by Max Brantley
Is violently angry massive resistance to health care reform really a good political strategy for the long run as the positive benefits of the legislation begin taking effect?
Leading Republicans in Arkansas clearly think so. But polling, and even some Republicans nationally, suggest peril.
But at the same time, many provisions of the bill that go into effect this year — like curbs on insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, or the expansion of prescription drug coverage for the elderly — are broadly popular with the public. The more contentious ones, including the mandate for the uninsured to obtain coverage, do not take effect for years.
And in a week when Democrats are celebrating the passage of a historic piece of legislation, Republicans find themselves again being portrayed as the party of no, associated with being on the losing side of an often acrid debate and failing to offer a persuasive alternative agenda.
David Frum, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative research organization, said Republicans had tried to defeat the bill to undermine Mr. Obama politically, but in the process had given up a chance of influencing a huge bill. Mr. Frum said his party’s stance sowed doubts with the public about its ideas and leadership credentials, and ultimately failed in a way that expanded Mr. Obama’s power.
“The political imperative crowded out the policy imperative,” Mr. Frum said. “And the Republicans have now lost both.”
It seems simple if it's said enough. Do Tim Griffin, Jim Keet, Gilbert Baker, John Boozman, Chad Causey, Tim Wooldridge and other Republicans (and their imitators) really want repeal to restore the tyranny of pre-existing conditions, rescission and non-coverage of sick children? Please say so, specifically and often, so that you may be retired quickly. Michelle Bachmann will.