The World According to AARP

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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.

NEXT: The Politics of Exclusion

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  1. When you say “during wartime when the GOP is at full strength,” you’re talking about a real war, right? Like WWI, WWII, Korea, or Vietnam? The kind during which the GOP has never been in power? Surely you’re not referring to the pseudo-war in Iraq, on which Bush had to spend so much of his political capital that he couldn’t veto a single bill in his first term, no matter the cost.

  2. Let’s not forget, Congressional Republicans are also running like hell from George Dubya. “Medi-wha? I don’t care, send out a press release that I’m standing up to the president!”

  3. On the other hand, “let’s hose Grandpa’s doctor” isn’t the kind of stirring motto that gets politicians standing tall and fighting to the last ditch.

  4. Cave-in? It seems to me that this is the MO of the GOP for the last 10 years. Medicare Part D didn’t pass itself, did it? I see that no indeed the Senate Republicans voted almost unilaterally in favor of it. If that’s “social policy from the right” I’m really going to hate seeing it from the left.

  5. The engines on the libertarian wing of the GOP were feathered a long time ago.

  6. Why did Congresswoman vote against it the first time around! I doubt it was because they were cutting physicians fees. She was voting with her Party then.

    She saw the light when her fund-raising efforts for the 2nd Quarter were so poor! She has pandered to the middle and the left and it won’t work.

  7. Bush vetoed the bill, not because he wanted to cut doctor’s fees but because he didn’t want to pay the doctors by cutting fees to insurance companies operating “Medicare Advantage” plans, which are more costly than regular Medicare. Is this the “social policy” that you’re talking about? The Democrats want the government to operate Medicare directly, while the White House wants to run it through private insurance companies. I’m not sure I see a libertarian angle here.

  8. Could it really be that Americans have gotten all the free market they could stand — which is more than anyone else can stand?

  9. Much easier to blame the President for Congressional Republican woes, rather than LISTEN TO THEIR FUCKING CONSTITUENTS who are about to throw them out on their asses for spending like drunken Democrats.

    Yeah, the current slow-motion Republican implosion is all W’s fault.

    Jeebus, what a bunch of tools.

  10. “The engines on the libertarian wing of the GOP were feathered blown off by friendly GOP fire a long time ago.”

    There, FIFY.

  11. As liberal and spineless as the GOP has become , inane soundbites from Pelosi, Reid, and Obama could save McCain and prevent a total GOP meltdown in the Congresional races.

  12. As liberal and spineless as the GOP has become , inane soundbites from Pelosi, Reid, and Obama could save McCain and prevent a total thanks

  13. As liberal and spineless as the GOP has become , inane soundbites from Pelosi, Reid, and Obama could save thanks

  14. not any americans are quite sure to handle all that stuff..
    instead china:p

  15. Could it really be that Americans have gotten all the free market they could stand — which is more than anyone else can stand?

  16. Could it really be that Americans have gotten all the free market they could stand — which is more than anyone else can stand?

  17. I have a heart condition and only go to the doctors about three times a year,I pay aarp $110.00 a month for premiums.Should I drop aarp and just pay the balance on what they bill me?How does it really work?

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