bookmark_borderThe Republican Waterloo

Ever since the Democrats managed to enact the big American health reform, I’ve been wondering why the Republicans have been so vociferous in their opposition.

It’s not like it’s a very radical reform – it doesn’t even get close to creating a public health system like the UK’s NHS and Denmark’s similar institution.

I finally found a Republican blog posting that made it all click into place for me.

Do read the whole thing, but here’s a few paragraphs to whet your appetite:

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. […]

[W]e do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994. […]

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat. 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.