Paul Krugman, who writes an op-ed column in my local newspaper of record, the New York Times, also has a Times blog with the unintentionally funny title The Conscience of a Liberal. What’s so risible about that tile is that liberals have no conscience. They gave ample proof of this over the past year by responding with a stiff and unwavering middle finger to repeated requests from the opposition party to be counted and heard. One presumes the Democrats must have supposed the Capitol Building and White House were surrounded by one-way mirrors that hid their obscene gesture from the American populace.
However their behavior might be explained, earlier this week the American populace responded with a clarifying gesture of their own. Suddenly, a Senate majority so eager to exclude Republicans for a year because they had exactly the numbers needed to pass a gigantic piece of legislation the people did not want finds itself exposed to the rude light of day. They now speak in conciliatory terms of bipartisanship and the need to work with Republicans to make this needed reform a reality.
Which brings me back to Krugman. In his column in today’s Times, which like his blog is also pretty funny, he appeals to his political base thus:
A message to House Democrats: This is your moment of truth. You can do the right thing and pass the Senate health care bill. Or you can look for an easy way out, make excuses and fail the test of history.
Wow, talk about not getting it! Here’s a guy who apparently still believes that one-way mirror exists. His message is to House Democrats? Why not just address the House janitorial staff, which has at least as much political sway right now as Nancy Pelosi and her group of partisan thugs?
To the truly deluded, like Krugman, this is still the Democrats’ battle to win or lose. All they need to do is mollify those silly Republicans on the other side of the aisle — you know, pretend to be their best friend, invite them over after school, share your baseball cards with them. Then once you get something that the president can claim as his signature landmark legislation, you drop the pretense and go back to business as usual.
What Krugman and his ilk in the mainstream media don’t seem to grasp is that the definition of business as usual now has a different meaning. “There is,” to quote the Speaker of the House, “a new sheriff in town” — and it is the American people, who can’t really stomach either party but find the Republicans at least palatable. Which gives Republicans the decide edge. They don’t just think “they’re on a roll,” as Krugman writes. They hold the cards right now. They have the power to stick it to the majority party bigtime.
And they should. Sure, the nation needs health care reform; has for a long time. But now that Obama and his Democrat cronies have squandered a year on some half-baked effort to wrest away control of an enormous chunk of the American economy — all the while ignoring rising joblessness — why should Republicans lift a finger to help them? Instead, why not let the message sink in over this coming year, so all Americans can absorb and savor it? The Democrats and their beloved president screwed all of us. And now the screw has turned.
It might be tempting for the Republican leadership to want to negotiate, to win tort reform and insurance portability for their constituents, but Democrats had their chance to negotiate and we all know how that went down. So why throw them a bone now? I say, wait until the 2010 elections. Republicans should use their new-found voice to persuade their colleagues in Congress to start genuine efforts to jump-start the economy — by, for example, cutting corporate taxes and fighting Obama’s bank tax.
For now, the issue of health care reform can be relegated to a back burner — which is where most voters, according to the polls, have placed it anyway. Once Republicans get a few more congressional wins under their belt, they can begin work toward giving the American people the real health reform they deserve.
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