As you can read here and here Chuck Grassley was on MSNBC earlier today explaining that he might vote “no” on a health care bill even if he thinks it’s a good piece of legislation if that bill doesn’t get support for other Republicans besides Grassley:
In an interview today on MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan,” Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R) said he’d vote against any health-care reform bill coming out of the committee unless it has wide support from Republicans — even if the legislation contains EVERYTHING Grassley wants.
“I am negotiating for Republicans,” he said. “If I can’t negotiate something that gets more than four Republicans, I’m not a good negotiator.”
When NBC’s Chuck Todd, in a follow-up question on the show, asked the Iowa Republican if he’d vote against what Grassley might consider to be a “good deal” — i.e., gets everything he asks for from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D) — Grassley replied, “It isn’t a good deal if I can’t sell my product to more Republicans.”
Grassley’s being a jerk, in other words. But what on earth is Max Baucus doing? He’s chairman of the committee. There are 60 Democratic Senators. He should write a bill and bring it to the floor. In fact, he should have done so a month ago. Instead, he’s given veto power over both the substantive and procedural aspects of reform to a man who’s not even pretending to be negotiating in good faith. If we assume that Baucus actually wants to see reform happen, he’s going about it in a very strange way. If you want to see reform enacted, Baucus needs to just write a bill he likes, talk to Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe about what kind of special lobster subsidies they’d like to see in it, and then you pass the thing. This isn’t brain surgery.