Monday, December 21, 2009

The Daily Strike-12/21/09-Republican Delusions

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. There's not much to talk about since thsi morning's entry, so we'll keep this short. The next set of Senate votes will take place tomorrow at 7am, and we'll have full coverage in tomorrow's entries. Oh, and thanks to your government, airlines can now only keep you on the tarmac for three hours!

HEALTH CARE: I had very small expectations for Republican rhetoric on health care. The party of "you lie" and "death panels" isn't exactly a shining example in political oratory. But some of their latest pot-shots have been giving me a good laugh. Today, RNC chairman Michael Steele said that by passing this legislation, Democrats were "flipping the bird" to the American people. In what sense? Democrats are about to pass a bill that gives 30 million people health insurance and reduces the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years. They are about to pass a bill that makes insurance affordable for those in the individual market for the first time ever. Is he talking about the process? This issue has been debated the entire year. It has gone through weeks and weeks of committee hearings, and months and months of debate. It has now been on the Senate floor for 4 weeks. We made some ugly compromises to win over some undecided Senators, as has happened on every bill since the dawn of our Republic.

How are we flipping the bird? Beyond the fact that Steele is using language I abandoned about 10 years ago, it's more proof that the Republican party and their allies have absolutely no idea what's in the bill or what the bill does. Steele himself admitted earlier this year that he "doesn't know policy." Do you think that if you talked to the average health-care critic on the street, that they could give a reasonable 2 sentence description of the bill? I doubt it.

Then I heard Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, say that Republicans have been shut out of the process and have had no input on the bill. Seriously? We spent three futile months trying to come up with a bipartisan compromise in the Senate Finance Committee. We basically guaranteed that Olympia Snowe could have anything she wanted in the bill. President Obama bit his tongue and publicly praised Senators Enzi and Grassley for working in a bipartisan fashion, even when it became clear that these Senators had no interest in crafting a compromise. The bill itself is basically a Republican idea: expand health care access by giving people opportunity to buy private health insurance.

I guess I shouldn't be frustrated because health care reform is about to pass, but I just thought I should set the record straight. Anyways, that's it for tonight. We'll have much more tomorrow.

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