McCain Says Republicans Won’t Cooperate Anymore?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Democrats, Republicans

So because they demonized the legislation from the very beginning and demanded that Dems base any new legislation on Republican political philosophy…now they’re saying that they won’t cooperate on anything?

From The Hill:

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

Wait, didn’t we just finish a year of them not cooperating?

Listen, the GOP got its chance to play ball, but they wouldn’t even come to the table with anything serious. And given that the plan closely resembles what Republicans offered as an alternative in 1994 and what Republican Mitt Romney put into effect in Massachusetts just 6 years ago…their clarion calls for repealing this should fall on deaf ears.

So, if they want to take their ball and go home…go right ahead. Meanwhile, the Dems will continue to get things done. And we’ll see how voters respond to that in November.


This entry was posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 and is filed under Democrats, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

43 Responses to “McCain Says Republicans Won’t Cooperate Anymore?”

  1. Thomas Says:

    I don’t see how there’s any threat here. In fact, if none of the Republicans were even to show up for the rest of the legislative session, that’d be just fine. At least that way the party that has been duly elected to the majority won’t have to work around their obstructionism.

    Republican’s failure to get on board with health care reform will be their undoing. If they just continue to be obstinate, they’ll give the dems free campaign material by being the party that refuses to allow anything to get done. We should be so lucky.

  2. Tim Keller Says:

    Such bull…. politicians like McCain are the reason the country is so messed up and why nothing can never be accomplished because of this left and right bickering.

  3. Simon Says:

    Justin, I’d like you to try something. And this goes for anyone else who believes that the GOP has not been cooperative thusfar. I want you to browse through any week of the Congressional Record from the last decade where both chambers are in session, any that take your fancy, and take note of how many times you see some variation on these words: “I ask unanimous consent that….” Every single time you see those words, you behold a roadblock waiting to happen with an uncooperative minority. In the Senate, for instance, unanimous consent is required to bring a bill to the floor and to dispense with the reading of it. Any member can, at any time, note (usually correctly) the absence of a quorum, and unanimous consent is required to end the quorum call. One fifth of the members of either chamber can force a recorded vote on any “question” that is brought up, including any number of motions that can be initiated by the minority.

    Examples can, of course, be multiplied; but the ultimate point is that the rules are replete with opportunities for playing scorched earth. Now, I don’t believe for a second that McCain and the CGOP have the nerve to play that kind of hardball. But you’d better believe that there are ample opportunities for a determined minority, once it becomes convinced that institutional norms and basic civility no longer restrain them, can cause utter gridlock on the hill. In that scenario, the Democrats’ fictitious rhetoric about how the process is broken will become real. I personally hope that it never comes to that, because I truly doubt that there is a road back from that dark, dark place.

  4. Senator John McCain In The Wake Of ObamaCare: Expect We Republicans To Keep Saying "NO!" To All Democratic Ideas From Now On | THE GUN TOTING LIBERAL™ Says:

    [...] also: Wonkette; Donklephant; Drudge Retort; Little Green Footballs…You Might Enjoy These Related Posts Also:VIDEO: Obama [...]

  5. Patrick Says:

    McCain… at some point he has to apologize for sarah palin, doesn’t he?

  6. gerryf Says:

    So, Simon, just so I am getting you, are you saying that the Republicans have NOT been obstructing the healthcare debate because they did not practice a scorched earth policy on everything, ala Jim Bunting on the extension of jobless benefits?

    If so, you are taking Justin’s comments out of context. His post is that the GOP willfully failed to participate in the healthcare debate in any meaningful way.

    He did not say that the Republican’s objected to the sky being blue (although, come to think of it, given blue is normally associated with the left, I am surprised we have not seen a Republican resolution to officially recognize that the sky is an “offshade of Texas red”)

    Whether you agree or disagree that the Dems were ever serious about a bipartisan plan, it is clear the Republicans never participated. They didn’t seriously test the waters to see if there truly could have been a bipartisan solution. In fact, given the amount of “right” leaning ideas in the bill, any reasonable person should conclude that the Dems bent over backwards trying to reach out.

    Frankly, the behavior of most of the GOP would have been exactly the same no matter what the Dems had passed. If I were a reasonable conservative (if there is such a thing) I would be embarrased at my party.

    Look at what the right got by NOT participating–imagine what the bill could have been if they had.

