Yesterday on CNN’s Situation Room, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) stood by his criticism of the Republican healthcare plan — which is “don’t get sick,” and if you do get sick, “die quickly” — to a panel of mostly hostile CNN contributors and GOP consultant Alex Castellanos.
Castellanos repeatedly attacked Grayson, comparing him at one point to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The other CNN hosts rallied to Castellanos’ side: Joe Johns incredulously asked if Grayson wanted a “thoughtful conversation about important ideas” and Gloria Borger appeared to be confused by the notion that talking about the number of people dying from a lack of health insurance was getting the “debate back on track.”
Playing the victim, Castellanos feigned Republican willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to achieve universal care:
CASTELLANOS: Obama and Republican — President Obama put that on the table. If he put tort reform, if he put portability, if he put shopping across state lines, he could put together a package right now and Republicans would stand with him 100 percent.
Castellanos, who is a constant fixture on CNN as regular pundit, is also a consultant to a major Republican advertising firm called National Media Inc. Not only does he fashion himself as the “father of the modern attack ad,” but Castellanos is also the father of the Republican health plan Grayson is condemning. In July, Castellanos wrote a memo for the GOP leadership on how to kill health reform. The memo emphasized the use of buzzwords to characterize Democratic plans — like “risky” and “experiment” — but most importantly defined the ultimate goal: “If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it.”
The GOP has followed Castellano’s advice in every regard. After the memo’s release, the RNC produced ads using the recommended buzzwords, House Republicans have waged “floor games” as a stalling tactic to slow the legislative process, and Republican Senators have obstructed markups with ridiculous, obstructionist amendments. One of the GOP’s chief negotiators, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has said he “take[s] pride in being an obstructionist.”
Meanwhile, according to the Harvard study Grayson cites, someone dies every twelve minutes because they lack health insurance.