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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Where's the Straight Talk Express?

It's long been clear that Republicans don't like Democrats. What has become blatantly obvious is that the don't like democracy, the kind with the small D.

Barack Obama got to the heart of that issues by demanding a "straight up or down vote" on health care reform.
“I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform,” Mr. Obama said during a 20-minute speech in the East Room of the White House. He said there was no point in starting over, as Republicans are demanding, and called on nervous Democrats to stick with him, declaring there was no reason “for those of us who were sent here to lead to just walk away.”
After all, isn't that what "small d" democracy is all about?

So borrowing a page from the Grumpy Old Man who was the GOP presidential candidate in 2008, it' time for some straight talk. Obvious? Maybe. Overdue. For sure.

Republicans do not have the votes by majority rules used in every free society except the United States Senate, to stop the Democrats push for a reform bill. So they have used every parliamentary trick in their toolbag to foil, delay and prevent a vote.

There's no guarantee there is even a 50 percent-plus one majority of Democrats who will line up behind reform as it is currently packaged. Yet Senate Republicans have resisted even taking a vote as a centerpiece of their political strategy -- which is to deny Obama any victory.

For the sake of argument, what's the downside to a political strategy that allows a vote and in turn allows American citizens to cast their own votes in November on whether they support reform or not. If the Republicans are looking to return to power, that should be a winning strategy.

But alas, it's not about people and their best interests, it's about power. It was never more clearly on display when doddering Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning refused to even countenance a vote on extending unemployment benefits.

And if that wasn't clear enough it was reinforced when Straight Talkin' Johnny McCain's Arizona cohort Jon Kyl put a new face on the old welfare argument when he claimed jobless benefits were a disincentive to work.

The straight talk is Republicans don't care about the public but only about their own political future. Let's have a vote and let the public decide which is the right approach.

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