Monday, March 22, 2010

Who is [Responsible/to Blame (Pick One)] for "Health Care Reform"? Republicans.

I heard John Boehner bemoaning the lack of "bipartisanship" and "transparency" as the Democrats marched the health-care bill to victory.   This speaks volumes about how we ended up with the thing.  If the Republicans think those two flaws are going to rally the public to the GOP in November, they will continue to flail and fail.

Why is there a lack of bipartisanship?  One reason:  The Republicans stank in the voters' nostrils after eight years of their inattention to their their common-sense base, with George Bush as their increasingly charmless poster boy.   That base was and is not conservative across the board, but it was certainly concerned over deficits, the expansion of government, and corruption in the financial markets -- none of which the Republicans showed much concern about.  That Republican base was also alarmed over the primitive communications skills of its leader, and his apparent bafflement over justification for the Iraq war and how to run it.  Republicans then chose a weak, old and old-seeming, fake-maverick, Washington-based presidential candidate who in turn chose a lightly-vetted punch line as a running mate.  Those two could not make a principled case for more of the same, there being no discernable consistent Republican princples upon which a persuasive case might have been made.  Bullet-proof Democratic majorities in both houses were almost inevitable, as was the election of a pretty appealing guy no one really even cared to know too much about, voters and pundits having decided that whatever he was offering had to be better than the shock-and-aw-shucks attitude we saw out of the White House -- and the go-along/get-along Republican leadership.

And by the way:  Who expects "bipartisanship" if real honest-to-god principles of American democracy and the nature of "rights" are at issue?  Don't give me "bipartisanship" that results in agreement on bad law.   If this is truly the polity-destroying development you claim it is, Republicans, and not some run-of-the-mill social tinkering where compromise is desirable and expected, then dammit, don't bleat about "bipartisanship" -- show some fight.  Produce some oratory.  Lead those rallies, don't wait for the Tea Party people to grab this issue. 

No transparency?  Yeah, yeah, I know, Obama promised it and it was a fib, and that's not a good thing, but no one much cares about it.  "Transparency" is one of those issues, like whether Supreme Court nominees should be vetted for ideology or only for minimal judicial competence, upon which the parties routinely, and accurately, accuse one another of hypocrisy.  Lack of transparency is not a persuasive criticism of the health-care bill.

If the Republicans are going to make a comeback, attacking a process they will certainly embrace if and when their day ever returns is simply inept.  Any attack on the health-care bill (and immigration reform, and any other hard-left Administration initiatives, of which we can expect to see even more now that this battle is lost), must be based on the merits, for example:  

     whether universal health insurance and health care is a "right";

     the magnitude of the embedded tax incresaes on earners Obama promised would not see one; 

     whether the deficit-reduction math works in the current bill;

     whether health-care rationing and government interference in health-care decisionmaking is inevitable;

and many more.  Do the Republicans have anyone who can do that?  Apparently not -- we heard some scattered voices in princpled opposition, but they never came together.  Where was Mitt Romney?  Fearful of peaking too early?  Compromised by the health-care program he championed in Massachusetts when he was governor which is rapidly failing?  Did Tim Pawlenty grab you?  Has Bobby Jindal hired a necktie consultant?

Love health-care reform or hate it, you may identify among its founders a compromised and sparsely-talented Republican Party.  

4 comments:

  1. Sorry, Steverino, but I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, we need a real debate in this country on solid principles such as the points you mention toward the end of your screed, but the Democrats who rammed through this unconstitutional monstrosity (see Reptilicus, supra) are solely responsbile for this Obamanation of a bill. (If it's constitutional for the Congress to require you and me to buy health insurance under penalty of a fine, then it's constitutional for Congress to order us to eat beans for breakfast.) We shall see in the next couple of elections (2010 and 2012) whether the American people actually care, or if they'd just rather suck at the teat of the federal government until it runs out of milk (quite soon by my calculation), but your legitimate disappointment with the Republican party is no excuse to pin this one on Republicans. (They bear enough responsibility for other things.) Beside, I'll bet dollars vs. pesos that you voted for Obama; come on, admit it! Your adoring fan in the Big Apple.

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  2. I agree with Big Apple. Blaming Republicans for the helath care bill is like blaming the French for the Holocaust. Yes, they caved too easily, didn't fight very well, and didn't lead when they had the chance, but the Germans built the concentration camps, shipped in the inmates, and fired up the ovens. Tiny Tim

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  3. Thanks, Adoring and Tiny. But the country didn't choose the current majority leadership and president for what Obama stood for -- after all, his stance on health care was not exactly a secret -- as much as they were disgusted by their abandonment by the Republicans and the pathetic ticket it offered. That's how we got these jamokes. The evidence is the revulsion now being shown by the center for what they ended up with, which they could have known in advance if they were paying attention. Sorry, this mess had its start with eight years of careless and desultory Republican rule. And you know what scares me? I don't see a single star rising above the horizon of Republican mediocrity. I voted for McCain/Palin, but I held my nose whilst doing it. Thank you for shopping at The Cool Hot Center, and please stop back again soon (and tell your chums).

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