Democrats, Politics — October 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Before we break out the champagne for Harry Reid…


Fifty votes to pass a bill out of the Senate. That’s what we need. We don’t need fifty-one. We don’t need sixty. We need fifty. Vice president Biden would cast the tie-breaking vote and the bill moves on.

We have sixty Senators that are in the Democratic caucus but we can lose ten of them and still pass a bill.

So why are we heaping praise on Reid? Because he put something in the health insurance reform bill that a majority of Americans want and a majority of Democrats want? That makes him some sort of hero. For cryin’ out loud, we shouldn’t even be discussing IF he would do this!

The only reason we’re talking about it is because Reid can’t count on 20% of his caucus not to jump ship and vote against cloture that would end a Republican filibuster.

That’s not leadership and I’m not cheering him.

Personally, I never believed there was any question about whether or not Reid would put some sort of public option in the combined Senate bill. He’s an astute enough politician to know that if he didn’t his days as a Senator Majority Leader were surely numbered. Hell, maybe even his days as a Senator.

But we’ve had to spend the past week watching him hem and haw over whether he would put a public option in and would it have a trigger and would it have an opt-in or an opt-out clause and would rates be tied somehow to Medicare blah blah blah…

None of this should have even been an issue. Reid should have come to this point knowing that he had the solid support of his caucus and that they would all vote to shut down a filibuster when the time came to vote. Hell, ten of them could vote against the bill itself if they wanted, they just need to allow it to go to a vote. Instead, he’s got such little control over his caucus that we have to appease Conservadems that are barely to the left of most Republicans and probably more conservative than a couple of them.

And Olympia Snowe? Why the hell should we give a flying fuck what she thinks about this bill? Her vote on the Senate Finance Committee didn’t mean a damn thing and this one shouldn’t have either. Sure, voting against her party took guts but who gives a damn if it prevents elections from having consequences?

You know what? I bet the right isn’t talking about how gutsy Blanche Lincoln is. Or Ben Nelson. Or Mary Landrieu. They know damn well Democrats, under Harry Reid’s leadership won’t inflict any consequences on them. How can they be called gutsy if they aren’t risking anything? Instead we have to dick around arguing about the nuances of a triggeredtriggerlessoptinoptoutMedicare+5 yada yada yada public option so we can appease these people. So much for being disciplined…

I’m sure a bunch of you lay this at the president’s doorstep but I don’t. Getting legislation passed is the job of Congress and Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader. The president has done his job of setting the agenda and getting people to express their desires to their members of Congress. They all know by now what we want. Now it’s up to them to deliver. Nancy Pelosi seems to get that.

So, yeah, Harry. Great. You put the public option in. Hooray.

But something tells me if we had someone like Alan Grayson in your seat, someone willing to tell the country in plainspeak that people are going BANKRUPT every day and that people are DYING every day because of lack of action, we’d be much farther down the road toward something truly progressive, foreward-thinking and helpful to the citizens of our country. Just think what this would look like with someone like Grayson willing to publicly name names and call out and publicly shame these recalcitrant DINOs who won’t vote to end a filibuster so that the public knows just who they are and what they are doing, unlike you, Harry, who won’t even tell us who all these people are!

I think I’ll just hold off on the champagne until we replace Harry Reid with someone like that.

I’m just sayin’…