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The Bipartisanship of Fools

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Posted on Jun 17, 2009
Max Baucus
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., talks with reporters after a closed-door committee meeting on financing an overhaul of the health care system.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

    Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective? And if bipartisanship is a legitimate goal, isn’t each party equally responsible for achieving it?

    This week, the health care debate moved from general principles to the agonizing specifics of how much reform will cost, who will pay, and which groups get what.

    If this were a perfect laboratory experiment, Democrats and Republicans would enter such discussions agreeing on core goals and then argue over how to tweak certain provisions and spread the costs equitably.

    That’s what Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, the bipartisan trio of former Senate leaders, suggested in a report Wednesday. Good for them. And Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, still hopes to be health care’s Great Compromiser, this era’s Henry Clay, even if the messy particulars slowed his efforts this week.

    But there should be no illusions: On health care, the two parties are far apart on the fundamentals.

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    Most Democrats believe that fixing the system will require increased government intervention to guarantee universal coverage and to contain costs. Most Republicans oppose an expansion of government’s role and believe an even more market-oriented system would pave the way to health care nirvana.

    Trying to achieve full bipartisanship by squaring those two views is a recipe for incoherence.

    As it is, President Obama and the Democrats have already compromised a great deal. They are not proposing a government takeover of health care financing, as single-payer advocates would prefer. Instead, they are working within the confines of current arrangements.

    That’s why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel can argue, as he did in a recent interview, that any proposal Obama endorses will inevitably be “bipartisan” because “the policies in the bill will include Republican and Democratic ideas.” That’s another way of saying that any health care bill that passes will expand government’s role but also build on the existing private health care market.

    This has not stopped Republicans from charging that Obama favors “socialized” health care run by “big government.” And even when the GOP is not using over-the-top rhetoric, the party’s own proposals make clear how far most Republicans are from Obama’s purposes.

    On Wednesday, House Republicans unveiled their own health care principles, and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan said in an interview that their willingness to do so belies the idea that he and his colleagues constitute “the party of ‘no.’ ”

    Camp, a key architect of the Republican initiative, is the antithesis of the Rush Limbaugh-style shouters, a cheerful Midwesterner who has engaged in serious legislating, notably on adoption and foster care. And the Republicans’ wish list does include some less than sweeping but reasonable ideas (for example, making it easier for children to stay on their parents’ health plans up to the age of 25, and offering new incentives for doctors to go into primary care) that could well make it into a bipartisan bill.

    But their core proposals—especially their call to expand health savings accounts and to overturn state regulations in favor of nationwide “association” health care plans—push in exactly the wrong direction by further fragmenting the insurance market.

    Doing so might cut insurance costs for those who are not ill, but at the expense of raising the already prohibitive costs for the sick. The marketplace is good at providing options for the well-off and the healthy, but they are not the ones with problems. That’s why Obama wants the government to change the health care market.

    What this means is that most Republicans want to take themselves out of the health care discussion altogether. For reasons of principle as well as politics, they want to rail against the costs of government action and assert—against what I would insist is overwhelming evidence to the contrary—that somehow we can find a way for the market to solve our health care problems.

    Republicans have every right to do this. But they can’t refuse to play the game and then go on to condemn Obama and the Democrats for being insufficiently bipartisan.

    It’s one thing to compromise to pick up congressional votes, which one hopes is what Baucus is doing. It’s another to compromise in exchange for nothing at all. The first is bipartisanship with a purpose. The second is the bipartisanship of fools.

