On Friday, Lindsey Graham vowed that, in retribution for the passage of health care reform, Republicans will defeat immigration reform:
“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year."
John McCain today ups the ante. Because of health care reform, Republicans will oppose everything:
Democrats shouldn't expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned Monday.
McCain and another Republican senator decried the effect health reform legislation has had on the Senate, a day after the House passed the upper chamber's bill.
GOP senators emerged Monday to warn that the health debate had taken a toll on the institution, and warning of little work between parties the rest of this year.
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
A couple points. First of all, the baseline of cooperation is already zero. McCain is presumably upset that Democrats are using budget reconciliation to amend some of the tax-and-budget features of the health care bill that's already passed the Senate. But of course, total GOP opposition on health care is the reason Democrats are using reconciliation in the first place. Indeed, their leader has already boasted about his strategy of grinding legislation t a halt and opposing nearly everything.
Second, if we believe McCain and Graham, they're saying that there are areas in public policy where Republicans would help make legislative changes that they believe would make the country a better place, but they are refusing to do so out of pique that Democrats employed a commonly-used legislative procedure. In other words, their own claim is that they are deliberately choosing to create suffering -- not merely preventing legislation the Democrats want, but preventing legislation they agree would help people and would otherwise support -- in order to punish the Democrats. This sounds like something the Democrats would accuse them of doing, not something they'd boast about.
Now, as it happens, I don't actually believe that the Republicans are doing this. But it's strange that the culture of "bipartisanship" is such that this is the kind of behavior elected officials would want people to think they're engaging in.