The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Kristol Rallies Republicans to 'Go for the Kill' on Health-Care Reform

By Perry Bacon Jr.
In January 1994, conservative commentator William Kristol wrote a widely read memo urging Republicans to take an aggressive stance on the Clinton health care plan. His detailed advice came down to two words: "kill it."

He has the same idea now.

"With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible," Kristol wrote today on the blog of The Weekly Standard. "There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats' plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it's not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months."

He added, "My advice, for what it's worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill."

While Kristol touts the same goals as other GOP strategists -- force Democrats in Congress to abandon their current bills and write ones that adopt more Republican principles -- his advice for Republicans is more pointed.

"This is the week to highlight every problem, every terrible provision, in the Democratic bills," Kristol wrote. "Throw the kitchen sink at the legislation now on the table, drive a stake through its heart (I apologize for the mixed metaphors), and kill it."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs highlighted that remark and another by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in his daily briefing with reporters.

"Bipartisanship is not a one-way street," Gibbs said today. "It has to be a two-way, two-lane street. We want to work with people that want to work with us to find solutions for the problems that the American people have faced for years and years. I would suggest that the comments that were made by the senator and by this particular Republican political strategist are not designed to come up or foment an alternative policy solution, but instead to perpetuate the same old Washington games."

Posted at 4:36 PM ET on Jul 20, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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Anyone really think taxing the rich or a company means WE THE TAX payers will not get hit..ever know basics... it will flow down hill...Companies will let people go or and prices of product(s) will go up to pay for increase in tax's...which happens ALL the time.. same with anyone making X amount---there is something they will do that will get there money back and WE THE TAX payer will be paying for it one way or there a way out..YES
Medicare/Medicade(without there need to sign over your hard earned property(assets)..Expand it/fix it better....make it open to all..
Have know how Medicare works and know if they do not pay something or little of something you need Extra Ins,,I say NO,,if only X amount is paid it would be up to Doc/Hospital/Med's to put in paper work to Gov. Medicare for fees and justify the expense,,,NOT US,,,think about it..Medicade will pay long as you sign over all your assests..NO to that idea..So---get rid of Medicade and fix Medicare to do what is proper..and put burden where it belongs...people/co's that CHARGE TOO much...Like $3.00 for a ASPRIN...wonder where they got that idea from....60.00 toilet

Posted by: rw62827 | July 23, 2009 1:16 PM

I am an Independent voter. I am pleading with anyone reading this to back the Health Care Reform Bill. Forty years working in hospitals and clinics have given me enough evidence to see that the present health system is disintegrating. Insurance companies can no longer manage this nation's health care. Also,the joy ride has to end for pharmaceutical fatcats raking in obscene profits. HELP!

Posted by: drzimmern1 | July 23, 2009 11:51 AM

Bill Kristol a supporter of Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin and the deadly, needless Iraq war.

Oh that Bill Kristol, who hasn't been right about anything. With his track record, anyone who takes his advise is doomed.

Posted by: mcafla | July 22, 2009 9:17 AM

This advice goes way beyond shooting yourself in the foot-- it's blowing your leg clean off and bleeding to death from health care costs. Just from doing nothing. Here in Australia, universal health care works. General health care and emergencies are covered... those that can afford private health insurance are more comprehensively covered but no one goes without-- and the government policy reduces costs for all, both in general expenses and additional private insurance.

Posted by: jilkuk | July 22, 2009 12:55 AM

While 'go for the kill' may be strong language, the sentiment is spot on. The Dems have no real sustainable health care plan. Their plan = tax the successful and extend medical mediocrity to the entire population. Their endgame is government run health care where they will make medical decisions, despite their denials. Did the Congressional Budget Office last week 'go for the kill' when they stated the obvious - the Obamacare will balloon the deficit? The largest group running away from Obamacare now are not the GOP, but the Dems, as reported in today's New York Times. See for candid physician views on health care.

Posted by: MKirschMD | July 21, 2009 10:15 PM

The hyper-partisan Bill Kristol and the Republican Party don't care about ordinary people, just money, and they do all kinds of evil to get it.

Posted by: owens1 | July 21, 2009 3:15 PM

we have been waiting for a health plan, for many years, why does Mr. Kristol feel this is not the time, if not NOW, when

Posted by: ealpert5251 | July 21, 2009 3:04 PM

Kristol has articulated the Republican plan, which is to make sure Obama fails and in the next election run against his failure. The proper response is to forget bipartisanship, lean on the reluctant Democrats, and pass Obama's plan with a public health option. We're not playing tiddly winks but are dealing with the lives of what should be healthy Americans.

Posted by: bdukore | July 21, 2009 2:45 PM

I think the advice of Kristol is right on, in this instance.

Now is not the time to sit back and let it fall under it's own weight. The tower needs to be toppled and I am doing what I can to help push it over.

If people just sit back to watch, the screeves will just wait until the blue dogs and repubs leave DC for the summer, sneak back in and vote this monster in.

You can not trust the 111th to do anything the people want ...they are loose cannons.

