Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Rockefeller Rips Dean: “Nonsense … Irresponsible … Stunning … Wrong” (with video)

Greg Sargent, with video (06:46):
Wow, this is really something. Senator Jay Rockefeller, who recently emerged as something of a public option hero on the left, just tore into Howard Dean on MSNBC, ripping Dean’s call on Dems to kill the Senate bill as “nonsense,” and demanding that the left stop “sulking” and start acting like “grownups.”
Asked by Andrea Mitchell about Dean’s opposition, Rockefeller said: “It’s nonsense. And it’s irrepsonsible. And coming from him as a physician, it’s stunning. And he’s wrong. Does that answer your question?”

Pressed by Mitchell to defend the bill despite the jetissoning of core liberal priorities, Rockefeller cited the fact that at least 85% of insurance company revenues would now be spent on health care, cited the closing of much of the Medicare “donut hole” for seniors, and the coverage for 31 million people without insurance, among other things.

Then Rockefeller really got started.

“Am I angry that the public option appears to have been dropped? Of course I’m angry about that,” he said. “Was I for the Medicare buy-in? Of course I was…So what do I do? do I take my footall and run home and sulk?”

Rockefeller still wasn’t finished. “I’m a grownup, you’re a grownup,” he said. “We’ve been around this business for a long time. And you never get everything you want. You don’t sulk about it. You try to keep improving the bill.”

Strong stuff! The substance of his dispute with Dean aside, it’s interesting to note that Rockefeller would be far less likely to offer such a stern dressing down to, say, Joe Lieberman, whose views on health care likely rankle Rockefeller far more than Dean’s do.
But then again, Lieberman has been allowed to effectively hijack this process, which means he’s holding a gun to the head of reform. Dean, meanwhile, is just some silly lefty ranting on the sidelines, so there’s no downside to venting in his direction.

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