NOONAN: There's also the problem of trust, I think. Trust in the past few months got squandered by the Hill, by the president. There was so much double-talk and gobbledygook, and this plan, and that plan, and part five, and 4-D. All of that stuff looked like, "These people aren't to be trusted to take care of our new health care reform." And so, no matter what they say now, I think people are going to think, "I don't believe you."
DONALDSON: This is a complicated thing. It's not simple.
NOONAN: Of course it isn't. You can make complicated things fairly simple if you start out with clarity.
DONALDSON: Here's -- let me just tell you what I think is likely going to happen, and it's this. I can't conceive the Democrats, who have the majority in both houses, are going to let nothing happen this year. Their president, I'm one of those who believe would suffer immensely, and the party would suffer. They're going to pass something.
But in the watering down -- and you see the public, I agree, the public is angry and upset, and the president's lost the message -- what they pass may not get...
DONALDSON: It may not be health care reform.
DOWD: I'll take a slightly different thing than that. I think the Republicans soon have to be careful of something, that this could become -- I know Republicans are all patting themselves on the back and saying, "We've got the Democrats on the run, Obama on the run." I don't think it's necessarily a good political place to be in by November if you've defeated any health care reform...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well -- well, and that's what I wanted to...
DOWD: ... and the American public stuck...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The opposition now may be the best thing that happened to President Obama, Cokie, because it will lead to a couple of things. It will force them to go slower, which is probably a good thing. But the problem he may have is actually managing his liberal base going through...
ROBERTS: Absolutely. I think that is going to be the problem, because, look, you could -- you could sit here right now, and even though it's complicated, we could sit at this table and write a bill.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Insurance reform, some cost controls.
ROBERTS: Right. And no -- but no public option, you know. And -- and it's a big that's actually been there for a very long time. You could take the Wyden-Bennett, you know -- it is a bipartisan bill.
DONALDSON: Which the CBO says actually would reduce costs.
ROBERTS: You know, and Howard Baker and Bob Dole have a bill, you know. I mean, there are bills out there that are doable. And -- and if I had to guess, in the end, I think that's probably what is going to happen, is something much more watered down.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But will the Howard Dean wing of the party go along with it?
ROBERTS: No, they're going to be absolutely furious. And -- and that is the problem that he's got right now is that he's got -- he's already got the liberals...
DONALDSON: ... more if they don't pass something.
NOONAN: Maybe it would be good for the president if the left got absolutely furious about something.
ROBERTS: Well, I think that's -- I think that's...
NOONAN: OK, I understand what's going on.
NOONAN: We've got a little middle stuff going on here. We've got some centrism. That ain't so bad.