How massive were the House and Senate votes to override President Bush's veto of the Medicare bill—the one that prevented a cut in doctors' fees by cutting payouts to insurance companies? This massive:
The vote in the House was 383 to 41, with 153 Republicans defying the president. In the Senate, the vote was 70 to 26, with 21 Republicans voting to override.
The elephant stampede away from the president was wholly unsurprising. The Times picks a representative quote explaining why:
The political dynamic was illustrated by Representative Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, a conservative Republican who boasted that she was voting against the wishes of her party. "I am proud to continue my fight against the White House on behalf of Colorado doctors and seniors," Mrs. Musgrave said.
This is one of the reasons why I don't expect the libertarian flank of the GOP to take over if/when McCain loses, and why the Huckabeethatian/Douthabeesque version of conservatism is going to get a hearing instead. The only times Republicans can confront social policy from the right are 1)during crises where the left has mismanaged the economy and 2)during wartime when the GOP is at full strength. The party's in a crouch now, and it will be in six months, so expect lots of cave-ins like this.