    E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 23, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

According to a recent NY Times/CBS News poll 72% of Americans support the creation of a public health care option.  In an op-ed this week, Russ Feingold outlined his goals for health care reform, including his support for a strong public option:

  “The best way to ensure every American is guaranteed good, affordable health care coverage is not to rely only on private insurers. While Americans should be able to retain their current coverage if they choose, providing a strong public option will keep health care costs down for all Americans, even those who retain their private care.” (Coulee News)

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is representing his constituents in Wisconsin for the public health care option for all, if only more Senators would follow Russ Feingold’s lead, and think of the tree, instead of how to protect the mistletoe.  Single-payer health care is the best public option for all 300,000,000.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, June 23, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

CJ,

The REPUBLICAN Health Care Debate is not about health care, it is about control over and benefit from the health care market.  A single-payer health care system would endanger the REPUBLICANS’ revenue stream from the health care markets.  The REPUBLICANS involved in the debate can afford to purchase their own health care, because they have a revenue stream of capital to enable any health care they want.  If the United States is going to have a Health Care Debate, we should limit the debate to health care; rather than contending over market share in the health care industry, and who benefits from the revenue stream of the health care industry, as a health care issue.

The Democrats have to be disingenuously cooperating with the REPUBLICANS, otherwise the Democrats wouldn’t be accepting the REPUBLICANS interest of capital as legitimate health care concerns; the REPUBLICAN struggle to maintain a revenue stream from the health care market is an economic issue, not a health care issue.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 23, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

CJ,

I liked your likeness to the liberal Democrats as et a few al.  That is a neat way of getting it said.

The 131 NEW Democrats and the Blue Dogs in the House and ALL but 1 of the Senate are the OUTER PARTY, the REPUBLICANS are the INNER PARTY, and both together they are THE PARTY OF DUOPOLY; Orwell got the year wrong, but Orwell got the process of the orthodoxy right.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 23, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Last Post was to Ardee, the REPUBLICAN.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 23, 2009 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

“I am unfamiliar with any such plan that insures all Americans excepting the single payer option your president refuses to consider.”

So, you are a REPUBLICAN.  You called Obama “your” president, not “the” president or “our” president, but “your” president, which is divisive propaganda to DISIDENTIFY “the” president in the minds of citizens; ONLY a REPUBLICAN that hasn’t accepted President Obama as “the” president of all would call The President, “your” president, or maybe YOU are in another country toadying for the REPUBLICANS; either way YOU have to be either a REPUBLICAN or toadying for the REPUBLICANS, because NO ONE in the United States, other than a disgruntled REPUBLICAN, would call President Obama “YOUR” president, as everyone knows President Obama is The President of the United States. If you are in the United States President Obama is YOUR President, whether you like it or not.  NO REPUBLICAN gives a flip about whether or not any member of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION has any health care at all; therefore all YOUR position is on this blog is to DIVIDE and do your best to make the health care scenario that 131 REPUBLICAN-democrats are subverting, “the” president’s fault, but it is not the president’s fault. 

President Obama’s Plan for Health Care for All citizens of the United States is being diffused by the 131 Republican-Democrats that infiltrated the Democratic Party.  From what President Obama said, it was his intentions to have health care for all, because he requested Congress to accomplish health care for all, but his plan is being blocked by the 131 Republican-Democrats that need to be removed.

Obama never once ever said he was for single-payer, just for health care for all.  Single-payer is what the greater majority of people want.

Are you for Single-Payer Health Care based on a single unified risk pool that will spread the risk throughout the entire 300 Million population of the United States, or are you for FREE MARKET Health Care that is the best health care in the world for the few, and be damned with the many, FREE MARKET Health Care that can be paid for by the few, because they have a revenue stream that is capital obtained from their control of markets to the many, and FREE MARKET Health Care that the many can’t afford because the many do not have a revenue stream that is capital, and work for a living?

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By ardee, June 23, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, June 21 at 3:36 pm #

Michael,

Obama has put his administration on the line for health care for all citizens of the United States, not just the supposed worthy few.
....................................

Which health care plan is this? I am unfamiliar with any such plan that insures all Americans excepting the single payer option your president refuses to consider. The plan Obama first proposed, even in sketchy outline left over 25 million out in the cold. That is nowhere near the ‘everybody’ of whom you speak.

