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Repeal drive loses steam

Republicans were using the word "repeal" a lot in the hours after the House voted to pass the health-care reform bill. But as the hours turn to days, they're talking about repeal less, qualifying it more, and even finding themselves mentioning things they like about the bill. Suzy Khimm runs through the changing rhetoric:

Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, the poster boy for the conservative insurgency, said on Monday that he wasn't sure whether he'd support overturning the health care law, calling moves to do so "a little premature." As ThinkProgress notes, Rep. Phil Gingrey told CNN that he "does not want" to throw out everything in the bill, noting that there are many provisions — including health insurance exchanges, electronic medical records, greater coverage for dependents, expanded Medicaid, and increased consumer protections — that he supports. Rudy Giuliani also opposes repealing the bill. And the Chamber of Commerce — the business lobby group which often backs conservative causes and which spent some $144 million campaigning against health care reform — has said it won't support a GOP effort to throw out the legislation. [...]

Senator John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, saidTuesday that Republicans should only focus on repealing the most controversial elements of health reform. Like Guthrie, he maintained that there are provisions worth keeping. And Senators Jon Kyl and Mike Enzi both said that partial repeal would be a more realistic goal.

So in about 12 hours, the GOP's position has gone from "repeal this socialist monstrosity that will destroy our final freedoms" to "there are some things we don't like about this legislation and would like to repeal, and there are some things we support and would like to keep."

"We always said there are things that we can all agree on in the bill," said Rep. Brett Guthrie.

At this rate, they'll be running on expanding the bill come November.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 23, 2010; 6:33 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What does the bill do for prevention?
Next: Reconciliation

Comments

But what about

ARMAGEDDON!!!!!!

?

Posted by: AZProgressive | March 23, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The Teabaggers aren't gonna like that.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | March 23, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The repeal drive losing steam is a rather flippant view.It is too early to judge the issue.

Posted by: improvista | March 23, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

But will any politician from either party be willing to do the politically difficult choices that have to be done so this doesn't bankrupt the country. I actually think we will have to be on the brink of a currency crisis before that happens.

Steve

Posted by: FatTriplet3 | March 23, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Funny .. Republicans are so outraged they're forgetting to mask their bigotry!

Posted by: Noacoler | March 23, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought that "repeal" isn't necessary. Ultimately, the fines and fees will have to be imposed by the Federal government taking each business/individual to Court: no business that I've spoken with plans to do anything other than wait to be taken to Court and thereafter deal with the consequences. Simply ignoring the President and his administration seems to be a reasonable alternative: as long as one doesn't perjure one's self, the penalties are civil, not criminal.

Posted by: rmgregory | March 23, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

What is hilarious by Republicans now talking about partial repeals or modifications to the bill is that if a handful of republican senators (even just 1) would have been willing to negotiate, they could have achieved any realistic repeal or modification. It would have been in the bill already.

Posted by: Levijohn | March 23, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh Ezra, you are missing the point here - don't you see the 'great leadership' shown here by GOP?

As you know, it is all just matter of waiting till Nov election after which GOP will be the new ruling party and you see they want to 'carry' Liberals with them too. So how will our little misguided, freedom compromised, socialist Liberal brothers and sisters would feel if these tomorrows leaders do not sooth them? You see GOP is visionary - looking at what 'responsibility is coming to land on their shoulder tomorrow', they are preparing the ground too; they are sowing seeds today.

And what little problem you are murmuring? Did I hear you saying 'what about Democrats'? What about them? They might have accidentally brought this 'flawed' legislation, but in GOP books they are not the responsible party. GOP is the 'natural party of governance'. From Nov 2008 to Nov 2010, they are simply taking a sojourn to cleanse their thought process....

Posted by: umesh409 | March 23, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I would take a long, hard look at the Supreme Court; I suspect Roberts and Scalia would both very much like to find a way to declare this bill unconstitutional.

sPh

Posted by: sphealey | March 23, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

No, by November they'll be trying to take credit for it. Mark my words.

And their "base" will dutifully edit their own memories and scream in unison that the best parts of HCR came from Republicans.

