We’ve reached a point where my friend Ed Morrissey and I must come to a parting of the ways on the current health care debate, though we’ve seen eye to eye on most portions of it up until now. Tomorrow, the Senate will face a procedural vote to open debate on their version of the bill. Note: This is not a vote on the bill itself, signaling approval or disapproval. It’s simply a vote to allow debate to begin.
Ed is urging his readers to melt the phones and get their Senators to vote against this. I’m sorry to say, this is entirely wrong headed thinking. (Though I did call both of my Senators today to remind them of my opposition to the bill itself in its current form.)
Whether they be Republicans or moderate Democrats, I would urge a full throated yes vote tomorrow. To vote no on this action is to say, “No. We are, as you have suggested, nothing more than the Party of No. We have no ideas to present. We have no alternate suggestions. We just don’t want to talk about it.”
You have plenty of ideas and many valid objections to the bill as presented, and an open debate on the floor of the upper chamber is exactly where this should play out in full view of the voters, the press and the public. You should be pointing out that the proposed methods for paying for this plan are mostly fiction. You should be pointing out the across the board taxes which will be imposed. You should be pointing out the highly dubious constitutional basis of any mandate by the federal government forcing citizens to purchase a product from a private provider. You should be pointing out the damaging effect on a major private industry (along with all the jobs that entails) of any so called “public option.”
These are all valid, solid selling points for your argument. You need to make these points like adults and then move toward starting over with a new, leaner bill that accomplishes what so many Americans want in health insurance reform without all of the damaging side effects and costs. But if you vote no on even opening debate, none of this happens. You are simply the party of no. There will be time over the course of this debate to continue digging into the bill’s particulars and bringing these items to the attention of the public. If you vote no, you should be ashamed of yourselves and just get out of the way.