Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We have much to be grateful for, and more importantly, a need to fight on for the all important November 2010 elections. They are only a short 7 months away, and as Erick Erickson of Red State said, the time for fence sitting is over. It's time to choose and campaign with all we've got, and keep our chin up. Proud to be an American.

Rich Lowry writes a great piece on five reasons not to despair in National Review:

Five Reasons Not to Despair
Democrats have won a battle, not the war.
by Rich Lowry, March 22, 2010

If your heart didn’t sink when the Senate bill went over the top in the House last night and Democrats began chanting “Yes, we can” on the floor, you’re either not a conservative or inured to all disappointment. Conservatives will be temped to despair in the weeks ahead, as the magnitude of this defeat and its potential consequences sink in. But there are good reasons not to despair. Here are five:

Public opinion. Democrats were never able to convince the public of the merits of their reform — despite having the highest-profile platforms in American politics, including a president who wore out his teleprompter-festooned bully pulpit for a solid year. Liberals comforted themselves by saying that the bill gained popularity at the end. But look at the Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling on Obamacare. In September 2009, 39 percent thought it was a good idea, 41 percent a bad idea. In January, it was 33 a good idea, 46 a bad idea. The latest poll had it at 36–48 — basically flat from the beginning of the year. Fox News polling had the bill at 38 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval in mid-September 2009, then at 34–57 in December, and 35–55 in its latest survey — again, essentially flat. The public has displayed an irreducible reservoir of common sense throughout the debate, which will be something crucial to draw on during the fights to come.

Structured so can it be overturned. The classic play in entitlement politics is to hook people on the benefits, making repeal impossible and growth inevitable. Obamacare is built so the major benefits, the subsidies, don’t kick in for years. This is part of the fiscal ruse — if the benefits kicked in immediately, Democrats would have exceeded their politically dictated ceiling of $1 trillion in official costs over the first ten years. The delay means there’s time to reverse key aspects of the bill before they take effect.

There’s no doubt that this will be difficult. Democrats have created a fact on the ground in the form of the bill, which puts the power of inertia on their side. Republicans will have to defeat an incumbent president in 2012, never easy. And they will have to offer alternative policy ideas that carry the day. If the odds are against them, all of this is still within the realm of the possible. One way to look at it is that Obama and Nancy Pelosi won the debate within the Democratic caucus over whether to pass a maximalist bill. But they haven’t yet won the debate in the country, which will rumble on.

A moment of clarity. Democrats generally win national elections by posing as moderates. In 2006, congressional Democrats sounded like a reasonable alternative to a corrupt Republican party that was losing a major war. In 2008, Obama usually portrayed himself as a moderate post-partisan; if the nature of Obama’s governance had been blatantly forecast back then, he might not have won, despite the financial crisis, the unpopularity of Bush, and the weakness of McCain’s campaign.

It’s a long time until 2012, but the health-care bill and the way it passed will make it much harder for the president to obscure his ideological commitments. There’s even less reason than before for anyone to misunderstand what Obama and his Democratic party are fundamentally about.

The truth will out. Obama has been saying things about his bill that are untrue: It won’t make premiums go down; it won’t control costs; it won’t allow everyone who likes their current insurance arrangements to keep them. These false representations may well make the bill more unpopular rather than less after passage.

Democrats learned with the stimulus that it’s not much fun to defend a law that they vastly oversold prior to passage. They’ll have exactly the same experience with health-care reform. The legislation on which they’ve staked so much will not withstand its first contact with reality.

The GOP has been better than expected. I remember listening to a Republican congressional leader answer questions about health care at an off-the-record event back in early 2009, and feeling profoundly depressed. He sounded as if he’d already given up. It’s been a very pleasant surprise how Republicans rose to the occasion over the last year. The bill sank in public opinion mostly of its own weight, but Republicans were relentless in their critiques and held together to oppose it. If Mitch McConnell hadn’t held his caucus together, Scott Brown wouldn’t have become the 41st vote and almost brought the bill down. At the health-care summit, Republicans offered an alternative vision for an entirely different direction in reform and found a star to articulate it in Paul Ryan. They couldn’t stop the large Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate from passing the bill, but the way they performed provides hope for the ongoing debate.

None of the above means we should minimize what happened yesterday. It’s a severe blow. But if we are to recover, we can’t despair.

— Rich Lowry is editor of National Review.