by Lindsay Beyerstein
How our blog got its name
Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”
Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.
It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.
Mitt Romney, Multiple Sclerosis, and Health Care Reform
The Romney campaign has released a new ad about how the Romneys' strong marriage helps them cope with Ann Romney's multiple sclerosis. About 400,000 Americans are living with this progressive, debilitating, and as-yet incurable neurological condition. Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic has mixed feelings about the ad because, as touching as the Romneys' personal story may be, the fact remains that Mitt Romney's policy platform would make life a lot worse for ordinary people with MS and other chronic diseases. Cohn explains:
But if you have MS, or any other serious chronic illness, you need more than a devoted spouse. You need a way to pay your medical bills. And, historically, many people with MS have struggled with that. MS is a long-term, progressively debilitating disease, requiring ever more costly treatments and equipment. The bills are high enough that even patients with private insurance have struggled with out-of-pocket expenses or run up against annual or lifetime limits on payments. And those patients have been, in some respects, the lucky ones. People who buy coverage on their own or through small businesses frequently end up with exorbitant rates or skimpy benefits, or can’t get coverage at all. Those are just some of the reasons the MS Society has long supported reforms that would, among other things, provide “comprehensive, quality health care available to all.” [TNR]
Cohn won the Hillman Prize in 2010 for his outstanding coverage of health care policy.