Monday, July 20, 2009

Disingenuousness Watch

As we all know, Sen. Collins and her lackeys in the Maine media want Congress to slow down on health care reform.

This eight months after the junior senator told voters during her recent campaign that, "I actually think [Obama's] plan is pretty good."

Of course, no one remembers Collins playing for more time during the debate over President Bush's unaffordable tax cuts for the rich--which had a much higher ten-year price tag than the health care legislation currently on the table.

But the idea seems to be that health care reform is so tricky--and so important--that the decades spent refining proposals, the two years spent testing the public's appetite for reform during the presidential campaign and the months spent cobbling together legislative language in six different congressional committees aren't enough.

Apparently there's lots more heavy lifting to do--so much more that an up-or-down vote on a bill shouldn't happen any time soon.

So with such urgent work left to be done, how did the junior senator spend the weekend? Holed up in her office, determined to find a way to lower the cost of reform? Stuck in sweltering Washington D.C., crafting amendments to strengthen the legislation in ways that will improve health care for all Americans?

In a word, no. Instead, she spent Friday evening in Presque Isle at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Look: There's nothing wrong with politicians cutting ribbons. And Collins can certainly talk and chew gum at the same time.

But the junior senator would have more credibility on the issue, and seem less disingenuous, if she'd had more to say lately about the substance of health care reform. And her request for a delay would seem more like a good-faith move if her schedule was crammed full of health care-related activities.

Instead, Collins has been harping on process--her trademark approach to initiatives she opposes but wants her constituents to think she supports.

Delay, then water down, then scuttle. Unfortunately, that seems to be the formula.

Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong.

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