This made me wonder what the Dems could have done wrong on SCHIP, as opposed to Dubya and his obstructionist Repug sycophants (as you read the story, it becomes crystal clear that they and no one else are responsible for the impasse).
However, Pear does tell us the following…
Democrats say that Mr. Bush described the bill in wildly inaccurate terms, got bad advice from his staff and missed many opportunities to find common ground. Republicans say that Democrats misjudged the president; excluded House Republicans, who in the end were crucial, from negotiations; and aimed negative advertisements at the very members whose votes they needed to override a veto.As for "misjudging the president"…
Representative Michael R. Turner, an Ohio Republican who voted for the bill, said, “The administration did not come forward with any real offer of a solution or a compromise that would break the logjam.”(OK, and to be fair, he also accuses the Democrats of playing politics; I’ll concede that, though I don’t agree necessarily.)
As for the argument that, somehow, the Democratic House leadership excluded House Republicans whose could have ended up voting for SCHIP instead of against it, this story tells you about the effort of Republican Sen. Charles Grassley to try and resolve this dispute between the two parties and the two bodies of Congress…
Grassley’s decision to invite (House Repugs John) Boehner and (Roy) Blunt to a meeting on the SCHIP bill on Tuesday (10/30) represents an acknowledgment that House Republicans cannot be engaged if their leadership is not, Blunt’s spokeswoman said. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and committee members Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also attended the meeting.The excerpt above communicates the fact that the House Repugs have no grounds whatsoever to claim that they voted against SCHIP because the House Dems didn’t give them a chance. If they want to be mad at Pelosi for not putting off the vote (as if the Repugs didn’t do that and much worse when they held sway in the happily-now-long-gone 109th Congress), let them go ahead, but there was ample opportunity to address whatever issues they may have had, and I’m sure Baucus in particular would have found a way to persuade Pelosi to delay the vote if that were called for.
Grassley’s move to reach out to the House GOP leadership at this point was influenced by (Dem Speaker Nancy) Pelosi’s insistence on not putting off last week’s vote, a Grassley spokeswoman noted. Grassley had no intention to exclude House Republican leadership from the process, and in fact kept open a line of communication with them, she added.
“Sen. Grassley didn’t cut out House Republican leaders in the discussions leading to last week’s House vote,” she said. Grassley and Hatch met with Boehner and Blunt two days before the vote, she noted, and their aides met afterward.
And finally, the Repugs (and House Repug Thelma “There Was No Dialogue” Drake of Virginia in particular) claim that “the Democrats refused to delay the vote because they had already purchased ads to be used against us in our districts.”
Gee, Thelma, maybe the reason they were running ads in your district as well as those of other Repug House members who opposed SCHIP is because you and the others CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO BUDGE IN YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE BILL!!
And I must tell you that it is truly hilarious to hear a Republican complain about getting pressured from an ad campaign orchestrated through the media and the Democratic Party when you consider one single word: Memogate (yes, I also get tired of the –gate suffix getting attached to any real or imagined political controversy having something to do with what goes on inside the Beltway; it will take a minute or two to make the connection here, by the way).
As noted here, Memogate refers to the following (in a story written by Neil A. Lewis of the New York Times on March 5, 2004)…
"For 18 months, at least two Republican Senate staff aides engaged in unauthorized and possibly illegal spying by reading Democratic strategy memorandums on a Senate computer system, according to a report released on Thursday by the Senate sergeant-at-arms.So when the Repugs were found out, do you think they went “quietly into that good night” and fessed up?
"The 65-page report concluded that the two Republican staff aides, both of whom have since departed, improperly read, downloaded and printed as many as 4,670 files concerning the Democrats' tactics in opposing many of President Bush's judicial nominees. The report, the result of an investigation undertaken at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that many other Republican staff aides may have been involved in trafficking in the stolen documents."
Of course not. Instead, they went on the offensive in as relentless a manner as possible through some group called the Center for Individual Freedom bankrolled indirectly through Philip Morris to do the required freeper dirty work (here), accusing the Democrats of obstructionism at the least in opposing the nomination of Dubya’s appointees (and yes, they even ran an ad attacking Democratic senators Ted Kennedy – of course – Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin).
And I think it is instructive to read through this timeline to see how thoroughly the CFIF colluded with “traditional” media such as the Wall Street Journal (and FOX, of course) along with ideological fellow travelers like Rick Santorum to keep this “story” alive and kicking for a few news cycles.
I wonder if Kennedy, Leahy and Durbin were consulted by anyone from the Center for Individual Freedom before the ad was run? Do you really have to wonder too long about the answer to that question?
Well then, why is Drake upset because the ad against her for opposing SCHIP was run without her consultation (as if that would have changed her vote anyway)?
The Repugs voting against SCHIP want to kill it out of a perverse sense of fealty to President 24 Percent Mandate and his battle against “socialized medicine” (a catchphrase used by conservatives to frighten this country at the notion of universal coverage for seemingly the last 50 years or so, with Rudy! now leading the misguided charge also). They can do all the whining about procedure and ads and voting timetables that they want.
But they’re hurting the kids, who are showing more maturity on this than the supposed “adults” who have been tasked to look out for them.