Waterloo for whom?
David Frum issued his blistering critique of the Republican Party in the health-care debate on Sunday. But his words should clang in the ears of the GOP as it watches President Obama sign the biggest piece of social welfare legislation in decades. Republicans might have thought this was going to be his Waterloo, but they messed up -- and they messed up big.
Frum reminds his fellow Republicans that "[t]he Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994." Still, GOP "leaders" adopted the hell-no approach. "We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat," Frum wrote.
That may be just a tad overwrought. If history is a guide, the Republicans are bound to pick up seats in the House. Maybe even in the Senate, too. As we all know, the party that wins the White House in a presidential election year loses seats in congress in the mid-term elections. But Charlie Cook told Politics Daily's Jill Lawrence that, as of right now, the Democrats are not in danger of losing control of the House.
Cook also told Lawrence that he didn't think health care would necessarily be a vote winner for the Democrats. I disagree. Mark Halperin asked the right question yesterday, "Can the G.O.P. succeed running against health care?" Given all the popular provisions in the legislation, no, it can't. And as Frum, Halperin and Jay Newton Small point out, attempts to repeal the law are a fool's errand.
Not everything is rosy for the Democrats. Dan Balz notes today that they "must motivate and persuade voters who, for varying reasons, have been turned off by the long debate on Capitol Hill and by the president's policies." That includes independents, who fled Obama over the last 15 months. And there are some like Mark McKinnon who think that by making health care his singular focus, Obama has endangered his reelection. "President Obama has made his stand on health care and said it may cost him a second term," McKinnon wrote for The Daily Beast. "Let’s give him kudos for candor because given the searing politics of this issue, he may be right."
If Obama loses reelection it won't be because of the passage of health care.
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