Politics

Republican Leaders Learn to Stop Worrying; Love Still Pending

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Remember all that rhetoric about repealing the health care bill? Jim Antle reports that the GOP is quietly snuffing it out:

Ceci n'est pas un alt-texte.

After Democratic supermajorities rammed through their health care bill, Republicans were full of sound and fury about how this injustice will not stand. Even John McCain was on board, telling a television interviewer, "Outside the Beltway the American people are very angry and they don't like it and we are going to try to repeal this."

But in the GOP, cooler heads always prevail. What these Republican heads want to cool down is the campaign to repeal the health care takeover. Reports the Associated Press: "Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that's roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama's new health care law."

One of the Republican leadership's volunteer firefighters is none other than Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee responsible for getting GOP candidates elected to the Senate this fall. Cornyn initially unfurled the "repeal and replace" banner, only to quickly make an exception for the "non-controversial stuff," such as the ban on preexisting conditions which is unfortunately exactly what necessitates the "controversial stuff" like the individual mandate.

Cornyn was later seen pouring cold water on the idea entirely. Asked by the AP whether he was going to advise Republican senatorial nominees to run on repeal, he said, "Candidates are going to test the winds in their own states… In some places, the health care bill is more popular than others." Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee doesn't need a weatherman to tell him where the wind blows: "It's just not going to happen."

The high (or low) point of the article comes when Antle quotes a Frum Forum writer who opposes repeal because "True conservatives are not radicals; they respect tradition and work for stable reform to fix institutions." Antle responds: "There you have it: Repealing a bill that became law last month is radical." And then adds,

Then again, this appears to be the working definition of conservatism embraced by most GOP politicians….When David Frum blogs about the Republican pedigree of some ideas in the Democratic health care bill and suggests Republican snouts should have found their way to the trough, there is outrage. When Republicans actually govern this way, too often there is silence—eerily like the hush that falls over antiwar protests after Democrats are elected on promises to end wars, even though the wars still continue.

If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation's finances, then conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against.

NEXT: Gonna Kick Tomorrow, New York Times Edition

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  1. Ha, ha, ha. We’re all doomed.

  2. There you have it: Repealing a bill that became law last month is radical.

    Actually, yes. In my view, trying to repeal a law after you just lost is either radical or stupid, or a little of both. The president campaigns on a health care platform and wins. The Democrats hold their majorities, in part based on health care. Then the health care bill is passed with no input from Republicans. What exactly did people think was going to happen? Magic?

    1. Election mandate claims are bull. Its also apparently infinite as you can just say “it was a theme, therefore: mandate!”.

      Until the time that we vote on issues instead of people, such tea leaf reading will be vague at best.

      nb – unless you can find a message from me saying “X got Y% of the vote, therefore they got a mandate”, please lets skip the “what about X?”

      1. I’m not talking about a “mandate”. I just meant that the guy was elected and a large part of his campaign was to do what he did on health care. We’re acting all surprised now, as if the whole country is super angry for the president’s audacity to push a program on which he campaigned.

        1. We’re acting all surprised now, as if the whole country is super angry for the president’s audacity to push a program on which he campaigned.

          You have a point, but a bunch of people voted for Obama precisely because they expected that he certainly wouldn’t do what he campaigned on. There was no way he would actually renegotiate NAFTA, no way he’d pull out of Iraq, etc. Far too sensible for all that.

          In some ways, those people were more right than the ones who believed everything he said.

        2. You know this health care bill is pretty much nothing like what Obama talked about while campaigning, right?

          1. Yes, but everyone was voting on the basis of Obama’s temperament and intelligence. “Whatever he may say for the rubes, he really agrees with me. Because I’m smart, I’m right, he’s smart and likes to think about stuff, so inevitably he agrees with me or will once he stops to consider it.”

            1. “Whatever he may say for the rubes, he really agrees with me. Because I’m smart, I’m right, he’s smart and likes to think about stuff, so inevitably he agrees with me or will once he stops to consider it.”

              Get. out. of. my. head!

          2. They never are.

        3. He was elected by a razor thin majority of those that vote who are a fraction of those registered to vote who are a fraction of those eligible to vote who are a fraction of the population of the US.

          Fuck all your talk about mandate.

          1. Again, this isn’t about “mandates”.

    2. “The president campaigns on a health care platform and wins.”

      Lol. The president campaigned on a platform of not being George W. Bush, and won. And he failed at delivering on that, miserably.

  3. OK, GOP shills, please tell us why we need to vote for Republicans and get a majority in Congress and a Republican President because that’s the only way to repeal this shit? Come on, I’m waiting!

    FUCK YOU.

    1. Dear GOP,

      You’re dead to me! You hear me? DEAD!

      Love, JW

    2. I always said that repeal was going to be difficult. That’s why I argued in 2008 that gridlock was better, and that it was foolishness to vote for Democrats to “punish” Republicans in the hope that a reformed GOP would be able to reverse all the Democratic policies.

