It has come to Peggy Noonan's attention that people in politics occasionally talk about something other than Obamacare, and she wants everyone to know that that is simply not acceptable!
Republicans should stop taking the boob bait of the press. The story of the day is ObamaCare and the pain it is causing the Democrats. That story is not being fully explored....This is rather an odd thing for Peggy Noonan to say, given the fact that four days ago she published a 1,200-word column entirely about Chris Christie. A week ago she essentially handed her column over to Mitch McConnell so he could tell the tea party and the Senate Conservatives Fund to kiss his ass (OK, admittedly that's about 2014, not 2016); a couple of weeks before that, she held a seance with Robert Taft, in which (she claimed) Taft told her that the tea party and the GOP establishment should just don love beads and sing "Kumbaya" together.
The focus of political journalism now should be on what's happening on the Democratic side, because ObamaCare is a Democratic program. They bought it, they built it, what now? ...
What are we seeing on the Republican side? Nonstop taking of the press's boob bait. "Potential Christie Rival Says He's Not Conservative," "GOP Readies for 2016 Battle Reflecting Party Divisions," "GOPer: 'Moderation the Path,'" "GOPer: Why Do Women Hate Us?" "Establishment Hates Grass Roots," "Grass Roots Hates Establishment," "Libertarians Hate Everyone," "Everyone Hates Them," "Republican: Even I Hate Me."
Someone should tell Republicans that the story now, next week and this winter is ObamaCare, not 2016. It is what to do about ObamaCare. 2016 is not the subject now, it is a changing of the subject.
The woman now yelling at people for not having a monomaniacal focus on Obamacare was telling us two weeks ago that the national security state "is actually the big thing our country should be talking about now, needs to be talking about and would be talking about if only our president had not decided, a few years ago, to blow up the U.S. health-care system." Six months ago, she was telling us that Benghazi was bad, but "nothing can damage us more as a nation than what is happening at the Internal Revenue Service." For the love of God, which is it, Peggy? Which thing is the one thing we absolutely need to focus on, to the exclusion of all else? We're confused!
There are, of course, some some very effective psychopharmaceuticals for this sort of ADHD. Someone really needs to write a script for Noonan.
Noonan suspends her rage at people thinking about 2016 just long enough to, um, think about 2016. The person she's thinking about, naturally, is Hillary Clinton:
Is the press beginning to focus on the Democrats and 2016? To a small degree. Mostly they're fixed on Hillary Clinton. Someone said on cable this morning that there's the Elizabeth Warren story, she's being mentioned. Somebody else said Sen. Warren's in the news as a possible contender because the press needs a 2016 story on the Democratic side, it's no fun to cover a coronation. True enough. But even truer is this: Hillary needs a fight. She has to prove she can win, not glide. She needs someone to defeat. Democrats understand Mrs. Clinton's eventual future primary win will be tarnished, even clouded, if no one serious gets in to do battle with her. She has to appear to have fought for it. So they're in search of a few interesting contenders who can fight hard and lose well.Do you think Hillary needs a fight in 2016? Do you know anyone who thinks that? Me either. It seems to me Hillary's had enough fights for one lifetime, thank you very much, and as the nominee she'll do plenty of fighting against the GOP.
You know who needs Hillary Clinton to have a primary fight in 2016? Peggy Noonan. Noonan needs there to be a Hillary Clinton primary fight so she can despise Hillary for the way she fights. That's the only need here.
And then Noonan writes this:
More than four years ago, in July 2009, I wrote a column in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered President Obama some wisdom on health care. Obama's newly proposed plan -- the Affordable Care Act -- wouldn't work, said FDR....OK: what's crazier about this? The fact that Noonan believes Obama could have gotten single payer past the Republicans if he'd just thought to call it Medicare reform? Or the fact that she thinks an FDR she made up is incredibly wise because he's the real FDR?
But FDR had an idea -- a sly one, as his ideas usually were. First, he told Obama, drop your current bill. Second, take everyone aback by talking constantly about the national medical program that already exists, Medicare. Show your love for it, insistently -- but also admit very freely what isn't quite perfect about it....
The sly fox was telling the young president to show good faith to Republicans by admitting problems, and reassure Democrats by showing his heart and commitment to federal solutions. "Then, at the end," said FDR, "get your Democratic majorities to make one little change in the program -- it's now open to all. You don't have to be 65. The uninsured can enroll....”
"Voila. You now have the single-payer system you wanted." "Everybody wins. You get expansion, Republicans get cost control, the system is made more secure, and the public for once isn’t terrified."
... I still believe FDR was more or less right....