Just like they all now believe that 9/11 happened during the Clinton administration and the economy was in fine shape until 1/20/2009

Posted by: Noacoler | March 23, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard a single Republican say that a complete repeal is necessary (GOP said they agreed with 80%, but it was the other 20% that made it terrible). Besides, isn't the reconciliation bill before the Senate "repealing" some portions already?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 23, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The Teabaggers aren't gonna like that.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | March 23, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse


ya about as much as progressives on FDL like this healthcare bill. They'd rather 45,000 people DIE than give money to the private insurers. Don't forget there are kooks on both side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 23, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The Florida AG is taking aim at the unfunded mandates to his State, as well as the individual mandates.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 23, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day Democrats have again proven themselves the more responsible party by doing some really tough work, and expending much of their political capital by attempting to make some of the healthcare reforms that the country desperately needs to avert total bankruptcy, even though due to political reality and the 60 vote senate the end legislation is much more middle of the road than many in the party would probably have preferred. It would have been more efrfective still if republicans had given them some political cover to include some tougher cost controls.

If republicans would have been willing to work for the good of the country, rather than their own political good, then a couple of republican senators could have extracted almost any concession from Obama, Reid, Baccus etc, or (gasp) even worked together to include some better cost control.

At the end of the day the republicans would be insane to repeal this bill - in most respects it is substantively a very moderate, conservative bill, as has been pointed out - alot like Mitt Romney's bill (but more conservative!)

If they repealed the bill they would have to start health care reform again from scratch! That would be alot of political heavy lifting that they dont have to do if they dont repeal.

Hopefully they have come to their senses after the near ruin of the US economy and will return to being a fiscally responsible party in the tradition of George HW Bush, hell even Regan raised taxes! After 8 years of unfunded medicare expansion, unfunded budget blowing tax cuts, unfunded wars and other pure foolishness it would be great to see some real conservatism from the right...

Posted by: lazza11 | March 23, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

It takes a 2/3 majority to over-ride a Presidential veto. Are the Republicans so delusional that they believe will have a 67 seat majority in the Senate in 2011?

The Emperor Repeal has no clothes. The Republicans won't repeal all of it, and they won't repeal any part of it. There will certainly be more health care legislation in the future, but it will be designed to strengthen the bill, not to kill it or weaken it.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow...the GOP must have gotten some bad internal poll numbers overnight. What else could explain such a shift?

Posted by: vvf2 | March 23, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

That makes too much sense. Republicans spend the year sabotaging the healthcare bill so that they can run on fixing it. Pretty much their modus operandi. I'm sure they'll be promising bigger benefits and subsidies in no time.

Posted by: zosima | March 23, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"Don't forget there are kooks on both side of the political spectrum."

A new Harris poll (full results to be published tomorrow) reveals Republican attitudes about Obama:

Two-thirds think he’s a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist.

~and~

•67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist
•45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
•38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did.”

Yes, there are kooks at both ends of the spectrum. The problem, however, is that it is getting increasingly hard at one end to find folks who aren't kooks. And I can't agree that the "kookiness" of the policy objections by Jane Hamsher and the bloggers at FDL to HCR after the public option fell out of the package are quite as "kooky" as a political party in which 38% see Obama as “doing many of the things that Hitler did” and where 24% think that "he may be the Antichrist."

The Republicans may have lost the White House their majorities in Congress, but now that they have locked arms with the Tea Party, the Repubs are building an overwhelming majority in kook-ville.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:

Isn't the reconciliation bill before the Senate "repealing" some portions already? The GOP can simply refuse to fund the additional money for the IRS to enforce Obamacare. They don't need to override a veto.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 23, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

What percentage of liberals think that demolitions were planted at WTC or that Bush otherwise "lied" us into war?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 23, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't the reconciliation bill before the Senate "repealing" some portions already? The GOP can simply refuse to fund the additional money for the IRS to enforce Obamacare. They don't need to override a veto."

The reconciliation package (once passed in the Senate), will represent a final compromise between the two houses of Congress on the content of HCR. Calling it a "repeal" makes no more sense that calling the result of a conference committee a repeal. It is a "sidecar" package, not a repeal.

In the unlikely event that the Republicans take control of the House in 2011, and if they the use their majority to try and withold funding from a health care program that has been lawfully passed, they will be traveling down the same tone deaf road to doomsday that Newt Gingrinch traveled when he caused the shut down of the Federal government, and destroyed his own political career by not understanding when "enough is enough."

