Examiner Editorial: Our country needs one brave Democrat 

As the clock ticks down to the final decisive vote in Congress on Obamacare, one question stands above all else: Is there one Senate Democrat with the political courage to stand with the American people and say no? Who among the 60 Senate Democrats will put the national interest above partisan politics and say to his or her colleagues that “we must start over and do this the right way”? Regardless of whether one favors or opposes a government takeover of the American health care system, the reckless manner in which Obamacare has been brought to this final decisive moment offers five indisputable reasons for casting a vote for principle and against blind partisanship.

First, there is no doubt that a growing majority of Americans oppose Obamacare, with millions of them angry and aghast at what Congress and the president are hellbent to do. Barely a third of respondents to the latest Quinnipiac Poll, for example, “mostly approve” of Obamacare, while a mere 26 percent of independents surveyed mostly approve. And in Pollster.com’s cumulative index, President Barack Obama’s disapproval rating on health care is now at 55 percent. Opposition grows as people learn more about Obamacare.

Second, a strong new public consensus favors greater transparency in government. Obama promised the most transparent government ever in 2008, as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2006 election that saw Democrats regain control of Congress. But the process by which Obamacare has been ramrodded through Congress has been anything but transparent, Pelosi’s ludicrous recent claim to the contrary notwithstanding. At every critical turn, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have gone behind closed doors for talks that Obama repeatedly promised in 2008 would be conducted in front of C-SPAN cameras.

Third, because of the secret negotiations, Obamacare represents thousands of pages of corrupt bargains that are steadily eating away at what little is left of public confidence in Washington. Just hours before Christmas, it was the $300 million “Louisiana Purchase” of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vote and the $45 million “Cornhusker Kickback” for Sen. Ben Nelson’s support. More recently, labor bosses got themselves a nice little exemption from Obamacare’s tax on “Cadillac plans.”

Fourth, even with only a partial reading of the bill, it is certain Obamacare will cost hundreds of billions more than promised, and require tax hikes beyond even those already in the bill. It is simply impossible to add coverage for 30 million people without substantially increasing the government’s health care costs.

Finally, every previous landmark law was passed with bipartisan support. By contrast, if Obamacare is approved, it will be by an utterly partisan vote that will drive a sharper, deeper and more bitter wedge into America’s body politic. But if one Senate Democrat will vote his or her conscience, then the country can start health care reform over and get it right this time.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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