In a pitch to progressives on the last day of the fundraising quarter, Michael Bennet takes full credit for the resurrection of health care reform and the passage of the reconciliation bill. Seriously. (My emphasis.)
Michael isn’t a fan of playing it safe. Last summer, while other senators hedged, Michael hit the road, and held town halls where he fought for health care reform – including a public option – in some of the most conservative areas of Colorado. Then Michael went on national television and said he would be willing to lose his seat in order to pass real health care reform, and he meant it.
Michael didn’t just vote for a health care bill – he worked to make it better. He voted against the Stupak/Nelson amendment, recognizing it as an unacceptable burden on a woman’s right to choose. While other senators used their leverage to strike backroom Washington deals, Michael was the first Democrat to speak out against them. And Michael’s push for an up or down vote on the public option reinvigorated the health care debate and sparked the momentum Congress needed to pass the reconciliation bill.
The entirety of Michael Bennet’s role in the health care debate – nay, his Congressional career – can only be described as “playing it safe.” Well, also, “having it both ways.”
Bennet takes credit for voting against the Nelson amendment… before he voted for it in the final bill. Bennet says that he fought for the public option… before he abandoned it. And Bennet takes credit for “sparking the momentum” to pass the reconciliation bill… a reconciliation bill he continuously lied about in order to cover his ass for abandoning the public option.
Michael Bennet has swindled progressive activists out of more than $70,000 in his faux grandstanding for the public option. Not only should he be denied every dime from here on out, he should return the cash he took before breaking his promise to “save the public option.”
UPDATE: The campaign of Andrew Romanoff, Bennet’s primary opponent, responds by pointing to a post by Romanoff’s campaign manager that puts Bennet’s strange positioning in the context of Alice in Wonderland.
“Curiouser and curiouser.”
Alice’s words describe Washington as well as Wonderland. Where else would you be able to make a promise, break a promise, and then insult your constituents for calling you on it?
That’s the way Washington works. Take the debate over the public health insurance option – please. First, you hem and haw about the proposal — you don’t want to “draw lines in the sand,” (1) after all. Then you pledge to support it (2) … before you vote for a bill without it (3).