  7. Simon Says:

    Gerry, I’m glad that you mention Bunning, because his recent activities illustrate two points. First, his withdrawal of cooperation was relatively mild—as I recall, he simply refused to agree to unanimous consent motions—yet he still caused a significant slowdown in Senate business. Now imagine every procedural motion being contested. Every single vote, procedural and substantive, being called by the roll. Every time a quorum isn’t present, the entire roll being called and all business suspended unless or until a quorum arrives.

    The other point that Bunning illustrates is that McCain is all talk. McCain did not support Bunning; indeed, most of the Senate GOP put pressure on Bunning to relent. So I just don’t believe that they have the stones to be “uncooperative,” in major or minor ways.

    This does not take Justin’s comments out of context. Far from it. He implies that the GOP can throw a strop if it likes (“if they want to take their ball and go home”), but, misunderstanding the result of a true withdrawal of cooperation, fails to recognize the real consequences if we actually go down this road (the Dems will not “continue to get things done”). Both you and he simply take for granted the scale of Congress’ reliance on the tacit cooperation of the minority party.

    Now, as I’ve said, I don’t want us to reach that kind of scorched earth situation; Harry Reid threatened it back when the GOP was foolishly talking about doing away with the filibuster, and it was as nuclear then as it is now. I just don’t see a way back from that. It would fundamentally change the institutional character of Congress and the dynamic of how members relate in ways that are, I think irrevocable.

    The way back to a functioning legislature, I must once again suggest, begins with ripping those C-SPAN cameras out of Congress, eliminating the revision and extension of remarks, and truly enforcing the presence of a quorum when any business is done.

    Your recitation of the David Frum mantra—that if only the GOP had worked with the Democrats, they would have got real concessions—is no more convincing from you than from Frum. It ignores all reason (the Democrats simply weren’t going to abandon the things that make this bill objectionable), it ignores the experience of last year (where several Republicans tried to work with the Democrats and got no significant concessions), and it ignores the incalculable downside (the GOP would have purchased nothing of consequence at great political cost). I understand the talking point’s appeal, but it wilts under even the most cursory scrutiny.

  8. Chris Says:

    Were they cooperating at one point? I must’ve blinked and missed it.

  9. Jeff S. Says:

    This is the perfect example of how far the Republican Party has drifted to the right. This health care bill is to the right of what Nixon called for 40 years ago. The fact is, there are simply no longer moderate Republicans in Congress. To not have one–not one–single Republican support this bill will pay huge dividends for Democrats in the long run. Republicans will forever be the party that voted against expanding health care.

    As for McCain, he is in the primary fight of his life, so he has to feed the talk-radio/Fox-News crowd the rehtoric that they want to hear. And that crowd is absolutley fine with totally stopping down democracy if they don’t get everything they want.

  10. mw Says:

    The republicans are under no obligation to provide this Single Party Democratic Rule government with political cover for the insane spending, massive pork filled bills, huge deficits, job killing tax increases. and accelerating expansion of government that they advocate. When Republicans oppose these thing they are making a principled stand.

    The definition of “obstruction” to partisans on the left, is anything that is not supportive of the tax, borrow and spend liberal policies that are the hallmark of this administration.

  11. Simon Says:

    Jeff S. Says:

    This is the perfect example of how far the Republican Party has drifted to the right.

    It didn’t drift. People worked very hard to jettison the John Birchers and bring the GOP into alignment with a coalition of conservatives, moderates, and libertarians, united under the rubric of scaling back the government and blunting the liberal march toward—well, this.

    This health care bill is to the right of what Nixon called for 40 years ago.

    Nixon also championed the EPA. He wasn’t a small-government conservative, he was a moderate who happened to be anti-communist.

    To not have one–not one–single Republican support this bill will pay huge dividends for Democrats Republicans in the long run. Republicans will forever be the party that voted against expanding health care.

    There. Fixed it for you. I agree that although a number of Democrats joined them, making the opposition bipartisan, the GOP will forever have the credit for unanimously standing up to this bill the first time around. And in 2013, Republicans will forever be the party that repealed Obamacare and did something different. That, too, will redound to their long term credit.