This bill is already gaining in popularity. People in America want to look forward. If Republicans are going to run on a platform of never-ending obstruction, they will not regain the majority, and there will be no opportunity to play games with the purse strings in the budget.

I hope that the Republicans do campaign on repeal, defunding, etc. Nothing could be better for the Dems' prospects to hold seats in the Fall.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2 -

Demolitions were planted at WTC? That would be right about zero percent of liberals. There is a tiny cult of crazy people that believe that nonsense, and I would not classify them as either liberal or conservative, any more than I would describe people who believe in alien abductions as liberal or conservative.

The Bush administration told lies to justify the Iraq war? Close to 100%. If you actually think that the Bush administration did not manipulate the truth to sell the invasion and occupation of Iraq, you aren't very well informed. Plenty of actual conservatives were unhappy with that war and the way it was sold as well.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Was "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought to acquire significant quantities of uranium from Africa" a lie?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 23, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2,

If you want to argue that the case for the threat of Iraqi WMD (or anything else used to justify the Iraq war) as presented by the Bush administration was strong, sincere, and all times truthful, you'll need to find someone else with whom to argue.

This thread is about how the less-than-2-day-old Republican HCR "repeal" effort is already losing steam, and I'm going to do my best to return to that topic.

I merely attempted to answer visionbrkr's description of Jane Hamsher and FDL as "kooks" for lifting their support of the HCR bill, with some fresh data on some far kookier political positions among sizable numbers of mainstream Republicans.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

How Bogus Letter Made Case For War

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR2007040201777.html?referrer=email

Bush Admin fibbed about Aluminum Tubes

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/03/international/middleeast/03tube.html?_r=1

The lies are endless.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Bush Links Saddam with 911

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0314/p02s01-woiq.html

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Tom Ridge Admits Terror Alerts used for political purposes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqivpTqo8pM

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Ike the first republican I remember who wanted health care reform. Nixon and other of both partys tried
NOW IS THE TIME FOR REPUBLICANS TO HELP IMPROVE AND MAKE A GOOD BILL FROM A EFFORT OF MANY WHO PUT PEOPLE AHEAD OF CAREERS.
WE should thank them as this will lower insurance more than many think.compatition will return.

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 23, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Ike the first republican I remember who wanted health care reform. Nixon and other of both partys tried
NOW IS THE TIME FOR REPUBLICANS TO HELP IMPROVE AND MAKE A GOOD BILL FROM A EFFORT OF MANY WHO PUT PEOPLE AHEAD OF CAREERS.
WE should thank them as this will lower insurance more than many think.compatition will return.

Posted by: theoldmansays | March 23, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I still suspect the Republicans will do much better in November having gone full bore opposition against the bill.

For a long time, the Republican party was dominated by moderates and country club bluebood types. And they won the presidency now and again, but rarely won majorities (and never decisive ones) in congress. Now, the Republican party is dominated by the right wing, that has discovered that they win elections, and get more money, when they ratchet up the rhetoric.

The battle against HCR was political, and served them well enough. If they had worked in good faith with the Democrats, they could have helped craft better legislation and then been ejected from office in November. Now, their base is still happy, and will still turn out. They aren't going to suffer any political damage from their obstruction.

The Dems will benefit from having pulled it off, though. By passing HCR, they made a Republican landslide in November less likely. The only thing the Republicans could have done to improve their chances is to have suceeded in defeating HCR.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 23, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

And of course, we all know Bush hid the true cost of the Iraq War by keeping the figures off budget.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't think mid-term gains for Repubs have anything to do with health care.

It's more to do with jobs, bailouts with conditions, CEO bonuses.

Health care reform will help Dems minimize the damage.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 23, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I don't think there is anyway the Supreme Court overturns this. I'm not even sure they'd take the case.

That being said, I'm looking forward to casting my vote, with all my fellow kooks and extremists, for the Republicans this November. Or against the Democrats. Take your pick.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 23, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Lomillialor, HCR has a lot to do with healthcare. If Republicans hadn't gone all WWF on the Dems, the base would have stayed home and the Repubs wouldn't have a chance. As it is, the base is highly energized.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 23, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

two wrongs don't make a right. I've never said tea partiers weren't kooks, scary and downright stupid. The head of FDL though who has been fighting for universal healthcare for what seems like forever once the thought of a public option died dropped the poor (of which I expect she is not) like a hot potato. They had blog post after blog post asking to "KILL THE BILL". Ya I know the excuses. They saw it as a sellout to the healthcare industry (who btw has been asking for cost controls and personally I think if you asked AHIP they would now and if not now soon strongly consider price controls on doctors and pharma and in return they'd all but agree to be utilities which they're not that far from being).

