Senator Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) conduct in selling his vote on the health care legislation gives brand new meaning to the words despicable and contemptible. And those senators who agreed to his demands behind closed doors, as well as any senators who vote for this are not too far behind.
Reasonable minds can certainly differ as to whether abortion should be covered in the bill, and if so, how so. And the same reasonable minds can certainly differ as to whether the public option or a Medicare buy-in is a good idea or a bad idea. But, no rational person could possibly argue that it is acceptable to require that everyone in this country, except those living in Nebraska, pay for Nebraska’s cost of Obamacare… forever.
It is even more outrageous in light of the fact that the “ransom” is being offered at a time when public support for Obamacare is falling dramatically, and, at a time when those agreeing to pay the ransom hope that the public will be too busy to notice.
But, there is good news that will come out of this indefensible conduct. Other than in the state of Nebraska, in 2010, and for years to come, any person running against an incumbent who either agreed to, or voted for Nelson’s ransom will be able to start off any debate by asking the incumbent, “how could you possibly have agreed to require the cash strapped citizens of this state to shoulder the costs not only for our state, but also for Nebraska”.
And to this question, there is absolutely no coherent answer.
Added by Steve: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar for the AP has a behind the scene story posted tonight detailing the events happening over the weekend concerning abortion, Sen. Nelson, the eventual deal, and a congratulatory call from President Obama on his way home from Copenhagen.
Read this and tell me you don’t think the AP writer totally skipped and/or ignored a really important part of the story. I’ll add emphasis as a clue.
The negotiations began at 9:30 a.m. Friday in a suite of offices in the Capitol occupied by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Steps from the Senate floor, Reid’s spacious lair is shielded from inquisitive media. There would be suspense, shuttle diplomacy, hugs, and a call from Obama aboard Air Force One before the day was done.
Among those taking part were Reid, Nelson, Boxer, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina. Nelson and Boxer did not negotiate face-to-face but set up camp in different offices. Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, shuttled back and forth.
By the middle of the day, Nelson’s home-state concerns had been addressed, and the focus turned to abortion. Federal law bans taxpayer funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. For months, the debate has been how to apply those principles to a new stream of federal subsidies under the health care bill. Senators had previously voted to reject Nelson’s attempt to incorporate the more restrictive House language in the Senate bill.
That’s it? His home-state concerns had been addressed? Are you friggin’ kidding me?