  12. Mike A. Says:

    @Simon,

    When did Moderates and Libertarians make the foundation of their platform the Right to Life or Birther movements? When did the moderate and libertarian platforms revolve around characterizing the president as an “empty suit”..of accusing him of being a secret muslim…or a socialcommufacist? The GOP didn’t work very hard to get where it is. Because of it’s lack of vision and leadership, it took the easiest path. It used the frothing, spitting, bat-shit crazy, over-the-top anger of the radical base as a marketing tool to demonize President Obama (primary goal)and the entire democratic party (secondary goal). It has now been pushed into a corner wherein it needs to satisfy this portion of it’s base. Good luck with that. The angrier they appear, the more moderates and libertarians move away….and the closer the radicals become.

    The GOP did not “work very hard”…they continued the patriotic tradition of the previous two terms and didn’t work at all.

  13. Simon Says:

    Mike, I think you’ll find that the birthers are on the fringe of the fringe.

    To be a moderate is really to lack any strong commitments, and this likewise forecloses treating “moderates” as a block on abortion, although it does speak to the likely range of policy solutions they will support. Libertarians are, necessarily, as divided as everyone else over abortion, because libertarian principles supply no answer to the determinative question in the abortion debate. Abortion hinges on what you believe about the child in utero. If you believe that it’s a child, libertarian principles counsel that you be pro-life, in just the same way as all but the most preposterous of libertarians accept the legitimacy of the state enforcing laws against murder. (Some do not, of course, but they’re a fringe.) If you believe that it’s a collection of cells, libertarian principles counsel that you be pro-choice. Either way, the critical determination is antecedent to and thus determinative of the application of libertarianism to the question.

    As to demonizing Obama: he’s doing a pretty good job of that all by himself. As to the GOP’s need to cater to its base, the GOP is no more nor less beholden to its base than the Democrats are to theirs. It’s true that Pelosi can be thought of as bucking the base on the public option, but that strikes me as unpersuasive when the reason for the supposed bucking was that it was necessary to achieving a more important goal of the party and the base.

  14. Lynn Says:

    This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so annoying.

  15. kranky kritter Says:

    The noted progressive (not!) Randy Barnett recently wrote that if McCain had been elected, congress would’ve passed a healthcare reform bill much like this one, with most republicans and a fair share of democrats on board. I think he’s right.

    McCain is making an empty threat. I’ve been a fan of his in the past, but it’s probably time for him to dodder off into the sunset, Simon is right that party leaders lack the stones for this approach, other than as an occasional grandstand maneuver, ala Bunning. It would play pretty badly, I think. Let’s face it, it would look petulant and juvenile.

    **sigh**. Three years of listening to Simon’s repeal fantasies? Simon, since you are such a buff of congressional matters, how often has congress managed to repeal major legislative initiatives within 3 years of passage? I know that you feel you are being heroic, but your just being silly. That’s OK, at least now we know who will get the job of turning the lights off.

  16. wj Says:

    Simon: To be a moderate is really to lack any strong commitments….

    Surely you are not serious.

    Lots of moderates, in my acquaintance, have very strong commitments on a variety of subjects. What makes them moderates is simply that they are a) willing to tolerate others having different opinions (without being, by that fact, the embodiment of evil), and b) willing to consider that their strongly held positions might, in the light of future evidence, turn out to be incorrect.

  17. DJ Says:

    “Mike, I think you’ll find that the birthers are on the fringe of the fringe.”

    Except for all of the polls that show the majority of republicans believe ther birther crap.

  18. Jeff S. Says:

    Simon,

    If the Republicans want to campaign on repealing this health care bill, go ahead. I’m sure that will play really well with the public: “all right everyone, we want insurance companies to again exclude people with pre-existing conditions.” Yeah, America will love that.

  19. blackoutyears Says:

    mw: it’s a little late for that *principled stand* by the GOP when they had no such principles about throwing money down the war hole while simultaneously expanding the gov’t drug benefit and irrationally cutting taxes for wealthy America (oh, there’s the principle). Getting principles at this point is akin to death row inmates getting Jesus. Convenient. I’ve come to expect better of you…

    I agree with Frum’s assessment (outing?) that the extremists in the GOP called upon the party to block reform for political gain. It’s too early to say whether that’s backfired, will work to their benefit, or will have some other entirely unexpected affect, but let’s not entertain the canard that most of them were doing so on principle. You’ve been very blunt about calling out these same Republicans on their behavior under the Bush admin; to resort to this piffle can only lead me to believe that the results of the healthcare battle have driven you back into their arms?

