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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Snapshot of the Republican disaster

An excellent and succinct piece by Josh Barro who is (I believe) my fellow Republican (though for how much longer in his case or mine who can tell?): "Republicans Do Crazy Things Because They Have Crazy Beliefs." Excerpt:
The changes from Obamacare, good and bad, are marginal. It will not fundamentally change America. 
For about 30 million people, Obamacare will mean the difference between having health insurance and not having it. Other people will get higher quality insurance. And there will also be negative effects: rich people will pay higher taxes; fees on insurance premiums will modestly raise the cost of health insurance for some; businesses that don't provide health insurance will pay penalties; fewer full-time jobs for low-skill workers may be created; some people will end up having to change doctors. 
Nobody would say "I'm concerned that the employer mandate will have a moderate negative effect on low-skill employment, so we should bring the U.S. government to the brink of default to stop it." Or "Obamacare fees will add 2.8% to group insurance premiums, and stopping that rise is more important than paying our debts." Those statements are crazy.
Me: The above comes apropos the absurd statement from Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) that "This law [Obamacare] is going to destroy America, and everything in America, and we need to stop it." This is the same guy who offered the insight that "All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell." Meanwhile, my congressman, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) is avowing that he won't vote for a debt ceiling deal unless it delays or defunds Obamacare. And it's becoming conventional wisdom in the party that not raising the debt ceiling would not mean default because the Treasury can just pay interest and not other stuff, which is false and would still be folly even if it were true. And the supposedly reasonable people in the party don't have the guts to stand up against this nonsense.

It's a disgraceful time for the Republican Party. Will the emerging anti-Tea Party backlash be enough to salvage anything of value from this decaying, more than century-and-a-half old institution? The next few weeks may tell.

UPDATE 11:18 AM: Recommended: "Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Political Parties," by David Frum.

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