Reid: Those tonsil vultures stole my vote

posted at 9:30 am on October 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

A funny thing happened to the way to the first Senate floor vote on the health-care overhaul pushed by this administration.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with 60 Democrats in the upper chamber, couldn’t get enough of them to end a filibuster.  Who’s to blame for the failure to get a vote?  Debbie Stabenow, who wrote the bill that attempted to sneak an extra $250 billion in costs past the CBO for ObamaCare?  Centrist Democrats from red states who have to face the voters?  A Majority Leader who has trouble “leading” himself the right way out of a paper bag?

No, of course not.  It’s those evil Tonsil Vultures and Foot Rustlers:

Reid brought the bill to the floor in an effort to secure the support of doctors groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) for the future fight over an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.

Reid’s gambit, however, backfired, leaving Reid blaming the AMA for failing to secure GOP votes and the AMA retorting that the leader misinterpreted its pledge.

Reid told colleagues that the AMA said it could deliver 27 Republican votes for the legislation, according to two Senate Democratic lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some Democrats wondered whether it was reasonable to expect that as many as 27 Republicans would support a 10-year freeze in light of the fact that only 17 Senate Republicans voted for a one-year freeze last July. Of that group, only 11 remain in the Senate.

Gee, maybe Reid would like to get those six Republicans back in the Senate now, huh?

Winners take responsibility, while losers look for scapegoats.  Last I looked, the AMA doesn’t have any leadership role in the Senate.  They don’t “deliver” votes, and it’s not their role anyway.  Perhaps a real Senate Majority Leader would have enough pull to count his own votes and make his own case, rather than leave that to a lobbying group and then get shocked, shocked to discover that most Republicans would not allow Reid to play his shell game with $250 billion that should get counted in the full ObamaCare proposal instead of hidden from the CBO.

Besides, let’s not forget that Reid has 60 Democrats in the Senate.  Why should the AMA have to deliver any Republican votes?  Reid can’t even deliver his own caucus.  The cloture vote wasn’t even close at 47-53, which means that a number of Democrats defied Reid and rejected the shell game, too.  Reid can sob all he wants about Tonsil Vultures, but the problem is that Reid is pushing legislation so radical and dishonest that he can’t deliver his own caucus.

What’s next?  The Stabenow bill will have to get attached to the ObamaCare proposal — which means the CBO will rescore it with the additional $250 billion cost.  That will make the deficit hit overt and create what The Hill calls a “poison pill” for the bill, and that’s before the progressives try to jam a public option into it.  Without it, Reid loses the AMA.  It’s a disaster for Reid and the Democrats.

Update: The cloture vote was 47-53, not 53-47, which means that Harry Reid fell 13 votes short of cloture.  I knew that but wrote the numbers in reverse.  Thanks to commenter WashJeff for the clarification and the link.

Update II: As usual, Joe Gandelman has an excellent roundup on this topic.  Gary Gross has further thoughts on the political disaster this will become for Reid.


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I may be stating the obvious to most posters here, but a healthcare bill that costs 870 billion dollars but is deficit neutral means someone pays the 870 billion! Taxes, fees, and cutting costs/services. I think some people think it’s free because it’s deficit neutral. Anyway I kind of get that vibe from some folks. Anyone else?

donh525 on October 22, 2009 at 10:39 AM

It’s merely a pricing game. You see $900 billion and up is the new “expensive.” Just like the old days when you didn’t have any money, anything over $20 was “expensive” and sales folks knew that and so they price stuff at $19.99, just below the pain threshold and it makes it much more psychologically palatable. The administration and Congress are doing the exact same thing. They’ll overshoot a price using a trial balloon (say $1trillion) and let us gag on it for a few days, then once they bring it in at $787 billion, it appears as a “steal.” Even though, the truth of the matter is, as you point out, it’s still horrendously expensive and someone’s going to eat the cost.

It is merely a sleight of hand trick, there is no one doing a huge train of addition problems for new clinics, new medicines, +47 million people, kids, etc. and voila’ = $900 billion. Hell no, they’re simply shooting past what they can really get, pulling back a bit, and calling it a deal.

ted c on October 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM

I actually like that Reid is the Democrats’ leader in the Senate. He’s so incompetent, they’re not going to pass anything significant.

ChristianRock on October 22, 2009 at 11:07 AM

I hope Nevada comes to its senses and “Dashchle” him.

Mr. Joe on October 22, 2009 at 9:49 AM

I sense a chill wind blowing through the desert. I don’t think that even his mob connections will save him. They might even see the handwriting on the wall and decide to help him “retire” before he can testify against them. Sorry, just fantasizing.

SKYFOX on October 22, 2009 at 11:08 AM

transparency like you’ve never seen, evah

bluegrass on October 22, 2009 at 11:10 AM

ted c on October 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Exactly right. Does the mainstream media inform the public of this? He!! no! They just tell us it’s deficit neutral but are silent on how it will be achieved.

donh525 on October 22, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Reid told colleagues that the AMA said it could deliver 27 Republican votes for the legislation, according to two Senate Democratic lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Harry Reid is a baldfaced liar.

And … what’s this about? Democrats playing with lobbyists?

HondaV65 on October 22, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Now Sen. Ried knows how popular his, and the parties goal to socialize medical coverage really is.

The public has a voice, keep shouting, we are not going to keep taking it anymore.

MSGTAS on October 22, 2009 at 11:17 AM

Reid’s gambit, however, backfired, leaving Reid blaming the AMA for failing to secure GOP votes and the AMA retorting that the leader misinterpreted its pledge.

So, does that mean the lobbyists really are running Washington in the era of Hopenchange? I thought that was over?

