Frum's Folly

John M. O'Hara
There has been much hullabaloo regarding David Frum's recent statements that the passage of health care non-reform represents is largely a result of short-sighted GOP stubbornness.  The failure to stop ObamaCare is hardly the GOP's Waterloo as Frum asserts.  It is, however, a major setback for the American people who overwhelmingly oppose this legislation and will have to live with the consequences.

Mr. Frum has made some valid points regarding party and movement introspection, but to blame the passage of this legislation on elected officials who represented the will and interest of their constituents in opposition to those that did not seems quite odd.  Good governance aside, as a practical matter Republicans were shut out of policy discussions at almost every turn.

I'm not sure what kind of compromise Frum or others think could or should have been made. There are deeply substantive differences at play here.  On one side there are those that favor more government control at any cost.  On the other there are those that endorse increased individual choice as both the philosophical and practical path to real reform.  Only the later stand on the side of this nation's founding principles and that vast majority of the American people.  

Republicans have posed real reform through Health Savings Account expansion, reform of the tax code, cross-state sales of healthcare insurance, and tort reform.  Democrats did not seriously consider any of these actual cost-bending measures.  Take tort reform, for example.  There's some symbolic experimental reform language in the health care bill, but Democrats simply will not turn their backs on the trial lawyers.  In addition to their philosophical agreement that more often than not, someone else is to blame for all that ails us, the ambulance chasers simply serve as too valuable a source of campaign contributions.

Mr. Frum blames talk radio and talking heads for whipping people into a frenzy regarding faux evils of a government takeover of medicine.  I think more highly of the American people and believe that they judged this awful legislation on its merits -- or lack thereof -- and they and the legislators that opposed it were right to do so.  The only thing they are guilty of is not being cynical enough to think that this President and this Congress would push through unpopular, destructive legislation at any cost.

The American people have learned that lesson, and those that jammed this harmful legislation through will feel the repercussions in 2010 and beyond.
There has been much hullabaloo regarding David Frum's recent statements that the passage of health care non-reform represents is largely a result of short-sighted GOP stubbornness.  The failure to stop ObamaCare is hardly the GOP's Waterloo as Frum asserts.  It is, however, a major setback for the American people who overwhelmingly oppose this legislation and will have to live with the consequences.

Mr. Frum has made some valid points regarding party and movement introspection, but to blame the passage of this legislation on elected officials who represented the will and interest of their constituents in opposition to those that did not seems quite odd.  Good governance aside, as a practical matter Republicans were shut out of policy discussions at almost every turn.

I'm not sure what kind of compromise Frum or others think could or should have been made. There are deeply substantive differences at play here.  On one side there are those that favor more government control at any cost.  On the other there are those that endorse increased individual choice as both the philosophical and practical path to real reform.  Only the later stand on the side of this nation's founding principles and that vast majority of the American people.  

Republicans have posed real reform through Health Savings Account expansion, reform of the tax code, cross-state sales of healthcare insurance, and tort reform.  Democrats did not seriously consider any of these actual cost-bending measures.  Take tort reform, for example.  There's some symbolic experimental reform language in the health care bill, but Democrats simply will not turn their backs on the trial lawyers.  In addition to their philosophical agreement that more often than not, someone else is to blame for all that ails us, the ambulance chasers simply serve as too valuable a source of campaign contributions.

Mr. Frum blames talk radio and talking heads for whipping people into a frenzy regarding faux evils of a government takeover of medicine.  I think more highly of the American people and believe that they judged this awful legislation on its merits -- or lack thereof -- and they and the legislators that opposed it were right to do so.  The only thing they are guilty of is not being cynical enough to think that this President and this Congress would push through unpopular, destructive legislation at any cost.

The American people have learned that lesson, and those that jammed this harmful legislation through will feel the repercussions in 2010 and beyond.