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.