March 8, 2010

Media Matters caught this one -- National Review's Lowry falsely equates reconciliation and nuclear option in order to accuse Dionne of hypocrisy in yet another example of why E.J. Dionne on the panel of Meet the Press this weekend was the only thing that made it watchable.

MR. DIONNE: Rich's point about process, I went back and looked at all the columns I wrote criticizing the Bush tax cuts. I never made a process argument about reconciliation. I argued about the merits of the tax cut, and I think instead of talking about process we ought to talk about the merits of the health plan.

MR. LOWRY: But you really, you did, E.J., you did write a very stirring column about the nuclear option in defense of the Senate...

MR. DIONNE: That was...(unintelligible).

MR. LOWRY: an anti, as an anti-majoritarian institution.

MR. DIONNE: That has nothing to do with--I believe...

MR. LOWRY: And look, just one last thing...

SEN. HATCH: I've got it right here.

MR. LOWRY: ...E.J., the point you're saying if Republicans are united, the Democrats can't govern, is what they're saying. It would have been relatively easy--and Senator Hatch would be an expert on this because he worked so closely with Ted Kennedy on health issues--to get 65 or 70 votes for a major healthcare bill in the Senate. Not this, but $100 billion, $200 billion more for Medicaid, for SCHIP, maybe some version of this Plan B we've seen reporting about that the White House--after Massachusetts came up with a plan where they'd cover just 15 million people at a quarter of the cost. You do something like that and you would have picked off five or 10 Republicans in the Senate, but they didn't want to do it.

MR. DIONNE: Senator Baucus spent months holding hand--Senator Baucus spent months holding hands with Senator Bauc--with Senator Grassley and Senator Enzi and got nowhere.

SEN. HATCH: I, I, I...

MR. GREGORY: OK, quick final point then I'm going to take a break. Senator:

SEN. HATCH: I was a member of the gang of seven. He was so restricted by the Democratic process that he couldn't really do anything for Republicans. So I had to leave just out of honor because I couldn't--I'd walk out of there and, and trash everything they were doing, so I left out of honor. The other Republicans gradually left, too. There has been no real effort to try and get together on all the things we can get together on. It's just been "take it or leave it," and that's been their attitude.

MR. GREGORY: All right, we're going to, we're going to leave, we're going to leave it there.

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