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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.


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