Monday, March 01, 2010

More delusions of bipartisanship (Paul Krugman)

I suppose this is a case of repeating the obvious, beating a dead horse, and all the rest of it ... except that so much of the commentariat seems to be so determined to ignore or obscure the obvious ... so it's periodically necessary to remind ourselves that the clichés they keep recycling often lack contact with reality. Here's one more example from Paul Krugman (drawing on Matt Yglesias & Karen Tumulty).

I know some of my readers are big on "tort reform," so this item might be of special interest to them. Real reform (as opposed to bogus "reform") of the malpractice system would be a genuinely good idea--though, contrary to some propaganda claims, there's no convincing evidence that it would bring down overall health care costs by much--and it's something that the current Democratic health care reform package doesn't address. But there's no reason why it can't be addressed in the future. And, in the meantime, if the Republicans had actually been willing to negotiate in good faith on this legislation over the past year, it seems more than plausible that they could have gotten some malpractice-related measures included in the package.

--Jeff Weintraub
Paul Krugman's NYTimes blog
February 22, 2010
Delusions of Bipartisanship

Great catch by Matt Yglesias, who quotes some all-too-typical centrist Obama-bashing from The Economist:
If, instead of handing over health care to his party’s left wing [JW: this is complete twaddle, of course], he had lived up to his promise to be a bipartisan president and courted conservatives by offering, say, reform of the tort system, he might have got health care through …
And then points out, not just that the health care plan, far from being a “left-wing” creation, is more or less what Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts, but that Obama did exactly what The Economist accuses him of not doing — and got nothing:
So, right there in the Cabinet Room, the President put a proposal on the table, according to two people who were present. Obama said he was willing to curb malpractice awards, a move long sought by the Republicans and certain to bring strong opposition from the trial lawyers who fund the Democratic Party. What, he wanted to know, did the Republicans have to offer in return? Nothing, it turned out. Republicans were unprepared to make any concessions, if they had any to make.
Unfortunately, the commentariat seems to be full of people who know, just know, that Obama isn’t getting Republican cooperation because he’s in the thrall of left-wingers — and just make stuff up to bolster their case. The truth, which is obvious from every day’s news, is that there is nothing, nothing at all, that Obama could offer — other than switching parties — that would get him any GOP cooperation.

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