September 1, 2009
Leonard Burman, writing in the Washington Times, warns Republicans that they cannot petulantly shoot down health reform and offer nothing in its place.
Well, that's true... but which Republican jackass is doing that? All the Republicans I've seen are pushing various reforms of their own, "to get universal access to health insurance that harnesses market forces to slow the growth of health care costs" -- exactly the attempt at bipartisanship that Burman hectors them for rejecting.
He's pointing his finger at the wrong miscreant.
Burman's thesis appears to be that the Democrats are aching for real, honest compromise with the GOP; but in fact, it's the Democratic supermajority that smirks it can go it alone; that refuses to allow Republican alternatives even to be presented for a vote in Congress; and it's the Democratic president's own very "progressive" Chief of Staff who said -- in a moment of candor he surely regrets -- that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
So why is Burman directing his ire at the Right instead of the Left? Probably because he realizes at some deeper level of beingness that it is the Left that rejects any collaboration... including the sort urged by Mr. Burman. So why bother talking to people who announce in advance they won't listen?
Instead, Burman turns to the one side that might listen to him, might even take his suggestions seriously; he gives the Democrats a pass for their bullying and swagger, and shouts at the only side that won't just laugh at him... which happens to be the side that is innocent of the charges he hurls. Thus, just like the Palestinians, absolute intransigence is rewarded, while no good deed goes unpunished.
I completely disagree that this is the time for Republicans to become beggars at the banquet, bowing and scraping before their liberal masters, hoping to be noticed, maybe even patted on the head and thrown a Scooby Snack. That was never the approach of Ronald Reagan, whom Burman cites quite indirectly.
Reagan used an entirely different strategy: He crafted a great alternative to the "default liberal" position, one that resolved the problem without accepting any more lashings of socialism... and then he took his case directly to the people.
Let the Left squirm for a change. Let Democrats rush to jump on the caboose as the train chugs out of the station. It worked for Reagan (again and again), and there is no reason to suppose it won't work for today's GOP, if it has but the huevos to give it a try.
Instead of Republicans trying to wheedle their way to a booster seat at the big kids' table -- offering token amendments to ObamaCare so they can get their grimy "fingerprints" (as Burman puts it) onto a bill that the American people despise -- why not caucus by themselves, agree upon an alternative bill that will get nearly unanimous Republican support in both chambers of Congress, and then take that bill to the American voters as the new Health Reform Contract with America?
They could barnstorm the country with stacks of detailed (but readable) 4-page pamphlets, with a few charts and graphs, but mostly just describing the plan in bold, primary colors. Take them to townhall meetings. Mail them to anyone who asks. Put them up on the web. Deputize twenty or fifty Republican pols who can actually hold an audience when they speak and send them on speaking tours across America. Constantly refer to it as the "Health Reform Contract with America" -- and always contrast it to "ObamaCare," to drive home the point that it's Barack H. Obama vs. America.
Compromise is a great strategy when negotiating the price of a new car, but it makes lousy politics; usually nobody likes the result, and all the collaborators end up running for cover. Far better to compete instead of collaborate... to put our own vision of health reform out there, then let the people decide.
I mean, this is a democratic republic, is it not? And Republicans do trust the innate good sense of people... don't they? Or have they learned nothing from two successive spankings?
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 1, 2009, at the time of 5:06 AM
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In a sure sign of a looming crackup in the health-care reform debacle, Sen Max Baucus (D-MT, 80%) says that he is sick of the deadlock among the putative "Bipartisan Six" senators, and that he is going to circulate a... [Read More]
Tracked on September 5, 2009 9:11 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
Seems to me there is a small fly in your porridge, in that you presuppose the ability of the Republican caucus, even though smaller, to agree on a single, clear, simple and proper solution to a "problem" that even the majority Democrats cannot properly define, let alone solve, and they've been trying since 1993!
The answer, of course, is that this is not government's problem to solve, at least not until government fixes the problems it has already created with insurance and other health care mandates, Medicare and Medicaid. They should demonstrate an aptitude for improving the situation, before giving us more of it, and NO politician wants to admit that, or to do the hard (if not impossible) work involved.
