Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 28, 2009

THE WORDS OF A REFORM OPPONENT.... If I didn't know better, I might think Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) -- ostensibly the leading GOP negotiators on health care reform -- doesn't really want a bill.

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, one of three Senate Republicans negotiating on health care, said the soaring federal budget deficit "puts a stake in the heart" of $1 trillion measures being considered by lawmakers.

Grassley, the top Republican on the finance committee, said a bipartisan plan being discussed by panel members will have to be scaled back to have any chance of passing in the wake of new deficit projections released this week. [...]

"It's going to have a big impact on whether I'll even support something," he said at a town-hall meeting Aug. 26 in Le Mars, Iowa.

This doesn't make any sense. Literally, none. It's possible that Grassley, after nearly three decades in the Senate, doesn't understand the basics of budgets and public policy, but I think it's more likely that he opposes health care reform and is looking for an excuse. After all, as a substantive matter, Grassley has the entire situation backwards -- reform wouldn't add to the deficit, and if long-term debt were his top concern, he'd be an enthusiastic proponent of the Democratic proposal.

Grassley's comments aren't the words of someone worried about deficit projections. Grassley's comments are the words of someone who wants to kill health care reform.

I'm tempted to ask Max Baucus to write 100 times on the chalkboard, "Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform. Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform. Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform."

What more would the guy have to do? Grassley wants to drive a stake into the heart of the reform bill, for reasons that defy common sense. He doesn't think he can reach an agreement with the administration. If he thinks the bill is "imperfect," he won't vote for it. He's prepared to vote against his own compromise bill, and as of this week, it's doubtful he'll "even support something."

What more is there to talk about with Chuck Grassley?

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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I'm tempted to ask Max Baucus to write 100 times on the chalkboard, "Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform. Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform. Chuck Grassley does not support health care reform."

Yeah, well, neither does Baucus, and his BFF Grassley and the Great Mythical Quest for Bipartisan Consensus continue to provide Baucus with a fig leaf as he stuffs his pockets with insurance industry cash.

Posted by: dr. bloor on August 28, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Why do people who live in advanced nations with government-subsidized health care all live longer than Americans and pay a smaller share of their income on health care, on average?

I'd love to hear Grassley answer this question.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 28, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

i just feel like bragging that years ago i already knew chuck grassley was a stupid arrogant asshole long before it was cool to know that chuck grassley is a stupid arrogant asshole.

Posted by: neill on August 28, 2009 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley is a man who lives in comfort, and his benefactors have asked him to prevent any sharing of such comfort!

To the current Congress: Let's do health care reform here in America in the early 21st century WITHOUT the magnificent Grassley! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 28, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley's concern about the deficit does explain all those votes against the bloated military budget and Bush's tax cuts and the Iraq War and all the rest.

Always, the man has his eye on the bottom line.

Posted by: zhak on August 28, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Through Being Cool

we're through being cool
eliminate the ninnies and the twits
going to bang some heads
going to beat some butts
time to show those evil spuds what's what
if you live in a small town
you might meet a dozen or two
young alien types who step out
and dare to declare
spank the pank who try to drive you nuts
time to clean some house
be a man or a mouse
waste those who make it tuff to get around
if you live in a big place
many factions underground
chase down mister hinky dink
so no trace can be found
put the tape on erase
rearrange a face
we always liked picasso anyway
mash 'em

Posted by: FRP on August 28, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'm also disgusted with hypocrite John McCain, saying that if Ted were here they could have a plan they would support, no way were they ever going to support a health care reform plan, McCain never supported the Kennedy plan before. Now McCain wants to speak at Kennedy's wake. I wish they had not decided to let him speak.

Posted by: JS on August 28, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

No one ever mentions Olympia Snowe. She is still negotiating in good faith. I don't believe Grassley/Enzi are. There are only certain budgetary things that can be passed with reconciliation. They are not sure in the Senate after all the research they have done that the entire bill can be passed this way. It will be picked apart by Repugs ASAP. I have no idea how this will all turn out.

Posted by: cat on August 28, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Instant Karma globally warmed

What more is there to talk about with Chuck Grassley?

Well...

I think it is kinda cool that Iowa will be one of the most severely globally warmed states and Grassley is an obstructionist on cap-and-trade too...

Basically the people and way of life in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas are doomed. They are living fossils. That the senators of these states refuses to address this monster problem is an example of evolution in action. You either adapt or you die. They've chosen to die like dinosaurs.

Practice your zen:

Breathe in. Breathe out.
It is what it is what it is...
I'm okay. Grassley's okay. Iowa dying is okay...
Repeat the mantra:

Evolution in action, Evolution in action, Evolution in action, Evolution in action, Evolution in action....


Posted by: koreyel on August 28, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

There is a glaring flawed assumption in your post, Steve: apparently you characterize Chuck Grassley as someone who is leading Max Baucus on a pointless journey, and Baucus is just a gullible soul being tricked by a naysayer acting as a partner.

Wrong.

Chuck & Max know exactly what each other is doing, and they are doing it in a choreographed dance.

Problem for them is, we have a president whose mother was killed by insurance companies. Prepare for the wrath to be unleashed on these buffoons.

Posted by: Ohioan on August 28, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

cat: i'd bet you a bag of paul newman kibble that olympia snowe is just as dastardly as the other repugs -- in the end.

she just has to negotiate a larger percentage of educated and liberal folks in her state (which has always required her to adopt a moderate facade) before she betrays america and votes no on hcr...

Posted by: neill on August 28, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, to be a Republican, and free to tell any ridiculous lie, to push any phoney story, any time, as loudly as I cared to, without fear of any news network pointing it out and mayhaps turning the camera elsewhere and interviewing someone with actual integrity.

Posted by: Midland on August 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

T.R. Reid suggested recently that the Republicans are fighting so hard because they know if health insurance reform is passed it will be seen as a Democratic accomplishment and will lead to political gains for the Democrats. They are fighting for their political life, no wonder the fight is so brutal.

Posted by: Marc on August 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Obama Administration needs to clearly explain why "reform wouldn't add to the deficit, and if long-term debt were [the] top concern" then opponents would support the proposal.

And then it needs to explain it again. And again.

Whenever I talk to reasonable people who are not gung-ho on health insurance reform, the perceived cost is what's holding them back.

Posted by: Bob Miller on August 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

We should have had Vilsack running against Grassley, not just taking up space in the Agriculture Department.

Posted by: jonp72 on August 28, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley's repeated use of the $1 trillion number shows he does not want a reform bill. That number is a ten year projected total for federal spending. (It is equal to 98 cents per person per day over ten years.) Without any reform, health care costs will double in ten years adding $2.6 trillion to premiums and taxes. Some of this increase is inevitable, but if we could squeeze down the 35% of private premiums that goes to marketing, administration, executive compensation and other non-medical costs, we could save more that $1 trillion in that time frame.

Posted by: Observer SC on August 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

We understand your concerns, Senator Grassley, they are the same as in 2003 when you voted against Medicare Part D.

You didn't vote against that? Now you've lost us, Senator. MMA wasn't paid for, but what is currently being discussed is claimed to be. Would you be so kind to explain?

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Posted by: Dymas on March 15, 2010 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK
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