LOTT: But why did they stop and you came up with a bill that clearly is not going to make it through the process?
KARL: Well, one -- one of the few Republicans who has been working on a variety of issues with -- with the president and with Democrats is Lindsey Graham, and he has made no bones about it that he believes going through with this process, this reconciliation process, is going to destroy his efforts to work on health care -- I mean, on immigration, on -- on the Guantanamo issue.
LOTT: On energy, too.
KARL: It's going to destroy it all, energy. I mean, Sam?
DONALDSON: Well, it's not going to.
KARL: It's not going to?
DONALDSON: Some Republicans -- some Republicans say that, if this health care bill passes -- and I think it will -- that it will destroy the country. Well, that's nonsense. It's not going to destroy the country.
KARL: Well, it's not going to destroy the country, but is it going to destroy bipartisan? I mean, if you don't even have...
DONALDSON: What bipartisanship? At the moment, both these gentlemen -- and the clip that you started our roundtable with -- demonstrates there's not much bipartisanship up there.
LOTT: But we were able to do it together in the '90s and working with...
DONALDSON: You mean you and Tom?
LOTT: Yes, and -- and working...
KARL: I recall some fights, though, every once in a while.
LOTT: ... with the Democrats...
DONALDSON: ... history from the standpoint of some of those colloquies on the floor of the Senate?
LOTT: Well, we did have our disagreements, but we also came together on welfare reform, balanced budgets, surpluses, safe drinking water, portability of insurance, big things in a bipartisan way.
WILL: The Democratic members of the House and Senate, their appetite for difficult votes is now exhausted, which means the country will -- and this is the good news about health care -- having sucked all the oxygen out of this town, we are going to be safe from cap and trade and we will be safe from a number of the other follies that would require Democrats to continue casting suicidal votes.
DASCHLE: I really think, George, that you've -- each one of these takes on its life, and they start developing the kind of momentum. We're going to have an energy bill.
LOTT: Not this year.
DASCHLE: We're going to have a financial securities bill. Well, it may not be -- it may not involve a capped system as -- as I would like it, but you're going -- you're going to see progress on these other important issues, I guarantee you. They all take on their own life and their own momentum, and the next ones are coming, financial regulation in particular.
DONALDSON: I agree -- I agree with George. You're going to take a hit. The Democrats are going to take a hit in November. It maybe mainly because of the economy, rather than the health care dispute, but you're going to lose more than the off-year losses, and you're not going to have the control in Congress that you have right now.
I think the president was wrong to try to say we'll take all the islands at once instead of one island at a time, but he was right to take the big island of health care. I think that's very important. But I agree: You're not going to get a lot through.