Russell and Duenes

Sorry, Republicans, but you were “AWOL”

with 4 comments

Have Republicans even cared? Then where in the wide world have they been on health care the the last  eight years?

The Social Democrats charge Republicans with being only the party of “no” on health care. They say Republicans have only been interested in preserving the status quo and deriding and derailing any attempts by others to reform our broken health care system. Is this a fair charge?

I certainly think the Dems are wrong in saying the Republicans have no ideas of their own, but I think they are quite right in their contention that the Republicans and conservatives have only seemed to truly care about making improvements when the status quo is being threatened by Democrats. Sure, the Republicans have had proposals on the table since last summer, but what about the eight years before that, when they held the presidency and both houses of Congress? Where were all the vaunted “free-market solutions” then? Where were all of their ideas about Health Savings Accounts, interstate competition, tort reform, severing the connection between health insurance and employment, insurance reform, and subsidies for the poor? Why did we not hear diddly about GOP health care reform during the Bush years? As Patrick Ruffini rightly points out: “The left has had a far greater number of health care analysts devising grand plans for the eventual takeover. And they have invested more political capital in this issue than any other. It should surprise no one that the conservative effort in this space has been paltry in comparison. We just haven’t had as many people thinking about health care, and we didn’t actively move legislation on it when we were in power.”

My guess is that Republican hearts have just not been in it. Sure, they obstruct and fight now, but I think a lot of people get the sense that they simply don’t care to make changes on this issue, and so all of their heated rhetoric about deficits and costs is stone cold. And I agree. I think conservatives have by far the best ideas about true health care reform, and I think some political party ought to make a serious run at enacting them. But that party has not been the Republicans, and I’m not counting on them doing much about it in the future. It’s rather pathetic to hear all of the conservative talk show darlings get into a lather about health care when I bet they hardly gave it a mention during the Bush Administration. The real problem is that all of this gets reduced to politics, and thus, true interest in people lacking health care gets subsumed in gamesmanship.



Written by Michael Duenes

March 30, 2010 at 2:49 am

4 Responses

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  1. Isn’t that why getting mad now is hardly the answer? The answer is to remain calm, point out the flaws in the plan and push for change. Acting like Dem lights is really no way to be a true conservative.


    March 31, 2010 at 12:10 am

    • Joel, nice to have you join the conversation, my friend. As you may have guessed, I’m more mad about the outrageous deceptions foisted on us by our congressional “leaders” and our president on trying to sell their version. But I agree with you wholeheartedly.



      March 31, 2010 at 1:16 am

  2. Well said. I hate the games, but I can’t see them ending until there is an overwhelming tide of voices calling for it. Sadly, the media loves controversy and games more than reasonable progress.

    I saw an interesting video posted by Andrew Sullivan with Frum on Larry King. What’s interesting is that all 3 conservative talking heads agree that Republicans have to start being known as constructive on this issue. Here’s the link:

    I think that Obama’s basic instincts are to be reasonable, though he chose to play aggressive politics on HCR. What else could he do? The other option was to be destroyed in the next election by falling to the Republicans strategy to make this a Waterloo.

    Honestly, does our system create gamesmanship? What administrations can you think of that have consistently passed important legislation in a bi-partisan spirit without gamesmanship (not one-off examples, but consistently)? If you can think of any, what factors besides going to war have led to bi-partisan cooperation?

    PS – My first reaction is to miss your old blog design, but I think this format is easier to read and just better.


    April 1, 2010 at 2:25 am

    • The answer to your question about gamesmanship is: none. I know that politics requires a certain amount of skill and persuasion, but that is different than what we are talking about with our current leaders from all parties. Truth is the casualty, and thus, we reap the slow ruin of society.

      Our options on blog design are limited by wordpress, unless we want to pay. We just couldn’t stomach the black background anymore.



      April 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

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