In Washington, D.C., passing a bill on the magnitude of HR 3590 is better than sex for political Lotharios such as Barry, Harry, and Nancy. As a result, paying money to convince some wary senators to vote to open debate on a bill they oppose can be viewed as awfully close to outright political prostitution.
The sixty votes needed to deliver Reid's proposed health care bill to debate prevailed largely because of a two-page, three-hundred-million-dollar Medicaid subsidy written into the health care bill, which bought the vote of a specific senator from a "certain state recovering from a major disaster" -- namely, Mary Landrieu.
Maybe Harry Reid (D-NV) knew something about Mary Landrieu (D-LA) that the rest of America didn't know. Who would have thought that someone as sweet and innocent as Mary would so easily submit to brokerage for political favors in return for a profit? Yet while wearing conservative business suits, clip-on earrings, and sensible pumps, Madame Mary Landrieu is surprisingly skilled in the area of compromising affirmed principles for political gain -- a common definition of political whoring.
Riding the health care reform float in the Mardi Gras parade, Harry noticed Louisianan Mary Landrieu in the crowd yelling, "Throw me something, Mister." Everyone remembers Senator Landrieu emphatically proclaiming, "I'm not for a government-run, national, taxpayer-subsidized plan, and never will be." That was, of course, until political pimp Harry Reid tossed handfuls of doubloons in Landrieu's direction, seducing her into compromising her moral fiber for currency. The Majority Leader of the Senate took advantage of the opportunity to convince the normally reserved Landrieu to throw inhibition to the wind and vote for cloture on a bill she claimed to be ethically opposed to. Mary accepted, and she has since been officially crowned Cajun Queen of the Carnival. Though low-key in nature, Reid seems to have lots of experience slapping money on the dresser in an attempt to woo the unwilling to lie back and submit. After a Saturday night vote, a bill that should have been dead on arrival has renewed opportunity to be debated, which means Reid persuaded four moderate Democratic senators to surrender core principles to convincing wiles. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nevada, and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut must be taking lessons from Landrieu -- the three senators, who staunchly opposed any bill containing a public option, are now open to negation. Stepping out of the shadows and leaning against lampposts, "Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) got Reid to jettison a provision stripping health insurers of their antitrust exemption. Landrieu got the concessions for her money. And Lincoln won an extended, 72-hour period to study legislation." One would think that after the heady stupor of Saturday night lifted, and in spite of the wad of money stuffed in her garter, Mary would have undoubtedly regretted her improper conduct. Quite the contrary: rather than being mortified, Landrieu emerged unabashed and proud of her actions, even "flaunting" her behavior. In fact, Mary must be tutoring the normally reserved Blanche Lincoln, whose weak resolve has diminished to a barely audible whimper. The senator from Arkansas said she plans to hold out for many more concessions in the debate resuming next month, saying, "My decision to vote on the motion to proceed is not my last, nor only, chance to have an impact on health-care reform." Good thinking, Blanche, because "...the big shakedown is yet to occur: That will happen when Reid comes back to his caucus in a few weeks to round up 60 votes for the final passage of the health bill." Sitting in the House on the Hill, Mary Landrieu is all but counting her huge stack of dirty money. Yet the senator remains acutely aware that acquiring the $300 million depends on convincing resistant senators to sign onto an unpopular "public option." Eager to meet the challenge, Landrieu has vowed to "...continue to work with Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) and other Democratic centrists on a possible compromise that could attract 60 votes." If the bill passes and Mary returns to Louisiana with her ill-gotten gains, how much of a Mardi Gras atmosphere will be evident after Medicaid deficits impose tax increases on constituents the program was supposed to benefit? And that says nothing of how Landrieu's debauchery could cause Louisiana to be viewed as the state most responsible for America having to pay exorbitant taxes to cover the cost of a program whose "...spending doesn't take effect until 2014." Famous prostitute Xavier Hollander once said, "If my business could be made legal, I and women like me could make a big contribution...and the city and state could derive the money in taxes and licensing fees that I pay off to crooked cops and political figures." In the case of Landrieu from Louisiana, the senator gets to work both angles of the street: the Xavier Hollander side and the crooked political figure side. Mary Landrieu has potentially managed to garner a "big contribution" for her state. She did so by demeaning herself. As a result, the senator from Louisiana has officially been initiated into the ranks of Washington, D.C. pimps and prostitutes who have sold out American freedom for filthy lucre profits and political pleasures. Thus, a great nation finds itself at the mercy of a diminutive politician whose capitulation may force the 56% of the American population desperately struggling to roll out from under a health care proposal it spurns to surrender and pay.