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December 21st, 2009 at 10:19 pm David Frum | 8 Comments |

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Paul Krugman, unhealthy Dec. 20, 2009

Heroes of health reform

I haven’t seen anyone point this out; but it occurs to me that we all owe thanks to the Club for Growth. If they hadn’t targeted Arlen Specter, he wouldn’t have switched parties, the Democrats wouldn’t have 60 seats, and the world might look very different.

FrumForum, April 28, 2009.

Another Triumph For The Club For Growth

With Arlen Specter’s defection, all that stands between the Democrats and a 60-seat Senate majority are Norman Coleman’s lawyers….

Which means that Democrats won’t need to resort to unorthodox tactics to push, say, their healthcare bill through Congress. They’ll have the votes.

If the Democrats do succeed in pushing through national health insurance, they really should set aside a little extra money to erect a statue to Pat Toomey. They couldn’t have done it without him!

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • teabag

    Yep, thanks guys, you are your own wort enemy. :-)

  • teabag

    That should be worst. Wort is some sort of poison. On the other hand maybe not such a typo.

  • PracticalGirl

    Proving once again that the GOP tent is not only getting smaller, it’s getting narrower. And it has absolutely no game when it comes to political strategy that requires thinking more than 2 months into the future. And that it has no idea of the concept of “consequence”.

    But do give credit where credit is due, David. It doesn’t lie anywhere near the GOP. You might not like it, but the Democrats did exactly as they promised to do in their campaign. And WAAA-HOO!!! I have grown weary of living in a country where we commit troops and trillions (and don’t even question the underlying evidence) in a matter of weeks to “help” people half way across the world, yet drag our feet over a decades-old problem and bitch about the “short” nine month debate when it comes to helping Americans.

  • mpolito

    How do we know the GOP would stay united against this is Specter stayed in place? Snowe, Collins, and Specter would still have moseyed on over; the only reason that they have not is because they know the Dems have their 60 votes now and so they can have their cake and eat it too.

  • aleax

    As a moderate progressive (with no sympathy for many policies often associated with progressives, such as hampering free trades or kowtowing to public employees unions), but quite apart from any single issue, I’m entirely convinced that the political health of a nation requires two big-tent sides, able to compete strongly but with mutual respect, and to cooperate and compromise on big legislation — essentially, the original, revolutionary British concept of “the Loyal Opposition”.

    The capture of either side by its extremist, such as the lefties who made Liebermann leave the Dems AND the righties who made Spector leave the Reps, is ultimately a tragedy for BOTH sides, and for the polity as a whole.

    The damaged to the “captured” side is most obvious and immediate, but if it gets as bad as giving the other side a temporary monopoly on power, that’s damage too — power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely (a couple decades in power without proper checks and balances, and realistic prospects of losing power at each election, will turn *any* party, or coalition for that matter, into a mush of corruption, arrogance and collusion).

  • balconesfault

    Aleax – while I do agree that the legislative process is improved by parties that compete for the center, rather than compete to placate their extremes … I do take issue with using Lieberman as an example.

    First, you must note that the Democratic leadership campaigned for Lieberman during his primary loss. Even after that, most major Dem politicians held back from actively campaigning for Lamont when Lieberman challenged him as a 3rd Party candidate. And after Lieberman won, Reid immediately pushed to accept Lieberman back into the caucus, and allowed him to retain his prominent committee chair.

    That said, Joe Lieberman didn’t simply break with most Democrats on the two largest issues of the decade – the war in Iraq, and the inclusion of a public option during the healthcare debate – Lieberman has attacked politicians from his own party more than any politician I can remember in my lifetime. Were a Republican to go to the media to attack his fellow Republicans with anywhere near the frequency that Lieberman has spent the last 12 years attacking Democrats, anyone defending him would be run out of the party, much less the politician himself. Were a Republican to have campaigned for Obama with the diligence that Lieberman campaigned for McCain, he would never get within sniffing distance of a committee chair for the rest of his career.

  • sinz54

    aleax and balconesfault:

    The ideological activists in both parties often revolt against centrism.

    But when it comes to actually expelling members from the party, the GOP base does this much more often than the Dem base. Lieberman was noteworthy because kicking him out in favor of Lamont was a rare event.

    Right now, the GOP base is on a crusade to expel so-called “RINOs” from the party. I haven’t seen any comparable crusade from the Dem base to expel all their moderates.

    In fact, in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the Dem base was glad to run Dem moderates in Red States and Red Districts, because they recognized that any success at advancing one’s ideology requires political power–which comes from being a majority party.

    The GOP base steadfastly refuses to acknowledge this. They won’t support GOP moderates (much less center-leftists) running in Blue States and Blue Districts–in fact they prefer to just write off Blue areas as unreachable. They believe the reverse–that if your ideas are right and you advocate them staunchly enough, voters will flock to you and you’ll be the majority party inevitably.

    That’s a fantasy, of course.

  • Superdave12

    @ teabag – Wort isn’t a poison, its beer before its fermented. : )

    David Frum,

    I suspected your insight was correct all along. I imagine this vindication is a little bitter sweet though. I suspect that those who should be listening to you, however, have not. Keep up the good analysis!