Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2009

THIS WAS THE GOP POINT-MAN ON HEALTH CARE REFORM?.... Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued this morning that the Gang of Six could definitely have come to a bipartisan agreement on health care reform, if only those mean ol' Democrats have given the negotiations more time. Grassley told CNBC that with "another couple weeks," lawmakers would have reached the perfect deal.

Five months of pointless talks produced exactly zero GOP votes. But five-and-a-half months would have delivered a bill that "would have gotten broad-based support." (As Ezra Klein joked, "I was totally getting ready to propose, baby, if you'd only waited a couple more weeks...")

But that's not all. Grassley also lashed out at the White House this morning.

Grassley blasted accusations made by White House aides that his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to work on a bipartisan healthcare bill with committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and others were insincere.

"I kind of resent that, when I've been very candid with the president of the United States" about his positions on contentious issues in healthcare reform, Grassley said.

Grassley also took direct aim at President Barack Obama, suggesting that he soured the chances for cooperation.

"I'll tell you, there's some things that the president has said since then that I took very personally," Grassley said. "He gave some speeches during August in which he was associating me with efforts to make this a political document."

Grassley singled out David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, for criticism. "We're accused by Axelrod of making political things and maybe not being serious in our negotiations," Grassley said. "You know, that's not a very good environment to carry on a conversation with the White House."

First of all, President Obama went to great lengths -- too many, in fact -- to praise Grassley publicly as someone who was sincere about negotiating in good faith. Why Grassley would take those comments "personally" is unclear.

Second of all, the reason the White House eventually gave up on Grassley is because administration officials are not insane. Why would anyone seriously believe Grassley was serious about reform after his conduct of the last several weeks?

Grassley has lashed out at the media with nonsensical whining; he said he wanted to undermine ambitious reform proposals because activists yelled at him in town-hall meetings; he vowed to defeat "Obamacare"; he nonsensically argued that the deficit "puts a stake in the heart" of Democratic proposals; he said, "I don't think it's going to be possible to work it out with the administration"; he promised not to vote for an "imperfect bill"; he validated "death panel" nonsense; and he said he was prepared to vote against his own compromise.

Grassley think he has grounds to be "resentful"? Everything would have been fine in "another couple weeks"? Please.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

But he can say anything, knowing the media will ignore the pesky facts and present him as a victim.

Posted by: Go, Sestak! on September 17, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Go, Sestak has it in one. Look in the very article you linked to for any sign that Grassley is saying the opposite of what he said last week.

Posted by: paul on September 17, 2009 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

chuckie grassley is just a supremo award-winning clown and a long time member of the united states senate clown car.

even tho the kids in okiehomie couldn't find the clown car if it came barreling at 'em with all hundred clowns tooting their klaxon horns and blowing their whistles, red clown wigs flying in the air, it really don't matter. chuckie and the others just keep doin' their clown jobs day in and day out. heroic clowns that they are...

chuckie is a true archetype of the clown car senate, and the embodiment of the indecency of this country.

chuckie -- yer just the bestest!

Posted by: neill on September 17, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Forget the Beck ad, the DNC should put together a "Best of Grassless" video. Let it go viral, no need to pay for time.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on September 17, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

He's just looking for some cover for when he inevitably votes against any kind of health insurance reform.

Posted by: flubber on September 17, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

This ->[I've been very candid with the president of the United States" about his positions on contentious issues in healthcare reform, Grassley said.}is why Grassley is in such a snit. To me his wording sound like he is ticked off because Obama either did not agree with him or did not take his advice.
Regardless of what the GOP says, they are making this ALL ABOUT THEM, instead of the American people.

Posted by: jc on September 17, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sen Grassley comes across as a pretty weird guy, and a very self-righteous one. However strange his characterization of the situation seems, I think he kind of believes it himself. In that sense I don't think he's being consciously insincere, even though the overall impact of his behavior is that he's just not very trustworthy. It's sad really.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 17, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Please tell me that he is going to take his toys and go home now...

