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May 13, 2009

More evidence the GOP doesn't know what it stands for any more

WSJ's Kim Strassel comments on the congressional GOP's frustrating silence on the Obama administration's plan to nationalize and socialize health care:
The president has a plan, and he's laid it on the table. The industry groups that once helped Republicans beat HillaryCare are today sitting at that table. Unions are mobilized. A liberal umbrella group, Health Care for American Now, is spending $40 million to get a "public option," a new federal entitlement that would kill off private insurance. Democrats passed a budget blueprint that will allow them to cram through that "public option" with just 51 votes.

Republicans? They're trying to figure out what they think.

Well, not all of them. Earlier this week I ended up in the office of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, where the doctor was hosting North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr. The duo is, for the second time, crafting a comprehensive reform that would lower costs, cover the uninsured, and put Americans in control of their health care. And while the senators decline to talk GOP politics, their bill raises the multitrillion-dollar question: Will the party have the nerve or sense to coalesce behind some such conservative alternative to the Democratic product?

[...] no small number of Senate Republicans are biding their time in Max Baucus land, waiting to see what the Democratic finance chairman produces as a "bipartisan" product. (Read: A bill the president wants.) This crowd has taken to heart Mr. Obama's accusation that they are the party of "no," and think it might be easier to be the party of Baucus, or the party of Baucus-lite, or the party of nothing whatsoever.
Whenever the GOP slips into minority status, they have the annoying tendency to be the ME TOO party. With health care it happened during the Clinton administration, and it's happening again now: the administration does a full-frontal assault on the independence of the health care industry, and the GOP responds with various "kinder, gentler" alternatives.

The GOP alternatives are said to be more "conservative" because they spend less of the taxpayers' money.

The alternatives are generally more friendly to free enterprise, but every one of them concedes the assertion that a federal solution is required. Never mind that the feds have no constitutional authority to meddle with the health care industry in the first place. I'm enough of a realist to know that constitutional literacy has not gained any serious traction in Washington within any of our lifetimes.

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