Monday, August 10, 2009

what will it take to reach out to the Republicans on health care reform?

What kinds of proposals can Democrats accept that will allow the Republicans to compromise and work seriously on a reform of the American health care mess? Digby thinks history has the answer:
Adam Green notes Mark Warner's tiresome comments over the week-end about the need for bipartisanship and reminds us that this isn't the first time the Democratic Charlie Brown's have fallen for this:
Newt Gingrich on the House floor during the health care debate -- March 16, 1994:

I agree with my friend, the gentleman from Missouri [Mr. Gephardt]. I want to reach out in a bipartisan way to pass the bill. I praise the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Bilirakis] and the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Rowland] for a bipartisan bill. I praise the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Grandy] and the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Cooper] for a bipartisan bill. They are starting in the right direction to reach out.
How did that work out?
[Digby responds with another quote] I can answer that:
Then minority whip Newt Gingrich (R-GA) led a politically opportunistic and stubborn conservative charge against health care reform. He argued internally that any successful bill would set back Republican electoral prospects in November 1994. At a March 1994 strategy retreat, Gingrich warned GOP senators that “any Republican concessions will be met with more Democratic demands,” and that the GOP should concede nothing.
[Again from Digby}I doubt the game plan has changed.
I agree with Digby. I doubt that the Republican game plan has changed.

The Republicans simply don't believe that the American people should be provided with universal health care or anything like it from the government. Period. They also are certain that they are right, and that the majority of Americans who disagree with them are wrong. Besides not believing in government benefits for anyone except the rich, they don't especially believe in democracy either.

They strongly believe these thins. But if they admitted it in public, they also know the media would pillory them with the admissions and they would lose the next election. So they act on their core beliefs, but do not publicly admit to them. [I suspect that this knowledge of how the media would expose their true beliefs to the public is the reason why they also strongly believe that the major media is liberal and opposed to them.]

That's a rather schizophrenic form of thinking, of course. The have their personal goals [personal power and personal wealth], and they have their strong personal beliefs. But to achieve those goals, they have to show a very different mask, one that does not display those beliefs, to the media for exposure to the public. They will do so as long as it remains rewarding. But it must be difficult.

There will be no bipartisan health care bill, no matter how badly America desperately needs massive reform in the health care lack-of-system. The Republicans will continue to talk a seemingly somewhat conciliatory game until the very end. But at the end, they will pull out all the stops to kill health care reform.

If the Democrats are fooled by this "Lucy's Football" again and do not succeed in passing the health care legislation in spite of the Republican obstructionism, then the next election is going to be a bad one for the Democrats.

If that's the case then the Blue Dogs who ultimately defeat the bill should be taken out in the primaries. Only the Democrats can make government work again, and if the Blue Dogs obstruct that, then they go or the Democratic Party itself goes.

To answer the question this essay started with, nothing will reach the Republicans. They cannot and will not act in a bipartisan manner on health care. It's that simple.And the Democratic Party will once again severely regret it if it ignores this truth

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