(My other post was getting too unwieldy)
5:22pm: WSJ Op-Ed on the GOP way forward:
A new President nearly always gets what he wants on his top legislative priority, especially when he has such big majorities in Congress to work with. Republicans nonetheless managed to keep their Members together, turn public opinion against the bill despite nearly unanimous media support for it, and in the end came a few votes short. They would have won if Mr. Obama and Nancy Pelosi hadn't been so willing to put so many of their Members at risk by pushing a partisan program and flouting normal Congressional rules.
The GOP's goal now should first be to remove some of the uglier parts of the bill in Senate reconciliation. Then they need to focus on taking back as many seats as possible this fall. Rather than publicly crowing that ObamaCare will deliver them the House—a hard task and a risky expectations game—they'd do better to concentrate on continuing to educate the public about what ObamaCare is going to do to insurance premiums, federal deficits, taxes and the quality of medical care.
Many Republicans are already calling for "repeal" of ObamaCare, and that's fine with us, though they should also be honest with voters about the prospects. The GOP can't repeal anything as long as Mr. Obama is President, even if they take back Congress in November. That will take two large electoral victories in a row. What they can do now is take credit for fighting on principle, hold Democrats accountable for their votes and the consequences, and pledge if elected in November to stop cold Mr. Obama's march to ever-larger government.
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This strikes me as a reasonable approach. The public debate about this bill was won before its passage, but we cannot quit fighting now. Conservatives need to continue to hammer on on Obamacare's worst features and challenge every Democrat who voted in favor.
5:06pm: One of my heroes, Thomas Sowell, on what the passage of Obamacare could mean:
The ruthless and corrupt way this bill was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, and in defiance of public opinion, provides a road map for how other "historic" changes can be imposed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.
What will it matter if Obama's current approval rating is below 50 percent among the current voting public, if he can ram through new legislation to create millions of new voters by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants? That can be enough to make him a two-term President, who can appoint enough Supreme Court justices to rubber-stamp further extensions of his power.
When all these newly minted citizens are rounded up on election night by ethnic organization activists and labor union supporters of the administration, that may be enough to salvage the Democrats' control of Congress as well.
The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don't usually bring out as many voters as Presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.
Whatever else you may say about the guy, Bush's "tax cuts for the rich," Patriot Act, Iraq War Resolution, and No Child Left Behind all enjoyed bipartisan support. Obama's (the post-partisan) signature piece of legislation was passed without a single Republican vote and against the will of the American people.
Democrats have revealed themselves as the hyper-partisans they always accused the Republicans of being. This is concrete evidence of that fact.
There is nothing moderate about the Democrat Party.
2:43pm BST: In the NYT's "Room for Debate" blog, James Capretta, Michael Tanner, Gail Wilensky, Joseph Antos, Megan McArdle, and Keith Hennessey all opine on the GOP's next move.
At Pajamasmedia.com, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson, had this to say about Obamacare:
President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan. . . .
No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we "are leveling the playing field" and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. . . .
[W]e are in revolutionary times in which the government will grow to assume everything from energy use to student loans, while abroad we are a revolutionary sort of power, eager to mend fences with Syria and Iran, more eager still to distance ourselves from old Western allies like Israel and Britain.
There won't be any more soaring rhetoric from Obama about purple-state America, "reaching across the aisle," or healing our wounds. That was so 2008. Instead, we are in the most partisan age since Vietnam, ushered into it by the self-acclaimed "non-partisan."