If the headline has you confused, just bear with me for a bit.
A lot of us probably remember the “New Coke” debacle of the 1980s, and its aftermath. Somewhat surprisingly (or maybe not), there are a number of parallels with the current and recent past of the GOP moving to the left. Here’s just a few of the lesser parallels before I get to the big one:
- Both were attempts to be more like the competition instead of working to make a clear separation from the primary competitor: New Coke was much sweeter, like Pepsi; liberal Republicans are much closer in political ideology to Democrats.
- Both were imposed largely (though not completely) from “on high.” New Coke was pushed hard by the CEO, and many of the more liberal Republican candidates are being nominated and supported by those claiming to lead the party, whether it be at the county, state, or national level.
- Both are facing strong grassroots resistance. New Coke led to the formation of “Old Coke Drinkers of America,” and many liberal Republicans are facing lots of criticism from the conservative base of the party.
However, the most important parallel is one that hasn’t quite been fully realized yet. It’s simple, yet profound.
And the unraveling of ObamaCare continues apace:
A group of Democrats joined all Republicans in blocking a 10-year freeze of scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare payments, legislation that was considered important to getting a broader healthcare bill through later this year.
Prior to the 47-53 procedural vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blamed the American Medical Association (AMA) for giving him bad information on the number of Republicans expected to support the measure.
Reid had offered the doctors group a deal to pass the “doctors’ fix” in return for support from the doctors on President Barack Obama’s broader healthcare initiative, which is slated for the Senate floor later this year.
Reid told colleagues that the AMA said it could deliver 27 Republican votes for the legislation, according to two Senate Democratic lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Reid needs the GOP votes because at least five members of his party have vowed to vote against the doctors’ fix.
It’s indicative enough when Reid can’t even get all of his own party–which is, of course, in the majority–to vote for this, but then to blame one of his most ardent supporters for “giving him bad information,” (in other words, lying to him) is a sure sign of an implosion either to come or already in progress.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) seems to have caught Speaker Pelosi in a bit of a double-standard:
Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is raising concerns that a Department of Health and Human Services Web site that urges visitors to send an e-mail to President Barack Obama praising his health care reform plan may violate rules against government-funded propaganda.
The Web page is accessed through a “state your support” button featured prominently on the HHS Web site and carries a disclaimer that the Web site is maintained by HHS.
In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday, Grassley warned that “any possible misuse of appropriated funds by the executive branch to engage in publicity or propaganda in support of an Administration priority is a matter that must be investigated and taken seriously,” noting that in 2005 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that “the use of official funds for similar activities were ‘underhanded tactics’ and that these tactics ‘are not worthy of our great democracy.’”
It seems that these tactics are perfectly acceptable to the Speaker when it’s in an effort she supports, but “underhanded” when done to support something she doesn’t agree with.
I’m happy to be proven wrong… can anyone show me where Speaker Pelosi has denounced this part of the HHS website prior to this time? (Denouncements after people start talking about it don’t count, as she might have just been bowing to public pressure.) Post it in the comments, if you can find it.