It didn’t take long for the White House to backpedal from the New York Times story this morning. In the morning briefing, Jake Tapper reports that Robert Gibbs sung the praises of bipartisanship and declared that they could work for a long time before they abandoned efforts to work with Republicans on health care reform. In fact, Gibbs suggested that President Obama would shoot himself into space if it would help:
“Absolutely not,” Gibbs said. “We continue to be hopeful that we can get bipartisan support and will continue to work with those that are interested in doing that.”
“Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” he said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”
Gibbs said if that were the intention, he would go on vacation. “I don’t know why on August 19 we would declare on something that would be voted on in either September or October that the possibility is only 51 votes,” he said.
The president’s spokesman said Mr. Obama would “orbit the moon” if he thought it would help bring progress in health care reform .
Don’t give us any ideas, Robert. Some of us may think that would be a good start.
Apparently, the White House is a little smarter than the Capitol Hill gang that fed the reconciliation idea to the New York Times. However, it’s more than just a little disingenuous. After all, this is the same President that declared “I won” when Republicans wanted a seat at the table for Porkulus’ creation. Obama blew a chance to spread the blame in case of failure with that move; perhaps he learned a lesson this time.
The best bet for Democrats might be to follow James Carville’s advice, which is to let Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats bury ObamaCare in a Senate filibuster. They could get onto other business and run in the midterms on GOP obstructionism, as long as they could explain how 40 Republicans managed to outbox Harry Reid to kill their signature domestic-policy agenda item. That would be placing a big bet on the notion that ObamaCare is wildly popular and its obstruction a cause for resentment among a majority of voters, when all of the evidence shows the opposite. But at least the Democrats would finally get a clear-cut, undeniable message on single-payer and its Trojan horses.