Forget the Republicans

Frank Yonkof

Former President Bill Clinton said it best this week when he advised President Obama to forget the Republicans in this health insurance reform debate.

“The president’s doing the right thing. It is both morally and politically right,” Clinton told Esquire magazine. “I wouldn’t even worry about the Republicans. I’d worry about executing.”

Perhaps no one knows more about Republican fear mongering than Clinton himself, who tried to pass his own version of reform 16 years ago this month. As what is happening now, Republican opposition became so intense that reform didn’t stand a chance.

Let’s face it; Republicans are never going to negotiate with the Democrats on health insurance reform. Period.

Politically, they cannot. If reform does pass, it will seem like a major victory for President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. Because Republicans screwed up our economy and spent away Clinton’s surplus, their only chances of regaining power anytime soon is to skew any kind of health care reform bill into something evil.

As one of my favorite political strategist, Paul Begala, points out, Republicans have added a total of 183 amendments to the four versions of the bill in congressional committees. Yet when it came time to vote, no Republicans backed the bill in any of those committees.

So why, then, should Americans take the Republican Party seriously? Because they all have guns? Clearly, the Republican Party does not have an actual plan or anything constructive to add to the debate. They are too busy making hats with hanging tea bags.

Watching congressional town hall forums this August was like watching a three-ring circus. Screaming wing nuts overshadowed anyone who showed up with the actual intent of having a calm discussion with real answers about health insurance reform.

Instead of actual solutions, Republicans are playing politics and hoping for another comeback like they did in ’94. It is obvious that they don’t care about health care. It has never been an important issue on their platform.

Unfortunately, these sideshow antics are only hurting America. Conservatives have some legitimate issues to be concerned with in these bills. But when their party leaders would rather spend more time talking about death-panels, no one will ever take their real concerns seriously. ÿ

So, is there any way possible for Obama and his fellow Democrats to negotiate with the other side of the aisle? To have bipartisanship, both sides need to come to the table and make concessions. Then, they actually have to follow through with those concessions and vote on the planned agreements.

Republicans need to realize they are no longer in control of Congress or the White House for a reason, so they will have to make more concessions than they want. But this is never going to happen, and they will cry foul when Democrats skip bipartisanship and move to vote on this thing.

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected] .