But back to Jane. For one who USED the 45,000 that die every year as a reason for reform for her to turn her back on them and push for reform to die because it wasn't HER version of reform is outright despicable if you ask me.

At least the Republicans don't pretend to be something they're not.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 23, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis,

I agree with you, to a point. I think the Republicans can still pick up a reasonable number of seats in November, but I think they will blow their very good chances if they continue their argument against health care as anything close to a primary policy plank.

The average voter is WEARY of this debate, and anxious to get on to other topics (the economy and job growth). If Republicans can't move on, the right wing base might be excited about taking the nation backwards, but the average independent voter won't be going along for that ride.

The smartest thing the Republicans could do is give it (HCR) a rest, and come up with a set of affirmative and coherent policy goals. If they can act like political grown-ups (after having spent the past year pandering to their base), they can have a strong outcome at the polls.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

they also won't need more IRS agents. Its not like they come to your door looking for $90 in 2014 ($90 still amazes me. that's less than a quarter a day.) I PRAY when the regs come out that the rules of open enrollment still apply. You shouldn't be able to come on or off (just like Medicare) without a qualifying event.

But back to IRS agents. They won't need them. MA requires all employers to provide employees with a MA-1099HC form to show proof of insurance that gets filed with your tax return. simple, clean, easy.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 23, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

"But back to Jane. For one who USED the 45,000 that die every year as a reason for reform for her to turn her back on them and push for reform to die because it wasn't HER version of reform is outright despicable if you ask me."

visionbrkr,

I agree that in the end JH was too much of a purist about the PO, and ended up painting herself into a corner and taking an ultimately self-defeating philosophical position.

But I don't see how a pro-PO ideologue is any more despicable than the Republicans' devotion to making a political "Waterloo" for Obama over the lives of the same 45,000 per year.

In any event, HCR is the law now, and the right thing for everyone to do is support successful implementation, and incremental enhancements in the years ahead.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

Agreed. I wasn't saying they should keep up the HCR drumbeat. What will serve them is obstructing the next big piece of Democrat policy--which will be much harder if it's a jobs bill. If it's energy or immigration, that will be better for the Republicans.

Talking so glibly about repeal was silly. They should know that there's just know way they can make that happen. Time to accept the loss and move on.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 23, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

And, yes, Republicans should have strong, positive policy goals going into the elections, but I remain dubious. I expect they are going to mostly complain about Obama and pledge to "restore America". A new Contractcwith America? I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 23, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Yes, we agree. One of the interesting questions now will be whether the Dems will keep pushing jobs bills in a steady drumbeat of bite-sized initiatives that are hard for the Republicans to overcome, or whether they will feel like they have the political momentum to also add a heavier lift, like cap and trade, in which case the Republicans have an opportunity to gain more traction.

In either case, I don't think it can be all about opposition for the Republicans in 2010. If they had majorities right now, it is compleely unclear what they attempt to accomplish with the power.

Republicans eventually have to make some affirmative proposals of their own, and get past the one dimensional "party of no" image. They can still obstruct, but they need to present serious alternatives as well.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 23, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Basically, the job of the opposition party is to oppose, so to a degree, the Republicans did the job they were supposed to do for their constituents.

That said, the Republicans could have effectively castrated Health Care Reform simply by throwing a lifeline to the Democrats during any of the multiple times since around August they started panicking.

The problem for the Republicans is that they went crazy too soon. Peak wingnut was reached somewhere around late last summer/early fall. After all their hoopla and yelling and screaming about the Islamofascistcommie takeover of America, health care got passed, and now the Democrats get to taste the wingnuts' sweet, sweet tears of unfathomable sorrow. The outrage machine simply won't be running on all 8 cylinders by November, and Dem losses are limited to some southern conservatives.

Posted by: tyromania | March 24, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

What the GOP Members of Congress and other state lawmakers should do for themselves is to repeal the generous socialized health care insurance benefits they are getting now (which are paid for by tax payers) and replace with GOPcare. Why is that if something is good for them is not good for fellow citizens. Very pathetic argument.