      It’s all the libertarians who said “How could it possibly be worse” who deserve blame. It’s always, always much easier to stop something than to reverse it. It took a long time to reverse the 55 mph federal speed limit, of all things.

      I do note that Sen. Corker was forced to explain himself by saying that he just meant that even after this election, there was no way that the Republicans would have the votes for repeal over a veto.

      Hey, at least it’s a good thing that donor anger drove David Frum away. He and his stable of authors are still in favor of this monstrosity.

      1. It’s all the libertarians who said “How could it possibly be worse” who deserve blame.

        I have no regrets. The GOP has been telling me that I’m not a real American for 15 years, that I’m a bad person because I’m educated and I live in the east (or because I lived in a big city).

        How quickly you forget just how pathetic the GOP had become. The penalty for becoming the disingenuous party was apparently health care. And I blame the GOP.

        1. The GOP has been telling me that I’m not a real American for 15 years, that I’m a bad person because I’m educated and I live in the east (or because I lived in a big city).

          Citation please:

          1. That’s the disingenuous attitude that drives me away from you, GOP.

            But since you are still in denial, here is your VP nominee: “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.”

            Now stop being a prick, GOP.

            1. You left out the part where I say you are a “fake American”, and all the other Republicans who’ve been saying it for the past 15 years. Stop being a cunt Lamar.

            2. Sucking up to an audience? Next thing you’ll tell me is that you’ll never listen to the music of a performer who tells all the audiences and cities that they’re the best.

              And what’s up with Sinatra having different songs for different towns, telling them each different things? “New York, New York” talking about “little town blues, they are melting away,” what a prick, insulting all those small towns.

              1. I can’t believe you just likened the politics of the GOP’s latest VP nominee to drunk crooners. I just don’t buy into the idea that Sarah Palin is OK because she’s full of sh*t.

                1. Hey! Frank wasn’t a drunk! Dean-o was. Get your Rat Pack shit straight.

                  1. I apologize to the velvety voiced gods.

              2. What?!?!!? Are you saying that Dio doesn’t really believe in his heart that Cincinnati is the best? I’ll never listen to Holy Diver again!

            3. You tell ’em, Lamar.

              Me and you, we know those “real America” people are just bitter, clinging to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.

              I’m pleased to have you in our big tent party.

              1. Screw you, Barak. I am clinging to my guns. Since I’m an atheist, I don’t cling to religion like much of the country. That’s weird. I just said “screw you” because you made an accurate observation.

                1. I am clinging to my guns.

                  Really? I thought you’d suggest that the Republicans should have signed on to the assault weapons ban, in order to make it better, and never should have repealed it. Done deal, you know, Clinton and the Democrats ran on passing it.

            4. So? That would be like people voting against Obama because he said “I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.”

              I certainly grant that idiots vote for people based on the “who I’d like to have a beer with” principle, or just “who looks like me.” It’s stupid no matter what. AFAICT, you’re engaging in it just as much.

        2. The GOP has been telling me that I’m not a real American for 15 years

          15 years? Really? So you’re going so far as to say that the 1994-1996 Republicans were just as bad?

      2. It’s all the libertarians who said “How could it possibly be worse” who deserve blame.

        Are you *sure* it doesn’t belong leftist twits, who outnumber libertarians by about a bajillion to one?

        Let’s take a poll here. How many here voted for a D to punish the R’s in 2008? Not me.

        1. Let’s take a poll here. How many here voted for a D to punish the R’s in 2008? Not me.

          Well, Ronald Bailey (“The Republicans must be punished and punished hard.”), David Brin (“For not a single “liberal” reason, I am voting not only for Obama, but for the GOP to be utterly spanked and sent into exile”), Steve Chapman (“The Republican Party, which has jettisoned its best inclinations and indulged its worst for the last eight years, richly deserves exile from the White House”), Damon W. Root (“I really just want the Republicans to lose.”), Julian Sanchez (“because I’m terrified of what happens to the Republican Party if eight years of military adventurism, unfettered executive power, and disregard for civil liberties aren’t utterly repudiated at the polls.”), John Scalzi (“Finally, I think the GOP need a moment or two in the Time Out corner, don’t you?”), et al.

          1. You left out Welch, Cavanaugh and Kerry Howley…

          2. There are a whole lot of people suffering buyer’s remorse right now. I’ll say, though, that independents were the ones who pretty much owned the elections, and likely will in the midterms this year.

          3. And they, in the long run, did the right thing.

            Pack your bags GOPers, conservatives; libertarians are through with your bullshit. I voted for Barr, but I’ll assume that counts as punishing the R’s. (If I had known his history, I would have voted for Obama. You heard me).

            I have no regrets. I want to watch the Right squirm; after 8 years in power, you rednecks deserve it.

            1. you rednecks deserve it.

              We prefer the term “Christ-Fags” thank you very much.

          4. That’s all well and good, but do the math. It still doesn’t add up to “Obama won because libertarians wanted to send a message.”

