By Hook Or By Crook

by Jonathan Chait | March 23, 2010

One view of the politics of health care reform is that President Obama and the Democrats crafted a centrist plan based on moderate Republican principles. The GOP withdrew from serious negotiations over the program out of ideological radicalism and the political calculation that their opposition would make the bill "partisan" and therefore less popular:

Thanks to the unrewarded exertions of conservative Democrats, this healthcare plan has moderate, centrist ambitions. It is not socialism in disguise. Shame on liberal Republicans (if there are any) for failing to support it.

A second view is that Obama could have won bipartisan support, but decided against it in order to ally himself with party liberals:

Albeit in a worthy cause, Obama has broken faith with American voters. He promised post-partisan leadership. He promised to moderate the warring tribes on Capitol Hill, and strive for common-sense, centrist solutions. Then, on this epic issue, he allied himself with–in fact, subordinated himself to–liberal Democrats in Congress.

The odd thing is that both these opinions were written by Clive Crook. Indeed, they appear in the same column.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/hook-or-crook