Two things seem inevitable about health care legislation: The Congress almost certainly will pass something this year. And it almost certainly will fall short of what we need — in part because Republicans essentially took themselves out of the negotiations that could have brought about a better product, by making it clear that they wouldn't vote for any bill unless the majority party caved on central points.
We could spend all day talking about how the idea of the minority party serving as "loyal opposition" fell out of favor, or how much blame Democrats share for the partisan divide that has prevented the legislative process from working as it should in this and so many other cases. Instead, we'd like to celebrate the possibility that the other legislation that is consuming the Congress this year might not suffer the same fate — in large part because of Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Earlier this month, Mr. Graham joined with the Democrats' leading negotiator on climate legislation, Sen. John Kerry, to call for a bipartisan approach to the issue that seemed sure to compete with health legislation on vacuous partisanship. In a column in The New York Times, they described a package designed to "address legitimate concerns among Democrats and Republicans and the other constituencies with stakes in this legislation" and expressed confidence that "a legitimate bipartisan effort can put America back in the lead again."
Simply making the effort would be unexpectedly good news. But it's also a smart effort, backed by their aggressive argument that alternative energy sources and restrictions on carbon emissions are essential to protect not just the environment but also our national security, by reducing our dependence on energy from the very nations that want to do us harm.
To read the complete editorial, visit The State (Columbia, S.C.).