Arlen Specter opines:
Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican turned Democrat, said the bill could’ve been better if Republicans had participated in the process.
“If some of the Republicans would come forward with suggestions, offer a vote or two, or three or four, to take away the need to have every last one of the 60 Democrats, you’d have a much better bill in accordance with the tradition of the Congress, especially the Senate, on bipartisanship,” Specter said, adding that Republicans are more interested in “plotting ways to beat President Obama in 2012.”
Republicans did offer suggestions (here’s mine), but Democrats weren’t interested in liberty-preserving, free-market reforms. The Democratic leadership was dead set on a government takeover of the health care system, or as close to one as they could get. So Republicans participated in the process in the appropriate manner, by doing everything they could to stop it. They weren’t able to stop the bill, but GOP “obstructionism” did make it a much better bill, by enabling a Democratic holdout to strip out the public option and the medicare expansion. And GOP “obstructionism” may still stop the bill from funding abortion.
And let’s compare with when Republicans wanted to reform social security. Did the Democrats behave the way Specter says they should? Did the Democrats offer suggestions and a few votes? Of course not. They obstructed the process with all their strength, and they cheered (literally) when reform went down.