The Party of "No Ideas" Vs The Party of Failed Ideas – The Fight Between Conservatives and the Media on Health Reform

A friend of mine on Facebook recently wrote the following about an article on the life of the late Irving Kristol:

“Once upon a time, not too many years ago, the Republican Party was the party of ideas. Would even its staunchest supporters say so today? I think not. The sole substance of the Republican Party today is opposition to whatever the Democrats are for, period.”

Were it true, it would be damning. Thankfully it’s not.


My friend, a former White House high-ranking employee in both the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, grew angry, very angry, about the direction of the Republican Party under President Bush 43, something upon which I agree with him. But, unlike him, I prefer to stay and fight for what’s right within the party I agree with most, not abandon it. He grew so angry that he voted for Obama in 2008. Now, I don’t claim to know how any human being works internally, but I don’t understand how someone who claims to be a conservative could make that sort of switch. Simply because your side didn’t live up to their ideals doesn’t mean, to my mind, that you switch to the side that advocates explicitly the opposite point of view.

But that’s neither here nor there. My friend, and everyone else, is free to vote for whomever they want, for whatever reason they want. What I take issue with his the common mantra of the Left, echoed by my friend, that Republicans are out of ideas and Democrats are a fountain new ones.

What Democrats are proposing, be it on health care, cap and trade, or any other items on their long “to-do” list, is not new. They’re very old, tired and have been proven wrong. Do we really need to create “new” arguments against these heavy-handed government intrusions?

Canada, thanks to lawsuits, is moving towards increasing the role of the private sector in health care. (Nothing like an actual ‘public option’ to focus the mind.) The so-called “green jobs” initiative in Spain has been found to cost 2.2 existing jobs for each job created, a complete failure. If the rest of the world is turning away from these fantasies, what are we doing?

Even as these ideas fail around the world, liberals in Congress and the Obama Administration plow full-speed ahead to force them on us. There’s a joke about the definition of insanity just sitting there, but I’ll allow you to make it yourself.

On the other hand, there are the über-Leftists like those at the New York Times, and their choir on MSNBC that constantly regurgitates the line that Republicans are bereft of ideas. You can’t read the intellectually devoid ramblings of Krugman, Dowd or Rich without wondering what planet they live on (then you realize it’s Manhattan and it begins to make a little sense). And you can’t turn on MSNBC without the latest Media Matters/George Soros talking point coming out of the mouths of Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz (though looking at Ed you’d suspect his mouth is a one way street and it’s not out).

“Republicans have no solutions,” “They have no plan,” “They are out of ideas,” are standard fare for these “intellectual giants” while interviewing some committed statist with whom they are 100 percent simpatico. But when your show prep involves what seems to be a T1 line from the Tides Foundation and directly into your teleprompter, intellectual honesty, or even curiosity, simply isn’t in your wheelhouse.

These merchants of dishonesty spread the lie that the George W. Bush years were somehow the glory days of the free market, deregulation and conservative governance. They were not.

They blame much of the economic problems we face today on the Reagan years, in addition to Bush 43, as if government regulatory bodies didn’t exist in these years, or their power was somehow muffled amid a stead shrinking of government power. They also forget the many years in which Democrats controlled Congress and the White House. Listening to the unstable folks at MSNBC, you’d think we had runaway, wild-west conservatism since 1980.

The fact of the matter is this: the solutions proposed today by Republicans–the true, free market reforms, have NEVER been tried. FDR’s wage controls forced employers to marry health insurance to employment, as a way to increase compensation when they weren’t allowed, by federal law, to increase wages. As a result, our health insurance market is targeted to employers, leaving the self-employed or individuals with the short straw.

People are not free to buy health insurance across state lines, but large companies are. Small businesses cannot partner with each other to lower premiums for better health insurance. The federal government prohibits this. The mythical conservative Utopia programmed into the minds of these Chatty Cathy dolls on MSNBC and the Times not only doesn’t exist, it has never existed in the modern age.

So why should conservatives abandon the free market concepts that have proven to work elsewhere in the economy simply because they aren’t “new”? The answer is they shouldn’t. Correct ideas should not be abandoned simply because they’ve been around a while. Yes, they do need to articulate them more often, and more clearly, but to say they have no ideas is simply dishonest.

Then again, you’d have better luck Snipe hunting than finding honesty on MSNBC or the opinion pages of the Times.


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