The big news was the historic passage of the health reform from the Senate Finance Committee, the fifth of five committees. We covered it, including the 14-9 bipartisan vote, on our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/healthaccess
President Obama has a way of trying to ensure fidelity from partisan opposites once they’ve voiced early ideological support for the initiatives he was elected to achieve.
In very public speeches, he singles them out by name and elevates them as leaders who are standing up to do right by America. Today, he did so for Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe in a shout-out during a serious Rose Garden speech after which he took no questions.
Obama made it clear that Snowe deserved recognition for being first to break the partisan barrier when she threw her vote behind the 14-9 passage of the Senate Finance Committee version of the health care bill. In making his remarks, Obama was also sending a message: he is statesman enough to give credit where credit is due.
Conceivably, this praise strategy can either bring a politician deeper into the fold, or provide a the public record for a flip-flop, should one be gathering on the horizon. Think Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, during the kookiness of August’s town-hall season.
And while Snowe, reportedly irked by an ill-timed, deceptive 11th-hour insurance industry blitz against her committee’s bill, voted for the bill today, she also made it clear that no one should take her future support for granted:
“When history calls, history calls,” Snowe announced in the Senate Finance Committee. Wrapping up, she added, “Finally I say that my vote today is my vote today. It doesn’t indicate what my vote will be tomorrow.”
Here’s hoping the senator will continue to see the greater value in voting for the goal of making health care affordable in America.
Obama was clear today about what’s at stake: “As a result of these efforts we are now closer than ever before to getting health reform passed.”
Sounds like history calling.