Politics in America: What's gone wrong in Washington? | The Economist: If, instead of handing over health care to his party’s left wing, he had lived up to his promise to be a bipartisan president and courted conservatives by offering, say, reform of the tort system, he might have got health care through...
Matthew Yglesias: Economist: If Only Obama Had Done Things He’s Actually Done, Things Might Be Different: Man, if only Obama had offered tort reform in exchange for GOP votes! How come he didn’t think of that? The answer, of course, is that he did:
So, right there in the Cabinet Room, the President put a proposal on the table, according to two people who were present. Obama said he was willing to curb malpractice awards, a move long sought by the Republicans and certain to bring strong opposition from the trial lawyers who fund the Democratic Party. What, he wanted to know, did the Republicans have to offer in return? Nothing, it turned out. Republicans were unprepared to make any concessions, if they had any to make.
Given that Republicans weren’t willing to offer any concessions on any issues in exchange for concessions on tort reform, I don’t think it should be surprising that the final package contains only modest tort reforms.... Meanwhile, [John Micklethwaite's] view that Obama’s new pro-nuclear tilt is going to produce Republican support for a climate bill is almost laughable.... Last, if you want to say that in your view the Senate’s health care bill is too left-wing then of course that’s your prerogative. But the notion that it reflects the “left-wing” approach to health care couldn’t possibly withstand contact with a single person who holds actual left-wing views on health care. The left-wing view on health care is that we should take America’s successful single-payer health care program for senior citizens, Medicare, and open it up to all Americans. Most left-wing people are willing to accept a more modest reform than that and have coalesced around the idea of a level playing-field public option.... This same—brief!—article also contains a discussion of gerrymandering’s influence on political polarization that’s untouched by actual research into the question.
Delusions of Bipartisanship: the commentariat seems to be full of people who know, just know, that Obama isn’t getting Republican cooperation because he’s in the thrall of left-wingers — and just make stuff up to bolster their case. The truth, which is obvious from every day’s news, is that there is nothing, nothing at all, that Obama could offer — other than switching parties — that would get him any GOP cooperation...
We have now seen this at least three times: on health care, on climate change, and most recently on financial regulation, the word has come down from the Republican Central Committee that moderate Republicans are allowed to "cooperate" with Obama as long as it leads to delay--but that once the time comes for action, then they must go into complete and total opposition. And so far every single one of them has toed the line.