Sunday, December 20, 2009

Republican healthcare blunder?

Assuming Lieberman doesn't bolt and the Democrats get healthcare reform through Congress, Jonathan Chait thinks this shows an enormous blunder (at least ex post) by the Republicans. Democrats were so desperate for a "bipartisan" bill that they would have made massive concessions to get it through with Republican help.

Instead, Chait says of the Republicans: "They lost. In the end, they'll walk away with nothing. The Republicans may gain some more seats in 2010 by their total obstruction, but the substantive policy defeat they've been dealt will last for decades."

For this to be a failure even ex post, one would have to assume that the Republicans in Congress actually care what healthcare policy the U.S. follows. I don't think they care in the slightest. They are only into power, not governing. Hence it makes perfect sense for them to be indifferent to improving (from their claimed policy standpoint) the content of enacted legislation, and to focus purely on trying to recapture the White House and Congress through unmitigated obstructionism. And if you recall Medicare prescription drugs, it often wasn't much different when they WERE in power.