Maria Cantwell speaking at the Democratic National Convention last August
Don’t think there’s vid up on this yet but this morning on CNN’s State of the Union, host John King interviewed second term Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Old White Guy Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), probably the Rethugs most experienced spokesperson, adept at framing an issue and sticking to the talking points.
After the oblgatory homage to Ted Kennedy in which Hatch praised his bipartianship, King asked how his passing would affect the health care reform debate, especially the public option which Kennedy insisted be part of the Senate bill that came out of his committee. Hatch immediately crapped all over the idea, casting it as a government takeover of health care and too expensive to even consider.
Cantwell wasn’t having any of it, making the argument that maintaining the status quo wasn’t sustainable, that the public option was key to controlling the costs that Hatch is so exercised about.
(Insurance premiums doubled over the last ten years and are expected to double again in the next decade, meaning that a family of four with an annual income of $56,000 will have to spend half of their gross income on private health care insurance. Meanwhile, another million people will have to declare bankruptcy this year because of catastrophic medical costs, notwithstanding that most of them already have what they think is coverage from the private sector.)
On the issue of Attorney General Eric Holder‘s appointment of investigator to look into CIA torture practices, Hatch was predictably horrified, alleging that the investigation was political, and this was no time to be “timid” about terrorism. Cantwell rejected the politicization and timidity frames, driving home the point that with respect to the former, no one is above the law; and on the latter, the issue is about “effectiveness,” arguing that if we expect the cooperation of other countries in fighting terrorism, we need to stick to the rule of law.
Kudos to Cantwell and hopes that a new generation of Democrats will finally recognize that the Rethugs have adopted a strategy of obstructing all things Obama and have absolutely no interest in bipartisanship. That era was officially buried with The Lion of the Senate yesterday at Arlington Cemetery.
UPDATE: Here’s the vid.