RadClown on October 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM

In 1990 the government said Medicare would cost 12 billion. The actual cost in 1990 was 107 billion. Nearly nine times as much. I don’t believe for a moment the cost of this will be 900 billion, but even pretending it will, I don’t think I can handle the zeros that would come from multiplying 900 billion x 9.

sisterchristian on October 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Can you wait to hear Dingy Harry’s Concession Speech after he gets pummeled in the Nevada Senate Race next year.

“Those #$%^$#% NV Voters!!!!”

SayNo2-O on October 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Nebraskan posters and readers call Senator Ben Nelson’s office today. Senator Nelson was one of the 47 Democrat Senators to vote for this bill and it looks like he may vote for the Health Scam too.

Senator Nelson’s Lincoln number:(402) 441-4600

yoda on October 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Yeah… actualy, AMA probably did have 27 repubs lines up for a Medicare fix…. SIX MONTHS AGO… and probably told Reid that….

But, then came the Healthcare debate…

Romeo13 on October 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Wait so Reid wanted lobbyist to do his dirty work? How can that be? There are no lobbyist in Barack Obama’s America.

Rbastid on October 22, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Teachable moment, that is, Dirty Harry was taught a lesson.

WordsMatter on October 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

WHere’s the roll call? I want to see if my hack, McCaskill voted for it. She needs an earful regardless!

JAM on October 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

You know when I made Chief in the Navy I was taught to take the blame for my failures and the failures of my people and not make excuses. Apparently this guy never was taught that. What a pathetic loser!

Johnnyreb on October 22, 2009 at 9:42 AM

My father is a retired Chief from the Navy and I was taught the same thing.

NJ Red on October 22, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Was reading about Christie in NJ this morning how his screwing up talking about nothing (i.e., no policy details). It sure seems now is the time to be clear about your plans when running for office when people are very concerned about the paths our different levels of governments are taking.

WashJeff on October 22, 2009 at 9:47 AM

DON’T REMIND ME…I’M READY TO BARF HERE IN NJ. Corzine is the least popular governor in decades but I think the weasel is going to win. NJ sucks.

NJ Red on October 22, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Harry like most other elected officials are NO longer working for their constituents and should be replaced.

Remember to vote in 2010 and 2012.

BigMike252 on October 22, 2009 at 12:37 PM

The libs are hell bent, on making sure we’re all in abject poverty by next year, if not sooner! This is so absurd! How much more money they don’t have, can they spend, and not think the citizens that are expected to pay it back, won’t get angry over this? Dunderheads. All of em.

capejasmine on October 22, 2009 at 12:59 PM

I see my Senators Webb and Warner slammed Reid down. But not all that confident about how they’ll vote on whatever shakes out of the 5 bills winding their way thru Congress. Got to keep these two critters shaking, especially after McDonnell wins big here on Nov 3.

Bob in VA on October 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM

JAM on October 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Look here for her vote

yoda on October 22, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Hopefully this also shows us that Republican Senators have finally realized that the AMA does not represent most doctors. Only a small percentage of physicians actually belong to the AMA, yet the old media ( surprise, surprise)would lead us to believe that all docs get a membership card along with the diploma.

humdinger on October 22, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Throw ALL the bums out!

texanpride on October 22, 2009 at 1:08 PM

JAM on October 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Her vote is here

Link virgin…got that over.

yoda on October 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Something tells me the Democrats are in trouble on this thing.

Terrye on October 22, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I’ve got real money that says this mess goes down in flames.

RadClown on October 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM

I am wondering if Reid and others are blowing smoke about having enough votes to get this thing passed.

I hope that the rest of the vote counting is as inaccurate as this was.

petunia on October 22, 2009 at 3:09 PM

12 Democrat Senators got to cast a fiscally conservative vote at no cost to the Democrat plans. This bill was going to die with 41 votes, so the cost was zero. A whole bunch of Dems just got a wonderful campaign piece for free.

Buford Gooch on October 22, 2009 at 3:29 PM

KickandSwimMom on October 22, 2009 at 9:33 AM

+ 6.023×10^23

ya2daup on October 22, 2009 at 3:44 PM

A consistent message to communicate to the blinders-on crowd needs to be “a deficit neutral health care ‘reform’ bill does not mean free health care for you” (maroon)

ya2daup on October 22, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Reid can’t even deliver his own caucus. The cloture vote wasn’t even close at 47-53

Don’t think of it as Democrats bucking Reid… think of it as bipartisanship.

malclave on October 22, 2009 at 3:55 PM

We need a tonsil vulture cartoon/logo.
rbj on October 22, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Here you go (and it’s threatening one of the chiiildren)!

ya2daup on October 22, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I’ve got real money that says this mess goes down in flames.

RadClown on October 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM

I’ll take that action….the dems don’t need republicans, they know it, and nothing is gonna stop them. Once it’s passed, no one will ever have enough power to get rid of it. The republicans will never have a big enough majority to repeal it, even if they did hold the white house.

Oh, and does anyone really think the 4 years of taxes they are going to raise before dollar one is paid out on benefits will just be put in some “lockbox” and saved until the bill becomes due in 2013??? Please.

runawayyyy on October 22, 2009 at 4:42 PM

These Dem leaders just don’t seem to care what Americans think. They know this is unpopular with Americans, and they push it using lies and deception without shame.

They see their own members will not vote for it out of fear of not getting re-elected and they try to twist their arms and bully them into voting for it anyways.

If not for their total incompetence this country would be in serious trouble.

Mr Purple on October 22, 2009 at 6:20 PM

I wonder how pissed Bobby Byrd is to be dragged out for this losing vote?

Wonder how eager he’ll be to fly out for future cloture votes. :-)

Greg Q on October 22, 2009 at 8:24 PM

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