Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 18, 2009

SENATE'S #2 REPUBLICAN: NO GOP SUPPORT FOR REFORM.... I think Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona, the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate, said something really important this morning.

The Senate Republican whip, speaking to reporters on a conference call from his home state of Arizona, said that even if the Democrats do away with a government-run insurance option, the GOP most likely won't support the bill that's being written in the Senate.

"I think it's safe to say that there are a huge number of big issues that people have," Kyl said, referring to Republican senators. "There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill."

Asked if he'd support a bill if it were deficit neutral, Kyl said Dems may find a way to pass reform without adding to the debt, "but that doesn't mean the Republicans will support it." Asked if he could tolerate a nonprofit insurance cooperative instead of a public option, Kyl added that a co-op is "a step towards government-run health care in this country." The Senate Minority Whip added that "almost all Republicans" are likely to oppose reform, even if it's the result of a bipartisan compromise.

So, bipartisan talks just officially died, right? There's no real ambiguity here -- a member of the Senate GOP leadership announced, publicly and on the record, that Republicans are going to oppose health care reform, no matter how many concessions Democrats make.

This strikes me as a very important development. For months, the Senate process has been slowed, stalled, and delayed while talks continued in search of a "bipartisan compromise." The goal -- embraced by Dems on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenie -- has been to try to find a package that members of both parties could embrace. Those negotiations continue, though the leading Republican in the talks said yesterday that he'll vote against his own compromise if his party isn't on board with reform.

And Jon Kyl just explained that the GOP is going to oppose reform.

By any reasonable measure, Kyl's remarks should be the death knell of bipartisan negotiations. The left has been saying for months, "No matter what, Republicans are going to oppose the final bill." And this morning, Kyl effectively said the left is correct.

Then, logically, there's simply no need for bipartisan talks. Short of Mitch McConnell hanging a banner outside his door reading, "Please stop trying to reach out to us," I don't think it can get any clearer.

Will Senate Democrats get the message?

Steve Benen 1:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Will Senate Democrats get the message?

Let me contact Hell.

Still hot as ever, so no, Democrats won't get that message.

Posted by: doubtful on August 18, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dems are just idiots. If the situations was reversed, Retards will have this done and make Dems look like complete idiots for now following them.

Posted by: Ajay on August 18, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Sen. Conrad:

That grating sound you hear is your dear Republican colleagues sawing the base of the limb you have climbed out on for them.

Now might be a good time to consider whether you will take the fall, or ring their f*cking necks.

Just trying to help.

Your pal, Zeitgeist.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 18, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Rhetorically, what is required for the Democrats to grow a pair?

Posted by: Ed Zactly on August 18, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rockwell paints a townhall meeting,

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/17/Save_Freedom_of_Speech.png

Not a gun in sight.

Posted by: cld on August 18, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Will Senate Democrats get the message?

Better yet, will Obama and Rahmbo get the message, too? My answer is no. Someone needs to tell Obama that this isn't the Illinois Legislature he's dealing with.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on August 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats (especially Obama) continue down this bipartisan road, their current majority and power (if you can call it that) will be short-lived.

Posted by: qwerty on August 18, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get Baucus and Conrad on the record in response to Kyl's statement. Is that so hard?

Posted by: Th on August 18, 2009 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

So, it's pretty clear that it's time for the Democrats to write off the Republicans and their votes and craft a bill that is bipartisan - bipartisan in the sense that it will get support from both the Progressives and the Blue Dogs. It's time to put as much political pressure as possible on every Democrat in the House and Senate: stop jerking the public around and get this thing done. The Republicans have shown their true colors in the past few weeks and only a fool would continue to try to negotiate with them.

Posted by: delNorte on August 18, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Republicans are going to oppose health care reform, no matter how many concessions Democrats make."

The Democrats aren't making concessions to the Republicans.

The Democrats are making concessions to the for-profit insurance corporations.

The Democrats are trying to figure out how to protect the profits of the insurance corporations and then sell that to the American people as "health reform".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 18, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you write: "So, bipartisan talks just officially died, right? There's no real ambiguity here ... For months, the Senate process has been slowed, stalled, and delayed while talks continued in search of a "bipartisan compromise." ... Logically, there's simply no need for bipartisan talks... Will Senate Democrats get the message?"

I have a long analysis posted in your "going to be unpopular piece" which I hope you and others will check out.

