For all the commentators pretending to be serious about healthcare reform while urging Democrats seek bipartisan support, here’s NPR:
And so far at least, the idea of scaling back and reaching out to Republicans doesn’t seem likely to pay off. At least not while Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio smell electoral blood in the water.
“Listen, our goal is to stop this monstrosity,” Boehner said. “And we’re working with our members so that we don’t find ourselves in a position where they’re able to pick off a few of our members and to get this bill passed. “
This largely echoes what Mitch McConnell was boasting about last year:
“…Our side didn’t go in the tank and make this a bipartisan bill. We showed that our opposition has a pulse.”
I keep being reminded of Karen Tumulty’s story from last spring:
When Barack Obama informed congressional Republicans last month that he would support a controversial parliamentary move to protect health-care reform from a filibuster in the Senate, they were furious. That meant the bill could pass with a simple majority of 51 votes, eliminating the need for any GOP support. Where, they demanded, was the bipartisanship the President had promised? So, right there in the Cabinet Room, the President put a proposal on the table, according to two people who were present. Obama said he was willing to curb malpractice awards, a move long sought by Republicans that is certain to bring strong opposition from the trial lawyers who fund the Democratic Party.
What, he wanted to know, did the Republicans have to offer in return?
Nothing, it turned out. Republicans were unprepared to make any concessions, if they had any to make.
Republicans had no interest in cooperating when Obama and the idea of healthcare reform were both very popular. They decided instead for a strategy of total opposition, misinformation and deception, with the idea that if they could stop Democrats from accomplishing anything, the electorate would turn against the party in power and reward the Republicans. This is working. Why on Earth would they change course now and hand Democrats any kind of legislative victory?
Simply put, arguing that Democrats need to reach out and be more bipartisan suggests you’re either being dishonest or you haven’t been paying any attention. I’ll let you pick.