November 20th, 2009
11:34 AM ET
13 years ago

Democrats slam GOP as party of 'fear' in health care debate

Washington (CNN) - Traditional Senate decorum yielded to brass-knuckle politicking in the health care debate Friday as top congressional Democrats sought to close party ranks before a key procedural vote this weekend.

Senate Democrats slammed their Republican colleagues as leaders of a counterproductive party of fear caught in an obstructionist mindset dating back to the New Deal. Republicans, in turn, ripped Democrats for pushing a bill that conservatives claim will force millions of Americans to drop insurance plans they like while jacking up premiums and doing nothing to slow spiraling medical costs.

The harsh rhetoric served as a backdrop for a rare Saturday night Senate
vote on whether to formally proceed with floor debate on Senate Majority Leader

Harry Reid's sweeping $848 billion health care bill.

If Republicans stay unified in opposition to the bill, Reid will need the support of all 58 Senate Democrats along with independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to reach the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

Three key Democratic moderates - Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska - have refused to publicly indicate if they'll back Reid. Each has expressed concern about the cost and scope of the legislation.

Filed under: GOP • Senate Democrats
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Right Leaning Independent

    I think the Repubs could label Dems as the party of "Stupidity" or quite possibly the party of "Enablers" or the party of "Massive Debt" or...... the list could go on with this Dem controlled Administration and Congress..

    November 20, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Richp

    Lets just put it on the national ballot as to whether or not we want health care, the heck with the polls, opinions and other rhetoric, either in Nov or in a special election, lets vote on it and get it over with. Lets also limit the legislation to under 100 pages of times new roman #12 and lets put in simple english, that should eliminate the pork, special favors and other bought and paid for politicians.

    November 20, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Tony in Maine

    The Republicans have been playing the fear card for years. It's just gotten worse with the ascendancy of the Cheney/Rove brand.

    As an aside – anger is born of fear – fear that you'll lose something or fear that you'll not get something you want. This goes a long way toward explaining the hysteria from the right during the August town halls. Beck and company told the gullible that they were going to "lose" just about everything because we have a (gasp) black man as President who is a socialist, commie, pinko, fascist clone of stalin/hitler....yadayadayada. That and a good healthy dose of fear from a polyester suited pastor and people went into full spittle mode.

    November 20, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Jim

    Is there anyone who can't see that the Republicans are trying to scare everyone about everything the Democrats do? I'll bet no one can list a single thing they have joined in to help on in the last year. I'll also bet no one can think of anything they did for the 8 years before that actually made their lives better.

    November 20, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. single mom

    The Dems' plan isn't going to reduce care. Well, I can see how they're getting around that – they're changing the guidelines for women's care – raising the age for mammograms, saying cervical exams aren't as necessary. What next? We don't need pre-natal visits?

    November 20, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. Proud Vet

    I am an Independant but if the Republicans keep it up I will consider being a Democrat. When will they come up with solutions. All they do is obstruct and criticize. As far as I know, they had 8 years to solve problems and did nothing. Now they will stop at nothing to see that the Democrats never get anything done. Instead of being part of the problem, they should try being part of the solution for a change.

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. PJ

    When Harry Reid has to put $100,000,000 carrots in the bill just to entice his fellow Democrats to vote for it, perhaps there is something to be feared. I know he put $100,000,000 in there to lure Sen Landrieu (D-LA); how many other carrots (I should say bribes) are hidden in there. Who pays for these bribes? Does it come out of the taxpayers hides? Do we just borrow it from China? Maybe Prince Harry can pay for it out of his OWN pocket?

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. I am the flacid and powerless wizard of Rush

    They were the Party of No in the 30s (Social Security)
    They were the Party of No in the 60s (Medicare)
    and they continue to be the Party of No in the 21st Century

    Get the pattern, folks?

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. John

    GOP the party of fear? Nooo, tell me it isn't so! Their entire strategy is nothing but fear mongering and until they figure out it won't fly with independent voters like myself, they'll continue to be the minority party. Come up with a different strategy GOP, as that's what it'll take for you to get my vote again, or plan on enjoying a long and fruitful career as #2.

