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.