Bush and Republicans deserve some responsibility for ObamaCare

Over at American Spectator, Phillip Klein writes what many conservatives and Republicans should be acknowledging after the passage of ObamaCare:

[N]one of this would have been possible without George W. Bush — or more broadly speaking, Bush era Republicanism. While they were in power, Republicans squandered an opportunity to push free market health care solutions. When they did use their power to pass major legislation, it was for policies like the big government Medicare prescription drug plan, which was (until today) the largest expansion of entitlements since the Great Society. They took earmarks and doled out farm and energy subsidies. They earned a reputation for fiscal recklessness and corruption and incompetent governance. President Obama ultimately forced through the health care bill in spite of the political consequences to his party because he’s ultimately a true believing liberal. But it was only because of the failures of Bush-era Republicanism that an ideological liberal with little experience was able to capture the presidency on the abstract notion of change.

Absolutely dead on. Yes, they got health savings accounts (HSA), but the expansion of an already burdening entitlement is inexcusable.

If Republicans Are Serious About Small Government, Why Are They Ignoring Paul Ryan?

Marc Ambinder notes that when it comes to reducing the size of government, there’s fairly solid evidence that most Republicans in Congress aren’t walking the walk:

Paul Ryan is the Republican idea man of the hour. Karl Rove endorsed Ryan’s approach to budget reform on Glenn Beck, and whenever Republicans are asked about their preferred alternatives to the administration’s deficit reduction intentions, Ryan’s name and proposals are offered up. Hey, Republicans have ideas too. We don’t need health care reform to reduce the deficit — at least not yet.

So prominent Republicans  — particularly those running for president and those who aren’t elected officials — love Paul Ryan when it’s convenient. Why is it, then, that only twelve members of the conference were willing to attach their names to his bill — and none from the leadership? One reason is that Ryan is introducing it in his capacity as a member — not as the ranking member of the budget committee.

The other reason? Maybe they don’t want to be associated with what is a pretty far-ranging radical proposal:

National Journal releases vote rankings for Members of Congress

The National Journal issued its annual vote rankings for Members of Congress last week. The rankings determine who are the most conservative and liberal members of both the House and Senate.

The ratings are odd for libertarians since we do not fit on the left/right, liberal/conservative polticial spectrum. If you wanted to simplify it for the great unwashed you could say we are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. However, that doesn’t fully explain libertarianism. So, take these rankings for what you want since there is no ranking on constitutional fidelity.

Some interesting things I found in the rankings is that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, is the 38th most liberal member of that chamber. Rep. Ron Paul is ranked at the 140th most conservative member in the House. The most liberal Republican in the Senate is Olympia Snowe. The most liberal Republican in the House is Mike Castle. The most conservative Democrat in the Senate is Evan Bayh, while Bobby Bright is the most conservative Democrat in the House.

Ten Most Liberal House Members

Health Care Summit Sham

Despite all the talk about bipartisanship and a willingness to work with Republicans on health care reform, Democrats are pressing forward on ObamaCare:

After a brief period of consultation following the White House health reform summit, congressional Democrats plan to begin making the case next week for a massive, Democrats-only health care plan, party strategists told POLITICO.

A Democratic official said the six-hour summit was expected to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans.”

Democrats plan to begin rhetorical, and perhaps legislative, steps toward the Democrats-only, or reconciliation, process early next week, the strategists said.
Democrats plan to take up the president’s comprehensive, $950 billion plan — referred to on the Hill as “the big bill.” The alternative would be a smaller — or “skinny” — bill that would provide less coverage and cost less. But that would amount to starting the complex process over.

“It’s probably the big bill or nothing,” said a top Democratic aide. “If we don’t get the big bill, I am sure some will push for a skinny bill.”

Democrats’ strategy of giving “a face to gridlock” backfired. Obama was arrogant and defensive and Republicans, for the most part, were prepared to take on the president and Democratic congressional leaders.

Greenwald slams GOP hypocrisy

Glenn Greenwald is absolutely right:

There’s a major political fraud underway:  the GOP is once again donning their libertarian, limited-government masks in order to re-invent itself and, more important, to co-opt the energy and passion of the Ron-Paul-faction that spawned and sustains the ”tea party” movement.  The Party that spat contempt at Paul during the Bush years and was diametrically opposed to most of his platform now pretends to share his views.  Standard-issue Republicans and Ron Paul libertarians are as incompatible as two factions can be — recall that the most celebrated right-wing moment of the 2008 presidential campaign was when Rudy Giuliani all but accused Paul of being an America-hating Terrorist-lover for daring to suggest that America’s conduct might contribute to Islamic radicalism — yet the Republicans, aided by the media, are pretending that this is one unified, harmonious, “small government” political movement.