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CJ's avatar

By CJ, June 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Republicans also have every right to stick their heads in toilets. Would they would, along with their Democrat partners in crime. The problem isn’t which ruler, but ANY ruler. Rather, ALL rulers.

Yes, power really does corrupt—more or less absolutely. If that’s not yet obvious to any and all, then…

One-word answer to Dionne’s question is: Yes. Longer answer is: Of course “bipartisanship” is more important! For more than one reason, not least that fact of not much difference between two factions of Business Party.

See Maher here (over to the left of the page). There ya go.

Why? Everyone knows why, though we seem unable to call a bribe a bribe, a pay-off a pay-off. And Greenspan, and Paulson, and Summers, and, and, and all did their very boy-scout best. (They must have, as none have been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, per celebrated “law of the land.” “Which land?”) “Fools” are still doing so. In collusion with same Rebubs and Dems who are also having a “debate” as to what we the people should receive (or not)—as a matter of what is widely regarded as human decency—in the way of at least one single human right; namely, that to healthcare, the cost of which doesn’t quite so often lead to bankruptcy, and then to having to take up residence in a car or under a freeway overpass. (An “unreasonable” demand, I know. Just yesterday, G. Lakoff was telling Ian Masters of how “enlightened reason” is seriously problematic. “Alrighty then!”)

At which point, one might finally qualify for Medicaid, though possibly not before having to sell the car-house. Leaving overpass as only option. Unless one can fast get work in mega-media or in government, the latter whereat bennies ARE, baby! Fed or state, though State of California is in some difficulty, whether two-thirds are required or not. NO DOUGH SACRAMENTO! Eventually, even bipartisanship doesn’t work in the real world, where certain rules are insisted upon.

Pretend (finance) capitalist economy requires actual dough to trans-act/perform (economy). Real dough, not Monopoly dough. No, you can’t just print it up at home. Even if you might just as well be allowed to for all the actual value of your debt, and/or actual cash. (What assets? Those too if you got any.) But there ARE certain rules about which capital/wealth/power is very serious. They lend; you owe. See?

We call this arrangement “capitalist democracy.” “Oxymoron,” you might be thinking? Not according to rules of now celebrated unreason. Certainly not according to Orwell. (As for “work ethic,” joke is on you. Of you actually.)

In short, Profits ‘R Them: “Bipartisanship” Unto our sickness, too often death. (As though sickness weren’t enough.) Giving a whole new meaning to Soren Kierkegaard’s title, “The Sickness Unto Death.”

We always got ersatz “capitalist democracy” for cold comfort. Oh, and freedom too, so long as you pay up.

Dean just appeared with Olbermann to talk of how Congress must include “public option” that would “compete with private”…blah, blah and so on. At least he noted Dems constitute majority, but failed to note Dems are but one-half of really big-tent (for Business) Party. (BP, like the gas outfit in more ways than one.) And party too. But they feel your pain—by some kind of osmosis. And Dean forgot “bipartisanship.” Precious to Obama as before for three decades Maher mentions. For longer, actually. But Johnson pushed through Civil Rights Act without concern for “bipartisanship.” Rulers ARE a bad idea, but if stuck with one, or more, better doer than chatterer who then does not much, claiming little “can’t be done.”

(Sanders, Kucinich, et a few al. excepted. Any and all yet only HUMANLY rational, and thus also HUMANLY moral, people excepted.)

Now, concerning democracy in or at other places… One of which’s wannabe rulers has called for a general strike…

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Michael,

Obama has put his administration on the line for health care for all citizens of the United States, not just the supposed worthy few.  I am thankful that our nation has a president that cares enough about the citizens of the 70% Majority Common Population to want them all to have health care like 62 other countries have already done, as posted by Brusays on Truthdig’s blog as follows: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom (England), Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

If all of these countries can figure out how to have public option single payer health care for all of their citizens, the REPUBLICAN’S corporate greed in the United States for keeping the health care market strictly between the pharmaceutical corporations, the insurance corporations and the AMA doctors is what is holding back the United States, or like all these 62 other countries the United States would have complete public single payer health care for all United States citizens, not Nixonian health care, which is very little to no health care at all, like our nation already has.

