Bipartisanship For Dummies

by digby

I just heard Kent Conrad on Chris Matthews carrying on about bipartianship on health care like he's living in some kind of time warp. He obviously knows better, but is pretending for the benefit of easily led villagers like Matthews. He pretty much reprised the shockingly revealing admissions he made yesterday on Andrea Mitchell:

Republicans should just love this bill. It cuts out all the things that would have an impact on health care reform. Here's Kent Conrad's ode to da republicants.

Mitchell: How did you do? Are you guys going to get any Republicans to join you in this?

Conrad: Well, we certainly hope so. Look, they asked a series of things be excluded.

*They didn't want a public option, it's not in this package. They didn't want an employer mandate, it's not in this package.

*They wanted tax reforms so that the high end Cadillac plans would have a levy on them to discourage over utilization, that's part of the package.

*They didn't want illegals to benefit, many Democrats agreed, that's not in the package. Those here illegally will not benefit.

*They wanted to make certain that federal dollars not be used to support abortion and so they're not.

*There's the beginning of medical malpractice which many wanted to see be included. There's a clear statement on that.

So I hope that they'll see as we go through the process that there's much here that's worthy of their support....

I guess the fact that Olympia Snowe gave some very tepid support (maybe) for the bill made all that worthwhile. Except those aren't things she particularly cares about.

I find this fascinating. Conrad is out there saying that they made all kinds of concessions to get Republican support like that has relevance, when clearly it didn't work. Does he think that this still makes sense? Apparently Tweety does.

Clearly, it's Democrats who want this, not Republicans. If they did, they would vote for it --- and if Democrats didn't want it, there would be no need to keep it in the bill. Old Kent and his pals in the conservadem caucus simply cannot hide behind the idea that this is about bipartisanship and will have to take responsibility for it themselves. These senate Democrats are pandering to conservatives on abortion, illegal immigration and tort reform. Meanwhile they have put together a plan which regressively taxes the middle class to line the pockets of the insurance companies as they screech about fiscal responsibility.

The only way this bill could be called bipartisan is if Conrad and his pals make the leap and formally join the Republican Party. Otherwise, this is an all Dem reform and if the Mad Max bill gets passed, in a few short years it's very likely that the Democrats are going to get a taste of what it's like to be as unpopular as Republicans are today.