August 16th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
3 years ago

Carville: Dems should force GOP to filibuster health care reform


WASHINGTON (CNN) – After two weeks of sometimes contentious congressional town hall meetings on health care reform, and amid growing signals from the Obama administration that it may be willing to compromise on a key aspect of health care, Democratic strategist James Carville said Sunday that congressional Democrats should force Republicans to filibuster health care reform in the Senate.

“What about this?,” Carville said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “Suppose they pass a House bill that can get 56 Senate Democrats.” Then, Carville suggested, instead of using reconciliation, a special budgetary maneuver in Senate procedure that frustrate GOP attempts to mount a filibuster, Democrats should call for a vote. “And make [Republicans] filibuster it. But the old kinda way is that they filibuster it and make’em go three weeks and all night and [Democrats] will be there the whole time.

“Then, you say, ‘They’re the people that stopped it. We had a majority of Democrats. We had a good bill. They stopped it.’"

The Democratic strategist also rejected any comparison between the Clinton administration’s failed efforts at health care reform in 1994 and the Obama administration’s efforts now.

Democrats “pulled the plug,” Carville said, on health care reform in August of 1994, just months before the mid-term election where Republicans took control of the House. Now, “this is August of the year before the election,” Carville said.

“Make’em filibuster it and then run against a do-nothing Congress [in 2010],” the former aide to Bill Clinton and longtime ally of both Clintons told CNN’s John King.

Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist who is Carville’s wife, sees the politics of the health care reform fight very differently.

Matalin predicted that Democratic health care reform efforts would fail and that congressional Democrats, rather than President Obama, would pay a price for that failure.

“He’ll be fine but the Democrats in Congress won’t. And you’re already hearing Democrats in Congress saying, ‘This is déjà vu. This is what happened with Bill Clinton. He makes us walk the plank and then we lose’ - as they did . . . in 1994,” the Republican strategist said.

Matalin also predicted that like Mr. Obama’s approval rating would bounce back after losing his Democratis House majority in 2010, just like Clinton’s did after the 1994 election.

Carville and Matalin are both CNN political contributors.

Updated: 4:10 p.m.

Related: Health care in America


Filed under: Extra • Health care • James Carville • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Miriam Zapata

    Someone should filibuster Carville.

    I'm sure he can afford lovely health coverage. Republicans are coming around, they just want their voices heard as well.

    I have to remember and people have to remember that Obama WANTS people to speak up, but you can't just argue and not have a backup plan. ...cough cough..tea-baggers.

    August 16, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Ask not what big business can do for you but what can you do for big business

    The only thing the Democratic party can do now is to launch an all out offensive on the greedy, corrupt health insurance company robber barons. This would be an easy victory for the Dem's but the don't have the balls for it because they have been bought and paid for by big insurance.

    August 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Put up or Shut up!

    I agree with Caville – Make the GOP take on stand on this issue – don't cater to their false and disingenous arguments. Especially when a majority of Republican senators voted for the same "death panel" provisions in 2003!

    What nonsense...

    August 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. RR

    someone should clue Carville in to the fact the GOP doesn't have enough votes to filibuster.

    August 16, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Filibuster..health care...?

    Why..? Don't the Democrats have a majority in both houses..?
    Just like Carville and Begala putting others down as wacky....

    Would'nt the Democrats and Obama want a way out by blaming
    other for their shortcomings....Democrats lets see how well you and
    Obama can govern...so stop the blame-game.....>>>>>>>>

    August 16, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. jane

    I agree with Carville. Republicans should take responsibility for their refusal to support health care reform. Expose them for who they are and the exorbitantly wealthy industry they represent at the expense of the sick and injured in this country.

    August 16, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. KevGuy

    Just the same old tired talk from repubs, when will they get it through their head their way of thinking is not gonna work anymore. Letting business continue to run politics in this country via money is what has brought us to this point. If the dems give in on healthcare this time and don't force the repubs to filibuster, I'll have to consider whether I'll vote for anyone again!! THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE AND IT NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW!!!! Free public healthcare for all citizens should be our right just like EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!

    August 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Carole

    I agree with Mr. Carville. Go with public option like we were promised for the Change we Believe in. If it fails at least we feel our President tried. If he does not go with Public Option, weak, weak, weak.

    So Backus and Conrad have insurance companies telling them how to vote, fine. Go without these spineless cowards and greedy jerks.

    I will never just give to the Democratic Nataional Committee....just the only politicians I believe in. I don't want a chance of my hard earned money supporting Backus, Conrad, Landrieu, and the likes!

    August 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. James

    Don't the Democrats have a filibuster proof majority?

