How far we’ve come…

Harry Reid’s announcement that he supports Senate legislation containing a public health care option demonstrates loudly that he is either highly disillusioned of the role of the public option in the health care debate or, more likely, annoyingly arrogant in his approach to dealing with the Republican minority.

Both reflect poorly on the state of American political values.

In response to Senator Snowe’s comment that she was “disappointed” that he had abandoned her hope for compromise and consensus, Reid expressed his disappointment that one issue was preventing the moderate Republican from becoming the only Senator of her party to join the majority on healthcare.

In his partisan rhetoric Reid was willing to forget that the public option is the single issue that has dominated healthcare debate for the last year and a half, and it is the component of the health care reform that starkly departs from American political and constitutional standards. He also expressed his remorse that the Republican Party can only now count two of its Senate caucus as “moderates,” an apparent indication that the party has devolved into partisan hacks unwilling to compromise.

Let us be thankful for them. It is our political values that have devolved when American politicians are stripped of their moderation for opposing Socialist reforms to the world’s greatest Capitalist nation. It is crucial to note that several of Reid’s moderate Democrats are themselves skeptical of the public option.

Every politician knows that compromise is never noble if it comes at the expense of what one thinks to be right; that is intuitively true. When it obstructs a majority from accomplishing what they arrogantly believe to be self-evidently good, they simply refuse to admit this.

Harry Reid provided us today with an epitome of why the argument of compromise is illegitimate, especially on an issue as important as healthcare, and a solution as radical as the public option. The extent to which it departs from America’s own history necessitates that Reid find for himself 60 supporters of the measure, and not go whining when others wish a less extreme course. If he does, at least he worked within the American democratic system (though I would still contend unconstitutionality). If he doesn’t, then perhaps he will realize his own hubris.

4 thoughts on “How far we’ve come…

  1. Johnny Q Reply

    Umm, first: 65-70% of the American people support a public option. That percentage range been found in multiple polls. Do you believe that 65-70% of the American people are radicals and socialists?

    Second: "60 supporters" isn't how our democratic system works — it's 50 + 1. Yeah, that's called a majority. That's how our system operates. It's not "60 supporters" that one seeks… it's 60 Senators so as to overcome a filibuster. They don't all have to support health care reform. They just have to support the notion that majority rules in this country.

  2. mseelingerjr Reply

    I would contest your statistics. The latest Rasmussen Poll indicates that 51% of Americans are opposed to the public option. 57% think it will raise costs and 53% believe the quality of care will get worse. "Virtually all polling shows a plurality or majority opposed to the current plan in Congress."

    Also, it's worth noting that the Senate operates under a de facto 60 vote rule because of the way it governs itself. Over the past 100 years, the filibuster has been used by the minority party to protect its own interests. It prevents the majority party from steamrolling the minority and often necessitates some kind of compromise. 60 supporters is how our democratic system works, it's written right into the Senate's parliamentary procedure. If you want to go for straight majority rule, you can go to the House.

  3. Johnny Q Reply

    That Rasmussen poll is actually great news for public option supporters — since June, all Rasmussen public option polls have shown lower support than all the others (NBC/WSJ, Consumers Union, EBRI, etc.) It all depends on how one phrases the question. NBC/WSJ has polled on the "importance" of giving people the CHOICE of a public option with the numbers hovering above 70. I think that is a fair and telling way to understand support for a public option. But, if we assume mseelinger's numbers are correct — the Rasmussen poll shows 45% support for a public option — are 45% of the American people radicals and socialists? Shephard Smith, BIll O'Reilly… radicals, socialists?

    And wow, you guys completely misread my statement on the vote for cloture. Your smug points made me smile — I bet you felt pretty proud of yourselves.

    My point was: don't assume that 60 Senators voting for cloture is 60 votes in support of the public option. Senators have, in the past, stuck with their party on procedural votes. I didn't say anything about Republicans supporting anything, bweynand. I don't care what they support — they are hoping that health care reform fails. They don't have ideas. Oh, other than tort reform and buying insurance across state lines… brilliant. You guys should be Shephard Smith-esque conservatives on the public option:

    Or even Bill O'Reilly-esque:

    • Johnny Q Reply

      Oh, Mr Dent, if we could only get into all the objectively false statements you write on this web site… your "articles" are chock full of conservative talking points that are logically flawed. If you really want to get particular, I did admit they had two ideas, so you saying my statement was objectively false in regards to the GOP not having ideas is false in itself. You lose.

      The most significant idea in the PCA was McCain's $5000 tax cut so that people can buy their own insurance. Any objective person understands how stupid of a policy proposal that is. Oh, another overarching idea: privatize everything. *sigh* If Republicans were serious about health care reform and actually had ideas that were worth a dime, they would have had their "bill" scored by the CBO. But, they didn't. The only rational reason for that is the PCA is a joke that does not expand coverage and contain costs.

      Can you come up with any objective analysis of the bill that clearly shows its efficacy in cost containment, expansion of coverage, competition, and affordability? The Heritage Foundation does not count. Wait a minute, there is something that helps do all those things… the public option.

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