Robert Pear has an interesting article in the New York Times on SCHIP.
Pear covers the debate between Republicans and Republicans. As a result, it is unsurprising that many of the people he quotes assign some of the blame to Democrats.
He does quote one Democrat. Guess Who ? John D. Rockefeller IV. A bit blatant I wold say. Pear manages the difficult feat of claiming Rockefeller is even more out of it than he is, presenting Rockefeller's claim that he was confident that Bush wouldn't veto the bill as a sincere prediction and not standard politics.
The substance of the article is that the Bush administration refused to compromise and lied
Representative Michael R. Turner, an Ohio Republican who voted for the bill, said, “The administration did not come forward with any real offer of a solution or a compromise that would break the logjam.”
Explaining why he vetoed it, Mr. Bush said “we weren’t dialed in” to the negotiations. But after checking their calendars, lawmakers said they and their aides had had more than 35 meetings and telephone conversations on the issue with Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Hennessey and Ms. Goon from January through September.
The second is, by the standards of the times, like screaming "pants on fire".
Still Mr Pear tries mightily for balance. I think he introduced a new kind of anonymity -- the anonymous target
“I was told last January or February by Democrats that their game plan was to send the president a bill that was too big to swallow, and it would be a beautiful political issue for them,” Mr. Hubbard said.
Are you accusing me Mr Hubbard ? I am a Democrat and I never said that to you !
Seriously, there is no way for Democrats to defend themselves against Hubbard's accusation, since he didn't name anyone in particular, people saying they never said that would sound as silly as I just did. Hubbard does not, for example, claim that siad Democrats had anything to do with writing the bill.
I'd say that claims so vague that they can not possibly be proven false should not be quoted. Pear could have demanded the names of the alleged Democrats, but that would leave him with no criticisms of Democrats who don't have Roman numerals in their names and we can't have that can we ?
I would like to speculate about which "Democrats" told Allan B. Hubbard that "their game plan was to send the president a bill that was too big to swallow, and it would be a beautiful political issue for them,”. I would guess Mickey Kaus. It is true that Hubbard used the plural, but maybe he heard a laugh that was strangely similar to a goat's whinny* after Kaus told him about the scheme.
Another is that Republicans believe that no one negotiated in good faith and makes threats
"Mrs. Drake added that “the Democrats refused to delay the vote because they had already purchased ads to be used against us in our districts.” Some of those have been directed against the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is up for re-election next year.
“It’s hard to negotiate with somebody when they are shooting at you,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell."
So the fact that the Democrats were threatening Republicans with consequences if they voted no means they weren't serious about negotiating. I think that this is very revealing. Republicans also argue that the US should use forceful diplomacy, that is make threats. If they think that is inconsistent with real negotiation (and I think they do) they mean that the US should not really negotiate if the alternative is bombing people.
Note also that Stewert uses a dishonest tense. The ads were aired after months of efforts to negotiate with McConnell.
Pear does not provide any evidence in support of un-named Republicans' claims that Democrats "aimed negative advertisements at the very members whose votes they needed to override a veto." The only ads specifically mentioned in the article were directed against McConnell, who is, you know, a Senator and leading a minority of less than one third on this issue, so his vote was not needed to override the veto.
If Pear knows of a Republican representative who was the subject of negative ads, he should name him or her. If he can't find such a case he should note that he can't confirm the accusation made by "Republicans". If he didn't bother looking, he might consider another line of work.
*anonymous who clearly has more experience in the field than Mickey Kaus and I have explains in comments that goats bleat.