Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stirring The Pot Who Met The Kettle

So Senate Republicans are hopping mad about all the Democratic deals needed to get the 60 votes to move health care reform forward, some going so far as to call them bribery.

So, what?

Let us think about this honestly. If the parties were reversed, and Republicans needed to hit that magic number, wouldn't you think they'd be doing their own wheeling and dealing and pork-barreling?

The outrage from the GOP over the gimmes to Nebraska and Louisiana and whoever else is simply laughable, willful ignorance of Washington politics. Dealmaking? Horse trading? Nahhh, we don't do that in the hallowed halls of Congress. My high-school civics textbook talked about logrolling and lobbying and buttonholing. We all know the game, and we know both parties play it.

If you want to get nasty about it, Cafe Sentido reminds us Republicans have been engaged in activities -- especially involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramhoff -- that went beyond mere dealmaking into the realm of criminal activity:
Sen. [Lindsey] Graham said that negotiating with individual senators amounted to offering “bribes”, and wants the specifics to be investigated, though nothing that is not part of the normal legislative process was done in the case of healthcare reform. On the other hand, there remain numerous cases in which real allegations of illegal threats and illegal bribery were alleged but have never been investigated. In the most infamous case, Republican House leaders not only extended voting in order to twist arms and let lobbyists roam the floor of the House making offers and claims to no-voters, but they allegedly threatened Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI) and offered a cash bribe (in the form of campaign money).
It's my conclusion that much of the anger over these deals isn't about the deals at all -- it's frustration. The filibuster has worked so well in the past for blocking controversial legislation, but it couldn't stand up against 60 votes. Health care reform is moving forward in spite of public opposition, town hall meetings, TEA parties, rantings, ravings, and whatever alternative the opposition has. To be sure, this horse that turned into a camel is gaining an extra hump in the process, but it's still walking and getting watered down. It's Frankenbill. It's alive... it's ALIVE... and nothing can kill it.

So instead of complaining about dealmaking to get 60 votes, Republicans ought to do some good hard thinking, shrug, and realize, "Hey, that's politics." Finding a way to win more seats wouldn't hurt, either.

1 comment:

fraizerbaz said...

I would be curious to see just how much more power and influence this will give the private insurance companies. Any speculation on this?