Senator Harry Reid (AP)

In the Great Health Care Reform Kabuki Dance of 2009, both Democrats and Republicans in Washington have been trying to frame the conflict over a public health insurance option as being a fight between Democrats’ love for a public option and Republicans’ hatred for it.

Yesterday, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), took his boldest step so far in the cowardly effort to kill the public health insurance option, which is the key to achieving real health care reform in the House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act and is in every one of the bills that have come out of committees except one.

Reid’s bold step was to turn his problem over to “ten Democratic senators [five so-called moderates and five progressives] whose views span the spectrum within the Democratic caucus.”

But as they perform the Great Health Care Reform Kabuki Dance of 2009, Democrats need to appear to their supporters as having wanted a public option, while Republicans need to appear to theirs not only as having opposed it, but as having opposed it successfully.

So, wanting to shift attention away from the fact that Senate Democrats are the problem, Harry took a second bold step yesterday, going onto the Senate floor to make some comments that on their face seem stupid:

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is this: slow down, stop everything, let’s start over."

"If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said slow down, it’s too early, let’s wait, things aren’t bad enough."

THE MESSAGE: Blame Republicans.

Nice try, Harry. The Republicans were – or should have been, in the case of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) – irrelevant from the beginning.

As the kabuki comes to a close with the death of a public option, the fault for the fiasco lies with the entire Senate.

And the failure is entirely yours, Harry.

Funnily enough, yesterday’s kabuki didn’t end there.

In the Great Health Care Reform Kabuki Dance of 2009, Senate Republicans are taking their turn, too, the National Republican Senatorial Committee purchasing this web ad on the Drudge Report:


THE MESSAGE: We Republicans have been relevant.

No, you haven’t.

Well, ok. You did had your part to perform in the kabuki to kill a public option.

But you sure do undermine efforts to kill a public option with this ad, as viewers beyond the Drudge Report will have a second reaction immediately following the initial distaste for Reid’s comment, and this second reaction will be:

“Holy sh*t, being subjected to the power of abusive private insurers has been a lot like being enslaved by them. In fact, I feel enslaved by abusive financial institutions and their manipulative lending practices, too. ”

”Why isn’t the government doing more to stop these would be slave owners?”

Misstep. The goal was to play their part in the kabuki by framing the conflict over the public option as being a fight between Democrats and Republicans. But it just turns Americans’ attention back to the fact that there are forces trying to enslave them.

What a farce.

All of it is such a farce.

And, we, the American people, are paying for it in so many ways.

Let no one forget that Senator Harry Reid led the way in killing a public health insurance option.

Please see my Progressive Memo: Focus on Winning Elections.

[Originally posted at Circleparkforum.]



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