[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Team Obama's Version of Compromise

Friday, September 04, 2009

Team Obama's Version of Compromise

Word is that the "Gang of Six" negotiating a health care deal is on the verge of collapse because two of its members, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, are against Obamacare.

Shocking! The nerve of Sens. Grassley and Enzi to oppose Obamacare! I thought the reason for the negotiations was to reach a compromise, not merely to settle on Obama's plan. Compromise involves members of totally opposite sides coming together to try to reach a solution. This is common sense, something Team O unfortunately lacks and/or blatantly ignores.

Here are comments made by Robert Gibbs at a press briefing on August 31:
...The President is firmly committed to working with Democrats, Republicans, independents, anybody that wants to see progress on health care reform. I will say this. I haven't seen the contents of that letter. Certainly, I think the radio address over the weekend by Senator Enzi repeating many of the generic Republican talking points that Republicans are using that have bragged about being opposed to health care are tremendously unfortunate but in some ways illuminating. It appears that at least in Senator Enzi's case, he doesn't believe there's a pathway to get bipartisan support, and the President thinks that's wrong. I think that Senator Enzi has clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship, and decided that it's time to walk away from the table.
Gibbs thinks bipartisanship only works when you agree with Obama. Considering Team O's record on bipartisanship, his comments should be taken with a chunk of salt. Hope and Change.

Here's the offending address by Sen. Enzi, courtesy of Healthcare Horserace.


Blogger Alex said...

Robert, really. When Obama signaled public option wasn't a necessity -something you cheered him on- Grassley said it didn't matter, he was against any universal mandate. His exact words were: "The simple truth is that I am and always have been opposed to the Obama administration's plan to nationalize health care. Period." That's not very compromising. Then, scared he reapeated the "death panel" BS. Then he added tort reform to his list of demands, which he knows it's both a dead end and a non-issue. Then he said he would not support a compromise he and the other Gang of Sixers may reach if that same compromise would not get Republican support, meaning at least 30 GOP votes which he knows no plan will get. Understand this if you can: he would not support his own compromise because of partisanship!

So when you entone "Compromise involves members of totally opposite sides coming together to try to reach a solution" and you hold Grassley and Enzi as the ones reasonable ones, you are pulling our leg, right?

Grassley, Enzi and the GOP have made clear by their actions they are just obstructing and buying time for the astroturf movement and the isnurance companies to sway momentum. It's way past time Obama takes charge, forgets bipartisanship, tells the gang of Six to go pound sand and tell the Dems in Congress to grow a pair.

2:33 PM, September 05, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

It's clear you also don't understand what compromise means, Alex. It doesn't mean "pounding sand" because that's the only way to get an unpopular bill through, but meeting somewhere in the middle. Understand this: you have folks on one side and folks totally on the other. Then they work from there.

Enzi and Grassley have been against the Obama plan from the start, and it's NOW that the Dems want to kick them out of the negotiating table? Besides, Enzi and Grassley are the reasonable ones here (and supported by a majority of Americans, not that it matters to most lefties these days).

Pro-Obamacare Democrats could be honest, cut out the compromise crap and just say they're going to ram it down our throats regardless of what we think, but of course we know they're also politicians. I would absolutely love to for them to"grow a pair", if only to see them kicked squarely in their well-endowed parts (metaphorically-speaking of course) in November 2010.

10:56 PM, September 05, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Instead of misrepresenting what I said -by the time I'm on pounding sand it's clearly because the gang of six aren't interested in any compromise, except for maybe Snowe- why don't you show, with their actions or quotes, how were Enzi and Grassley honest and working towards a bipartisan bill? If they have been flat against reform from the beginning, what compromise were they working towards? On what specific issues did they offered a middle ground? What positions have they taken that were not conservative? Do they even have the standing among conservatives to make them accept a compromise? Answer any of that if you can instead of prevaricating. Either we have an honest discussion or I'm wasting my time.

As for 2010, the only thing that will usher in a Republican wave will be no healthcare reform. Majority you say? Majority is the 72% who support government sponsored health care option (CBS/NYT poll) or 76% (NBC/WSJ poll). But since when are Republicans so concerned about polls? I thought Republicans were the party of "git it done" and principles?

Understand this: you are in the minority, vocal and well-financed but still a minority. You are the Code Pink of this issue. You had your summer of discontent and it's coming to an end. When you are that uncompromising, when you are that extreme, then you are going to see it as ramming it down your throat and there's nothing nobody can do or care to do about it.

9:12 AM, September 06, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...


The link I provided in my post to Enzi's August 29th weekly address spells out many of his ideas. I'm surprised you didn't see it.

Here's more on Enzi's health care reform ideas

And here's a Grassley/Baucus release.

Notice that these aren't exactly new proposals. Notice that they are not against any reform. Also notice how they differ. Enzi focuses on choice, tax reform/cuts and tort reform, among others issues. Grassley focuses more on Medicare and finding ways to eliminate fraud, waste and inefficiencies. Neither Senator is against any government involvement. They are against Obama's plan which would lead to too much government.

