Back in September, Orrin Hatch wanted to appear reasonable on the health care issue, so in an MSNBC appearance he was willing to concede that he agreed with about 80 percent of what was on the table in an interview with Andrea Mitchell:
MS. MITCHELL: Well, he did talk about some of the things that you and John McCain had proposed. He included one provision from Senator McCain. Was that enough of an effort to reach out to Republicans?
SEN. HATCH: Well, he made the point that about 80 percent of what they’re talking about we probably could agree on. But it’s the 20 percent where all the money is where we have a lot of disagreements, for instance, he was saying, basically, that they’re going to have a public plan, one form or another, that they’re going to have an employer mandate. […] I’m willing to work them out with him.
The current version of health legislation doesn’t really have an employer mandate and it certainly doesn’t have a public plan. So Hatch should probably be in agreement with 85-95 percent of it. That seems like a bill you’d vote for. But the Republican Party made a strategic decision to oppose health reform, so he needs to come up with a good reason to vote no. Consequently, he’s now changing his tune.
“I don’t agree with 80 percent of it,” Hatch told my colleague Victor Zapanta in an exclusive interview conducted as Hatch was leaving a Chuck Grassley fundraiser, I think most of it is a piece of junk.”
As with Jeb Bush on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act what you have is a refusal to admit that Hatch has decided to oppose the bill over what amounts to nitpicking. You never get a bill on a complicated subject that you agree with 100 percent. When you start with 80 percent agreement, and then get your way on one of your two main points of disagreement, that’s a bill you should be voting for.