Pretty much all of us knew that, once in control of the House, the Senate and the White House, Republicans would make a colossal hash of healthcare reform. Opposition, vilification and demagoguery are not only their political specialties, they've become the heart and soul of a party dedicated only to malice. And Republicans can't push positive reforms from that.
Nonetheless, mirabile dictu, a positive reform — a vastly positive development — is taking place; in fact it is sweeping the nation. Republicans' utter incompetence in even attempting healthcare reform is uniting Americans in an almost a 1941 kind of way. For some time we suspected a calamitous strike was coming from the imperious right, we just didn't know precisely how, when, or where. Republicans' surprisingly imbecilic attack of March 2017 has constituted its days of infamy, however, which shall linger in American memory (till at least 2018, one hopes).
A microcosm of the aforementioned positive, unifying development is that Paul Krugman and David Brooks are leaping, philosophically, ever closer together. Their columns this morning are essentially interchangeable.
One of them observes that "The Republican plan will fuel cynicism. It’s being pushed through in an elitist, anti-democratic, middle of the night rush. It seems purposely designed to fail. The penalties for those who don’t purchase insurance are so low they seem sure to guarantee Republican-caused death spirals in the weaker markets."
The other columnist observes that "There are real conservative policy experts, but the party doesn’t want them, perhaps because their very competence makes them ideologically unreliable."
The first-quoted columnist adds: "If you are pro-market, you have to be pro-state. You can come up with innovative ways to deliver state services, like affordable health care, but you can’t just leave people on their own."
I shan't make you look them up, to see which is which. The cynicism-observing pro-stater is … David Brooks. He's as disgusted with the GOP's refusal to listen to "ideologically unreliable … conservative policy experts" as Paul Krugman is. These two NYT columnists have been feuding philosophically for years, but congressional Republicans and what Brooks calls the "authoritarian thuggery" of Donald Trump have, at last, brought them together.
This astonishing, heartwarming development of unity — which we're also witnessing throughout the republic, from mass protests to popular opinion polling to now-adamantly anti-GOP professional organizations — required less than three months of Republican "governance." Give the latter four more agonizing years and "movement conservatism," along with Trumpism, will be but a bad, unseated memory.
To re-unify, Americans needed a common enemy — and brother, have they ever run into one.