I don't know what people NBC and NYT sampled in the polls you cite, but this one by Rasmussen says most Americans are opposed to Obama's proposed legislation. Most people don't want government completely out of healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid), they just don't like Obama's plan.

Perhaps you might feel the need to reconsider the language you used in the last paragraph of your most recent comment in light of what I've presented.

11:53 AM, September 06, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

It's CBS/NYT and MSNBC/WSJ. Don't forget the WSJ. Those polls are widely available. But you have to read the actual polls, not just the sensationalist interpretation. For example, when the latest CBS/NYT poll came out the focus was on Obama's sliding numbers, but a majority of Americans continued to believe government run health care is the solution. Here's a link to the PDF of the CBS poll: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/CBSPOLL_June09a_health_care.pdf. Here's a link to the NBC/WSJ one: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090729_NBC-WSJ_poll.pdf.

Enzi's plan is not a compromise. (I read the plan in your new link, he link before was a video.) Most are the standard conservative non-solutions, which BTW, they had eight years to act on and didn't. Tort reform, like I told you before, it's a negotiation killer. (It's as if I told you I want paying for abortions as part of any plan, then call you unreasonable when you absolutely refuse to consider it. And I'm for tort reform btw, but the point is that the Dems are not.) What else? Oh, another tax cut! Oh, Medicare and SCHIP money to private insurance! You may like them, you may consider them good, but a compromise they are not because there's nothing in them --other than obvious stuff like more training and better records, which are agreed on by everybody-- that moves towards the middle. How can you say it's good faith negotiation with a straight face?

As far as Grassley-Baucus: by now the consensus is that the Senate Finance Committee negotiations (the famous Gang of Six) have been a gigantic waste of time, that Grassley didn't have the support of the GOP (Mitch McConnell explicitly said whatever came out of the committee was not an obligation) and Baucus has lost the support of the Dems. Still unexplained by you is how Grassley has been negotiating in good faith when he has said he wouldn't support his own compromise if he can't get 20 Republican votes.

I'm perfectly fine with my tone, because I'm 100% sure that health reform is going to pass, that it will meet the approval of the majority, and given that conservatives --who are not the majority-- won't agree to anything coming from Obama, it will be rammed down their throats if that's how they choose to see it. But I do thank you for changing your "you don't understand what compromise means" tone.

1:56 PM, September 06, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Understand this: you are in the minority, vocal and well-financed but still a minority. You are the Code Pink of this issue. You had your summer of discontent and it's coming to an end.

I don't understand anything of the sort. You make a lot of cocky assertions based on questionable polls. Meanwhile cap and trade is dead in the Senate. The grand health-care bill that was supposed to pass in three weeks isn't going anywhere, and the Obama administration keeps watering it down in response to public opposition. I think it's clear to anyone with a clue that Obama's legislative plans do not enjoy majority support.

Tort reform, like I told you before, it's a negotiation killer.

Of course it is, because the Democrats aren't going to burn one of their strongest constituencies. That doesn't mean that the rest of us should oppose tort reform, however.

I'm perfectly fine with my tone, because I'm 100% sure that health reform is going to pass, that it will meet the approval of the majority, and given that conservatives --who are not the majority-- won't agree to anything coming from Obama, it will be rammed down their throats if that's how they choose to see it. But I do thank you for changing your "you don't understand what compromise means" tone.

There, there. Have some hot cocoa and relax. Are you really "100% sure"? Such bravado often suggests desperation rather than confidence. The Democrats control the entire government, yet they're having a remarkable amount of difficulty ramming anything down anyone's throat. What they are succeeding at brilliantly is demonstrating tremendous arrogance and radicalizing a lot of voters who never paid much attention to policy before. But go ahead, keep whistling past the graveyard.

12:46 AM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

That you don't understand you are in the minority is not news. Neither did Code Pink.

You can support tort reform all you want. For that matter, so do I, like I said. The point is that asking for tort reform is not compromising, it's radicalizing the issue, just like asking for abortion would.

Hot cocoa in Miami in August? Nah, I'd rather relax with a mojito and the confidence that the issues I care about will be passed. You may want to do the hot cocoa rounds with a few of the astroturfed, red-faced, I-want-my-country-back-screaming teapartiers --they do look like they need to relax. But while we are at it, how many of those "newly radicalized" voted Democrat or for Obama in the past two elections and will make them pay in 2010? Any evidence? Because I find hard to believe you go from apathy to "don't thread on me" in a period of a few months.

9:22 AM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...


You've proven the original point of my post. The White House and supporters of the Obamacare bill such as yourself are not interested in seriously considering ANY part of Enzi's bill as part of a compromise. As the party in power, it's up to them to make this happen or not. Don't tell me that Enzi was included in the "Gang of Six" without the administration's knowledge of his well publicized stance on health care!

The real point you're making here is that compromise isn't necessary when you're in control and can stick it to the other side, "just because you can". I believe that's what it's all about with people like you, because it's hard for me to believe that an educated person like you doesn't understand what compromise is.