    August 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    For those anti health care reform Christians of the religious right, I find it hypocritical to turn your back on those less fortunate. To embrace the lobbyists like Texas millionaire Dick Armey instead of humanity is not the way you were brought up.

    August 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    I and my family have watched and read carefully all that is happening.

    We have already decided to vote against every Blue Dog Dem. and every Republican in our State that are up for federal or state re-election next year.

    And those representatives have received phone calls, emails, and hand-written letters telling them WHY we are voting against them.

    Not much, but I know a lot of others are doing the same. Hope you all will too. No matter what your views, let them know in DC.

    August 16, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Laurel

    I'd love to hear some of the debates this couple has at home! Reminds me of that TV show where husband and wife, both attorneys, one a prosecutor, one a defender, squared off in court on opposite sides of a case.

    August 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Marlene

    These two folks have my admiration. Both have such strong, opposing political views. It's must be true that you can leave work at work, when you can concentrate on family. Good for them!

    August 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Loup Garou 782

    It doesn't take any more than a third grade education with a passing grade of C- to understand that Carville is a devout socialist. If you don't see it, you are one of them

    August 16, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. John

    I think that, as usual, Carville is more interested in the politcal points to be made here. But I think the Democrats would suffer more from failing to pass health reform, and more important, fixing the health care mess is too critical a need to miss an opportunity on just to make political points. So, as I said in another thread, use reconciliation and pass it with 51 votes and no Republicans if that is what it takes. Get the job done! If that happens, people will see and experience that all the "socialized medicine" and "killing Grandma" was a bunch of crap and will support the Democrats for fixing the mess. Lose on this, and people WILL say the Democrats bungled it, or even worse, broke their promises.

    August 16, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Texas Pioneer

    The country voted in a Democratic House, a fillabuster proof Senate, and a Democratic President. If the Democrats can' muster enough back bone to enact Health care reform, then this country will get rid of them. It is as simple as that.
    Going bankrupt because you get sick and the Insurance companies won't provide affordable health care to everyone then there needs to be a public option.

    August 16, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. lARRY OF mASSACHUSETTS

    Carville should get a real job and stop talking about issues h knows noting about. Carville is all about dirty tricks; dirty tactics; and represents everything that is wrong about the Democrats

    August 16, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Lee in TN

    If things are ever going to change for the positive in this country, it is going to take some democrats in congress who are willing to take the risk of an election loss in order to stand on their principles. It is the ones who won't take the risk, that ran for office to become a "career politician" and should be voted out of office at the 1st opportunity. This is a distinct characteristic of the current neo-cons that have conquered the republican party and any democrat who follows this "what's in it for me" attitude, should go down with them!

    August 16, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    A Majority of Americans voted for Barack Obama and a Progressive Democrat Platform.

    That included this Health Reform. This is the Will of We the People.

    America is now a progressive majority. We recognize how important it is for us to have the same health insurance choices as our Senators – and that means opening the Public Option to the rest of us!

    August 16, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. trixy,mn

    What my fellow American should understand is there are many people out here who are watching closely this report. All the time I hear this GOP supporters talking about DEMS losing cong. seat s in mid term elections. Who cares for election now, we want health care reform now it has been long overdue and this is the time. Get politics our of the way and make this reform done this year as the president has said. GOP is doing nothing to help the president pass the bill only to play the scary tactics we are sick and tired of hearing this.
    Now talk about the deficit, what happened to Bush's trillion deficit? the unaccounted money on the Iraq war, you talk to something which will help poor american (46 M) get an insurance of some sort, people start yelling. This REFORM WILL BE DONE THIS YEAR, HAY MR PRES.

    August 16, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Bill

    GOP is causing all this Flutter, Commotion and Disruption in the Town Hall Meetings.

    GOP's Policy is, "Don't Play and Don't Let Others Play".

    GOP's Policy is, "If you are Losing the Game, take the Ball away".

    GOP is the most Third Rate Party. It is Defunct.

    GOP consists of White Trash Idiots like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

    GOP pays some Nut Jobs $8 an hour to cause disrupting in Town Hall Meetings.

    These disruptive elements are not Paid Hooligans, not Members of GOP.

    August 16, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. S M R

    The faster we pass health care reform, the faster we eliminate HUGE Insurance Company profits. I rest my case.

    August 16, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Truly Informed Florida

    The best way to insure a good Health Care bill quickly is to suspend all Health Care for members of Congress until they stop their childishness and get the job done.

    August 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. jim

    I'm certainly glad these two got married. Doubtless it saved the sanity of two other people!!

    August 16, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Hank Paciorkowski

    If we don't have a health care bill by the time of the next election, I'm done voting. I'm sick and tired of these spineless democrats.

    August 16, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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