My question here: why are you in such a hurry to shut down bi-partisan talks? As they have progressed, the Repubs are giving us positions they have long held, allowing themselves as well as their crazy supporters around the country to become ever more extreme, and making it easier and easier to unite all Dems (and maybe a couple of Repubs who are being silent but who can't be happy with what's happening to their party). On top of all this, the Repubs are setting themselves up to be branded for years as the party of "no" while making it easier and easier for Dems everywhere to run of the theme of "we tried."

Why are you so anxious to give up all of these benefits. The Repubs are in a hole and digging madly. Let them dig! Hell, give them a bigger shovel.

Remember, we're playing the long game.

Posted by: CMcC on August 18, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

You're not going to get a lot of help from the Blue Dogs either. Baucus, Nelson, et al. are closet Replicants who desperately want to prevent any actual reform from occurring.

Let's just go for a bill that actually accomplishes something, and let all these obstructionists go hang.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on August 18, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Playing the long game" is the new "keeping our powder dry."

Posted by: inkadu on August 18, 2009 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

"By any reasonable measure, Kyl's remarks should be the death knell of bipartisan negotiations."

Never underestimate the power of dumbocrap senators to compromise for the sake of compromise. Just because rethugs have never been negotiating in good faith does not mean that the dumbs will not continue to give away every thing of value for the amerikan sheeple.

"Will Senate Democrats get the message?"

Easy answer - no!

Posted by: SadOldVet on August 18, 2009 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill."

Unless for tax cuts for millionaires, or Glorious War!

The Dems are spineless cowards.

Posted by: Go, Sestak on August 18, 2009 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

So did Obama made this overture knowing the media would then ask Republicans if they would support reform sans public option and knowing that they'd say no, thus backing themselves into a corner as the party of obstruction? Were his public option remarks this weekend just a move to get the GOP to tip their hand on the record as the party of no?

Posted by: Dan on August 18, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Dems read the newspapers same as Reps do. There are only a few choices as to why Dems are continuing to negotiate:

a) They still believe in the Easter Bunny.

b) They take money from the same people who hold the Republicans' leash and are essentially on the same side regardless of which caucus they officially belong to.

c) They only really care about getting re-elected anyway.

d) All of the above.

Actions speak louder than words. You be the judge.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on August 18, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are going to oppose health care reform, no matter how many concessions Democrats make.

This strikes me as a very important development

How can something that has been so fucking obvious from the beginning be a "development"?

Posted by: ckelly on August 18, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

This is where we find out if Obama is still playing chess. The Repub leadership is on the record(as if it hasn't been painfully obvious from the beginning) opposing any reform. Does he go for the jugular now, let it play out a little more until after the recess, or continue to allow Repubs and their Dem appeasers to control the process?
And it's time to call out Conrad and other Dems as well on the filibuster--get them on record saying whether or not they would support it.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 18, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Them that has Status sure do like the Quo. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 18, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't the Dems just call the bill "The anti-immigration, pro-gun, patriotic, anti-treason, pro-strict constructionist act of 2009" so everyone will vote for it?

Posted by: howie on August 18, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Cue David Broder chastizing the Democrats for their lack of bipartisanship in 3...2...

Posted by: Gregory on August 18, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Seems that the Repubs will only vote for a bill that outlaws health care/health insurance reform.... wait! maybe not even that!

Posted by: agave on August 18, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Touche

inkadu @ 2:05: "Playing the long game" is the new "keeping our powder dry."

Posted by: koreyel on August 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Come election time Democrats will still put their priority in trying to appeal to conservatives who will never vote for them under any circumstance. That's why the Democrats will fold on health care. They're trying to appease a voting block that they don't need and will never get.

Posted by: Saint Zak on August 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yes. In Progressive Land, it is all bunnies and unicorns and fairy dust, BUT, lying in the weeds the Evil Vipers and Bloodsucking Leeches that are the RIGHT WING are waiting to kill those who just Want to Helpppp. Surely, on some level, you realize just how absurd your description of this debate is.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on August 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Surely, on some level, you realize just how absurd your description of this debate is.

God, you're right. Let's ratchet up the tone and quality of reason a bit. STOP TRYING TO KILL MY LITTLE SPECIAL NEEDS BABY AND TO SEND MY GRANNY OUT TO SEA ON AN ICE FLOE WHILE YOU FUND FREE ABORTION FESTIVALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tom K on August 18, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Turn down the hyperbole and it's sounds about right.

Posted by: agave on August 18, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Ooops! Forgot to call the president Hitler!

