Gingrich: Maybe the GOP should work with Pelosi on health care

Golly, I wonder what the reaction in the comments to this bon mot will be.

Gingrich sees the Massachusetts as a boost for his party, but also as a renunciation of go-it-alone by either party, and thinks Republicans would be “clever” to pass a series of relatively non-controversial measures with “huge bipartisan majorities.”

That said, he thinks many Republicans disdain Pelosi so much they simply won’t go along with anything with the speaker’s name on it, even if it serves the party’s larger interests.

“If you are a House member in the [GOP] caucus, I suspect we are about to have a huge argument. We could get clever and work with her…And I think people should work with her… But at that point it becomes a huge problem because nobody trusts her, they distrust her ideology and distrust her because she has run over them so hard…

Insane? Eh, not really. It all depends on how inoffensive the new stripped-down ObamaCare bill is and whether it looks like the Dems really do have the votes this time. If it’s a fait accompli and the reforms are minute, why not take a free kick by voting yes and blowing a hole in the left’s “party of no” crap before the midterms? Then the GOP could boast that not only did it help kill the awful first iteration of ObamaCare, but that when they finally got a good-ish bill, they proved themselves to be “Scott Brown Republicans” or whatever. The problem is, the left is already worried about precisely this scenario and is whining about it to HuffPo:

That the latter strategy [of passing a pared-down bill] is being seriously considered by progressive lawmakers is a testament to how large an albatross health care reform has become for the party. But the worry, for some, is that it could lead to Republicans claming victory.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “will have his whole caucus vote for it and make it a political win for the Republicans,” one well-connected Democratic health care strategist said. “They’ll say, ‘This was the Republican plan from the beginning. We’re glad the Democrats joined us.’ And take all the credit for passing reform.”…

Alternately, some Democrats might welcome such a move. “Hell yeah,” a Democratic congressional aide said. “We would have created a bi-partisan bill. We would have shown leadership. And we’d get credit for that.”

They would get some credit for it, which is the main partisan objection to it on the Republican side. It’s also hard to imagine the circumstances in which Pelosi would need a bunch of GOP votes for a health-care bill. Is she really going to float something that’s so centrist and modest that House progressives would walk away from it, leaving a vacuum for Boehner to fill? I’m skeptical, but if this drags on another week or two and there’s still no clear path ahead for Dems, they might just be desperate enough to try it. The urgent question right now: Should McConnell and Boehner approach Reid and Pelosi with their own compromise plan? At the moment they have as much leverage as they’re every going to get. If they think some sort of legislative accomplishment is important before the midterms, there’s no time like the present to strike.

Elsewhere, my lefty pal Michael Roston is horrified that the Democratic strategist quoted by HuffPo would reduce the health-care issue to such pure partisan politics. To which I say: But why? Hasn’t the goal from the beginning been simply to pass something to placate the left and preserve the Dems’ electoral viability? Politics has always been job one here. Effective health-care reform is an afterthought.