Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaking about the process of getting the health care bill past the fillibuster threat.
There's a hundred senators here. And I don't know if there's a senator who didn't have something important to them. And if they don't have something in it (the bill) important to them then it doesn't speak well of them. That's what this legislation is all about. It's the art of compromise.
By Reid's reasoning, a senator who had the integrity to vote for or against the bill based on its merits was simply not doing his job. But praise goes to the senator who is bribed by federal taxpayer money in return for his vote, whatever his views of the bill. That's not the art of compromise. It's the art of extortion. Mary Landrieu gets $300 million of Medicaid subsidies for her state (Louisiana). Ben Nelson gets $100 million for his (Nebraska). Another Nelson (Bill) of Florida managed to finagle a grandfathering of the popular Medicare Advantage program for residents of his state. (Price- $3-5 billion). Seniors in other states aren't so fortunate. Seniors in Florida are also out of luck if they sign up after the bill takes effect. These are just a few examples of senators who have something important for them in the bill. There are many others. As Reid said, that's what the legislation is all about. Payoffs made by the Democratic Party - the present keyholders to the Treasury vault - to purchase votes. And there's more to come. House Democrats who supported the Pelosi version only because there was an anti federal funding for abortion amendment in that bill will surely be bought off too.
Remember President Obama's campaign pledge to bring to Washington a new kind of politics? What he really meant was the old kind on steroids. A new era of transparency and bipartisanship? Obama sold those lies to a large, gullible portion of the electorate. The Senate health care bill was put together behind closed doors with zero input from Republicans. This was also true of the House's health care bill, the "stimulus" package and (in the House) the cap and tax bill. Trillions of dollars worth of misguided, unpopular legislation. And with Republicans allowed no input, there has been no support for any of this legislation from Republicans. To use one of Obama's favorite words - this is unprecedented.
In contrast, other major Democratic Party initiatives - Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act received substantial Republican support. The Social Security Act was supported by Republicans, 81-15 in the House, 16-5 in the Senate. Medicare was split nearly evenly, 70-68 in the House, 13-17 in the Senate. And the Civil Rights Act, contrary to liberal mythology, was supported more strongly by Republicans than by Democrats. (see below). Reid, attempting to exploit that mythology, shamefully likened Republican opposition to the government takeover of 1/6 of the economy (health care) to their fictional opposition to Civil Rights and (even more disgracefully and deceitfully) to their support for slavery. Meanwhile former KKK bigshot and opponent of the Civil Rights Act, Robert Byrd, esteemed by Democrats, is President pro tempore of the Senate - third in the line of succession to the Presidency.
The Civil Rights Act voting numbers:
The original House version:
Democratic Party: 152-96 (61%-39%)
Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)
Cloture in the Senate:
Democratic Party: 44-23 (66%-34%)
Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)
The Senate version:
Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%-31%)
Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)
The Senate version, voted on by the House:
Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
Republican Party: 136-35 (80%-20%)
Steve Hayes pointed out on today's Fox News panel discussion, both Social Security and Medicare are in dire straights financially. They've been able to survive (to this point) only because they were passed as bipartisan initiatives. Something so totally partisan as Obamacare stands no chance of surviving once it becomes, as it most certainly will, unsustainable. Hopefully it will die before that.