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Posted by on Mar 21, 2010 in Politics | 61 comments

Frum: Republican Waterloo


Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says it’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the GOP disaster. And he blames this “most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s” on conservatives and Republicans:

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.

Read the whole post. His conclusion:

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.

Do you think maybe we’ll see the re-emergence of some moderate Republicans?

Frum video above via TPM. Below, for fun…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu1q17rUkVU

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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • shannonlee

    Political lines will have to be redrawn, but this is by no means the Rep Waterloo. I’ll agree with superdestroyer and say changing demographics will be their downfall if they don’t appear to become more hispanic friendly.

    Good news for Reps is that Obama is working with a D and a R on immigration…his next little task.

    They will also see major gains in Congress this year…all is not lost.

  • DdW

    Interesting that, after the hopes of so many that Obama would fail, that this would be his Waterloo, suddenly the shoe might be on the other foot. I said, “might”

    • SteveK

      Yep!.. They (the wing nut politicians) can’t understand how they could possibly have lost the last election and they have decided that their only goal is to regain control… Whatever the cost.

      They have NO concern with passing legislation needed to get OUR country back on it’s feet… They have NO concern about putting partisanship and corporate interests ahead of their constituents… They have NO concern for the hostile, racist environment their rhetoric has created.

      AND, they have NO idea how most of middle, non political, America sees them and their actions… Their feelings were hurt last election and nothing short of regaining control will satisfy them.

  • ProfElwood

    Broken record: I’d rather have new parties.

    • shannonlee

      I thought you were starting one? Do you guys have candidates (T) for the next election? Plans for 2012? The more the merrier….at least 3 more would be nice.

      • ProfElwood

        The tea party? no. Libertarians have had ballot status for years, and do a pretty good job of covering the available offices. I’d be just as happy to help start a Green or Constitution group, though.

        • shannonlee

          I could have sworn you once said that you were part of your local tea party group. I kind of figured you were a libertarian 🙂

          • ProfElwood

            I am part of a tea party. They just don’t have anyone running for office. We might endorse someone when we find out more. Mostly, we’re still working on education and advocating for fiscal responsibility at the more local levels, which gets pretty educational in and of itself (discovering obscure state and federal mandates).

    • JWindish

      Prof, I allowed myself the fantasy that Democrats lost on HCR then, like the Whigs post 1858, broke up in the aftermath of devastating losses in the 2010 elections. And a new party emerged by 2012.

      Alas, it’s looking like we’ll be stuck with both the Democrats & Republicans for a while still.

      • ProfElwood

        If you’re familiar with the “Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” series, too many people are still scared that the wrong lizard will get elected.

    • ekaneti

      and what would a “new” party be able to do?

      • ProfElwood

        and what would a “new” party be able to do?

        Glad you asked.

        1. Repeal McCarran-Ferguson.
        2. Shut the AMA out of the RBRVS pricing. Determine a more reasonable wages for different doctors (GPs probably deserve more, many specialists, less), scaled for cost-of-living in the area.
        3. Do cost-benefits analysis on treatments, to determine when a treatment isn’t worth the cost.
        4. Re-allow drug purchases from other countries, and negotiate drug prices for government programs.
        5. Tax insurance policies the same, to start freeing the market from employer-purchased plans.

        In short, tell the medical leeches to take a hike.

  • ” 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.”

    How long will it take for someone to ask the GOP/ Rush / Sarah:

    How’s that ‘ nopey changey ‘, stuff working out for ya?

  • superdestroyer

    You might as well get used to the coming one party state. The Democrats have just create a new entitlement class that will automatically vote for the Democrats as long as they believe that someone else if paying for their healthcare. The Waterloo for the Republicans was in the 1980’s when the Reagan Administraiton supported open borders and unlimited immigration and decided to increase government spending. I hope the cheap dry wall and government contracts are worth it when the Reagan-philes are paying 50% plus in taxes.

    • arealnycgirl

      “The Democrats have just create a new entitlement class that will automatically vote for the Democrats…” Interesting thought. Maybe the mid-term elections will not be the “blow-out” the Republican are hoping for? Guess we will have to just wait and see.

      • superdestroyer

        There was never going to be a Republican blow out. There are too many Democrats in absolutely safe seats.

        Giving free or subsidized health care transfer costs to 30 million additional people creates more automatic Democratic voters. And since others will pay the taxes to subsidized the helath care transfer costs, there is no downside.

        The Democrats have probably now reached the point where more than 50% of the voters are dependent on government transfer payments. The only question is how will the Democrats grow the economy to fund all of the entitlement spending while the demographics of the U.S. become more like South-Central LA.

    • jeainnj

      “The Democrats have just create a new entitlement class…”

      Really? What entitlement class are you referring to? There ARE no entitlements in this bill.

