Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Alexander: Passing Health Care Bill is 'Political Kamikaze Mission' for Democrats.

I love how the Republicans only ever seem to care about the cost of things when the thing under discussion is healthcare.

Endless wars never seem to concern them from the point of view of cost. Huge deficits were run up by giving tax cuts to a nation at war, a novel concept in which the cost of George Bush's wars were shoved on to another generation of Americans without so much as a word of complaint from Republicans.

But, when it comes to the subject of healthcare, suddenly we see that rare creature - the fiscally conservative Republican - come blinking into the sunlight as if woken from a long winter hibernation.

SCHIEFFER: Critics have said that the President has really put his whole presidency on the line. He’s put all the chips on the line. By putting everything he can muster against health care-- for health care and getting it passed. I guess, I would ask the other side of the question. Aren’t Republicans also putting everything up on the line by just being universally, totally against this? I mean, I’m thinking about November. Is it-- can a-- can a party get elected just by saying no? Is-- Is that a successful campaign tactic?

ALEXANDER: No-- no, it’s not. It is not what we’ve done. I mean, a hundred and seventy-three times, and I had my staff count them in the congressional record. Republicans went to the floor of the Senate and offered our step-by-step plan to reduce cost,including small-business health plans, buying insurance across state lines, stopping junk lawsuits against doctors, reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. That’s a different direction. What the President is trying to do is to expand a health care system that everybo-- body knows is unaffordable. What we want to do is reduce the cost of the health care system. And I’m willing to put it to a vote. I hope we don’t have to for the country. I mean, the most important words the President may have uttered in the summit were "that’s what elections are for." And he also said last year that the health care debate’s not just about health care, it’s a proxy for the larger issue of the role of government in American lives. And we think he’s right about that.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, you have said, I believe, that it would be catastrophic for the Democrats if this legislation passes. From just the standpoint of straight politics, why wouldn’t it be a good idea for Republicans to let it pass?

ALEXANDER: Well, if-- if-- if we were completely irresponsible that-- that’s what we would do. I think it’s a political kamikaze mission for the-- for-- for the Democrats to insist on this. I believe if they jam this through-- remember, no big piece of social legislation, Pat Monahan used to say this, the late Democratic Senator, no big piece of social legislation’s ever been jammed through just by a partisan vote. I mean, Lyndon Johnson had the Civil Rights bills written in the Republican leader Everett Dirksen’s office. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid--all had seventy votes. I think, from the day this passes, if it should, there will be an instant, spontaneous campaign to repeal it all across the country. It’ll define every Democratic congressional race in November. And it will be a political wipeout for the Democratic Party. That’ll be bad for the country but it will change the leadership of the country.

SCHIEFFER: Just quickly. Robert Gibbs said next Sunday we’ll all be sitting here talking about how health care reform passed. Do you agree with that?

ALEXANDER: I hope he’s wrong. And I hope that the first part of your show is wrong, too. I hope this is not-- this won’t be the end of health care. If it passes, it’ll define the rest of the year in terms of political contests.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

ALEXANDER: If it fails it’ll just begin a different debate.
So, the Republicans think that this is a kamikaze mission which the Democrats are engaged in and, the only reason they are not going to sit back and watch the Democrats self implode in this way, is because they are "too responsible" to allow such an act of suicide.

After Bush took Clinton's surplus and turned it into a record deficit, that's simply laughable.

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