03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How to Pass Health Care Reform - -Promise Voinovich the Moon

When the U.S. Senate took its historic vote to move the health care bill to the floor, the count was delayed so that the nonagenarian Robert Byrd could be wheeled into the chamber and Joe Lieberman could walk to the Saturday session from shul. (Oy! Would that he have been hit by a bus! -- Nisht fur dich gedacht!)

But when the roster reached 99, there was still an empty desk. Ohio Senator George Voinovich was a no-show. Conspiracy theorists (well, me) immediately spun scenarios in which the occasionally surprising, halfway moderate Republican could not find it in himself to vote with his caucus and was told that rather than vote no, he should go to a movie.

It turns out that he chose instead to go to a party celebrating his victory 30 years ago against Dennis Kucinich in the Cleveland mayoral election. He was going to vote "no" anyway, so what difference would it make? Since then, the former mayor, governor and soon to be retired Senator has mouthed the same attack lines his GOP colleagues are using to score points: it's expensive, raises taxes, won't work and, he hastens to add, doesn't prevent abortion.

Fine, George, go along with the gang for now. But since you don't have to face voters, donors or party poobahs again, why not be the man who goes down in history as saving health reform? Voinovich has in the past bucked the conservative tide on the foreign relations committee, voted for Sonia Sotomayor, and no less a moral authority than Louisiana Senator David Vitter has called him "wishy washy."

So, unless this suggestion already is the secret plan whispered about between Harry Reid and Barack Obama, may I suggest that Senator Voinovich be offered whatever his little heart desires? Secretary of State? (Sorry Hillary, but if you really care about health care you'll take one for the team). Vice-President? (Well, maybe that's going a little too far). A monument in Washington? The Nobel Prize?

Say, now that's an idea...You've got one lying around, Mr. President, why not get it out of the house and put to good use? It might just earn you another one.