Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dems Threaten Christmas

Well, not really -- but the headline sure caught your attention, didn't it?

In light of the past three days' worth of debate, in which Republicans such as John McCain of Arizona griped about cost and wanting desperately to protect the same Medicare program that the GOP has traditionally railed against, Democrat Chris Dodd of Connecticut on Wednesday offered this threat:

If the GOP keeps delaying the process -- with endless debate and other obstruction tactics -- then, Dodd told Jeff Muskus of The Huffington Post, they should say bye-bye to their Christmas vacation.

The Senate is scheduled to break on Dec. 18, and Republicans have hoped to stall the health care debate through the New Year. But if Dodd -- and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) -- makes good on his threat, the Senate could be working on Christmas Eve trying to iron out health care details while the children sleep and Santa jet-sets around the world to bestow the world's youth with gifts.

Whether the threat stands remains to be seen; Senate Democrats -- along with those in the House -- made a similar threat over the summer, saying they would forgo the August recess in order to work on the bill. Such a thing never happened, and the fiasco of the August town halls ensued.

(To be fair, much of the fiasco was a result of the mainstream media focusing incessantly on the faux-grassroots, anti-reform screamers who were nothing more than a well-funded, extremely loud minority. If the media had given equal focus and air time to those who were at the town halls in favor of reform, the debate might look different today.)

Chances are, Senator Dodd is grandstanding for the sake of a progressive base that is growing more and more concerned with regards to this issue. As people in Washington hail health care reform passing the House and coming up for debate in the Senate as a victory, some are worried the bill doesn't go far enough in terms of cost control or expansion of coverage -- and the abortion amendment that was snuck into the House bill has brought its own set of heavy baggage into the debate.

But if making threats is what gets the Republican minority to stop trying to derail a domestic initiative without at least letting it come to a vote -- if a bill falls because 51 Senators vote against it, then so be it -- then I applaud Senator Dodd for what he said. That said, I want him and other Senate Democrats to live up to his word.

And while he's at it, I would love it if he would actually do something about his colleague, Joe Lieberman. If I'm Dodd -- or Reid -- I start dangling that committee chairmanship in Lieberman's face and tell him to behave or see his favorite little toy handed to someone else.

But I've already written about that before.

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