Monday, March 22, 2010

David Frum on how Republicans blew it

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, a Canadian Libertarian and resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute has this analysis on how Republicans (and other opponents of the recently passed Obama healthcare package) blew it.

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.

Further on he observes:

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?

The Democrats have been shooting themselves in their collective feet for years. Looks like the Republicans have learned that trick as well. Don't look for the noise level to die down anytime soon.

Read the full article -- worth the effort regardless of your political leanings.

1 comment:

Dan Brekke said...

Doctor, I saw your "assassination" Twit on the aftermath and wanted to answer w/o using the clumsy (to me) Twitter method.

You know, I am afraid of the same thing. Friday night, Kate turned to me while we were at our usual haunt and said, "Oh my God -- the health care vote's this weekend. What do you think is going to happen?" And I said: "I have absolutely no idea. But I wouldn't be surprised if some nut flies a plane into the Capitol."

Thankfully the ugliness has been confined (mostly) to words so far.