Waterloo for Who? A Survey of Responses to Health Care Reform

22 03 2010

David Frum (former Bush speechwriter): On the other hand, conservative writer David Frum contended that last night was the GOP’s “most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.” His reason: “At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo — just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994… This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.”

Matthew Yglesias: “Now that it’s done, Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents. It’s always possible of course that, like LBJ, he’ll get involved in some unrelated fiasco that mars his reputation. But fundamentally, he’s reshaped the policy landscape in a way that no progressive politician has done in decades.”

Marc Ambinder: “Republicans had bet that throwing everything into killing the bill would result in the bill’s defeat. The entire strategy was predicated on killing the bill. Now that the bill has passed, it means that the health care system has been fundamentally changed, and there’s no way — and there will not be the votes — to repeal it. No one will tell seniors that the donut hole will be opened up, or people promised new insurance that they’ll have to look elsewhere, or that rescission will once again be legal. Democrats will work for to force Republicans to talk about repeal as often as possible.”

Matthew Continetti: “Do not believe anyone who tells you they understand the path American politics will take after this vote. It is truly unique.”

Jonathan Chait: “Let me offer a ludicrously premature opinion: Barack Obama has sealed his reputation as a president of great historical import. We don’t know what will follow in his presidency, and it’s quite possible that some future event–a war, a scandal–will define his presidency. But we do know that he has put his imprint on the structure of American government in a way that no Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson has.”

David Frum: “No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed.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?”

Josh Marshall: “Again, I don’t want to paint any rosy pictures. And, as I said, I don’t want to hazard any predictions. But I think this conventional wisdom is quite mistaken. Hard fought victories don’t deplete political capital; they build it. And political wins themselves often have a catalyzing effect that shapes political opinion far more than we realize.”

New York Times: “House Democrats approved a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s health system on Sunday, voting over unanimous Republican opposition to provide medical coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans after an epic political battle that could define the differences between the parties for years.”

Washington Post: “House Democrats scored a historic victory in the century-long battle to reform the nation’s health-care system late Sunday night, winning final approval of legislation that expands coverage to 32 million people and attempts to contain spiraling costs.”

Wall Street Journal: “The biggest transformation of the U.S. health system in decades won approval on Capitol Hill late Sunday, the culmination of efforts by generations of Democrats to achieve near-universal health coverage.”

USA Today: “Congress completed action Sunday night on the major portion of President Obama’s top priority, a historic restructuring of the nation’s health care system that has eluded his predecessors for more than a century.”

Los Angeles Times: “Ending the Democrats’ decades-long quest to create a healthcare safety net to match Social Security, the House of Representatives on Sunday night approved sweeping legislation to guarantee Americans access to medical care for the first time, delivering President Obama the biggest victory of his young presidency.”

And finally, I bring you the Teabaggers:

Tea party demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol screamed “nigger” at U.S. Rep. John Lewis and other black members of Congress on Saturday. Lawmakers said Lewis and several other members were confronted as they were walking to the Capitol to vote. Protesters also hurled insults at U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who is openly gay. One person was reportedly arrested. » read more

My take, the Republicans and their failure to act like adults and reject the crazy fear-mongering actions of its Teabagging arm have damaged the Republican brand in the long run.  Conversely, Obama scored a major victory that makes him the most successful first-year President in modern, if not all, United States history.




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