Senator Ted Kennedy's closest friend and ally in the Senate urged Republican lawmakers on Wednesday to take a renewed and sincere interest in passing health care legislation in light of Kennedy's death. So I'm still optimistic that if temperatures can cool and maybe Teddy's passing will remind people once again that we are there to get a job done as he would do," [Senator Chris] Dodd said. "Bring your passions to the debate. But then also remind people that you got elected in order to get a job done. And this is a job that needs to get done."
TPJ: If the Congress ends up passing a health care reform bill they better not name it after Kennedy unless it's robust, includes a public option, ends pre-existing conditions and has mandates for coverage. Anything less would be a slap in the face to his great legacy and name. The partisan ranker from the right, however, has been so bad with the shouting down of opponents of reform at these town halls that I wonder if even the strong legacy of Teddy can do anything at this point:
Mike Enzi, one of three Republicans ostensibly negotiating health care reform as part of the Senate's "Gang of Six," told a Wyoming town hall crowd that he had no plans to compromise with Democrats and was merely trying to extract concessions. "It's not where I get them to compromise, it's what I get them to leave out," Enzi said Monday, according to the Billings Gazette. "If I hadn't been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care," he said.
TPJ: See, this is what I'm talking about--The Republicans aren't even interested in compromising AT ALL. They won't even agree that what the Obama plan sets up isn't anything like national health care. Democrats compromised on single-payer for the public option and what did the Republicans compromise on? Nothing so far and many of the leaders in their party say that they wouldn't even agree to a co-op!!! Not that Democrats want it either but it goes to show how unreasonable the Republicans are being. They're not negotiating in good faith and haven't from the start but have been instead seeing this as a "war" of attrition with the American people caught up in their jamming the levers of government. It's hard enough to pass a meaningful compromise on health care with people coming to the debate in a sincere and serious manner. Let alone when one side (the right) isn't even trying to look for common ground and is wasting everyone's time by not taking the issue serious enough to honestly debate what we can come up with together.
Instead they spend the time making up outrageous lies such as the public option health care reform would cover abortions, cover illegal aliens and set up euthanasia "death panels" to kill off grandma!! That's not being the loyal opposition, that's just being an asshole and a bully. I knew that the two sides were going to butt heads on the details of health care reform. That said, I expected that there would a least be at least some compromising in order to get much needed reform for the American people who are needlessly dying young and going bankrupt due to a broken health care system. I guess not all of my optimism has been crushed yet by a cynical system, though not much is left but fumes.
Then you have the conservative "blue dog" Democrats who oppose the president's public option plan and suspiciously all have taken large amounts of "donations" (bribes) from the health insurance industry who vehemently oppose reform!! So the future of health care in America is in the hands of one party acting like children (the Republicans) and a handful of corrupt, weak willed, shifty, conservative Democrats. If ever there was a time for a Ted Kennedy is was now. It's such a bitter twist of irony that the great champion of health care reform, Ted Kennedy himself who had the best health care in the world died because Congress waited too long to act.
If this is the future of governing from our two political parties then we need to shatter the two party system and go toward a coalition government, which nearly every other developed country uses. Not even Iraq wanted to adopt our two-party system when they were reforming their government. A coalition government is more representational as it requires the winning party to bring in two or three other parties to rule with enough clout to govern effectively. That's because in order to rule outright a party has to get an impossibly high number of votes like, 70%. It keeps the government fresh and demands more co-operation and compromise. The two party system was great in Jefferson's day when America was small and didn't need much more than two parties. However, today America is such a vast, diverse and populated country that the two-party system just isn't working well enough to meet the demands of modern America.
I'm not holding my breath though because if you think passing health care is hard, try asking those same political leaders to re-write the Constitution that would threaten the strangle hold the Democrats and Republicans have on Washington D.C. That said, I still fight and push for it--That and campaign finance reform. We can't truly take our government back without eliminating this crazy train of privately funded campaigns. So, Teddy I think it is clear (from the Democrats side at least) that we miss your clout, experience and passion. I can only hope that there is a new, young Teddy like Senator that will be able to be half the legislator that you were.
---End of Transmission---