    Captcha: there hardliners

  20. mw Says:

    @Kranky
    I almost agree with Barnett, do think McCain would have worked with Dems to get something through, but expect it would have been harder to pass than Barnett thinks. It probably would have come down to procedural games, arm-twisting, and last minute deals to get it to squeak through – much like the Prescription Drug Benefit under Bush – which was bad enough, or this abomination – which is an order of magnitude worse.

    It also would have had to be structured differently, with much lower costs, lower taxes, and probably no mandate – since that would have lost the Kos kids and liberal support if it was pushed by McCain. Kos and his ilk would have blown a gasket and even more moderate liberals would have been apoplectic about the mandated $70B/year payoff to insurance companies if it came from McCain, as opposed to the mild discomfiture expressed by our “Loyal Obamaists” now.

    As regards partisan cooperation between now and Novermber – that die was cast by simple virtue of this being an election year. The administration Axelrod/Rahm will be selecting legislation to push based on purely political considerations with an eye to minimizing Dem losses in November, and the legislators up for election on both sides will respond 100% in accord with their individual electoral self-interest. Nothing new under the sun there. You know – Change we can believe in Politics as usual.

    Repeal? It looks like a good issue for Republicans to run on this year. This thing is a hot mess and easy to run against. Will repeal ever happen? Doubtful, but… Since Obamacare does not really start making a dent in covering the uninsured until the 2014-2018 timeframe, and the Lie of Fiscal Responsibility embedded in the legislation will be obvious to everyone by 2012, it does leave a an opening. I could envision a scenario where a replacement bill is pushed by Republicans that is crafted to cover more people sooner, and does it in a manner that plugs the financial leaks. Of course, some of the special deals cut for unions and other favored Dem constituencies will have to be thrown out. Voters are likely to be fine with that. It could happen.

  21. Simon Says:

    KK:

    Simon, since you are such a buff of congressional matters, how often has congress managed to repeal major legislative initiatives within 3 years of passage?

    How often has congress managed to repeal a major entitlement more than three years after passage? Entitlements create dependents, who in turn become constituencies; it gets more and more difficult to uproot as time passes. That’s why the push is for immediate—i.e. without deliberate delay, as soon as possible, which in practical terms means “vote and veto” in 2011 and “vote and repeal” in 2013—repeal.

    # DJ Says:

    Except for all of the polls that show the majority of republicans believe ther [sic.] birther crap.

    I haven’t seen any reputable polling that shows that—can you point to some? By “reputable,” I mean Gallup, Rasmussen, OpinionDynamics, someone like that.

    blackoutyears Says:

    it’s a little late for that *principled stand* by the GOP when they had no such principles about throwing money down the war hole

    So you theory is: “you’re already off the wagon, you might as well keep drinking,” right?

    while simultaneously expanding the gov’t drug benefit

    The Congressional Republican Party did that over fierce opposition from most non-Congressional Republicans. It was a travesty, it should never have happened, and it was just abject to hear Tom DeLay berating Pelosi for strongarming Congress to push through Obamacare after his antics to push through the PDB.

  22. Simon Says:

    # wj Says:

    Simon [said]: To be a moderate is really to lack any strong commitments…. Surely you are not serious. Lots of moderates, in my acquaintance, have very strong commitments on a variety of subjects. What makes them moderates is simply that they are a) willing to tolerate others having different opinions (without being, by that fact, the embodiment of evil), and b) willing to consider that their strongly held positions might, in the light of future evidence, turn out to be incorrect.

    With all respect, that’s a conceit, because it makes “moderate” coterminous with “reasonable person.” Surely you see that.

    A moderate, ex vi termini, is someone not wedded to either pole. Of course, a person can be a moderate on some issues and not on others—and my experience matches yours: lots of people who describe themselves as “moderates” in fact “have very strong commitments on a variety of subjects.” So, for example, they may be “moderate” on the issue of fiscal policy while being dogmatically pro-choice, although they swear blind that it’s the other way around.

  23. mw Says:

    @blackout:

    “…the results of the healthcare battle have driven you back into their arms?

    mmm… Well… not just the healthcare battle. The stimulus, cap & trade, the thousands of earmarks in the two bloated budget bills, bailing out GM and Chrysler all contributed, but really the 2008 election result was the foundation. I wholeheartedly change sides in pursuit of the policy objectives I believe in. That’s kind of the whole idea.

