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Maybe he's just casting about for something -- anything -- to stay relevant. Maybe he actually believes what he's saying. But if you're Lamar Alexander, you can't help looking in the mirror these days and seeing the Ghost of 1980s Conservatism. It's only a matter of time before he starts wearing a Member's Only jacket as his signature look.
Lamar's latest plan is to be the Chicken Little of Government Intervention. (Cliff's Notes version: Private sector good, government bad.) From a recent Senate speech:
"Senators agree on about 80 percent of what needs to be done in health care, but one of the areas where we don't agree is on cost. Another one is whether a so-called government-run insurance option will lead to a Washington takeover of health care. Many of us feel that we've had enough Washington takeovers: our banks, our insurance companies, our student loans, our car companies, and now health care would be too much. That's not the best way to extend coverage to low-income Americans who need it."
What the good senator fails to mention is that the government was forced to intervene in all these cases due to private sector ineptitude. What he also fails to mention is that his own party had years to address health care, and never lifted finger. Finally, he doesn't seem to notice that the biggest impediment to business is the every crushing cost of health care. All he can say is this: "No, no, no. Bad, bad, bad."
Can someone in Lamar's office tell him to either throw in productively, or get out of the way? 1983 called and it wants its rhetoric back.