Nobody Wants to Talk About the C-SPAN Thing

Of all the cable channels, it was C-SPAN–not general known for stirring up controversy–that made health care headlines this week.

On Tuesday, the cable network’s chief, Brian Lamb, released a letter to Congressional leaders requesting permission to broadcast the remaining deliberations on the health care bill.

“Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American,” Mr. Lamb wrote.

It wasn’t Mr. Lamb’s idea; it was President Obama’s.

“I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies,” Mr. Obama said during a town hall in August 2008.

So what do your local representatives who’ve been leading the health care charge think of it?

We don’t really know. I called several of them yesterday, and have yet to hear back from Senator Chuck Schumer–who helped negotiate one of the more controversial deals–and Representatives Jerry Nadler, Charlie Rangel, and Anthony Weiner (who, it should be noted, is currently traveling overseas).

So, we’ll have to settle for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s off-the-cuff response as she left a meeting yesterday. “There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail,” she told Politico.

Nobody Wants to Talk About the C-SPAN Thing