Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a Snowe Day in D. C.

So the Finance Committee finally got a version of the health care bill approved. Well, hoo f'ing ray! We, meaning the American people, will now have the pleasure of having our the future of our health care system decided by one person. No, I'm not talking about the person the majority of Americans voted for last November. I'm talking about our new de facto President, Olympia Snowe. I do appreciate Senator Snowe breaking with her party and voting for some version of health care reform. What I do not appreciate is the fact that the bill coming out of the insurance company employee Max Baucus' committee, is without a doubt the weakest of the five bills in Congress.

It has become clear that because of the Snowe endorsement, the weakest of the bills is now the template for any agreement going forward. The Bacus bill is the only one of the five that does not include a public option. The Democrats, who in theory have enough votes to overcome a filibuster, will now bend over backwards to accommodate Senator Snowe. She will be a part of the group that works on merging the two Senate bills and at this point it looks like she will be the most important part. Do you think that a bill containing a public option will make it to the floor of the Senate when keeping the approval of Senator Snowe seems more important to the Democratic leadership than passing an effective bill?

I have no idea how we have come to this point. The last time I checked, the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. It seems almost unbelievable to me that the White House would be willing to throw the public option overboard (with no real alternative in sight) for this token appearance of bi-partisanship. Has bi-partisanship somehow replaced effectiveness as the key word for health care reform legislation? In the coming weeks, we will watch as Bacus and Harry Reid bend over backwards in order to placate Senator Snowe. No public option? Sure, Olympia, whatever you want. You want a much larger penalty on those who are too poor to actually afford the high priced insurance that they are now mandated to purchase? Sure. Anything you want. You want to actually make the Bush tax cuts permanent? Sure. We don't need the money anyway.

There can be only one President at a time, according to our Constitution. But I'm not sure that we don't now have two people who now have the power to veto a bill. Senator Snowe may indeed have more power than the guy in the White House, because she gets to veto the bill before it ever gets to his desk.

11 comments:

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

And they're calling that a "reform" bill? It's a giveaway to the insurance companies.

And the Democrats are calling themselves "the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt"? They just offered up yesterday sill more evidence (as if any were really needed) why that party needs to be completely overhauled - or destroyed.

With donkeys like them who the hell needs those damned elephants?

I need a drink.

Tom Degan

SJ said...

@Tom,
it's disgusting isn't it?
Is this the "change" that the nation overwhelmingly voted for? -So that Democrats in the Senate and House could act like mimics of their presumed ideological opponents, -except with bright smiles and empty talk about effort?
AND I don't remember one Republican saying the word Bipartisanship over the last twenty-five years except for John McCain when he was collobrating with Russ Feingold on Campaign Finance Reform.
-SJ

Jack Jodell said...

Good points, Mvcue23! Our real problem is that this "Democratic majority" is not a strong, monolithic bloc. Rather, it is a weak coalition of decent, progressive sorts (Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Sheldon Whithouse, Jay Rockefeller, and a few others) mixed together with Republican-Lite zeroes like Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Mary Landrieu. We just don't have enough strong progressive types like we did for Civil Rights in the '60s. At best, we pass SOME kind of mediocre and inadequate bill, elect more progressives, and then pass a better amended bill later on. At worst, nothing gets accomplished, things stay as they are, and insurance company execs start getting kneecapped or something (hope they'll have adequate coverage at that time). Let's hope for the former rather than the latter. But we've all gotta keep pushing nonstop!

SJ said...

@Jack,
tahnks for reminding me of all the people in play. It's still encouraging.

Beach Bum said...

...Republican-Lite zeroes like Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Mary Landrieu.

Lets not forget that stalwart of the Democratic part(sort of) Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman is also on the record as opposing a health bill containing a public (or "government-run") option, which serves as the centerpiece of the other Senate bill with which the Finance proposal will be merged.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/62773-lieberman-opposes-baucus-health-bill

He proved the point of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

SJ said...

You said it.
Lieberman. I'm just waiting for him to retire and be the "Liberal" analyst on Fox "News" Channel.
-SJ

Jack Jodell said...

Beach Bum,
You're right on Lieberman, of course. But he's not a wart; he's more of a hemorrhoid.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I hear what you're saying, Mycue. But it isn't JUST Snowe that they're working on here. By getting this individual on board, they're also providing cover for Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln (very vulnerable in 2010), Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb, etc.. Think about it, without the moderate Democrats, they might not even be able to get 50 votes, never mind 60.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Michael, I really like the questions you posed and where you went with them. Like really, what went with the Dem majority and etc... You what I'm starting to think? Obama needs to get rid of Rahm or is it Rham? Any way you say it... he's not helpful, he's a power consolidator who cares not the issue and plays the game as means justifying any end that says Obama WH got 'something' done.

but that's just me on one cup of coffee with not enough sleep...
LOL good post!

Mycue23 said...

Hey Gwen,
I thought that Rham was someone who made people shake in their boots, but apparently he spends all of his time trying to get people not to rock the boat. Not what I thought he was and certainly not what we need, but he's clearly getting his marching orders from the boss. He wouldn't be doing this on his own.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Point taken! Depressingly so.... ah, well, sigh.