The Washington Examiner analyzes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s frantic–and secretive and somewhat seamy–quest for enough Dem votes to get his healthcare bill passed now that he’s alienated every Republican in the Senate:
For example, to get to the 60 votes needed to pass the motion to proceed to debate 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 Landries 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 twofold: 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.
Reid’s frantic vote buying only fuels this growing opposition as his numerous deals are exposed. As the National Center for Policy Analysis’s 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.
Meanwhile, public support for Obamacare in any version drops and drops and drops.