Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich plans to announce his vote for or against the health care reform package in a press conference set for 10 am tomorrow. The package in question is being cobbled together from the Senate bill and a reconciliation fix drafted by Nancy Pelosi that may be enacted through a so-called “Slaughter Solution” where the Senate bill would be “deemed” to have passed and a second reconciliation package would be voted on by the House.
Kucinich is a staunch advocate of a single-payer system (i.e. no private insurance at all, only a single government insurer), and has previously stated his opposition to the current bills that have floated through Congress. However, he was recently given a shout-out by President Obama who was stumping last week in Ohio for health care, and was given a neat-o ride on Air Force One, giving Kucinich and Obama plenty of time to discuss Kucinich’s vote.
I’m with Allahpundit on this one – I’d be surprised if he doesn’t flip. The comments on the Plain Dealer site seem to indicate his supporters think he’ll stick to his guns and continue his opposition, but with Pelosi needing every last vote she can get, somehow I doubt that one of the most liberal Congressmen in Washington will end up standing against this health care reform bill, no matter how bad it is.
I guess the question is, what does it matter if Kucinich flips? It’s not as though flipping a hardcore liberal will quell the fears of moderate Democrats in red districts. Furthermore, if Obama somehow convinced Kucinich that this bill is the best way to get to a single-payer, how does that disprove the allegations of many critics that this entire effort is a move toward a single-payer system. And lastly, how could Kucinich suddenly claim a change of heart without giving the appearance of being bought off?
I guess there’s still a small chance that he’ll come out in strong opposition to it – hell, only last week he was strongly against it, making a potential flip-flop even more damaging to Kucinich’s credibility. I’m hoping he sticks to his guns for whatever reasons, not only because it complicates Pelosi’s quest to ram through an unpopular bill, but because it would be entertaining as hell to see some hardening opposition on the left to this monstrosity of a health care reform effort.
We’ll see tomorrow. But if I was betting, I would wager he’s flipping.