Earlier this week, he discussed newt Gingrich's critical comments toward the GOP's current stance on Obamacare. Its one of the best things I've read in a while. It will be a review for many readers, but not for all.
Here it is, in full:
The opening session of the Republican National Committee’s Boston confab featured ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich scolding his fellow Republicans on their failure to come through on the “replace” side of “repeal-and-replace.”
“If we're going to take on the fight with Obamacare, we have to be able to explain to people what we would do to make your life better," he said.
That’s a task Republicans have clearly failed at. One of the more interesting polling wrinkles of the past few years is that the persistent unpopularity of the Democrats’ signature health-care initiative hasn’t helped the GOP take the lead on the broader issue. A recent poll by the Morning Consult found a 10 percent edge for Democrats on health care. Even the conservative polling group Rasmussencontinues to find a Democratic edge.
The public doesn’t like what the Democrats did. But they really don’t like what they think the Republicans will do.
Of course, as Gingrich correctly points out, the Republicans have no idea what is it is they’ll do — save for undoing what it is the Democrats did. But for all Gingrich’s bluster on the subject, the simplest way to understand that policy vacuum is to understand Gingrich’s pre-Obamacare health-care plan: It was Obamacare.
“We should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond),” he wrote in his 2008 book, ‘Real Change.’ “Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor."
So that’s an individual mandate plus tax subsidies to purchase insurance. That’s the core of Obamacare. And it’s no surprise Gingrich supported it. Lots of Republicans did. Gov. Mitt Romney had even signed a plan like that into law in Massachusetts.
Conservative elites had two options when Democrats began to adopt their policy ideas: Declare victory or declare war. Key figures like Gingrich could’ve stepped before the cameras and chortled about Democrats giving up on single payer and slinking towards conservative solutions. For Hillary Clinton to run in 2008 with Bob Dole’s health-care plan was an amazing moment in American politics. For Barack Obama to reverse himself on the individual mandate and embrace the Heritage Foundation’s approach to personal responsibility was further proof that Democrats had lost the war of ideas here. Republicans could have declared victory and, by engaging constructively, pushed the final product further towards their ideal.
They chose war instead. And that meant eradicating any trace of support for the policies they had come up with.
That effort was extraordinarily successful. Republicans quickly convinced themselves they had always been at war with Oceania — excuse me, the individual mandate. But plausible health-care plans are hard to come by. Even the plans that weren’t exactly like Obamacare were too similar to Obamacare for comfort. And so, five years later, even leading Republicans haven’t really come by another one. There’s a gaping hole where the party’s health-care plan is supposed to go. Of course the public doesn’t trust Republicans on the issue. Republicans don’t even know what they’d do.
"We are caught up right now in a culture — and you see it every single day — where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don't have to learn anything,” Gingrich said at the RNC.
But that stops short of the reality: On health care, Republicans have erected a culture in which they have to unlearn things, too. And Gingrich has been part of that effort.