This time as defined by Jon Kyl, who told reporters today that the co-op plan (which Kent Conrad came up with as a compromise to the public plan) is also a non-starter for Republicans:
"On the co-op... as Democrats have said, it doesn't matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something that Republicans are opposed to," Kyl told reporters. "That is the step towards government-run health care in the country. The president himself said you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition of a public option."
"It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse. And therefore no, I don't believe Republicans will be inclined to support a bill," he said.
Coming on the heels of Grassley's comments, it's getting increasingly hard to see how any health care legislation is going to garner significant Republican votes. Which, of course, raises the question of whether Obama should even bother trying to win over the GOP. In a way, you have to admire Grassley and Kyl's honesty. My only question, from a tactical standpoint, is why they're making these statements now? I know Obama's taking a lot of heat for playing his cards too early in (maybe) signaling his willingness to abandon the public option. But isn't the GOP making a bigger blunder by essentially telling Obama and other Democrats that there's nothing they can do to win them over? It seems like the smarter play would be for Republicans to string the Dems along for a bit longer, forcing more compromises, before they yank away the football. Instead, I think Grassley and Kyl have actually made things easier for Obama here.