With Stupak’s collapse, passage of the Democrats’ government medicine bill is assured. This is a dark day in American history; one of the darkest. But there are many reasons for optimism. Here are a few:
* The health care battle is just beginning. Next, the Senate will try to enact the House’s “fixes” to the original Senate bill. Some Senators say that won’t happen. If not, then President Obama has the option of signing the original Senate bill–now passed by the House–Cornhusker Kickback and all. I assume he would do that, but the resulting blowback from House Democrats, not to mention the American people, would be something to behold.
* The health care bill’s taxes will go into effect promptly, but its substantive provisions are, for the most part, deferred for four years. This means that we have plenty of time to repeal the legislation. Sure, it will take a new Congress and new President. But repealing this disaster of a bill will by a rallying cry for the American people for years to come. Moreover, even if the Republicans only take over the House in November, and not the Senate, won’t it be possible to throw roadblocks in the way of the bill’s implementation? Won’t budget appropriations be necessary to sustain the various federal tentacles the bill seeks to establish? What will happen if the House simply refuses to fund them?
* I’ve never been prouder to be a Republican. The party’s Congressional leaders have fought this battle to the end on behalf of the American people–with intelligence, toughness, persistence and good humor. The contrast between the parties has never been starker than in today’s debate. If any intelligent Democrats were watching–there must be some left–they had to be embarrassed for their party.
* Paul Ryan has emerged as one of the conservative movement’s strongest spokesmen. In the years to come, I think we will hear the words “I’m a Paul Ryan Republican” with increasing frequency.
* The health care debate has energized the conservative movement and awoken the sleeping giant, that is, the American people. The Democrats misinterpreted their electoral victories in 2006 and 2008 as a mandate for socialism. Now a majority of voters are intent on disabusing them of that misapprehension. Just about all of the political energy today is on the right–a remarkable fact, only sixteen months after the Democrats’ high-water mark in November 2008.
* Barack Obama has used his political capital–pretty much all of it–on unpopular legislation that will continue to rile the voters for years to come. As a result, Obama is a remarkably unpopular second-year President. And he hasn’t even experienced any bad luck yet. It is hard to see how he will be able to regain his footing.
So, be of good cheer. To paraphrase a great American, we have not yet begun to fight.
UPDATE: Tim Pawlenty tweets:
Hard to believe Congress would pass this mess of a health care plan. It will put us further into debt & dangerously expand scope of gov’t.
PAUL adds: Repeal may not be out of the question, but my advice is to exercise more and improve your diet. Try to minimize your encounters with Obamacare and delay your encounter with the death panel in whatever form it takes.