August 16th, 2009
06:21 PM ET
10 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. 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 |
  2. Donna from Colorado Springs

    James Carville is correct. Let the stubborn GOP fillibuster to finally show the country what the "party of no really looks like"

    August 16, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Pfft

    This article makes me ILL!!! Let's play politics rather than solve problems.

    August 16, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Mike in SA

    Wow, Carville is at his unrealistically optimistic best on this one! Never does he consider that the Republicans could come off looking like the party that defended the general public from having a bill that polls show the public does not support from being rammed down their throats. That they could come off as the safe harbor from a out of control legislators who don't listen to their constituents.

    He also ignores the fact that a majority of that "do-nothing Congress" are Democrats and this would necessarily hurt the Dems more than the Reps if that was the cause for peoples' votes.

    August 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Way to go America!

    Carville is out of touch. Logical Democrat senators will not vote for a socialist takeover of heatlhcare no matter what comrade Pelosi and Reid want. They have to protect their re election, and their voting base told them NO. Only about 25 percent of America is wacked out liberals. Get over it Carville, Reid and Pelosi, you lost!

    August 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Get Real

    Why is Carville such a douche??? Dems need better representation than him.

    August 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. nancy ambriz

    Americans need true reform and it will require effective strategies. I agree with carville.

    August 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. yuri

    Oh boy! If filibustering is fuelled by further fillip by friends and foes of the Dems, the health bill will bulldoze its way across the boundaries of both sides of the aisle, finally blendin' w/ the public, much to the chagrin of all involved.

    August 16, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Amanda

    We need health care reform and with a strong public option. Without it, it is totally meaningless and politics as usual.

    August 16, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Peoples Voice

    That's a great idea. I would love to know the names of all the Senators who are willing to sacrifice the American public in favor of big business.

    Not just the Repugs, but the turncoat Dems too.

    August 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Dennis

    I like Mr. Carville as much as the next guy. But, when does the media rid itself of the Clinton Era advisors that got us into the mess we're into today with Healthcare? We still don't have this mythical healthcare bill in toto. No one knows who is going to vote for what–and all the rhetoric is speculative at best–flat out lies at worst. When you're describing "nothing," everything fits the description. Also, that which is not excluded in a Bill is included in the eyes of the law. So, most of what the Democrats and Republicans are saying COULD be true. Politics is the purest form of evil.

    August 16, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    give it up lose

    August 16, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Deep Throat

    Obama needs to re-group and distance himself from any failures
    by his party to enact healthcare this year.

    August 16, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Nevada dude

    Comparisons to 1994 are useless because 1) health care costs were not as high; 2) increased concerns about health due to widespread and increasing prevalence of diabetes, obesity and related diseases were not at the rate that they are now because we were just then entering the service-oriented economy that brought an explosion of fast-food restaurants; and c) the country wasnt as broke then as it was now.

    we have seen 8 years of no-good leadership, a monumental give-back of wealth such that most americans income and wealth has fallen to pre-Bush levels, meanwhile borrowing 7 trillion dollars to give tax breaks to the rich while the rest of america is left holding the bag.

    Obama's policies may not look to good to people, but they are there to turn this country around. we are way off-course, and its going to take some pain before we get straightened out. Americans need to have a little patience and stop believeing right wing media's false accusations of impending socialism.

    August 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. FD

    A filibuster would have no effect. We are all tired of big spending whether the spenders are Democrat or Republican! We already know how the government runs things–We don't need any thing else which is nationalized!

    August 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Paul

    Republicans promote hate and division and doing a great job of it.

    August 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    James Carville is a moron.

    August 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Toby.Belch

    Force a filibuster with a filibuster proof majority? If they did that the Democrats in Congress would set themselves up for the charge of playing politics with healthcare.

    August 16, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. cspurgeon

    And then lets put it on the ballotsheets just as the states do. Allso add in an initiative for term limits for all.

    August 16, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Post always rejected by CNN

    Make em show their butts. Make them filbuster it, and then the real Americans and not the republican hired and health care funded thugs will be shown up for what they are. They want to deny health care for the poor and middle class, because it would cut into the billions and billions of profit for the health and drug companies. Why do the republicans want that, oh Hades, that's where their campaign and other GIFTS come from.

    August 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Pel

    Tell them James.

    August 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Grrr-awful-o

    1. The republicans can only filibuster it if they have help from some democrats. The Senate has a filibuster-proof democratic majority (60) if all democrats side with the democrats. Only if some democrats side with the republicans can the republicans really launch a filibuster. BUT that would actually make it a bipartisan filibuster.

    2. Is Carville really developing a strategy for the defeat of the healthcare plan? Why would he do that?

    August 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Kimberly from Houston, Texas

    I pray that a Health Care Reform Bill gets enough votes and passes the Senate but if not, I would have to agrre with Carville.

    August 16, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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