North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad (D) said this on Sunday:
“There are not the votes for Democrats to do this just on our side of the aisle. It is not possible and perhaps not desirable either”
Actually, Senator, there are more than enough Democratic votes in Congress to pass health care reform–we control the House 255 to 178 and have a filibuster-proof 60 to 40 majority in the Senate.
It almost seems as if Kent Conrad is a time traveler from a distant past, when Democrats were the minority and were forced to kowtow to unreasonable Republican demands.
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Because, as it stands now, the Democrats have a massive Congressional majority and they should use it. It’s almost as if some Democrats are ashamed that they have as much power as they do. This wasn’t an accident–the American people voted this large Democratic majority into office because they wanted the Democrats to be in charge of things.
Once again, it seems like the Cult of Bipartisanship is rearing it’s ugly head. Bipartisanship should be a means to an end, not an end in and of itself; a good piece of legislation doesn’t automatically become bad if Republicans decide to oppose it. Democrats should simply focus on passing good bills through Congress regardless of whether or not they garner Republican support.
Didn’t we learn our lesson during the battle over the stimulus? Democrats bent over backwards to appease Republican demands and water down the bill enough to get GOP support–yet, in the end, out of the 219 Republicans in Congress, only 3 voted for the final bill.
If the Republicans want to oppose health care reform–which they do—let them. If health care reform ends up being as effective and worthwhile as everyone says it will be, then it will be the GOP’s loss for not supporting the bill–it certainly won’t be our loss for not forcing them to get on board.
And if health care reform is effective, nobody will care whether or not it was bipartisan. People care whether or not legislation is effective; they don’t care about vote totals in Congress.
So perhaps postponing health care reform until after the August recess will be a good thing–perhaps it will let some of these Democrats go back to their districts and catch an earful how important health care reform is–and how unimportant bipartisanship is.