I saw this on Friday, but didn’t get around to writing something about it until today. Since then, of course, many other bloggers have covered it by now. But when a Democrat says something like what Sen. Mary Landrieu did on health care reform, I can’t help chiming in even days later, if only because there can’t be enough voices in the choir on this.
Look, I know southern Democrats have a hard row to hoe. They’re smack in the middle of the hot, crowded, dark heart of a lot of political madness right now, and trying to hold on to a shot at getting re-elected. They are, if you will, trapped in an asylum that the inmates have now taken over. But when they say things like this, you have to wonder if they’re making their way towards the exits or making themselves comfortable in the middle of the madness.
“I believe in the private sector,” Landrieu said, in reference to giving Americans consumers a choice of a public option. “I don’t believe in government running every program for everybody,” she added, doing her best impression of a Republican.
Asked specifically about polling data showing the public option with strong national support, the conservative Democrat added, “I think that when people hear ‘public option,’ they hear ‘free health care.’ Everybody wants free health care. Everybody wants health care they don’t have to pay for. The problem is that we as government and business have to pick up the tab, and as individuals. So I’m not at all surprised that the public option has been sold as free health care. But there is no free lunch.”
I have only one response to this: Whatever, Mary.