Friday, March 05, 2010

Hatch On Health Care

We know Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as a United States Senator and songwriter. But little did we know that he also is a stand-up (actually, sit-down) comedian.

Hatch appeared with the National Review's Rich Lowry, ideological cross-dresser and faux Democrat Harold Ford, and sydicated columnist E.J. Dionne on the roundtable segment of today's Meet The Press. Commenting on health care, Hatch said this and as a true professional comedian, without the hint of a smile:

I was a member of the gang of seven. He was so restricted by the Democratic process that he couldn't really do anything for Republicans. So I had to leave just out of honor because I couldn't--I'd walk out of there and, and trash everything they were doing, so I left out of honor. The other Republicans gradually left, too. There has been no real effort to try and get together on all the things we can get together on. It's just been "take it or leave it," and that's been their attitude.

Back in August, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, following an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Meeting, wrote

Chuck Todd asked Grassley whether he'd vote for the bill if it was a good piece of policy that he'd crafted but that couldn't attract more than a handful of Republican votes. "Certainly not," replied Grassley. Todd tried again, clarifying that this was legislation Grassley liked, and thought would move the ball forward, but was getting bogged down due to partisanship. Grassley held firm. If a good bill cannot attract Republican support, then it is not a good bill, he argued.

Grassley, in other words, is working backward from the votes. If the Gang of Six reaches a compromise that the Senate Republicans don't support, Grassley will abandon that compromise, regardless of the fact that he's the guy who built it.

Now, consider: if a Senator helps shape a bill and believes it benefits the nation, he would (and has) vote against it because other members of his party are doing so. And if the Senate bill (which passed 60-40) includes 161 GOP-sponsored amendments, that, apparently, would be the Democrats' "take it or leave it" attitude decried by Hatch. And if the new proposal from the Senate majority (still 50 of 100, at last count) includes four concepts advanced by Republicans at Obama's health care summit, that's not really trying.

Orrin Hatch, the Utah humorist and health care obstructionist.

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