Controversial liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday issued a warning to Democrats who have been cool to President Barack Obama’s call for meaningful health care reform: Get on board or prepare to lose your seat.
“To the Democrats in Congress who don’t quite get it: I want to offer a personal pledge. I – and a lot of other people – have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want,” Moore told supporters of women’s groups and unions gathered at the headquarters of the government watchdog group Public Citizen. “That is not a hollow or idle threat. We will come to your district and we will work against you, first in the primary and, if we have to, in the general election.”
Democrats have started to take for granted the support of women, unions and low-income workers, according to Moore, who is promoting “Capitalism: A Love Story,” a documentary about the financial collapse due for wide release Friday.
“You think that we’re just going to go along with you because you’re Democrats? You should think again,” he told the Tuesday crowd in a speech that was carried to members of the media dialed into a conference call. “Because we’ll find Republicans who are smart enough to realize that the majority of Americans want universal healthcare. That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Don’t take this for granted.”
Moore issued a not-so-veiled warning to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and an opponent of the so-called public option, though not by name, asserting that his movie could be a rallying point for people across the country – including in Montana – to work to defeat Democrats who opposed the public option.
“You’ve made a serious mistake,” he warned Baucus.
Moore also called out Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who supports the public option, but whose role in financial regulation as chairman of the Senate banking committee comes in for criticism in “Capitalism.” Speaking to Public Citizen, Moore said, “we’re going to lose this seat unless we run another Democrat” and said he’d “already received a phone call from a well known Democrat to tell me to back off Sen. Dodd.”
Liberal groups have already targeted conservative Democrats who oppose the public option and other Obama initiatives and it’s unclear if Moore plans to join forces with them or launch his own effort.He said he hoped, though, that “Capitalism” will prompt “even more political participation from people who realize that they can’t just sit it out. They can’t sit on the bench for this one.”
“When the majority use this film to organize with, get active with, get involved,” Moore predicted, “it will make what happened at those town hall meetings in August look like a Disney film.”
“Somebody – somebodies – have to light the spark. That’s why we’re all here today.”