Monday, March 22, 2010


Republican senator Jim DeMint proclaimed his desire many months ago to make the health care battle President Obama's Waterloo.  Thinks didn't work out exactly that way with the House's vote yesterday making health care reform the law of the land.  Still, watching the closing moments of debate yesterday, I think it was when John Boehner was lapsing into hysterics on the House floor that the entire GOP argument against the bill jumped the tracks from pathetic to bathetic.  Of course, Boehner was just the figurative cherry atop a rhetorical sundae of fear-mongering alarmism from the right side of the aisle.  As Paul Krugman says:
For the most part...opponents of reform didn’t even pretend to engage with the reality either of the existing health care system or of the moderate, centrist plan — very close in outline to the reform Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts — that Democrats were proposing.

Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.
One after another, Republicans have mistaken ideology and principle as synonymous with one another, and the end result is the passage of a bill into law which they've willfully chosen to disassociate themselves from rather than help in shaping it.  It seems counter-intuitive to me, and former Bush speechwriter David Frum, with whom my policy disagreements are legion but who's nothing if not pragmatic, makes the exact same point:
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.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.
Obviously, November is far enough away that it's probably best not to prognosticate too heavily on which way the electoral winds will blow.  Still, knowing the immediate positive impact that average citizens will experience from this legislation (not to mention those benefits that will kick in over time) the idea being propagated by some of the most virulent Republicans voices that this bill -- which I don't feel goes nearly far enough, by the way -- will somehow be so unpopular come Autumn that it will lead to a mass citizens' revolt seems like a pretty slanted view of how history has played out in the wake of similar legislation in the past.

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