The Plank

A Simple Reminder Of What's At Stake

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My friend Harold Pollack, who is a professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, spent some of his personal time organizing for Barack Obama over the weekend. He writes this short dispatch:

I spent today canvassing in Schererville, Indiana, with my 11-year-old. We were trolling neighborhood garage sales talking with people as we went door to door. In Indiana, people sell hot dogs, coffee, and soda at garage sales, which piqued my daughter's interest more than the Norman Rockwell prints.One of the garage sales had a sign: "All proceeds go to liver transplant patient." The son-in-law of the garage sale holder has cirrhosis and being treated at Northwestern, where he is on the transplant waiting list. As this woman told the story (she was confused on some details), he had been working as a plant supervisor but had somehow lost his job. He had been making COBRA payments of $1000/month, but had lost that, as well. He is now in the waiting period for federal disability, and he is being innundated with bills.I gave the lady some numbers, paid $20 for a cup of coffee, and left. She's an Obama supporter, but boy I'd vote for Hillary if I had to despite everything if this meant I didn't have to hear any more such stories.

That message, I hope, reaches supporters of both candidates, so many of whom are telling pollsters they wouldn't vote for one or the other.

Both Clinton and Obama consider health care a top priority; both have put forward serious plans that would vastly expand insurance coverage. You can't say that about John McCain. And that's why, come November, the choice will be clear no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.

--Jonathan Cohn 

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