Even at this stage of the healthcare debate — which for months now has been not a dialog but a series of interrupted monologues — Senator Susan Collins thinks that the GOP (not just one or two rogue GOP senators departing from Republican orthodoxy, but the GOP as a whole) can play a constructive role in crafting a bipartisan healthcare reform bill:
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of three GOP senators to vote for the Democratic-authored economic stimulus plan earlier this year, said moderates from both parties are discussing potential areas of agreement.
Collins was optimistic about the GOP role, saying, “I believe we can put together a bipartisan bill that could cover so many areas where there’s agreement on what should be done.”
That surprises me, but maybe I just haven’t been listening? Maybe I should have heard that Democrats are almost ready to agree that the best way to proceed is to scrap the current proposals entirely and start again from scratch? Or that Democrats are finally willing to concede that the main problem so far has been that Democrats simply haven’t reached out enough to Republicans, preferring to draft the bill behind closed doors after shutting out Republicans from the process?
But, no, that’s not what Collins seems to have in mind:
Republicans Monday had new hope that they could influence health care deliberations — influence that’s so far eluded them — as the debate moves to the Senate, where the rules and the politics can work to their advantage.
Some Republicans are trying to win Democratic support for more help for small business, different medical malpractice policies and changes in how the health care overhaul would be funded.
Okay, I get it. Republicans have managed to persuade themselves (or maybe it’s just Susan Collins) that they can persuade Democrats to agree to make all kinds of changes in the bill in exchange for a promise from Republicans that they still won’t vote for the revised bill, and that they will in fact still filibuster it.
Sounds like just the kind of deal Democrats might make.