What a Really Smart Republican Thinks About His Party’s Opposition to Healthcare. David Frum on the “Republican” Waterloo.

I learned years ago that most of us live in neighborhoods with homogenous political views, read commentators who’ll reinforce our deeply held positions and listen to cable pundits who reflect our thinking.  So you know who watches Rachel Maddow and who watches Glenn Beck.  Not at all the same audience.I must be in the minority because I try to read smart commentators on both sides of the argument.  Although I tend to lean slightly left, I’m an avid reader and devotee of David Brooks who leans slightly right.  However, I pay not the slightest attention to the wingnuts of the left or the right.  What goes on too often fits in my box for unproductive partisanship, meriting no timeslot.So I was both intrigued by David Frum’s strongly worded blog on Conservatives and Republicans, entitled Waterloo.  I assume my readers remember their world history and know that Waterloo was where the Brits and the Prussians put an end to Napoleon’s return from exile and hopes for empire.  The rather astute David Frum, former speech-writer for President George W. Bush, had a lot to say about Republican attempts to turn the healthcare movement into a Waterloo for the Democrats.  He conceded that the Republicans may have made their own Waterloo, much like their disaster with Clinton in 1994.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?  I would really like to see some intelligent opposition as well as deal-making on the part of the Republicans, but that seems to be completely out of the question as a result of the media.  In response to all that’s gone on in the last few weeks, Thomas Friedman has a still smarter insight on governance and political innovation from the mouth of Larry Diamond, a Stanford University democracy expert: If you don’t get governance right, it is very hard to get anything else right that government needes to deal with.  We have to rethink in some basic ways how our political instituions work, because they are increasingly incapable of delivering effective solutions any longer.
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