Who's the most partisan of them all?

Republicans and Democrats trade blows over the breakdown in healthcare reform negotiations

Published August 19, 2009 8:01PM (EDT)

As soon as the White House started signaling that it's ready to give up on bipartisan negotiations over healthcare reform, the Republican response became obvious. With Democrats saying the administration's move was necessary because of GOP intransigence, the Republicans had to try to turn the tables and call "Partisan!" on their opponents.

And, naturally, that's exactly what they did.

Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement, "If bipartisanship is dead it's because Rahm Emanuel led the charge to kill it. When you’re openly stating things like a 'crisis should never go to waste,' then it is safe to say that you are abusing your perch and engaging in activity that is more befitting of a party boss and less befitting of a White House Chief of Staff.”

Then, there was this from House Minority Leader John Boehner:

The announcement that Democrats will abandon bipartisanship in order to pass their costly government takeover of health care is nothing new. From day one, the White House has taken a go-it-alone approach on health care. Months ago, Republicans sent the President a letter noting areas of potential common ground on health care reform and requesting a meeting with him to discuss a bipartisan way forward. The Administration rejected our efforts to work together, choosing instead to craft a costly government takeover of health care and to march forward on a partisan basis solely with Democrats in Congress.

Now, Democratic leaders find themselves all alone in support of a plan that will drive health care costs higher than ever, increase the federal deficit, slash Medicare, and let government bureaucrats make personal medical decisions that only patients and doctors should make. The more the American people learn about this plan, the less they like it. It’s time for President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and congressional Democrats to scrap this costly plan, start over and work with Republicans on reforms that make health care more affordable and accessible for middle-class families and small businesses.

The truth, as I wrote earlier, is that Republicans -- especially Senate Republicans -- were indicating that they'd oppose a bill no matter what concessions they got in it. That's presumably what provoked the White House.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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