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As if anyone, other than Democrats in the Senate, is surprised? Today, at the Washington Monthly:

GOP TELLS MEMBERS: DON’T WORK WITH VULNERABLE DEMS….

….There are some other ways to achieve the intended policy goals, and if the mandate were replaced by something similar, it’d likely resolve some of the lingering constitutional questions. Republicans should be thrilled, right? After all, if they’re sincere about their deep-seated disgust for the mandate — which they consider some kind of outrageous abuse, despite having come up with the idea in the first place — GOP officials should welcome the chance to get rid of it. If the mandate is an affront to American freedom — it’s not, but just for the sake of conversation — it stands to reason Republicans would want to hasten its demise.

But they’re not. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw cold water on the idea of a compromise last week….

….The GOP is effectively responding, “No, we’d rather help try to defeat you than govern alongside you, even if the efforts advance our interests.”

This is especially striking when it comes to the health care mandate. Here we have Republicans claiming that the mandate represents some kind of catastrophic assault on American liberty, and then deliberately blowing off an opportunity to work with Dems to get rid of the provision the GOP considers a disaster…..

On January 8, 2011, Senator Claire McCaskill (D) and the individual mandate in health care reform:

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) at a town hall in Concordia, Missouri on August 10, 2010:

Senator Claire McCaskill (D): town hall in Concordia, Missouri – media availability

….Question: You like the individual mandate?

Senator McCaskill: Uh, I mean, the mandate obviously is the most unpopular part, but, um, when you ask people if they want to do away with preexisting conditions they say, well of course, that’s so unfair. Well, who’s gonna buy insurance before they’re sick. You can’t do away with preexisting conditions unless you set up an environment where everyone has insurance. The nice thing about this is it’s not gonna be government run, it’s not gonna be government policies. People are gonna be able to shop, make choices. And if they can’t afford it we’re gonna help ’em by making it more affordable with some help from the government. So I think it’s, is it a perfect solution? No. But it’s the best solution I think that anybody’s come up with to an untenable spiral of healthcare costs in this country….

In today’s Kansas City Star:

McCaskill looks for alternatives to health care mandate

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s once rock-solid support for a key component of President Barack Obama’s national health care reform law appears to be wavering.

While saying she still backs the individual mandate portion of the law – the controversial section requiring that virtually every individual carry health insurance or pay a penalty – the Missouri Democrat said Thursday that she is searching for alternatives.

“I think there are different things we could look at to see if they would work, and I’m open to that,” she said….

….

You think there’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere?