Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Republicans Don't Want Health Care Reform Yet the White House Still Strives for Bipartisan Support

From Karen Travers of ABC News (emphasis mine):

Health care dominated the morning briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who denied reports that the White House and Democrats are giving up on a bipartisan reform bill.

“Absolutely not,” Gibbs said. “We continue to be hopeful that we can get bipartisan support and will continue to work with those that are interested in doing that.”

“Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” he said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”

Is it insane to think that there will be any productive negotiations that will lead to getting health care done in a "bipartisan way"? I tend to think that when you have the Republicans on one side, obviously opposed to any type of health care reform, it is crazy to think that any type of negotiation will result in a health care bill that is the best piece of legislation that can be crafted for the good of the American people.

Glenn Greenwald has some thoughts on those who think it is insane:

That's obviously true. In fact, it's so obviously true that no matter how dumb one might think Democrats are, they're certainly not so dumb that they failed to realize that the GOP was highly unlikely to help Obama pass health care reform no matter what the bill contained. From the start, it's been obvious to everyone -- the Obama White House and Senate Democrats included -- that the GOP would not help Obama pass health care reform. Why would the GOP want to help Obama achieve one of his most important and politically profitable goals? Of course they were going to try to sabotage the entire project and would oppose health care reform no matter what form it took.

So the question practically begs itself. If President Obama and the White House are looking for robust reform and the Republicans have indicated that they are going to vote against any reform that is proposed, then why doesn't the White House exclude the Republicans and put pressure on the Blue Dogs in order to get the legislation passed?

Again, Glenn Greenwald:

The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But -- given the impossibility of achieving that goal -- isn't it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn't really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House's central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama's clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm's protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists "centrists," it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the "public option" jettisoned, because that's the bill they want -- this was the plan all along.

This is precisely why the Progressives drawing the proverbial "line in the sand" is so important. They have the numbers to defeat the Blue Dog Coalition's influence on watering-down and "compromising" on this legislation. The key is that the Progressive Coalition needs to continue hold their ground on the public option and force the Democratic Party to stand up to the interests that are hell-bent on protecting the status quo.

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