Compromising With Republicans

Much commentary recently has focused on the need for bipartisanship and there seems to be the perceived belief that health care reform must include some Republican support.  But, while it would be preferable for Republicans to support meaningful legislative action, there’s no evidence of that likelihood.

Quite honestly, Republicans want Obama to fail, just like they wanted Clinton to fail.  The evidence for this is overwhelming and should be accepted by now.   During Clinton’s 1993 deficit reduction plan budget he received no Republican support — not a single vote — with Republicans claiming the budget would destroy the economy.

Republicans, again playing the role of opposition party first, America second, opposed the Obama Stimulus plan with near unanimity.  There seems to be some suggestion that winning the sole Republican votes for the stimulus plan (Collins, Specter, and Snowe) came at the price of a watered down plan.   Paul Krugman seems to have been quite prophetic in this regard:

I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

It should be obvious: Obama will not receive Republican support for health care reform.  Despite all their theatrics and posturing, Republicans seem content to oppose the plan and hope the failure to pass health care reform weakens Obama and signals their return to power in 2010 and 2012, at which time they can fail to introduce meaningful health care reform again.

Unfortunately, the compromise between a good proposal and a proposal that can get Republican support (or Blue Dog Dem support) is a bad proposal.

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