Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Monday, March 22, 2010

CONSERVATIVE DAVID FRUM TALKS ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE FIGHT AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE GOP

I've linked to this piece on the right hand side of my blog, but believe this should be posted for all to see.


Frum's piece is a reasoned and sober assessment of what was involved in the battle over health care.  He approaches the subject without resorting to asinine accusations of Marxism!  Communism!  Socialism!  and understanding how stubborn obstructionism got the GOP nowhere.  In fact, he explains how those self-destructive ploys taken up by the tea partiers and the GOP to defeat health care reform, well, in the end defeated them.



Waterloo
 by David Frum
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.


It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?


I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.


So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

Frum is correct.  Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have helped construct this disaster for the GOP. They'll continue to peddle their ridiculous lies and hate speech, which enriched them, but left the GOP holding the teabag.

20 comments:

labmonkey said...

You said that Half the people of this country want this health reform.


I say, No one will be able to afford healthcare when the country goes bankrupt.

Elizabeth said...

Frum is spot on. Refreshingly so.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"I say, No one will be able to afford healthcare when the country goes bankrupt."--labmonkey

Lots of people disagree with this, but you're entitled to believe it if you must.

The CBO, a non-partisan govt. agency, has predicted a reduction in the deficit over the next years.

Look. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid were detested by the right and all manner of dire predictions were set out when those pieces of legislation were passed.

The American people like S.S.. and Medicare, and they will be grateful to President Obama for his courage in tackling health care reform.

Infidel753 said...

I've linked to this as well. Frum has consistently been one of the most intelligent and nuanced thinkers the right wing has these days.

When conservatives start seriously listening to him instead of just falling back on random talking points like some chattering lab monkey, we'll know they're ready to make a comeboack.

B.J. said...

Arrived here from your comment on Sue's blog. Just wanted to thank you for calling my attention to Frum's post. Refreshing that some are seeing the light. BJ

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

This was a great analysis from an intelligent and articulate ideological conservative.

The problem the Republicans and conservatives have now is that- as Frum points out- their real leadership is found on conservative radio and Fox News, not with GOP lawmakers...as a result they have a situation where the inmates are running the asylum, and voices of moderation and co-operation have been either silenced or run out of the party that Mary Matalin used to claim was under "one big tent".

This didn't happen overnight...its been a 20 year process.

Thanks for posting this.

I too, am going to link it.

libhom said...

Frum is clueless. This wealthcare bill for the HMOs and health insurers is the same legislation the GOPwould have passed if they were in power.

Better still for the GOP is that the Democrats will be blamed when people start getting fined for not being able to afford astronomical premiums, when the mandates cause those premiums to jump higher, and when medical care for people on Medicare gets slashed.

Barack Bush strikes again!

tnlib said...

Wow. Thanks for posting this, Shaw. Would that cooler (smarter) heads prevailed on the conservative/extremist side. Frum's analysis is right on the mark.

I just left a comment on PoliticsPlus saying something to the effect that I'm tired of all the negativity and naysayers whether conservative or liberal. I guess this means I'm tired of arguing about it?

libhom said...

Frum is clueless. This wealthcare bill for the HMOs and health insurers is the same legislation the GOPwould have passed if they were in power.

Better still for the GOP is that the Democrats will be blamed when people start getting fined for not being able to afford astronomical premiums, when the mandates cause those premiums to jump higher, and when medical care for people on Medicare gets slashed.

Barack Bush strikes again!

Shaw Kenawe said...

libhom,

Medicare went through many adjustments--but it had to be passed first.

There will be adjustments to this piece of legislation as well to correct the issues you cite.

Sue said...

Frum is spot on, thanks for posting this! Interesting, rethug losses mean more viewers turning to Limbaugh and Beck to rant and rave about our socialist nation, I never thought of it that way even tho I have been telling my conservative visitors the rethug party doesn't give a damn about them, they care only about power.
I don't believe rethugs will take the House in November. I believe they will continue digging the hole they are in deeper and deeper. They have no choice, they are plain and simple, stupid.

tnlib said...

Republicans are delusional and they're still lying like thieves. Can't take a joke can they?

Anonymous said...

We all need to lay back, look at the ceiling and think of Reagan.

BB-Idaho said...

Frum is rational: can't be a conservative.

Shaw Kenawe said...

BB-Idaho,

Frum is what the Republican Party used to be until the social conservatives hijacked the party.

William F. Buckley would hate what the GOP has become.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Also, here in Masssachusetts, some of our favorite governors were Reppublicans!

Bill Weld, Frank Sargent, Christian Herter...the list goes on. We have had more Republican governors in Liberal Massachusetts than Democrats.

Anonymous said...

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Shaw Kenawe said...

CNN poll:

This shows that 52% of Americans either support the current bill or wish it was even more "liberal" while 43% believe it is too liberal.

That hardly reveals that a "vast majority of Americans opposed this monstrosity." In fact, it shows that Democratic leaders carefully threaded the needle of public opinion. President Obama and Democrats in Congress successfully crafted a bill that is progressive enough for all but 13% of the country and falls well within the political mainstream, yet is still ambitious enough to deliver the much-needed change Americans desperately need.


For the Right to continue to repeat that "America doesn't want this" is simply not true.

CHAIRMAN TAO said...

Ah, Shaw...

It depends on how you define "Americans"...

Most of the reactionary right do not consider anyone but themselves to be 'Americans'

To them 100% of the 13% is all that matters because they are the true Americans.

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