Steve Benen has a post up which is so excellent at exposing the game playing that the Republican Party has been playing on health care for 80 freaking years. Dana Perino, the oh so bright former press secretary for George W. Bush, was complaining on Fox News about how the Democrats didn’t “reach out” to the Republicans during the health care debate, which of course is an alternate reality…..was she in a cave during that period? As a liberal, I was pissed at the constant reaching out to those assholes who had no intention of voting for or helping craft the law. Dana’s people in the Republican party didn’t really keep that a secret, in fact they were quite bold in saying how obstructionist they were going to be and were in the process. Republicans have a long history of playing games, from Steve Benen…
When Truman tried to pass what was, in effect, Medicare for all, Republicans balked and said they preferred a more market-based pay-or-play system. When Clinton endorsed the market-based pay-or-play system, Republicans balked again, saying that they preferred a mandate/subsidies kind of system. When Obama endorsed the mandate/subsidies system crafted by Republicans in the ’90s and adopted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, Republicans balked again, this time saying they don’t want to address the problem at all.
As Ezra concluded:
So over the last 80 years or so, Democrats have responded to Republican opposition by moving to the right, and Republicans have responded by moving even further to the right. In other words, Democrats have been willing to adopt Republican ideas if doing so meant covering everybody (or nearly everybody), while Republicans were willing to abandon Republican ideas if sticking by them meant compromising with the Democrats.
But because Democrats were insistent on getting something that would help the uninsured, they’ve ended up looking like the partisans, as they keep pushing bills Republicans refuse to sign onto.
Pretty slick little operation they have going and their mindless followers who are so principled, cough, spit….and continue to support these people because of their principles, which seem to blow in the wind. Steve Benen brings it home with this…
It’s also, by the way, a model with broader applicability. As we’ve seen repeatedly with a wide variety of policy efforts, Democrats are interesting in solving a policy problem and are willing to negotiate to get something done. Republicans are interesting in preserving ideological purity and ignoring policy problems that can’t be solved through tax cuts for millionaires.