Not a Bad Contrast for Harry Reid
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 12:21:47 PM EDT
So on the one side you have Harry Reid, a key architect of comprehensive Health Care Reform, the product of decades of activism, in all its messiness and policy complexity.
And on the other you have Sue Lowden, who thinks bartering livestock and other commodities for health care services from doctors is a way to rein in spiraling health care costs. (If you think that's an exaggeration, take a minute and watch this video.) There's no end of comedic possibilities thinking through the logistical and logical difficulties of managing co-pays and long-term care and drug costs in chickens and other barter payment. But step back and give it a serious look and ... well, this is this woman's take on confronting medical inflation. It's funny and also sad. But as a contrast it's stark and painful.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a tough race for the Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Any way you slice it, the odds aren't great that he wins another term in the Senate. Anti-incumbent sentiments are running deep within the electorate this cycle, and Reid is hands down the most prominent incumbent in the country this year to be facing a competitive race.
And yet. Sue Lowden, the candidate who was supposed to be it for the Republicans, has made herself a laughingstock in just a few short days. When I first heard her talking about bartering for healthcare, I assumed that she had just mistaken the word for bargaining down prices, which seems to be one of the positions taken by Republicans these days (not all that dissimilarly to how Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson said Guam might physically tip over when he presumably meant that it would hit its metaphorical tipping point). But, as noted by JMM, Lowden appears to be fully embracing the idea that Americans should be bringing chickens to their doctors.
Voters can stomach a lot of statements from candidates (one need not think too long to remember instances of candidates getting elected despite having said some pretty remarkable things). But this might be one of those comments -- especially when repeated by the candidate herself -- that makes voters think twice. At the least, Lowden's bartering position takes the Nevada Senate race out of the realm of campaigns solely about the incumbent to one in which voters will actually consider the plusses and minuses of both candidates -- one who delivered on the promise of healthcare for 31 million Americans while reducing the long-term deficit by more than $1 trillion, the other a candidate who thinks Americans should pay their doctors in livestock. And that simply is not good news for Lowden and the Republicans.