Posted by: chittur101 | March 24, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

"That said, the Republicans could have effectively castrated Health Care Reform simply by throwing a lifeline to the Democrats during any of the multiple times since around August they started panicking."

tyromania,

To me, the Republicans strategic error is even bigger. The final form of the legislation is just a tweaked version of the Senate bill. The Senate bill is just a tweaked version of the Senate Finance Committee bill. That bill is the work product of Max Baucus contorting himself like a pretzel trying to get Republicans on board. So the final bill was (and is) heavily compromised toward Republican positions. No public option being just the most obvious example.

The Republicans could be sharing in the credit for expanding health care, and taking exclusive credit for restraining "socialism" (public option) and preserving an all-private health care delivery system. But instead they put all of their eggs in the "start over with a clean sheet of paper" basket, rather than allowing themselves even the possibility of enjoying the slightest credit for the moderate nature of the legislation that a Democratic majority passed into law.

The Democrats now will not only receive credit for the accomplishment of passing the bill, but also for passing a bill does not radically alter the existing private system.

The Democrats come off as the grown-ups, and the Republicans come up empty-handed. They tried to obstruct, but all they did was delay, and they left themselves with absolutely nothing for which they can claim any political credit.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 24, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't even know where to begin with this bill. Are they going to mail all of the businesses information on how to go about this? I work every single day of the week, 12 hours a day, and I have 4 employees that I now need to give health insurance to? I only make about 30k a year and one of mine told me they pay $240/month for their current plan.... They can't possibly expect me to pay that plus her wages and for the other 3 too. That's more than I make. And then I need to insure myself!

Posted by: dudadiesel | March 24, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

dudadiesel:

You say you have only four employees? I may have missed something, but the last I knew, the employer mandate would not effect you at all.

Per the NYT analysis:

"The smallest firms will still have no obligation to buy health insurance for employees. In fact, technically, this measure doesn’t require any firm to offer insurance. Practically, however, it would have that effect on companies with more than 50 full-time workers. Should such a firm not offer insurance and have just one employee rely on a public subsidy to buy individual insurance through an exchange — and in most cases, he or she will be required to buy it — that company would be subject to a penalty of $750 a year for every full-time employee, regardless of how many take subsidies."

That is at least what the Senate bill that was signed into law today provides, according to the New York Times. No penalties unless you have 50 employees or more (although major tax breaks are in store if you choose to offer insurance).

Your employees will eventually shop for individual policies themselves on the exchanges, with government subsidies depending upon their income levels.

Perhaps another Ezra reader has more precise/updated information on on any changes to the above for very small employers that might be found in the sidecar reconciliation bill?

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 24, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

dudadiesel,

Patrick is right. you're not required to buy healthcare but now you'll have access if before you did not.

There would be no penalties for you as an employer but there would be (dependent upon income) for you as an individual but fear not. The penalties are really weak!

Again the complexities of this bill and how it will affect everyone can not be understated. If people didn't have a clue as to how healthcare worked in the past its about to get 1000x worse.

Change that can confuse the crap out of me!

Way to go!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 24, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are truly scumbags. Despicable idiots.

Posted by: GeorgHerbet | March 24, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I HOPE that the Republican crazies run their November election on the theme of "repeal", that will guarantee massive Democratic wins. The American people will reject a now fringe party like the Republicans that promise to repeal the law against lifetime caps on insurance payouts, to repeal the addition of children up to 26 on their parent's insurance policies and to repeal the law against denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. The Republicans are just plain losers and they're not helping their party with this absurd "repeal" talk. Mark Montgomery boboberg@nyc.rr.com

Posted by: boboberg | March 24, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Somebody should tell (F)RedState. Those purist dudes want either full repeal of RomneyCare or death!

Posted by: luko | March 24, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@Patrick_M: "In either case, I don't think it can be all about opposition for the Republicans in 2010."

I think it potentially could be. But let's say they do win a majority in one or both house on a largely obstructionist agenda (with some rhetoric about national security and American exceptionalism and jobs) . . . then they will be rudderless, get little done, and soon disappoint the base that turned out and elected them.

"If they had majorities right now, it is completely unclear what they attempt to accomplish with the power."

They'd attempt to consolidate their power. ;) Make the Bush tax cuts permanent?

