In the upside down world that is the United States Senate, Republicans and conservative Democrats have vowed to kill the “fix-it” amendment to the health-care reform law passed by the House on Sunday.
As Sen. John McCain, ever-increasingly now the Senate’s resident curmudgeon, put it, “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” he told an Arizona radio station. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”
Elsewhere he said: “We’ll challenge it every place we can … We’ll fight everywhere.”
Finally McCain added: “‘Get off my lawn!”
But in their efforts to kill the amendment, conservatives are doing a complete about-face. Killing the amendment will let stand special deals to states, including Florida and Nebraska — the latter being the “Cornhusker Kickback” — which Republicans have lambasted since they were included in the Senate version last year.
Even conserva-Dem Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska — who in December traded his vote on the reform bill for the Cornhusker Kickback for his state — says he will vote against the fix-it amendment, meaning he’s now against the very backroom deal he sold his vote for three months ago.
Another provision in the amendment would close the “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage. It seems likely that senators in states with lots of retirees — like Arizona where McCain is up for reelection this year — would think twice about preserving this product of Bush-era ineptitude that makes thousands of seniors choose between buying food and or paying for medicine.
What this latest GOP flip-flop underscores is that conservatives really do not care about Americans’ health-care. They are motivated solely by politics and their desire to inflict as much damage as they can onto the president and his party.
But it’s foolhardy moves like this — coming out to oppose elements of the bill, like the Cornhusker Kickback, that they demonized — that puts them at risk of being unmasked before their own voters as what they are: craven politicians who care more about their own careers than they do the health and welfare of the American people.