Posted by: Tom K on August 18, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

back in college, my fave Poli Sci prof used to repeat almost like a manta that "Power" is a function of two variables: capability and willingness to use it. Most people erroneously oversimplify and equate power with capability. But you can have all the capability in the world - for example, the presidency, 60 senate members, a huge margin in the house, most governors, and a 10-point polling advantage in who people trust -- and if you have no willingness to use it, you in fact have zero power.

Who knew that almost 25 years ago he was teaching me everything I would need to know about national Democrats, circa 2009?

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 18, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Tom K, I think your comment is more ridiculous than this post's description of the current debate, but just by a bit.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on August 18, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Turn down the hyperbole and it's sounds about right.


That for BillyBob

Posted by: agave on August 18, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Credo action.com has a petition to sign and send to Max Baucus. Just keep calling and emailing, don't let up on the senators that are standing in the way of reform.

Posted by: JS on August 18, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

yeah billybob, Steve is clearly distorting the debate by. . . um, by. . . quoting Republicans' own words! how dare he!

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 18, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Tom K, I think your comment is more ridiculous than this post's description of the current debate, but just by a bit.

Really? Point out the ridiculous or hyperbolic parts of Steve's post, would you? Quote them directly for us.

Posted by: Tom K on August 18, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Listen to secularanimist and see the
kabuki. The Dems are using "bipartisanship"
to cover their fealty to the insurance companies.

Posted by: Billy Pilgrim on August 18, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK
The Repubs are in a hole and digging madly. Let them dig! Hell, give them a bigger shovel.

In the meantime, with each delay and each new rabid attack, support for health care reform drops. So no, I'd rather not wait, thanks.

Posted by: PaulB on August 18, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

It's not Democrats who are moronfor dealing with Republicans.

Its liberals who are morons for dealing with Democrats.

Posted by: McGruff on August 18, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK
Surely, on some level, you realize just how absurd your description of this debate is.

By all means tell us which part of Steve's post you actually disagree with. Be specific. While you're at it, do please let us know how we should interpret Senator Kyl's remarks, along with the remarks of Grassley, McConnell, et. al. We can hardly wait for your spin on these events.

Posted by: PaulB on August 18, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

They are who we thought they were, non?

Posted by: Andy on August 18, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Your country is an absolute disgrace to the rest of the planet. The root of your problem is Capitalism itself that you all want to glorify as the best political/ economic system of all. You are utterly deluded. Capitalism is the cause of all the greed in your disgraced country. It has breed all the self-appointed superior people who convince themselves it's just fine to fuck everyone but themselves. Everything in your ugly country is about profits: everything, even your so called 'news'. You have created a 'casino' economy that all revolves around Wall Street: 'greed is good'. The 'common good' is hissed at, and you are able to convince a vast majority of your citizens to vote against their own self interests. It's country of pigs really. You have five percent of the world population yet use 25 percent of all of it's resources. A country in which 35 percent of your people are obese, and another 40 percent overweight. Pigs you are. More of you watch things like American Idol than vote for the President of your country. 30 percent can't even find your country on a world map for God's sake. You have the worst heath care of all modern countries of all, while pretending that it's the best of all. The real 'death panels' is your insurance industry itself as the C.E.O's make their millions while at the same time canceling the policies by the thousands every day to do so. Your evil capitalism creates realities wherein you pay Corporate whores like Brian Williams 15 million a year yet the teachers of your children make about $30,000 a year. How many simply die because they can't afford your 'health insurance' ? How many each day ?
For those of us that watch the spectacle of your absolute corruption on our T.V's, and read about it in our newspapers, watch the absolute stupidity of your people as they allow themselves to be sadistically manipulated by the Corporations so that profits can be maintained at all costs and yet are to stupid to realize that they are being manipulated, we can only watch with guffaws of disdain.
You are not by any means one of the best countries on Earth. In fact, you are one of the worse. It's as stupid as it is obese, farting in the faces of others as you proceed. Welcome to your evil capitalism. It is, indeed, the root of all evil.

Posted by: an ex pat on August 18, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, will Broder write a column decrying GOP partisanship and obstructionism? Bet not.

Posted by: Dan on August 18, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

How about less than 0 power...

Zeitgeist: But you can have all the capability in the world - for example, the presidency, 60 senate members, a huge margin in the house, most governors, and a 10-point polling advantage in who people trust -- and if you have no willingness to use it, you in fact have zero power.

It is actually feels worse that that to me. In Saturday's town hall Obama actually MADE a better argument against the public option than did the know-everything 20-year-old whose question he took...

