Olympia Snowe’s Vote Does Not Matter

Oct 14, 09 Olympia Snowe’s Vote Does Not Matter
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Senator Olympia SnoweI ask readers to forgive me in advance for this rant, but my anger has reached a boiling point.  Why on earth have we invested Senator Olympia Snowe with so much power and influence in the healthcare debate?  Her vote does not matter and the fawning attention given to her flaccid display of bipartisanship only shows just how off the rails we have gone.  People are dying every day from a host of ills perpetrated by a for-profit healthcare industry that has become a cruel joke.

I am no fan of the last Bush administration.  But, I admire his chutzpah.  In late 2002, this guy rammed a specious war resolution down the throat of a Senate that was still controlled by Democrats.  Yet, President Obama has spent significant political capital courting Senator Snowe in order to claim that this ineffectual healthcare bill was passed with bipartisan support.  Clearly, Mr. Obama cares more about saying that he passed “historic” healthcare legislation than passing anything worthy of the title historic.

Today, they got their wish.  Senator Snowe joined with thirteen Democrats to push the bill out of the Finance Committee.  However, Democrats should not count on her support when the bill comes up for a vote before the complete Senate.  As she put it, “My vote today is my vote today.  It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow.”

Many analysts, bloggers, and talking heads want to make this an issue of Republican power.  Yet, the Republicans have no power.  The Democrats can pass any bill they want and the Republicans cannot do anything about it.  Remember when Mr. Obama caved to Republicans on the stimulus.  He claimed that with the passage of the weak stimulus, we would not see unemployment hit 10%.  Either he had his head in the sand or he intentionally deceived us.  Now, he supports a healthcare bill without a public option that escaped committee with a single Republican vote and we are supposed to laud the wonders of his bipartisan deal making.

I do not blame Senator Snowe.  The fates saw fit to place her in the middle of the healthcare firestorm.  She only has the power that the increasingly feckless Obama administration has invested in her.  Should she not bask in the dim glow of fleeting fame and importance?

Many people whom I respect are telling me to take a wait and see approach.  They say, “Mr. Obama has to deal with more problems than any president in generations.”  I understand that.  As a reluctant supporter of Mr. Obama, I sincerely hoped that he would push forth his bold (amorphous) agenda of change.  However, even his strongest supporters cannot ignore an emerging pattern of conciliation and half-measures.  If we do not hold Mr. Obama’s feet to the fire, then any chance of transformative change will be swept away like yesterday’s “Yes, We Can” posters.

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