There was a quick and harsh reaction to David Frum's argument that the Republicans had blown it by adamantly opposing Obama on health care reform, which seems to confirm my argument that the Republicans have little choice but to take such a stance in order to try to quell the insurrection, the insurgency of the Tea Party types. Representative Issa, from California, put Frum down because he was a staffer: "When you're a staffer, you're unaccountable...." Exactly! You are unaccountable to the Party and the prevailing Party hierarchy and, hence, your advice does not speak to our situation. In another situation this advice might be heeded but we need to protect our seats, our power, and that means, right now, trying to quell the Tea Party insurgency. If that means allowing Obama to prevail on health care reform, so be it. Or as another Congressperson put it: "'I will only incorporate your idea if you vote for the bill'....is tantamount to a bribe." Wow! Now that is some logic but it is a logic required by the situation. So the Republicans will maintain their defiance, perhaps even increase it, to please the Tea Party types and hold on to their power.
Politics is all about power, always has been and always will be. And the Republicans would just as soon allow Obama to pass legislation they, the Republicans, could have improved in order to maintain the status quo. Will it work? Ah, there is the rub. In a republic or a political order that always aspires to be a republic, outcomes are never certain. But as of now, the Republicans have little choice. Even John McCain, who once was a proponent of bipartisanship, is drawing lines in the sand. And, of course, he has to because he has a challenger from the Tea Party side of the aisle.