Breaking: 2008 Winners Considering Governing Without Permission From Losers

by: Daniel De Groot

Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 23:12


The NY Times will be reporting on page A1 tomorrow that Democrats are considering passing a health reform bill whether Republicans support it or not.

Whether this was some kind of long planned strategy or just an ad-hoc response to Republican moves (an explanation I would favour) the article makes clear that this is a response to a couple recent Republican moves:

  • Grassley.  Sen. Grassley indicated that he would not vote for a bill that contained all his desired compromises unless it could get substantial Republican support.  He also embraced the "death panels" nonsense instead of refuting it.  This was key to Democrats coming to see him as not negotiating in good faith.

  • Opposition to co-ops.  As many here expected, even ditching the public option and making co-ops the centrepiece of the bill would not suffice, as Republicans indicated they would still view this as "government healthcare", "socialized health care" and so forth.

This is encouraging in particular:


One senior administration official said the sense within the White House was that Republicans, in an effort to undermine President Obama and Congressional Democrats, had made a political calculation to oppose any health care legislation.

Update: Since typing this up, this bit was revised in the article (very interesting) as Rahm evidently realized that he didn't need the cover of anonymity to say that "water is wet":


Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said the heated opposition was evidence that Republicans had made a political calculation to draw a line against any health care changes, the latest in a string of major administration proposals that Republicans have opposed.

"The Republican leadership," Mr. Emanuel said, "has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day."

Whatever else, hopefully this part is a lesson that sticks.  Elected Republicans are not interested in fixing health care.  It does them no favours, and in case people hadn't noticed, they're not real altruistic in general.

Discuss.  Also, h/t to lord_mike in QH.

Daniel De Groot :: Breaking: 2008 Winners Considering Governing Without Permission From Losers

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Yes! (4.00 / 7)
It's not only about time; it's almost past time.  Thank you very much.

Again (4.00 / 3)
We've been down this path before and will go down it again.  Don't get me wrong, I believe them.  But this is the personality of the administration.  They will go back and forth between post-partisanship and hardball the whole time they are there.

Might as well get used to it.

And keep playing our role.


[ Parent ]
ha ha (4.00 / 6)
love the headline

also (4.00 / 9)
i bet you anything some vulnerable Republicans cave in and vote "yes" anyway. Not that we should do anything to win those votes but I think that will happen. And that's the way it should work when you have popular support: write a good bill and pick up nervous moderates at vote time.

I've always said that would happen ... (4.00 / 3)
because of nothing else .. if a PO passes .. and it's successful .. you just know that Republicans will claim they helped pass it .. since to them ... lying comes naturally

[ Parent ]
re: I've always said that would happen (0.00 / 0)
I waited for years for Republicans to start blaming our troubles in Iraq on D's, and it never really happened...  I think they're going to stick to their guns and oppose health care reform all the way into 2010.

[ Parent ]
That'll never happen (0.00 / 0)
Any Republican who votes for health care reform will get knocked off by a wingnut in their next primary. The GOP base has gone completely crazy and they'd never tolerate it.

[ Parent ]
Snowe will vote for it I bet. (4.00 / 1)
Susan Collins probably won't.  

Voinovich can do whatever the fuck he wants, but if he wants to earn any money in the future he'll vote against it.

No other Republican is worth mentioning.  I used to think Martinez' vote would be in play, but it's pretty clearly not.  McCain should be in the mix on all this, but he's taken his ball and gone home as far as I can tell.


[ Parent ]
I Wonder If It Was Rachel's Pizza Skit That Pushed Them Over The Edge (4.00 / 8)
I don't really think that Rahm or Obama actually understand politics.

But pizza, that they understand.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Well, Rahm certainly doesn't... (4.00 / 2)
But Obama does... which is why it's so baffling that they've been so incompetent as of late...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
LOL, one of em got elected president (while black), the other one got begged to be chief of staff to the president (0.00 / 0)
they understand something

[ Parent ]
Well, getting things done (4.00 / 2)
is not it.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Never Heard of "Beginner's Luck" Before? (4.00 / 1)
Understanding the part is not the same as understanding the whole.