KY Senate: Rand Paul holds commanding lead

A new poll from Magellan Strategies shows Rand Paul appears to be pulling away from Trey Grayson, the establishment candidate, in the Republican primary for United States Senate in Kentucky.

Rand Paul v. Trey Grayson

  • Grayson: 23%
  • Paul: 44%
  • Undecided: 33%

Paul’s name ID is at 90% with 43% of GOP primary voters having a favorable view of him (12% have an unfavorable view). Grayson on the other hand has an 85% name ID, but only 31% of voters have a favorable view of him and 20% have an unfavorable view.

The interesting dynamic here is that Grayson has been elected statewide, first in 2003 and he won re-election in 2007. It’s remarkable that Rand Paul, who is making his first run for elected office has a higher name ID in a GOP than someone who has run twice statewide and his a current elected official.

GOP hypocrisy on stimulus

See Video

Mike Huckabee Calls CPAC “Too Libertarian”

Former Governor Mike Huckabee explains why he did not attend this years CPAC gathering:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday as outdated, nearly corrupt and unrepresentative of the conservative movement.

Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential contender and potential 2012 candidate who had spoken at the conference for years, said the reason he blew it off this year was that the meeting has become dominated by libertarian activists.

“CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year,” Huckabee said in an interview with Fox News, where he is a paid analyst and has his own show.

He was responding to a question about whether he was upset by his single-digit showing in the conference’s straw poll, which was won by libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Huckabee has ripped libertarians. Back during the 2008 campaign, he referred to libertarianism as the greatest threat to the Republican Party.

Additionally, as James Joyner notes, Huckabee actually makes a point that he didn’t intend to:

Healy: Tea Party should force Republicans on real spending cuts

Gene Healy, author of Cult of the Presidency, offers some very wise words of advice to the tea party movement:

The Tea Partiers insist they’re nonpartisan, devoted only to staving off our looming fiscal apocalypse by any means necessary. If so, they can prove their authenticity by backing substantial cuts in entitlements and defense.

Tea Party pressure has already forced President Obama to call for a three-year freeze of nonsecurity spending. But that’s just 16 percent of the federal budget. You could zero that out entirely next year and still end up hundreds of billions in the hole.

Rail against earmarks, foreign aid and “welfare queens” to your heart’s content. But all that comes to a rounding error in a $3.7 trillion federal budget, over 75 percent of which consists of defense and entitlements.
In the middle of the recent fight against socialized medicine, Republicans fought hard to protect the chunk of our health care system that’s already socialized. If there’s money to be saved trimming waste from Medicare, “we should spend it on Grandma!” insisted Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. GOP leader Michael Steele proposed a “contract with seniors” insulating Medicare from cuts.

But that’s no surprise. Politicians live to get re-elected, and they won’t change their behavior unless and until voters force them to. What this country desperately needs is a political movement that will pressure them to change their ways.

The Tea Partiers could become that movement — if they’re serious.

Why I Don’t Support The Calls For An American “Question Time”

Today’s Politico notes the birth of a bipartisan movement:

A politically diverse group of bloggers, commentators, techies and politicos on Wednesday will launch an online campaign, Demand Question Time, urging President Barack Obama and GOP congressional leaders to hold regular, televised conversations like the extraordinary exchange in Baltimore on Friday. Supporters include Grover Norquist, Joe Trippi, Mark McKinnon, Ed Morrissey, Ari Melber, Katrina vanden Heuvel and David Corn.

Original endorsers include Grover Norquist and Eli Pariser, Joe Trippi and Mark McKinnon, Markos Moulitsas and Ed Morrissey, and many more, including Ari Melber, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ana Marie Cox and Nate Silver. The steering committee is made up of Micah Sifry, David Corn, Mike Moffo, Mindy Finn, Jon Henke and Glenn Reynolds.


Demand Question Time invites visitors to sign a petition: “We live in a world that increasingly demands more dialogue than monologue. President Obama’s January 29th question-and-answer session with Republican leaders gave the public a remarkable window into the state of our union and governing process. It was riveting and educational. The exchanges were substantive, civil and candid. And in a rare break from our modern politics, sharp differences between elected leaders were on full public display without rancor or ridicule. …

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