Apparently, size matters

APPARENTLY, SIZE MATTERS…. For nearly a year, one of the principal Republican complaints about health care reform is that Democratic proposals are long — as in, have too many pages to read. It’s not really an argument, per se, but for the GOP, physically-large pieces of legislation must be considered bad because … well, just because.

We’ve talked about how absurd this is as a substantive matter. But let’s also note that these same Republicans are also inclined to complain in the other direction.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner today ridiculed President Obama’s health care proposal because it’s too short.

“The White House’s ‘plan’ consists of an 11-page outline, which has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office or posted online as legislative text. So they want to reorganize one-sixth of the United States’ economy with a document shorter than a comic book, and they’re complaining that they can’t find our plan on their own website? C’mon,” said the spokesman, Michael Steel, in an email to reporters.

It’s hard to know where to start with something this dumb.

First, health care reform would not “reorganize one-sixth of the United States’ economy.” It’s a $14 trillion economy, and a health care plan that would cost about $90 billion a year. I realize Republicans are bad at math, but this is ridiculous.

Second, Boehner’s office probably should have read the 11-page document released by the White House yesterday. It is not a blueprint for an entire overhaul of the American health care system — it’s a description of recommended changes to the House and Senate bills that have already passed. Though the details might be over the GOP’s heads, the document is pretty substantive and detailed, and offers more depth than anything Republicans have offered to date.

And third, just as a basic matter of consistency, right-wing lawmakers don’t get to complain that reform proposals are too long and too short. Just pick one and go with it.

Regardless, the nonsense from Boehner’s office is evidence of the sophistication we’re hearing from GOP officials in advance of Thursday’s summit at the White House. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was on “Good Morning America” earlier, and described the plan that incorporates Democratic and Republican ideas as “a non-starter.” Asked if he thought there’s any room for possible compromise, Cantor added, “There can’t be.”

Since Cantor had already declared that Republicans “will say no to this health care bill,” none of this came as especially surprising.