Posted by: L7squared | July 21, 2009 1:39 PM


The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 21, 2009 1:32 PM

I fear the "Golden Age of America" was the 1950's when the citizenry believed in sacrificing to build the country up for the common good and not tear it down for personal gain.

Posted by: lindaebrewer1 | July 21, 2009 10:53 AM

I do agree that it is sort of an indication of where the Washington Post is going that they even give him a platform.

Posted by: concernedcitizen12 | July 21, 2009 9:47 AM

Isn't Bill Kristol the neocon who got us into Iraq? One can only wonder - his cost estimates and understanding of reality were a little off.............

Why are people still listening to him? Oh, that is why he has to ghost write for Sarah Palin, I forgot............

Posted by: concernedcitizen12 | July 21, 2009 9:45 AM

healthcare reform is for the benefit of the tax paying citizens, it is not about obama, it is about why he won the election for this reform to be implemented.
so this statement is against the benefit of the american people. and against our best interest

Posted by: mjtaylor22 | July 21, 2009 9:28 AM

Bill Kristol is doing almost as much as Ann Coulter to assure the obliteration of the GOP....Way to go, Bill!

Posted by: tamalemolly | July 21, 2009 9:20 AM

Why in God's name must the WaPo give this clown a platform? A silly, little grinning buffoon who never saw an invasion or occupation for which he wouldn't cheer, as long as he, like the sons and daughters of nearly all the plutocrats, was not a part of the fighting and dying. He is a poster boy in the rancid gallery of shameless scoundrels at the top of the Plutocratic Party, and it was fitting that the New York Times ended his ultra-right bilge on its op-ed pages.

Posted by: Janus55 | July 21, 2009 9:20 AM

Instead of killing the health care bill , I think it's time to kill the GOP party & it's stratagists starting with Kristol, politically speaking of course...we don't need this greedy, out of touch party in our political lives anymore. It's time for a new party to emerge that fits with main stream America and who will truly be "For the people..."

Posted by: kaetc81 | July 21, 2009 9:07 AM

Gibbs has it pegged on bipartisanship.

As we've seen over the last 20 years, and as Limbaugh finally said outright months ago at their little Extremists United convention, the far-right, which pretty much has engulfed consumed and become the Republican party, has no interest in bipartisanship or compromise.

For them, compromise means, "You give us some of what we want now, and some more a little later, and some more after that, until we've got it all, and we won't just take it all at once."

That's 'compromise.'

I think it's long past time we stopped playing nice, acting as though there were reasonable adults on both sides of the aisle, because there aren't. You've got adults on the left, and on the right a bunch of brats all shouting "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

And you don't compromise with a bunch of spoiled brats.

You lecture them or spank them or sit them in the corner or send them to their rooms without dessert, but you don't keep giving them what they want and keep saying, "Well, next time it'll be our turn, because I'm sure they'll be more reasonable then."

Posted by: Nightflyer28 | July 21, 2009 8:59 AM

I work in the Healthcare industry. I am the one who reads the denials from the insurance companies.If you think you had a hard time with Medicare you should see the denial's from the major healthcare insurance companies. They don't cover well exams for children after the age of two, don't pay for vaccines for children, you are sick but not sick enough for this service. Yet, the doctors are performing these services and not getting paid for them. This guy now wants to go for the kill? He should have a drug test. On Friday the renewal for our Health insurance came to our office. For three employee's the cost went up twenty-eight percent. Everyone needs to understand the dirty little health insurance companies secret. They do not provide HealthCare doctors provide Healthcare. The insurance companies provide HealthCare denial and since Medicare is based on this model, well you get it. Even though the healthcare insurance industry is broken the companies are making insane amounts of money. So much money could be saved if there was just reform at the administrative arm of the Healthcare industry which is the insurance companies.

Posted by: gnsherman | July 21, 2009 5:17 AM

BILL KRISTOL, that name doesn't ring a bell....Let me see...Oh!!!!!! now I remember "WILLIAM BILL KRISTOL", it's coming back to me now.

Bill Kristol, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle. The New Republic dubbed Kristol "Dan Quayle's Brain", I'm curious as to how that worked out?

Bill Kristol: Chairman of Project for the Republican Future (1993-1994). A Conservative Think Tank, the Outfit that "SABOTAGED" the "CLINTON HEALTH CARE PLAN".

In 1994 Kristol's rallying cry was: "KILL", NOT AMEND OR COMPROMISE ON THE CLINTON HEALTH CARE PLAN... My that sounds familiar.

Bill Kristol: On September 18, 2002, he declared that a "WAR", in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East."

A Day later he said Saddam Hussein was "past the finish line in developing 'NUCLEAR WEAPONS'.

We all know how that turned out, Great "fore sight", on Kristol's part.

Bill Kristol: On March 1,2003....18 days before te 'INVASION' of Iraq...Kristol dismissed the possibility of 'SECTARIAN CONFLICT.

He said:"Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than by this President."(BUSH)

He maintained the WAR would cost $100 BILLION to $200 BILLION. He only off about '$1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS', nobody's perfect.

Bill Kristol: On March 5,2003 Kristol said "We'll be 'VINDICATED', when we 'DISCOVER THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION."
How did that turn out for you Bill?

