|They really did not have much choice:
Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority's cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.
Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans' purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month's Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.
Rahm Emanuel has finally admitted as much, after months of trying to get Republicans aboard:
heated opposition was evidence that Republicans had made a political calculation to draw a line against any health care changes, the latest in a string of major administration proposals that Republicans have opposed.
"The Republican leadership," Mr. Emanuel said, "has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day."
Democrats have not come to this conclusion lightly, as it is the Republicans who have refused to come to the table with anything substantial. When Democrats have "reached out" to them, they have pulled back a bloody nub:
Republicans have used the Congressional break to dig in hard against the overhaul outline drawn by Democrats. The Senate's No. 2 Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, is the latest to weigh in strongly, saying Tuesday that the public response lawmakers were seeing over the summer break should persuade Democrats to scrap their approach and start over.
"I think it is safe to say there are a huge number of big issues that people have," Mr. Kyl told reporters in a conference call from Arizona. "There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill."
The White House, carefully following Mr. Grassley's activities, presumed he was no longer interested in negotiating with Democrats after he initially made no effort to debunk misinformation that the legislation could lead to "death panels" empowered to judge who would receive care.
Citing a packed schedule, Mr. Grassley has also put off plans for the bipartisan group of Finance Committee negotiators to meet in either Iowa or Maine, the home of another Republican member of the group, Senator Olympia J. Snowe, before Congress resumes.
Further, Mr. Grassley said this week that he would vote against a bill unless it had wide support from Republicans, even if it included all the provisions he wanted. "I am negotiating for Republicans," he told MSNBC.
They have decided instead to work within their own caucus to try and bring over skeptical Democrats:
Administration officials, who maintain that Republicans are badly mischaracterizing the legislation that has emerged from three House committees and the Senate health committee, said they had hoped to achieve some level of bipartisan support. But they are becoming increasingly convinced that they will instead have to navigate the complicated politics among varying Democratic factions.
While a bi-partisan bill would have been much better for the White House to hang its hat on the simple fact of the matter is that the Republicans never had any intentions whatsoever at negotiating to bring about healthcare reform. They consider it a victory if nothing at all gets done. Democrats have been compromising time and time again and the White House must have grown weary of the process after they alienated their own base over the weekend suggesting that they may compromise away even a public option.
This leaves us with the not much easier task of bringing the Blue Dogs into the fold. Many of them have made statements that sound suspiciously Republican and are backing away from real reforms too. I think it is time that our party showed it had some guts and a backbone and started twisting Blue Dog paws. I think we should let them know that if they continue to withhold their support and give aid and comfort to the enemy that they will lose their leadership positions and will recieve no support whatsoever from the national party for their re-elections.
I hope our party has finally realized that to do the right thing it has come to that.