            I voted to punish the Dems too. Where does that come into the equation?

            1. It still doesn’t add up to “Obama won because libertarians wanted to send a message.”

              You’re right, it doesn’t add up to that because there aren’t enough libertarians. There were also, e.g., social and cultural conservatives who wouldn’t vote for McCain (esp. pre-Palin) because they didn’t feel that he was one of them.

              Surely they aren’t all to blame, and don’t bear all of the blame. But certainly it makes sense to blame those that did think and vote that way, especially those that actually expected that it would be possible to repeal things easily.

              1. Os sure. I have no sympathy at all for all those who voted for Obama and now are having buyer’s remorse. But I don’t have any pity for McCain voters either. The lesser of 2 evils is still evil.

                “If you’re going to get into bed with the devil, you’d better be ready to fuck.”

                1. “If you’re going to get into bed with the devil, you’d better be ready to fuck.”

                  You say this as though there’s a choice about getting into bed or not with whomever’s elected.

        2. I voted for Ron Paul, then Bob Barr.

      3. You’re a fool if you think McCain wouldn’t have massively expanded the welfare state. McCain has always been a far left republican & has always believed in bipartisanship. Anyone who votes for a team red is just as much of the problem as someone who votes team blue.

        1. You’re a fool if you think McCain wouldn’t have massively expanded the welfare state. McCain has always been a far left republican & has always believed in bipartisanship.

          McCain has voted against all the “bipartisan” highway and farm bills. He voted against the bipartisan Medicare Part D. He’s very, very good on free trade.

          Campaign finance reform is a ridiculous, horrible thing, but half of McCain’s “maverick” reputation was a willingness to vote against Team Red even when the Bush Administration was trying to drag the Republicans towards bigger government.

          Voting against Medicare Part D, the farm bills, the highway bills, Gitmo, defense spending, and the Federal Marriage Amendment doesn’t make one a “far left Republican.”

          1. John, you don’t understand. “McCain would have expanded the welfare state” is the way an Obama vote with buyer’s remorse manages to continue justifying his vote to himself. The day he wakes up and realizes that, for all the man’s other flaws, McCain was not profligate with other people’s money, he might never get over it.

    3. I was willing to reward the GOP for its stand on the health care bill. If they don’t keep running on a repeal it platform, they’ve (re)lost my vote.

    4. Vote for people in primaries who promise repeal. Give money to people who are against it.

      Don’t support the squishes. Cornyn is the same idiot who was making early NRSC moves in favor of Charlie Crist. Don’t give him money.

      Parties aren’t monoliths, especially not in this country.

      1. Just be careful that you don’t vote for somebody who will repeal health care but invade Iran.

        1. There’s no chance of that happening. People claimed that would happen under Reagan, then Bush, then Bush the Younger. It wouldn’t have happened under McCain, either.

        2. Yes, just like we must vote for LBJ because Goldwater hates daisies and will send us all into nuclear war. And Reagan will invade Iran. And GHWB. And GWB. And GWB if re-elected in 2004. Etc.

          In the last election, Senator Obama said in a debate that he’d invade Pakistan to get Bin Laden, but of course McCain was the warmonger.

          1. “Iran” is just a place holder. Maybe its North Korea, maybe its Syria.

            Let’s not forget that the last time we gave the GOP the keys to the Pentagon we ended up invading a middle eastern country. Let’s also not pretend like the GOP doesn’t have a strong hawkish element.

            1. Let’s not forget that the last time we gave the GOP the keys to the Pentagon we ended up invading a middle eastern country.

              Let’s not forget that the last time we gave the Democrats the keys to the Pentagon we ended up invading Balkan nations.

              The Pentagon establishment is pretty strong. Things move in a narrow range.

              1. Yes, in the annals of history, our action in the Balkans will stand right beside our invasion of Iraq.

                1. Yes, because to history, bombing people from the air, especially from drones, is painless and doesn’t actually kill people. Nor do sanctions. Out of sight is out of mind.

                  This is the same reason why it’s far worse to keep people alive in a prison camp than to just kill them.

                  1. Let us not forget that, prior to the two in Iraq, every war since the end of the Civil War were begun under Democrat administrations.

                    And did I just hear John Thacker suggest that gassing all the prisoners at Git’mo is preferable to keeping the prison open? WTF?

                    1. Sweeping statements are nice, but the parties before and after the 1960s aren’t really the same as before.

                    2. Ah, Lamar, you’re the only one permitted to make sweeping statements about the parties?

                    3. My sweeping statements are all based on post-Contract with America GOP. Sure, generalizations have their weaknesses, but I’m not trying to fit centuries worth of political history into a single sweeping caw.

                    4. Supposing that you date “post-Contract With America GOP” to Hastert as Speaker, or perhaps when Dick Armey left, I’d agree with you, if I understand you correctly.

                      But Contract With America GOP came about because of fighting, not compromising. And it came about because of grassroots rebellion.

