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Republicans Waterloo

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http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo

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No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.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.

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I think the Dems out kicked their coverage on this one. The approval rating for Congress is abysmal. The polls are showing either 50/50 or more of people that were NOT for health care reform.

Once the info goes public on who voted yes or no, I think the yes's are going to be in for a rude awakening.

What this means is Obama will veto the next two years. But by then he better hope the economy is humming along.

The Dems and the bill are just enough of a short term feel good that many in the next two years won't feel the pinch or disruption to what they have and think everything is sunbeams and unicorns.

But if unemployment doesn't get under double digits by that time then O will only be able to say the reform happened on his watch.

Jobs, jobs and more jobs are the need of the hour.

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What do Obama and most college undergrad degrees have in common?

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Unemployment will be the deciding factor in the next elections. Health care reform will be a commonly accepted fact, and the independent voters will by and large realize that - Chucktowns drivel aside, the people that hate this stuff incoherently are the people that are not going to vote D ever in their lives.

Voters are going to like the fact that they can keep their kids on their insurance through college and enough people are or know someone that will be affected by the preexisting conditions change that they will approve. Enabling it for kids right away is political gold.

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What do Obama and most college undergrad degrees have in common?

90 percent of Republicans will never be smart enough to get what they mean

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The Dems have to convince the Independents that in shoving this bill down our throats, and don't kid yourselves, that's what happened here...they were doing what was best for the country. Going to be hard to do when we are all getting taxed on it for a few years before it even kicks in fully.

Pelosi doesn't have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Why the Dems made her their House leader I'll never know.

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90 percent of Republicans will never be smart enough to get what they mean

Republicans are the ones who have jobs and who fight for the country. Dems are the ones who either have their hands out or those who believe giving it to them will make this country better.

You have been served.

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What's the difference between meat and a bag of dicks?

The bag.

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Going to be hard to do when we are all getting taxed on it for a few years before it even kicks in fully.

that line might have worked to scare people before the bill, but now that it's actually passed, it doesn't work to say that the bill raised taxes when it didn't. people will know you're bullpooting.

even among teabaggers, only 12% are stupid enough to think their taxes have gone up when Obama has really cut them.

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CWG, I think you are way off base on this one. The vote could easily catapult the republicans into control of the House in November as this will likely energize the base more than almost anything else could. And since Obama is not on the ticket, a substantial percentage of those who elected will likely stay home. The economy may begin to recover somewhat, but I doubt it will be fast enough to make a difference in the fall elections. The Republicans may see another situation similar to 1994.

Fwiw, I think this would be good for america as the only way to reign in spending will be to have split power between the two parties.

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you guys are about to make my head explode.

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Future taxes are gonna make all of our heads explode.

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