Cooper didn’t pass the baton; he passed the buck

With his vote in favor of government-run health care on Saturday, Rep. Jim Cooper let down not just his constituents here in Middle Tennessee, but undermined what until recently had been a career as a “deficit hawk.” We had always counted on Cooper, a self-proclaimed “Blue Dog De...
Nov 11, 2009

With his vote in favor of government-run health care on Saturday, Rep. Jim Cooper let down not just his constituents here in Middle Tennessee, but undermined what until recently had been a career as a “deficit hawk.” We had always counted on Cooper, a self-proclaimed “Blue Dog Democrat,” to be our watchdog against big government spending. In August during a visit to Lebanon’s Noon Rotary Club, Cooper told The Democrat that he would not vote for a health care bill that had a government run option. We never for once considered that sentiment disingenuous or duplicitous. So we reported it to our readers. Many of our readers probably think Mr. Cooper untruthful as well, now, because he did vote for it even though by his own admission: "My vote is not an endorsement of all the provisions of the bill because I find much of the bill to be deeply flawed. There is little chance that [the House bill] will become law due to the long legislative process. "Without passage of this House bill, the Senate could delay reform indefinitely. That would be the worst possible outcome because our current health-care system is not sustainable," he said. Now, what would truly be worse – voting for this $1.1 trillion package with its unrestrained costs to government, no checks and balances on premium increases, no restraint on tort lawyers, all the cuts to Medicare (which means states have to pick up the tab), all the expected rationing of services and the costs to small businesses who have no choice but to comply or face strong penalties – or voting against it and forcing the discussion to begin again? In a letter to a Nashville newspaper Cooper compared this important bill to a relay race, of all things. He said: “I voted last week to allow the race to get to the third lap, believing that the Senate will produce a better bill.” Bottom line this is not a race, and Cooper did not pass a baton, but rather passed the buck by shifting the responsibility to the Senate. Where have the Blue Dog, fiscally-conservative principles gone in the Democrat party? Why would Cooper vote for a bill he even admits “deeply flawed" in the first place? The Wall Street Journal’s editorial on Monday said: “Mr. Cooper has with a single vote made his entire career irrelevant.” We agree. On the other hand, Rep. Coopers’ fellow Tennessee Democrat colleague Rep. Bart Gordon (who we will forget for the moment sided with Cooper in passing “cap and tax”) apparently understands the consequences of this bill. He expressed in a statement to another media outlet: “I am concerned about a mandated government-run public option, and I do not like this bill's financial impact on the state of Tennessee.” Both Rep. Gordon and Tennessee’s Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen understand that if any bill similar to the one voted on Saturday passes and becomes law, the expansion of Medicaid coverage would cost Tennessee millions of dollars each year. No matter how you look at it, passage of this health care bill will cost all Tennesseans – through either state or federal taxes or penalties to employers or loss of jobs or all of the above. So, Rep. Gordon, thank you, for standing up and doing what was right in your attempt to stop the passage of a flawed bill to the Senate. We will remember this action in the future. However, Rep. Cooper, you failed us. You wrote in your letter that “Congress must do reform right because health care touches every life in the most profound way.” Truer words were probably never written about true health care reform, but your duplicitous vote on a seriously flawed bill negates the words you wrote and makes your "entire career irrelevant.” The bottom line is that the buck(a.k.a., baton) should have stopped with you, Rep. Cooper. Rep. Cooper’s contact information: Nashville office • 605 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219, Phone: 615-736-5295 • Fax: 615-736-7479; Washington D.C. Office • 1536 Longworth HOB • Washington, D.C. 20515 • Phone: 202-225-4311 • Fax: 202-226-1035 Rep. Gordon’s contact information: Murfreesboro Office • 305 West Main Street; Murfreesboro, TN 37130, Phone: (615) 896-1986; Washington Office • 2306 Rayburn HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515, Phone: (202) 225-4231

 

Log in or sign up to post comments.