Home Virginia Politics Norm Ornstein: Do Republicans “really believe that ?”

Norm Ornstein: Do Republicans “really believe that [expletive]?”


In this morning’s Washington Post, Norman Ornstein of the (center-right) American Enterprise Institute has a superb, must-read op-ed entitled, “Obama: A pragmatic moderate faces the ‘socialist’ smear.” Here’s an excerpt:

To one outside the partisan and ideological wars, charges of radicalism, socialism, retreat and surrender are, frankly, bizarre. The Democrats’ health-reform plan includes no public option and relies on managed competition through exchanges set up much like those for federal employees. The individual mandate in the plan sprang from a Heritage Foundation idea that was endorsed years ago by a range of conservatives and provided the backbone of the Massachusetts plan that was crafted and, until recently, heartily defended by Mitt Romney. It would be fair to describe the new act as Romneycare crossed with the managed-competition bill proposed in 1994 by Republican Sens. John Chafee, David Durenberger, Charles Grassley and Bob Dole — in other words, as a moderate Republican plan. Among its supporters is Durenberger, no one’s idea of a radical socialist.


Looking at the range of Obama domestic and foreign policies, and his agency and diplomatic appointments, my conclusion is clear: This president is a mainstream, pragmatic moderate, operating in the center of American politics; center-left, perhaps, but not left of center. The most radical president in American history? Does Newt Gingrich, a PhD in history, really believe that {expletive}?

Although Gingrich might not “really believe that {expletive},” it appears that many Republicans do believe it. Here in Virginia, for instance, we have Ken Cuccinelli ranting to a Tea Party rally (what else?) about the individual mandate. We also have Prince William County Board chairman Corey Stewart appearing to compare the Obama Administration to the Nazis (see InsideNova.com for more on that).

The question is, do Cooch, Stewart et al. “really believe that {expletive]?”  Are they completely ignorant of history, including the fact that Republicans came up with a lot of the stuff they’re railing against (e.g., the Republicans came up with the “individual mandate” as an alternative to the “employer mandate;” “cap and trade” was an idea developed in the Reagan Administration as a way to harness market forces to combat acid rain pollution)?  Are they just cynically using the most extreme, demagogic language to stir up their “base,” regardless of the fact that they know it’s all {expletive}?  Or do they actually believe the Big Lie they’re spewing?  

Ignorance, fear-mongering demagoguery, or complete insanity, take your pick. That, ladies and gentlemen, is today’s Republican Party of Ken Cuccinelli, Corey Stewart, Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, John Boehner, etc.

P.S. Just to demonstrate the illogic of Cooch et al., they claim that “Obamacare” (as they ridiculously call it) is a “government takeover of health care,” yet they also rant that the government is forcing people to buy…wait for it…private insurance. From private, for-profit, capitalistic health insurance companies. Huh? A “government takeover” that (supposedly) “forces” you to buy from capitalist companies? This is the strangest “socialism” I’ve ever heard of, that’s for sure.

  • Glen Tomkins

    “A “government takeover” that (supposedly) “forces” you to buy from capitalist companies? This is the strangest “socialism” I’ve ever heard of, that’s for sure.”

    When you consider that the crisis that the HIR plan we passed was precisely that the private insurance companies were unable to keep costs down, I think the proper classification for what is described, is “crony capitalism”.  We’re rewarding the private insurers for their failure to produce a good product to sell at an affordable price, by forcing consumers to buy it anyway.

    So, sure, the folks who criticize this from the right, as “socialism”, as they pocket the industry’s money, have hypocrisy reserves to spare (the person who devises an automobile that runs on bottled hypocrisy could end the nation’s energy dependence just by following the Cooch around with a collection bottle).  But you have to admit that at least one reason they are able to get ordinary people riled up on this issue, is that crony capitalism and crony socialism look more alike than different.  The “crony” part seems to dominate the blend in both cases.  

  • Teddy Goodson

    If, as Mr. Ornstein says, and the plain facts agree, “Obamacare” is in fact a moderate, Republican-sounding so-called reform, then why, why are current Republicans leaders demagoguing it as socialism, naziism, communism, a government takeover by ahitler-look-alike Obama? The only possible remaining explanation is, frankly, a vile appeal to the racism of the lowest common denominator of voters.

    The Republican leadership, whether they believe this (expletive) or not, is scrambling after political advantage by sucking up to to the not-so-latent racism of the AMerican voters. AS is obvious, this turns out to mean the middle-aged white, generally male (with his female partner).

    My conclusion: a lot of white American males when they have a mid-life crsis either:

    a) Buy a motorcycle,

    b) Buy a new wife about the age of their own daughter, or

    c) Join the Tea Party

    Any and all of these solutions permit such guys to express their fear, anger, and racism in culturally acceptable ways (or so they imagine).

  • TomPaine

    it is the easy way to keep their bats–t crazy base stirred up and contributing time and money!

  • Otter

    Isn’t you saying this (and promoting this concept)just a vile appeal to the racism of the lowest common denominators of voters?  You should stop – its not helping.

    • WestEndVoter

      Socialism is indeed the incorrect term.  Perhaps the Republicans will switch to a corporatism (less loaded word for fascism) theme in a few months.  To combat that, I rather would have seen HCR with government providing the needed care, or at least, instituting a public option — that is — an option trending towards socialism.  

      While I favor stringent regulation (unlike Paul), excessive financial entanglement between government and private corporations makes me, and probably others, nervous.  While recent initiatives (e.g., AIG, GM, HCR) are likely intended to be temporary, perhaps it would be better to favor regulation, as opposed to entanglement.  

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    I just returned from Massachusetts, the state that already has universal health insurance through a state government mandate to purchase insurance from private companies. That individual mandate was passed as part of a plan that Mitt Romney worked out – in a bipartisan way – with the Democratic legislature in Massachusetts. Of course, that was before “Mittster” had to dumb himself down and forget all his MBA training in order to yet again seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 or 2016.

    Isn’t it funny how the GOPers are now against their own so-called “free market” ideas because their base now consists of mainly of libertarians, neo-anarchists, closet racists, fundamentalists and the Tea Pots?

    The GOP evidently has succeeded in what started with that infamous “Gingrich Revolution.” They have driven the moderate conservatives either out of their ranks or deep into a closet of hypocrisy. Our public discourse and democratic debate have been the victims.  

  • jack

    MY problem with the individual mandate in 0bamacare is that it is unconstitutional.  It is NOT unconstitutional for States such as Massachusetts.

    I have asked this elsewhere, but gotten no response.  So I will try here.

    Take any provision in the new health insurance law, any one you like, then bring up the applicable enumerated power given to Congress in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and explain how your chosen provision falls under that specific, enumerated power of Congress.