Monday, October 26, 2009

The Genius of Harry Reid

Yeah, I bet there's a title you thought you'd never read. People, you see, people forget that there's a very good reason why Harry Reid (whilst a mediocre Senator) is the Senate Majority Leader: he's a very good politician. Today, Reid announced that he'll be putting the public option to a vote, but it's not quite what anyone expected.

The public option isn't a guaranteed option across the United States, as many progressives favoured. Nor is it the "trigger" option endorsed by Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). It is a new option - a national public plan that individual state governments can opt out of by 2014. Many progressives are simply pleased that any public option is going to a vote, and those who think states should choose are at least a little mollified. But let me explain why Harry Reid is a freaking genius for this plan.

Progressives in the US were upset by the "trigger" plan. The concept of the trigger plan was that a public option would automatically become offered if the reforms passing Congress failed to achieve their goals. Many progressives wanted a public option, now, believing that only competition from a non-profit entity can cause insurance companies to lower their rates and increase coverage.

But now we get to the real genius - Reid is publicly admitting that he doesn't have 60 votes in the Senate for this plan, which opens up the possibility of a filibuster. In fact, he's practically daring the Republicans to filibuster the plan. Why? Because if the Republicans filibuster, the Democrats have a beautiful, powerful example of "the Party of No". All summer, the Republicans attacked the Democrats plans for health care, without providing an alternative. A filibuster would be a living, breathing example of this: it'd be a perfect manner to hammer the GOP on health care.

But what, you ask, if the Republicans allow the bill to pass without a filibuster, or Reid can gather 60 votes for the plan? Well, that's where the state opt-out comes into play. You see, I can pretty much guarantee you the states that will opt-out of the public plan: those states with Republican government, like Texas, Alabama, Alaska, and South Carolina. One of two things will happen: either the public option fails, wherein the Dems blame the state governments for staying in, or it works (far more likely), and the Republican state governments have handed the Democrats a major hammer.

The Republicans can't stop reform now, and they know it. It's merely a question of who comes out looking worse. This move by Harry Reid almost assures it will be the Republicans who get the black eye.


Joé McKen said...

First: I’ve read of Reid’s introduction of this modified public option plan and never thought much of it. I gotta admit, you make a lot of sense, and if this is indeed what Reid has in mind, he’s a political genius.

Second: why the devil doesn’t your blog have its comments embedded in post pages? Would make it simpler and more convenient.

Veritas said...

Dunno, I'm too lazy to look up how to make it work.

Joé McKen said...

Settings > Comments > Embedded Below Posts.

And you were supposed to be the tech geek around here. My, my.

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