Monday, December 14, 2009

Henry Clay Must Die

Henry Clay, the distinguished early-nineteenth-century American legislator, was known in his days in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate as the Great Compromiser for his efforts compromise on the slavery issue. He brought the Missouri Compromise to passage in 1820, which brought Missouri into the union as a slave state and allowed Congress to take the constitutionally dubious act of creating a new state from an existing state by admitting Maine (then a part of Massachusetts) as a free state, preserving the balance of free states and slave states in the Senate. It also closed the Great Plains to slavery. Three decades later, as a senator, Clay sponsored the Compromise of 1850 that brought California into the Union as a free state and allowed territories newly won from Mexico in the U.S.-Mexican War.

Though a slaveowner himself, Clay, who was from Kentucky, believed in a strong Union and supported many industrial and economic policies that would have benefited the North, had they ever been enacted. Realizing he was on the wrong side of history, Clay, great though he was, was willing to broker compromises to keep a war between the states from erupting.

As we all know, it was all for naught. Clay, who died in 1852, didn't know.

Why am I telling you this? Because the Senate is ready to compromise away any chances for meaningful health care reform. With single-pater medical insurance never a realistic possibility, so liberals agreed to a compromise - a public insurance option. By the time the health care bill reached the Senate, it got compromised away in favor of a Medicare buy-in for Americans aged 55 to 64, Just it when it looked like the Senate was ready to pass a compromise bill that everyone could live with, noted closet Republican Joe Lieberman of Connecticut has announced that he will filibuster the bill for including the buy-in. He also remains against the public option, and he insists that health care reform bill must exclude both.

So, in other words, Lieberman supports a health care reform bill that doesn't reform much.

Oh yeah, he actually supported the Medicare buy-in in an Internet interview back in September.

Look, you couldn't compromise on slavery - it clearly had to be abolished. You can't compromise on health care reform - it needs a public option and/or expansion of Medicare. Abolishing restrictions against pre-existing conditions is all good and fine, but only greater public health insurance will keep costs down. Compromise is overrated. Nothing at all is ever achieved or resolved by compromise.

Henry Clay must die.

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