Deep down, we've probably all figured this one out already. But I think it currently sits in the back of our subconscious minds, unwilling to step to the front and be formally recognized. So, as usual, it's time for me to voice my opinion and let that which is hiding in the shadows be brought to light. Now that analysts and journalists have had a chance to pour over the new healthcare legislation and point out it's strengths and faults, I can see why Republicans are so incredibly mad over the passage of the bill.
It has nothing to do with any of the criticisms which have been made against it. Essentially, this healthcare legislation is the same thing that the then Governor of Massachussetts, Mitt Romney, passed into law in his state some years ago. It's also essentially the same plan that Republicans proposed as an alternate to Bill Clinton's healthcare legislation back in the early 1990's. It had 200 Republican-sponsored amendments to it on top of all that, and some reforming corrective measures were pushed through the Senate afterwards, sponsored by -- you guessed it -- Republicans. This new healthcare law couldn't be more Republican if it had been drafted by Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich. John McCain would have drafted a more liberal bill! Yet not a single Republican voted for it, and the entire conservative movement universally blasts the bill as being part of a "socialist agenda," which was "rammed down our throats." Conservatives are so up in arms that they're threatening violence, and in some cases, doing more than just threatening. Fucking why?
Part of it is just good, solid tactics. Had even one Republican voted for the healthcare bill, at least a couple of Democrats would have wondered why, taken a closer look at the legislation, and said to themselves, "Holy shit! This bill is really Republican!" And then insisted on the public option we all deserve as citizens. Couldn't have that now, could we? I give full credit to the Republican Party for keeping its head and following through on what may be the most brilliant end-around I've ever seen, especially since this means that I was exactly right in my analysis late last year. (See, "What's Wrong With The Republicans?" December, 2009.) Still, I'm sure many of the GOP's representatives didn't even realize they were being so brilliant.
But Republicans aren't just acting like they're pissed off. They're genuinely pissed off! Which, after playing Democrats like a fifty-cent ukalele, seems about as much sense as an unarmed cargo ship electing to sail along the shores of Somalia. At least privately, you'd think Republicans would be breaking out the cigars and patting themselves on the backs. But they're not! Instead, they're filing hairbrained lawsuits about the law violating interstate commerce regulation, raising insane amounts of money in preparation for congressional campaigns whose primary platform is opposition to this new law, and absolutely vowing its repeal at all costs. One might be tempted to think this is just the usual Republican insanity, and write it off, but I don't think so. I think I know why the fires of rage are so white-hot in the GOP's temper.
You see, this is a victory for Barack Obama. Oh, no! Anything but that! An essentially Republican healthcare bill has been signed into law, but it goes as a victory for Our Trophy President?! Unthinkable!
And why is this important? Because if Obama is seen as successful, he becomes unbeatable. He becomes the icon the GOP fears he'll be. That means eight full years of Democratic control of the White House, and likely another four years after that. More than likely, Obama will choose his successor very carefully, and endorse someone who will last another eight years. (Don't be surprised if it's Joe Biden's replacement on the 2012 ticket, since that gaff-machine is likely to be dumped, and don't be surprised either if it's a Hispanic female.) That means a likelihood of sixteen long years of a Democrat sitting in the chair of the Oval Office.
And there goes the Supreme Court.
Yes, there it is! Republicans, and the leaders of the conservative movement in particular, know how to keep their eyes on the prize. They know that the best way to destroy human freedom and put big-government restrictions and censorships on speech, sex, and religion, is to put a few more Anthony Scalia-like people on the highest nine-justice panel. They know it's their only realistic shot, because they've completely lost the young people, they've generally lost the abortion argument, the once-unstoppable Christian bloc is waning, and they're even starting to lose the "trickle down economics" argument. They also know that their entire agenda will go up in smoke as those currently over the age of 60 begin to die off. Yes, the elderly are living longer, but they won't live forever. Another eight to twelve years could literally be the nail in the coffin for Limbaugh-Beck-Hannity conservatism. It's a race against time, and another decade is a decade they just plain don't have. Losing this round means it costs ALL the marbles!
No wonder they're so pissed!
And notice how this explains the general dispositions of both parties. Republicans are playing fourth-quarter tactics against Democrats who have every reason to believe they're playing in the first quarter!
So, after tricking Democrats into voting for their Republican health-care bill, intentionally or not, they are poetically forced to cannibalize it -- just to keep Obama from getting any credit. It's not at all unlike a trapped animal chewing off its own leg just to get away. If only that animal weren't rabid -- and eyeing us.
The lesson is this: the footsoldiers of the Tea Party movement may be stupid, and some of its officers may even be dim, but the leadership certainly isn't. There are some brilliant minds at work, here! They've played this beautifully so far, and about as well as they've needed to with their backs against the wall. They won't go down easily, or quickly, just because they're wrong.
So if we in the balanced center, or left-center, are to succeed for America, we'd better not count on being right, or being in the majority, to carry us through. We need to dig in for an all-out, knock-down, tooth-and-claw fight to the death against these wingnuts! Anything else is surrender by default.