THIS WAS THE GOP POINT-MAN ON HEALTH CARE REFORM?…. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued this morning that the Gang of Six could definitely have come to a bipartisan agreement on health care reform, if only those mean ol’ Democrats have given the negotiations more time. Grassley told CNBC that with “another couple weeks,” lawmakers would have reached the perfect deal.
Five months of pointless talks produced exactly zero GOP votes. But five-and-a-half months would have delivered a bill that “would have gotten broad-based support.” (As Ezra Klein joked, “I was totally getting ready to propose, baby, if you’d only waited a couple more weeks…”)
But that’s not all. Grassley also lashed out at the White House this morning.
Grassley blasted accusations made by White House aides that his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to work on a bipartisan healthcare bill with committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and others were insincere.
“I kind of resent that, when I’ve been very candid with the president of the United States” about his positions on contentious issues in healthcare reform, Grassley said.
Grassley also took direct aim at President Barack Obama, suggesting that he soured the chances for cooperation.
“I’ll tell you, there’s some things that the president has said since then that I took very personally,” Grassley said. “He gave some speeches during August in which he was associating me with efforts to make this a political document.”
Grassley singled out David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, for criticism. “We’re accused by Axelrod of making political things and maybe not being serious in our negotiations,” Grassley said. “You know, that’s not a very good environment to carry on a conversation with the White House.”
First of all, President Obama went to great lengths — too many, in fact — to praise Grassley publicly as someone who was sincere about negotiating in good faith. Why Grassley would take those comments “personally” is unclear.
Second of all, the reason the White House eventually gave up on Grassley is because administration officials are not insane. Why would anyone seriously believe Grassley was serious about reform after his conduct of the last several weeks?
Grassley has lashed out at the media with nonsensical whining; he said he wanted to undermine ambitious reform proposals because activists yelled at him in town-hall meetings; he vowed to defeat “Obamacare”; he nonsensically argued that the deficit “puts a stake in the heart” of Democratic proposals; he said, “I don’t think it’s going to be possible to work it out with the administration“; he promised not to vote for an “imperfect bill“; he validated “death panel” nonsense; and he said he was prepared to vote against his own compromise.
Grassley think he has grounds to be “resentful”? Everything would have been fine in “another couple weeks”? Please.