                    5. And did I just hear John Thacker suggest that gassing all the prisoners at Git’mo is preferable to keeping the prison open? WTF?

                      That’s not my personal view, but it’s my cynical view of what works better in politics. Not gassing them once we’ve captured them, of course, that would be too noticeable. But Obama can have them all killed instead of captured and few would really care. Keeping them captured makes them a cause celebre.

                      I’ve been saying this for years, well before Obama was elected. It was far too clear that the only thing that he was going to do was keep the prisoners out of sight and thus out of mind. Demonizing Gitmo was only going to lead to killing instead of capturing.

            2. Name a President since WWII that wasn’t involved in warfare in some faraway land. Name ONE.

    5. I will go ahead and be an apologist for the “GOP is better” camp.

      The problem with the last ten years in the GOP is they acted like Democrats and not the old heartless, minimalist bastards of yesteryear. They lost any semblance of shrewdness in foreign policy or even moderate caution in war. While Republicans may have made a tough talk on hawkishness, over the 20th century they were definitely the less warmongering of the parties. They spent money, once again, like Democrats. Whereas their previous “social issues” that had any effect were mostly symbolic from a practical perspective, under Bush these morphed into handouts for religious institutions and a general nannyish temperament which is oh-so-clear with Mike Huckabee.

      So, I hate the GOP. However…. what is happening now is that the GOP is being bullied around by the Tea Party people and are being corralled into making certain stands for smaller government and expanded liberty. Will this translate into action? Who knows. What I do know is that the crappy GOP politicians are being frightened by their base to move in largely the correct direction. (As an aside: when those ultra-biased FoxNews online polls receive a majority of people who think that marijuana should be legalized and taxed in CA, the winds have changed…)

      What about the Democrat politicians? Their base is upset that they have not been even more authoritarian and dismissive of those ‘little people’ who are impeding the progress of the great progressive project. They’re also silent like crickets on the issues of the war, so long as their guy is fighting it.

      So if we’re in something of a political civil war, I know that politicians on both sides of the issue completely suck ass, but the ability for political influence is much stronger on one side than the other.

      Ultimately, I think all the politicking is irrelevant though. Bankruptcy will make a powerful case for limited government.

      1. Bankruptcy will make a powerful case for limited government a VAT and nationalization of individually held retirement funds

        1. I’m talking actual default, not just having large deficits.

          A VAT will not work.

          Tax revenue will drop because we’re way past the ability to bring on new debt in the private sector and assets previously used to extract equity (real estate) are continuing to tumble.

          We’ve entered the spiral of consumer de-leveraging. In an economy with 70% of GDP as consumption, adding a VAT will just accelerate a return to savings, a reduction in consumption, and piss off more people.

          We won’t be like the U.K. If we collapse, it will be with a bang not a whimper.

          1. If we collapse, it will be with a bang not a whimper.

            And even more fun, we’ll take the rest of the world with on the ride.

  4. Was there ever any doubt? Really, how many times are people going to fall for the, “Things will be different this time, I promise,” line. A leopard never changes its spots. Republicans don’t really care that the people are about to take a 12″ strap on in the ass. They are just pissed that they can’t be the ones pegging us.

    1. They are just pissed that they can’t be the ones pegging us.

      That certainly describes David Frum and a bunch of the establishment.

      1. I’m curious what the “establishment” is. Frum criticizes the GOP’s leadership and strategy during the health care debates. Is the “establishment” an outsider critic or the people who are actually running the show?

        1. Frum criticizes the GOP’s leadership and strategy during the health care debates. Is the “establishment” an outsider critic or the people who are actually running the show?

          Frum was establishment under the previous Republican Administration. A grassroots and donor revolt forced the Republican establishment and think tanks to tack to the right; Frum didn’t want to.

          Frum’s at least consistent; he’s standing for exactly the same policies that he did under the Bush Administration. (Medicare Part D, etc.)

          Lamar, is the Bush Administration governance your ideal?

          1. OK, I get your angle on the “establishment” definition. I disagree, because as you noted, he was “deposed” by grassroots. However, your argument is reasonable.

            I don’t agree with Frum’s policy prescriptions. I agree with his analysis that the GOP sunk itself and has only itself to blame. George W. Bush (and Frum) were part of the problem. They started the mess. Instead of forestalling the health care fiasco, they wanted to invade the middle east, ban gay marriage, ramp up the drug war, and spy on Americans. This is seriously one tone deaf party.

            1. Instead of forestalling the health care fiasco

              Medicare Part D was an attempt to forestall the “health care fiasco.” It didn’t work. Yet Frum’s recommendation is do the same damn thing.

              And nobody seriously cares about banning gay marriage, and especially not about federalism issues. Did McCain win any votes at all for opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment and voting against it, saying that it should be a matter for the states? No.

              1. I wouldn’t agree that prescription coverage was an attempt to forestall health care reform. There have been a number of proposals to open up markets, allow cross-border purchases, etc. In fact, I never heard Medicare Part D referred to as health care reform.

