David Frum addresses health care in two interesting pieces. They overlap, but this piece addressed to his own readership is more direct about the GOP Tea Party’s own purposeful obstructionism:
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.
while this article from CNN includes some ideas where the Republicans could work to improve the bill… if they chose.
Why are Republicans so crazy? Follow the money, the journalists say. Frum clearly explains where the vitriol comes from– talk radio and TV– and why they have no real interest in their own side winning:
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 Sleep Number beds.
Frum is the voice of the rational opposition party we might have in a better alternative universe, or maybe what we’ll have in 20 years. But don’t hold your breath: there is nothing that is pushing the Tea Party Frumward. Anyone too moderate is forced out by the extremists; no one in Congress dares stand up to Rush. Consistent losing could force the Tea Partiers out, but it’ll probably take at least those 20 years.
Good reporters also check the math, as I didn’t last night, but Matthew Yglesias did: there are not enough Senate seats up in 2010 for the Republicans to repeal health care reform.
For lots more from the punditosphere see Andrew Sullivan’s roundup. Perhaps the best so far: the Democrats discover their base. We have a base? Cool!