David Frum, former Bush speechwriter, looks back at failed GOP strategy:
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.
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
Matt Yglesias goes further:
Credit for not buckling goes to Nancy Pelosi and other gutsy leaders. But it also goes to the GOP. They wouldn’t take “yes” for an answer when lots of people wanted to surrender and settle for something much smaller. Instead, whipped up into a frenzy of ideological fanaticism and overconfidence, they decided to take no prisoners. So nobody surrendered! And that’s how Mitch McConnell brought universal health care to America.
Clive Crook echoes McArdle:
Whether you agree with [criticisms of the bill] or not, the law the Democrats just passed is unpopular. It is a far-reaching, transformative measure that in the end will affect almost everyone; it is opposed by most of the country; and it is now law. I would never have believed this possible in the United States.
Not only an historic day, it seems, but also a histrionic day. Bill Kristol demands a repeal. The National Review Online seems to have crashed altogether. “504 Error,” it reads this morning, which is as good a metaphor for the far right as anything.