If You Can't Stand the Politics, Get Out of Washington


Once again, Obama is accusing a Republican Senator of opposing health-care reform for partisan political reasons. According to Jake Tapper at ABC News:

White House officials say that they have been given more ammunition from yet another Republican senator to make the point that much of the opposition against President Obama's health care reform push is political, about power and not principle.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., this week talked with two talk radio hosts about President Obama's health care reform push as a way for the Republicans to win back seats in the House and Senate, as happened in the 1994 Republican Revolution after former President Bill Clinton's health care reform efforts.

Obama complaining that Republicans are playing the health-care debate for political gain is sort of like a boxer complaining that the other guy in the ring is also throwing punches. Both sides see political advantages in winning the health-care debate, and indeed, in Washington legislative debates, that's the name of the game. Republicans think defeating health-care reform will take down Obama's presidency. Though he won't admit it, Obama may believe that too. Certainly, however, the president seems to think that passing a major health-care bill would pave the way for progressive politics in America—and cement his own place in history as the nation's chief agent of liberal reform.

None of this is surprising, given the hypocritical and predictable way political rhetoric works in America. The accusation that one's partisan opponents are politically motivated is not only one of Washington's most cherished and oft-used attacks—as classic a move as Street Fighter II's hadouken—it's also almost always a way of playing politics while claiming you're not.

Read Reason's past coverage of health-care policy here