The following hissed in response by: nk
There is nothing new under the sun:
'WE WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAY IN WHICH POLITICIANS ARE REPRESENTED IN THIS PROGRAMME. IT WAS NEVER OUR INTENTION TO IMPLY THAT POLITICIANS ARE WEAK-KNEED, POLITICAL TIME-SERVERS WHO ARE CONCERNED MORE WITH THEIR PERSONAL VENDETTAS AND PRIVATE POWER STRUGGLES THAN THE PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENT, NOR TO SUGGEST AT ANY POINT THAT THEY SACRIFICE THEIR CREDIBILITY BY DENYING FREE DEBATE ON VITAL MATTERS IN THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT PARTY UNITY COMES BEFORE THE WELL-BEING OF THE PEOPLE THEY SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENT NOR TO IMPLY AT ANY STAGE THAT THEY ARE SQUABBLING LITTLE TOADIES WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF CONCERN FOR THE VITAL SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF TODAY. NOR INDEED DO WE INTEND THAT VIEWERS SHOULD CONSIDER THEM AS CRABBY ULCEROUS LITTLE SELF-SEEKING VERMIN WITH FURRY LEGS AND AN EXCESSIVE ADDICTION TO ALCOHOL AND CERTAIN EXPLICIT SEXUAL PRACTICES WHICH SOME PEOPLE MIGHT FIND OFFENSIVE.
WE ARE SORRY IF THIS IMPRESSION HAS COME ACROSS.
The above hissed in response by: nk at September 1, 2009 7:43 AM
The following hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist
Might I suggest that Mrs. Palin has already embarked upon that course?
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
But Palin is handicapped by the lack of a single alternative plan that is universally known as "the Republican plan," and as the "Health Reform Contract with America." Something to (a) invoke the earlier, successful Contract with America; (b) unify Republicans around a list of reforms that are all very, very popular among the voters; (c) draw a sharp and obvious contrast between the Republican approach of expanding liberty and Capitalism and the Democratic approach of nationalizing health care like Britain, Canada, and Japan have done; and (d) will actually help to strengthen the market and grow the economy.
This can only be done by the Republican conference itself.
The key is not to get hung up on proposals that are controversial even among Republicans, such as health co-ops or exactly how to handle health care for illegal immigrants. All the GOP needs is a set of, say, six or eight major planks, each of which is supported by all or nearly all Republicans in the conference.
The controversial stuff can be left to hash out some other time; you don't have to solve every problem in a single bill.
I would suggest the following as a core; perhaps others could be added or some of these modified and refined. There needs to be enough specificity that voters can see just what Republicans really want to do, but not so much that non-lawyer eyeballs turn into little spirals:
- Complete portability of insurance;
- Fair treatment of those with preexisting conditions (fair to both insured and insurer);
- Extending some form of insurance to the deserving uninsured;
- Expanding the market options for everyone -- that is, more insurance providers allowed to compete, and a greater variety of plans, high and low, each insurer is allowed to offer (including expanding support for medical savings accounts, MSAs);
- Increasing, rather than reducing or eliminating, private options within government health-care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP);
- And of course medical-malpractice tort reform.
These are all fairly uncontroversial within the conference; I think even the Maine gals and Chuck Grassley support all or nearly all of these. But each is very controversial, to say the least, among Democrats; in fact, 4, 5, and 6 are virtually anathema to all Democrats except the Blue Dogs. This allows us to peel a significant chunk of Democrats away from their caucus -- which gives us hope actually to enact our program, not merely use it to make large gains in the 2010 and 2012 elections (we can still do that afterwards).
Leonard Burman does have an important point: If Republicans do nothing, or are even perceived as doing nothing but trying to stop ObamaCare, we will probably lose the fight in Congress... and we may piss away our chance to change the political landscape next year. Democrats can beat something with nothing (cf. 2008), but Republicans generally cannot.
We need to have a substantive alternative that Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor, Tim Pawlenty, and the entire Republican congressional conference can actually defend from coast to coast to Alaska to Hawaii.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at September 1, 2009 2:57 PM
The following hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist
Palin has the biggest megaphone in the country. One entry on facebook,"death panels", has completely dominated the debate. She then wrote a post about energy which has been widely discussed.
I predict that we will see periodic posts by her that address the major issues - tort reform, insurance, etc. This will become the de facto alternative. This one subject at a time approach is much more effective than a "package". The discussion is much more focused. A consensus is reached at each step along the way.
I'm retired and spend 12-14 hours a day on the intertubes - too damned hot here for golf. I have made it a point to look at all the comment threads - you think water boarding is rough? From this I sense two things. First, the Parties - both Republican and Democratic - are increasingly irrelevant. Second, Palin is mentioned more than anyone else except for Obama. Palin is the prime candidate for leader of the tea parties and the town halls.
I've been watching this stuff for a long tome and Palin is the best natural politician I've ever seen.
The following hissed in response by: TC
The Democrat Party is a criminal enterprise.
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