Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wyden Would Get Doled

Is Republican co-sponsorship of the Wyden-Bennett health care bill just a fig leaf to cover up the fact that they aren't turned on by health care reform? I'm much closer to Jamelle's position (mere fig leaf) than I am to Mark's (it's genuine).

What impresses me most here is the crazy history of the 1994 health care reform effort, where "By the process' close, Sen. Bob Dole had voted against two separate bills that contained his name in the title." Plenty of the discussion in the comments concerns what our default assumption on whether people are acting in good faith should be. My suggestion is that we just assume that people are going to do what they did before, barring new incentives for contrary behavior or other evidence to the contrary. Since Republicans acted in bad faith last time around and were handsomely rewarded for it at the polls, best assumption is that they're going to do it again.

Bob Dole isn't in the Minority Leader's office, but there are reasons to expect exactly the same destructive behavior. All the major changes over the past 15 years have been in the direction of greater, not lesser partisanship. The Club For Growth has been serving up big helpings of primary defeat to Congressmen like Wayne Gilchrest and Joe Schwarz who make even minor compromises with Democrats, and even at the Senate level I'd expect a pretty furious primary challenge to anyone outside Maine who voted the wrong way. Jamelle brings up all the crazy stuff we're hearing out of major right-wing figures like Limbaugh and Palin. You can bet that it resonates louder in the ears of people who have to win Republican primaries than anyone else.

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