Sam Donaldson said Sunday that if the Democrats pass the current version of the Senate's healthcare reform bill, it probably would be a terrible mistake.
Such was surprisingly said during the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week."
After George Will shared polling numbers indicating how few people are actually in favor of what's currently on the table in Congress, Donaldson agreed saying, "[Y]ou're right, if, in fact, the bill that I conceive is going to come out of the conference committee -- and I think will pass -- is in stone, and that is the healthcare bill from here on."
When George Stephanopoulos asked, "Which part is he right about," Donaldson's response elicited a somewhat startled gasp from the host (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 18:40):
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: The Roundtable starts right now. I am joined, as always, by George Will, Donna Brazile, Sam Donaldson, and Cokie Roberts. We'll talk a little bit about Charlie later, but, George, let's get back to health care.
You watch this debate, and it's clear that both sides are -- are all in. Democrats, David Axelrod says, even though it's unpopular now, it's going to be popular later. Republicans, including our friend, Matthew Dowd, he wrote this week, said this is going to be a catastrophic success for the Democrats, likening it to George W. Bush on Iraq, initial victory, long-term calamity. Who's right?
GEORGE WILL: I believe the Republicans are. Let's look at some numbers. NBC-Wall Street Journal poll says 32 percent of the country, that's all that approves of this. Washington Post says 30 percent -- that's all -- only 30 percent of independents support. Arkansas, 32 percent. North Dakota, 28 percent in North Dakota support it. Sixty- seven percent of Nebraskans against it. Why else, George, did Senator Reid have to use the entire taxing and borrowing power of the federal government, plus a glorious absence of principle, to cobble together 60 votes, including, as we just heard here, 49 states shall have this burden, Nebraska won't? [...]
SAM DONALDSON: I think, George Will, you're right, if, in fact, the bill that I conceive is going to come out of the conference committee -- and I think will pass -- is in stone, and that is the healthcare bill from here on. But that's not...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Which part is he right about?
DONALDSON: Well, he's right that, in fact, it probably would be a terrible mistake.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Gasps) Oh.
DONALDSON: But without taking that step, a quotation that you love from Napoleon, I think, is right, also. If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna. Then worry about how to administer the city later. Actually, he took it without firing a shot the first time. But the point is -- they did. I mean, two branch marshals took the bridge and all that.
This step in passing a bill now is a first step. No, these provisions will be changed, I hope, I trust, in the years ahead, but without the first step, we're never going to have a bill which covers people and begins the process of reducing the cost.
Isn't it fascinating how many liberal media members don't like this bill, but still want to see it get passed?
Isn't even more fascinating how many liberal media members have faith in government to bring down healthcare costs when virtually every analysis of the bills in both chambers suggest that such expenses will indeed continue to rise?
Is this ignorance on their part or blind faith?