Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How Bi-Partisanship Works

On Saturday, demonstrators, with the encouragement of some Republican members of Congress, were marching through the streets and the halls trying to intimidate lawmakers from voting for reform.  On Sunday, Republican legislators, knowing the bill was going to pass, were reduced to making short protest speeches.  Monday morning after the bill passed the House, some Republican members of Congress introduced bills repealing the legislation.  By Tuesday, while a number of state attorneys general filed lawsuits the moment the bill was signed, talk of repeal was starting to die down, as Republican legislators realized they would never have the votes to overcome a presidential veto during a Democratic administration, and polls started to show the legislation is generally supported by the voters.  And today, Senator Charles Grassley became one of the first Republicans to start trying to take credit for parts of the legislation he voted against, even while he and his colleagues in the Senate continue to resort to various stalling tactics to delay the House follow-up bill from passing.

Before long, I expect to start hearing from some Republican representatives that they supported many of the health care reforms all along, but had to vote against the package in deference to their leaders' tactical decisions. By the time of the fall campaigns, we can expect Republicans to start accusing their Democratic opponents of not doing enough to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care.  And years from now, when the next big piece of reform legislation comes along, we can be sure that Republicans will be making impassioned speeches to prevent the Democrats from trying to take away some of the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Republicans have always embraced, just as they recently attacked Democrats for trying to cut the Republicans' beloved Medicare program.

(above, the White House official video of the signing speeches, with Joe Biden's succinct explanation of the significance of health care reform whispered in the president's ear at the end of Biden's introduction)

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