    November 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Scott, Tucson

    What's scary is that the democrats are trying to cram this bill down our throats without even reading what's in it. So what happens if you're out of work, trying to support your family and unable to pay the premiums for obamacare? Why the IRS will give you a hefty fine or go to jail. How
    's that for change?

    November 20, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Victim of reading other Victim's posts

    "Party Of Fear" a slam? The GOP practicaly pats themselves on the back for it... Let's be honest here, only one side is decrying hypothetical doom scenarios and that is, and has alwsys been, the Republican party. A party who is unabashed in it's love for big business, like insurance companies. Using words like "Death Panels," when rationing already takes place among the extremely expensive private insurers is not just fear-mongering... It's virtually Death Profiteering...

    November 20, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. maf

    Please! Stop your bi-partisan bickering and hammer out a bill that works! The world is watching your childish behavior and collectively shaking our heads. DO YOUR JOBS. You all have amazing health care, you all make good money, figure this out!

    November 20, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Dan

    100 Million for Louisiana ought to do the trick for one vote

    November 20, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Scott L

    Jobless rates up in 29 states and our leaders are jerking around with Health Care. WHO CARES!!!!!

    AWESOME! Throw out the Democrats in 2010!

    November 20, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    If it wasn't for the GOP you would already be working two jobs to pay for health care you wouldn't get.

    November 20, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Scott, Tucson

    LOL, I wouldn't bring up Social Security since it's the democrats that started the policy of raiding the SS funds for their other pet social projects. And now they want to cut billions from Medicare, so I guess your parents heath care plan would be you.

    November 20, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Butch

    For reals?

    People with a brain can see past the name calling by liberals. The party of "fear;" the party of "no." Is that all liberals have to say? Please quit patronizing our intelligence.

    November 20, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Kat

    I'm from Louisiana, I just wrote to Mary Landrieu. This bribe should not encourage her to sell us out. These idiots will try anything at this point.

    November 20, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. joc

    The GOP is always striking fear,the Dems are acting like cowards,I'm glad I'm an Independent.

    November 20, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. A Kickin' Donkey

    Time to playhard ball Mr. President.

    Deploy Rambo Rahme Emmanuel and tell the Lieberman's, Landreau's and Nelsons that you WILL NOT sign bills that provide money to their states if they stand in the way of the HEALTH CARE BILL.

    This is what former President Johnson did on Medicare, Voting Rights and the Civil Rights Act.

    Now, I know that you are not a white man, and the "rules" for how you govern as President are different than they were for LBJ, WJC, or GWB for that matter but somethings have to be the same.

    From time to time you've got to demonstrate that you will not be tiffled with. We all know they will call you the arrogant, cocky, power mongering black man when you do it .... unfortunately, that is just the price of the office.

    November 20, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. dan

    We have massive run away debt and already can't afford social security and now we are adding another massive govt program. Our massive debt devalues our dollar increasing things like gas prices.

    If we keep going our credit ratings will be downgraded and interest rates will spike. Our grandkids will default on our massive deficit. We don't have the money for all of this. Obama is projecting 10 trillion debt over just the next 10 years and it will only get worse with all the baby boomers retiring.

    By the way one party rule is bad for democracy. Obama could pick 6 supreme court justices and has a filibuster proof senate and huge majorites in the house.

    November 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    NOTHING will get done for this country as long as the party of NO obstructs everything.

    This should have been done in the summer and we could NOW be talking about other issues.


    November 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. call me crazy

    PJ, What $100,000,000 are you talking about? And please don't quote Glenn Beck. I have not heard about any pork in these bills. I have to agree with maf and say "STOP THE BICKERING and get it done!"

    November 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    I am so sick and tired of the party of GREED OVER PRINCIPLE (GOP).

    It is obvious to anyone who can think independently that they are in the vest pocket of the health insurance megalopoly, and care not one wit for anyone else.

    November 20, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Samantha

    I have been a lifelong Democrat, but the tricks and games that Reid, Pelosi, and others have been pulling has made me very emabarrased to be one. I am leaning more Independant/Republican now now. The amount of money that these clowns want to spend on Health care is reprehensible. Let's bankrupt the country! Woooo!!!

    November 20, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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