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Liberals were right about futility of bipartisanship

There's another fascinating revelation buried in The Promise, Jonathan Alter's new book on Obama's first year: Specifically, it turns out key players on health care had decided early on that the quest for GOP support was futile -- yet they continued pursuing it anyway.

Many on the left, of course, were loudly claiming at the time that Dems were falling into the GOP's trap by continuing to chase bipartisan support for its own sake. But those making this argument were dismissed as unserious and unschooled in the real workings of Washington.

Turns out, though, that this was a view shared inside the White House. Alter writes that top Obama aides concluded early that the pursuit for Chuck Grassley's support in particular was not going to pay off. Senior Obama adviser Jim Messina, for instance, pleaded with Senator Max Baucus, who at the time was trying to cut an awesomely bipartisan deal with Senate Republicans, to forget about Grassley.

Rahm Emanuel agreed with Messina that Grassley was a non-starter. "They thought the president was wasting his time by having Grassley over to the White House half a dozen times," Alter writes.

Harry Reid, too, had concluded early on that bipartisan support for health reform would never materialize -- but he let Baucus continue pursuing it, anway.

"Harry Reid knew from long experience with the opposition that there would be no `Kumbaya moment' when the Republicans would concede error and convert to support for comprehensive health care reform," Alter writes. "But Reid was old-school and deferred to Baucus."

As one White House aide condeded to Alter: "I wish we'd put our foot down harder and said, 'It's over, Max.'"

These players, of course, have their own reasons for leaking this account now. But it seems feasible. After all, a five year old could see at the time that Senate Republicans were playing for time, in order to drag the process on for as long as possible and sour the public on it. Depressing.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 17, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup


Sounds good. But remember how many times it was leaked back then that Baucus' bill was actually a lot closer to what the White House wanted anyway? Its hard for me to believe that if they really felt that way they didn't put their foot down. What they should realize is either way they still look inept. The might even look more inept if we are to believe they saw the writing on the wall but were too stupid or passive to step in and get Baucus to shut down the gang of six and get on with pushing a bill out of committee before that summer break.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 17, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, that makes you wonder whether the WH WANTED HCR to get watered down, which is consistent with the reports that the WH (Rahm) made all kinds of industry deals even before the negotiating began with the GOP (such as it was). Maybe the Conservadems really did the WH's dirty work by wrecking the PO. Could also explain Obama's support for Blanche. Or maybe I just have a fevered imagination.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 17, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Max Baucus have a couple of former staff members who are now lobbyists for Pharma? Was it OK with the White House when Baucus had the single payer folks arrested?

Where does the deal with Pharma fit in here? Wasn't it David Axelrod's PR firm that got the gig helping Pharma do its updated Harry and Louise ads? Wasn't it Baucus' former staffers who worked for Pharma and arranged this deal?

I'm having trouble with this too. I don't think anyone's hands are clean.

Posted by: robin5956 | May 17, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hindsight is interesting, but only useful if you put into practice what you learn from it.

Trouble is, most people don't.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 17, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We may never know precisely why the WH let the HCR debate go on the way it did, but my first intuition is that even though they knew it was a futile effort they had put their efforts into at least the APPEARANCE of an interest in bipartisanship. It's all too possible, in my view, that this was their plan, but that things got out of control when the Senate blew the August deadline.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 17, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

So-called Dem Liberals are really the Political Center, in part, because they have already incorporated the valid Conservative ideas into their thinking. This a result of four decades of Conservative rule. These modern Liberal leaders are, pardon the expression, "Neo-Liberals," but since that term brings us uncomfortably close to the Bush Dark Age, let's say "Second Generation Liberals" instead. The Second Generation Liberals were always in tune with the public on the PO, for example, which merely represented an EXPERIMENT in the use of government in delivering healthcare nationally. The American people thought that was a good idea and it was: sensible, modest reform that would allow for maximum flexibility as the reforms were implemented and health care evolved. But the Village insisted that the PO was some whacky socialist idea that was politically DOA. The Village just can't believe that this isn't Reagan Country anymore. Unfortunately for us all, the Village still includes nearly all of the national Democratic leaders.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 17, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: I like your take on the WH's role in HCR better than mine.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree that this was a political calculation on Obama's part. I don't think he honestly expected to get bipartisan support, but I do think he wanted to be able to say to the American people, "Look I've tried to work with the GOP, but they seem unwilling to work with me."

Posted by: CaptainNoble | May 17, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Trouble is, most people don't."