This is the same "BILL KRISTOL", today who is giving the Republican Party their "MARCHING ORDERS", into another 'WAR'. This time the WAR is against the "UNITE STATES OF AMERICA."

Will the Republican Party listen to "BILL'S" "SOUND ADVISE", again?

Posted by: austininc4 | July 21, 2009 3:43 AM

This government health care plan is NOT the answer. I've been on both sides of the fence as a person who donated a kidney to a child. According to the law enacted in 1972, Living Kidney Donors are to receive their own Medicare benefit for the donation and related expenses. I had complications and Medicare did not cover one dime even though they are supposed to cover 100%. WHO COVERED MY MEDICAL EXPENSES RELATED TO THE DONATION???? MY OWN PRIVATE INSURER AND THEY NEVER QUESTIONED THE EXPENSES!!!

I am not the only living kidney donor that Medicare refused to cover even though by law they are obligated. I've traveled to Washington, DC to meet with Senate offices/advisors, even the health advisor to Vice-President Biden when he was Senator. My attempts to have the law enforced have been ignored.

If the public feels as though the government is going to help them, they are wrong. Medicare's response to the living donors and the law- "we never intended to pay for all of this"- when asked why they didn't honor the law. If the government turns their back on living kidney donors that save the government millions of dollars in dialysis cost for each donation, then what will they do to you when you don't save them any monies but cost them money??? The government has turned it's back on the living kidney donors who gave a kidney so why would they spend billions on people who haven't given them anything? BEWARE of government run health care, living kidney donors are the prime example of what will happen when the government doesn't intend to pay for all of this.

Posted by: livingkidneydonor | July 21, 2009 2:08 AM

"there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible"

Kristol needn't worry. There aren't many left who expect even the appearance of constructive or responsible behavior from Republicans, much less the real thing.

Posted by: rashomon | July 21, 2009 12:02 AM

Anyone who, at the date, can be convinced to rally behind Kristol on anything, fully deserves the failure and mockery that awaits him.

Posted by: nodebris | July 20, 2009 11:09 PM

Any Legislation focused on Insurance rather than Treatment and actual Care;

should be LAUGHED right out of the Chambers!

Insurance, and Insurance Agents;

never saved a single Person's LIFE!

Never removed a Single Cancer cell;

or even applied a frigging Band-Aid!

Doctors and their Patients amount to medical CARE!

Insurance Companies do NOT!

Posted by: SAINT---The | July 20, 2009 9:34 PM

Perhaps it is time for Harry Ried to take a vote in the Senate. Call for a vote on Mr. Kristol's proposal. Should all of the republicans vote with Mr Kristol, call up the current house bill, bring it to a vote. When it passes with no republican support, send it to the President anyway.

The Republicans, so far, haven't made a single positive contribution to the program. Just complaints that it isn't republican enough. Well, we voted the republicans out for a reason, so lets let losers be losers.

Pass the House version forthwith.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 20, 2009 8:45 PM


FEMA, Secret Service, FBI, the U.S. military and intel agencies are among the federal enablers of volunteer community policing, anti-terrorism and town watch organizations transmogrified by Bush-Cheney into fronts for a nationwide, civilian Gestapo-like army.

This grassroots-based extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" uses covertly implanted GPS tracking devices to stalk, harass, vandalize and terrorize unjustly "targeted" Americans and their families.

When "targets" travel, the GPS system alerts vigilantes affiliated with local units of this American Gestapo, and the harassment follows. Local police cooperation denies these targeted Americans their Constitutional right of equal protection under the law.

Silent, injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" are being used to torture, and to degrade the lives of targeted citizens -- what could be described as a quiet, ideologically-motivated genocide.

Victims charge that members of this civilian Gestapo have infiltrated the health care system, calling into question the quality of the services they receive when they need hospital or emergency care.

And companion array of “programs of personal financial destruction — using the IRS as a political weapon — decimates the finances of “target” families. Their telecommunications and U.S. mail appear to be subject to warrantless surveillance, interception and tampering — including the alteration of financial accounts and credit card and utility billing statements.

This cruel bypass of the American judicial system makes a mockery of the rule of law -- and political "dissidents," "whistle-blowers" and those considered to be social "deviates" are among its prime targets.

Civil rights advocates: Wake up and smell the police state that has co-opted POTUS and a deluded Congress into becoming enablers of vigilante injustice and domestic torture.

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

See "GESTAPO USA" at ("stream" or "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 20, 2009 8:05 PM

Well, Kristol his calling his 'army' to go in for the kill. Clearly since a battle is on, I say to the Dems-- get ready to fight. This is your "Battle at Phillipi." Show us at the end of a 'long day" on whom the sun will set.

No time to become weak-kneed, Fight "Fire with fire!"

Posted by: Victoria5 | July 20, 2009 6:58 PM

I don't know whether to laugh or cry that the GOP thinks they can, out of one side of their mouths, talk about rebuilding the 'brand,' and play partisan games with the nations healthcare out of the other.

I expected the GOP to wake up after the consecutive whompings in 2006 & 2008, but they apparently have not yet learned that voters want results, not partisan attacks.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 20, 2009 5:34 PM

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