A Revealing Window Into The Minds Of Washington
In the wake of the Daschle mess, there are a lot of possibilities for both HHS Secretary and the newly created "health care policy czar," ranging from the sublime - Dr. Dean - to the ridiculous - anyone else that the corporate-owned media can come up with.
You have Marc Ambinder and Karen Tumulty ringing the bell for Mitt Romney, because he "can claim the provision of universal health care as a resume line." Which isn't true at all, he sought to derail MassCare at almost every opportunity, it bubbled up directly from the state legislature, and the usual fallacy of attributing everything to the executive is at play. By the way, if you want to go that route, you could mention that Howard Dean provided universal health coverage for children and pregnant women, and unlike Romney he actually drove the policy and did it well before MassCare ever started.
Then Craig Crawford offers up Newt Gingrich, ferchrissake:
Gingrich? Now before you lefties have a collective heart attack, think about it. Something as big as overhauling our entire health care system will be tougher to get done on a purely partisan basis. There are Republicans who want to play.
As much as it would infuriate liberals, picking Gingrich would be a hyper-bipartisan move. Would it confound the GOP into submission on health care? Maybe not, but it would be a bold move to change the political dynamics that has killed reforms in the past.
This is the stupidity of Washington on full display, being conned into thinking a movement conservative like Gingrich would want to do anything but derail an Obama Presidency, believing that bipartisanship for its own sake is the highest good known to man, etc. And Obama has enabled this to a large extent, and now in many ways he's trapped by it, as Republicans use the "bipartisanship" talking point to block fundamental change.
The history-making moment unfolded in the White House press room on January 23, when the topic open for questioning was President Obama's proposed economic stimulus package and whether the administration, which was hoping for a bipartisan effort on the legislation, would be disappointed if the bill passed with little Republican support. And that's when Todd asked if Obama would veto his own bill if it didn't garner enough Republican votes.
If nothing else, though, Todd's absurd query helped highlight the unheard-of double standard that's been constructed by the press specifically for the new Democratic president with regard to the pressing issue of bipartisanship. Virtually all the news accounts are stressing the same story: If there's little or no bipartisan support for Obama's stimulus package, then it's Obama fault, and his fault alone. (No surprise, the media narrative echoes the latest GOP talking point, as dutifully pushed by RNC writers like Peggy Noonan.)
A bit ironic, isn't it? While addressing the issue of bipartisanship (i.e. "involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two major political parties") the press holds only one party accountable: the Democrats. Apparently, that's how the press now views the issue of bipartisanship -- it's something Democrats must bring to fruition.
Meanwhile, by the grand poohbahs in DC, Dean is seen as "too partisan" even though he won in Vermont with 70% of the vote including lots of Republican support, was elected chair of the bipartisan National Governors Association, and was a deficit hawk who balanced budgets in Vermont even though he wasn't constitutionally obligated to do so. But he's out of bounds.