To hear Republican congressional leaders and strategists tell it: If Democrats pass health care reform, the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Obama is toast.
Seriously, the message from the Grand Old Partisans is that voting to give Americans greater access to medical care is the political equivalent of a suicide pact.
The theme was repeated again and again in weekend interviews by top Republicans.
SENATE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR LAMAR ALEXANDER, R-Tennessee, said Sunday on CBS’s "Face the Nation: "I think it’s a political kamikaze mission to insist on this." The frequently-rejected president contender predicted a "political wipeout" for Democrats of they use their House and Senate majorities to approve the legislation.
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio, told CNN that if health-care reform passes: "I think we have a chance at winning Republican control of the House."
UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR KARL ROVE told FOX he was certain that: "If they pass this thing, I think (Democrats) lose the House of Representatives this fall."
Wow, talk about bipartisanship!
When was the last time you saw members of one political party try so hard to help the other party retain its congressional majorities.
The generosity of Alexander, Boehner and Rove with their advice is simply remarkable.
Here you have three men who have spent their adult lifetimes trying to get and hold power and influence in Washington willingly sacrificing it in order to counsel Democrats against making a move that would lead to a "political wipeout."
What could have gotten into Alexander, Boehner, Rove and their compatriots? How could these former party of "no" men have suddenly become so very determined to tell the Democrats how to retain control of the House and Senate?
You don’t think that these Grand Old Partisans might be playing a cynical game do you?
No, they wouldn’t be suggesting that enacting health care legislation would harm Democrats if order to prevent a sea-change moment that might actually help the Democrats, would they?
Why, what could possibly possess so innocent and giving a soul as Karl Rove to engage in such a stunt?
Could it be poll numbers?
But don’t the polls all show that Americans are absolutely determined to maintain a health-care system that fails to insure roughly 45 million citizens, under-insures another 45 to 50 million, puts caps on the amount of care cancer victims can receive, discriminates against older women and denies coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? Aren’t Americans adamantly opposed to getting more access to more care at a lower cost?
Er, not so much.
Joel Benenson, a Democratic pollster who has worked closely with the White House, explained over the weekend why Democrats might not think it is "kamikaze mission" to enact health-care reform — even an imperfect reform that will require significant improvement in the years to come.