Friday, February 5, 2010

Another Anti-Democrat "Revolt"

The Massachusetts GOP Senate upset, following the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections, signaled a possible Republican electoral tsunami in November. More evidence that the anti-Democrat trend is nationwide and accelerating comes from Pennsylvania, where another Democratic incumbent is in serious trouble. In her NY Post op-ed entitled Rising revolt in Pennsylvania, Abby Wisse Schachter reports:

“Pat Toomey, the presumptive GOP nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania…now leads Sen. Arlen Specter 45 percent to 31 percent among likely voters in the latest Frank & Marshall College poll.

“Specter, who switched parties last year for fear of losing a Republican primary to Toomey, still has to finish off a challenger from the left, Rep. Joe Sestak, in the May 18 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, as the nation turns sour on the Obama agenda that Specter has helped enact, Toomey's been charging up -- six months ago, he was down eight points.”

Significantly, despite former Senator Rick Santorum’s advice to “emphasize jobs first and foremost”, “the economy and jobs actually comes in a close second behind health care as the top issue for voters in the F&M poll -- which is just fine with Toomey, because he's been railing against the Democratic approach for months.” Obama, whose approval rating in Pennsylvania has plummeted from 55% to 38% in just one year, has made healthcare his number one domestic priority. That priority is now a millstone around the necks of Democrats nationwide, where even their “safe” seats are under assault.

This piece of good GOP news must be tempered by continuing signs that the Republicans still don’t get it:

“[Toomey’s] “been railing against the Democratic approach for months.

“One of his regular lines is a question: "Why is it you can buy car insurance from a little green lizard, but you can't buy health insurance from a guy in Ohio?" He wants to see health insurers compete across state lines, along with other modest reforms to give people more options than under the current system.”

“Modest reforms” – read “unprincipled” – is exactly the wrong prescription. This is not to say that interstate competition in health insurance would not be a major step in the right direction. But the current system is riddled with government interference, which is the cause of all of the problems that the Democrats use to justify their socialist schemes. The GOP needs a comprehensive plan that explicitly proclaims the right (and personal responsibility) of each individual to take control of his healthcare needs and dollars, and rejects the notion of a government role in guaranteeing “access” to health insurance and/or healthcare to everyone.

Promoting “free market” reforms as a path to universal coverage is a socialist premise that is doomed to fail, and keep the country on the incremental path to government control of medicine. The problems cited by the Democrats are real. Soaring medical costs, the “pre-existing condition” problem, lack of competition among health insurers, and other problems can all be traced back to government policy. They can only be attacked through comprehensive reform that features a roll-back of government intervention and essentializes the principle of personal responsibility and control, the exact opposite of ObamaCare.

The 1994 Republican Revolution crashed and burned in the mountains of George W. Bush’s statist “compassionate conservatism”. The result was expanded welfare state government. Another such debacle is certain if the Republicans don’t have the courage to take a firm ideological stand for individual rights.


Mo said...

an ideological and moral stand is indeed the one we need.

I had an argument with a libertarian who suggested and kept repeating the same tired "economic" justification for capitalism:

"capital is a kind of property and owning property is one kind of right. There are many other kinds of individual rights. Nothing forces a government to respect some whole package, take it or leave it.

Here in the U.S., you can privately own capital. But your rights to grow cannibis, prescribe yourself codeine for a bad cough, purchase or sell certain firearms without following the procedures and paying money (or perhaps even at all), keep all of the income you worked to earn, refuse to sign-up for the draft, etc.

the defining characteristic of capitalism is that you can own capital. Capitalism can appear even if all those other individual rights aren't respected. --The U.S. demonstrates that every day.

Mike Zemack said...


Only in the very narrowest sense can one say that “the defining characteristic of capitalism is that you can own capital.”

The fundamental nature of Capitalism rests on the recognition of individual rights, which must be understood to understand Capitalism. Ayn Rand offers the best and clearest description of rights in her essays Man’s Rights and Collectivized “Rights”.

Under true Capitalism, meaning laissez-faire or the separation of economics and state, the government plays a vital but limited role – the protection of individual rights.

Capital is unconsumed production, or savings. Savings are a form of property. To own your capital implies the recognition of property rights. Since the property you earn is vital to the sustenance and furtherance of your life, property rights are a derivative of your rights to life and the freedom of action (your liberty) required for pursuing and acquiring your property. It is logically impossible to “own capital” without “all those other individual rights (rights properly understood)”. The rights to your own life, liberty, and property, which undergird your right to pursue your own long term goals and happiness, are inextricably linked.

A firm and uncompromising “ideological and moral stand is indeed the one we need” in addition to the utilitarian or “the same tired ‘economic’ justification for capitalism”. But Capitalism can only be properly defended in the broad philosophical sense. A good place to get the ideological basics is at The Capitalism Site. For a comprehensive moral defense of Capitalism, see Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Mo said...

thanks for clearing that up.

its rather difficult to see something like this: