Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while should recognize the Wyden-Bennett bill. The Wyden amendment was somewhat based on this proposal.
Look, there is no way you could call the Wyden-Bennett bill liberal. It had real bipartisan support – and for good reason. It was a market-based, voucher approach to insurance that would have eliminated Medicaid, decoupled insurance from employment, and made the country into a massive exchange.
Bennett isn’t a liberal. He’s not even a moderate. But he’s a legislator: He’s willing to work with the other side to get things done. And he’s paying for it now.
The result of this isn’t just that Bob Bennett might lose his seat. It’s that other legislators will stop legislating. It’s that all Bennett’s friends will see what happened to their old colleague and go pale. It’s that compromise will become too dangerous to seriously contemplate, and so the possibility for compromise will become even more remote.
At some point, maybe this is a good thing. If compromise is impossible, better that we just get some loons into the Senate and admit the institution’s modern composition and lift the strictures on majority action. But let’s at least call this what it is: Bennett is not in trouble because he is a liberal. He’s in trouble because he’s a legislator.
I’ve said it again and again. There is still much work to be done. This bodes poorly for any of it happening.