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By notfalling4it, June 21, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

All I really know is that I don’t believe any of it will really work out.  Expect the worst and hope for the best, I guess.  As the mother of a 4 year old, I am quite concerned about this.  But I would like to add this and I hope it might put things in a hopeful perspective…my husband recently lost his reasonably well-paying job.  We were unable to make our hefty house payment and we were late making it.  The bank that owns our house called , and within just a few minutes, they were able to drop our house payment by over $300 per month due to the homeowner help Obama passed a couple of months ago.  We couldn’t believe it.  Things like that don’t really happen, but it happened to us.  It didn’t add any add’l interest to the life of our loan.  The gov’t and the bank actually gave us a real break.  Maybe it will happen here, too.

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By Bud, June 21, 2009 at 5:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay,all you congressional representatives repeat after me.I WILL PROTECT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY I WILL PROTECT THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.This pledge of allegiance will be led,and conducted by CEO Max Baucus of Montana.

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By Michael, June 20, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree the “bi-partisanship” fuss that Obama is making is baloney, and a cop-out. What exactly is the goal here? Because it is evidently not to provide taxpaying American citizens with quality affordable healthcare. It seems Republicans as a party, and to be fair a significant percentage of Democrats, use every opportunity, no matter which side of the issue they’re on, to take something from taxpayers to give to their corporate paymasters. And this is just plain corruption. It’s CORRUPTION, not representation. If we can agree that this process has been corrupted by corporate money, then the next step is to stand against the corruption until we get what we want. There is no other option, other than giving in and accepting that all the effort has been a complete waste. Actually, it will have been a big gain for criminal health “insurance” corporations. We cannot squander this opportunity to win healthcare for all, and it’s going to take effort. Step up and start swinging people.

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By Phasor, June 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will be no health care reform without single payer.

The countries with the largest economies, other than the US, all have a form of single payer. These countries view single payer as a public good, a national symbol and a defining aspect of their citizenship.

The US health care insurance companies are financial entities. They provide no health care. They profit by raising premiums and limiting or denying health care.

To get undue influence out of congress only people eligible to vote should be able to contribute money to political campaigns and elections. Any one or entity that can not vote can not contribute money.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Conservativeslayer,

Because the conservatives (moderates) in Congress never worry when they are taking away from the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, they only worry when it looks like they may have to give back something to the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, and that is what they think will happen with public single-payer health care for all; an us and them philosophy, that they say they don’t have, but it is all that they do.

Conservatives represent the aristocracy and professional middle class duopoly and are into conserving all of everything for the aristocracy/elite capitalist class and the professional middle class duopoly at the expense of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, not being liberal in any way.  It will be an act of God if the 70% MAJORITY Common Population actually get real health care for all, as even employee health care has drifted to where there is little health care value for the worker of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, they just get to pay.

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By Conservativeslayer, June 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Why is it the only time Congress is worried about the cost of a bill, is when that bill would benefit average people? They weren’t worried about the impact on the deficit, when they passed Bush’s 1 trillion in tax cuts for teh wealthy. They didn’t worry about the deficits when they passed the banking bailout. Or the latest military budget, that was over half a trillion dollars. Or the latest war supplementals costing 200 billion. They never worry about the deficit when passing those kind of bills. But when it comes to passing health care reform, suddenly Sen. Max Baucus is worried about how we are go pay for it. It’s only when a bill would help average americans, are we told it’s unaffordable.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

tropicgirl,

The one thing you got right is that our country needs Single-Payer Health Care.

Health care is not a partisan problem—Republicans do not need to worry about health care—health care is only a problem for the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, and Senator Leahy’s and Dick Durbin’s bill only covers 50 Million people, the problem is which 50 Million, as there are 210 Million people needing health care at one time or the other.

