There’s been a lot of talk online the last couple days about Haley Barbour refusing to tell Chris Matthews on Hardball whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. I saw the interview at the time it aired and there was another part of the interview that I found far more telling (and striking):
Chris Matthews: Let me ask you this. Your party deserves credit because you pushed through welfare reform, a tough bill, because Newt Gingrich pushed it and the president had to sign it under duress in 1996, I think. He might have lost 4 or 5% in that fight with Bob Dole. I don’t think he would have lost but he would have lost a lot of ground. So you guys showed the upper hand, you got the job done, you forced a Democrat to eat it and he did.
Why didn’t you ever do that on health care? You’ve had power. You’ve had both houses under Bush, you’ve had both houses and the presidency. You had plenty of chances to get a really good health care bill using taxes or whatever to serve the country that’s not being served by healthcare. But yet you wait around, like a troll under the bridge, waiting for the Democrats to do it and then you come out and bite their leg. Who don’t you walk across that bridge, why don’t you have a healthcare bill when you’re in power?
Haley Barbour: We trolls who are hiding under the bridge, candidly, a lot of Republicans, including me, believe it would be much better to let the states do some things like we’ve done in Mississippi where we’ve had serious tort reform and our medical liability reform has brought down insurance premiums by 60% in four years, we have reformed medicaid so that we are saving the taxpayers money. We think let the states go for a while, see what works see what doesn’t and then come together with a rational bill at the federal level is a better approach.
Governors Barbour’s comment might carry some weight of Mississippi didn’t currently rank 51st (out of 50 states plus DC) in health care. Let me say that again, dead last. But at least they got tort reform. But honestly, shouldn’t Barbour with the record his state has, really rethink his argument?