Months ago the Republicans promised their own health plan, and then didn’t deliver. Now they are finally delivering – but the plan they’re unveiling is actually a plan to obstruct the deliberation process.
Boehner is starting to dribble out a teeny health plan, which he wouldn’t be doing unless there was a serious danger (to the Republicans) that the Democratic plan would pass. This is after Kyl was dangling in front of the Democrats the promise of a compromise on the opt-in plan. So clearly they know Obama wants a bipartisan bill if possible, and they will try to drag things out and confuse people with a dozen dangle-the-football-in-front-of-Charlie-Brown “compromises” that sound good in Fox sound bites but are really bad policy.
The House may vote on health care within the next 10 days. Michelle Bachmann is screeching about tyranny and egging on the teabaggers to march on Washington, invade the Capitol, and confront Pelosi. When is the Secret Service going to investigate Bachmann as a threat?
A key problem for the GOP is that they are obstructing so much, on so many fronts, that their block-everything strategy is becoming too flagrantly obvious: they have been blocking unemployment benefits just in time for Christmas (expect 100 “Grinch” ads from the Democrats next summer), blocking the surgeon general we need to fight the swine flu crisis (until they backed down), blocking virtually every judge who’s ever been nominated, and of course blocking health reform. Americans are waking up to the fact that these are not differences of policy or philosophy, but sheer obstruction. What are they going to filibuster next, the Senate cafeteria menu? Even more interesting, Reid is firing back, pointing out that the GOP has used procedural votes to block funding for our troops, Medicare, a clean water bill, an anti-fraud bill, and of course the unemployment benefits.
Also, the Democrats are pursuing a new line of attack against the GOP’s paymasters in the insurance industry: being a woman is not a pre-existing condition.
Some liberals think the Blue Dogs are really seeking a way to say “yes” on health reform rather than betraying Obama; they think the Blue Dogs are warming up to the Reid bill, that the stuff which the Blue Dogs claim they’re afraid of isn’t even in the bill, and that the Dogs will warm up more once they read it (Lincoln admitted she hasn’t read it). The CBO score will come out soon, and guys like Carper are pointing out that the Reid bill is almost like Conrad’s coop idea, in that the public option will only get seed money at the beginning (after that they would only get more federal money with a new bill). Lincoln must have seen the polls showing that in Arkansas the public option is more popular than she her self is; Snowe is talking triggers but she still hasn’t drafted or sold an actual plan that is realistic; some Dogs like Nelson are pushing for an opt-in but everyone knows it is a terrible idea which the House would never approve; and Lieberman hasn’t actually asked for a specific change in the Reid bill and nobody, still, even knows what he’s after (it could be something as simple and crass as bitchslapping the Lamont supporters who tried to end his career).