The Republicans are attempting to recast this business on health Care and insurance in terms of a debate that has not been allowed sufficient time to play itself out. This is a fallback position. The position prior to this one was that it should not be allowed to come up for discussion, debate or vote, and that this would be prevented by use of the threat of filibuster. To me, these two methods are contradictory in logical terms, though not in tactical terms. It is hard for the Republicans to have a legitimate complaint about not having enough time for discussion when the Republicans have been trying to keep the subject from being debated by using these tactics: "Your Honor," one can hear them say, "We should not be tried for murdering our parents; aren't we now poor suffering orphans, unsupported and alone in the world? Have pity on us!"
If the discussion has been insufficient to this point, it is not the fault of those in favor of health care reform. We have brought it up time and time again since the time of Teddy Roosevelt. If it were the intention of the opposition to do other than kill the entire thought of anything like health care reform and reform of health insurance, then they would have brought it up themselves at some point in the past hundred years and offered a program from their conservative side of the aisle. They would have presented it with appropriate fanfare and passed it. It would have reformed insurance coverage and it would have reformed health care and we would not be having this discussion today.
If the plan has not passed, they would have brought it up again and again until they worked out a compromise that did work.
On those issues that Republicans have any sort of commitment to working on, that is what they have done. They have worked with Democrats on defense priorities, and have even shifted the Democrats to the right on that issue. They have pushed on trade issues, and pushed Democrats to the Right on that issue as well. I think the Democrats, my folks, were wrong to go along, but we did.
On Health Care and insurance reform, I have seen no such give. For Republicans to pretend otherwise is silly. For Republicans to pretend that they are negotiating in good faith here is silly. They are not. They have been forced into a corner. They have screamed and yelled every step of the way. They have bent the truth about a great many issues and people during the whole process. I have mentioned a number of these over the past year or so; I don't want to go into it again unless I must. It is plain impolite to do so.
After a very difficult battle in which the Republicans got virtually everything they asked for and during which the Democrats sacrificed the very heart of the proposal they should have insisted on ó the single payer option ó the Democrats finally put their collective feet down. At least it looked that way to me.
Folks here have been saying that the Democrats couldn't get anything done even with a majority in the senate and the house. I pointed out the fragility of that majority. Nobody wanted to listen. If power was to be exerted, this was the way that it probably would have had to be done. On Reconciliation, the Bill can probably be passed. Probably. It simply won't be the bill that the country needed and should have had. If the Democrats had been able to be a bit tougher a bit earlier, maybe it could have been different. If the Republicans could have been more cooperative, perhaps it could have been a bit different. But no. So it appears here we have it.
First, however, it looks like the Republicans are asking for one of the biggest Mulligan's in World History. I am truly blindsided and awestruck by the chutzpa of this, asking to start over with a clean piece of paper, and pretending to act hurt when it is not given to them without a single thought. I go into mild hysterics at the thought of what the reaction would be if the shoe were on the other foot. I pray there's not somebody Charlie Brownish enough on the Democratic side of things who's not silly enough to consider the question with any sort of seriousness. It's not like Lucy would.