The American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class are like mistletoe on a tree, they want benefit for the mistletoe, not for the tree.  Benefits for the parasites that infest the tree in the absence of benefits for the infested tree will end in the death of the tree; the 70% MAJORITY Common Population is the tree.

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, June 19, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Ok its officially time to STOP calling our problem a partisan problem and the solution to being bi-partisan.

WOULD ALL THE LIBERAL TALK SHOWS AND TV SHOWS PLEASE GET THIS? ITS YOUR WONDERFUL BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS THAT KILLED HEALTH CARE, THAT KILLED WAR REFORM, THAT KILLED TORTURE ACCOUNTABILITY, that are INSISTING ON perpetuating CIA GOONS SPYING and KILLING, that ALLOWED THE BANKS TO STEAL TRILLIONS, AND SO ON…

Its the Democrats, stupid. Got it now? Its the Democrats and the lobbyist money. I don’t want to hear this bipartisan crap anymore.

This health care plan will fail. Even if Bushbama succeeds in throwing more of our childrens money at it, its not like the bank theft. We SIMPLY WILL REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE. VERY SIMPLE. The lobbyists won’t give in and we want single payer. Stalemate plain and simple.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, June 19, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

When you lie down with dogs, all your going to get is fleas.

Take a deep breath, president Obama, and repeat after me….The Republican party is never going to like what you propose, their never going to support your agenda for reform. In fact, they will hate every single thing you try to do to make it better.

Their not traitors, exactly, just people who’ve made billions, screwing the country, and they don’t want that gravy train to end, just because you’ve got some idealistic notions about reform.

There are many, in your party, that need to take a good look in the mirror, are they Republican’s, or are they Democrats,  now’s the time to decide.

Can’t make an Omlet without breaking some eggs…

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By bogi666, June 19, 2009 at 3:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The GOP position on Health Care is simply “EAT SHIT AND DIE AMERICANS”, no health care is better than any/all government options! Just why Democrats can’t articulate this is simple incompetence. .As for bipartisanship, it’s a cop out because it doesn’t require leadership by Obama

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, June 18, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

Time to start DEMANDING single payer.  None of this is written in stone of course but take a look at the dumbass things they’re proposing.

Bloomberg News:
“Baucus yesterday also said he is considering a mechanism to create automatic cuts in Medicare payments if needed.”

“An outline of a plan being weighed by Senate Finance Committee members also leaves out a costly option opposed by most Republicans—a government insurance program that would compete against private insurers.

“U.S. senators seeking to lower the price tag of a health-care overhaul below a $1.6 trillion estimate are cutting back proposed subsidies to help low-income Americans buy insurance.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a1L2Dk_7EQkQ

NYT:
including “an automatic mechanism” to reduce the growth of Medicare under an expedited procedure like the one used to close military bases.”

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said they were evidence of a vibrant democratic process.”

“Under the latest option floated by Mr. Baucus, employers would be required to pay “100 percent of the cost of the tax credit for workers receiving the tax credit.”

“Under the new option, employers would not have to provide coverage, but would have to pay “50 percent of the national average Medicaid costs for workers enrolled in Medicaid,” the program for low-income people.

“This means that small-business people won’t hire anybody who’s on Medicaid,” Mr. Hatch said. “They won’t hire any low-income workers. They get penalized for doing it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/19/us/19health.html?ref=health

Washington Post:
“A draft proposal in the Senate to overhaul the nation’s health-care system would require most people to buy health insurance, authorize an expansion of Medicaid coverage and create consumer-owned cooperative plans instead of the government coverage that President Obama is seeking.”

