Sunday, March 21, 2010

David Frum Still Doesn't Get It

Don't tease, David!

David Frum, former Bush speach writer, and current self-loathing Republican has a post over at 'The Frum Forum.' In it, he lays a significant amount of the blame for the passage of health care upon Conservatives:
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No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.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.
The causes which Frum fails to blame for the legislative loss are many, here are a few.
  1. The Democrats held, for most of the process, an insurmountable super majority.
  2. The Democrats had huge majorities in both chambers of congress, allowing them to craft a bill with no input from the minority party. They also used tactics rarely seen in Washington, including locking the minority party out of negotiations on the final iterations of legislation.
  3. Democrats in Congress, absolutely refused to listen to their constituents, and the citizenry of the United States.
  4. As mentioned previously, the Democrats engaged in behavior seldom seen in Washington, DC. The Democrats knew from the moment they achieved the dramatic majority in both houses of Congress, and the Presidency what thier objective was. It mattered not whether, or how much, their constituents were against the legislation. This has been referred to in times past as taxation without representation.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that we all lost.
It does not matter your politics, the nation as a whole lost when the 'Health Care Reform' bill was enacted. Government control, increased bureaucracy, rationed care, reduced access to treatments, etc. These are the reasons that we all lost, David.

Without Frum's sharp wit, where would this party be? Considering that no one has been listening to him for the last 5 years, I'd say our prospects in November look pretty damn good. Wouldn't you?

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