The Olympia Snowe Peril On Health Care

Yesterday, Olympia Snowe gleefully shoved a knife in the back of the American people by signing onto the Baucus bill. She was the first and only Republican in the Senate to support socialized medicine. This was a big deal because it gives the Democrats the ability to falsely claim that this is a bipartisan bill, because it gives cover to Democratic moderates to support the bill, and because Snowe could conceivably be the 60th vote for socialized medicine.

If that were to happen, Snowe should leave the Republican Party and make her vote for the plan as a Democrat, because there would be nothing else she could do in her political career that could ever make up for that sort of betrayal. If Snowe votes for this monstrosity in the end, then she should be treated as the enemy by Republicans. When it comes to Obamacare, there can be no gray area — even for senators from Maine.

Moreover, the Republican leadership in the Senate should be aware that they’re being judged as leaders in large part by whether or not they will do whatever it takes to stop the Democrats from destroying the quality of health care in this country with socialized medicine. A failure here, especially when the argument has been won with the American people, would be nothing less than a huge failure in leadership. There is no tactic, within the limits of the law, that should not be used to stop the Democrats from taking over 1/6 of the US economy and destroying the quality of medical care in this country in the process.

All that being said, there is an option open to Olympia Snowe that could allow her to continue to appear moderate and reasonable, while getting close enough to the Democratic party to stick a dagger in their ribs on this issue.

At the moment at least, Snowe is claiming that she’s not going to support a bill that adds significant new costs, taxes, or the public option to the Baucus bill framework that she is signed onto. However, the Baucus bill is nothing but a shell — and one that is significantly more moderate than every other Democratic bill being considered in the House or the Senate.

What that means is that Olympia Snowe has the option of bathing in the warm glow of perceived bipartisanship for now and then, at a crucial moment, declaring that changes to the bill (of which, there will be many) have made it impossible for her to continue to support it.

The result? She would still get credit for being “bipartisan,” all would be forgiven by Republicans, and Democrats would be dealt a costly setback in their effort to decimate America’s health care system for their own gain.

The alternative for Olympia Snowe would essentially be to change political parties because there’s no way any Republican could ever erase the stain of being the 60th vote to force the neck of America’s health care system into a noose.

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