## Passage of Moderate RomneyCare Drives Republicans Insane

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The insane Republicans:

Today, America witnessed the first vote for the end of representative government. ... The American people are sick of the blatant arrogance of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and the Senate Majority Leader Reid. Congressional Democrats can be sure that voters in their districts will not forget this vote that will negatively affect Americans for generations to come. It is time to fire Nancy Pelosi and send a message to President Obama that it's time to stop their partisan liberal agenda of government takeovers...

Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?  Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn't want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don't find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, social security!  Au revoir, Medicare!  The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn't--if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission--then the legislative lock-in you're counting on wouldn't exist.... [T]here are a lot of GOP members out there tonight who think that they should get at least one free "Screw You" vote to balance out what the Democrats just did. If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them.... What I hope is that the Democrats take a beating at the ballot boxand rethink their contempt for those mouth-breathing illiterates in the electorate. I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care. Not because I think I will like his opponent--I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama's opponent says. But because politicians shouldn't feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them. We're not a parliamentary democracy, and we don't have the mechanisms, like votes of no confidence, that parliamentary democracies use to provide a check on their politicians. The check that we have is that politicians care what the voters think. If that slips away, America's already quite toxic politics will become poisonous...

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Barack Obama: [T]he famous opening of Karl Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire.... "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”... Now we have the second appearance of ’60s liberalism in the... Obama administration. Marx noted... “only the ghost of the old revolution circulated,” producing an “adventurer” who... who was “only a caricature of the old Napoleon.” Similarly, in the America of our time, we have a ghostly version of the liberalism of the 1960s, led by a man who is only a caricature of the vigorous if often mistaken liberals who once sought to reshape the nation...

(4) Peter Robinson:

From... Dostoyevsky’s story-within-a-story in The Brothers Karamazov

Know then, that now, and only now, Thy people feel fully sure and satisfied of their freedom; and that only since they have themselves and of their own free will delivered that freedom unto our hands by placing it submissively at our feet.... Wouldst Thou go into the world empty-handed?  Wouldst Thou venture thither with Thy vague and undefined promise of freedom, which men, dull and unruly as they are by nature, are unable so much as to understand, which they avoid and fear?—for never was there anything more unbearable to the human race than personal freedom…!  I repeat to Thee, man has no greater anxiety in life than to find someone to whom he can make over that gift of freedom with which the unfortunate creature is born.... They will have no secrets from us.  It will rest with us to permit them to live with their wives and concubines, or to forbid them, to have children or remain childless, either way depending on the degree of their obedience to us; and they will submit most joyfully to us the most agonizing secrets of their souls—all, all will they lay down at our feet, and we will authorize and remit them all in Thy name, and they will believe us and accept our mediation with rapture, as it will deliver them from their greatest anxiety and torture—that of having to decide freely for themselves...

(5) Mark Steyn:

[I]t's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage... we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis... this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history.... Their bet is that... over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care... changes... the very character of the people... there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.... [I]t's also unaffordable... one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability.... [I]f you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity. Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side...

(6) Clive Crook: A Tainted Victory:

[A] tainted victory. [Scott] Brown won in Massachusetts... the country dislikes... this particular bill.... People struggle to understand how extending health insurance to 32 million Americans, at a cost of a trillion dollars over ten years, can be a deficit-reducing measure.... The CBO notwithstanding, the public is right not to believe these claims.... [T]he law the Democrats just passed is unpopular... is opposed by most of the country... is this trampling down of public opinion going to be habit-forming? Recall Pelosi's recent comment that once the Democrats have "kicked through this door", they can move on to the rest of their (equally unpopular) agenda.... Obama has broken faith with American voters. He promised post-partisan leadership. He promised to moderate the warring tribes on Capitol Hill, and strive for common-sense, centrist solutions. Then, on this epic issue, he allied himself with--in fact, subordinated himself to--liberal Democrats in Congress... he has divided the country more deeply than ever. And he has pushed through a far-reaching measure that country does not want...

America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power. President Obama has betrayed his oath.... He calls his accomplishment “historic” — in this he is correct, although not for the reason he intends. Rather, it is an historic usurpation of the legislative process — he unleashed the nuclear option, enlisted not a single Republican vote in either chamber, bribed reluctant members of his own party, paid-off his union backers, scapegoated insurers, and justified his act with patently fraudulent accounting.... [T]he act should be repealed. That campaign begins today.

I am of course neither shaken nor stirred at the passing of the health-care bills. It was to be expected.... Western civilization, over my lifetime, has been a slow-sinking ship. The few who have known what is happening have worked desperately.... It's been a losing fight, though. The tilt of the decks is harder and harder to ignore. Last night, a major bulkhead gave way. Soon a funnel will topple over with a great crash and a shower of sparks. Yet still the band is playing, the people are dancing, the food coming up from the galley.... It'll be over soon. We'll be down in the cold, lightless depths of imperial despotism — in which, after all, the great majority of human beings, throughout history, have always lived.... I once tried to compute the sheer quantity, in man-years, of lives lived under the despotic order — Egyptians and Assyrians, Persians and Chinese, Romans and post-Alexander Greeks, Incas and Aztecs, Umayyads and Abbasids, Ottomans and Zulus, Tsars and General Secretaries . . . as against humans in liberty, ruled by common consent. It came out at around a hundred to one.

