I was reading Newt Gingrich’s response to the health care vote and a single thought occurred to me: the vote was as much a failure on the part of Republicans to articulate conservative principals as solutions to problems as it was a success of Democrats at extolling the virtues of big government solutions.
Specifically outside of tort reform, which arguable represents a very minor portion of the nation’s health care bill (maybe 3-5%), where were the ideas on the part of conservatives to stop the rise of health care costs at triple the rate of inflation? Where were the ideas from conservatives to expand coverage to those who lack it? To the last point, I’ve actually heard prominent Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh basically deny that there are that many un-insured Americans in the first place. I’ve seen that M.O. before: if you don’t believe that there is a problem, then it’s much easier to criticize the solutions of others.
My opening paragraph also was validated by the floor speeches of Republican Representatives who talked about how the current bill was bad, but offered nothing but sloganeering in return. Budget buster? Possibly yes, but I didn’t see any real alternatives. Maybe this is all the point. The solid wall of Republican opposition yesterday may have more to do with the November election and garnering more power than it did actually solving the real problems that exist in the American health care system. Call me a cynic, but I expect government to help solve our collective problems, not engage in grand-standing solely to increase the political power of one faction or another. Give credit where credit is due though: the Democrats voted in majority to support this bill, but they didn’t vote as a collective flock of sheeple.
The GOP has had multiple sessions of Congress where they held majority positions, but yet the failed to offer any form of meaningful health care reform since they torpedoed the reform initiated during the first Clinton term. Why? I’m not entirely sure of the reason, but yet it’s pretty clear that we now know what they are against. Alas, the problem though is that simply being "against" solves nothing.