Chuck Grassley Blames "Death Panels" B.S. on Left
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GRASSLEY'S NOT EVEN TRYING.... On MSNBC's "Morning Meeting" earlier, Dylan Ratigan asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about "death panels" as part of reform. "I see that as nothing more than a distortion coming from far-left with bringing up these end-of-life concerns," Grassley said, "which are not the issue that we ought to be talking about."
I have no idea what that means. The "far-left" is responsible for a bogus claim Grassley was touting as recently as last week?
Ezra Klein was on the same program, and noticed Grassley's striking approach to reform.
First, Grassley did not speak like Lindsey Graham or Olympia Snowe. He did not come onto the program determined to present a reasonable face and comfort liberals, conservatives and independents alike. Instead, he railed against "government-run health care" and the "Pelosi health-care bill." He talked about bureaucrats and exploding deficits. He sounded like a House conservative giving a stump speech. Grassley presumably leaves his stemwinders behind when he's with the Gang of Six. But this was not a comforting sign. This was not a unifying performance.
Second, 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.
If President Obama pursues reform with Democratic votes, he's being "partisan." Grassley, meanwhile, will vote against his own compromise bill unless it has lots of Republican votes, but that's not "partisan" at all.
In order for negotiations to make sense, parties have to be willing to show some good faith, and a willingness to work towards a constructive goal. With this in mind, seeking a reasonable compromise with Chuck Grassley isn't just wrong, it's crazy.
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal . His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."