Grassley's Last Straw for Bipartisanship

A G.O.P. senator's remark has left-leaning voices urging an end to working with Republicans on health care

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Liberals have had it with bipartisanship after Sen. Charles Grassley, a leading Republican negotiator with Democrats in the Senate over health care, repeated the charge that reform bills could basically kill the elderly. On the heels of Sarah Palin's "death panels" claim, Grassley said Wednesday:

If you've got a government-run health-care program and you have crowding out, and then you go to a Canadian-style plan and everyone starts studying what England does ... when you couple this with all of other fears people have and what they do in England, then you get the idea that somebody is going to decide Grandma has lived too long," Grassley said in response, not quite batting down the inaccurate claim, nor backing it.

The statement also came a day after President Obama said the senator and and others are "sincerely trying to figure out if they can find a health care bill that works" and that would get bipartisan support.

Bipartisanship Will Be the End of Obama  Salon's Joan Walsh writes the "silver lining" of the nastiness is that Obama and Democrats will "realize they have no partners in the GOP on healthcare reform." Obama needs to "whip the Democrats, including the nippy, yippy selfish and untested Blue Dogs, into shape. If he compromises with the likes of Chuck Grassley after Grassley betrayed him, he can give up the rest of his agenda -- and maybe even a second term."

Grassley Will Kill the Public Option  Washington Monthly's Steve Benen writes that Obama and Democratic Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus should stop playing ball with Grassley because he's never been serious about reform, citing Grassley quotes about him being a proud obstructionist to a public option. MyDD's desmoinesdem writes that Grassley could be trying to kill a government-provided insurance plan inside negotiations to leave an "individual mandate to buy overpriced private insurance, with no public plan to compete, [which] would be a gravy train for private insurers."

Scaremonger  ThinkProgress' Zaid Jilani notes that Grassley told an Iowa radio station that Sen. Ted Kennedy, 77, would be left to die from his brain tumor if he had government insurance. The Washington Independent's Mike Illis notes that "end of life" counseling was the idea of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson who said the idea that this is tantamount to euthanasia "nuts." The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes Grassley is "taking the Saul Alinsky-end-justifies-the-means approach."

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