That’s what Andrew McCarthy over at the increasingly establishment tool-oriented National Review is asking. The problem is not in the answer, but with the question — it assumes the Republican hierarchy are against the program, something I would suggest is incorrect.
He points out, correctly, that Obamacare was based on the disastrously expensive and inefficient Romneycare coverage in Massachusetts, and that Romney — being the establishment’s next hand-picked fool to hand out federal largess to the financial and military-industrial welfare recipients — can’t really run away from the connection. The support, McCarthy opines correctly, is an abdication of the Obamacare fight; he makes the mistake of assuming they ever wanted to fight it. They wanted to use it as a rally cry against the Democrats in 2010 and 2012, without a doubt…but outside the libertarian-inspired opposition to big government spending and intrusion into the lives of Americans that dominated the early days of the Tea Paries (prior to the social cons co-opting the message.)
The problem, I would suggest, is similar to that the Progressives on the Democratic side are going through with Obama: the actions of the party do not reflect the stated ideology. both parties are driven by early 20th Century Progressivism, the only difference is the form in which their meddlesome bureaucracy is alleged to be directed. Each party sliced off a bit of the traditional liberal message of the 18th Century during the interwar period — the Republicans focusing on economic liberty (small government with limited regulatory intervention, lower taxes, foreign non-intervention), while the Democrats focused on personal freedoms (privacy, civil rights, sexual liberation, etc.)
But when it comes time to walk the walk, both parties have failed us. The Republicans’ big government schemes are now directed toward warfare and overseas interventionism, disguised as defending freedom around the world (while trampling on civil rights at home with the Red Scare), meddling in foreign countries’ politics under the banner of compassion, and wasting our money on foreign aid (but to be fair, not that much as a percentage of the budget.) Low taxes and regulatory non-intervention is used as a platform slogan, but they’re very quick to help protect established industry at the expense of small and medium-sized business. Of late, they’ve been very keen curbing freedom of speech again (Campaign Finance Reform), internet privacy and use (SOPA, PIPA, Protect IP, the list goes on…) Taxes and spending go up under GOP presidents, just as they do under Democratic ones, and some of the most onerous big government programs of late were passed by Bush II — the creation of a massive “security” state with the introduction of the Department of Homeland Security, the Transport Security Administration; the creation of another big ticket entitlement with Medicare Part D, meddling in already failing one-size-fits-all school systems with No Child Left Behind. But hey, they gave us back a tiny sliver of the money they steal from us for this in the form of a tax break.
The Democrats under Obama could not have veered more from their alleged ideals. Guantanamo Bay? Still open. Add Americans to the possible list of folks being picked up off the street by the military and held without legal counsel or giving due process? I’ll just sign that NDAA right now! Civil rights? How about ignoring racially based voter intimidation (the NBP in Philadelphia.) Sexual equality? He finally got around to DA/DT, but only under heavy pressure. Improvements to Social Security or Medicare to keep the programs intact? Screw that — let’s pass a massive boondoggle written by the insurance industry to protect them by bringing them in as government agents for a programs guaranteed to be as dysfunctional as Medicare! Privacy? Let’s allow the police to use drones. Let’s snoop on social media.
…and that’s not getting to the good stuff.
At heart, the issues both the Republicans, with their “anyone but Mitt” factionalism, and the Democrats with their “can we please primary this guy” faction have is one of disillusionment with their own party. This is because Progressivism is a political ideology of the “elite” (at least in their own mind.) It was spawned in the universities by German and English-educated scholars who were enticed by the European use of “experts” — usually academics and military men — in crafting policy. They look down on normal folks with the disdain of noblesse obilge – we are their charges, not their equals, and our habits do infest their eyes.
This is why they could, for the sake of public health, ban opium, then alcohol, then other drugs — despite the obvious unintended consequence of massively profitable organized crime. This is why they could push “sexual liberation” in the form of contraception — aimed at blacks and the poor; Margaret Sanger and her ilk were quite keen to also force sterilization on the poor and minorities, as well…not to far from the derisive notion that “if you can’t afford kids, you shouldn’t be allowed to have them…” This is why intervention in foreign lands is acceptable to both parties, no matter their rhetoric: we are bringing the light of Progressivism to you heathen and you should thank us by buying our stuff. The only difference is who we mess with — Bosnia vs. Iraq, say. This is why both sides can snort about new technology ruining the political discourse (otherwise known as having an informed electorate that expects you to do what you say you will…), making our kids stupid or evil (comic book violence and sex in the 1950s, rock and rock, rock lyrics in the 1980s, video games in the 1990s, and always the terrible influence of television…), or allowing us to steal from companies by sharing or simply using material we’ve bought from them (see RIAA and MPAA, SOPA, ProtectIP, the list goes on…) This is why both sides fight the Drug War, support expanded police surveillance power, the militarization law enforcement…both parties.
The one mistake the Republicans have – thankfully! – made is pushing free ownership of guns and ammunition. There’s a reason geting rid of guns is always the first priority of ideologues…it keeps you from saying “No!” And I suspect soon we’ll need them…
Because they think we are cattle, and that they are the lord of the manor that own us, and I suspect they will not be disabused of this notion by a few losses at the polls.