Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Running Out The Clock

Steve Manacek explains how Obama's turn toward the center is mostly show.  Keep in mind that Obama's immoderation is less in what he does over the next 2-3 years than what he can prevent from happening.  As Reihan Salam has pointed out, the status quo is structurally center-left.  I would argue that the combination of Obamacare and the looming entitlement crisis move the status quo farther left every year health care policy and entitlements remain unreformed.  Congressional Republicans can start by working with Republican governors and state legislators (and Democrats too!) to increase the number of Americans on consumer-driven health insurance policies as quickly as possible.  Yeah, I know it is inadequate in itself, but it would make a full government takeover of medicine (or even the full implementation of Obamacare) that much more difficult and would increase public awareness of the existence and benefits of market-oriented health care reform.  There is also framing the issue.  Republicans should focus on Democratic obstructionism as trying to force the American people to choose between bankruptcy on the one hand or higher taxes and less (and lower quality) government-run health care on the other.  Republicans should argue that their policies will lead to greater take home pay, lower taxes (well, as compared to the Democrats' plans), higher quality health care and a more stable, more sustainable safety net.
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Dan Henninger put it in a nutshell:
[blockquote]
If the State of the Union disappointed policy wonks, it's because the Obama presidency has entered full campaign mode. His State of the Union was a road map to a second term. Draw the Republican Congress toward the post-November spirit of reform on spending, entitlements and taxes, let these ideas twist in the wind of endless negotiation, pocket the "bipartisan" effort, and run out the clock to a three-point November victory.
[/blockquote]

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