Two prominent leftwing senators with faulty memories in the news: First up, Harry Reid. Abe Greenwald writes at Commentary:
So Harry Reid gave America a lesson in the perils of Republican hesitance. Speaking of the health-care debate, Reid said:
“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this: ‘Slow down, stop everything. Let’s start over. You think you’ve heard these same excuses before? You’re right. In this country, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‘Slow down. It’s too early. Let’s wait.’ “
He cited some examples of history’s naysayers: “Things aren’t bad enough about slavery,” he recalled them saying. “When women wanted to vote, slow down, there will be a better day to do that. … Some senators resorted to the same filibuster we hear today.”
Senator Reid is correct. We have seen this tap-the-brakes-while-Rome-burns approach before. “I think the thing I am going to do is recommend to my caucus is let’s just take it easy,” said Harry Reid, when questioned in September, about support for a troop buildup in Afghanistan. I don’t recall any Republicans filing his sentiment under the American pro-slavery movement.
And then there’s John Conyers: “Obama doesn’t care what’s in or out of ObamaCare”, as Ed Morrissey summarizes the Democrat senator’s latest sound bite:
Here’s another moment of irony, courtesy of Jake Tapper. John Conyers has erupted in frustration over Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on the ObamaCare legislation, and told Obama that personally in a phone call. Conyers had no hesitancy in disclosing the call to reporters, while the White House offered a more circumspect “no comment”:
Conyers said on the Bill Press Radio Show, as covered by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post: “I’m getting tired of saving Obama’s can in the White House. I mean, he only won (health care reform) by five votes in the House, and this bill wasn’t anything to write home about. The public option is only available, which is the only way you manage cost and get some competition to 1,300 other health insurance companies, the only way he could have got that through is that progressives held their nose and voted for it anyway.”
Asked if President Obama had shown enough leadership in that debate, Conyers said “Of course not, of course not. You know, holding hands out and beer on Friday nights in the White House and bowing down to every nutty right-wing proposal about health care, and saying on occasion that public options aren’t all that important is doing a disservice to the Barack Obama that I first met who was an ardent single-payer enthusiast himself.”
He said White House chief of staff doesn’t care that much about the content of the legislation.
“That is essentially what Rahm Emanuel has said: Just give us anything and we will declare victory,” said Conyers. “Not only is it not a victory, but when it doesn’t work, guess who will come at him: the same guys that were saying let’s go along with anything… This is all my buddy Rahm Emanuel trying to get anything. But look the bill doesn’t go into effect for three years. Many of the people that we are trying to help will be dead by then.”
That attitude certainly is open to criticism, but Conyers is hardly the man to demand a more passionate interest in the content of legislation. Almost five months ago, Conyers openly scoffed at the notion that he should read the bills on which he votes:
During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.), questioned the point of lawmakers reading the health care bill.
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
Howard Dean’s 2005 promise to “use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy” appears
to be moving at a remarkably slow pace, even for the Senate.
Related: “Carpe Godwinium!”