"Republicans eventually have to make some affirmative proposals"

I expect it's going to be individual congressional candidates pitching their own ideas when they stump, while still tending to argue they need to be elected so they can "stop the Democrats and Obama". But if they do win, I don't think we'll see anything like Welfare Reform or NAFTA, because the Republicans don't have an affirmative platform of policy initiatives (or spending cuts, or repeals of bad liberal legislation) that they are running on.

. . . continued . . .

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"They can still obstruct, but they need to present serious alternatives as well."

The Paul Ryan approach--but the Republicans in general won't rally around anything that talks about privatizing Medicare and Social Security. So, I agree, but it's getting late in the 2010 campaign season for them not to be providing any kind of guidance on what they'll be running on, other than "repeal HCR" and "Obama is bad".

Which is unfortunate. I believe--as I think some others here do--that Obama and the Democrats are rather malleable, and huge policy concessions could have been gotten out of them in return for letting them appear to accomplish some major legislative goals. That is, even with a Democrat supermajority and a "socialist" as president, the Republicans still could have gotten legislation as conservative as anything that happened under Bush by trying to extract as high a price from the Democrats as possible, instead of just attempting to force them to lose.

Would the modest healthcare reform proposed, even with a public option, be worth it if, in return, Republicans could have gotten Bush's Social Security Reform? Not that the Republicans would ever have those kind of stones, but yes, it would have been. What about supporting this final form of HCR as long as the Bush tax cuts were made permanent? Or adding a significant expansion to healthcare savings accounts that would allow folks without insurance, who had a significant amount in their HSAs, to be immune from the fine? Or mandate that the $750 fine go into the HSA?

But painting the Democrats as "over-reaching" on everything they do, and obstructing every single issue, seems to be the strategy that's most likely to pay off with the base, who will decide whether or not the Republicans stay in office or actually win majorities. Because, let's face it, the Republicans could have been as cooperative and conciliatory on HCR as could be, and liberals and Democrats still would not have voted for them in November.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey folks, take some time to read for yourselves what's in the bill. Then you'll know what's in it--and what's not. Don't form your opinion based on the opinions of others who may or MAY NOT know what's in it.

I was back and forth over time, depending which side was spreading the most half-truths and lies, I guess. Then I saw the facts for themselves.

It's OK to start with, and that's the most significant part of the entire bill! Now we have something to start with--and like any other bill, it can be amended; added to; whatever it takes, to make it better.

If we didn't have something to begin with, ALL we could have done is to continue to debate the debate!

Now, we can make some progress, and make it better.

Posted by: bwshook1 | March 24, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Vary thoughtful, as always. I see Republicans best shot as starting to re-establish their bona fides on fiscal responsibility. Not easy after the Bush years, but all the red ink now is their opportunity to get back into the game.

The full Paul Ryan attck-on-entitlements approach may be a bridge too far for most voters this year, but to me the Republicans should have gotten fully on board with PayGo and the spending freeze, and then upped the ante with at least a modest list of proposed spending cuts.

"Because, let's face it, the Republicans could have been as cooperative and conciliatory on HCR as could be, and liberals and Democrats still would not have voted for them in November."

This is true, but if they want to earn the votes of middle American independents, they need to have something to sell other than being the anti-Obamites.

If the Republicans can pursuade people that they have a series of credible measures that would help restore middle class prosperity, they will peel off many more independent votes than they will staying handcuffed to the tea party (Obama is a Socialist!) obstructionist image.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 24, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

You need to look out:

Please look up Narcissistic Personalty Disorder + Obama

I lived with, was a business partner and a family with , and still working to get away from the damage from over 50 years of a destructive relationship.

With my experiences Obama is has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

The way Biden yesterday gave the F bomb that was just to promote the ego.

The leader and commander and chief has the ego of a little kid, and incharge of the greatest contry in the world.

Look out:

Posted by: rdurig | March 24, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

For an alternative view, read Tony Blankley. Not just around the bend, but completely off the face of the earth.

http://article.nationalreview.com/429088/sundays-socialist-triumph/tony-blankley

Posted by: stlyrface | March 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

This is my clarion call to my fellow teabaggers: REPEAL THE BILL NOW!!

We can kill the bill and achieve fantastic gains in the midterm elections.

