Skip to comments.Waterloo (Frum blames Rush)
Posted on 03/22/2010 1:28:19 AM PDT by iowamark
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
Its hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that theyll compensate for todays expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:
(1) Its 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 todays 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 Obamas Waterloo just as healthcare was Clintons in 1994.
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clintons 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 Romneys 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No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.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?
Ive 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 Rushs listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
So todays 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, its mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, its Waterloo all right: ours.
Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan.
No, he didn't. He wanted single payer government medicine. He couldn't quite get that but he got a plan that will destroy private medicine. No Republican can vote for Obama or can compromise with Obama without compromising himself.
David Frum is the most depressing depressive writing on politics.
Look on the bright side. Frum says the economy is going to improve by November. (/s)
I agree. We didn’t choose to cheat, lie, steal, threaten; etc; but the Democrats did.
Frum is full of it.
But there is one thing we should re-consider - immigration.
Some kind of immigration reform is going to happen. Many of these immigrants are basically conservative.
We conservatives should not push them away, that will only push them towards the left.
I know, I know, there is a big difference between “immigrants” and “illegal immigrants.” But we can’t change the reality that they are here. They came for the same reasons that out grandparents came: to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
We conservatives will be much better off if we find a way to work with them.
I agree that without a 2/3 majority in both houses any attempt to repeal this would be a waste of time (because of Obama’s Veto.)
And I disagree, this is Obama’s Waterloo. His Congress is in real bad shape and the next order on the agenda is Amnesty and Cap and Tax - two things that are also going to be hard and bloody.
Those voices included Tennessee Governor Phill Bredesen, a Democrat who says ObamaCare will bankrupt state government.
The immigrants that came before insisted their children speak English.
Frum says the economy is going to improve by November.<<<
Unfortunately I believe it will appear to improve before the elections. Then all hell will break lose!!
you’re right — they all signed up and became Republicans after the 1986 amnesty.
Frum’s entire post-Bush administration career is based on looking for someone else to blame for the Democrat’s absolute grip on government other than the Bush administration.
David Frum had best start using an assumed identity when traveling.
How many are conservative, maybe 25-30%? So 20 million new voters will only give them a 7-10 million vote advantage. Sure sounds like winning numbers to me! (eye roll)
PS W, is that you?
Gack. Who dropped him on his head?
I know what you mean. These people are mostly Democrat but they are Catholic and socially conservative. Bush appealed to them.
Isn’t it neat to find out the ones who have been lying to us the whole time? I find it refreshing.
He got a bigger slice of the Hispanic pie than most but it was still less than half the pie.
When he was working for George W. Bush, there was a limit on what he could say. Now he shows us what’s in his mind. Eeyore the donkey was far more optimistic.
If they are conservative then they would have arrived legally.
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