I do think the White House and Obama have been far better politically since HCR. Of course, it would have been difficult to be worse but they really act like they get it now. I don't know WHAT was going on in Year One. Maybe they just got overwhelmed since they had a tremendous amount to deal with right out of the gate (which has continued until today).

I have lowered my expectations for Obama. But you know what? He's still the most impressive president of my lifetime and he's not 2 years into his first term. So that's the GOOD news!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 17, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Well Health care reform was passed so this is water under the bridge.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 17, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse


I also agree with you that Obama may have continued with the bi-artisanship push even after he knew is was hopeless because he wanted proof that he tried to show the American people. Beyond that, Obama is a rationalist and assumes everyone else is, or will be eventually, too. He truly believes, I think, in bi-partisanship, if not post-partisanship. That bi-partisan outreach is likely to continue until the GOP grows up or Obama leaves office, whichever comes first.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 17, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks wbgonne.


The period was the warmest on record for both April and for the January through April period, NOAA said. Additionally, last month's average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and scientists said the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.

The analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is based on records going back to 1880.

More disturbing details at that link...

We HAVE to pass the climate change bill, NOW.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 17, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne, agreed on the Year 1 troubles. We can hardly expect them to be perfect when they inherited such a sh*t storm.

But what we can expect is to avoid hypocrisy and the erosion of solid Dem principles. Of course these aren't set in stone and there is room to disagree about policy issues, but the WH can't just blame "pragmatism" for something like giving way on Miranda or supporting Lincoln with a claim that she "represents workers."

We can tolerate some compromise, but we can't give way to the point that we can't distinguish ourselves from the GOP. For that see Nelson, Ben and Lincoln, Blanche.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 17, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The censor just held me in lockdown for s*h*i*t*e.

Is it an Irish naughtiness program?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 17, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

All, happy hour roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 17, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

And if they put down their foot and Max pushes back...what, then?

Seriously, what? What leverage do they have over Mary Landreiu? Over Blanche Lincoln? Over Joe Lieberman? Over freaking Ben Nelson? Especially if Max is upset and blaming the White House for killing the bipartisan compromise he was SO CLOSE to achieving?

The reality is that they had to play this bipartisanship out for as long as it took Democratic Senators in Congress to realize the Republicans were NEVER going to work with them.

Ultimately, I think what did it was the sense of shame that the HOUSE was the functional organization in Congress.

It was good that the White House was backchanneling this frustration to the Senate. It put pressure on Senators.

But the reality was this windmill-tilting at bipartisanship wasn't over until EVERY Democratic Senator decided it was over. And they all had their own strategies on this, and the WH had no choice but to let them play it out.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 17, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Only an idiot would trust Max Baucus to act like a (real) Democrat. (No public option, in Max's bill, no way!)

Posted by: grooft | May 17, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

[[key players on health care had decided early on that the quest for GOP support was futile -- yet they continued pursuing it anyway.]]

This behavior differs only in degree from knowing that Vietnam (or, for that matter, Iraq or Afghanistan) is unwinnable and staying there anyway.

Posted by: lexalexander1 | May 17, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"Harry Reid knew from long experience with the opposition that there would be no `Kumbaya moment' when the Republicans would concede error and convert to support for comprehensive health care reform," Alter writes. "But Reid was old-school and deferred to Baucus."

This is why I'd be fine with Harry Reid losing his seat. Majority Leader Durbin or Majority Leader Schumer sound much better to me.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 18, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Bipartisanship? Who's fooling who here. The minute President Obama was sworn in he shut out the Republicans. What were those words again? My door is always open. Right. To anyone who is not a Republican. As long as Pelosi is Speaker of the House and Reid is in the Senate, there never was going to be any type of bipartisanship. President Obama wanted health care by October 2009 and he wasn't interested in negotiating and wasting time listening to cost, what the people wanted, and the Constitution. He says all the time, the people just wants up or down votes. Wrong. That what he wants. Up or down votes with no Republicans involved. To try and say the Democrats gave up bipartisanship because they saw it was useless is misleading because everyone has heard the Democrats speak. Pulling the wool over everyone's head this late in the game is not only changing the reality of who and what the Democrats are, but actually pretending the Democrats wanted bipartisanship at all. We're not buying it.

