GRASSLEY WANTS DEMS, GOP TO WORK TOGETHER…. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the powerful Republican who has spent weeks working on a healthcare reform compromise, is urging Democrats not to abandon bipartisan talks despite growing pressure from liberal activists and White House officials.

Grassley reacted Wednesday to news reports of growing sentiment among White House officials that Democrats should pass a partisan healthcare reform package, relying entirely on Democratic votes.

“I’ve said all year that something as big and important as health care legislation should have broad-based support,” Grassley said in a statement to The Hill.

“So far, no one has developed that kind of support, either in Congress or at the White House. That doesn’t mean we should quit. It means we should keep working until we can put something together that gets that widespread support.”

This would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. The more Democrats offer Republicans concessions and compromises, the more the GOP says, “We don’t care.” The more Dems try to find “broad-based support,” the more obvious it is Republicans don’t support health care reform. Policymakers “should keep working”? If the 60-vote caucus wants reform, the 40-vote minority doesn’t, and reform can pass without GOP obstructionism, there’s no point in keeping the charade going.

This is especially rich coming from Grassley. He’s defended the “death panel” garbage; he’s prepared to vote against his own compromise legislation, no matter what’s in it; and he’s pulled common-sense measures with bipartisan support from the negotiating table. That’s just from the last six days.

And perhaps most importantly, while Grassley wants lawmakers to keep looking for something that can get “widespread support,” a member of his own leadership — Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) — said yesterday that “almost all Republicans” are likely to oppose reform, even if it’s the result of a bipartisan compromise.

Grassley’s comments today are foolish, and he knows it.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.