Will Politicians Ever Get It?

It's not my job as a journalist to offer my opinion. There are plenty of people to do that...talk show hosts, analysts, pundits, and editorialists. So let's just file this blog under "news observation."


 It's not my job as a journalist to offer my opinion. There are plenty of people to do that...talk show hosts, analysts, pundits, and editorialists. So let's just file this blog under "news observation."

Here's the setting. The country has been involved in some pretty contentious debate for the better part of a year over health care reform. The issue is not whether people should have health care...the issue is how to accomplish that goal. And it raises many questions. How can health care coverage be provided for as many people as possible that doesn't add more debt to a country already on the financial brink? How do you make sure changes don't amount to rationing health care? How do you ensure those with health care can still go to the doctors they go to now? Should there be a government sponsored plan, and if so, how do you make sure taxpayers aren't funding procedures they morally and ethically oppose?

It is against that backdrop that one U.S. Senator has apparently decided to play "let's make a deal." U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat from Nebraska, has been holding out his support for health care legislation. The Democrats had 59 votes. His support would be the crucial 60th vote to move the legislation forward.

Senator Nelson has centered his opposition on a provision that would cover abortions. That opposition is understandable. So this weekend, it would seem he, and all others who don't favor abortion, or government funded abortion, scored a victory when Democratic leaders agreed to limit insurance coverage of abortions. With that agreement, Nelson voted "yes" to move the legislation forward.

But wait a minute. Senator Nelson also got something else. For his yes vote, he also got a deal where the federal government will pick up the tab for expanding medicaid in his state of Nebraska...the only state to receive the windfall.  Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States. 

So, let's get this right. While all the debate is going on about how to craft health care legislation, Senator Nelson holds out his vote until he gets something in return to benefit his state?

In the end, Senator Nelson's vote does not seem to be based entirely on what is best for the country. Some might argue he bargained his vote in exchange for some goodies for his state.

It would seem to me, as a "news observation," that this is precisely what the American people...Democrat, Republican, or otherwise...despise about politics and politicians.

Sure, we can vote them out of office. And sometimes we do. But there's always another deal-maker waiting in the wings. The "Wheelin & Dealin" that is systemic of local, state and national politics, may seem to politicians that it's benefiting their constituents...but Senator Nelson's vote underscores how wrong that thinking actually is.

Will politicians ever get it? Just asking.



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  • by Nathan Location: Eastern NC on Dec 27, 2009 at 03:00 AM
    Well, we as non-Nebraskans can't vote this guy out, and I doubt Nebraskans are holding this against him. Maybe they are, I don't know, but it seems that state benefited from this, so maybe not. As for the moral compass, it's simple. Politicians may be scum, but they have people they love. Family, kids, whomever. All they need to do is agree that our families deserve the same level of care as their families. Abortion. Sticky subject. But what's the root? Family planning. Can the females among the rich and powerful choose to have a baby or not? Then so should it be for the poor and working. Abortion is an ugly means to that end, but its opponents are rarely also those who support health programs for young children of the working poor. Once the baby's out, they wash their hands, and that's wrong, because again, they would care for their own children. It just needs to go both ways, that's all. But your question is quite broad, cannot be answered in 1000 characters.
  • by Buzz Location: MillCreek on Dec 23, 2009 at 04:18 PM
    No Dave, they absolutely do not get it, and further more they do not care. The politicians have become the elitist class. They are above the frey on everything. and, I am talking about all of the major parties, and at every level, from county to nataional. There is only one tool we as citizens have to use and that is our vote. We can not vote any politician back into thier seat, they HAVE to go. We must have all new people in these positions, and THEY need to run scared while they are there. It seems to me that we need to quit electing all lawyers, they created quite a cushy position for themselves. We need more business owners, farmers, fishermen, and other everyday folks in political seats. I am sure they would make great common decisions that would work for their local area, and for the country as a whole. Buzz-
  • by US citizen for now Location: Washington on Dec 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM
    Dave, thanks for addressing these issues regarding politicians doing what's best for our country. For the last 30 years our code of ethics and morals have declined at a fast rate. You know it, see it because you're in the field of journalism. The best solution to avoid voting in corrupt or two faced politicians in office is to get back to the basics and fundamentals of good ethics and morals. What is good and what is bad? We have to differentiate between the two and make a stand like our founding fathers did when this great nation was united under God and his principles. We as a nation have fallen away from good principles. Principles which kept this nation great till 30 years ago when our moral standards started eroding. How to judge ones character is to know what's wrong and what's right. This nation has become a lazy but spoiled nation and to know who you're voting for means that you'll have to do research which takes work and is the right thing to do. Background check. God help us.
  • by Ted Location: Grimesland on Dec 21, 2009 at 09:59 PM
    No, they won't, if they did they wouldn't be voting for more of this trash legislation.
  • by donna Location: virginia beach on Dec 21, 2009 at 09:14 PM
    just call nelson and the others what they truly are -- scum. they have no integrity, no honesty, no concern for the AMERICAN TAXPAYER. Let's do a survey and see if politicians rank above used car salesmen. i don't think they will. Again, just call them all scum.

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