Posted by: houstonian | May 18, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Feeding people who are so unproductive that they can't feed themselves is silly and unrealistic. Imprisoning, rather than executing, recidivist criminals is silly and unrealistic. Outlawing torture as a method of obtaining information (we are still clinging to that outmoded ideal, aren't we?) is silly and unrealistic. But we do these things because we feel that we should, and muddle through somehow.

Posted by: Bob-S | May 18, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Would you have expected Republicans to buy an Edsel?

They have only enacted a small fraction of the provisions in this health care “reform” bill and the cost overruns, premium increases and unintended consequences are already becoming obvious. The administration delayed implementation of their insurance mandate until after 2012 so Obama will never have to face the wrath of American voters.

Posted by: dcn1 | May 18, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Well golly-gee Commander Rick, if the party you're pursuing not only dismisses science but also holds it in contempt? . . Do you really think you can reason with them?

Posted by: Here2day | May 18, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

So much for the pompous posturing and gaseous holier-than-thou pontificating about the Great Messiah's supposed post-partisan, post-ideological saintliness — furiously, mindlessly and endlessly parroted by the sycophant left-wing MSM. You mean the idiot Oboobma was simply lying the whole time? We are shocked, SHOCKED! Smile, America — you've been punk'd! Your messiah is plumb nekkid.

Trouble for Oboobma is, you can only pull that crap once. Hence his vanishing support among all but the moonbat hard core.

Posted by: thebump | May 18, 2010 3:33 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic liberals wanted to pass a socialist agenda, and rightfully knew the Republicans would never agree to it, so they jammed their socialist Health plan and obscene bail-outs down America's collective throat without any Repubican the Dems will have to face the voters with this decision to discard free market democracy for higher taxes and a one-party socialist dictatorship.

Posted by: Realist20 | May 18, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

It's not bipartisan when you are not working toward a compromise bill.

It is not compromise to stake out an extreme FAR left bill (public option) with the full intention of settling for a leftist bill (Obamacare).

The Democrats were not compromising. If they had, we would have a popular health care bill now. Instead we have an UNPOPULAR (Obama care) health care bill.

Posted by: hz9604 | May 18, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

It was worth trying to attract Republican support, if only to clarify how little the Republicans care about good policy and how low they will stoop to win at any price. No lie, no smear, no distortion is off-limits if it can be translated into a Limbaugh sound bite. Despicable.

Posted by: frodot | May 18, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

It took Obama a year to pass a bill that shows you how weak he is and how bad the bill is, and now we see it's getting worse everyday.

Posted by: samuellenn | May 18, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Under Health Care Reform, Medical insurance is a must, but you can easily find medical insurance for you under $40

Posted by: anonared18 | May 18, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Bi-partisian has nothing to do with cooperation. The whole reason for reaching out to the GOP is not becuase they had interest in GOPs ideas or even that they thought they needed GOP votes. Bi-partisan means CYA. In modern politics there is such a division between left and right, they can't see eye to eye and nither side has any interest in what the other side has to say. Ussually the middle is where the courting is done for "bi-partisianship". There are so few that in middle right now, they have become almost irrelevent. Right now the whole reason the Dems reach out to the GOP is so that the GOP can't blame them if whatever they do goes wrong. If there is "bi-partisian" support, the blame is shared.

Posted by: akmzrazor | May 18, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Wellll.............stratagist that President Obama is... I give him credit.

Out here in Peoria, the boonies, the flatlands, the man bent over backward, included a LOT of the stuff the republicans demanded, and still they slapped him upside the face with it....

Remember they already knew the republican strategy, stated even, was to refuse, deny, and do all they could to keep him from getting one tiny thing was to be their ticket back into power.

We have watched them get their amendments in, then find a microphone and claim they were left out; we have watched them attend their ribbon cutting ceremonies and brag how much good something will do, after denouncing it and refusing to vote for it.
We have watched them appear to be waffling one side or the other to get more donations, then come down hard as a refusnik as soon as they've gotten all the money they could out of appearing to be for or against. We have watched them actively participate in the racist behavior of the teabaggers, or stand by with their hands at their sides when it happened.

However many democrats it might have taken to elect them previously, won't be there next time around... they have shown us their true colors.

Not so sure any self repecting republican will vote for them either.

If President Obama gave them enough rope to hang themselves, and they eagerly tied the knots... whose fault is that?

Posted by: dutchess2 | May 18, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

That Dimwitcrats would savagely ram through such a sweeping, radical, and unconstitutional measure — impacting every American and bankrupting our future — on a purely partisan basis, simply to prove they could: now, THAT's despicable.

