Stunning: Gergen Compares Senate ObamaCare Vote to Brown v. Board of Ed.
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen went so far to compare the
Senate's cloture vote early Monday morning on ObamaCare to the 1954
Brown v. Board of Education decision. Seconds after the Senate
concluded its vote, Gergen lamented the party line vote, and contrasted
it with the unanimous finding of the Supreme Court which ended the
segregation of schools [audio clips from segment available here].
The analyst appeared during CNN's midnight special coverage as the Senate concluded its debate on its version of health care "reform" legislation. Sixteen minutes into the 1 am hour, anchor Tom Foreman asked the perennial White House advisor about the expected partisan vote: "What's wrong with the Democrats simply saying- fine, you don't want to vote with us? This is entirely ours."
Gergen immediately began his lament about the party line vote, and soon dropped his comparison to the Brown decision:
GERGEN: In my judgment, it's a tragedy for the country to have a bill this important, one of the- a stark piece of legislation passed with only one party voting for it. That has not happened. That's not been our history. I mean, the time I was in the Clinton White House, when President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton were pushing for health care reform- and I remember so well- Pat Moynihan- he was one of my mentors in life. He was a wonderful senator who called me in and said David- and he then sent me all the literature on it- every time we pass major social legislation in this country, we pass it with supermajority, with both parties. It's so important to building public confidence, just like Earl Warren when he had the Brown versus Board of Education. He wanted to make sure it was nine-nothing on the Supreme Court. He spent lots and lots of time rounding up everybody. Pat Moynihan pointed out and every time-
Foreman interrupted the senior political analyst briefly to go to the feed from the floor of the Senate as the clerk confirmed that cloture had been reached. He went back to Gergen and asked him to continue his previous thought:
FOREMAN: You were saying this is certainly a victory for the White House, but in many ways, it seems like the fissure in this country, between the left and the right, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats- I guess you could argue it grew even deeper tonight.
GERGEN: It has, and it's terribly unfortunate. Donna Brazile [who appeared immediately before Gergen] is right- this is an historic moment. Senate of the United States has never voted for universal access before. This vote tonight- the 60 now ensures that the universal access bill will pass the Senate. That's very, very important for them.
Having said that, it all- we've now reached the point where on significant social legislation, Olympia- and- to this tragic quality was expressed by Olympia Snowe. She's one of the- you know, there are Republicans, of course, who are just ideologically opposed to anything working with the Democrats, but Olympia Snowe was trying to work with the Republicans [Democrats?], and to have her tonight express severe disappointment at the way that this is unfolding here in these last days, severe disappointment that this is the first major social legislation that is passed in this country in more than half a century that has not enjoyed a vote from the other side, is, I think, brought us to the place where we can say- historic legislation is about to be made, but it's a tragedy to me that it can't be done with more support from the other side, that this couldn't have been worked out in a more bipartisan way. I'm not sure- the blame is pretty evenly divided here about who is responsible for that, but the fact is, the partisanship, the poisonous toxic atmosphere that exists on the Senate floor tonight and in much of Washington is not healthy for the country.
Gergen has been notorious over the past year for his outlandish analyses. In February 2009, he labeled the Obama agenda "one of the greatest political dramas of our time." On September 8, Gergen lamented the resignation of Van Jones, Obama's radical "green jobs" czar: "It's a sad day to see a man of good work get so little credit." After President Obama made his speech to the Muslim world in June, he trumpeted it as "the most powerful and the most persuasive speech any American president has ever made to the Muslim populations around the world." Earlier this month, the analyst likened President Obama to a damsel in distress. And who can forget his giggles when Anderson Cooper made his infamous "teabagging" remark back in April?
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.