Here are some interstellar travelers chatting at a cocktail party:

"But tell me: How were things when you left? Especially, how is the United States getting along with its Noble Experiment?" ""Noble Experiment'?" I had to think; Prohibition was gone before I was born. "Oh, that was repealed." "Really? I must go back for a field trip. What have you now? A king? I could see that your country was headed that way but I did not expect it so soon." "Oh, no," I said. "I was talking about Prohibition." "Oh, that. Symptomatic but not basic. I was speaking of the amusing notion of chatter rule. 'Democracy.' A curious delusion — as if adding zeros could produce a sum..." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Glory Road

(9) John McCain:

There will be no cooperation [in the Senate] for the rest of the year. They [the Democrats] have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it...

(10) Tony Blankley:

RomneyCare: Sunday’s Socialist Triumph: Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday launched the Democrats’ argument for the health-care bill, claiming, “This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.” Does that suggest that opposition is un-American? And what are the American traditions that this law fulfills? The Democrats argue that the bill fulfills the “right” of all Americans to government-assured health-care services. The congressional Democrats claim many other things that a majority of the country believes to be inconsistent with truth and reality....

What House Minority Leader John A. Boehner has called the Battle of Capitol Hill is over. I expect that the Battle of the Electorate is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of a nonsocialist America. Upon it depends our own American way of life and the long continuity of our institutions and our history. The whole fury and might of the media and the Democratic party must very soon be trained on the electorate. If they can stand up to the coming propaganda, America may be free, and the life of the wider free world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if the voters succumb to those seven months of blandishments and deceptions, then free America — including all that we have known and cared for — will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let the public therefore brace itself to its duties, and so concentrate its mind on the true facts, that if the American spirit of freedom and dignity last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was the American voters’ finest hour”...

**SPECIAL BONUS JOHN BOEHNER "NO YOU CAN'T!!!!"

As a reality-check baseline on the passage of RomneyCare, David Frum:

[T]he 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. Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now.... This bill will not be repealed.... [H]ow 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? 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. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?...

And Obamacare:

Not everything about the Democrats’ healthcare proposals is bad from a free-market, limited-government point of view. But... I would determinedly vote “nay.”...

1) The House bill finances health insurance subsidies in part with a highly redistributive tax: a 5.4% surtax on individuals earning more than $500,000 per year and families earning more than$1 million... a wedge to open the way to further redistributive taxes.... Some measure of redistribution is inescapable in modern healthcare: Insurance has become so expensive that the less affluent half of the population cannot afford coverage unaided. But... it is super-dangerous to load costs on a few at the top of the income distribution....

2) The House bill imposes heavy new costs on small business at the beginning of what looks to be a weak and fragile job recovery....

3) Where are the cost controls? The excise tax on high-coverage plans is postponed into the wild blue yonder....

4) Illegal aliens do not qualify for subsidies under the House plan, but they can buy into the health exchanges. We should be focusing on making the U.S. labor market less attractive to illegal labor, not more so.

5) Medicaid is perhaps the single most dysfunctional major social welfare program we have. The House bill makes it bigger...

(I would say that (1), (2), and (4) are not serious worries, but (3) and (5) may be.) That's what a not-insane Republican said. Here's another: And Andrew Samwick:

We On The Right Should Remember 2003 When We Lament 2010: I was distressed to read this post by Megan McArdle.... There seem to be three complaints here. The first is that the American people don't want health care reform, or at least this version of health care reform. I don't think anyone will hold up the bill that will pass as exemplary, but it does reflect elements of health care reform that Democrats campaigned on and won on in 2008.  So I have a hard time seeing this as doing violence to the will of the people as it is typically expressed in our electoral system. Elections matter. This is how they matter. The second complaint is that the Democrats have done violence to the legislative process to get the bill passed  I am not a fan of these crazy parliamentary tricks, but just rewind the clock, as Bruce Bartlett does so well, to the 2003 legislative process on Medicare Part D.... I am going to need to be convinced that what happened in March 2010 is a more hideous affront to standards of legislative conduct than what happened in November 2003... calling BS on claims that the Democrats have somehow stooped to a new low. Sadly, they have not. The third complaint is the most legitimate of the three, that we have created a new entitlement with dubious financing and greater government involvement in the provision of health care. This is more true than I would like it to be, but given what Republicans passed with Medicare Part D, they have surrendered the fiscally responsible high ground. And, more importantly, they surrendered the political high ground when they failed to propose a coherent alternative that addressed the critical problems of pre-existing conditions in health insurance markets.... That was the fight they should have had. To say that they lost would not be right. They simply didn't show up.

I would say Republican Mitt Romney did show up--in Massachusetts--but then concluded he could not get the Republican presidential nomination if he showed up to the national debate (and that he was probably right to think so).