Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Care to guess who said this, in reference to congressional Republicans?

"They've complained for two years about this health care bill. They've offered alternatives, but they're not alternatives that are in many ways viable. Well, now they have to put up the goods. They have to say 'here's what we're presenting, here's why it will work.'...

"Let's see what they do. I say give them a chance. Let the Republican Party put up or shut up."

Would you believe it was, in fact, a congressional Republican?

Freshman Rep. Richard Hanna (R) from central New York made the comments to a local reporter last week, not long after Hanna voted to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with nothing. He went on to say he considered the repeal vote "ceremonial" and wasn't crazy about scrap the entire law "without reforming what is already here."

This comes a week after a different Republican freshman in the House, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), said he didn't want to vote for repeal, but was talked into it by GOP leaders who vowed to work on alternative solutions.

Greg Sargent had the right take on this, noting that these guys have gone "way off the national Republican Party's message."

While one doesn't want to make too much of the fact that two Republicans have talked openly along these lines, their comments strongly suggest that some GOPers are skeptical of the leadership's promise to come up with their own replacement solutions, and will exert pressure on them to come through on that vow. Even if there's no denying that the health reform law is unpopular, it seems clear that some Republicans are aware that the politics of repeal are potentially treacherous for them and that they need to tread very carefully.

Exactly. Democrats have been embracing the reform law with more certainty, looking for opportunities to go on the offensive (the way they didn't want to last year). The opportunity is obvious: every Republican in the House -- including Hanna and Duffy -- just voted to force seniors to pay more for prescription medication. And to allow discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. And to kick young adults off their family plans. And to raise taxes on small businesses. And to return to a dysfunctional system in which untold numbers of Americans lost their homes, savings, businesses, and quite possibly their lives, simply because they got sick.

Is it any wonder why some of these Republicans might question whether the strategy dictated by their party's leadership?

Steve Benen 3:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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Last sentence missing couple of words -

Posted by: Mimi on February 10, 2011 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

it's one thing to be against health care reform when you're a minority party; it's another when you actually have responsibility to govern. when you're a minority, you can throw out generalities about market-based solutions, about the evil that lurks in the thousands of pages that make up the new act. they can claim the majority blocked their ideas from coming to the floor, and they can get away with it. now, there are no excuses. it's time for the republicans to put up concrete ideas, there are no barriers, no one keeping them from detailing their ideas. the problem is they have none. the republican leaders are nothing more than empty suits who opposed the affordable healthcare act for purely political purposes.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on February 10, 2011 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"question the strategy dictated by their leadership?"

Some of these newly elected Republicans may be able to read, some may watch some other TV channel than Fox and some may have an actual, real, memory that goes back further than two years and two months. In which case they would KNOW exactly what Party stood by and ran this country into the ground for 8 years.....a knowledge that certainly could lead to questioning their party's leadership since it is the same leadership.... I sure as hell do.

Posted by: T2 on February 10, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

These guys are not absorbing the true gist of their leaderships desires. The repeal is the whole point, not coming up with alternatives. Knocking leftist works off the table is the point, not helping Americans get health coverage.

Posted by: Skip on February 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Any chance some GOPers are realizing that the Obamacare Act isn't the job killing monster that they tried to fool the voters with?

If the ACA is scrapped, at least 250,000 jobs would simply go POOF!

Now, who is anti-jobs? Dems or Repubs?

The GOP has a fake ability to govern. Just like the Speaker's tan....fake.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be a walking while chewing gum problem with the republicants. For some unfathomable reason, they are unable to do a day's work on thier version of HCR without first repealing what's there. Could it be that they have no intention of ever coming up with a plan and want to revert to the skyrocketing status quo? Not even republicans are stupid enough to come out and admit that. The only other option is single payer, which they hate even more. So they muddy the waters with shreaks of SOCIALISM!!! and REPEAL!!! and hope that no one notices how badly they batter America's middle class.

Posted by: JoeW on February 10, 2011 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'll believe it when I see more than a handful of Republicanhandjobs.
The rest are brainless lemmings.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 10, 2011 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Someone remarked here recently that the Republicans really only had one issue: tax breaks for the well-off. That's done. They have nothing else in their agenda except playing to their base. No health care program, no jobs program, no infrastructure program. Just a bunch of loony legislative tricks designed to appeal to a very loony conservative base. It will be a long two years.

