I think that Jillian and I are just at the heart of what the Republicans behavior should be as the minority party in the government.
President Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have shown that they’re not interested in working with conservatives, and we can look to the stimulus process as an example. As soon as a few conservative lawmakers suggested ideas that they had for an alternative, Obama and the Democrats “integrated” conservative ideas (like tax cuts) while simultaneously ballooning the overall cost of the plan. We ended up with an $825 billion boondoggle of a plan that was cut to a “compromise” $787 billion when Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow cut a deal. It’s the spirit of cooperation that led to the Obama administration being able to claim (no matter how legitimately) that the legislation was bipartisan.
The Dems’ health care bill threatens to be a similar enterprise, but with more negative and longer-lasting consequences. I’d rather see a bill that’s 100% Democrat-created (and watered down due to such vehement GOP opposition) than a 95% Democrat-5% Republican plan that is harder to dismantle due to this mirage of bipartisanship and moves us further away from the health care system that we want to see.
The GOP inexcusably dragged their feet on health care reform during their years of government hegemony and the Democrats have now won and ushered in their own era of power. I don’t think that conservatives, Americans, or our health care system will be served by the GOP being strung along like lapdogs, happy with whatever table scraps the Democrats throw their way.
Note: This is in relation to what the Democrats have proposed thus far. I think the GOP should keep their ears open if the Democrats are truly ready to go back to the drawing board, but I don’t see a shift from one national public option to fifty state-based public options (co-ops) to be a significant sea-change for the Republicans to get excited about jumping on board.