I’m watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC now and his guest, Charles Blow of the New York Times, just observed:
What we’re calling bipartisanship these days is one vote, and when it comes to the floor it may get one vote, maybe more than that. But if that is what we mean by bipartisanship we’ve kind of lost good policy in good politics. By wanting to appease the people who want bipartisanship we’ve lost what we think was a good policy.
Yes and ain’t that a shame. In the quest for bipartisanship we watered down a bill to get one very shaky vote from Sen. Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine. And she made it clear she could withdraw her support at any time:
“My vote today is my vote today. It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow,” Snowe said.
The Maine centrist maintained in her remarks that she remains opposed to a public option in health reform, which was not included in the Finance bill but serves as a centerpiece within the health bill reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Well, to heck with that, then. I don’t see why we should bow and scrape and send her flowers and champagne if appeasing her is going to leave us with a crap sandwich no one wants, that won’t really accomplish what we need it to, and which she’s going to lord over us for the rest of her term in the Senate.
On top of which, the whole “bipartisan” fetish is very strange, since even Republicans say Olympia Snowe’s vote doesn’t count. From the memory hole:
This morning on MSNBC I heard Tripp Baird, a “Republican strategist,” say that if there’s a “bipartisan” healthcare bill supported by Olympia Snowe, “it’s not really bipartisan.”
We’ve got a long way to go on this healthcare fight. I loved Wonkette’s headline on the Baucus Bill vote:
Our Long National Nightmare… Will Now Be Merged With Another Senate Bill, Debated On The Senate Floor, Voted On, Merged With An Also-Debated/Merged House Bill In Conference, Voted On In Both Houses…
Yeesh. There are a lot of miles to go before we can rest and I don’t like the terrain we’ve covered. The goal is not bipartisanship. The goal is healthcare reform. Please don’t forget that, people.