“The absence of a “public option” marks perhaps the most significant omission. Obama and many Democrats had sought a public option to ensure affordable, universal coverage, but as many as 10 Senate Democrats have protested the idea as unfair to private insurers”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/18/AR2009061804053.html

What the hell are they THINKING….!? (don’t answer that…. it’s obvious)  We won’t have to worry about the jackboots, we’ll be dropping like flies before they get to us.  Nader is right, both parties are almost totally corrupt, there’s a few….. but they aren’t on this committee.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

hippie4ever,

If you go Independent, you can’t vote these Blue Dogs and New Democrats out of the Democratic Party in the Primaries next year, July in my state.  I look forward to casting my vote against all the Blue Dogs and New Democrats I can, so therefore I must stay in the Democratic Party.  We need to be about getting all the Blue Dogs and New Democrat conservatives out of the Democratic Party.  They may call themselves left-wing moderates, but when you vote for private business against the people of the common majority population, you are a right-wing conservative as much as is possible to be.

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By hippie4ever, June 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

I suppose the democrats consider it a clever enough rouse; playing upon peoples’ ignorance of legislative procedures, insinuating something capricious is absolutely necessary before doing something to help society. More lies from politicians behaving in ways that would shock the conscience of a prostitute.

I’m changing party affiliation back to Independent. The democrats play so many disengenuous mind games, like “bipartisanship” and blurring the distinction between Church & State; they are behaving exactly as I’d expect from republicans. I didn’t appreciate the DOJ describing same-sex couples as akin to incestuous couples.

For years Dems lied that they would behave differently from the opposition: “were we in power we wouldn’t have done that. Elect us.” Obama sold out the gay community before he even took office by inviting a homophobic bigot to the Inauguration. I knew it was over for the gay community when Rick Warren arrived.

Obama is having fun with the community enjoying second-class citizen status, paying far more in taxes, not receiving health benefits, being the last socially acceptable target for social derision and violence. The irony is not lost. And some very interesting creatures visit the White House these days, and Obama does not want the names of these “visitors” released to media.

I wonder why not? wink

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By rbrooks, June 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Bipartisanship” - DLC-speak for starting well to the right of center and negotiating rapidly to the right - is an inspiration of the corporate establishment, which has, thanks to Obama, regained control of the Democratic party.

And since the DLC-heavy White House enthusiastically employs “bipartisanship” as the way to protect the corporate establishment from any sinister progressive impulse, I’d say the country is, on all fronts, hosed.

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By ardee, June 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

godistwaddle, June 18 at 4:29 pm

Do you not give any measure at all to the actions and inactions of the majority party in Congress and the party that currently occupies the White House?

Surely there are many Republicans worthy of contempt but, in a two party system it takes the collusion of the majority to really screw things up.

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godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, June 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

It’s probably illegal to kill Republicans on sight, although they have chosen to be anti-progress, anti-human, and traitorous to the ideals of the U.S.

It is wrong to discriminate against people for things they cannot change—handedness, ethnicity—but it is right to so discriminate for things they chose—fascism, Republicanism.  Anyone who shakes a Republican’s hand, who dines with a Republican, who buys an item from a Republican betrays the people of the U.S.

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By konnie, June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

egad. i am not sure that obama and the dems will realize they have a mandate until after the 2010
elections.  i have said this before: outside the beltway there is a mandate - inside - they still aren’t sure. 

But personally i want single payer - without one
single limpublican fingerprint.  then when everyone
has insurance and the nitemares of going bankrupt are over, the limpublicans will also get none of the credit - forever - just like for every other great piece of legislation for the people - like social security, medicare, voters rights, civil rights,
etc etc etc.  see a pattern here?

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By BobZ, June 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

“Most Democrats believe that fixing the system will require increased government intervention to guarantee universal coverage and to contain costs. Most Republicans oppose an expansion of government’s role and believe an even more market-oriented system would pave the way to health care nirvana.”