      • ekaneti

        ahhhhhh…govt subsides to purchase insurance is indeed an entitlement

    • btw, when Reagan was pres., the upper tax bracket was 50%.

      • ekaneti

        Then it fell to 28%

  • WagglebutII

    David Frum’s remarks are on target. In the short run the rightwing nuts will scream and rant. Dems will lose some seats this fall as expected. In the long run middle class voters will return to the moderate democratic candidates because health care reform is in their best interest. The repbulicans in the long run will suffer politically. Nixon understood the value of health care but, well, we know he had clay feet.

    If moderate republicans like RR, GF & GHWB re-emerge the party may escape marginilzation. Eric Cantor seemed promising at first but now he just seems silly.

    • ekaneti

      Well GF, and GHWB both lost re-election. RR was no moderate in his rhetoric

  • JSpencer

    there has to be an accountability moment – Frum

    Wow! The concept of actual accountability for the GOP. What a radical notion! We shall see…

    • SteveCan

      Accountability is coming soon … November to be precise.

  • tiredofit10

    How can you win anything appealing to the fringe? Cons need a new angle. Scott Brown was elected but he sounds more like a centrist democrat, more liberal than some of those Blue Dogs. McDonnell, in VA, ran in the middle, he did not even want Sarah Palin campaigning for him.

    • ekaneti

      Sorry McDonnell ran as an unabashed conservative as did the entire GOP ticket in VA. Not wanting Palin to campaign for you doesnt mean youre not conservative, it means youre aware of the political realities in your state. What exactly moderate position did the GOP VA ticket take???

  • tiredofit10

    How can you win anything appealing to the fringe? Cons need a new angle. Scott Brown was elected but he sounds more like a centrist democrat, more liberal than some of those Blue Dogs. McDonnell, in VA, ran in the middle, he did not even want Sarah Palin campaigning for him.

  • pacatrue

    I don’t quite understand Frum’s point. The Senate bill is sort of what you would get if there had been genuine compromise. As has been mentioned, mandated private insurance used to be the Republican alternative to the Dem plans as recently as the mid-90s. There are some further things I would have liked to see in a “compromise bill”. Probably a slower roll-out of certain features as finances improved, malpractice insurance is a real issue, etc. But, if there is going to be something like national health care, this IS the compromise bill. Is Frum’s idea that the Republicans will get no credit for the good things in the bill since they opposed the whole thing always?

  • WagglebutII

    kingofpaint says – ” I am a democrat . . ” Could have fooled me.

    I am a Unitarian and an independent. Have a drink or something, it might neutalize your bile. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.

  • DLS

    “the fantasy that Democrats lost on HCR then, like the Whigs post 1858, broke up in the aftermath of devastating losses in the 2010 elections. And a new party emerged by 2012”

    Actually, Joe W., if I were running the Green Party, I’d be recruiting all the frustrated farther-lefties (true lefties, they say) I could, as well as starting a ballot-access initiative prior to the November elections.

  • DLS

    The frustrated lefty I heard on the radio was wrong, but was very entertaining, nevertheless:

    “The Democrats have moved to the Right, and the Republicans have moved into the insane asylum.”

  • DLS

    “You might as well get used to the coming one party state.”

    I still like the lib-Dem (“Moderate” on this site) vision of a token Republican party, singing and dancing in blueface. (Or is that redface?)

  • DLS

    “Is Frum’s idea that the Republicans will get no credit for the good things in the bill since they opposed the whole thing always?”

    If history is any guide, Frum’s idea is that the Republicans sinned by not being “compassionate” enough.

  • JSpencer

    Attacking people you don’t agree with is no substitute for a lack of ideas. How about taking your little attitude someplace more appropriately adolescent. You won’t impress anyone here.

  • WagglebutII

    Frum is saying the republicans surrendered their place at the table by ceding to the far right wingnuts like Rush L. their voice in the health care discussion. The voice which was anger, irrationality and self serving positions. Of course, they (Fox, Rush L. et. al.) laughed all the way to the bank. The other side of the point is if the centrist republicans can re-emerge and sustain control of the party, they could avoid being marginalized in the future.

    • ProfElwood

      Methinks it might be a wee bit early to go celebrating the death of the Republicans. The effects of this thing have yet to be felt, but it seems pretty obvious to me that they’re going to drive prices up a lot faster than you think.

    • ekaneti

      Frum is wrongly assuming there was a place at the table for the GOP…there wasnt.

