Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What if the Republicans had acted like an opposition party?

The health care "reform" bill slithering its way through the US Senate, Massachusetts-style Romney-care writ large, is what Congressional Republicans, had they been responsible and adult, should have offered to counter the allegedly more "liberal" bills from the Democrats. This would have forced Senate Democratic leadership, especially the round-heeled Harry Reid, to hold to a more "socialist" health care reform package that included a "public option" or Medicare expansion.

Unfortunately Republican leadership decided to bite the hands that fed it for so very long, Big Pharma and the health insurance lobbies, and do nothing. This left the door open for Republicans-in-donkey suits, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and long time GOP-deep plant mole Joe Lieberman to take up the cudgels of opposition which US House and Senate Republicans had dropped.

Through intransigence that came close to blackmail at times, Landrieu brought home $300 million in Medicaid bacon for Louisianans and Nelson got Nebraskans off the hook for Medicaid expansion forever.

Writes USNews & World Report columnist Doug Heye,"For Nebraska, the federal government (that means you) will pay the cost for all new enrollees in perpetuity. Think your governor likes that?" Well, Mr. Heye, my governor may not like it but what is he to do? Invade Omaha and hold Nebraska Furniture Mart hostage until the State of Nebraska forks over some dough for Iowa's Medicaid?

Even the darling of the left Vermont's Bernie Sanders got a little Medicaid sweetener.

Unwittingly the Republicans may have signed their own death warrant by taking the obstructionist road to health care deform. As witnessed by Wall Street's "US Investors Flock to Big Health Insurers",, after Democrats successfully closed debate on its health care deform bill. Why would the insurance/pharmaceutical industrial complex continue to back a bunch of losers who did nothing for them? So watch for contributions from Big Pharma and Big Insurance dry up for Republicans in 2010. For instance, why would Big Pharma want to contribute to Chuck Grassley, up for re-election, as heavily as in the past? He did nothing to increase their share profitability, nothing for their bottom line. It was all the Democrats.

So while establishment Republicans and teabaggers on the one hand, and progressives and the ideologically pure left on the other rant and rave about back room deals and pork put yourself in the shoes of a Nebraska or Louisiana voter. Why would you want to get rid of a Senator who has brought home the bacon. It is only pork if it goes to the other guy, if it comes to you it is needed federal funding.

And remember, kiddies, people power never trumps money, at least in my life time. Even that hero of the ideologically pure anti-war left Eugene McCarthy's 1968 quixotic presidential campaign was totally funded by four wealthy donors whose identities, and motives, remain secret to this day.

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