Tuesday, April 02, 2019

I Do Not Think That's What Bipartisan Is

Say "we gambled, and lost, and then we were stuck." Or "actually, this is what we had to do to please Max Baucus anyway." But not "this was good because the imaginary Republicans from the West Wing that we were negotiating with were very pleased." Valerie Jarrett:

What was it that you could have pushed through from the beginning?

We could have pushed through a plan that didn’t have all of these amendments. There were [almost] two hundred of them, all of which I have put firmly out of my mind, but, for example, we really had hoped that Olympia Snowe would come on board, and we worked with her. We worked with several of the Republicans to say, O.K., what is it that you need in order to support this? Keep in mind it was modelled after the Massachusetts health-care bill that Governor Romney had endorsed, so we started out with a compromise. We didn’t start out with a public option or single-payer.

Then we said to them, “O.K., well, if that doesn’t make you feel comfortable, what would?” We spent months. Had we known that there was nothing that we could do that would persuade them to come on board, we still would have felt like we had to try, because it’s important that the American people see us trying to do that. I think we would have employed the same strategy. If I’d known that there was nothing we could do, I still think we would have thought, Well, let’s just make absolutely sure, because it’s a lot better if it’s bipartisan.


I'm not one who thinks being bipartisan should be a goal in itself, but there are some arguments for why making something actually bipartisan has value, even if, again, I'm one who thinks those arguments are weak. But "we made it shittier to please Alan Alda on the West Wing and we're happy about that" is worse than stupid.