The toner hasn’t yet set on the Harry Reid’s version of placebocare and positions are already being taken on how the House and Senate will reconcile their bills. The AP has an enlightening article that quotes numerous Democrat Representatives laying out how they see the House and Senate bill harmonizing:
James Clyburn, a strong advocate for the public option, when asked whether the final bill would be required to have a public option answered:
“We want a public option to do basically three things: Create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies, and to contain costs. So if we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I’m all for it. Whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence.”
Representative Chris Van Hollen said:
“Before the House was to give up the public option, we would want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in whatever bill comes out that will keep down premiums. We’ve got to make sure that the final product is affordable.”
At first blush, these and other similar quotes, look like the normal “congressionalese” that is spoken any time a negotiation is about to take place. However, in light of what we just watched in the Senate, particularly with the purchase of Ben Nelson’s vote (a side note: I thought “Pay for play” was illegal? Wasn’t that what Blagojevich and Burris were/are accused of?), comments like these need to be understood in a whole new way.
“Hey, I’m not fixated on a name. I want to make sure we accomplish some specific goals,” is what appears to be Clyburn’s thoughtful response. However, let’s take another look at Clyburn’s quote after putting on our official “Ben Nelson, you too can look like a whore” brand reading glasses. With our special glasses, what initially looked like a principled, practical response, now reads:
“I could be persuaded to give up the public option. First, while I don’t care if it actually does it, I need to be able to tell my constituents that the bill does three things: Create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies, and to contain costs. I’m sure we can add several hundred pages of confusing language that will give the impression that we’ve done this even thought we won’t. Second, after seeing what has transpired in the Senate, I’ve developed a price that my vote can be purchased for. Whether we end up having a public option or not is of no consequence as long as I get the appropriate gratuity!”
Let’s now look at Representative Van Hollen’s comment. After you’ve used your official “Ben Nelson, you too can look like a whore” brand reading glasses once, subsequent quotes are much easier to decipher.
“Before I give up the public option, I would want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in whatever bill comes out that will keep down premiums. We’ve got to make sure that the final product is affordable. I expect other taxpayers to be subservient to the sluggards of my district so that my constituents will not have to pay any of the ridiculous taxes that have been placed in this bill. With this benefit and the agreed to publicity that the DHCC will guarantee to provide me on this topic, I should be well on my way to buying myself another term in the House!”
Now that we’ve seen the vote purchasing in the Senate we will never again read or hear, any comment by any Congressperson about what he/she will or won’t accept in legislation without thinking, “I wonder how much they expect to be bribed for their vote?” Keep you pair of “Ben Nelson, you too can look like a whore” brand reading glasses handy. You’ll be reaching for them every day from now until November of 2010!