Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Harry Reid’s Mistake On The Public Option

Not a full post tonight, but I wanted to update everyone on Harry Reid’s public option mistake and on who is important in the Senate right now (** cough cough call them cough **). As you know, I wrote the other day that I thought they would have a problem passing the Baucus bill. One of the reasons listed was the public option debate. Guess what. . .

You may have heard that yesterday, Harry Reid announced that the Baucus bill would include a public option. In fact, he selected a public option that states could “opt out of”, and that was that -- the end. At the time, the left declared this a victory and their friends in the media trumpeted the coming of ObamaCare.

But as I watched Harry give his press conference, it was clear that he was nervous. Sure, he was angry -- lashing out at Republicans, and he was smug, but he refused to answer whether he was sure that he had the 60 votes he needs for cloture, i.e. to prevent a filibuster. He had clearly gambled.

Not more than five minutes after his lips stopped flapping, CNBC announced that Olympia Snowe was very upset by this. And while she did not say that she would not vote closure, she indicated that she could not support a bill with an “opt out” or “opt in” provision. Whoops. (FYI, Reid then attacked her, commenting that she has been “frightened” into dropping her support. Sounds sexist to me.)

This morning, Joe Lieberman, who is fast becoming my favorite Democrat, announced that he would not support this bill. But even more so, he noted that he would filibuster the bill if it continues to include a public option:
“I’ve told Sen. Reid that if the bill stays as it is now, I will vote against cloture. I can’t see a way in which I could vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-run insurance company. It’s just asking for trouble – in the end, the taxpayers are going to pay and probably all people will have health insurance are going to see their premiums go up because there’s going to be cost shifting as there has been for Medicare and Medicaid.”
Honestly, Lieberman’s opposition was unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled. I just didn’t think he would stand in the way of this.

With Lieberman and Snowe bolting, Reid cannot bring the bill for a vote because he’s only got 59 votes. Even worse for Reid, Lieberman and Snowe’s defections are now encouraging others to start wavering. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La) both had already voiced reservations and have now confirmed their reservations (though they have stopped short of saying they won’t vote for the bill). But now, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del) says that he is unhappy with the bill and will seek to make changes on the Senate floor. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind) also has voiced concerns over the bill and now will not say which way he will vote on cloture (Bayh is upset about $40 billion in taxes imposed on medical equipment providers).

So while this battle is far from over, it looks like Harry’s declaration proved to be a total disaster. And I suspect that the longer this goes without resolution, the greater the chance that more Democrats will revolt -- not to mention that they still need to merge this with a House bill that is entirely unpalatable to most of the Senate.

If you feel like calling or writing anyone in Congress, these would be the people. Tell them that you see a vote for closure as a vote for the public option. . . and you don’t want a public option.

In the meantime, get some popcorn, kick back, and watch the fall out from Harry’s bomb.

** UPDATE: Olympia Snowe has now said that she will vote against cloture. Thus, Reid does not have the sixty votes he needs.

(FYI, I will put up an article outlining why the Baucus bill can be repealed tomorrow night. Thanks for your patience.)


LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: And the collapse continues apace. Though I'm still chewing my fingernails at every new development, the trend seems to be "we just took on too much, didn't carefully think it out, and now the American people are pissed off at us." The days when the leaders could go to the left and say "the public option's in" then go to the moderates and say "the public option's out," and get away with it are gone forever. We're watching their every move. I'm enjoying watching them twisting in the wind. But the day I'm truly looking forward to is the day I get to see the tortured face of Nancy Pelosi announcing that "the fascists have once again defeated health care."

Joel Farnham said...

I forget, but did it take this long for HillaryCare to die a timely death? I seem to remember it had a tumultuous summer and then died.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Like you, I am waiting to see how this plays out. Unfortunately, the Senate often has ways of suddenly reaching deals that shouldn't be reached -- mainly by bribing individual Senators with goodies for their districts.

This one is going to be close. Still, they have some HUGE hurdles coming up.

But you are absolutely right, the people (left, right and center) are onto the shell game. Only the MSM hasn't caught on yet.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think you're right that HillaryCare took the summer to die, but it also had less support from the get-go.

