Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 8, 2009

CHUCK THE CANTANKEROUS.... Yesterday in Ohio, President Obama noted how easy it is for Republican critics to attack health care reform, while refusing to step up with a GOP reform plan of their own. "You've heard all the lies," the president told union members. "I've got a question for all those folks: What are you going to do? What's your answer? What's your solution? And you know what? They don't have one."

On CNN this morning, John Roberts asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about the charge that Republicans aren't offering a credible alternative. The question apparently left Grassley with no choice but to attack CNN and embrace circular, foolish, run-on sentences. (via John Cole)

"...I would be working towards a bipartisan effort. And if we don't get a bipartisan effort, then, of course, there are so many things in what I've been working towards that could easily go into my plan or a Republican plan and then don't forget that there's already four Republican plans out there introduced by other members of our caucus. But because we're the minority party, you at CNN and other places haven't given our plans much publicity because I suppose we're in the minority and you want to help the president so much so that I hope that if we -- if we don't have a bipartisan plan, that you'll start giving some attention to the Republican plans that are out there."

Remember, this is the guy Democrats have been counting on to negotiate in good faith and strike a bipartisan compromise on health care reform.

If you cut through the meandering nonsense, you'll note that Grassley refers to "my plan," without noting that he's never actually produced a plan. He adds that there are "four Republicans plans out there" with their own plans, without noting that none has been embraced by the GOP leadership, and the proposals themselves are impossible to take seriously.

Let's be clear about this. Are there random GOP proposals out there with a few co-sponsors? Yes, there are. But when observers note that there's no Republican alternative to health care reform, that's entirely legit. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters in July that GOP lawmakers were putting "the final touches on our bill," which, he said, would hopefully be available "soon." That was 47 days ago, and no one's heard a peep about their bill since.

As for the exchange on CNN, John Roberts was apparently defensive after Grassley's baseless accusation, and "assured" the conservative Iowan that the network will "redouble our efforts to illuminate Republican plans."

There was no need for Roberts to be apologetic, but if CNN wants to take his pledge seriously, that strikes me as a great idea. By all means, focus a bright light on the competing visions of health care reform between Democrats and Republicans, "illuminating" GOP proposals to address their idea that Americans are already over-insured, and protect insurance companies at all costs.

CNN will "redouble" its efforts to "illuminate Republican plans"? I can hardly wait.

Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE

The Republicans are now a party of bullies. The news media and everyone else should treat them as such. Unless you want a country run by bullies.

Posted by: Kurt on September 8, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Let me guess, their plan is to cut taxes...

Posted by: ScottW on September 8, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Crickets

Wasn't CNN going to redouble its efforts to illuminate republican HC reform plans.

Crickets

Posted by: bjobotts on September 8, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

They don't have a solution because they don't think there's a problem. From their POV, if you don't like the way health insurance companies treat their customers, don't buy health insurance! If insurance costs more than you can pay, get a better job, you slacker!

Posted by: Seth Gordon on September 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Redoubling your efforts to illuminate anything sounds kinda sorta like doing some basic, um, reporting. That's something CNN gave up doing long ago. The GOP has nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on September 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

In a town so divided between parties, there are some things that we need to work together on, and health care should be one of them.

Collaborate on health care reform as Americans, juxtaposed to Republicans or Democrats.

Thanks for the article!

Posted by: MLEstyle on September 8, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the GOP's "alternative health care reform plan" will be like their alternative federal budget -- 12 pages of blah, blah, blah without specifics or numbers.

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 8, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

All you Democrats are being unkind and mean to the Republicans. Look. Bush had Republican majorities in both houses for most of his reign and you folks are totally -- TOTALLY -- overlooking the way they used those six years to bring about health care reform the responsible, Republican way.

Shame on you all.

Posted by: zhak on September 8, 2009 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter whether what the Republicans say about health care "reform" makes sense or not when Obama gives away everything upfront, then tells us he's "negotiating," then after losing the "battle" which actually never took place, he gives up the public option; then he wants to give a rousing speech before Congress to make us believe that he's "fighting." In the beginning and in the end, we get nothing.

Posted by: Scooby Doo on September 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yeee Haw!!!

ride that english language, chuckie boy -- don't let it throw ya, hang on tight...

