Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s appeals for party unity landed with a thud Tuesday with the very group he needs for his public-option push to pay off: centrists who hold the key to health reform.
And not just any centrists but one who makes liberals see red: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP attempt to block the bill from moving to final passage. While Lieberman is no longer a Democrat, his defection means that more central Democrats can now vote against it without being singled out as the the one responsible for preventing its passage.
Landrieu [Sen, D-LA] said she was “skeptical” of what Reid proposed Monday. Lincoln [Sen, D-AR] told the Arkansas Farm Bureau in a video conference she was reluctant to support a bill with a government insurance option.
“If it’s government-run or government-funded, I’m going to have some tremendous troubles with being able to support moving forward on something like that,” Lincoln said, according to The Associated Press.That’s really the crux of the matter here. What exactly are they being asked to vote on? The bill is so large and involved that some won’t even bother to read it. Why must it be comprehensive health care reform? Why can’t there be one much smaller bill tort reform? And additional bills covering other areas as needed?
The answer of course was bluntly revealed by Barney Frank yesterday, who said Democrats are “trying on every front to increase the role of government.” (Video available here.) That quote in itself is the fodder for a dozen posts but here it puts a spotlight on the real issue, which isn’t health care at all. The real issue is the single-minded thought by those in power that the only solution to the problems of the day is more government involvement. It is a thesis that I wholeheartedly reject.
The only good news are the indications that a large number of Americans agree with me. While Harry Reid is worrying about votes in the Senate, he probably should be more concerned with votes in Nevada. Recent polling shows:
2010 Senate: General Election
Tarkanian 48%, Reid 43%
Lowden 49%, Reid 39%
Even Newsweek is pessimistic about his chances. In the end Reid not getting those votes for reelection could be the most positive thing he could do for America.