--The tears ... the crocodile tears ... now being shed are coming from those same Republicans who had their chance to prove their [dedication to health care reform] and blew it." (FDR, 1940, paraphrase)
Listening to Republican leaders, one would believe their main concern these days was to preserve the majorities Democrats enjoy in Congress. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the minority whip in the House, warns Democrats not to pass health care reform because they will be defeated at the polls. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) counseled the president similarly at the health care summit.
Although they pay their "wordsmithing guru," Frank Luntz, millions to invent their talking points, this tactic is as old as the hills.
The film Invictus, that told the story of post-apartheid South Africa, reminded one of rightwing Republican opposition to the sanctions that brought about the collapse of the apartheid regime. They were concerned, you see, about the impact of the sanctions on ordinary (black) South Africans. Indeed, it was Republican Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), who ran overtly racist campaigns to win elections, who was the most vigorous opponent of the sanctions, professing (sanctimonious) concern for the plight of the black majority.
And, Republicans are so concerned about workers rights that they oppose card check to "preserve" the secret ballot. So does the Chamber of Commerce. Touching, isn't it?
Actually, this tactic should tell Democrats how deep the Republican concern is that health care reform will be passed. When health care reform is passed, Republicans will become permanently irrelevant.
If Republicans are so certain that Democrats would lose their majorities by passing health care reform, then why do they not let them pass it!? It does not take effect for several years anyhow, and they could always repeal it if they regain power.
All they would need to do is get the president to promise not to veto a repeal in exchange for allowing the measure to be brought to a vote in the Senate. The president would agree to that deal.
Call their bluff.