What does Republican Party chair Michael Steele have to say about health reform? "Delay, stall, slow down and ultimately stop [the bill]." That’s the ultimate synchronization with the health insurance industry’s business plan: Delay approval until the patient quits trying. Stall payment to doctors until they tear their hair out. Go slow as a way of denying treatment until the patient dies. Steele’s the student who should get a gold star, eh?
But it’s not enough for the guys who hold the whip: Rush Limbaugh just blasted the GOP leadership for not being aggressive enough. News to me, after watching the cascade of scorn and fear-mongering in a week of Senate "debate."
Here’s more of the story from the CBS Political Hotsheet:
A new strategy memo from Republican party leader Michael Steele urges
Republicans to do everything in their power to block the Democrats’
health care bill from moving forward in the Senate.
"I urge everyone to spend every bit of capital and energy you have
to stop this health care reform," Republican National Committee Chair
Michael Steele wrote in the memo, obtained by CBS News. "The
Democrats have accused us of trying to delay, stall, slow down and stop
this bill. They are right. We do want to delay, stall, slow down and
ultimately stop them from experimenting on our nation’s health care.
And guess what, so do a majority of Americans."
In fact, Steele’s last point may be up for debate. A CBS News/ New York Times poll
released last night shows that while most Americans are skeptical of
the impact the Democrats’ overall health care package will have, 60
percent of Americans still support the Democrats’ proposal for a
government-run health insurance option, or "public option."
One thing is certain, however: There is a segment of the
conservative base that thinks the Republican party has not done enough
to block health care reform.
"It’s clear that the Senate Republican leadership doesn’t know how
to deal with this in the health care fight," conservative talk radio
host Rush Limbaugh recently said
on his show. "I’m not a parliamentary expert. But I know a disaster
when I see it. And I know that it’s gotta be stopped, and whatever
parliamentary steps are available to people who do know what they are
should have been taken, every blocking tactic they had at this."
Added Limbaugh, "They act like this is just another day at the
office. They don’t have faith in our principles. They don’t have the
will or energy to go on offense. I’m talking about the Republican
leadership, wherever you find it. And they’re incapable of explaining
our philosophy or our purpose."
It’s good beer talk to complain that Limbaugh and his soldiers, including Glenn Beck, are the evil forces crippling and trying to kill health reform. But it’s not the real story. As writer and liberal think-tanker Robert Borosage points out over at the Huffington Post today:
Glenn Beck is not blocking the passage of
a good health care bill. … To
focus on who and what is standing in the way — follow the money.
On health care, the lockstep opposition of Republicans in Congress
is deplorable, but Republicans don’t have the votes to block progress.
The president is forced to negotiate with Democrats who have 60 votes
in the Senate and a large majority in the House and could pass a good
bill tomorrow if they unified.
The angry tea bag activists shouting slogans in town meetings in
August provided drama, but the true opposition is writing checks, not
waving signs. They are wearing pin stripes, not jeans and t-shirts.They represent wealthy insurance company CEOs, not angry workers or
small business owners.
So it’s not just the GOP in lockstep with health insurers. The Blue Dog Democrats are raking in the bucks from the insurance lobby and saying with a straight face that they’re really just worried about the cost of reform.
But you still have to give it to Michael Steele for doing a perfect translation of insurance tactics into political tactics.