Monday, November 23, 2009

Mary Landrieu's Price Tag? $300 Million

“I will correct something. It’s not $100 million, it’s $300 million, and I’m proud of it and will keep fighting for it,” Landrieu told reporters after her floor speech. “But that is not why I started this health care debate; I started this health care debate for all the reasons I just mentioned in my statement” on the floor.

Used to be that politicians at least made a pretext of not being bought off when it came to voting on matters before the Senate. Not Senator Landrieu. She's proud of her price being met by Majority Ldr Harry Reid. It would be funny if it were not so terribly sad. Landrieu may think she appears strong and a stalwart voice for her state. She would be very wrong on that thought. People across the country are simply disgusted.

Landrieu is a life long politician. She is the daughter of the former mayor of New Orleans, "Moon" Landrieu and began her own political career at the age of 23. She was elected to the Louisiana state legislature. Then, after eight years there, she ran for and won the office of State Treasurer. In 1996 she won her Senate seat.

Since Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu has been a strong champion for federal monies for the state. As she should be, for it is her job. However, this latest deal stinks. While bloviating about the fiscal irresponsibility of the Senate health care/insurance reform bill, she makes a deal for an additional $300 million to be added to the final price tag.

As a conservative Democrat, in most votes, Landrieu was one of the on-the-fence holdouts in the lead up to the vote for cloture Saturday night. The yes vote that carried allows the legislation to come to the Senate floor after the Thanksgiving break for debate and then a vote.

CNN's John King pointed to the hypocrisy of the move - taking into consideration of the promises of Democrats as they took over total control of Washington, that business would not be as usual. It was to be a brand new day dawning. Hope and change! Transparency! No more behind closed doors deals. No more horse trading.

Yeah, right.

Posing a question to his Sunday morning panel, King said, "To get Senator Landrieu's vote, just to proceed, just to go across the starting line, language was inserted in the bill that gives her state up to $300 million. To get Senator Ben Nelson's vote, Reid agreed to drop a request that you take away the antiturst exemptions for insurance companies... Is healthcare reform important enough to buy votes?" Yes, apparently it is.

Harry Reid is in a tough re-election campaign back home in Nevada. President Obama has told any Democrat that will listen that health insurance reform is crucial to his legacy - to his policy agenda. He has bet his entire first term as President on it.

The bill has been described as the worst bill, ever, by The Wall Street Journal. Democrats in Congress don't care about that. They don't care that it does absolutely nothing similar to the claims being touted. They simply want to pass anything that will allow them to say they did so. It is the biggest power grab seen in Washington, D.C. Ever.

The corruption of the incumbents in office has become so deep that now it appears it is acceptable for a U.S. Senator to take the microphone and correct a lower number and brag of a higher number for her buy-off. What will the buy-offs be for the final vote to go the way of the President?

What about Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark)? She is in a tough re-election bid herself and has been on both sides of the issue, trying to straddle the fence as long as possible. Landrieu isn't up for re-election until 2014. Surely Lincoln will get a better deal, given the closer proximity of her race.

Senator Landrieu no longer deserves the public trust afforded to a U.S. Senator. She's shown her hand. We now know exactly what her price is, don't we?

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