Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Upward, Not Forward

And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom....

Marc Thiessen is sad that Republicans are backing away from what he and Newt Gingrich believe to be a winner of an idea for the upcoming election - the repeal of healthcare reform. I realize that Thiessen's not particularly good with facts, but what's his idea of a campaign theme song? This? Because when it comes to alternative plans, the Republicans have consistently revealed that they have nothing to offer. Or perhaps I should say that, to the extent that they raise alternatives, there's no reason to take them seriously - either there's no follow-through or they're laughably bad. And there's no sign of any willingness to put their own money (or should I say "health") where their mouths are.

It's interesting to see Thiessen team up with Gingrich, given the techniques the Republicans used to try to defeat the reform bill. "People like their current plans. We can't have anything that takes away their current plans!" Congratulations, Republicans, you got that. So now you're going to run on Gingrich's "slash and burn the current system" proposals? We're going to sell people, many of whom ("hundreds of thousands" of whom) can't afford to pay their mortgages, on the idea of paying for their medical care out of their savings? Even before we consider how the Republicans anti-reform rhetoric would be turned back on them, good luck with that.

I know that when Gingrich claims that the Republicans can't just oppose reform and promise repeal, but must "explain how [they] would replace Democratic legislation with something better", he's talking about his own ideas. But if Thiessen is not, his sniveling about Republicans "losing their nerve" makes him part of his party's problem, as (like pretty much everybody but Newt, who merely lacks good ideas) he has nothing of substance to offer. Really, the time to have anted up would have been during negotiations, when even modest Republican cooperation could have made for a much better bill.

Update: Dan Larison takes a look at the supposed majority of Americans who desire the repeal of healthcare reform, expressing skepticism that the majority of those voters "will actually vote in such a way as to make repeal more likely". That's a fair point, but I suspect the phenomenon will be made worse by the fact that there's no offer of "something better" behind the call for repeal. Other than lies or misinformation, how does a candidate running on repeal answer questions about disqualifying children from health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, dropping college students back off their parents' policies, etc.?

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