March 15, 2010

When Bob Schieffer asks Sen. Lamar Alexander if the Republicans are at risk for being seen as purely obstructionists if the health care bill passes, Alexander responds by saying that it will be "a political kamikaze mission" for the Democrats if they pass the bill and vows they're going to run on repealing it. I think Lamar Alexander is the last person the Democrats should be taking any political advice from.

SCHIEFFER: Critics have said that the President has really put his whole presidency on the line. He’s put all the chips on the line. By putting everything he can muster against health care-- for health care and getting it passed. I guess, I would ask the other side of the question. Aren’t Republicans also putting everything up on the line by just being universally, totally against this? I mean, I’m thinking about November. Is it-- can a-- can a party get elected just by saying no? Is-- Is that a successful campaign tactic?

ALEXANDER: No-- no, it’s not. It is not what we’ve done. I mean, a hundred and seventy-three times, and I had my staff count them in the congressional record. Republicans went to the floor of the Senate and offered our step-by-step plan to reduce cost,including small-business health plans, buying insurance across state lines, stopping junk lawsuits against doctors, reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. That’s a different direction. What the President is trying to do is to expand a health care system that everybo-- body knows is unaffordable. What we want to do is reduce the cost of the health care system. And I’m willing to put it to a vote. I hope we don’t have to for the country. I mean, the most important words the President may have uttered in the summit were "that’s what elections are for." And he also said last year that the health care debate’s not just about health care, it’s a proxy for the larger issue of the role of government in American lives. And we think he’s right about that.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, you have said, I believe, that it would be catastrophic for the Democrats if this legislation passes. From just the standpoint of straight politics, why wouldn’t it be a good idea for Republicans to let it pass?

ALEXANDER: Well, if-- if-- if we were completely irresponsible that-- that’s what we would do. I think it’s a political kamikaze mission for the-- for-- for the Democrats to insist on this. I believe if they jam this through-- remember, no big piece of social legislation, Pat Monahan used to say this, the late Democratic Senator, no big piece of social legislation’s ever been jammed through just by a partisan vote. I mean, Lyndon Johnson had the Civil Rights bills written in the Republican leader Everett Dirksen’s office. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid--all had seventy votes. I think, from the day this passes, if it should, there will be an instant, spontaneous campaign to repeal it all across the country. It’ll define every Democratic congressional race in November. And it will be a political wipeout for the Democratic Party. That’ll be bad for the country but it will change the leadership of the country.

SCHIEFFER: Just quickly. Robert Gibbs said next Sunday we’ll all be sitting here talking about how health care reform passed. Do you agree with that?

ALEXANDER: I hope he’s wrong. And I hope that the first part of your show is wrong, too. I hope this is not-- this won’t be the end of health care. If it passes, it’ll define the rest of the year in terms of political contests.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

ALEXANDER: If it fails it’ll just begin a different debate.

UPDATE: John Amato

I guess sushi is in style of GOP because Goober Graham is the latest one to use Japanese analogies:

Graham: Pelosi has House Dems 'liquored up on sake' ready for 'suicide run'

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