Love him or hate him, Michael Moore knows how to draw a crowd.
The controversial and issue-driven filmmaker was met enthusiastically on the steps of California's State Capitol Tuesday with chants of "hey, hey, ho, ho, insurance greed has got to go."
One thousand nurses from around the country joined Moore in Sacramento to talk (and chant) about health-care reform. They all want the same thing: guaranteed health care for all and the elimination of for-profit insurance companies. Moore even testified at a legislative briefing in support of a bill proposing universal health care for California residents.
After the rally on the Capitol steps in which Moore urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to "Do the right thing!" by signing the bill (which is unlikely as the governor has vetoed similar legislation in the past), Moore and the nurses marched four blocks to a special screening of "Sicko."
As I made my way to the front of the march to interview Moore, I was elbowed, pushed, and shoved (not by the nurses, but by an unidentified "handler"). Moore seemed to appreciate my efforts and answered all my questions. He told me he has been concerned the U.S. government might confiscate footage from the film.
Moore is currently under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department. It is reviewing whether his trip to Cuba for the movie this past in March violated the trade embargo against that country. Moore told me he is keeping a master copy of the film in Canada for safekeeping.
While Moore certainly has his critics, in Sacramento he received nothing but love and support from politicians and the nurses, all hoping for a serious overhaul of the health care system.
By the way, if you think "Sicko" is just another indictment of the Bush administration like "Fahrenheit 9/11," think again. It's really equal-opportunity bashing of politicians, including Hillary Clinton. He takes her to task for, he claims, accepting money from health-care lobbyists.
Moore is attempting to bring some focus to health care as a whole -- an issue in which political party lines are certainly blurred.
force be with you