Posted by: Bob on February 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"..Democrats have been embracing the reform law with more certainty, looking for opportunities to go on the offensive (the way they didn't want to last year)..".

Should have prefaced that by noting "With much of their blue dog contingent defeated last November..".

Posted by: JW on February 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Wait. What?! These two are just now realizing that the GOP leadership doesn't have any viable alternate solutions? Head hits desk.

Posted by: freya on February 10, 2011 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

E Pluribus Unum - except Republicans, who seem at this time to be sound and fury signifying nothing! No, really, nothing! They haven't shown anyone their plans to help solve anything, especially the unemployment problem here in America.

Where are the jobs Mr. Speaker? Where are the policies that will bring jobs back to American workers Mitch?

Until the Congressional Republicans show me the plan(s) that reflect a thorough understanding of how the economy actually works, they got nothing, and I and everyone's brother (and sister) will not stop calling bullshit on them until they man up and start governing responsibly!

Hey Boehner and McConnell, the campaigns are over! What you got in the way of governance? I hope it's more than the nothing you've offered us for the past month and a half! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Comments from a couple of freshman Representatives doesn't constitute "pressure". The Republican Party to date has not felt any real pressure to come up with an alternative version of health care reform--certainly not pressure from the Tea Party element. When and if they do propose an alternative, my guess is it will pretty much look like their usual: tax breaks, tort reform, selling insurance across state lines. Same old same old.

Posted by: DRF on February 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

What this tells me is that the Republicans don't have ANY plan to replace HCR and NEVER DID. Otherwise I think members of their own party would know at least something about what it was.

Posted by: JEA on February 10, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Congressional Democrats ought to go to the floor of the House and Senate every single day and ask for the Republican "replacement" health care reform legislation. When none is presented, have it read into the Congressional Record every single day that the Republicans have no plan. That way, there is a well-documented, easily accessible public audit trail that proves these reptiles are just blowing smoke out their slimy asses.

Posted by: Sam Simple on February 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Congressional offices have to deal with lots of constituent issues, many involving Medicare. They did a good job of scaring these elderly voters about how the evil Dems are trying to cut their Medicare. Now these elderly are going to their doctors for their check-ups and finding out there is no co-pay or deductible for their wellness tests. Some got $250 checks last year for drugs. Now who wants to tell them they have to pay that money back? It is no mystery that both Congressmen are from areas with lots of elderly.

Posted by: Th on February 10, 2011 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

@Sam Simple: and also ask every day...Where are the jobs? Enter into the Congressional Record that they've done nothing to spur job creation as they promised.

Posted by: PJ on February 10, 2011 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats have been embracing the reform law with more certainty, looking for opportunities to go on the offensive (the way they didn't want to last year)."

Now the Democrats want to go one the offensive about health care? If they had gone on the offensive from the beginning, the GOP wouldn't have been able to turn the public against HCR and ride that wave to a majority position in the House. It's a bit late to start touting the bill's many virtues, now that the GOP's lies have cemented in the minds of the public. Not only did the Democrats stand nearly mute as the GOP spewed outrageous lies about death panels, etc., the Democrats actually took affirmative steps to cement the GOP's narrative about health care reform. First they gave the GOP credit for "sharing the view that pre-existing condition exclusions should be eliminated," an assertion that had zero basis in fact. Second, they freely used (and still use) the ridulous GOP term "Obamacare," apparently unaware (really?) that the term was coined by the GOP as a slur and reinforces the GOP's claim that Obama is taking over America's health care system. And third, they repeatedly referred (and continue to refer) to the HCR law as the "Affordable Care Act," rather than by the first part of its full name, "the Patient Protection Act," adding credibility to the GOP's claim that the new health care law is really a massive welfare program, rather than an attempt to protect all Americans from abusive insurance practices. If you're going to take on the GOP, the health insurance lobby, the Koch brothers, and every other free-market maniac, you'd better show up with something other than good intentions and a chorus of Kumbaya.

Posted by: ameshall on February 10, 2011 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK



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