Waterloo: David Frum Doubles Down (Update: PJM Gets a Mark Levin Shout-Out)
I'm not going to go on at length about David Frum. We all know who he is; we all know what he is and what he represents. He's a "conservative" who gets his jollies and press gigs railing at actual conservatives, along the lines of Kathleen Parker and, during the 2008 campaign, Peggy Noonan. Parker has gone on to CNN infamy alongside Eliot Spitzer, while Noonan has tried to rehab herself by claiming that the Tea Party saved the GOP. She's right about that, but only from a rearview mirror perspective. It's easy to get stuff right after it's already happened. But David Frum can't even manage that.
As for Frum, he's out doubling down on the Democrats' defeat, saying that even though they took 64 House seats, several legislatures, several governorships, and hundreds of seats down the ballots, the Republicans are still headed for Waterloo -- ultimate defeat. But we've heard this song before and it's always the same. When the Democrats all but locked Republicans out of the health care bill negotiations, Frum denounced ... the Republicans, for not "compromising." When the Democrats passed that bill over the objections of the majority of the people, Frum denounced ... the Republicans. Now that the Republicans have won big over the Democrats, here comes Frum to denounce ... the Republicans. Seeing a pattern in any of this? Says Frum:
And now, as Republicans celebrate their biggest congressional victory since 1946, I am getting a lot of e-mail that taunts me: "See how wrong you were?"
To which I say: Enjoy the moment, fellas. You are only at the beginning of the pain of discovering how right I was.
From a conservative point of view, there's a lot not to like about the Democratic health care reform.
I don't like the new taxes to pay for it: a new tax on payrolls and a new tax on investment income. I don't like the new burden on the states, in the form of higher Medicaid spending. I don't like the plan's steps toward price controls instead of price competition.
I could go on.
But all those things I don't like -- they are all the law of the land. To correct them will require action by the House, Senate, and president.
Yeah, Frum could go on and he usually does, and he's usually wrong. And in the case of ObamaCare he's just wrong about the clearest path to killing it off. For him to be right, there have to be no states suing to wreck ObamaCare on constitutional grounds, or if any states are suing, they have to have no chance of winning. And there has to be no possibility of any Democrat anywhere seeing that their party jumped off a cliff by passing that bill, and therefore joining with Republicans to de-fang it.
To that point, I offer Tennessee's Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who is already on the record opposing ObamaCare because of its effect on state budgets. Others, like Senator-elect Joe Manchin, have their policy fingers in the wind too.
Frum ought to know about them and other Democrats like them. He also ought to know that there are 21 states suing to destroy ObamaCare. He also ought to know that those lawsuits are bundled in three separate court cases, all of which are in federal court and headed, eventually, to the Supreme Court. Now that the GOP has picked up several additional state attorneys general, more states may join those cases or file their own, because ObamaCare threatens to saddle every state with massive new spending that none of them can afford. The cases against ObamaCare have a good chance of succeeding in demonstrating that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, for the simple reason that the federal government has never mandated that the price of American citizenship is purchasing a product, as ObamaCare does. Because of the law's construction, if the individual mandate goes down, so does the rest of it. It all goes away.
David Frum just pretends that none of that is true.
He also pretends that the Pelosi Democrats were interested in compromise with Republicans on that bill in the first place, when it was obvious that they weren't. They locked Republicans out of the backroom meetings in which the bill was hatched. They held votes at midnight and on holiday weekends to minimize scrutiny and, in theory, to minimize voter rage (that gambit backfired). They were hell-bent to pass a health care "reform" to cap their 2006 and 2008 victories and to give themselves a historic and far-reaching policy victory. They wanted to pick off a Republican vote or two if possible, but not at the expense of any of their core "reform" ideas. They ended up having to buy off Democrats.
Frum doesn't stop to consider: if not for the corrupt Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, there wouldn't have been an ObamaCare at all.
Had the Republicans gone along with all that corruption and government empowerment en masse, while the Tea Partiers were mobilizing and the town halls were spontaneously erupting, there almost certainly would have been a third party rise up to take on both the Republicans and the Democrats. Because it was coming from the right and center, that third party would have hurt Republicans while unintentionally helping the Democrats -- think Perot '92 on steroids. We wouldn't be looking at the GOP's historic wave today. We would be looking at the death or at least splintering of the GOP and a Democratic Party taking its 2010 win as a mandate to keep running left. Cap and trade, and then "comprehensive immigration reform," would not be far off. They might even have been passed in the lame-duck session. That's the world General Frum would have left us, if the Republicans had compromised on ObamaCare. We would still have ObamaCare, but in all likelihood a totally dispirited center and right facing a Democratic Godzilla. Those grief counselors wouldn't be meeting with Democrats.
Instead, we are where we are, with a citizenry engaged and an opposition party poised to use its mandate and the courts to block ObamaCare in one way or another while the court cases proceed. The victory came in a redistricting year, which means it's likely to last longer and stretch farther than your average midterm election. The Democrats are totally exposed for being a party of the far left, against personal liberty and destructive of free enterprise and states' abilities to make their own fiscal decisions.
But in the wake of the GOP win, David Frum sees Waterloo everywhere he looks, except in the future of the party that lost so badly. I don't think Napoleon Bonaparte, or even Napoleon Dynamite, would see it that way.
Update: The Great One, Mark Levin, mentioned this piece on his nationally syndicated radio show this week.