Two former top speechwriters for President Obama took to Twitter on Tuesday, openly slamming Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his comments that the Democratic Party should not have worked to pass health care reform in 2009.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said, at a speech to the National Press Club. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform. The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed. But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make.”
Schumer also questioned the political effectiveness of health care reform — on the basis that the uninsured population who would benefit the most also tend not to vote — and that fixing the unfairness of the insurance system still would not provide a simple enough message for middle-class voters.
Former head Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who is now working as a political consultant, tweeted out:
So what are Chuck Schumer’s specific ideas for “middle-class programs” we should’ve passed instead of health care and after a big stimulus?
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) November 25, 2014
Funny, I don’t remember Chuck Schumer giving that advice when he was privately and publicly championing the Affordable Care Act in 2010 — Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) November 25, 2014
Favreau also described Schumer’s speech as “the worst instincts of the Democratic Party in action.”
And former speechwriter Jon Lovett, now a screenwriter, also chimed in with a reminder on the importance of the accomplishment for Democrats:
I’m sure Chuck Schumer has his reasons for wanting to debate 2009 Democratic political tactics but I’m also sure those reasons are terrible.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) November 25, 2014
Yes, there was a debate about whether to pursue health care. But the biggest question was whether Democrats could get it done. And we did. — Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) November 25, 2014
Photo: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and President Barack Obama — Jan. 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo)