Monday, March 22, 2010

Here's something that's a bit rare

A seemingly honest bit of introspection and self-appraisal from conservative writer David Frum, who calls the Democrat only health care victory the GOP's 'most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s'.

"A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves. At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994..."

"This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none."

An unfortunate choice of metaphors, as many would argue that the majority of these folks lost their marbles long ago. But Frum does seem to clearly understand that the only victory conservatives were interested in was a Phyrric one, and he puts the blame on the movement itself, and it's reluctance not only to tolerate the nihilistic voices of the likes of Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh, but to co-opt these voices as their own.

"We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat. There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or - more exactly - with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?"

As Frum predicts - I believe correctly - this loss is only going to make these voices more rabid, and I imagine Frum's own lessons learned are not only going to fall largely on deaf ears, but that he'll be castigated for sharing them. It's going to be an interesting political season.

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