      • WagglebutII

        ekaneti says: Frum is wrongly assuming there was a place at the table for the GOP…there wasnt.It didn’t seem so at first. A lot of the posturing (dems and repubs) seems to have been more related to the role/attitude of Pelosi. Scripted from the right by Rush and other wingnut harpies who put the fear of retribution in centrist republicans. From the dems, my take on that is Team Obama just was inexperienced in how to take political prisoners and negotiate. With a team led by Rahm Emanuel, it may have been ” as good as it gets.” Frankly, E. J. Dionne’s column carried in TMV on 3/20 made a lot of sense to me. That’s purdy scary. I believe if republican centrists had participated they would have been scorched by Fox n’ Rush. It probably would have scared hell out of Team Obama too.ekaneti says: ” Well GF, and GHWB both lost re-election. RR was no moderate in his rhetoric” Of course, you are right about all 3. Dutch was masterful. I never heard him call anyone a name or question a person’s character. He used qualitative descriptions which didn’t routinely question patriotism, heritage or orientation. His handling of St. Jimmy Carter in the presidential debates was incredible, bending his head to the side and saying, “Now there you go again!” He whipped Carter’s fanny before St. Jimmy knew what happened. In the end he was gracious to Carter and allowed him to go to Germany to meet the freed hostages from Iran. He returned civility to the White House along with the evening cocktail hour (may his soul rest in peace) saying after work 2 men could be friends. Remember Tip O’neal was the first person to Reagan’s side in the hospital when the President was shot. GHW Bush lost his re-election because of the nut from GA Newtie Gingrich and his contract on America. Of course, that is not a secret. Bush was a good person and eminently qualified to be president, more so than anyone since John Q. Adams. Had it not been for the recklessness in his own party he would have had a better chance of re-election. He proved to be a stable leader in the Iraqi war. For the life of me though, I never understood why he couldn’t creatively capitalize on the dissolution of the soviet empire. I don’t mean to parade around like a bantum rooster on an aircraft carrier with a banner that reads “Mission Accomplished.” As for Gerald Ford, he’s a fellow Eagle Scout and I like(d) him. Even with his pardoning Tricky Dicky and his bungling he came close to re-election. 297 – 240 electoral and about 2% in popular vote. He didn’t want to be president, he wanted to be speaker. But he was a fine, principaled man who stood up to the lug nuts against the era and abortion. My guess is the pardon of Milhous and his misnomer about the freedom of one othe Soviet Satellite states sunk him. He was relatively free of vitriol and was certainly a centrist. He could certainly lead the centrist parade today.

        • ekaneti

          No GHW Bush lost because of the recession of 1990-91, Perot and Breaking his No New Taxes Pledge. Contract With America wasnt until fall 1994 and Clinton signed 7/10 of it.

          GHW Bush was a good President. I hope history judges him well. He didnt run in 1988 as a moderate but as a Reagan clone. In July 1988, Dukakis lead Bush 52-35. In Aug, Bush hit him hard on crime, national defense, taxes, economy and won 54-46 and 420 EVs.

          Ford would have been 1000better than Carter. Carter’s gift to the west was an Islamic Republic of Iran

          • WagglebutII

            Everybody’s got their opinion but I think Barbara Bush put it succinctly in her memoirs: “She blames Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the presumptive leader of House Republicans in the next Congress, for wrecking negotiations with Democrats in 1990 over how to reduce the Federal deficit. Mr. Bush eventually agreed to break a campaign promise and raise income taxes to close the deficit, a decision some analysts say contributed mightily to his defeat in 1992.” In Newties’ presence she said, there’s the man that cost my husband the election. I don’t think there is any doubt among students of history that this is true. Certainly Lee Atwater made good on his promise to strip the bark off the little bastard (Dukakis) and hang Willie Horton around his neck. Dukakis had his chances but he ruined his image as a president when he was pictured riding around in a tank looking forever like Rocky the Squirrel. Too much, just too damned much. The whole world laughed. Of course, Dukakis’ actions were all fair game. Atwater later felt remorse on his death bed but that’s politics. Newtie’s official contract with the republicans did come after GHWB bit the dust, but his contract “on” America began much earlier. I agree with you that Bush ran on the “me too” RR syndrome. But what else could he do. RR had pretty much begun the lonely Alzheimer’s road by the end of his presidency and political circumstances were very difficult especially with Iran-Contra, bibles, arms, money and Ollie North. Bush made the best of it I believe. The so called “recession” of 1990/91 was much ado about nothing. James Carville blew that up into a cause célèbre, “it’s the economy stupid” and Clinton was off and running. Bush was right to refuse legislation favoring multi-million dollar tax abatement for Ross Perot. You are correct it did cost him Perot set after him but it was not the critical factor and it was the right thing for Bush to do. I know you mentioned Jimmy Carter and if you think he was a failure, then I agree with you 100%. He’s another story. Have a nice day; it’s time for a Scotch.

  • WagglebutII

    kingofpaint says – ” I can’t spend alot of time with people who can only speak via an anonymous internet posting . . .”

    Please do me the honor of never addressing me again.

