I don't take Ed Schultz too seriously. So when he says again tonight, as he did in the inaugural episode of his MSNBC show, that he wants national health care and doesn't care how much it costs, it's just so much noise.
But, at least in theory, E.J. Dionne, Jr. is a serious player, a card-carrying member of the liberal establishment. So when the WaPo columnist declares that he doesn't want nationalized health care stopped by the mere issue of figuring out how to pay for it, that gets my attention.
Incredibly, that's precisely what Dionne did on this evening's Ed Show.
E.J. DIONNE, JR.: You know what's frustrating about this to me, is that we go to war in Iraq. No one says we've got to figure out in advance how to pay for it. We have this huge tax cut for the wealthy under Pres. Bush, no one says, oh, we've got to worry about the deficit. But when you put health care on the table, when you say, we want to cover 50 million people without health insurance, suddenly everybody is a fiscal conservative. And I think what that is is a battering ram to kill health care reform.
Now I think you should pay for it. I think we should figure out how to make it budget-neutral [translation: let's raise taxes!] But we can't let this argument about paying for it get in the way of getting the thing done.