Kill baby, kill!

Posted by: lithium452 | March 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a crap about the Republicans or Demoncats. 85% of the people despised congress and 50% Obama at the time of this Marxist HealthCare coup. Congress envisioned Jail Time or Penalties for non-compliance. These A-holes have taken their eye's off the ball if they think that Involuntary Servitude is now the new Mantra of American. The people reject the Theory of Social Contracts and involuntary servitude under the watchful eye of Soros and Andy Sterns. This legislation will be flat out rejected through Non-Compliance amongst americans, and outright Annulment in the Courts.

Posted by: givenallthings | March 24, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Snap polls in the immediate aftermath mean little. The Democrats will be hammered in November. Spin al you like. The electorate is in a foul mood. It is looking for revenge. The handling of the deficit is appalling. The healthcare measure will cost Dems millions of votes.
The Obama presidency is shaping up to be a disaster. I am neither Democrat or Republican. I am independent. America is going bankrupt. Obama has quadrupled the deficit. Wake up before the foreign lenders pull the plug. I expected tough measures to tackle the deficit. What do we get? An orgy of wasteful spending and and grubby deals to secure passage of healthcare. Shame Shame. The Democrats have gone mad spending money which we have not got. Obama has funked the deficit issue. It will return to haunt him

Posted by: jbba22 | March 24, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

One thing that I am sure we can all agree needs to changed is the exemption of the Congress from the provisions of the act...

Posted by: LonelyLibertarian | March 24, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Although I agree with many posts about what the Republicans need to do before the mid-terms, the one major thing missing is finding a leader.

Even on HCR, you've got Romney and Pawlenty on one side, Guiliani on the other. And Palin or Gingrich? Who will lead them with an actual positive platform? Haley Barbour, who seems a responsible tactician, but is probably no more electable than Gingrigh?

Unless the Republicans find a strong, articulate leader (like the Democrats have), every candidate will have his or her own personalized platform that plays well with her/his constituency. And that means the Democrats won't be the only party that can say, "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat."

Posted by: bulldog6 | March 25, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

LeviJohn, You're an utter fool and grossly delusional if you actually believe that Republican input ouwld have been accepted. Why do you think they completely shut out the republicans from the entire process, to the point of changing the locks on the committee room doors? You people will believe anything, whether it makes ANY sense or not. You utter fools. Ever heard of the Constitution? It's a pretty BIG f---ing deal! Not to quote one of your geniuses at work.

Posted by: billy396 | March 25, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Tyromania, I assume from your post that you think that the Islamofascistcommie takeover of America is OK, and that we should all follow Obama straight down the Marxist black hole, where ALL of our earnings can be taken by the government and doled out according to their whims and corruption. I find it amusing that not one of you 'bloggers' even mention the tons of corruption and arm-twisting that it took to pass the bill, in particular since it was so utterly and completely AGAINST the wishes of the American people AND the Constitution. These 'people' ALL took a solemn oath to defend and uphold the Constitution, which they immediately discarded as soon as the words left their mouths. Barry Hussein and all of his cronies are AGAINST the checks and balances of power built into the Constitution for the exact reason that the rules exist. This is nothing less than an out-of-control rogue government who has NO care regarding their legal limits by the laws of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. All of the people who are so gullible as to believe that 'all the republicans had to do was to tender some ideas of their own' are living in a fantasy world. The repubs were locked out of the entire process almost from the very beginning. There was absolutely NO 'transparent, bipartisan leadership' on which the Great Barry campaigned so heartily. Nor were any of his other campaign vows or promises upheld in any way. He simply took the famous thuggery of wildly corrupt Chicago politics and translated that process to Washington. And no one has been able to explain why he found it necessary to seal ALL of his personal records. No other presidents found that necessary. Why can't the American people know what conflicts of interests exist due to the representation of his clients in Chicago? Is it so he can claim that he didn't even know that ACORN got much federal money, even though he was their defense attorney in one of their NUMEROUS voter fraud trials? Why the big secrecy if he has nothing to hide? He already admitted in his book to using cocaine and marijuana (we don't know if it was crack cocaine or powder cocaine), and that's just the drugs that he admits to using. Is anyone really naive enough to believe that those were the only drugs that he used? Or does it simply not matter anymore what kind of junkie we elect?

Posted by: billy396 | March 25, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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