GOP Ready To Go to the Mattresses?

John McCain CBS

John McCain
John McCain
CBS

Well, that certainly didn't take long. One day after losing the health care reform battle to the Democrats, Republicans are well along their seven stages of grief. First came the anger. =http:>Now comes the hissy =http:>fit.=http:>=http:>

John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday told the Democrats to take a flying leap for the remainder of this year - and maybe beyond? - as payback for the Democrats' use of budget reconciliation. "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during the course of an interview with an Arizona radio station earlier today. "[Democrats] have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

Holy Yarbles, Batman, I suppose that means the GOP plans to downshift from no cooperation with Democrats to less-than-no-cooperation with Democrats (if such a thing is possible) Would it matter if it was pointed out that the Dems moved to reconciliation in the first place because of the GOP's blanket opposition? Exhibit A being the interview Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell accorded to a reporter from the New York Times where he spelled out the strategy.) McConnell must have thought that Republicans had the votes in hand because he was refreshingly honest about his intention to grind the legislative process to a stop. =http:>=http:>All the more reason, then, why I found McCain's public sulk to be so extraordinary. After all, this is John McCain, Republican Party elder and a former contender for the White House. If he's decided that it's time to go to the mattresses, that would put the kibosh on any hope for bipartisan work , at least through the November elections. (Remember the reaction of Sonny Corleone after the Bruno Tattaglia hit?)=http:>

McCain may be ticked off, but the really hard core elements in the party are utterly furious. On a conference call sponsored by the "Patriotic Resistance" Dave Camp, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said the fight was only now was warming up and he promised a move to "repeal and replace" the health care reform bill. He also said that up to 30 state attorneys general are looking to challenge a requirement that people would need to buy health insurance. If true, we're set up for a `beaut of a states rights battle with Uncle Sam sometime soon. =http:>

When a listener complained that Democrats "want to take control of all of our schools, they're programming our children to be socialists and communists," Camp responded, "I couldn't agree with you more."

Another questioner, who described the health care legislation as "a socialist takeover," added that Democrats were using "totalitarian tactics." He said that tea party activists need to "stand firm on this kind of rhetoric" so they can better frame the question.

"Exactly right," Camp said.

File all of the above under coming attractions. The fall campaign will be starting early and it's going to get rough in a hurry.

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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

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