Friday, December 18, 2009


Bill Kristol sneeringly reminds us where he stands on health care legislation:

There's a really big snowstorm coming to D.C.tonight. It would be unsafe to ask all the staffers and Hill employees who'd be needed at the Capitol if Congress stays open all hours this weekend.... So from the point of view of public safety and personal well-being, Ben Nelson can do everyone a favor, announce today he won't vote for cloture, and let everyone stay home this weekend.

... we'll all benefit from a nice holiday break during which we can talk with the American people and recharge our batteries, and that he looks forward to seeing everyone in the New Year.

But we're hearing on the left -- I'm inclined to believe it -- that this bill is largely a giveaway to the insurance industry, with a mandate that will fill insurers' coffers but inadequate subsidies to make the mandatory purchases truly affordable. So why isn't Kristol secretly hoping this corporate-sellout bill passes? Why isn't he eager to see the insurers' pockets lined?

For that matter, if it's such a bad bill, and most of the benefits don't kick in for years -- or, to put it another way, don't kick in for two more election cycles -- and if Kristol believes it's wildly unpopular (he's a Republican, so surely this is what he believes), why isn't he hoping Nelson and Lieberman (and/or Olympia Snowe) just shut up and vote for cloture, so Democrats can hang the albatross around their own necks and Republicans can reap the benefit?

I don't really have answers for this -- I'm just throwing the questions out there. I think it has to do with a purist-Republican belief that any (non-military) use of the government is bad; perhaps it's a residual fear of what Kristol and his fellow Repubs thought the bill was going to do that would please ordinary Americans. Or maybe they think there really is plenty in there for ordinary Americans to like -- and possibly they believe Democrats will actually be able to build on the bill in years to come (heaven knows why, given several decades of Democratic haplesness).

I have no answers, just the question: why doesn't the even-more-corpocrat party want this bill, if it's so pro-corporate now?

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