First, over at WaPo, check out my latest summary of the CBO score of the Republican’s just downright nasty, greedy “health care plan.”
Next, I agreed with David Leonhardt’s useful bit of history here, wherein he deconstructs the corner into which Republicans have painted themselves:
How did the party’s leaders put themselves in this position? The short answer is that they began believing their own hype and set out to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
I agree, but I also think there’s something more prosaic going on here, and that is that it’s just way easier not to govern. That’s especially the case with health care, of which the politics are just wholly unforgiving.
Given today’s political dynamics, it is so much easier to be in permanent campaign mode, stoking your base, throwing endless spitballs at the folks trying to legislate. Moreover, these are precisely the things contemporary Republicans are good at: endless spin, endless shade throwing, fact-free opposition research, and very effectively–much more so than Democrats–applying those tools to getting elected.
You see the problem, however. Once you get so good at these techniques that the voters you’ve hoodwinked put you in power, you have to govern. That requires policy chops, real facts, and political compromise, all of which go in exactly the opposite direction of what got you into power in the first place.
I’m not sure where this ends, but my hope is that enough people in the electorate eventually decide they’ve had enough of the blatant contradictions to which they’re being subjected, e.g., “we’re going to give you an awesome health care plan that provides everyone with better, cheaper coverage” or for that matter, pretty much any other campaign pledge other than cutting taxes for the wealthy.
But until then, we will continue to be subjected to governance by those who are masters of the campaign but have no idea what to do when they win.