The record some would prefer to forget

THE RECORD SOME WOULD PREFER TO FORGET…. Just six years ago, congressional Republicans approved a major expansion of the government’s role over health care, adding a massive amount of money to the national debt in its first decade.

The AP’s Charles Babington reports that most GOP officials no longer want to talk about their own record.

Six years ago, “it was standard practice not to pay for things,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question.” His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit “has done a lot of good.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said those who see hypocrisy “can legitimately raise that issue.” But he defended his positions in 2003 and now, saying the economy is in worse shape and Americans are more anxious.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said simply: “Dredging up history is not the way to move forward.”

Seriously? Is that how we’re going to play this game?

Snowe’s quote is hard to take seriously — as if her own record isn’t relevant right now — but it’s Hatch’s quote that’s especially ridiculous. For Republicans, supporting huge new programs without figuring out how to pay for them “was standard practice.” Six years later, this is justifiable, just so long as the huge new programs do “a lot of good.”

Just so we’re clear, according to the rules, Republicans don’t have to pay for their programs, and Democrats do. Republicans can build up massive debts, and Democrats can’t.

Let’s cut the nonsense. Republicans supported Medicare Part D (Karl Rove saw it as a way of creating a “permanent” GOP majority). It was the biggest expansion of government into the health care industry since Medicare. By any reasonable measure, it was a huge giveaway to private industries, and came with a price tag of at least $1 trillion — far more than this year’s Democratic health care reform plan. It was “complicated as hell,” and left a huge doughnut hole that screwed over millions of seniors. It included end-of-life counseling, which Republicans now consider “death panels.” The Republican bill, which passed under almost comically corrupt circumstances, was financed entirely — literally, 100% — through deficit spending, leaving future generations to pick up the tab.

And what do these exact same Republican lawmakers say now? That the Democratic reform plan increases government’s role in health care (check), costs too much (check), is too complicated (check), and passed under suspicious circumstances (check). Oh, and don’t “dredge up history” that GOP finds embarrassing.

Republicans simply aren’t serious about health care policy. Anyone who suggests the Democratic bill should have been “bipartisan” need only to be reminded of what transpired six short years ago.