I spoke too soon about speaking too soon

Oh, Olympia. Olympia, Olympia, Olympia. I knew I was miffed at you, I just couldn't place why.

Thanks for the reminder, Jonathan.
Olympia Snowe declared that President Obama should remove the public option from health care reform because “It’s universally opposed by Republicans,” and “therefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option.” But Snowe is a Republican! She could join with the 59 Democrats to vote for a bill that included the public option, and then it would pass. Alternatively, Massachusetts Democrats could seat an interim Senator, giving them 60 votes, and break a filibuster without Snowe. Those are two ways right there. I’m pretty sure there are others.
(By the way, for those of you wondering why it is that we're all focusing on Snowe and ignoring her fellow GOP "moderate" from Maine, your answer is here.)

So, I guess when she says "all Republicans," she's including herself. Which, once again, puts paid to the idea that, when the chips are down, Snowe will break with her party.

I agree with most of what Hendrick Hertzberg says here, with one minor quibble:
If it were up to the House alone, of course, the public option would be a lock. But in the filibuster-hobbled Senate the fate of reform may come down to the whims of a tiny handful of preening moderates from states that are mostly empty of people, notably the Democratic chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus, of Montana, and Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine.
I certainly think the time for fawning all over Sen. Snowe has passed. But the fact that Maine is not densely populated is rather beside the point. Maine is also an economically depressed state, with a lot of shuttered industry and a monolithic insurance market. Not so long ago, Sen. Snowe seemed aware of this:
Even lawmakers opposed to a government plan have problems with the growing clout of the big private companies.

"There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers," said Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the highest-cost states. "The impact on the consumer is significant."

Wellpoint Inc. accounted for 71 percent of the Maine market, while runner-up Aetna had a 12 percent share, according to a 2008 report by the American Medical Association.

So, even though there aren't a lot of people in Maine, the ones that are here are precisely the kind of people who would benefit from a public option. It's truly a pity, if no big shock, that Sen. Snowe has chosen party loyalty over their welfare.


  1. The American electorate gives control of the Senate and House to Democrats alomst three years ago, and the Presidency 9 months ago, and y'all still can't pass healthcare? What is the problem, other than the majority of Americans are against the Democratic party's various healthcare measures? Get some courage, and pass the bills! Pretty please with sugar on top.

    Or, alternatively, instaead of having one humongo all singing all dancing kitchen sink plan, the Dems could break things up into manageable parts and pass bills for the parts of reform that are, you know, actually popular with the electorate.

  2. Olympia has accepted over $978,000.00 from the health care industry. (Insurance & Pharma). How else do you think the will vote? Big business, aka Republican party leaders will not vote to protect the working person.... never have never will. FDR had just as hard-a-time creating Social Security. LBJ had the same thing with Medicare. Both times Republicans said the country was going down the tubes with Socialism. Yet the same nitwits who raise Hell at meetings rely on both Medicare and Social Security and a ton of them need SSA. The poorest class of working people has always been afraid to rock the boat for fear they will loose what little they have labored so hard to gain.

  3. John, please look up the following terms: veto, filibuster, obstructionism. See if you can think of how those terms might be useful in describing the current attempts to pass health care reform.

    I suppose that in Magic Fairy Majority World, the Democrats could simply wave their special Legislative Wand and make whatever they want happen in all the land. (And I think it's darling you're implying that somehow the Democrats were supposed to get health care reform passed three years ago with a hostile president. Cute!) However, here in America, the minority party has substantial power to delay or kill legislation it doesn't like.

    Now, I will admit to being frustrated with the Democrats' benighted attempts to get bipartisan support for health care reform. Being as it were that the GOP is roughly as interested in actual reform as it is in collective seppuku, this was a fool's errand. Hopefully, the Democrats have learned their lesson about working with the GOP (for this and all future issues), and will proceed with all due haste.

  4. Well, a veto wouldn't be expected at all if some reform passes. The Pres. is deeply invested in something he can call reform. He isn't noted for keeping his promises (DADT, rendition, DOMA, taxes, etc., etc., etc.) so I do not expect any veto over budgetary concerns.

    Filibuster can be stopped by cloture, and the Dems have 60 seats as soon as the Kennedy seat is filled. Or convince one R, just one, to defect, and the filibuster is over.

    Obstructionism is a term trotted out by people who don't like the necessity of obtaining agreement before enacting their fave bills into law. IIRC, my civics class mentioned that the loyal opposition was, in fact, supposed to *be* an opposition, objecting to the deeply flawed, budget-busting bills of the party in power.

    Based on Mr. Obama's current stance that we can massively expand Federal control of medicine and yet not speand an extra dime, I suspect he subscribes to your Magic Fairy Majority World view. We can have reform *and* a pony!

    And no, I don't blame Ds for not passing the proposed bills two years ago. I simply point out that the current waste, fraud, and abuse has been fair game for the majority party in Congress for years, and the current majority has done nothing whatsoever to rein in these excesses. Maybe, just maybe, that means the squillions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse that Pres. Obama proposes to use to pay for his reform are, shall we say, difficult to actually lay hands on?