    Regarding “principled stand”: You’ll note that was a conditional statement. When they oppose these things they are taking a principled stand.” When they don’t (as in the examples you cite) they aren’t. Also I never said they were principled. I just said they are taking a principled stand.

    I look forward to drinking the kool-aid and becoming a rabid Obama re-election supporter when it becomes obvious that the GOP will take over majorities in both legislative houses in 2012 (I’m still thinking they dug too deep a hole to get out in one cycle).

    Our government just works better that way. That’s the way I play Donklephant. Your mileage may vary.

  24. blackoutyears Says:

    mw: I’m familiar with your divided gub’mint preferences, and I’m actually in firm agreement in general philosophical terms. You’ll have to explain how someone can take a principled stand without actually being principled though. You are either are principled , or you’re not. You’re principles either govern you and define your position or they do not. The GOP has certainly erected the facade of a principled stand (though a rather rickety one imo), but unless cock-blocking Obama is the principle under discussion, then I have no idea what sophistry you’re practicing here. The best you can say is that they’re making a stand. I applaud their discipline.

  25. gerryf Says:

    Simon,

    http://www.dailykos.com/statepoll/2010/1/31/US/437

    58 percent of self-described Republicans in this poll either believe Obama was not born in the US or are not sure if he was (this after numerous stories published everywhere but Fox News show he IS a born US Citizen.

    Now, I’m sure you won’t accept a Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll as reputable, but even you have to admit unless this poll is an out-right lie those numbers are very –VERY–disturbing.

    As for Frum, I am not reciting GOP talking points? Or Frum just isn’t republican enough for you?

    Let’s put this on the table now. What makes this bill objectionable? What did the Dems refuse to abandon? Do you seriously think this bill is the one the Dems would have passed if they weren’t trying to reach out?

    I agree with your and MW’s assertion that — from a political perspective — there was nothing to be gained by the GOP by trying to work out something. Give the Dems cover as MW put it.

    And that is why the GOP can rot in hell. They never once considered what was the best bill, only what was the best political option.

    The GOP cares not a whit for the outcome other than whether it puts them back in power. One might argue the same applies to the Dems, but some of this bill is actually going to HELP some people.

    You remember that concept, right?

  26. kranky kritter Says:

    58 percent of self-described Republicans in this poll either believe Obama was not born in the US or are not sure if he was

    Frankly, this is meaningless unless we know what fraction is “not sure.” Fact is, most folks don’t pay the sort of close attention that wonks do. Given that, all the honest folks not paying close attention would answer “not sure.”

    Any poll that combines two categories in the way this one does is trying to push the results to create a particular impression. I am highly critical of this practice no matter who does it.

    @Simon: My question was directed at the notion of using history as a guide for handicapping the odds of success for your stated goal. To my knowledge, quick repeals of major legislation are a surpassingly rare thing, But I really haven’t paid very close attention to it. Few repeals come to mind based on my limited knowledge.

    That’s really what I am asking you, what does history say about your chances? is this as rare a thing as I think it is?

  27. kranky kritter Says:

    @mw Repeal alongside a “replacement bill” is really more like reform, right?

    One big problem for any attempt at outright repeal will be components of the current reform that various constiuencies really like, like the exchange, tax breaks for small businesses, ending denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and so on.

    That leaves the GOP stuck explaining how they want to save all the good bits, which of course leaves them admitting that there really ARE good bits. And leaves them talking about the replacement reform, which would include all the bits that have shown themselves popular. Which will raise the question of why the GOP was so steadfastly oppositinal during the crafting of the original legislation.

    Now, presuming repeal is still on the table come 2012, that would leave just about every American who stands to benefit from the new law determined to vote against the GOP presidential candidate promising repeal. That’s a pretty big eight ball to start behind. The dems will have as bedrock supporters:

    •everyone who supports this HC reform law in general

    • a healthy proportion of parents of children aged 18-26

    • all the people who would never ever vote for any republican, which substantially but not completely overlaps the first category

    •80 or 90% of black voters

    •everyone who is still mad about the Iraq invasion

    • all college students who don’t want trouble with their student loans because that was slapped into the HCR law.

    See where I’m going with that?

    So, who in the GOP really is willing to go to the mattresses for HC repeal? We can presume that this will still be a popular idea among conservative circles, which could make it de rigeur for any GOP nom hopeful. Which, as previously noted could well leave the eventual GOP nominee dead in the water come fall 2012.