The Democrats are right. The Republican delusion that a more market oriented system would produce health care reform is not supported by the facts nor by history. If the GOP were correct, we would already be at nirvanna. They believe in doing the same thing over and over and thinking things will change. The facts are that profit oriented delivery of health care will put this country at a massive disadvantage to countries that forgo profits. That is a 20% disadvantage before we even get out of the blocks. Just look at one case where a criminal healthcare CEO like Richard Scrushy not only enriched his own pockets but delivered inferior health care services. I would rather have the government be between me and my doctor than bad apples like Scrushy and Health Care of America. Obama needs to get his 60 Democrats in line and on-message and deliver the goods to the 74% of Americans who want a public option for delivery of health care services.

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By ocjim, June 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Right on, EJ.

I am so sick of partisan bickering and a Democrat majority allowing the deadhead Republicans to shuttle real progress. Then there are the mercenary Democrats who will sell their souls for campaign money.

Where are the true American patriots who will do what is best for our country?

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By jonr, June 18, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when has it become “American” to support the whole “company store” mentality?  Even in today’s sanitized history books, George Washington and friends fought a revolution AGAINST the company store thing, and we’ve had a history of not liking the company store very much for most of our history.
What happened to populism?
What happened to PATRIOTISM?

How is it patriotic of any of us, I want to know, to say that others of us are somehow not WORTHY of such a basic thing as guaranteed access to health care?

The English came around not long after the French revolution.  The citizens of those countries think all of THEIR citizens are worthy.  As do the Germans, as do most industrial nations.

What happened to “United We Stand?!?”

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By Bud, June 18, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am so sorry that I am a registered member of the BAP party(BALLLESS AMERICAN POLITICIAN)They were formerly known as DEMOCRATS!!!!

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By Outraged, June 18, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Re: E.J.

Your quote: “That’s another way of saying that any health care bill that passes will expand government’s role but also build on the existing private health care market.”

I disagree, E.J.  I don’t think they want to “build on the existing private health care market”..., I think they want their scummy industry FINANCED by The Peoples’ money, ie…. the government!

Commies.  LOL….look at the commies, jumping right in for the government dole…. they’re not shy about it either.  Where’s their “capitalism is great” mantra…?  Watch the bottom feeders, their fat bellies rubbed raw on their way to the trough.

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By Spiritgirl, June 18, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Alright people the following things need to be done in order for the citizens of this nation to realize “democracy” in this nation!

1) “We” are going to have to storm the halls of Congress, because until we the people of the USA start taking to the streets like the Iranians - those people in power will continue to ignore US!!!

2) “We” are going to have to remind Congress whom they work for!!!  They NEED TERM LIMITS & PUBLIC FUNDING OF ELECTIONS!!

3)While I support capitalism, this unfettered avarice with no rules & regulations, the consumer be damned, too big to fail mentality really has failed US as a society miserably - just take a good look at this nation and you will see the devastation that comes from these policies!

4) Grab your pitchforks, I’ll meet you downtown!!!

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By felicity, June 18, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Yikes, that should be about $28,000/year for a family of four, shouldn’t it?

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By felicity, June 18, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

It’s time to storm the Bastille, as Karen says.

Recent bad news: Wall Street is now betting that the insurance industry will continue to run the American health-care system, in other words it’s, literally, after all the hoopla and posturing and obfuscation and outright lying by Congress etal, business as usual.

How can the average person sustain a health insurance bill of $7,026/year/person - family of four about $21,000/year?  I’m guessing, but I’d say that’s about two-thirds of the average individual head-of-household earned income per year.

We’ve got to take to the streets, folks.

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By Eric L. Prentis, June 18, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

The US needs a Universal Healthcare System that is single-payer, and gets rid of the dead weight of insurance companies that currently eat up 30 percent of the healthcare dollar and adds nothing of value to America except to their high-paid insurance executives and their on-the-take politicians. Model the US system on the Canadian or French approach, next problem.

