as long as I can
    remember. What’s so beyond the comprehension of this country is how blinded we are to the facts.
    Take one second and just think about “TRUTH”. The free enterprise system has stimulated greatness
    as with our freedom by giving anyone the opportunity to be as good as they can in pursuit of their dream.

    Mediocrity and the masses has been where your party seems to have a problem. How is it possible in
    your article not to mention the beyond enormous costs this will hit every household and the myriad of loopholes
    in the bill you never address. No, not rhetoric, facts that must be dealt with. Legislation will crush the free
    market with the heavy hand of government while raising taxes…it’s 100%…which will create many ineffecient

    This bill is a fiscal tragegy…what’s amazing you know it…so does Pelosi…you make her out as a national hero.
    This bill is not over. It can still be defeated. The large numbers of people in this country oppose the bill. You
    think anyone listens. Take a serious look at our leader. Does he walk with body language and talk with a
    command that truly demonstrates leadership. Is he sound on decisions and give us confidence. Let’s be honest. ( How can he say before elected we will have strick border control and will pull out of Iraq) We have
    the opposite in both. Let’s stop. This is serious. He said red and is acting on blue. He is not doing what he
    promised us he’d do. Not acceptable. Illegal immigration is out of hand. How many in the people that don’t
    have health insurance will get it without a green card…issues after issues…now he’s negotiating in Afganastan.
    This is dangerous territory.

    RN’s say people who are sick get better care without insurance than with it. If your 50 and need care the
    rest of your life you will get the bare minimum. THAT’S SOCIALISM…PURE AND SIMPLE…AVERAGE CARE.
    NO INCENTIVE TO BE EXCELLENT. Why do we have top surgeons today. Their better. Worked harder.
    Should make more money. NO MORE. 41% say they would consider early retirement.

    I bet none of the conservatives have even read the bill.

    Beyond health care, you make reference to being the 37th plan in the world. How do we address major
    crime. Typical democratic style. Why is major crime out of hand. Law may be the most lenient in the world.
    How come many major countries have no problem with crime. Because they don’t play around. Pure and
    simple. Don’t you get sick of seeing innocent people KILLED EVERY DAY IN THIS COUNTRY. Singapore
    had one homicide last year…for the entire year. ACCIDENT…NO…THEY PLAY HARDBALL. It’s truly a tragedy.
    If your caught carring a loaded handgun i know your not going duck hunting. Penalty for the concealed weapon…25 years to life. Oh, that’s so serious. End of the year if you had a few homicides not of one every
    22 minutes I wonder if it matters. Want to see people stop carrying guns…and stop other major crime. Raise
    the bar to jupiter. How valuable is human life.

    You and your party have always had a problem with people who work hard and have talent making big money.
    Choice. Free enterprise vs. Socialism…truly one of the most dangerous words ever. Promotes average
    performance. One life and do enough to just get by. Now we get health insurance for 35 million…guess
    how many of those can afford insurance now…

    My final statement is the youth today are the key result of parenting. Some have tough situations. No argument.
    Yet many should not even be parents. I’d have a criteria to be a parent. Where’s the basics. Respect, values,
    qualities, manners, work ethic, teach self image…it’s not getting done with millions. The parents don’t do their
    job. Have parenting in school. Respect in school. Where has the pride in this country gone. Digest some of
    this. I’ve worked with many different kids. See it all the time. Jump out and get
    uncomfortable and make a major difference in a key area that changes lives regardless what people think.
    Make a difference in the lives of other people. How many really do this. The world wants everything free, and
    your party continues to find a way to give it them….It’s been a trajedy forever. The judges appointed are so off
    base with their decisions it is really not believable. We know the postion, but Pelosi next to Lincoln, Reagan,
    and the great leaders who really made a difference. Come on with the accoladaes. It’s a little much!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Posted by: Bob | March 31st, 2010 at 6:31 am

  • Clint:

    I see the far right idiots react to your correct perceptions of history. Nancy Pelosi will truely go down as one of the most effective Speakers in history. I am glad I delivered 10% of her window signs when she ran the first time.

    It’s too bad that the right can’t see beyond their narrow minded noses.

    Phil Burton would be proud. Great article. I am very proud to be a PROGRESSIVE Democrat. It’s fiscally responsible!

    Bill Stokes

    Posted by: Bill Stokes | March 31st, 2010 at 8:01 am

  • The rage reflected in many of the above comments is illogical. Frank Rich makes a very good case for the reasons why..

    Posted by: melinda maginn | March 31st, 2010 at 8:15 am

  • Progress?

    Lies, deceit, bribes, rewards for doing nothing, earmarks, the bankrupting of America and the desire to tear up our Constitution is progress?

    The delegation you named if around in the early 40′s would have protested our entering the war in Europe. Hitler dismantled the economy, etc of Germany since he knew you could not start a new with out destroying the old. Sound familiar? The cost of health-care rising is not near as dangerous for GDP when debt is rampant and shows zero signs of spending reductions.

    Why do they protect the lawyers and union? It sure as hell is not because they care about people, it is because they care about votes. Money buys votes and voter are the way to power. The old line Democrat started dwindling away in the 60′s and they finally found the stooge to front it.

    I’m a 3rd generation San Franciscan and I’m sure you would tell me the city is better now than ever.
    More progress.

    Bill P.

    Posted by: Bill P. | March 31st, 2010 at 9:30 am

  • clint…please make it so we can respond to individual comments. it will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Posted by: melinda maginn | March 31st, 2010 at 11:27 am

  • I don’t think many Republicans understand that half the opposition during the past months came from folks who thought that with such a Democratic majority we should be attempting true reform for a European style health care system.

    I have unfortunately experienced hospitalization in Denmark, Israel, and the US. Health care in Denmark is universal and better for the average person. Health care in the US might be better for multimillionaires or for people who don’t want to wait for elective procedures.

    I’m just sorry we didn’t get a government option, just as our military has.

    Posted by: Henrik Kibak | March 31st, 2010 at 9:42 pm

  • Your ad confirming Pelosi as a member of the “party of progress” is repulsive to me. Every U.S. poll was negative for this bill. Apparently as a rich guy you are joining the “gloat” group. Disgusting to me. J. Miller M.D.

    P.S. I will bet you $100 to the charity of your choice, that my wife , age 63, will continue to be denied medical insurance one year from now because of “pre-existing conditions”, even though those conditions are no longer symptomatic. Gloat all you want. You have lost all credibility.

    Posted by: J. Miller | April 1st, 2010 at 6:59 am

  • I would love to know Pelosi’s approval ratings within her own district after healthcare passage.

    I’m betting high 80′s.

    Posted by: generic | April 4th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

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