Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) was on ABC’s This Week program today when he made the claim that the Democrats 60 Senate votes is not enough to get healthcare reform passed. Conrad said that it is not possible for the Democrats to pass this bill for themselves, but then he added what is like the real reason. It would be more desirable to pass a bill with GOP support.
Sen. Conrad was discussing the tightrope walk to come up with a bipartisan bill, when he said, “You know, you’ve got to keep putting one foot in front of the hour and try to have a plan to propose to our colleagues that can win their support, Republicans and Democrats. Look, there are not the votes for Democrats to do this just on our side of the aisle. This is going to require…”
He added that it is not possible to have a Democratic only bill, “No, it is not possible and perhaps not desirable either. We’re probably going to get a better product if we go through the tough business of debate, consideration, analysis of what we’re proposing. It is so important we get this right and that it’s sustainable.”
This is a load of bull. Democrats are afraid to pass a bill on their own because they are terrified that it will be used against them in the 2010 midterm elections. They want Republican support because it would provide political cover against future criticism. They want to take the issue off the table for 2010. The problem in the all of this political calculus is that it doesn’t help fix the healthcare problem.
The Senate Democrats do not understand the fact that the voters believed in the power of 60 votes, so if they don’t pass healthcare, they could be punished at the polls next year. The Democratic holdouts need to stop listening to the lobbying money, and start listening to the American people. I still believe that a bill will be passed and signed this year, but that bill might not include the public option, and it may be a seriously watered down attempt at healthcare reform.