I am from Illinois, a blue state with the City of Chicago within it, a large populous state. Yet, while the White House WAITS on the Senate Finance Committee; large populous states have no representation of the committee. There are six individuals who are trying to pound out an agreement, yet all come from extremely small states and represents none of the majority of Americans. Note, we have had other bills come out of committee with the public option attached, but the bipartisanship of the White House has been a wait and see, as what comes out of the Baucus Committee.
Now the same sort of damaging retreat may be happening in the Senate Finance Committee. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate have used their Democratic majorities to approve liberal health reform bills. The only bipartisan negotiations are between a rump group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee who hail from largely rural states with small populations, namely Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. Somehow this small, unrepresentative group has emerged as the focal point for bipartisan health care reform.
Bipartisan health care. No one is asleep here; do we actually believe that the Republicans will vote ANYTHING for Obama? When you have the likes of Grassley and Enzi, who are on this committee continuing to destroy any hope of bipartisanship, yet the White House forges along, but why? Is it for Independent votes? If that is the case, they are bleeding this group, since the Democratic Party has been all over the map in the messaging of health care and this message has clearly been yanked from the Democrats. The reality now in the Obama White House is that none of these Republicans were EVER going to be an honest broker, not for any of Barack Obama's agenda. At this time the Republicans only care about political points with hopes of recapturing the congress and hopefully the White House, so helping out President Obama is very LOW on their totem pole.
In recent weeks, it has become inescapably clear that Republicans are unlikely to vote for substantial reform this year. Many seem bent on scuttling President Obama’s signature domestic issue no matter the cost. As Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, so infamously put it: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
As we are still trying for the "bipartisanship lovey-dovey bill", the Republicans are staying on course to kill ANY health care reform bill, in the process making outrageous demands for their support EVEN THOUGH we have majorities in the House and Senate. The way things are going, you would think it is the Republicans in charge and not the Democrats.
In Salt Lake City today, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) held a fundraiser with former Bush adviser Karl Rove, where Rove declared that “Republicans will be defined this year by their effort to block Democrats’ efforts for health care reform.” “This year is going to be defined by Republicans and conservatives by what we oppose,” said Rove. After Rove praised Bennett’s health care plan, Bennett said that he agreed with Rove’s goal of killing health care reform:Rove said that he supports Bennett’s work on the Healthy Americans Act - the health care bill Bennett is co-sponsoring with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon - although he said it’s “not exactly the bill that you or I would like each and every section.” Bennett said his bill is not a negotiating tool on health care, but it will be there as an alternative after Democratic reforms are blocked. “The No. 1 assignment in 2009 is to kill Obamacare,” Bennett said.
With lovey-dovey friends like these, no wonder health care is in disarray.
No one can rule out that the health care debacle or debate has hurt Obama and Democrats across the board, but I firmly believe once a health care package (with a public option) is passed by Democrats (let's be real the Republicans are not voting for ANYTHING) then we can rebound in the polling numbers. I also believe that once President Obama explains in clear lay-man speak, not that Washington, D.C. mumbo jumbo, but relay to the American Public why health care reform is not only important but what it means for THEM, we can win this battle. But, if we continue to deal with the Republican Party, which is fruitless, worthless and a waste of time, in my opinion, the public option could be a compromise if the Obama White House is hell bent on a bipartisan bill. Even though, a government run public option is what the public wants and demands, it could easily be dealt away:
The six have been working hard to reach agreement, but the concessions demanded by Republicans will most likely make the reform effort weaker and smaller. They could, for example, reduce the scale of the program and the subsidies for low-income people; drop the idea of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers; and eliminate a requirement that employers offer coverage to their workers or pay a penalty.
Even if the group reaches an agreement, which is by no means certain, its compromise is unlikely to win support from a Republican Party that seems bent on delay. Leading Senate Republicans have seen little in the emerging compromise that they are willing to support.
Two of the Republicans working on the compromise — Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming — have said they would not vote for a bill that could not win broad support, which Mr. Enzi defined as 75 to 80 senators, implying that roughly half of the Senate’s Republicans must sign on. That is unlikely — no matter how good or bipartisan or middle-of-the-road any bill may be.
After all this does anyone believe these Republicans? And get this one, even if the Democrats and we got some very weak ones, give them everything, these Republicans will still NOT VOTE FOR ANY REFORM.
I hope President Obama and his family had a very restful vacation, even though the death of our great leader of the senate, Ted Kennedy, hurts, I am hoping that it is our former Lion of the Senate, while in his death will give some backbone or steel spine to the Democrats to forge this ahead and get on with it.
We need health care reform, desperately, but we don't need what the Republicans are trying to dish up. The Democratic Party is the leaders, majority of the congress and White House, it is time to show this leadership and get on with it.
Cross-posted @ Daily Kos