                Keep on pretending like social conservatism isn’t the most important segment of the GOP base. I’ll just look the other way as Sarah Palin tells us city slickers that we’re not real Americans. If gay marriage weren’t such a loser issue right now, you can be assured the GOP would be pushing it, mining it for votes like they’ve done with abortion.

                I think we see two entirely different GOPs.

                1. I wouldn’t agree that prescription coverage was an attempt to forestall health care reform. There have been a number of proposals to open up markets, allow cross-border purchases, etc. In fact, I never heard Medicare Part D referred to as health care reform.

                  You’ve heard people talk about HSAs as health care reform, no? The most controversial part of the Medicare Part D bill was the slight expansion of HSAs.

                  If gay marriage weren’t such a loser issue right now, you can be assured the GOP would be pushing it, mining it for votes like they’ve done with abortion.

                  I think we see two entirely different GOPs.

                  Yes, I for example saw a Presidential candidate that had argued and voted against a Federal Marriage Amendment, and had the same policy on gay marriage as the guy who won, in an election where banning gay marriage was winning majorities in California and elsewhere.

                  In any case, you seem to be arguing that social conservatism wins votes but complaining that politicians pander to it.

                  Furthermore, you’re conflating what I would call “social conservatism” with “cultural conservatism.” How many actual policy victories did “social conservatives” have? (And are we including gun rights in “social conservatism?”) A few FCC fines? The government not banning but not spending money on stem cell research?

                  1. “In any case, you seem to be arguing that social conservatism wins votes but complaining that politicians pander to it.”

                    It loses my vote, which is the only vote I can account for. Maybe there are more like me.

                    “How many actual policy victories did “social conservatives” have?”

                    I’m not going to fall into that trap. The second I raise an issue, you’ll argue that it isn’t “social conservatism”. If I say Bush’s two SCOTUS picks were social con victories, you’ll have a fit.

                    More importantly, the reason that the social conservatives don’t have many victories is because of the poor positions they take. Terri Schiavo?

                    How about a fiscally conservative, socially permissive, anti-war candidate? Is that too much to ask? Wait…..don’t answer that.

                    1. How about a fiscally conservative, socially permissive, anti-war candidate? Is that too much to ask? Wait…..don’t answer that.

                      They do not exist

                      I care about this country’s fiscal health, and if that means electing politicians who make abortion a capital offense, that is just too fucking bad for people who want to have abortions.

                    2. They do not exist

                      They do exist, in smaller number, and they lose. Not just in primaries, but in general elections, like Tom Campbell.

                    3. Most people don’t seem to grasp that if we go bankrupt, it doesn’t matter what you think about the other issues. The government will collapse, there will be social chaos, and no one can predict what will rise from the ashes. It may be better, but it is likely to be much worse in every way.

                    4. If I say Bush’s two SCOTUS picks were social con victories, you’ll have a fit.

                      His two SCOTUS picks were horrible compared to Thomas and Scalia. Real establishment big-government conservative types. Pragmatists, not formalists.

                      How about a fiscally conservative, socially permissive, anti-war candidate? Is that too much to ask?

                      If there aren’t the voters for it, then it’s too much to ask. Did Tom Campbell win when he ran for a Senate seat before? No. Perhaps if he wins this year we can show that there’s a market for it. If a “fiscally conservative, socially permissive, anti-war candidate” can’t win a general election in California, not a primary, where’s the market for it?

                      Did anti-war fiscally conservative John Hostettler win re-election in Indiana? No. Might he and Rand Paul win this year? Yes.

                    5. Actually Rep John Hostettler won re-election a number of times – 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 (after his antiwar vote) and 2004. He lost in 2006 which was a good year for Democrats.

                      Hostettler voted against the Iraq war, but he is socially conservative.

                2. I’ll just look the other way as Sarah Palin tells us city slickers that we’re not real Americans.

                  Can you read minds?

                  1. I can read text. Can you?

                    1. It’s as stupid as the complaints about Obama saying that the suburbs bore him, or about bitter people clinging to guns and religion. Some people care about that shit; it motivates a lot of people, even though it’s near meaningless for policy.

                    2. But you can’t comprehend it.

              2. Gays who wish to marry care about gay marriage.

                Unfortunately, gays who wish to marry are vastly outnumbered by religious kooks who think the whole nation will crumble if gay marriage is permitted. Said kooks are largely responsible for bringing about Bush the Younger’s two terms.

                Republicans fag-bash for a reason: It gets them more votes and donations than it costs them.

            2. I agree with his analysis that the GOP sunk itself and has only itself to blame.

              His analysis is that John McCain and the GOP sunk itself by moving away from Bushism. Screw him.

              1. What exactly is “Bushism”?

                1. Bushism is co-option and bipartisanship, moving Republicans in a pro-government direction to capture the center while keeping loyalty from the base through cultural appeals.

                  The GWB Administration governed in an extremely bipartisan manner. Far too much so.

