Senator Joe Lieberman vows to filibuster any health bill that includes a public option. You have read his opinion here before. Kudos to Mr. Lieberman for voting his conscience. He has already been kicked out of the Democratic Party.
Response from the left has been shrill. They are calling for the senator to be stripped of his seniority, his committee positions, and kicked out of the caucus (and tried for treason, and hanged). How’s that for civil discourse? Most Orwellian was the instant creation of a Facebook Page called “If Joe Lieberman filibusters health care, I will donate to his opponent,” with thousands of pledges.
The page, the photo, and the vulgar blog posts bear a disturbing resemblance to Nineteen Eighty-Four’s ritualized hating of Emmanuel Goldstein. Meanwhile, real politicians are much more relaxed. Senator Reid himself expressed only respect for Lieberman.
Facebook, the last refuge of scoundrels.
The Economist leads this week with an exclamation of dismay that “public option” is somehow back on the table. This is not the National Review. The Economist is a liberal British newspaper that endorses President Obama. Their main argument against public option is that it does nothing to reform health care. It merely moves the (huge) unreformed cost onto the backs of taxpayers.
The Economist also notes some features conspicuously absent from the House bill, such as tort reform and interstate competition. Public option, most observers agree, is a Trojan horse for nationalizing the industry. The government plan will easily run private insurers out of business.
One might wonder if this kind of “reform” is really where the House should be spending its energies, given the state of America’s economy. The Economist finds the same explanation you have read here – craven partisanship.
By resurrecting the idea of a public plan, the Democrats are serving notice that what little chance there was of a bipartisan effort on health is gone.
The House vote ran strictly on party lines. Check your congressman’s vote on this New York Times page. Kudos to the few Democrats who broke ranks. President Obama should join them.
There is no good reason to pass costly healthcare legislation this year, with the economy in recession and the federal budget in a record deficit. The only reason is a craven, partisan one. House Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, have the votes to push the bill through despite conservative objections.
Ms. Pelosi, furthermore, refuses to let go the “public option.” She and her followers are committed to this idea because they fundamentally mistrust the free enterprise system. Senator Joe Lieberman – an independent – said it best:
I don’t remember another case where our answer to a concern about fairness in the marketplace — in this case whether there is real competition in the health insurance business, whether the health insurance companies are being fair in their rates, et cetera, et cetera, all important, reasonable questions — I don’t remember another case where the answer to that was to create a government-owned corporation to compete with the private sector.
Right now, the only brake on the House – and their statist approach – is the Senate. Many Senators, including Democrats, do not support “public option.” But the House thinks President Obama is desperate, and will sign anything. He needs to show America that they are wrong. A responsible leader does not sign landmark legislation without bi-partisan support. President Obama should send Ms. Pelosi back to the drawing board.
See also: Jeremiah’s four laws of public spending.