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Olympia's Snowe Job on ObamaCare

By October 13, 2009

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Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe delivers remarks on health care reform during Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee meeting

If the ultimate incarnation of ObamaCare turns out to be the disaster many expect it will be, history will look grimly upon liberal Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Vowing that her support today for a flawed 10-year, $829 billion health care reform bill didn't constitute a vote for similarly bad legislation further along in the process, Snowe nevertheless sided with Democrats and voted to help them move the package out of the Senate Finance Committee and onto the Senate floor.

The legislation, authored by Democratic Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, will now be merged with another Senate health care plan and forwarded to a conference committee of House and Senate leaders. From there, it will be merged once again, this time with a House version. The conference committee will haggle over the details of the plan behind closed doors, and the resulting legislation, which undoubtedly will include a number of highly liberal ingredients, will come before the Senate for full legislative vote. Although Snowe said she will not support a public option, her decision today essentially greased the wheels for a public option to be included.

In short, Snowe's vote simply allowed Democrats to take a bad bill and make it even worse.

Snowe's vote wasn't a surprise to anyone, however. In fact, most Republicans expected her to side with the Democrats, which is why many of them expressed confusion regarding her feeble attempt to convince them that she was hesitant.

Just before entering the Senate Finance Committee meeting this morning, a disingenuous Snowe spoke to a throng of reporters outside the committee chamber. When asked how she'd be voting, Snowe remained  non-committal, telling reporters she had no idea how she would vote on the bill -- even though everyone in the building knew she was, as she would later say, "a yes."

If there were any doubts that Snowe had already made up her mind, they were dispelled just minutes into the Finance Committee meeting:

Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it. Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.

Snowe's eagerness to break ranks with her fellow Republicans is one thing, but her outright assault on their intelligence is quite another. Snowe wants them to believe that there are certain reform measures that she will not support under any circumstances ... such as a public option.

These statements are reminiscent of ones she made in February, just before she broke ranks with her party and joined two other RINOs -- Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (who has since faced facts and switched his party affiliation to Democrat) and fellow Maine Republican Susan Collins -- in voting for the ill-fated $787 billion stimulus package. Snowe's comments at the time were remarkably similar to today's. She said she would support the bill, but many more improvements were needed before she would vote for it. In the end, nothing was done to it, and Snowe voted for it anyway.

Snowe is often referred to as a "moderate" by the mainstream media, but a look at her votes in 2009 seems to indicate she is actually a liberal.

Either way, Snowe continues to demonstrate that she cannot be trusted when it comes to matters important to the GOP. Therefore, real Republicans would do well to accept this as an unfortunate reality ... and plan accordingly.

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Comments

October 15, 2009 at 9:53 am
(1) RealTime53 says:

Snowe has the right wing sending her 92 pound bags of rock salt to “melt the Snowe”. Left wing talk radio is thundering “How can a single Republican Senator dictate the terms of heath care!” Both sides are angry with her. She must be doing something right.

The public option is all but dead. Care is being given to the financing of the measure, unlike the $32T Medicare prescription bill or the $3T Iraq war. Per the GAO, it will actually reduce the deficit after 10 years because it has somethings in it that actually bend the cost curve. The insurance companies don’t like it. Great. RINOs outside of Congress are lining up behind health care reform. Bill Frist. Bob Dole. Howard Baker. Aunald. Snowe is getting a seat at the negotiating table

It’s far from perfect. There isn’t enough cost containment. No tort reform. It will only insure about 94% of all Americans. And it isn’t really health care reform. It’s insurance industry reform. However, the system is working. We are getting a better bill out of the Senate.

“Therefore, real Republicans would do well to accept this as an unfortunate reality … and plan accordingly.”

Quite correct. I suspect that more Republicans would vote for it, if not for the political punishment that the base is sure to deliver.

“Although Snowe said she will not support a public option, her decision today essentially greased the wheels for a public option to be included.”

It is a slippery slope, isn’t it? I sincerely doubt that there will be a public option in this bill. However, some future bill might include it. If liberal Democrats will not vote for this bill because it doesn’t have a public option, they will be cutting their own throats. And the throat of their President.

“These statement is reminiscent of ones she made in February, just before she broke ranks with her party and joined two other RINOs — Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (who has since faced facts and switched his party affiliation to Democrat) and fellow Maine Republican Susan Collins — in voting for the ill-fated $787 billion stimulus package.”

At the time, they promised that this would keep unemployment below 8.6%. That hasn’t happened. However, most of the money in the stimulus package has not been spent yet. Inn fact, that was one of the criticisms. “We’ll be in recovery by the time that money will be spent.” Maybe not. The long term spending horizon of the stimulus package might actually be a very good thing. The time to judge the stumulus package is in 2012, after the money is spent.

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