Posted by: neill on September 8, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

And just now, on C-SPAN2, the Senate is back in session, and the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, in his opening statement, is LYING about what is in the health care bills, as if he were at a friggin' town hall meeting (bad enough to lie to your constituents). But he's now doing it on the FLOOR OF THE SENATE. He and the rest of the Rs have NO SHAME.

Posted by: Me on September 8, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

He and the rest of the Rs have NO SHAME.

You act like that is a bad thing. What good would "shame" be for a Republican?

Posted by: qwerty on September 8, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

"... Grassley refers to "my plan," without noting that he's never actually produced a plan ..."

Now come on, I may not have spelled it out, but its all in my head, you know. That this Roberts guy couldn't see this is just despicable. I mean, who does he think he is. Talking to a Senator like that.

Posted by: Chuck G on September 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Senate needs another informal rule - any senator who speaks nonsense must tender his/her resignation by the end of the day!

The upper chamber would benefit greatly, and our nation will have fresh minds to actually help us move positively into the future with better policy! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 8, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't lying to Congress an impeachable offense? It seems to me that was Bill Clinton's biggest offense. It wasn't the affair with Monica, it was lying to Congress and The People!

Posted by: st john on September 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a pair of ideas in desperate need of reconciliation:

Republicans believe Americans are overinsured and Republicans want to protect insurance companies.

Reconcile those two if you can.

Posted by: tamiasmin on September 8, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Reconcile those two if you can.

Sure. Republicans want to protect insurance companies and they believe that insurance companies should pay out even fewer benefits to drive profits even higher at the expense of their clients' health. You're "overinsured" every time your insurer pays one of your claims.

Posted by: Tom K on September 8, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the GOP's "alternative health care reform plan" will be like their alternative federal budget -- 12 pages of blah, blah, blah without specifics or numbers.

But bubbles! It'll have bubbles!

Posted by: Gregory on September 8, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I don't mean to be small...but doesn't Chuck Grassley remind you of Fred Ziffel?...father of Arnold?
and the ideas that come from him are pigs too.

Posted by: JW on September 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, please follow up on this. I can't watch CNN 24 hours a day, but if John Roberts does focus on a Republican plan (or on the absence of any serious plans) I want to hear what he has to say. Thanks.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on September 8, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Tom K. Now I understand. Sometimes Republican logic is just too hard for me.

Posted by: tamiasmin on September 8, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

There was no need for Roberts to be apologetic...
Oh, but there was. When one is called a member of the liberal media, much atonement is called for.

Posted by: Strangely Enough on September 8, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

CNN can start right now and follow ABC's lead in the Iranian hostage crisis: "This is day number X since Sen. Grassley promised to deliver his HCR plan. Further reporting by..."
Of course, if CNN DID do that, you'd be able to hear the Republican screams IN Iran. Without a television set. While wearing earplugs. In a bunker.

Posted by: Doug on September 8, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican plan is "let them eat cake". Seriously. They DO think we are over insured. They want us to pay $400 a month per person for a "catastrophic" healthcare plan that has a huge deductible, natch. That way we not only pay premiums, we pay all our own doctor's visits and prescriptions. If your kid falls and breaks an arm and it costs $2,000 in bills, you're being "responsible" by paying your own tab. With this logic they believe that we will quit going to the doctor "needlessly" (because our wonderful insurance pays for everything)and THEN prices will drop. You know, falling demand = falling prices.

On the surface this sounds logical if you are talking about the price of TVs or microwaves, but they have no comprehension that when applied to healthcare, people will actually DIE. Or like a pitiful lady I once saw in Mexico with a deformed hand due to a break that she probably couldn't afford to have fixed. Perhaps they think that people are just expendible and the price we have to pay to keep our "freedom" (capitalistic approach). After all, what do they care? They can afford "the best medical care in the world".

Posted by: Always Hopeful on September 8, 2009 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

John Roberts needs to grow a spine. All Republicans need to do is accuse someone of favoring Dems and they go all wobbly. Don't they teach you about those kinds of diversions in journalism school and how to get around them?

Posted by: Always Hopeful on September 8, 2009 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

ScottW: Let me guess, their plan is to cut taxes


GOP SOLUTIONS TO ALL PROBLEMS:

#1 Tax Cuts...

#2 Invade...

and if those things fail...

#3 Do Nothing..


Posted by: mr. irony on September 9, 2009 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK
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