  28. Simon Says:

    KK, understood, but what is the relevant comparison? To your knowledge, how many pieces of “major legislation”—comparable in reach and effect to this one, which fundamentally changes the game that something like one sixth of the economy plays—have hitherto been passed over fierce bipartisan opposition on a strict party line vote, and with (so polls tell us) the opposition of pluralities and perhaps even majorities of the electorate? (All my usual caveats about opinion polls apply.)

    Gerry, the problem with Frum’s article isn’t that he is or isn’t conservative enough, or anything like that. I have a very positive view of Frum as a general matter. The problem with his article is that his analysis is deeply flawed, overstating the factors that support his thesis and completely ignoring those cutting against it. See my comment yesterday.

    As to the poll: as you note, it’s published by Daily Kos, and that’s a red flag. But it was conducted by Opinion 2000, and I have no knowledge of them at all. From a very quick Google search, they seem reputable to the extent that theoretically nonpartisan sources have used them often, although it seems that they were way off in their calls on the 2008 Wisconsin Primary and the 2009 Massachusetts special election. They’re calling the 2012 nomination for Sarah Palin, which seems extravagant. In sum, there’s reason to take their data with a pinch of salt, but it isn’t obviously flawed, so let’s accept it for sake of argument. You are playing accounting tricks in saying that “58 percent of self-described Republicans in this poll either believe Obama was not born in the US or are not sure if he was….” True enough, but as KK’s comment above alludes to, your summarization obscures the data. 36% answered “no” to the question “Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?” 22% were “unsure,” a blanket term that can mean anything from “I don’t care” to “I don’t know” to “I don’t understand the question.” I think that all told, I’ll take 36% as a (surprisingly high) opening bid, but I’d like to see more polls from better-known sources that corroborate that number.

  29. Vast Variety Says:

    Simon,

    No entitlement program that has been passed in this country by congress has ever been repealed and that will apply to this one as well. The reason why there is so much opposition to the bill among the general public is that most of the general public hasn’t got a clue what is really in the bill because Dems have failed to communicate it to the people and the Republicans have succeeded in clouding the truth with false pictures of Death Panels hunting down Grandma among other things.

    If the GOP was smart, and currently they don’t seem to be any smarter than the Dems, which is sad, then they would work to fix the bill instead of running on a platform of outright repeal, which they will never be able to accomplish anyhow.

    All the Dems need to do in order to use this against the GOP is point out the good parts of the bill, as others have all ready talked about.

  30. gerryf Says:

    mw

    Little too much trouble to click on the link?

    36 said he is NOT
    22 said theya re NOT SURE

    The poll was very specific; I was not.

    36 believing he is not is embarrassing; 22 percent not being sure does not lessen that embarrassment by much.

  31. gerryf Says:

    Simon,

    New Poll to be released tomorrow, but a leak on The Daily Beast today:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-22/scary-new-gop-poll/

    •45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”

    And just for giggles,

    •57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim

    Feel better?

  32. mw Says:

    @gerryf
    I think you are confusing Simon and me. I did not question or dispute your poll. I understand perfectly that the percentage of Republicans who answered vaguely affirmative or “didn’t know” to the “birther” question is virtually identical to the percentage of Democrats (61%) who answered vaguely affirmatively or “didn’t know” to the the “truther” question during the Bush administration. We are in agreement. There is a virtually identical percentage of paranoid tin-foil hat partisans – or people at least willing to respond that way to pollsters – on both the right and left. I can’t possibly articulate how completely unsurprised I am by this finding.

    @KK

    “Repeal alongside a “replacement bill” is really more like reform, right?”

    I am not exactly sure where you are are coming from with that, but I don’t have a problem with your analysis. Of course, we are all just pulling this stuff out of our nether regions when talking about 2012 – but we’re blogging so why not?

    My best guess is that the language will have changed by 2012. We won’t be talking about “repeal, replace or reform” – that’s a 2010 meme. In 2012 the urgent question is going to be “How do we fix this piece of crap.”. And that question is going to be asked as much by Democrats and liberals as Republicans and conservatives. I can almost write Obama’s speech right now. Think Bush in 2005-2006 on WMD’s and Iraq. “We don’t need to be looking backward – we need to be looking forward.”