                  1. Well who the hell wants that!

                    1. Frum does. And people who say that it won two elections.

                    2. Maybe I read Frum and saw only what I wanted to see. While the GOP started to piss me off in the late 1990s, it was really George W. Bush and the GOP led Congress that sealed the deal. It think it is disingenuous for Frum to pretend like big gov’t conservatism isn’t the problem. It is the overarching problem that makes all the little squabbles matter. I don’t care what religious folks do, but the second they go nuts about gays, evolution, stem cells, I have a problem. I appreciate the hawks, but when they get power, they invade other countries and spy on Americans. Small government is the solution again. OK, now I’m rambling. Thanks for the repartee.

                    3. , but the second they go nuts about gays, evolution, stem cells, I have a problem.

                      Regarding stem cells, note that nothing was ever banned, exactly. As you note, big government exacerbates the problem, because the more that all scientific research depends on the government, the more everything in life becomes subject to everyone else’s views.

                2. The policies of the Bushevik Party.

  5. its funny cuz its true

  6. Tom Toles makes me want to start shooting people from a clock tower.

    OK, I lied. Just op-ed cartoonists.

  7. When Republicans actually govern this way, too often there is silence

    From Big Republican Media (except Rush and Beck, who are audience-Big, not G.O.P.-influence-Big), sure. Not from voters. The tea party business started when Bush was president, and its immediate predecessor (“Porkbusters” or something?) is from when Republicans controlled Congress.

    And I’m sure there are still antiwar protests somewhere. The fourteen leftists who are actually antiwar don’t make for much of a crowd shot, though.

    1. If you can understand why the anti-war movement fizzled out once Obama was elected, despite an escalation in Afghanistan, and maintaining the status-quo in Iraq.. then you really get it.

  8. Republicans have core principles. You know, deeply held nonnegotiable beliefs.

    Right?

    RIGHT?

    1. Uh, say anything to get elected?
      Actually, if it helps to disabuse people of the notion that republicans are conservative, or believe in small gubermint, or have any principals, or intelligence – well, thats a good thing.
      Seriously, I have to wonder why people actually want to be in congress – the pay ain’t all that great, the vast majority of people rightly recognise congresspeople as douches – so why do people strive so mightily for it???

        1. This.

    2. Yes, we do. And holding the Democrats’ coat while they buttfuck the nation is at the top of the list.

  9. If Republicans cannot repeal an unpopular bill where many of the costs are front-loaded, many of the benefits are yet to come, and where the creation of another entitlement is as detrimental to their own partisan self-interest as it is to the nation’s finances, then…

    they should just let Steele spend out the last of their money on hookers and blow and shut down the store — BECUASE WE ALREADY HAVE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

  10. Cornyn and the other morons who think that running against this bill is a political loser need to look at the actual polls and not at what David Frum and the DC establishment is saying.

  11. John McCain was on board, telling a television interviewer, “Outside the Beltway the American people are very angry and they don’t like it and we are going to try to repeal this.”

    Good thing we didn’t elect this guy. Of course, one reason why he’s so upset is that he’s one of a tiny number of people who actually cares about Senate and Congressional rules and procedures possibly more than policy itself.

  12. …so why do people strive so mightily for it???

    Where else do you get a say in running the lives of over 300,000,000 human beings? Also, you can be on the news, and get stuff named after you without having to go through the difficult business of doing awesome things that actually benefit people.

  13. conservatives cannot count on Republicans to undo very much of what they routinely denounce and campaign against

    Well DUUUUHHHHHHHHH
    Where you been the past eighty years?

  14. [Googles “Costa Rica”]

    1. what is with the references to costa rica? inside joke?

      1. Costa Rica has a fairly large American ex-pat population. Plus it has fantastic weather, senoritas, and cheap everything.

        I’m buying the plot down the beach from RC.

        1. I’m planning on fortifying my compound in Texas and daring them to come in after me. It didn’t work so well for the last guy, but at least y’all will have something to watch on TV for a couple of weeks.

  15. With any luck, nominating Queeg will prove to be a fatal self-inflicted wound for the republican Party.

  16. What’s worse, within five or six years it will be the GOP urging that the penalties for not buying mandated health insurance be increased (in order to prevent free riding and help the declining private health care industry.)

    1. What’s worse, within five or six years it will be the GOP urging that the penalties for not buying mandated health insurance be increased

      Split the GOP? Hell, that would split libertarians between pragmatic economics-minded libertarians who agree that it’s necessary to avoid the insurance death spiral, and philosophical freedom-minded libertarians who refuse to compromise because forcing people to buy insurance is morally wrong.

    2. What’s worse is that it will split libertarians between the pragmatic, economics-minded libertarians who say that the penalties are necessary to avoid the insurance death spiral, and philosophical freedom-minded libertarians who refuse to compromise with the immoral policy of forcing people to buy insurance.

    3. Within five or six years there will be a split in libertarians, much less the GOP, between the pragmatists who view the penalties as necessary if you have the rest of the policy and the philosophical minded who view them as immoral.