And then as if that wasn't enough, he again repeated the most absolutely dumb argument for the public option that exists: Smart private companies like UPS and Fed-Ex are out-competing the US Post Office. That is akin to saying: Don't worry everyone... we will create another inefficient and dumb government agency.

Jesus.

If Obama is doing the rope-a-dope thing here, he sure is playing the role of a punch-drunk dummy real well...


Posted by: koreyel on August 18, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama is doing the rope-a-dope thing here, he sure is playing the role of a punch-drunk dummy real well...

Stop insulting Obama! He's smarter than you are, okay? Why can't you just trust him?

Posted by: Dr Boobrain on August 18, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Piggybacking on SecularAnimist's point, here's a tweet from Glenn Greenwald:

If everyone knows that GOP won't vote for health care, Dems know it, too - perhaps attracting GOP votes isn't why they're watering it down

If I've learned anything from this, it's that no power brokers in Washington is actually interested in health care reform.

Posted by: TG Chicago on August 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

To falter now would be seen to have given into physical intimidation involving psychotic, screaming mobs, death threats to Congressmen, and assault-rifle brandishing gun nuts. Not to mention fabrication of outright lies. That would be one hell of a lesson, with awful lessons for the future of our democracy. No losing heart now!

Posted by: bob h on August 18, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Stop insulting Obama! He's smarter than you are, okay? Why can't you just trust him?

He's sure conned a lot of people into thinking he's a liberal.

Posted by: MgGiver on August 18, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Message to Senate Democrats, especially "The Senseless 3 Dems" on the Finance Committee.
The Charade is over !
If you represent US, you will pass REAL reform with a REAL public Option.
Baucus, Conrad, Nelson, Reid....Your negative actions to REAL REFORM are NOTED !
The Opportunity for REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM is NOW.
Seize the moment !

Posted by: ParityFanatic on August 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

...Obama is getting played.

...the high of 86% just three months ago is down to 60% in favor of reform. [http://www.gallup.com/poll/122339/Economy-Declines-Further-Top-Problem-Healthcare-Rises.aspx]

...the legislative delay so Democrats could get eaten alive in August should have been the clue.

...Not exactly change I can believe in. Seems like same old battered wife party to me.

Posted by: Blue Shark on August 18, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I agree TG Chicago. I knew actual healthcare reform was DOA when Obama named Tom Daschle as HUD Sec. and point person for healthcare reform. For these folks healthcare reform is academic. They don't have to worry about affordable healthcare, it is a purely academic question, like welfare, or medicare, or any of the entitlements the benefit the less entitled.

Posted by: Scott F. on August 18, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing that makes the Republicans alarmed at the prospect of an end to bipartisanship efforts is the possibility that they might be denied their opportunity to meddle, interfere and obstruct the process. Whenever that looks like happening, they temporarily pretend they are interested in reasonable discourse and compromise.

As soon as Charlie Brown (the Democrats) again shows interest in trying to kick the football they are holding for him, it'll be back to the process of snatching it away and falling about with raucous laughter. Forget about the Republicans participating in governance - all they're interested in is making YOU look foolish, so you can be voted out and they can resume power, along with all the attendant warmongering and sucking up to big corporations that were hallmarks of the Bush years.

Posted by: Mark on August 18, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Will Senate Democrats get the message?

No.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.</Atrios>

Posted by: David Bailey on August 18, 2009 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Did I miss something? Everything depends on the Senate? What about the House of Representatives; don't the members of that chamber have something to say on this as well? And aren't they saying when asked, and rather firmly and loudly, too, that the public option WILL be in their bill? And that would mean that whatever Bill is sent to the Senate will contain the public option.
In the Senate the Democrats have offered to take this out and take that out and cut this back and put this off for a year or two. And what has been the response of the Republicans? NO! Well then, does the "loyal opposition" have any suggestions? NO!
I would say those responses put severely limits on Republican credibility when they start complaining about any Health Care Insurance Reform Bill not being "bipartisan" because they didn't have any "input". They had a chance to bring something to the table, but instead, only wanted to take and take and take...
Which brings it down to: just how many (if any) Democratic Senators are going to vote against a reconciliation bill that contains a public option?
Because that is what it will come to.

Posted by: Doug on August 18, 2009 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

So, let's just pass health care that excludes Republicans.

Posted by: zor9 on August 19, 2009 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Time to retire this dinosaur. It wasn't that clever the first 10,000,000,000 times it was used.

Posted by: Susan Johnson on August 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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