Congressional Democrats come to their senses:
At the same time, Democrats say the apparently unbridgeable health care divide has convinced them that Republicans are dedicated solely to blocking legislative proposals for political purposes. Several said they now realized that they would have to rely strictly on their own caucus to advance such defining issues as climate change in 2010.
“We have crossed the mark of over 100 filibusters and acts of procedural obstruction in less than one year,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said on the floor Sunday. “Never since the founding of the Republic, not even in the bitter sentiments preceding Civil War, was such a thing ever seen in this body.”
That’s a lesson the Democrats should have learned after the economic stimulus package, where they made concession after concession and bent over backwards to placate the GOP, yet won over only 3 out of the 219 Republicans in Congress.
The Republicans are not interested in governing this country. The GOP is only interested in scoring political points; they don’t care how much damage they cause as long as they can conceivably spin things in their favor.
The Democrats are the majority. The GOP knows that if they can obfuscate, obstruct, and effectively throw a wrench into the works of our government then they can turn around and portray the Democratic majority as impotent.
I would love to live in a country with a vibrant two-party system, where the right and left can sit down, negotiate in good faith and construct good, productive legislation that makes both sides happy.
Unfortunately, the GOP has pledged themselves wholeheartedly to obstructionism and hyperpartisanship, meaning that every time the Democrats sit down and try to work with the GOP they’re effectively pounding nails into their own political coffin.
The Democrats have the White House and sizable majorities in both houses of Congress. They should focus on winning over conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson–winning over Republicans shouldn’t be a concern at this point.
The GOP had their chance but they blew it, proving themselves unable and unwilling to govern. Until Republicans show that they’re capable of working in good faith toward good legislation, winning Republican votes shouldn’t even be an afterthought for Democratic lawmakers.
UPDATE: From the above New York Times article:
Republicans say that the pre-holiday legislative rush reflects an artificial deadline set by Democrats who want to force through a highly complex measure with minimal public scrutiny
Congress started discussing health care reform back at the beginning of summer.
Health care reform has been working its way through Congress for more than 6 months.
It has been the biggest political issue in America for most of those 6 months.
There is no way anyone can reasonably state that an issue that has been working its way through Congress for half a year and has been at the center of the public spotlight for half a year is being rushed or hasn’t gotten enough scrutiny.
The GOP is going to lose this debate–in fact, for all intents and purposes, they already have. And now they’re facing the prospect of being shut out of the governing process because of their hyperpartisanship and obstructionism.
So it’s not surprising that the Republicans are resorting to idiotic political attacks–in fact, it’s all too typical. Sadly, that’s exactly how they got themselves in this mess to begin with.