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This is going to be a short diary, but I may add/edit/update later.

As the Healthcare Reform package makes its way through Congress, one of the unspoken stories is the way that power, money, and influence are being passed around on this issue.

People who truly care about quality affordable care for every American are being drowned out by politicians who are trying to figure out how to leverage their position into the greatest-possible political advantage.

So, you've got Max Baucus talking about "representing Montana" and hosting fundraising/fishing trips on the Yellowstone River.  What does he want?  The same thing Ted Stevens wanted for Alaska - he wants to get money, economic benefit, and political power for Montana.

I think we need to call folks on the bullshit.

The Congress smells blood.  President Obama has drawn his line in the sand and he's made comprehensive healthcare reform the biggest and most visible priority in his administration.

One of my colleagues grew up in North Dakota, and as a child learned to refer to the manure spreader as "The Congressman".  My grandfather from Iowa used to go outside in the spring after the manure was spread and say, "MMM... smells like money."

So, when I hear Dianne Feinstein trying to claim that a public option is in doubt, my immediate response is, OK, what kind of political benefit is she gaining from this obstruction?  When I hear Lamar Alexander lamenting the fact that the healthcare bill is not "bipartisan" and that we should "tear up the whole thing and start over," I think to myself, OK, what does Lamar Alexander really want?  When I read about Kent Conrad and Max Baucus claiming that a public option is a "non-starter" in spite of the fact that 72% of Americans want one, I think, Who are these guys really serving?

(Update: Added pic)
Baucus Healthcare Lobbyist Comples

I'm tired of seeing the debate framed by Charlie Gibson, Chuck Grassley, Joe Scarborough, and Rick Scott.

While many of us are trying to make our voices heard (above the din) on the public option, I think we ought to listen more and speak less.  Here's what I want to know from my members of Congress:

Who are you screwing?

Who are you really serving?

Who put you up to this?

What do you really want?

This is not a game.  People are dying - literally dying - because we can't get past our territorial gamesmanship and fix a problem.  We can't wait to fix what's broken.  Our kids and grandkids are counting on us.

While I don't think our Senators and Congressmen are really nasty people with bad intent, I think they're focused first and foremost on their own provincial and territorial interest ... NOT on the public welfare or the common good.  They're interested in trying to bring home the bacon for their districts and states, because that's how you win re-election.

Originally posted to Benintn on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 09:50 AM PDT.

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