Bought

It seems like one thing that nearly anyone on any side of the political spectrum should be able to agree on is that Senator Nelson extracting a provision for the federal government to foot the entire unfunded liability for Medicaid in the state of Nebraska (and for no other state) in perpetuity as the cost of his agreeing to support the current Senate health care bill compromise is reprehensible in the extreme.

One would like to think that such decisions would be made, in a Republic, based on a senator’s understanding of whether a bill was actually good for the country as a whole — not based on bribery. Senator Nelson should be ashamed of himself, and so should the Senate leadership which agreed to provide such a buy-off.

17 Responses to Bought

  • daledog says:

    Senator Nelson has no shame. He will sleep like a baby tonight. As has Fr. Jenkins since last spring.

    Have we finally learned that there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat?

  • Steve says:

    While I have respect for almost all of the writers and most of the commenters on this site, DarwinCatholic tends to be the most measured and least hyperbolic.

    That is why this post is a damning indictment of the corrupted manifest in Congress, with a particular regard to the so-called health care reform bill.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    A few clarifications regarding this “deal” :

    It pays for MedicAID, not MediCARE. It apparently provides 100 percent federal funding for all people CURRENTLY covered by Medicaid in Nebraska (those earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level for their household size) for the next 10 years or so. This includes not only low-income children and families, but also a large number of elderly people in nursing homes who go on Medicaid after they have exhausted their life savings to pay for their care. The 133 percent ceiling is a federal rule that has been in place for a long time so I don’t think this really qualifies as an “expansion” of Medicaid.

    Normally, the feds only provide 50 percent of the funding for Medicaid; the state ponies up the rest. Under the federal stimulus bill some states (Illinois is one of them) are getting up to 62 percent federal match through 2010. I don’t know if Nebraska is one of them; it depends on factors such as high unemployment, etc.

    All that being said, it’s still a blatant sellout and hopefully Nebraskans opposed to this will not forget when Sen. Nelson comes up for reelection.

  • Thanks for the correction, Elaine — my fault for writing a post in the evening based on a news story I’d read in the morning without pulling the newspaper out of the recycle pile in order to get the details right. I’ve corrected the post, so as not to spread mis-information.

  • One would like to think that such decisions would be made, in a Republic, based on a senator’s understanding of whether a bill was actually good for the country as a whole

    That’s not how our system is set up. As a geographically segregated republic, we elect our senators to look out for the interests of our individual states.

    Politics is bribery. Sen. Nelson is hardly the first, the last, nor the most notorious. This stuff goes on every day. Blame the system.

  • Patrick Duffy says:

    I’m shocked, shocked! to hear that there are earmarks in this bill. Oh, wait. “earmarks” was last year’s five minute hate. Didn’t Mary Landrieu get $300,000,000 for Louisiana as her bribe to vote yes?

  • I recognize this is a very common way to get support for a bill, but I don’t think its commonality makes it any more excusable. And in that regard, I fully support attempting to shame those who play the game as an attack on the game as a whole.

    Especially when such a major change (to the extent that this debacle even remains a major change at this point) is government policy is being contemplated, I’d like to see it handled on the merits.

  • Art Deco says:

    One of the complaints characters like Eleanor Smeal had against sundry politicians was that they were unwilling to wheel and deal for her pet cause (the ‘Equal Rights Amendment’). I think it was the Governor of Illinois who replied that for the opposition it was a matter of conscience too, and ‘you don’t trade a constitutional amendment for a job or a bridge’. Maybe now you do.

  • Blackadder says:

    I have to say, while I think RR has a point in general, Senator Nelson’s actions do seem to go above and beyond even what is typical for this sort of political bribery.

  • But he only brought his mistress because his wife said he could.

    If anything, the conduct of the other 59 senators should be more objectionable. Nelson did his job. He was just looking out for his constituents. The others are supposed to keep him in check. They didn’t look out for their own constituents.

  • Rick Lugari says:

    If anything, the conduct of the other 59 senators should be more objectionable. Nelson did his job. He was just looking out for his constituents. The others are supposed to keep him in check. They didn’t look out for their own constituents.

    I agree in part. Thing is, the whole reason Nelson mattered in this was that he had been an advocate for both the unborn and much of Obamacare. If he was convinced that the Senate abortion provision was genuine and effective, he would have no need to be bribed. It is said that every man has his price, but I don’t believe it’s true in the least. Unfortunately, it seems to hold true for anyone with political ambition.

    Worse yet, and I know this isn’t technically fair, now I find myself seriously doubting the efforts made by Stupak and company. How do we know that they’re just not holding out for largess from the public trough? Put less cynically, how do we know that they’re principled stand can’t succumb to the Democratic party’s carrots?

    Also, this highlights why many of us avoid voting for Democrats at any level above dog-catcher. There is such a thing as party politics and they play a big part on what individual members do. It seems there’s a better chance of getting a pro-abort Republican to vote for life than there is getting a pro-life Democrat to. Both have room to vote their convictions as long as their vote is of no consequence to the party. However, when it’s a tight vote and the whips start cracking, the Dems usually turn coat and vote their party’s inhuman line.

  • Mack Hall says:

    The difference between a famous golfer’s…um…friends and Senator Nelson is that the golfer’s friends would be insulted to be compared to Senator Nelson.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    Art Deco — which “governor of Illinois” are you referring to?

    If this had to do with the ERA issue then the governor in question would probably have been James R. Thompson, a Republican, elected four times and in office from 1977 to 1991.

    Thompson was not above wheeling, dealing, and arm twisting to get what he wanted — one of his most famous stunts was literally stopping the clock in the General Assembly chambers at just before midnight on the day they were supposed to adjourn, to insure that a critical vote to fund a new Chicago White Sox stadium (and keep them from moving to Florida) passed “on time”.

    If Thompson really did say that, then it would indicate that even he recognized there were limits to political horse trading, which unfortunately some of his successors have failed to recognize. Or maybe it was somebody else who said that after all.

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