    As far as remaining anonymous I shall do so. I believe that is the way these things work. And, oh yeah, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.

  • shannonlee

    In all seriousness….what brought you here? How did you hear about TMV?

  • DLS

    It’s certainly not the Dems’ Waterloo, or rather Moscow, as of now.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Minard.png

    They have not been repelled and humiliated. The question isn’t Moscow now, but how far onward — to the Urals, into Siberia, as far as Vladivostok?

    What will the GOP do now? That is, other than filibuster and sabotage everything and earn Frum’s disdain.

    • JSpencer

      What will the GOP do now?

      For starters they could take an honest look at themselves and admit how badly the party has been infected by the influence of FOX, Limbaugh, and other conservative “entertainers” over the years. It’s a first step, but a necessary one if they ever want to be healthy again. The infection is deep and widespread, but not terminal. . . yet.

      • DLS

        “For starters they could take an honest look at themselves and admit how badly the party has been rotted by the influence of FOX, Limbaugh, the conservative entertainers over the years.”

        It’s too easy to say that, though it’s probably worth a thought.  The real issue, though, isn’t the messengers, but the message.  There is no definitive, much less attractive, message!

        Outsourcing to Heritage looks better to me than ever as something they ought to consider.   Heritage doesn’t match me politically, but it’s the modern model for US conservatism and “conventionality.”  (model for the USA, in general)

        http://www.heritage.org/

        I’m waiting to see what the Dems do.  They’ve recovered for now and pushed past the GOP opposition (will face it the rest of the year if the GOP has any brains left).  Will the Dems abuse their position again, as they have done all last year, which put them in this predicament with health care, or will they learn their lesson, back off the idiotic throttle setting, and fully exploit the vast power advantage they have now?   It’s theirs to use or abuse, to exploit or to waste again.

        * * *

        As far as Frum, he’s a DC fixture-parasite.  Anyone who has reverence for or worship of oversized Washington to the extent it’s wrong to question it, much less consider reducing its size or scope, is a DC parasite and part of the problem that has developed in this country.  (People like him will join the politicians who retire by the 2020s when it’s no longer fun and an unlimited or little-limited power and influence ego trip to be there rather than in the provinces with the obedient peasantry.)

      • PulSamsara

        No – I don’t believe they will. The GOP will split soon. Maybe 2 or 3 election cycles left. They are fracturing.

  • merkin

    David Gergen has said something similar to Frum.

    CNN’s David Gergen observed that Republicans had joined rowdy, and at times vulgar, tea party protesters all weekend in rallying against the bill. He warned that the heavy influence of the tea parties, Rush Limbaugh, and other extreme right-wing voices is dangerous for the Republicans politically.

    I think we may be to close to the events to judge how they will be perceived two weeks from now much less in November.

  • merkin

    I am sorry, the Gergen quote came from Think Progress.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/21/baby-killer/

  • Leonidas

    Do you think maybe we’ll see the re-emergence of some moderate Republicans?

    Sure, as moderate democrats lose their seats in November due to inability to oppose a progressive wing controlled Congress. The democrats haven’t been this progressive since the Carter administration, there will be a backlash of moderates.

  • archangel

    to Commenters: Comments have been removed. Sorry for any interruption in flow of comments after. Thanks for your help in keeping TMV a civil discussion, debate, teaching place.

    Thanks
    dr.e

  • archangel

    I beg your indulgence for a moment, to make an off-topic comment relating to the string of comments on JoeW’s good post. Just a personal comment: There’s a saying where I come from, that the buzzard always loses when he believes the sparrows wont react when he dive-bombs their nests.

    Sparrows are tiny, but have incredibly sharp talons and beaks, but more so, fly like lightweight fighter planes, swooping under at low altitudes, making direct scathing hits, then flying away at sudden right angles. Righteous sparrows. Lots of banged up buzzards after. Not saying buzzards should suffer. Just saying better judgment before the fact, often helps

    I hope that made you smile

  • JSpencer

    The “entitlement class” (to quote an oft used but poor definition) includes far too many republicans to use as a partisan pejorative. Keep reaching…

  • ekaneti

    What Frum and many of the posters dont understand is that the Democrats had no interest in working with the GOP, so a “moderate” GOP that tried to create input to the bill would have been rejected by Pelosi and Reid and Obama. Frum is right, Obama won 53%, why should he compromise.

  • ekaneti

    One thing Frum hasnt bother to mention is that it is his boss that got us here, more specifically Iraq. Without the Iraq war, Obama would have never been elected and the GOP would not have suffered such large congressional losses in 2006, 2008

  • PulSamsara

    Great job Barack ‘Duke of Wellington’ Obama !

    Thanks for taking us to VICTORY at Waterloo !

  • ekaneti

    The Iraq War and the failure to win by Nov 2006, is why we are here.

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