Hmmm. A new hospital for Connecticut. Special deals for "frontier states." $300 million for Louisianna and the "Cornhusker Kickback" for Senator Ben Nelson and the good folk of Nebraska - soon to become the homeless and jobless capital of America. This is not "the art of compromise." This is the politics of smash and grab. Somebody shatters the glass by putting legislation on the table, and everybody tries to grab everything he or she can get - for his or her state, of course.
Which really means for him- or herself - payoffs to the good people of their state to keep themselves in office in perpetuity. Senator Harry Byrd of West Virginia is the world's champ at this, but many younger members of Congress are off to a good start.
The work of politics is supposed to revolve around the polis - the city or state - and to be concerned with the overall wellbeing thereof. So how does it help the good people of Tennessee to have to pay for Senators Dodd, Reid, Landreau, Nelson, Baucus, et al to be able to pay their way into office for the foreseeable future? That's what it comes down to; with two Republican Senators, all Tennesseans will get from the smash and grab of health care legislation is the privilege of paying for the deals swung in other states by lawmakers interested above all else in retaining their privileged status as national leaders.
The real immorality, however, is that voters have become so accustomed to the bribery, special treatment, and grandstanding of American politicians that we think there's no other way to do this job. That's what Harry Reid seems to think. Will Americans ever sicken of all this chicanery, stiffen their moral backbones, and say, "Enough!"?
T. M. Moore