Examiner Editorial: Reid swindles public with vote-buying tactics

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada this week is doing what he always does when he needs votes to pass a bill President Barack Obama favors but the public opposes: He goes behind closed doors to cut deals and buys votes. For example, to get to the 60 votes needed to pass the motion to proceed to debate on Obamacare, Reid came up with arcane legislative language that netted $300 million in federal assistance tailored for Louisiana.

That sweetener temporarily bought Reid custody of Sen. Mary Landreiu’s vote, but she quickly made it clear that he will have to raise the ante to get her vote for final passage. That is business as usual on the road to Obamacare.

This week, Reid goes back behind closed doors in search of more deals in the quest for final passage of the Senate version of Obamacare.

Reid’s problem is two-fold.

First, a handful of Senate Democrats say they unalterably oppose something in the bill, but going too far in satisfying them risks alienating other Senate Democrats who unalterably favor whatever it is they oppose. The logical assumption is that Reid prefers to operate behind closed doors because he doesn’t want the public to see the ugly reality behind Senate Democrats’ support for Obamacare. Or, maybe he just prefers the world not see him pull his hair out as one proposed vote-buying deal after another falls through.

Second, public opposition grows as this Obamacare vote-buying process drags on and people know more about the bill. The latest data from Gallup find more respondents saying they would advise their congressman to vote against Obamacare than saying they would encourage a vote for it, 49 to 44 percent. Obamacare support has been declining among Republicans, Democrats and independents, according to Gallup, “falling by 6 points among Democrats, 8 among independents and 12 among Republicans.” Those figures were produced between Nov. 20 and 22, meaning the heavy lobbying earlier in the month by the White House and its special interest allies like AARP and the AMA made no dent in public opposition.

Reid’s frantic vote-buying only fuels this growing opposition as his numerous deals are exposed. As the National Center for Policy Analysis’ John Goodman points out, it didn’t have to be this way. This unsavory vote-buying spectacle became inevitable at the outset when Obama, Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored Republicans in crafting health care reform. That made every potential recalcitrant Democrat’s vote ever more valuable. Just ask the $300 million lady from Louisiana.

editorialsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Gov. Gavin Newsom gave an update on COVID-19 cases on Thursday Nov. 3, 2020. (Examiner screenshot)
Newsom announces statewide stay-at-home order tied to availability of hospital beds

Order will take effect in Bay Area when intensive care unit capacity falls below 15 percent

Photo by Abalone Runner/ <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74406455" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>
Former Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard facing domestic violence, child abuse charges

Prominent Bay Area political strategist Nathan Ballard is facing domestic violence and… Continue reading

Construction crews work on new red bus rapid transit lanes on Van Ness Avenue on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board scrutinizes Van Ness BRT spending

Proposed contract modification would allocate $2.6 million for pedestrian monitors

Mayor London Breed said “I need to hold myself to a higher standard” in response to criticism of a recent meal at a Napa Valley restaurant. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed calls criticism for French Laundry trip ‘fair’

Mayor said she regrets that actions ‘distracted’ from public health message as COVID-19 cases rise

City Administrator Naomi Kelly said Wednesday that the allegations against her husband were “based on the word of a liar.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Administrator Naomi Kelly takes leave after feds charge husband

High-ranking official under scrutiny over 2016 China trip

Most Read