CLARKE: Oh, you can make a sweeping generalization about everybody, but this very conversation is emblematic of the part of the problem, which is everybody focuses on a different piece of it. And I think the majority of the American people out there are not quite sure what we're fixing anymore. Is it access? Is it cost? What is it? And the more confusion, the more they say, boy, I don't know if I really want this right now. And the Democrats are going to suffer from a lack of managing expectations. They keep making these promises, and fairly or unfairly, say the bill passes, the American people are going to say next week, where is my change? Are my costs coming down? Do I have more access to my doctor? They are not going to see changes that quickly even if it passes. And that is going to be a heavy price to pay between now and November.
REICH: Some of the changes will happen quickly. Small businesses will have access to exchanges. They'll be able to have more bargaining leverage. There are many things that Americans will be able to see, and I think Democrats will be able to point with pride at getting health care done.
But I agree with you, Torie, that in the short run, after this is enacted, there is going to be some confusion, and Republicans are going to do everything they possibly can to saw the seeds of even more confusion.
DOWD: Well, let's turn to another speed bump, as opposed to votes on health care, another speed bump that I think has gotten in the way of the Democrats, which is this slew of scandals that have come out, all seemingly based in New York, with a governor who is in deep trouble, two congressmen, including the chairman of the Ways and Means, Charlie Rangel, is in trouble. Donna, has New York become the new Louisiana? With political corruption?
BRAZILE: Is it Illinois? Is it Georgia? I mean, you know, when it comes to corruption, corruption is a bipartisan problem.
This was a bad week for Democrats when it comes to ethics. Mr. Rangel rightly stepped aside. He's a great man. I have enormous respect for him. He's a war hero, but he did the right thing by stepping aside. Mr. Massa, I think, is also doing the right thing. He went to -- his staff went to Steny Hoyer, one of the leaders in the Congress and said, hey, we've got a problem. Mr. Hoyer said, you have 48 hours to fix it. Meaning go to the Ethics Committee. He did that.
The difference is, is that when Democrats identify these problems, they quickly, you know, turn it over to the Ethics Committee and say, let's move. Unlike the Republicans who just waited and waited and waited. But I do believe at the end of the day, we're going to put this behind us and hold these politicians to the highest standards possible.
DOWD: George, does this have more of an effect, it's just a temporary thing, or can this have an effect on the election?
WILL: I think it colors the election. I mean, if people knew about New York -- I like the -- what was it, a New York City councilman billed $177 for a bagel and a soda? There's the assemblywoman who threw scolding coffee in the eyes of her staff member. One guy up there stole from the Little League. That's not good.
Now, does it color this? I think the 1984 (sic) election is often blamed because they didn't pass Hillary's health care plan. Nonsense.