The story late
this afternoon is that President Bush managed to ink a deal
with Patients' Bill of Rights pooh-bah Charlie Norwood
. The story is a little less than meets the eye, though. Not only did Norwood not have his House and Senate allies on board for this compromise; but those allies seem to think Norwood just got rolled -- squeezed until he popped by the folks at the White House, my Senate sources tell me.
Of course, this could suit the White House's purposes just fine, because the chief goal for the White House is not to pass its own bill. That might be nice. But their paramount goal is to prevent the existing PBOR bill from getting to the president's desk, and thus forcing him either to sign it or veto it. If Norwood's defection helps bring over enough moderate Republicans to pass a Bush-acceptable bill through the House then maybe they can just let the whole thing languish and die in conference and be done with it.
Maybe we should be calling this an ABR administration -- anything but reform. How's that sound to you, Marshall?