      1. I know which side I will be on, too. Hint: It’s not the ‘necessary’ side.

      2. There’s always the possibility that the plan will fuck up the insurance market so bad that people will realize why “pre-existing conditions” are excluded.

  17. If the Republicans can’t repeal – in whole or in part – an unconstitutional bill that is about as popular as the clap and puts the nation on a bullet train to bankruptcy, there’s really no reason to have a Republican Party.

    1. It seems to me that a partial repeal may be worse for the deficit and “controlling health care costs”. Just repealing fines for not buying insurance would probably make this thing even more expensive, and cause further increases in insurance premiums.

      The problem is that a total repeal of the bill is politically impossible since The GOP will never have a filibuster-proof majority in the senate.

      Obamacare is not going anywhere. This is probably why you see Republicans dropping the issue.

    2. +1

  18. If the health care bill were truly as unpopular as the GOP keeps saying in the media, then they would be lining up to repeal the thing. After all, they want to win their next election.

    1. You’re forgetting that they hold their constituents in contempt regardless of which side they’re on. In an AP article not so long ago, Dems were saying that people would forget. Republicans think the same thing.

  19. “True conservatives are not radicals; they respect tradition and work for stable reform to fix institutions”-Oliver Gardland

    The party base is not much better; a bunch of reactionaries who also want government to do what THEY want it to do. Libertarians and right-wingers; it’s time for a divorce.

    1. The base of the Republican party is not philosophically conservative in regards to the federal government. Post-Goldwater, that term completely changed meaning.

      Goldwater is not Burke.

      The establishment people in the party like Frum are the ones who are actual conservatives, and they suck. What the GOP is transferring towards is a type of radical, populist decentralization. It’s more like extreme federalism.

      1. No, they’re George Wallace. Populism sucks. Take a good look at the base; and you’ll realize they aren’t anything worth celebrating.

      2. Goldwater is not Burke.

        Edmund Burke was a friend of the American Revolution, and tried to impeach Warren Hastings, governor-general of India.

        It’s nonsense to lump Burke in with Continental conservatives.

        1. “It’s nonsense to lump Burke in with Continental conservatives.”

          Uh, no it’s not. When the monarchy was thoroughly marginalized, the radicals (the non-loyalists) took over. Burke was a liberal Whig, but a true philosophical conservative. While Burke was for the American revolution, he was against the French revolution and supported the monarchy, all, once again, for reasons stemming from an adherence to conservative thought.

          Burke is Conservatism 101 for early American thought. Madison and Jefferson are Liberalism 101 in that same department.

          1. Uh, no it’s not.

            Yes it is. Look at what Lord Acton said about Burke. Or Macaulay, for instance.

            (Burke’s anti-imperialism in Ireland complicates things too.)

            Yes, Burke is American/Anglo Conservatism 101. He’s unlike Continental conservatives such as de Maistre.

            Philosophically, he was pragmatic. But the same is certainly true of American Liberalism, and American philosophy in general, at least since the late 19th c.

          2. Burke was a liberal Whig, but a true philosophical conservative.

            Do you also view Jeremy Bentham as a philosophical conservative?

            1. Uh, John, you do realize we’re talking about the United States Continentals, correct?

              Or are you just a pedant who’s currently in a history class?

              Burke/Frum/Brooks are fundamentally conservative in that they believe in:

              * established order of institutions over policies
              * modification of existing ills over outright abolition
              * the status-quo

              David Brooks said that Obama was a Burkean–he was correct.

              What is occurring right now in the GOP with the Tea Party is a fundamentally classically liberal event. It is also radical and populist. Quite frankly, it’s more French in spirit than American. While it is “conservative” in the Goldwater sense, it is not at all conservative in a way the Founding Fathers would recognize, or in any way agreeable with a philosophy of conservatism.

              That politicians, especially Reagan and Goldwater, were able to hijack the term, is my point.

              Read the original post and you’ll see why Tristan’s comparison with a fundamentally Burkean notion of conservatism is ridiculous to apply to the movement the GOP is going through now.

              The establishment GOP is conservative, the direction it is heading is not. This is what keeps statists like Frum up at night.

              P.S. Search for “Burke” and “conservative” and see if anyone, even persons of the left, agree with your bizarre definition.

              1. Uh, John, you do realize we’re talking about the United States Continentals, correct?

                I’m not. When I said “Continental,” I meant Europe. I’m the one who first used it in the thread.

                My apologies for the confusion.

              2. I was distinguishing Burke’s Anglo conservatism, very much in the tradition of US conservatism, from that of Continental Europe.

                The modification of existing ills over outright abolition is also a trademark of Anglo liberalism, as opposed to socialism.

    2. a bunch of reactionaries who also want government to do what THEY want it to do

      This.

      This is the problem with McCain, Cornyn (a disappointment), Lindsey Graham, and all the rest of them. They don’t give a shit about principles – if they did, they wouldn’t accept the income tax and welfare and agricultural subsidies and highway money mandates and all the other crap as facts of life.