    As far as there being a constituency that likes the FREE MONEY! benefits under this bill – sure – they’ll be there and voting for Obama. And it very well may be enough to get him re-elected. I am fine with that, as long as the Senate elections play out as I expect. If the GOP picks up a net additional 6-8 seats in the Senate this year as it looks like they might, it is a foregone conclusion that they will retake the majority in 2012. The reason is simple- in 2012 23 Dem seats will up for reelection and 10 Republican seats. That is a crushing structural advantage for the GOP. Dems have a lot more to defend and Reps have a target rich environment. They’ll easily pick up 4-6 more to take the majority. I don’t know what happens in the House. It’s a coin flip.

    With Obama in the White House, a Republican majority in the Senate, and an undeniable healthcare, deficit & entitlement crisis staring us in the face – the problems with this bill will then get fixed. Because there won’t be any choice. Think Clinton/Gingrich and Welfare Reform.

    That is as much HOPE as I can muster.

    CAPTCHA: the blunders

  33. blackoutyears Says:

    mw: That actually sounds exactly like the *hope* most moderates are holding out on this. Getting something passed, however flawed, and then fixing it seems to be the only route open to significant reform in the current political climate. The door is now open, which is what counts for me.

  34. Tully Says:

    That leaves the GOP stuck explaining how they want to save all the good bits, which of course leaves them admitting that there really ARE good bits.

    Why, yes, the shit sandwich does have some nice fresh sliced tomatoes on it. And despite Justin’s belief that the GOP offered nothing, the Dems did indeed steal some of those tomatoes from the GOP garden — how one can claim that the GOP offered nothing while noting some of their ideas were used in the bill is a puzzle I’ll leave for those who enjoy the contortions of partisan propaganda. (BTW, Justin, the three committee chairs that guided the construction of this bill did indeed shut out the GOP in the construction of this bill. Please do read the actual records. Nothing like base data to offset a steady diet of talking points.)

    But in the end it’s still a shit sandwich. The GOP will ignore the tomatoes and try to scrape the shit off of the sandwich. As would the Dems if this had been a GOP bill. They’d just differ on which parts were juicy tomatoes and which were raw fertilizer.

    The unfunded Medicaid mandates alone in this bill will impose $50B/yr or more in costs on the states, many of which are already bankrupt. The Medicare cuts will likely never take place — add back in another $60-80B/yr in costs, minimum. If the cuts remain, expect a reduction of at least 20% in providers who will accept Medicare patients. And a closure rate of hospitals of around 30% or more over a decade as their base revenues fall below requirements to stay open. (That’ll cheer the senior voting bloc up and get them voting Dem, eh?) That doesn’t count the effects/cost of the unfunded mandates on the private sector.

    The claim that this will reduce costs and/or lower deficits or increase the availability of care is, to be as kind as possible, seriously reality-challenged. But reality was never a big driver in the Dem process of stacking up this sandwich for us, was it? Those were just talking points for persuading the gullible. We could have had the tomatoes without the shit, but they insisted that the shit had to be there. The problem was convincing enough legislators that the public could be fooled into thinking it was really tasty Vegemite™. Yes, it would be nice if this shit sandwich would accomplish all or even most that has been claimed for it by its supporters. It would also be nice if every child were above average, debt never hobbled a nation, and every sunset was enhanced with sparkly fairy dust farted out by flying unicorns.

    BTW, Megan McArdle has a nice list of objective predictions, some of which one can use in the future to compare with the arguments used to sell us the shit Vegemite™ part of the sandwich. Anyone care to wager on how many she gets right? I’ll take her side on #5 and #6 for this year alone, with a running buy on both annual and running average on #6 for future years, with a “push” on #6 if overt rationing of health care is imposed. The rest will take much longer to settle, but I’ll still back them.

  35. gerryf Says:

    ….And despite Justin’s belief that the GOP offered nothing, the Dems did indeed steal some of those tomatoes from the GOP garden — how one can claim that the GOP offered nothing while noting some of their ideas were used in the bill is a puzzle I’ll leave for those who enjoy the contortions of partisan propaganda.

    It is really quite simple. They were not GOP ideas. They may be ideas that the GOP can live with or even support (not that they ever would), but just because you find a few things in here that don’t turn your stomach does not make them GOP ideas.

    The GOP blew it. They had an opportunity to actually put in ideas, but they were more interested in saying no and hoping the Dems would fail.

