No need to read today's Op-Eds in the New York Times calling for grand compromises. Glenn Hubbard thinks the Dems should give up on universal coverage and focus on cost-cutting; of course, even if liberals were willing to spend their energy solving budget problems ignored or created by the Bush administration, Hubbard is nuts if he things that Republicans would go along with Democrats on that or anything else at this point. Old Times fave Bill Bradley thinks Democrats should look to the 1986 tax reform as their model, and his preferred grand bargain would be for both universal coverage and malpractice reform. Bradley misses the point on two levels; first, today's rejectionist GOP has no interest in such a grand bargain, and second, a party's strategy should be, you know, different when it controls the White House, the House, and 60 seats in the Senate than it is when it holds only the House.
Max Baucus really has demonstrated that Democrats are in fact quite willing to support a grand compromise, and (so far at least) Chuck Grassley and the rest of the non-Maine GOP has demonstrated that they have no interest in such a deal. It's the Republicans' right to follow that path, but the choices for Democrats are about whether they have the parliamentary tools to get what they want without the Republicans, or whether they could perhaps pick off a handful of GOP votes (and limit Democratic defections) to get to 60 -- and which of those options leads to a better final bill. Grand bargains require two interested parties, and that's just not the case here.