Strategic disagreements with Dr. K

In response to Krauthammer: The Great Translator:

It’s one of the ironies of my writing career that after reading Krauthammer for years, the first time I had occasion to quote him was when I spectacularly disagreed with him.  I even began the post by apologizing for having the temerity to throw down with him over his comment that Sarah Palin should “leave the room” while a discussion of end-of-life counseling and ObamaCare proceeded, because she had the impudence to lob that “death panel” verbal grenade.  Who was I, a pipsqueak blogger volunteering posts in the guest room at Hot Air, to criticize Dr. K in such strident terms?

But he was wrong, I was right, and more to the point, Sarah Palin was right.  ObamaCare’s destruction of not just health insurance, but medicine, is well under way.  “Good luck finding a doctor under ObamaCare,” writes the New York Post, as it tallies up the number of doctors who have bailed out of Barack Obama’s rapidly collapsing health-care scheme, exacerbating an already painful doctor shortage.  Palin’s memorable description of where all this is headed was feisty, but not inaccurate.

But looking beyond that particular exchange (and noting that, if memory serves correctly, Krauthammer later apologized for his choice of words) I think that incident was a preview of the growing schism between the GOP Establishment and the conservative Tea Party insurgents.  It’s not much different from the way today’s Establishment scowls at the likes of Senator Ted Cruz, and mutters about how those Tea Party firebrands are going to drive all the “independent” voters away.  Well, Mitt Romney crushed Barack Obama among indie voters in 2012.  How’s that working out for everyone?

As you noted, one of Krauthammer’s great strengths is that he’s polite and reasonable… although, looking back at the above-mentioned “Sarah Palin should leave the room” incident, he seems more inclined to be impolite to the right flank of his own movement than the Left.  There’s a great demand for polite, reasonable, erudite writers.  But we also need the fiery warriors on the front lines.  It should have escaped no one’s notice that the Left certainly has theirs, and the Left is never expected to renounce them.  They reap all the benefits of a smash-mouth campaign style without paying any of the price, even when Team Obama blatantly slanders its opponents.

I don’t want to play the slander game.  I want our candidates to be honest and well-informed.  But they also have to be willing to say and do memorable things, in order to motivate the base and shake up the persuadable fringe of the Democrat Party.  It’s not helpful for the Republican Party to be seen making its peace with things the party officially considers unacceptable or catastrophic.  We shouldn’t take one step down that road with ObamaCare.  And while officials running for office must play their cards carefully, those of us in the conservative commentariat need to stop accepting New Deal logic while the doomsday clock on its unsustainable entitlements is ticking down.  

We have a century of proof, topped by the maraschino cherry of fail that is ObamaCare, to make the case that smaller government bodies and the private sector do just about everything better than the federal Leviathan, aside from what the central government was issued a warrant to handle in the Constitution.  It’s not just an abstract theory, and I feel disinclined to be polite or reserved about pointing it out, because we also have many years of evidence that the electorate responds to strong words, grand gestures, and “narratives.”

None of which is meant to crowd writers and speakers like Krauthammer out.  On the contrary, we need a full-spectrum approach.  I’m pleased to have quoted him approvingly with regularity as ObamaCare imploded.  I’m much more comfortable agreeing with him.