Ezra Klein (Washington Post): It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Republicans. They managed to make it through the health-care debate without offering serious solutions of their own, and – perhaps more impressive – through the election by promising to tell us their solutions after they’d won. But the jig is up. They need a health-care plan – and quickly.
The GOP knew this day would come. In May 2009, Republican message-maestro Frank Luntz released a polling memo warning that “if the dynamic becomes ‘President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,’ then the battle is lost.” Repeal, Luntz argued, wouldn’t be good enough. It would have to be “repeal and replace.” And so it was. That, however, is easier said than done.
To understand the trouble the Republicans find themselves in, you need to understand the party’s history with health-care reform…. (see here) …Conservatives once offered solutions competitive with what the Democrats were proposing, but over the past 30 years, they’ve abandoned each and every one of them to stymie Democratic presidents. Confronted with a challenge to provide broader access to better health care at a lower cost, they’re reduced to complaining that those aren’t the right goals for health-care reform…..
…..For decades, Republicans have chosen stopping Democratic presidents over reforming the American health-care system. Now that reform has passed, the solution for members of the GOP is to press the rewind button. They’re about to find out that it’s not enough.
On that much, Luntz and I agree: If the public comes to see the GOP as opposed to reform, “the battle is lost” – at least if you believe “the battle” is to beat the Democrats rather than provide quality health insurance to every American.