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By Bluerager, June 18, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

This piece further cement’s Dionne’s reputation as a lightweight.  As noted in this thread, his glossing over the reality of the power struggle in DC, obscuring the point he’s trying to make.  Ignoring the payola that’s the true driving force of the health care legislation is the media reality.  Taking single payer off the table is foolish and simply proves that whatever we get will be bought and paid for by the insurance and drug companies.

As my bud from Britain asked me in a bar recently, “Are you folks, f**king insane?  Why in hell do you make health care a commodity to be bought and sold?”

Well spoke.

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By Albert, June 18, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real bipartisanship should be about how to perfect the single payer plan.

That clearly should be the starting point of the discussion as it is the only idea out there that provides coverage for all at a buyable price. There are some problems with it as presently construed but there are ways to make the current single payer plan work better - that’s where the “bipartisanship” should be.

Unfortunately for the American people, this discussion began on the other side’s 20 yard line. We’re not even in field goal range right now.

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By Lester Shepherd, June 18, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is nothing but gobbledygook and nonsense.

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By herewegoagain, June 18, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee writes: “The GOP and the Democrats are conducting a war for power, not conducting the business of the nation.”

Exactly, with the “prize” being the largest beneficiary of the most corporate backing.

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By Karen, June 18, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Greenferret is right—bipartisanship is just a smoke screen for business as usual.  The Dems are no more interested in real reform than are the Repubs; it would cost them too much in campaign dollars.

If the American people really want reform, they are going to have to take lessons from the people in Iran—get out in the streets in the hundreds of thousands and stay there until the “powers-that-be” are forced to comply.  Frankly, I don’t see that happening.

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By Paul_GA, June 18, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

As Lyndon Johnson once said, “I am a compromiser and a maneuverer. I try to get *something*. That’s the way our system works.”

No matter what one thinks of LBJ, it’s still true, and talk of “bi-partisanship” is twaddle.

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By Beetlejuice, June 18, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

The Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill of 1943 was a proposal for national health care. Both the repu.glicans and the AMA fought tooth and nail to make sure it didn’t pass. The arguments they used back then to defeat the bill have been resurrected and are again being used as lethal weapons to kill the effort once more. Until the public is made aware of the history behind this fight, it’ll suffer the fate of the aborted bill in 1943 that never saw the light of day. In a way, it’s like we’re fighting the Civil War all over again.

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By Lester, June 18, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Goobledygook

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By idarad, June 18, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

I think he meant to say “buy part of the ship”  must have been a misprint

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By Aussie, June 18, 2009 at 3:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Given the choice between going bankrupt for lack of insurance cover and having *socialist* medicine, having a proper national health care scheme doesn’t seem like a terribly hard choice.

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By ardee, June 18, 2009 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

A real stinker of an article, frankly. The GOP and the Democrats are conducting a war for power, not conducting the business of the nation.
When Mr. Dionne states that they are far apart on the “fundamentals” he glosses over the fact that neither will give up the campaign checks flowing from the insurance industry thus they are bound within a rigid space when considering revision of our awful system.

Whatever the Democrats propose the Republicans will resist, not on its merits, but on ideological necessity to carve out a separate space that is, in final analysis, not very far apart at all.

The number of bankruptcies due to medical problems has surpassed the 60% level, the cost of care is bankrupting this nation faster than is the stupid war on terror. Yet our esteemed legislators pose and posture, seeming to consider only cosmetic alterations to that horrid and inefficient system.

The Republicans claim to be the advocates of capitalism, which means competition. The Democrats, in turn, are supposedly the stewards of the middle and working class interests, which means the social safety net. Why do they not consider a govt run system in competition with the private sector? After all, the GOP would have to posit that the private sector could do a better job and the Dems that covering all Americans is a better ideal.

They are as phony as it comes…..

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By Dave Schwab, June 18, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Dionne can’t seriously be as naive as his writing indicates. “Bipartisanship” is an excuse for Democrats to pander to the corporate agenda, even when they control the white house and congress. That’s all, folks.

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