Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fool's Errand for Obama

Harold Meyerson, on why looking for bipartisanship on health reform is like searching for a mare's nest:
[B]ipartisanship ain't what it used to be, and for one fundamental reason: Republicans ain't what they used to be. It's true that there was considerable Republican congressional support, back in the day, for Social Security and Medicare. But in the '30s, there were progressive Republicans who stood to the left of the Democrats. Nebraska Republican George Norris, who for decades called for establishing public power companies to compete with price-gouging private companies, was the father of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the '60s, Rockefeller Republicans supported civil rights legislation and Medicare. Today, no such Republicans exist.
That's about right. There are no more Mark Hatfield's, Ed Brooke's, Henry Cabot Lodge's, Arthur Vanderberg's, or George Norris'. Since they don't exist anymore, striving for "bipartisanship" is a fool's errand.

It's imperative for President Obama to whip the Blue Dog Democrats back in line; perhaps, as Prof. Julian Zelizer suggests, borrowing tactics from Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and LBJ. Especially from LBJ's "Treatment" -- "supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint, the hint of threat."

Especially, the threat. Such as, "Max Baucus, how'd you like me to campaign all over Montana for you? I'll remind everyone how you supported a public option health plan when you were campaigning, and then betrayed your constiuents by siding with the Insurance Industry lobby when you went back to Washington."

If Obama really wants effective health care reform, he can make it happen. He simply has to give up on those old Chicago community organizer 'dreams of his father'.

No one should care if what's left of the Republican party is "alienated."

1 comment:

Dan said...

Interesting point of view; however, if the Democrats can't even agree why would anyone expect the Republicans to jump on board??

- Dan
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