Over at Congressional Quarterly, Craig Crawford is having himself an idea on who might be a good replacement for Tom Daschle. On the one hand, there's Howard Dean, who would have to find himself on better terms with Rahm Emanuel in a hurry for that to happen. On the other hand, theres...:
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.
Oy. If bipartisanship truly was the cure-all that people make it out to be, we wouldn't need universal health care. I'd just get my prostate evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee and call it a day. But, more to the point, while Newt Gingrich might be worth reaching out to on a narrow issue or two -- Newt's basically on board with the conversion of paper medical records to electronic versions, for instance -- it's impossible to see what you gain from having someone hostile to the cause of universal health care heading up HHS. One would presume that appointing Gingrich would create -- oh, I don't know...impediments? -- to an effort on which the administration has said it wants to go "deep and long."
So how does Crawford evaluate Gingrich's ability to secure the administration's desired reforms?
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 have killed reforms in the past.
So, let's see. You appoint Gingrich, alienate your supporters, and then probably fail to "confound the GOP into submission?" Isn't that a high-concept recipe for defeating the purpose? Sure! BUT WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE "HYPER-BIPARTISANSHIP?"