Sunday, January 31, 2010
Perhaps It Would Be Too Presidential....
If I were a Republican Senator with aspirations to become President, knowing that pretty soon a Democratic healthcare reform bill almost certainly will be passed by the House with an associated bill to be passed in the Senate through reconciliation, I would consider angering the rest of "The Party of No" by revising the Senate bill with what will likely be the content of the reconciliation bill, stripping out the outrageous pork (sorry Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu), making some modest adjustments to the legislation, and stripping the bill down to a more essential form, then propose to the Dems that I (or I and a handful of other Republicans) would join them in negotiating over the details of the revised bill and moving forward in a bipartisan fashion. I could honestly declare to the nation that I pruned hundreds of millions of dollars of pork from the bill (again, sorry Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu), stripped out hundreds or thousands of pages of complexity, and made the bill less complex and 'scary', and proclaim that although the bill still skews 'too far to the left' it was necessary to compromise to 'save' the nation from a 'far more liberal' bill.
But that's something a leader might do. The Senate doesn't create many leaders, and the present group of Republicans might best be described as followers. Not lemmings - their obstructionist groupthink so far has pushed one Democratic seat off the cliff while they're holding tight - but certainly not leaders. Certainly not presidential.
Seriously, they're talking about Mitt Romney as a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2012. Does Mitt actually do anything other than talk about running for President? Travel between his mansions, vacations and shopping excursions don't count.
Not only would the Senator be able to lay claim (and perhaps attach his name) to one of the most significant bills of the modern era (a bit sad, that is, given how modest the proposed reforms actually are), he would stand out as a leader - bridging the partisan divide. His party may hate him for it, but that could actually play well with independents.