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.
Screen Capture from FOX Streaming Video