Monday, March 22, 2010


I know it's precisely what most observers predicted, but I guess I'm surprised by the muted, defeated tone of the Republicans' reactions to the health care vote. For instance, I sure expected something a hell of a lot angrier than this from the New York Post:

And even National Review's editorial begins,

"Nil desperandum" -- never despair.

That's "never despair," not "never surrender." And the tone of the rest of it is far more resigned than I would have expected:

We understand the odds against repeal. We understand, indeed, that complete repeal of every provision of the bill is impossible. The doughnut hole -- a gap in Medicare's prescription-drug coverage designed to encourage seniors to economize -- has been filled, and it is not going to be re-opened.

But the larger thesis seems as superficially plausible, and as ultimately convincing, as were earlier predictions that state socialism or secularization were our inevitable future. It is quite possible that the majority of America that rejects this legislation will get its way in the next few years -- if it is given the right leadership. And it is worth the effort to try.

I'm not backing down from my contention that Republicans aren't going to give up and let this legislation become law without a real fight -- being pro-nullification is clearly a litmus test for Republicans. (John McCain: "We'll challenge it every place we can. ... We'll fight everywhere.") The name of Virginia's pro-nullification attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, is surely about to show up on cheaply made T-shirts with "for President" under it -- he's on Fox tonight:

But I think the Republicans are a bit gobsmacked precisely because Democrats have been so hapless for so long. Even despite 2006 and 2008, Republicans have mostly been the New York Yankees of politics for a long time, and the Democrats, for the past year, have seemed like the 1919-2003 Boston Red Sox. For all Republicans' talk of unchecked Democratic fascism, they had Dems pinned down time after time; the president was a lot more like Fred Armisen's Saturday Night Live "I've done nothing" guy than the jackbooted thug of GOP rhetoric. I think Republicans had really fallen for the notion that Obama and Nancy Pelosi and the rest were never going to be anything but stumblebums. (Sniping from over here on the left, my own included I suppose, surely reinforced this notion).

And then the cursed losers won. And Republicans seem to be somewhat in a state of shock. It won't last, but it's satisfying.


UPDATE: Though I do think tc in comments has this exactly right:

They had the same muted, resigned tone right after the 08 election, a feeling that the outcome was richly deserved. It took them about a month to start ginning up the apolcalypse again. It started with Rush Limbaugh saying he hoped Obama fails.

Same thing will happen this time, only quicker. My bet is, Rush Limbaugh will carve out some rage points today and tomorrow, and by the end of the week, they'll be happily talking about violent revolution again.

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