That's OK, Alex, because with every comment you post, the condescension and arrogance that typifies so many on your side of the ideological fence comes out in plain day for all to see. You can site every two and three-month old poll you want, with it's own spin, naturally...and state with 100% certainty that Obamacare will pass (if that's indeed what you meant to say). You can also continue to echo your friends in the leftist media with your demeaning of honest Americans from all sides of the political spectrum voicing their concerns. Go right ahead. It's a free country and I support your right to do so.

That's OK. Actions have consequences. All the bravado and confidence in the world can't change that. Remember that, if you can.

10:38 AM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Not to sound condescending, Enzi wasn't included on anything by the Obama administration. Enzi is part of the Senate Finance committee and was assigned to it by his party. I'm pretty sure if the administration had any say on who would they accept as negotiators, Enzi would not have been there.

I get the point of your post, snarky as it was, and I know you get mine, but instead of answering you prefer going to platitudes like "you've proven my point" and "you are demeaning Americans". I know you do this simply because you don't have a real argument given the facts of how Enzi and Grassley have behaved. An educated person like you knows that Enzi's plan is not a compromising but radicalization and that insisting in "meet me in the middle" from an extreme it's not honest negotiation. An educated person like you knows that Grassley's pronouncement that he would not support his own compromise shows he is not committed and has no support from the party. But you keep avoiding those points and I'm getting tired of repeating myself.

I don't know what "Obamacare" is. and neither do you since the administration does not have a plan on the table. What I said with 100% certainty was that healthcare reform will pass and will meet with majority support from those same Americans you say I'm demeaning.

2:34 PM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

What exactly do you consider to be H.R. 3200, Alex? That's the plan Obama and the administration is pushing, and the one meeting all the push-back. I mean, this is bordering on ridiculous that we have to define at this stage what I assumed to be obvious.

I think Enzi's proposal is much more reasonable and much more in line with what most Americans want. Polls wouldn't be 53/43 against H.R. 3200 (Rasmussen) if people didn't like at least some of his ideas.

If you want to define the desired end result as "health care reform" without endorsing a specific plan on the table, fine. A lot of us agree, myself included, that we need changes. But unless you tell us what you want in health care reform, instead of arguing about my post regarding Obama's support of a public option (the centerpiece of H.R. 3200) and the administration's stance against anything and anyone opposed to the public option, then my interest in continuing this thread is over.

4:18 PM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Obama and the Congressional Democratic leadership refuse to consider not merely tort reform but any health-care reforms that give more power to individuals and less to government. Their behavior confirms that Obama et al are not primarily interested in health care. They are mainly interested in using health care as a tool to increase their power and control over Americans' lives. They are plainly acting in bad faith and do not deserve the benefit of doubt.

If you don't see the popular anger growing in this country at the arrogance and recklessness of our political class you're a fool. If you imagine that the Republicans are somehow behind this anger you're doubly a fool, because not only are the Republicans too incompetent to do such a thing, they don't want to -- they're part of the political establishment that is the source of the problem.

If the Obama presidency ends badly, as seems likely, it will be the fault of Obama and his political allies because they are trying to force this country to go in a direction it doesn't want to go. The tea parties and town halls are symptoms, not causes. If you want to blame someone, blame Obama. Or blame yourself and people like yourself for electing this demagogue.

6:08 AM, September 08, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Robert: yes it borders on the ridiculous when I have to clarify for you obvious things such as Obama having no say about who are the GOP members of the SFC or that HR 3200 is a House bill not being discussed by the Gang of Six who are in the Senate so now you are just changing from palo pa' rumba, and that the Administration has not committed to one or the other. In fact, that lack of commitment is the main criticism of Obama from the left!

Your post wasn't about the health plan itself, was about Grassley and Enzi being compromisers. I have shown that not to be the truth and you have not answered. No wonder you want the thread to end.

Jonathan: Wherever you say "more power to individuals" change it to "insurance companies". Because if you don't realize making individual plans as affordable as employer-sponsored plans, eliminating pre-existing conditions and plainly making sure EVERYBODY is insured is not empowering individuals, then you are the fool.

And if you don't realize the astroturf "popular anger" --talk about imagination!-- you so fervently speak of pales in comparison with the vivid anger and deep-seated belief that our healthcare system is inefficient, soulless and screwed up beyond belief --talk about something ALL polls support!-- then you are the double fool.

11:16 AM, September 08, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Alex: You haven't proven or shown anything except how "extreme" the Republican side is on this issue, when it's clear based on overall sentiment that they're not. Democrats are playing politics just as much as Republicans are, and don't think that the Democratic base, along with the the extra weight of the Administration itself, aren't influencing the negotiations. Otherwise, I think the public option would have been history by now and negotiations would be going a bit smoother. That's how I see it.

11:53 AM, September 08, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Yes, I have proven it and you keep ignoring it. For the fourth time, in Grassley's own words, he will not support a compromise he crafted if it doesn't garner support from 20 Republican senators (he wants 80 votes minimum in the Senate). He knows that's impossible. That's not negotiating in good faith, reasonably or looking for a compromise.

3:30 PM, September 08, 2009  

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