Please?

Posted by: Ranger Jay on September 17, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off topic, but how bizarre is it that Grassley is 76 years old and is planning to run next year for re-election to another six-year term and everyone expects him to walk away with it? I know a lot of extra-old people retain their competence, but still, it seems ridiculous that such an absurd old man could be in such an important position.

Posted by: Brian on September 17, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Advice to Grassley - please use the white paint and the red noseball along with the orange curly hair and oversized shoes if you wish to come to the public with such clownish stupidity! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 17, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

In another couple of weeks he probably would have gotten Baucus to turn in a 4 page plan with no numbers. Then everything truly would have been fine and would have gotten broad republican't support.

Posted by: kanopsis on September 17, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off topic, but how bizarre is it that Grassley is 76 years old and is planning to run next year for re-election to another six-year term and everyone expects him to walk away with it?

He has excellent health insurance. That's why there are so many absurd old men in such important positions. You tend to live longer with better healthcare...

Posted by: kanopsis on September 17, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I have it right: Chuck Grassley reallllly wants to pass health care reform, but the mean GOP won't release him to make a deal with Max B, a real fine fellow. That obnoxious Obama keeps breathing down his neck and won't extend the deadline so Chuck can convince the GOP to vote en masse for health insurance reform. If he only had a little more time, he could negotiate a deal that the GOP caucus would support in large numbers. Obama's pressure is the deal-breaker.

Does anyone really believe this?

Posted by: danimal on September 17, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Grassley deserves an Academy Award in the category- "Best Effort to Kill Health Care Reform by a seated Republican Senator."
He just wants to Con enough Dems long enough until time wise the reconciliation method in the Senate is not available.
You got to give the OLD Bushies credit, you knew they were going to ignore "Middle America".
Looks like Middle America gets shafted either way. The Baucus fiasco is an excellent example of what a Democratic majority in "NAME" only- can do !
ZILCH......

Posted by: ParityFanatic on September 17, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

IT'S ALWAYS OKAY IF YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on September 17, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

How about someone asking Grassley publicly if he would vote for cloture if the Senate gave him one more month to produce a bill?

Posted by: jimjinphx on September 17, 2009 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

...if he would vote for cloture if the Senate gave him one more month to produce a bill?" jimjinphx @ 6:56 PM.
Cloture on what? His own bill? Another bill? His bill that had been amended? The bill that finally comes out of the House/Senate conference? And I'm certain Grassley would find dozens of more excuses not to vote for cloture. He is attempting to act the injured party simply to cover up being a serial liar completely uninterested in actual HCR.
Pity you can't use language like that on the Senate floor. Oh wait, didn't Cheney...

Posted by: Doug on September 17, 2009 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's okay that we don't have Sen. Grassley onboard. We've got this one. Actually, I figure there are at least 3 Repubs who already support this reform, but we might get a couple more before the vote comes down.

Of course, that doesn't mean any of them will have the fortitude to vote their conscience.

Fortunately I can live with that.

Posted by: MarkH on September 17, 2009 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Five months of pointless talks produced exactly zero GOP votes. But five-and-a-half months would have delivered a bill that "would have gotten broad-based support."

You're not entirely correct about the five-and-a-half months

Grassley and his moronic cronies have had time since they defeated the Clinton proposal in the 90's. They've been in charge of the agenda for the past16 years - save the last 2 years. They didn't bother to address it while they were in charge and now all of a sudden they need more time? Like another 16 years to ponder it?

THAT is what the Democrats needs to hammer down and make sure the media reports on that angle. Where's Gibbs? Anybody want to ask the questions so he can retort with the YEARS of Republicans inaction....

Posted by: bruno on September 17, 2009 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just one more pissing wingnut.

Justa buncha nutzzz.

Posted by: Glen on September 18, 2009 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

Grassley runs his timetable in Friedman units.

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