Paul Begala, riffing on Napoleon Bonaparte, once said, "Never interrupt your opponent when he's destroying himself." That makes sense to me! What makes precious little sense is for the many Republicans who do not want to enact health care reform to be framing their opposition in such a way that they come off concerned about the Democrats' electoral future.
Yet, here's Michael Steele -- who I believe is in charge of the Republican National Committee or something -- attempting to stop the Democrats from hurting their chances in November:
"If that wasn't enough, when you come out of this thing and you're looking at the reconciliation fight that may loom ahead of us, it certainly will have represented a death panel for the Democrats this fall," Steele said on CNN.
There's really no rich tradition of one political party stepping in to help its opponents succeed in elections. Of course, for all I know, Steele would very much like to preserve the GOP's all-powerful Senate superminority, which is ably explicating his party's policy agenda. If you missed my liveblog of the Sunday morning political chat-shows, I took a moment there to describe how there is no better job in politics right now than being in the minority in the Senate:
Here's the basic job description on Craigslist:
--show up sometimes for work
--get paid, like, crazy dollars
--also get your palms greased by every special interest in the game
--occasionally get fellated by lobbyists whist straddling pommel horses made of rich creamery butter
--do no work, ever.
--solve no problems
--contribute nothing to public life
--every once in a while, stand up for a day so that unemployment benefits don't get extended, to poor people
--did I mention how awesome your own benefits package is?
--do this everyday
--eventually die and become a mummy that craves the blood of small animals
That seems like an easy way to make a living, so it's possible that Steele wants to preserve this, for his colleagues.
That said, while I don't claim to dismiss the possibility that there will be political benefits and political costs to passing health care reform, I sure hope the Democrats aren't seriously heeding the advice of Michael Steele. I have this funny feeling that he may not be entirely sincere.