Sen. John McCain could have been Barack Obama's most effective buddy in the Senate if the new president had bothered to solicit his involvement in any number of fields, including health care. Whatever else he is, John McCain is a patriot who would have responded to a president asking to meet him half-way. The result on health care would have been a compromise bill that would have sailed through Congress with at least a number of Republican votes. Afterwards, the GOP might well have wobbled into the next election disarmed and quarreling with itself.
Instead, the "Hope and Change" candidate who said he was going to end partisanship in Washington has been the most partisan president in living memory. Mr. Obama has done something George W. Bush did not do-- completely unify the GOP in Congress and the country. Yes, he has a likely legislative victory pending, but the victory is likely pyrrhic.
The media seem uninterested in McCain's views these days, but it is worth while for the rest of us to see how the Arizonan is characterizing the health care bill (from a press release):
Democrats have used Bernie Madoff-style accounting to assess the cost of health care reform. And when this bill becomes law, the reality of higher taxes and Medicare cuts for seniors will settle in on the American public.
President Obama made a promise when he campaigned for president to sit down and negotiate health care reform with Republicans and Democrats. He also promised C-SPAN cameras would be in the room. But, that was all campaign rhetoric. This disastrous health care bill was negotiated behind closed doors and Republicans were never brought into the negotiations.
The result is a health care bill supported by 60 Democratic Senators, but opposed by 60% of the American public.
Dr. Obama admires his health care bill.
In short, the Obama Administration seems to have been entirely motivated by politics and willing to take ownership of any legislative monster in order to boast success. But the monster will probably turn on its master.
Republicans might be expected to take perverse political satisfaction in this, except that most of them are, like McCain, patriots first and are anguished about what this kind of "Change" is going to do to the country.