This one is going to be a lot closer, no matter what happens at this point.

StanH said...

Drat…dreams of utopia dashed again by the evil “fascist.” It is great fun to watch Washington squirm at all levels and party. The American people are indeed paying attention and Dingy Harry is on the griddle.

DCAlleyKat said...

It's been interesting watching the collapse of politics as usual, though what it took to get 'we the people' shaken from our collective slumber I am not so sure is worth the price that will be exacted. One of the elements that arises from the "ism's" of governance, is greed...one can always count on that rearing it's head. Sometimes subtle sometimes in your face.

It is no accident that among socialism, communism, fascism, and marxism sooner or later greed takes over. It's always found in the over reaching, and the over reaching is always what halts the forward march.
The Obama, Pelosi, and Reid egos just couldn't help themselves. So secure that they had a mandate, so drunk with power they couldn't see the over-stimulation of the nation. Now their greedy forward momentum is fading, their fellow politicians are shouting enough is enough, and the citizenry is on the brink of revolt.
Time for a nice cup of tea as I contemplate the coming comeuppance!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I'm enjoying the show. I might not be if they get these things worked out. But for now, it's highly entertaining.

AndrewPrice said...

DCAlleyKat, What's really amazing about this is that they have a super-majority, yet they can't pull this off. I go back to the problem they have with how their party is constructed -- being a series of small tribes rather than a group unified by ideology.

Of course, it also shows very poor leadership. They should have lined these votes up long before they wrote the bill.

Now the question is, how much are they going to hand out to try to win people over.

DCAlleyKat said...

Hey, in order to get the majority they had to run conservative democrats in certain districts....there's that greed thing again.

Both parties are in turmoil. Interesting times.

AndrewPrice said...

DCAlleyKat, That did indeed turn out to be a weakness for them. And there's a lesson there for the Republicans -- why they should not be running liberals.

Ironically, I don't think it matters what they do at this point, I think most of the conservative Dems are doomed in this election cycle.

Writer X said...

Andrew, I can't tell in the Reid photo whether he's flipping himself off or his peers in Congress. Curious.

Leiberman is my hero today. He's the one who got the ball rolling, I think. No one, especially politicians, likes to be first. Now, hopefully, they will drop like flies.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I agree. Lieberman got things rolling and now all of the people who had doubts might be willing to finally voice them -- especially if they believe this thing won't pass.

Not to mention that this will bring out the opportunist who will see this as a chance to hold everyone else up for a few extra goodies. That will complicate matters immensely.

And don't forget, this is all one side of the argument, the House is going to try to push the Senate hard left -- which they clearly won't take.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I'm not sure who he's flipping off, but I suspect it's us.

LL said...

I don't think we're out of the woods, but the ice is beginning to crack. Smart senators with re-election looming in 2010 may be feeling the ice sway under them and the wind changing direction.

At least I hope they do.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I think we're far from out of the woods, but you're right -- this is the first crack in the ice. And as pressure builds, I think we'll see more and more of them choosing re-election over trying to get Obama a legacy.

Tennessee Jed said...

Harry Reid is possibly the most incompetent Senate Majority Leader to have ever served to which I am truly grateful. I truly hope he follows Daschle down in defeat. As someone once said "stupid is as stupid does." Although far from over, I am really proud of the way folks have been standing up to the Chicago machine when they continue to over reach.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I have never seen the public as aware and as active in my life as I have over these last few months. It's truly inspiring to see people standing up for what their country believes. I just hope that Washington gets the message.

You're right about Reid being incompetent. Pelosi too. If they had more savvy, we could be in real trouble. Fortunately, they don't. Reid is like the cowardly lion, except that he's prone to tyranical outbursts. Pelosi needs anger management. Not a good combo.

And since Obama can't provide leadership. . . disaster.

BevfromNYC said...

Lieberman has finally found a way to pay back the Dems for screwing with him in 2006.

AndrewPrice said...

Good point Bev, I hadn't thought about that!

patti said...

when lieberman withdrew his support, i almost wet myself....almost. i knew behind closed doors some dems were melting into pools of goo feeling as if they had been stabbed by bush himself.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Lieberman gets my hero for the day award, that's for sure.

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