      All they want is just to be in power again. It’s all about power, not principle.

      Principle is something you talk about when you’re pandering to certain groups. Generosity and compassion are things you talk about when pandering to others.

      The problem here isn’t with the system or with the parties themselves. The problem is with the ignorant electorate that has its head up its ass and doesn’t give a shit about politics or the limits of government. The just go by what sounds good and what feels right and the politicians exploit them in a race to the bottom, hence you have people like Cornyn falling all over himself to claim the “pre-existing condition” bugaboo as his own.

      Go read Neil Postman for a better discussion than I can give as to the reasons why.

      It’s not going to just fix itself on its own. The present situation is just a false dream, as we are rapidly learning.

      1. This is the problem with McCain, Cornyn (a disappointment), Lindsey Graham, and all the rest of them. They don’t give a shit about principles – if they did, they wouldn’t accept the income tax and welfare and agricultural subsidies and highway money mandates and all the other crap as facts of life.

        McCain voted against I know the last two highway bills and the last two farm bills. He’s one of the very rare Senators to refuse to accept those as facts of life, as bad as he may be on other issues.

        1. Yeah, I will recant painting McCain with that fiscal brush.

          Campaign finance is the issue where McCain’s well was poisoned for me. I just can’t get past his petty sanctimony on that issue.

          But your point on his fiscal history is taken.

          1. I looked at campaign finance as “wrong solution, right problem.” He was genuinely trying to reduce the amount of money sloshing around Washington and make it harder to buy your own personal politician. The way he went about it was all wrong–the only way to do it is reduce the power of the state–but I give him a little bit of credit for recognizing how corrupt and money-saturated the Congress has become.

  20. Aaah, morning libertardian whhargarbl. What Cornyn and Corker said is the acknowledgement that you know, without 2/3rds majority, a GOP congress can’t override Obama’s expected veto. That’s it. It’s a long bridge to cross from that to “OMG! The GOP loves Obamacare so much they want to keep it!!!”

    1. Yeah, I think ur right on this one.

    2. You should reread Cornyn’s comment about the “non-controversial stuff.” While you’re at it, reread the title of the post.

      1. Yeah, Cornyn’s an idiot. Corker, OTOH, did come out and say “we need 2/3rds and we’re not going to get it.”

    3. “There is non-controversial stuff here like the preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things,” the Texas Republican said. “Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that is frankly a distraction.”

      (link)

      Ahh, so this is just code for “we need 2/3 and we’re not going to get it.” Understood.

      1. Well, given that no politician would ever say “we need 2/3 and we’re not going to get it,” it’s somewhat plausible.

        I’m not saying it’s right, though.

  21. I also find it funny that the twat author of this post cited a nobody from Frum Forum. Really, tell me again who this FrumForum writer is and how many times has he been cited by anyone as an authority in conservative thought. He’s a junior at Longwood University. The name of the school sounds like this is a scam.

    1. As far as I’m aware, the number of people who have cited the writer “as an authority in conservative thought” is zero. I certainly didn’t, and neither did Antle.

      1. But you did cite it as a “high (or low) point of the article,” as though it were meaningful.

        Meaningful is an idiot like Cornyn saying it, not some random no-name college kid.

        1. Do I really need to explain what Antle was up to there? He cited an obscure writer saying something risible, then he turned around and argued that “Then again, this appears to be the working definition of conservatism embraced by most GOP politicians.” The Frum Forum kid isn’t there as an authority; he’s there as a rhetorical device.

          1. Yes, but I dislike your use of the full stop followed by “And then adds…”

            If you had made “and then adds” part of the previous sentence, it would have flowed together better and made it more clear that you were talking about Antle’s response as the high point, not what was quoted.

  22. I have been scared to death of a Tea Party/Republican split because the bill has to be repealed. But now I’m thinking that while a split will be temporally extremely painful for me, it is my kids best hope for any future at all. Good Bye GOP, it’s over.

    1. I have been scared to death of a Tea Party/Republican split because the bill has to be repealed. But now I’m thinking that while a split will be temporally extremely painful for me, it is my kids best hope for any future at all. Good Bye GOP, it’s over.

      So to whom will you flock?

  23. Republicans abandon health care repeal at their peril. I can think of few things more likely to lead to the death of the party, and its replacement by the tea party movement as a true political party.

  24. Fuckers.

  25. Obama did not run on ramming thru a partisan bill that is full of mafia style tactics and dirty deals. He promised “transparency” and a “new age of bipartisanship where both sides sit down together and agree”. Instead, he bought votes and squandered money we do not have on a bill that is 100% partisan. The Democrats own this piece of garbage and it will be their waterloo for decades. The American people will vote these idiots out and put Republicans in their place fully expecting them to cut or defund most of this bill. If Republicans do not listen to the American people it will be to their demise as well. We have a few years to fix this travesty and if Republicans whine they can’t they are just as ignorant as the Democrats who rammed it down our throats.

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