Understanding some of the means is not the same as understanding any of the ends.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
i think they understand (0.00 / 0)
they go with the flow, as relative conservatives (by my standards) on policy.  This is A strategy one could use in a situation like this where you try to implement a "everyone gets along strategy" and then react to total intransigence by cutting out the intransigent group.  It's a step forward, even if we know better :)

[ Parent ]
Grassley and Co. should have kept (4.00 / 5)
their damn pie holes shut. They probably could have had Obama and the Blue Cross Dems trying to negotiate with them in "good faith" 'til the end of time.


Yeah, did they overplay their hands? (4.00 / 3)
Or was there any other alternative?  As I game this out in my head, it's hard to see how Republicans opposing even co-ops was anything but inevitable:

1) In the off chance co-ops worked and provided good care to more people, Republicans would not get the credit

2) If they failed to do anything, Republicans cannot exploit a failed health care reform bill nearly so well if it is "bi-partisan"

The only thing that was up for question was the timing, so maybe they should have strung the Dems along for awhile on this.  I think they think their rhetoric is working, and they are going for the kill - kill the whole bill.  If so, they did miscalculate, Democrats have to pass something, however ineffective, in order to not repeat 1994.


[ Parent ]
Of course this could be extended to any kind of reform whatsoever (4.00 / 1)
If the Democrats proposed a health care reform bill that was a free marketeer's wet dream, Republicans would still be against it. They just have nothing to gain politically by signing on to any bill, whether it succeeds or fails; they only win if nothing passes, or if a bad bill passes without their support, so they're not going to support anything.

[ Parent ]
Unless the actually care about helping people (4.00 / 1)
Sorry. What was I thinking? Never mind.

[ Parent ]
They've been celebrating like drunken sailors... (4.00 / 2)
...as they always do...  celebrating a win that is way premature like they did last September...

Now, the administration and congressional dems can go full bore against their lies and obstructionism...

BTW, Grassley had an "oh shit" moment today... almost pleading that "sure a compromise can be found... I'm still willing to compromise".

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
To think they put forth all this giddy arrogance (4.00 / 1)
and political stupidity and didn't even have to use twitter.  

[ Parent ]
This particular generation of Republicans cannot stop its true asshole nature from emerging. (4.00 / 4)
They played their stimulus hand really badly too, in the same way.  Start acting like juvenile fratboys a little too early, be proud of their stubbornness and their flagrantly impolitic rhetoric, and then whine when the bill passes without them that Obama stopped being bipartisan.  

This metaphor ain't really good enough, but they're like Lucy getting so proud of herself that she pulls the football away five seconds too early.  So Charlie drops his own damn football and kicks it.  They're either stupid, or so immature that they just can't help themselves from mouthing off too early; or, they just can't bring themselves to count the votes and admit the obvious -- that theirs aren't necessary.  I don't know which.  But both times now Obama has gone to great lengths to reel in Republicans, even showing a willingness to compromise away FAR FAR FAR too much of the substance -- and yet the GOP flatly rejects him!  It's ludicrous.  Thank god though, we might actually get a public option now that the co-ops have been seen to attract exactly zero Republican votes.  The GOP is saving Obama from himself.  I never thought I'd see that happen.  

I want to say that Obama is playing rope-a-dope, being all friendly in order to demonstrate conclusively that the GOP can't be negotiated with.  But that's a little too much of the secret-genius argument for me to take seriously.  And he really has sounded willing to deal away the public option, and he already did deal away more of the stimulus than he should have if he really cared about his own re-election.  So that pretty clearly kills a rope-a-dope argument -- in which case I'm left to depend on the GOP's inner moron to prevent our president from compromising the victory away.  Lovely.


