In response to yesterday’s historic Senate vote and key step toward passing comprehensive health care insurance reform, Ira N. Forman, NJDC’s CEO, wrote in Politico with much praise for Democrats and especially Senator Harry Reid (D-NV):
Because the Republican Party continues to circle the wagons ever more closely together they are in danger of becoming a regional party in 2012 if not in 2010. But because Democrats have a bigger tent it also makes it harder for Democrats to maintain the type of party discipline the GOP demonstrates when it comes to crucial congressional votes. Harry Reid deserves a great deal of credit for putting together 60 votes. Moreover, assuming Democratic congressional majorities can finally pass health care reform, this is a huge policy as well as political plus for the party and the Obama Administration. It will serve the party well in 2010 and 2012.
Let’s not lose sight though that the biggest winners of last night’s vote will be millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. GOP Senate leaders claim that they too want health care reform but their behavior during this debate indicates otherwise. Last night’s vote wasn’t about partisan gains, it was about breaking the decades-long log-jam over true reform to this nation’s health insurance system.
As we know, Democrats are historically less ideologically disciplined than Republicans when it comes to whipping votes in Congress, so this is a huge victory for Senator Harry Reid. Keeping all 60 members of his caucus together in a political environment in which a super majority is required to pass nearly any legislation is a significant accomplishment.
UPDATE: The extent of Republican obstructionism has been noticed by many, including The New Republic in a couple of must-read pieces aptly titled, “The Rise of Republican Nihilism: What happened to all those GOP ideas?” and “And the Rest Is Just Noise: Why the health care bill is the greatest social achievement of our time.”
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