04/27/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Real Bipartisan Lie

You only need to read one paragraph of this Politico article, "The big bipartisan lie," before you recognize the lie, and it isn't what Politico thinks it is:

If President Barack Obama really wanted to show he's serious about winning over Republicans on health care reform, he could offer up some key concessions at Thursday's summit, like caps on malpractice awards or allowing insurers to sell across state lines.

Let me just recap some of the highlights of the health care reform debate for my friends at Politico. President Obama conceded single payer and won no votes in return. He conceded the public option and won no votes in return. He conceded the public option trigger and won no votes in return. He conceded the opt-in public option and won no votes in return. He conceded Medicare buy-in and won no votes in return. He acceded to the demands of Bart Stupak and won a single vote, from Representative Joseph Cao (R-La.), who has now apparently changed his mind. Obama openly courted the support of Republicans like Charles Grassley and Mike Enzi, and did not object to Max Baucus taking up months of everyone's time attempting to work a deal with his so-called "Gang Of Six." The net results: no votes.

Ezra Klein offers a better take:

As Democrats came to realize that they couldn't get Republican votes for the bill by adding policies that Republican senators supported, they began trimming their ambitions in order to keep their caucus together. As they came to realize that they couldn't pass the legislation without their most conservative members, they gave their most conservative members a veto card over the bill's provisions. The result is legislation that's not only much more conservative and incremental than what past presidents have proposed, but is also much more conservative than the major health-care reforms -- namely Medicare and Medicaid -- that past presidents have passed. And Republicans got these substantive concessions not by making a deal, but by not making a deal.

[h/t: Matt Yglesias]

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