    Now, in my opinion, this bill is a stinker. As far as I can tell it is nothing but a hand out to big insurance and big pharmaceutical and we’re all on the hook for it.

    But that’s not what you are objecting to.

    After years of cheerleading as the GOP drove up deficit spending, now suddenly the conservatives are deficit dawgs?

    Please.

    I wanted the right to make this a better bill. I wanted to see some thoughtful debate. I got tea-party wingnuts calling civil rights heroes and a gay congressman bad names, confused simpletons decrying government health care as socialism with cries of keep your hands off my medicare and hypocritical cries of spending too much.

    The right hasn’t made a single good HONEST argument about this bill and that is why they are a failure today. They have no real complaints, they have no real answers and ultimately they have no clue.

  36. kranky kritter Says:

    The claim that this will reduce costs and/or lower deficits or increase the availability of care is, to be as kind as possible, seriously reality-challenged. But reality was never a big driver in the Dem process of stacking up this sandwich for us, was it? Those were just talking points for persuading the gullible. We could have had the tomatoes without the shit, but they insisted that the shit had to be there. The problem was convincing enough legislators that the public could be fooled into thinking it was really tasty Vegemite™. Yes, it would be nice if this shit sandwich would accomplish all or even most that has been claimed for it by its supporters. It would also be nice if every child were above average, debt never hobbled a nation, and every sunset was enhanced with sparkly fairy dust farted out by flying unicorns.

    Acerbic hyperbole aside, I don’t disagree. I was speaking only to the difficulties of trying to repeal HCR as a single piece.Not singing paeans.

    Looking at the broad strokes, this HCR law really only addresses the access issue.

    It doesn’t substantially address cost issues at all, unless you count reform of medicare advantage or whatever program all that “fraud and waste” rhetoric was about. Best case scenario that provides a bit of savings. As for the rest? The medicare cuts are pretend, most folks think they won’t really happen. The states do not at this point have the funding for their share of the funding cost shifts.

    So one way or another, the cost issues are going to have to be addressed. And quickly.

  37. Simon Says:

    Gerry, I had (but have lost the link to) the full poll that came out today, and it’s troubling. Some of the answers suggest that the numbers may be a little off, but you look at 45% and it would have to be off by a lot to be much less troubling. I’m still inclined to wait on more data, but until more (or better yet, contrary) data emerge, I suppose that I must concede the point for now.

  38. Chris Says:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0325/Shock-poll-Why-do-so-many-Republicans-think-Obama-is-a-socialist-a-Muslim-or-even-the-anti-Christ?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+feeds/top+(Christian+Science+Monitor+|+Top+Stories)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

    Repulicans are tools that are led by the nose, as if they had a ring through it.

  39. DJ Says:

    How about a Harris Poll Simon? Or is that part of the left wing corporate media?

    http://firedoglake.com/2010/03/23/new-harris-poll-finds-nearly-one-fourth-of-republicans-believe-obama-may-be-the-antichrist/

  40. Simon Says:

    DJ, that is the poll that Gerry cited (and to which I responded) above. Do try to pay attention.

    I should add, however, that as the poll has cooled (it was hot of the press when Gerry and I commented), concerns and caveats have been raised against it. Perhaps the most sensible of these is the observation that when a poll claims 6% of Democrats think Obama is the antichrist, something may be wrong.

    I’m an inveterate skeptic of opinion polls; I accept that they have their uses, but you should always hose them down before letting them in the house, and shouldn’t be given too much weight until corroborated by other polls. They can be interesting data, but use with caution.

  41. DJ Says:

    I too am a skeptic but maybe you shouldstop trying to defend republicans, they have descended into complete insanity to the point that now Frum is a leftist socialist commie. Maybe you should dump those lying scum and try being a true conservative.

  42. Simon Says:

    More concerns raised about the Harris poll.

  43. kranky kritter Says:

    Maybe Republicans or some independent group should craft their own good faith scientifically valid poll to measure incipient kookery, and pledge to make it public, before they get the results.

    We’ve got a confirmed death threat against Eric Cantor and a new story about 9 far righties with IED planning seditious violence.

    So, the whole “bad methodology, nothing to see here” vibe is wobbling a bit iffy, if you ask me. I’m happy to agree that the Harris poll may have been crafted to serve the ends of those eager to make righties look unhinged. But recent events seem to be suggesting that conservatives are reaping what has been sown while denying that we are seeing a harvest.

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