As President Barack Obama signed the health reform bill into law today, I couldn’t help remembering Robert Redford after winning a U.S. Senate seat in the movie “The Candidate,” asking his political adviser “what do we do now?”
For Democrats: Don’t gloat and overestimate your success for the fight has just begun.
For Republicans: Your gamble of pushing all your chips into the pot lost. A continued path of obstruction is not a recipe for victory and Americans hate losers.
I earned my chops as a Republican foot soldier in my first full-time job as a reporter for a newspaper published by a closet member of the John Birch Society in Tustin,. the heart of the rocked-ribbed GOP bastion in Orange County, Calif.
Believe me, when I say the Republican Party of today is not the party of Barry Goldwater in the early 1960s. Barry Baby, as we youths were prone to say, worked within the system as a U.S. Senator.
Contrast that to John McCain, a Goldwater protege, telling an Arizona radio station, he planned to play surrogate whip of fellow Republican senators to block all Democratic-led legislation the remainder of this year. “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year…. They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”
Had it not been for the ascendancy of Barack Obama, I would have voted for McCain for president in 2008. I don’t care McCain was likely pandering to voters even to his right because of a formidable challenge from an ultraright J.D. Hayworth in the primary.
Goldwater would not have succumbed to pandering.
If leadership of the Republican Party continues on its course as the Party of No, its base lacks the numerical strength to win as many seats in the House and Senate as one historically would presume. In political years, the November midterms are eons away and how many independents swing their way remains to be seen. The reason is those confounding complexities within the new law.
Moderates such as myself were relieved to hear a conservative voice speak out. David Frum, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the Republicans were double losers in the health legislation — both politically to undermine Obama and by policy imperative.
It dilutes the sound-bite drivel offered by Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, who bloviated: “There is no downside for Republicans — only for Americans.”
While Frum talks politics, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks talks economic freedom:
The Democratic Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of fairness and family security. Over the past century, they have built a welfare system, brick by brick, to guard against the injuries of fate. …The essence of (conservative) America is energy — the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs. …This country is in the position of a free-spending family careening toward bankruptcy that at the last moment announced that it was giving a gigantic new gift to charity. You admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it.
The selling of the new health legislation will be a monumental task with the president taking the lead and stalking the hinterlands as a door-to-door salesman. The Democratic authors of the bills were sneaky smart by front-loading the most palatable measures.
Restrictions on insurance companies denying coverage for preexisting conditions, or the expansion of prescription drug coverage or establishing new market exchanges for buying insurance go into effect this year and are all popular. “When our core group discover that this thing is not as catastrophic as advertised, they are going to be less energized than they are right now,” Frum said. Mandates, the most controversial issue, take effect next to last in about three years.
Unlike some of my moderate and more liberal friends, I welcome the challenge by attorney generals in at least 15 states who promise to sue the government that mandates to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.
It would pressure the current 5-4 conservative court to uphold a law library of precedents upholding the Commerce clause which gives Congress the right to tax which is the way the mandate penalty provision is written, according to legal scholars quoted in the New York Times. Even if struck down, they said, it would not have any effect on other provisions in the act.
You think I’m kidding? In a 1942 case, the Supreme Court upheld the government’s Commerce clause to force Roscoe Filburn, a small farmer in Ohio, to destroy his wheat crop because it exceeded production quotas even though he was growing the wheat for his own use and had no intention of selling it.
Not so plausible is pending legislation from ultra-conservatives Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota in the House and Jim DeMint in the Senate to repeal the new health care act.
“There’s no fixing the government health care takeover Democrats forced through on Sunday,”. DeMint said. “Unless this trillion-dollar assault on our freedoms is repealed, it will force Americans to purchase Washington-approved health plans or face stiff penalties.”
Can’t those folks count? If by some miracle their bills pass both houses, do they have two-thirds of the members in both chambers to override the president’s guaranteed veto? I don’t think so and I was Mr. Burr’s dumbest math student in my junior year of high school.
So many Republicans in Congress have lost so much credibility it is shameful more than their zealots pay any attention to them.
The Republicans are committing cannibalism amongst themselves. On her Facebook page yesterday, Sarah Palin wrote: “I don’t know about you, but I tired long ago of Republicans who claim to speak with certainty and authority on what the American people think.” She continued: “When it comes to speaking for the American people, Vice President Biden got it right (even if a bit clunky) at the healthcare summit last month. ‘I’m always reluctant after being here 37 years to tell people what the American people think,’ he said. “I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think.” Humility, retorted conservative columnist Jonathon Capehart in the Washington Post today, “Palin has never showed much of that” as she hawks a $1 million+/per-episode reality TV show.
EDITOR’S NOTE from dr.e:
image of 15 warriors who seem to have picked up a dragon in their midst. Game/ Salvage.
Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.