Posted by: thebump | May 18, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

What the Republicans actually did was very clever.

First, they convinced large numbers of people that the Healthcare Reform bill was "socialistic" (whatever that means).

Second, they placed all the corrupt, unconscionable, wasteful debt and deficits of three Republican administrations squarely on the Health Care Reform Bill.

The Republicans made it appear as if all the economic problems that result from wasteful and excessive military spending is the fault of Health Care Reform and not the fault of what the Republicans had done for decades.

Posted by: francis4 | May 18, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse


I'm curious about something...

I keep seeing the President's ratings above 50%, just where all other Presidents are when they have difficult tasks at hand; and I keep reading from the likes of those who cannot speak civil english that he has lost support...

I have decided its just sour grapes and lies..

But here's your chance, why do you insist the President has lost support when he clearly has not... self fulfillment, maybe?

'splain it to us.

Posted by: dutchess2 | May 18, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Well the GOP got whacked for shooting down it's own ideas rather throughly afterward.

However, I'd argue that it's not a waste to try to engage in bipartisanship, even if the other side wants none of it. The reason is that besides following majority rule, that it's often good to have an opposition to be critical about what's being done. Yea, the same old noises aren't helpful, but occasionally people come up with new ideas too.

Also, so it doesn't pay off to make consistent attempts to work with the other side going on this time. So what, there's always next time. Who knows what possible freakish problems we could have to deal with next as a country. For all the ranting, the plate was full when the last majority got ejected, and about all we can say is that the boat's not sinking.

It might not pay off now to kick the door open to the GOP doing more beside screeching no!, but it might pay off later if the tent loses some wind.

Posted by: Nymous | May 18, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I guess I disagree with Mr. Sargent's analysis.

While it is true that the efforts toward bipartisanship on HCR dragged things out, I think most of the public who came down against it did so fairly early in the game, not because it took so long. In fact, I think the delays helped HCR supporters on public opinion.

And even if the Senate Republicans were not going to cooperate in any way, you have to admit that Obama's continued efforts to get them into the deal earned him some points with many independent-minded voters who are sick of the political wrangling in Washington.

Posted by: tunkefer | May 18, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

There is a distinct difference between the Democrats idea of government and the Republicans. With the liberal Democrats you get the Nanny State. This includes more and more government programs and taxation. It includes more and more infringement on your personal freedoms. The Republicans have read the public pulse and know now that the Nanny State is anathema to American values and way of life. President Obama and the left want to head toward Socialism. The Republicans do not. Quite a difference.

Posted by: bobbo2 | May 18, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

A poor moonbat is in denial about the fact that more and more Americans are waking up to the messiah's diabolical schemes.

"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday (5/17) shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13." This compares to +25 in January 2009, meaning a negative swing of 38 points.

Tell us again: Is this willful polarization the hope, or the change?

Posted by: thebump | May 18, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Today's Democrats are exceedingly short sighted.

They had a controlling majority in the House and Senate and didn't need any Republicans at all. Consequently they took the view that all they needed to do was roll over Republican objections, pass whatever garbage they could come up with, and that'd be that.

Then an election was held and they LOST full control of the Senate. In 5 months they will lose control of the House of Representatives.

I seriously doubt that any Republican who was cut out of committee meetings by the Democrats is going to be kind to them.

Bipartisanship and compromise must be maintained on an ongoing basis whether or not you have only a slim lead or an overwhelming command of the Congress and the Executive.

Given that the Democrats gave up bipartisanship and compromise over the last year and a half, I doubt we'll see it return for another century.

Posted by: muawiyah | May 18, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

NEW YORK (AP) - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, said in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that he is "toxic" to the Obama administration and that the president "threw me under the bus."

LOL !!

Posted by: FraudObama | May 18, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Man what a hypocritical analysis. When the Liberals refuse to give in to Republican legislation they are held up as shining examples of true idealists who "speak truth to power." When the Republicans refuse to be log rolled by Liberal plans they are obstructionists who are only trying to bring down a noble President. EARTH TO LIBERALS- The Democrats could have passed ObamaCare without any Republican support; in fact they did. But their own party hated the whole thing and resisted it. It wasn't Republican resistance it was Liberal resistance that almost stopped this abomination from passing. Get a life and at least try to be even handed in your analysis.