[ Parent ]
I'll believe it when I see it (4.00 / 5)
My guess is that, even if the Dems start following this strategy, as soon as the House votes for a solid bill, Grassely et al come out with their arms waving "Oh, we want a part of the bill...we want to negotiate. Co-ops! Deadline pushed to November! Government pays market rates! Not in effect in 2014!...just give us a little more time, and a few more concessions, and now we'll be bipartisan"

How much you want to bet that the Dems fall for it?


Exactly like that (4.00 / 2)
I knew these guys reminded me of something...and it is almost cartoonish at times!

[ Parent ]
He already did that today... (4.00 / 4)
But, I think it's too late...  Obama's no dummy... I know that he's been onto them for a long time... In March, republicans were convinced that Obama was going to get health care done via reconciliation... he still might...  I think it was Rahm trying to get him to "get along" with the GOP, but that was NEVER going to happen...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Second this... (4.00 / 2)
Still going to require either Conservadems saying they won't filibuster (and getting everyone back in the Senate to vote), or using reconciliation (with possibly introducing problems if the parliamentarian makes too many changes) for anything decent to get through... I don't trust Reid to really whip the caucus into shape to get this done properly, but we'll see.

[ Parent ]
More Kabuki Dance (4.00 / 1)
I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in this story. The MSM has been playing catch-up in this whole play-out of healthcare reform. I can't name one "journalist" who has had an inkling of what is really going on.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

Rahm is in complete CYA mode now (4.00 / 3)
I assume is fishing vacation didn't go so well.  I am not certain if fish understand human hissy fits but he was a stomping and screaming 'Tiny Dancer'.  

Progressives standing firm (4.00 / 9)
Made this inevitable. Yes the republicans over played their hand. But that would not have mattered if progressives folded.

Noe is the time to push. Medicare for all is probably the best way to change the whole dynamic of the debate. Push and push hard.


Guess what is coming up for a floor vote... (4.00 / 3)
...in a few weeks as a concession to the progressive caucus...  HR676!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Make THAT the bill the Senate has to reconcile! (4.00 / 4)
It would be so awesome if the "compromise" had to be between whatever the Senate passes and HR676. A gold-plated public option would be the least we'd get out of that.

I know this will never happen, but it's fun to dream.


[ Parent ]
I think there is a 1% chance... (0.00 / 0)
...that the GOP will throw enough votes towards HR676 to make it pass.  In their minds it would really muck things up for us... and it would... but certainly in our favor!

Dare to dream!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
I don't know if it will happen, but it would sure be nice (4.00 / 3)
if single payer got at least an inkling of honest discussion/debate in the corporate media. What with all the Rethugs and unhinged tea baggers crying and screaming about "fiscal responsibility" on the health care issue, I'd sure like to see them justify shooting down the most fiscally responsible plan there is.

[ Parent ]
Finally the right move! That's what the voters wanted. (4.00 / 3)
It schould be obvious that those voting for "change" didn't mean to support the kind of fals bipartisanship and industry-friendly compromises we have seen until now. And that's the explanation behind the incredible shrinking popularity of the president.

Well, finally the Dems get it. Just in time. Reminds me of what Winston Churchill responded to the French after Dunkirque: "When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, "In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken." Some chicken! Some neck!" The Brits then plastered their country with posters saying "Very well, alone!", battled on and succeeded. Obviously, false appeasement would have been the wrong strategy.

And Chris, remember: "Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few."


Churchill (4.00 / 1)
Another great Churchill quote:

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else"

Obama tried everything else and is now considering doing the right thing.  Well, better late than never, I s'pose.


[ Parent ]
If this trend holds (4.00 / 2)
for finance, the environment, for Iraq and Afghanistan...

... we might actually have a future!


just be prepared for 0.5 steps forward, 0.25-0.6 steps back (4.00 / 1)
I don't expect any Democrat with substantial power to advocate for a full step in a progressive direction until the dynamics of the on-the-ground politics have more influence on the composition of the senate/house.

that's fine - more power to us!!!


[ Parent ]
sense (4.00 / 2)
"the sense within the White House was that Republicans, in an effort to undermine President Obama and Congressional Democrats, had made a political calculation to oppose any health care legislation"

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!


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