The Republican Pretext
On June 17, Rep. Roy Blunt made a promise: "I guarantee you we will provide you with a [health care] bill." The "we" in that sentence referred to the House Republicans. But they've not united around a bill. Glenn Thrush sat down with Rep. Eric Cantor, a member of the House leadership, to ask why. In an amusingly Freudian slip, Cantor explained that Republicans have decided on a different tack: they're going to offer a "pretext," not a proposal. I bet they will.
Accidental honesty aside, the political argument is pretty clear: If Republicans eschew a bill, then all they have to do is attack. If they propose one, they also have to defend. And Kevin Drum explains the difficulty with that:
Cantor's problem is obvious: He can't provide a full-scale Republican plan because it's simply not possible to provide universal coverage without the government taking a big role in things. So he's stuck. Ditto for things like climate change, which for some reason I was reminded about by this post from libertarian Matt Welch. I mean, suppose you accepted that climate change was both real and catastrophic. What options would you have if you insisted on sticking solely to free market principles? Beats me. Hell, it's hard enough to address even if you don't. But that's where we are these days: an awful lot of our most pressing problems simply can't be solved unless you accept that the government has to be involved. So conservatives are stuck.
Unless they can offer up a pretext, of course.
Photo credit: By Alexa Welch Edlund -- Richmond Times-Dispatch
September 25, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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