Posted by: schmitt_fam | May 18, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

This information is useful only if acted on. In other words don't let Republicans slow roll financial reform, energy reform, and immigration reform. Make things happen. The media will get all in a lather over anger but the people who are angry are not going to vote for Democrats anyway. Move out!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | May 18, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans rode roughshod over the Democrats in Bush's first six years in office, refused to compromise, refused to even include Democrats in the writing of legislation. Why do the Republicans now think that the Democrats should even try to include them?

Obama threw away all the advantages he had immediately for reasons that now make no sense whatsoever. The Democrats could have passed a national health insurance plan covering all Americans and lowering costs for all, but no, Obama had to try to compromise with the Republicans, and what he ultimately got is an unworkable hodge-podge of rules and regulations a thousand pages long that nobody understands.

The closer you get to Capitol Hill, the less effect logic and common sense has on its residents.

Posted by: Chagasman | May 18, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Man I sure hope the Courts gut the ‘commerce clause’ based health care mandate from the Health Care Reform Law and force the Democrats to go back and properly (ie. Constitutionally) make the mandate a TAX.

O’ those are going to be fun days for Obama and his minions!

Posted by: bcarte1 | May 18, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The American PEOPLE never wanted this bill.

The Democrats, the liberal press, and the Obama Regime didn't care.

We'll see how that all plays out.

Posted by: thinker16 | May 18, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

The only way that one could view the Health Care Reform law that passed this year as "socialist" is if you live in a Fox News echo chamber. The only western country that I can think of that has socialized medicine is Great Britain. France, Germany, Japan, Canada, etc. do not have socialized medicine. They do have different payment methods for medical care that yield far better results than our kludged-together "free market" corporate system, which is basically a profit-making scheme designed to limit payouts whenever possible.

There's nothing "socialist" about Obama's "agenda" at all. It's basically a slightly friendlier version of the same old American-style corporatism we've been getting since the early 1970's. I doubt if all of you who keep screaming "socialism" would be able to even give an accurate definition of what it is without consulting an encyclopedia. You just keep making fools of yourselves to anyone with half a brain or a decent education.

Posted by: Dan78 | May 18, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

the left gets it that when the full effects of the health care bill which kick in after 2012...
people won't be smiling...
in fact I'm surprised they are not trying to ram every bill they can before this election...
no jobs...
no votes...

Posted by: DwightCollins | May 18, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Considering that the Republican Party has had a great deal of success portraying liberals as demonic, spawn of Satan purveyors of socialism at best and communism at worst, I would say that liberals dismissing conservatives is quite natural. We're a polarized country, thoroughly antagonistic to one another. Thanks pundits, Donna Brazile is right. I'd gladly jettison Olbermann to be rid of Limbaugh and Chris Matthews to say goodbye to Hannity. They've all sucked the air from the room.

Posted by: curtb | May 18, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The one major negative about Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats waiting for Max Baucus' attempts, while knowing they would fail: it gave the Republicans time to win Ted Kennedy's old seat and break the Democrats' 60-seat hold. I attribute this to Baucus' ego: I think he was so determined to be at the center of all the effort that he kept putting on the brakes. The result: Democrats had to soften a bill which might have included the Public Option.

The one MAJOR negative in this whole thing: that anyone still supports, or believes a word offered by, the Republicans. The one honest thing they have said was that they would say "NO!" to any of President Obama's major proposals simply because they were his. This is not "honorable opposition" to another party; this is DIShonorable opposition to progress, to actually facing crises and to representing the people.

If the traditional Republican office holders are now being kicked out in the primaries by the radical zealots, they have only themselves to blame. They caved in to them, which empowered them, and now those empowered radicals are taking over the ship.

This is not the most polarized time in the history of American politics (think Federalists vs. Democratic Republicans at the start of the nation, or the viciousness of the attacks against Lincoln).
However, we are rapidly approaching this level, a record we would do well to avoid setting.

As for the difference between the first year of the Obama administration and now, I think there are two related reasons:
he was so busy getting us out of the mess that Bush/Cheney got us into that he hadn't time to do it all; and I believe he has learned that he should try for bipartisanship but assume he is not going to get it from this generation of Republicans, and must therefore sometimes use the "big stick" that (Republican) Teddy Roosevelt advocated. I predict that we will see Obama continue to TRY for working together, but no longer depend on it.

Posted by: j24w | May 18, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Sad testimony about our "post-partisian" president.

So, the facts are in: Obama lied about being "post-partisian."

Being bipartisian means incorporating your opponent's ideas, not bludgenioning your opponent into agreeing with your ideas.

