Was Grassley's "Death Panel" Talk Obama's Wake Up Call?

Obama has long tried, and so far failed, to reach a bipartisan agreement on health care reform. He has given incredible leeway to Max Baucus to come to some kind of agreement with Chuck Grassley. Obama has been very malleable, willing to concede on several important issues to gain some Republican support.

Until this last week, the concessions demanded by Grassley at least seemed to have an ideological basis. They seemed to be on issues where there was a real philosophical difference on the role of government. The issue of the government run public option, the issue of an employer mandate, the size of subsidies, what new taxes should pay for reform, etc...

But everything changed on Wednesday when Grassley told people to be afraid the Democrats had a secret plan to kill grandmothers. He was attacking a small end-of-life counseling provision which Sarah Palin dubbed “death panels.” Until last week, end of life counseling has never been a partisan or ideological idea. It has been long championed by dozens of Republicans over the years.

Grassley was not fighting against an idea for ideological reasons. He decided to shamelessly fear monger about what should have been a completely noncontroversial proposal. I think Grassley showed that day that he is not and has never been an honest broker during the health care negotiations.

Yesterday at a town hall, Obama made a statement which seemed to be directed squarely at Senator Grassley. Obama said,
So when I have people who just a couple of years ago thought this was a good idea now getting on television suggesting that it’s a plot against grandma or to sneak euthanasia into our health care system, that feels dishonest to me.
To my knowledge this is the first time Obama has criticized one of the Republicans who are part of Baucus' “Gang of Six.” This could be the wake up call Obama needed. Proof that Grassley was not delaying reform for ideological reason but to simply hurt Democrats.

PS, it appears that Grassley knows Obama was directly going after him.

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