Publius at Obsidian Wings:
We are (knock on wood) tantalizingly close to historic health coverage reform. In the heat of today's debates, it's easy to forget just how big this is. If we enact reform, it will instantly be one of the most important legislative actions in American history -- remembered alongside the New Deal and the Civil Rights Acts.
For this reason, the political debates of '09 will live on for some time to come. And as we increasingly gain perspective on these debates, the GOP's actions are going to look worse and worse.
In fact, I predict that the Great Health Care Debates of '09 will be remembered as an intellectual ebb for modern conservatism. If nothing else, the debates will be a "clarifying moment" that illustrates to future audiences the relative state of the progressive and conservative movements at this point in history.
Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse:
[T]here is a great divide in how many in the conservative base see the world and how the rest of us view it. It may mean that it will drag the GOP back toward espousing conservative principles. That might mean the salvation of the party.
But it if also means espousing the paranoid fantasies and bitter partisanship advanced by the hard right, it will spell eventual disaster for the party and make conservatism itself irrelevant in the national conversation.
Daniel Larison at The American Conservative:
I have thought for a while that Huckabee's personality could have some of the appealing all-things-to-all-people quality that Obama had during the election. . . .
Huckabee isn’t going to have that chance. Even if it seems irrational, movement activists who are not primarily interested in social issues distrust Huckabee intensely, and they will work to block him and deny him funding just as they did last time. The anti-Huckabee sentiment among movement activists is a useful reminder that all the Republican culture war defenses of Palin during the general election were aimed at mobilizing all the people whose candidate, Huckabee, they had just spent the previous 18 months mocking and ridiculing with all of the same language used against Palin. For turnout purposes, the GOP still finds Huckabee's people useful, but its leaders and activists will not tolerate Huckabee taking the lead in the party as the nominee.
Bryan Bender in The Boston Globe:
The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service, according to government officials and reports, raising new questions about the 144-year-old agency’s overall mission.Dick Polman at American Debate:
Ever so slowly, sensible Republicans and conservatives are finally marshaling the courage to confront the unhinged broadcasters in their midst – and not a moment too soon, given the fact that these loons now seem to be running the asylum.Rod Dreher at CrunchyCon:
The GOP has lately made gains with its anti-Obama incantations, but the fact remains that the party has no affirmative unifying message and no national leader. As a result, various warlords -- Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and other marketers of venom -- continue to fill the breach, in ways that are profoundly unhelpful to the Republican image. How helpful is Beck, after all, when he morphs into Joe McCarthy on Fox News, and attempts to red-bait a top Obama aide by painting her as a communist sympathizer in thrall to Mao Zedong?
. . . Most prominent Republicans are still too cowed to call out Beck for what he truly is -- a demagogue who is nurturing paranoia -- because they confuse microphone power with political power. (Can the talk jocks deliver votes? They probably can’t deliver a pizza.) Nevertheless, some are finally speaking out. They don't want the conservative cause to be hijacked by tinfoil-hatted broadcasters who believe, for instance, that the symbol on the back of the dime was a fascist plot hatched by Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
The term "RINO" -- Republican In Name Only -- doesn't have a left-wing equivalent. The ability to maintain ideological discipline on the Right has long been a key to the GOP's success, but now the habits of mind and behavior that served the conservative movement so well for so long are precisely what prevent it from listening to conservative dissidents.Frank Rich in The New York Times:
Those Obama fans who are disappointed keep looking for explanations. Is he too impressed by the elite he met in Cambridge, too eager to split the difference between left and right, too willing to compromise? As he pursues legislation, why does he keep deferring to others -- whether to his party’s Congressional leaders or the Congressional Budget Office or to this month's acting president, Olympia Snowe? Why doesn't he ever draw a line in the sand? "We know Obama has good values," Jeff Madrick said to me last week, "but we don’t know if he has convictions."David Frum at The New Majority:
Conservative voters are willing to lose New York's 23rd congressional district to the Democrats by opposing the official GOP candidate and backing a more conservative third party challenger. In New Jersey's gubernatorial race, however, conservatives deride the third party candidacy of liberal Republican Chris Daggett for splitting the vote.The Pajama Pundit at Donkelphant:
What happens if (when?) Arlen Specter gets beaten by Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial primary election? The answer is simple, or at least obvious: Specter switches his party affiliation (again) to Independent -- a la Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Senatorial election in 2006.Naomi Klein at Comment Is Free America:
After Senator Specter puts an "I" after his name for the general election, we'll have a three-way-race between Sestak (the Democrat), Pat Toomey (the Republican) and good ole Arlen, fresh off of the Independent Express.
The question then becomes more complex; will Specter be able to defeat a Democrat who vanquished him in the primary as well as a Republican challenger? Things will indeed get interesting if it comes to this.
For all the global love-in, the new president has led rich nations to neglect principled action and row back from climate deals.And finally, my own take:
Will the Republicans pick up seats in 2010? Yes, but not as many as party-preference polls are showing this far out. Will Obama be reelected in 2012? Absolutely.
The reason that I can make both predictions with confidence is that regardless of the final form of health-care reform, regardless of how far along the economic recovery is and regardless of the state of play in Afghanistan, the GOP stands for nothing and voters won't stand for that.TOONS (From top to bottom): Pat Oliphant, Signe Wilkinson, Mike Lukovich, Glenn McCoy, Tom Toles, Michael Ramirez, Clay Jones.