And being "post-partisian" would have meant writing a law that the the American people, as a whole, could agree with.

As it is, Obama lied about being "post-partisian" and about being "post-racial." In the end he imposed a law on the American people that they do not want.

What arrogance!

Posted by: Cdgaman | May 18, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Cdgaman wrote...
As it is, Obama lied about being "post-partisian" and about being "post-racial." In the end he imposed a law on the American people that they do not want.

You've got your talking points down! There were 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats on the committee crafting Health Care Reform. I remember the senior Republican saying he was going to advise his party to vote against the bill he helped write...

That seems more like arrogance to me.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | May 18, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

This was a chess match. The Republicans were playing for time, I think you got it Greg. With public sentiment swinging against HCR (How many times did Mitch McConnell say "Americans don't want expensive health care they can't afford"?) the WH felt it had to extend an olive branch to the Republicans to stem pubic defections. The question is if Obama had entered the debate sooner could HCR been passed earlier, thus avoiding all the foot dragging and rancor?

The ugliest part of the process want not the Republicans stonewalling, as infuriating as that was, but rather the Ben Nelsons and Mary Landrieus holding out for more state Medicare welfare. This gave the Repubs all the ammo they needed, and it was also an extreme turn off for supporters like me. It reached a point where the giveaways disgusted me and I was actually hoping the bill would stumble. The process was definitely strung out too long and allowed to turn too ugly.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | May 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This is all liberal kool-aid. Liberal justification for an unsustainable, unpopular entitlement.

Bi-partisanship might have happened IF significant republican proposals had been on the table...

Think cross-border competition.

Think tort-reform.

Think fewer mandates, commissions, backroom deals, Union exemptions and a smaller leaner and more-focused bill.

Republicans and Americans got NONE of the above... and at latest rasmussen tally SUPPORT full REPEAL 56% to 39%.

Dems and Obamacare are toast in Nov 2010 and at worst 2012.

Posted by: pvilso24 | May 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Of course. Republicans are unworthy of the time and effort spent trying to make them sane. Best to simply mock them relentlessly.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

this obama guy is the biggest disaster we have ever had. bush wasnt great but this guy and, more broadly, his liberal ideology have done more damage to this country in 16 months than any president has ever done in eight years.

I suppose Greg Sargent takes seriously an Administration who apologixes to the Chinese for Arizona's immigration law saying that i violates human rights, even though the top law enforcement and boarder enforcement officials in the adminisrtration (Holder and Napaldumbo) admit that they HAVENT EVEN READ THE LAW! Its really disturbing to even contemplate what possibily could be lead an administration to saying such a thing about this country and a law supported by 20 and 30% points in every poll. All I know is that type of thinking had to go along with other "misguided" notions this administration and the democratic congress endorse on a daily basis.

Its really dishartening that the American people were sold cheap marketing (a heroic face, hope, change, new possibilities in politics) and instead we saw Obama and Nancy Pelosi adopt Karl Rove 50+1 strategy. His first month on the job the president Obama responded to Republican concerns about his proposed stimulus by saying "I won". With 10% unemployment for the past 6 months it seems the stimulus has not only delivered on its promises and stands as a historic spending blunder to the tune of a trillion dollars (equal to the combined cost of the two wars), it seems to have actually made things worse. employers pull back because government is showing reckless intervention across all spheres of the economy at an unprecedented depth and level of detail and micromanging. Unsurprisinly, businesses realizes they have to protect themselfs against the possibility of arbitrary government changing of the rules of the game in mid-stream, they reduce their exposure to risk to zero, in part by slashing even more employees than the financial crisis called for.

well democrats got what they wanted in Obama and Pelosi having keys to the country, all's left is for them to apologize.

Posted by: dummypants | May 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Obama continues to be correct at every turn which infuriates the Republicans, who sees the writing on the wall as their party disintegrates.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 18, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

this is a clear illustration of how misinformed right wingers are

""I suppose Greg Sargent takes seriously an Administration who apologixes to the Chinese for Arizona's immigration law saying that i violates human rights...""

Here is the original AP story. The right wing spin machine is calling this an apology. Is it any wonder that a health care bill with over 200 GOP-sponsored amendments is condemned by right wingers for lack of bi partisanship.

I am getting sick and tired of lies being treated as facts.

Read the AP story for yourself and then show me where "apology" appears anywhere other than in some lying right-wing blog.

Posted by: anthony002 | May 18, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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