Thursday, March 25, 2010

Frum: Health Care Bill Is Republicans' Waterloo

David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush and former fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has shaken up the right with his assessment of the health care bill. Instead of President Obama meeting his Waterloo, as Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) predicted, it was the Republicans who were defeated. In his article "Waterloo," Frum called the legislation the "most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s" and stated that the Republicans' refusal to compromise meant that they exerted no influence on the final package:

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

In addition, the campaign to repeal the bill will fail:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

How did this happen? The Republicans followed the party's base, who were under the influence of the right-wing media:

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

Speaking to ABC News, Frum stated, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we're discovering that we work for Fox." Watch:

It appears that at least some conservatives don't want to hear Frum's criticisms. On Thursday, he was forced out of the American Enterprise Institute.


Derek said...

In his article "Waterloo," Frum called the legislation the "most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."

Frum, then went on to say that if President Obama was able to bring peace to the Middle East that it would be the single-largest diplomatic mishandling since the surrender of Lee at Appomattox.

Jeff Tone said...

Derek: Yes, that sounds about right from a conservative perspective.